Saturday, December 25, 2010

Buche de Noel recipe

So every year there's a recipe that I have to search everywhere to find. This year I thought it was lost and gone forever but at the last minute I found it. I thought I would type it up and post it as a just in case.

I got this recipe from my french teacher way back when I was in high school over 10 years ago and I've been making it ever since. My teacher said that this is an authentic french recipe and because of how it is worded I believe her because it sounds like a direct translation, the kind that you get if you go to google translate and type in whatever.

But I'll translate it into regular English in case anyone wants to try it.

The cake:

Preheat oven to 375.

You need either a cookie sheet that has sides, or a rectangle cake pan. First you need to grease the pan with shortening or butter, then you need to line the pan with wax paper, cut it to size if needed. Then after you put the wax paper on the pan you need to grease the wax paper.

After that you need a clean counter to lay out some kind of cloth or another piece of wax paper. Today I used cheese cloth but you can use a clean towel if you want. I find the towel leaves behind fuzzies. Wax paper works well but takes longer to cool. After you have your towel/paper in place, you need to sift powdered sugar onto it. The recipe calls for 3/4 a cup but I usually just sift until it is almost completely covered. Don't skimp on this, it is important.

When that is set up you are ready to mix. Beat 4 eggs until very light and foamy (the recipe says one at a time but I didn't realize this until today and I couldn't tell the difference between that and doing it all at once), at least 3 minutes.

Add 3/4 cup of granulated sugar and beat for 2 more minutes. It will be thicker and pale yellow. Then stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Sift together 3/4 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Spoon it a little bit at a time into the egg mixture. Fold slowly because you want to keep the air bubbles. Then spread evenly into pan, making sure you get the corners.

Bake for 12-13 minutes, cake will be done when toothpick (or in my case a fork) comes out clean.

Remove cake and turn pan upside down on top of sugared towel/wax paper. Lift pan away, and remove the wax paper. Trim away the stiff outer edge, usually about 1/4- 1/2 inch (you don't have to do this if your edges didn't get too hard. Then roll the cake like you would a poster and let it cool rolled up.

I usually make 2 cakes so I can have one for the main part, and one for the "branches."

While it is cooling you can start the frosting.

There are 2 frosting recipes that you can use. The first one I used because I never remembered to buy the ingredients for the original.

Chocolate glaze

Combine 2/3 cup sugar, 3 table spoons of milk, and 3 tablespoons of butter in pan, bring to boiling and boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

I found that I had to double this recipe to get enough for one cake. You also have to let it cool for a while before frosting, but don't cool too much because it will get hard.

Mocha buttercream frosting.

 Put 3 ounces (3 squares of bakers chocolate but I find chocolate chips work fine)  into double boiler until it melts. Set aside to cool slightly.

Mix 2 teaspoonsful of vanilla and 1.5 teaspoons of instant coffee granules together in a cup until the coffee dissolves and set aside.

Use electric mixer to beat 3/4 cup of room temperature butter until creamy. Add chocolate and mix, then add vanilla/coffee mixture. Beat for 3 minutes. You need 3 cups of sifted powdered sugar. Add one cup at a time into chocolate mixture, beating slowly. Finally add 3-6 tablespoons of cream (milk works too) until frosting is at a spreading consistency.

I usually don't mix the milk in and leave out about 1/4 of a cup of powdered sugar. It ends up being the same consistency but not quite as sweet. This recipe makes enough for a cake, so don't double it unless you're making 2 cakes, and even then you'll probably only want to do 1.5, if you know what I mean.

Now when you're done with the frosting you'll unroll your cooled cake. Put a layer of frosting (usually about half of it) on the inside of the cake and roll it back up. You can either put the cake on a serving platter, a board with foil, or you can do like me and just stick it on a plate.

If you made two cakes, do this to both except cut the second piece in half. I usually cut at an angle so it looks like the branches are growing out of the log instead of forming a cross. Arrange your branches however you want them then add the frosting, cover the entire cake. If you're using the glaze, wait until the frosting is almost cooled and use a fork to make it look like bark. If you're using the buttercream, wait until it is almost dry and use a spoon to make it look like bark.

The original recipe says to get sticks and leaves and rocks from outside to decorate but I don't do that. I usually just put a little powdered sugar into the sifter and sift it over the cake to make it look like snow. This year I got some cherries and used green frosting to decorate.

You're done! If you don't end up with frosting and sugar all over yourself, you're doing something wrong.

So here's my cake that I made today and have probably eaten more than I should have. It is worth it though.

Happy cooking and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stealing shopping carts

I finally got my stitches out today so I can kind of type again without doing the one-finger-poke thing. It still hurts but at least now I don't have the stitches catching on things.

The day after I got my stitches I had planned on going shopping for work clothes. Since I'm a different size after having my son in June I've been wearing one set and washing them over and over thinking it won't take long to get into my old clothes. Oh well.

There's a strip mall that has several stores that sell clothing right next to each other. There's Fashion Bug, then Ross, then Shopko. I decided to check out Ross first because they're usually the cheapest. I had all my kids with me but had left the stroller at home so I was carrying my son in his carseat. I brought him into the store and tried to get him into one of the carts. They were all way too small. I've seen so many cart accidents involving carseats that are on top of the cart so I refuse to put my son in that situation. Their carts are something else. They're all different sizes, different colors, and they have metal poles welded onto them so they can't go out the door. Apparently they don't want you to buy enough of their merchandise to need a cart to take it all to your car.

So I finally find a cart that is big enough to wedge my son and his carseat in so I didn't have to carry him, then I start trying to push the cart and it feels like there's something stuck in the wheel, you know, like you run over a peanut or something and it gets stuck. So I look down and see that in addition to the beautiful poles they have attached to the cart, they have this metal plate that is welded on to the cart close enough to the wheel to put pressure on it. Nothing says "we appreciate your business" more than telling people that having to use a cart is an inconvenience to them.

So I slowly but surely push my special anti-theft cart to the ladies section. About halfway there, 2 of my children tell me they have to use the bathroom. This is just perfect because it is all the way in the back of the store. So after 20 minutes of pushing a cart that doesn't want to go we get to the bathrooms which happen to be next to the fitting rooms. We turn to go into the bathroom and the employee there tells me I can't take my cart into the bathroom, or even down the long hall to get to the bathroom.

I can understand not being able to take it into the bathroom, but the hallway? So I told her that I had injured my dominant hand, and my left wrist has problems lifting things and it is very painful to carry my son with or without his carseat. I told her that my cart was empty, offered her to check it, and asked if I could just wait outside the door so my kids didn't wet themselves.

She said no, the cart has to stay here. I told her that I wasn't stealing anything, she could see that my cart was empty, she would be watching me the whole damn time. I asked her what she was afraid I was going to do with the cart while I was standing in the hall.

I almost died laughing at her response. She looked at me straight faced and said "we have problems with people stealing the carts, not just merchandise." It took me a minute to realize she was serious. So I said "darn, you're on to me. I wore this sweater today for the simple fact that I could shove a whole cart underneath and nobody would notice, and I was planning on hiding the pole with a scarf." Then I looked at my kids dancing around and told them "go ahead and go in and go potty and try not to make a mess like you usually do. And make sure you don't clog the toilet with the whole roll of toilet paper since I won't be there to tell you how much you need." The look of horror on her face was priceless. But at least I wasn't given the opportunity to steal the cart. I'll have to find some other store that won't notice me shove a cart up my shirt.

While I was waiting for the kids to come back I was kind of looking around while watching the bathroom door. There were abandoned carts everywhere, probably about 6 of them. Then I noticed one of them didn't have a pole! It also looked a little bigger, and there was nothing screwing with the wheel. So I decided to switch carts and as I'm putting my son in it I notice that the cart is from Shopko. Which was perfect because I could just use it to push my son to the next store when I "returned" the cart to the correct store.

I pushed my old cart off to the side next to 2 other carts, assuming that since they were all lined up it wouldn't be in the way. The anti theft lady made this weird puff sound and went and took my cart (which was between the other two BTW) and pushed it to the end of the isle and into the way of customers. She marched herself back to her post in a "I showed you" type of way.

Finally my kids were done shoving toys in their clothes in the bathroom and we headed to the clothing. I don't know when the second anti theft lady started following us but she stood about 5 feet away and her only job seemed to be staring at me. There were a few shirts I found that I wanted to try on but since they don't allow carts back there either I decided to just put them on over my clothes to see if they fit. I had decided to get one and was trying to decide on another the best I could without a mirror and my creepy stalker said "you have to pay for that you know."

That was the breaking point. I took it off and said "Oh don't worry, I'm not going to pay for it but since you guys don't seem to want my business I'll find somewhere else to shop."

I threw both shirts on the ground and headed for the front. The lines were HUGE! Six people in one line, and more in the other, but I guess staring at someone who is trying to steal their shopping cart is more important. So as I'm heading out the door another employee stops me and tells me that I can't take the cart out of the store. I explained the cart didn't belong to their store and since I was going to be spending my money at shopko I would just return it for them. He tried to tell me that isn't how it works, I couldn't take the cart because it belonged to Ross.

I was so pissed off by this point I told him that he could call the police and explain to them that I'm not allowed to return a stolen cart to it's owner.

So at the end of the day I did steal a cart. But not really because I kind of did the Robin Hood thing, stole from the bad guy to give the good guy back what should have been theirs.

And in case you're wondering, my kids usually don't make huge messes in public bathrooms, I said that to ruffle some feathers. And I found an awesome sale at Shopko and was able to get several things for very cheap. I usually don't like shopping there because once an employee took my daughter out of the cart while my back was turned only long enough to pick up my other daughter and turn around. When I saw that she was gone I headed straight to the front of the store where I told TWO employees that my daughter was taken out of my shopping cart and I needed help. One was in the middle of returning a backpack, the other one was in the middle of organizing hangers. Both of course were more important than a missing one year old. The third person I told had to think about what to do. She told me that she knew there was something she needed to do but couldn't remember what. I finally was so frantic that I asked for a phone to call 911 when a manager came up holding my daughter. There was no page about a missing mommy, nothing. He was just standing there talking to her while she cried because she was being held by a stranger.

The employee that took her decided that she had been abandoned in a shopping cart. My purse was right next to her, strapped in with her. I was in front of the cart grabbing my older daughter. Yup, I was trying to get rid of one of them, they caught me. I didn't shop at that store for almost 4 years.

But maybe I will start shopping there more because apparently their carts are easy to steal and we all know how much we all want a shopping cart decorating our homes. Maybe I'll turn it into a planter and put it next to my toilet planter.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blood and more blood

First I want to warn you that I will be posting a picture of my stitches. If you're squeamish, turn back now. You've had a fair warning.

A few weeks ago I bought what I thought was a good investment. I'm not so sure about that now. It is called a chef's envy and I got it for pretty cheep with lots of extras. I had only used it a few times but when I used it I loved it. Until yesterday.

I decided to have salad for dinner when I got off work. While my kids were whining that they didn't want salad I was getting everything out and ready for it. I had everything out and just needed to start cutting the cucumber. So when you use this dangerous contraption you secure what you're cutting into the "cowboy hat." There are little prongs to keep whatever you're killing in place, and the top moves up and down so you can push everything closer to the blade with each swipe.

Here's the cowboy hat from the top.

So you can see what I'm talking about. It looks like a hat. So underneath I had stabbed the cucumber and was sliding the whole thing across the blade:


And just for the hell of it, here are the two together for those of you who need a visual.

So I was slicing away, going pretty fast thinking I was all cool that I was going to slice a whole cucumber in under a minute. Then you can probably guess what happened. I cut my finger. For whatever reason, the blade decided just at that moment that it didn't want to be sharp anymore so the cucumber stopped halfway through the slice while my hand kept going.

At first I thought it was just a little cut, maybe like a papercut. It didn't even start bleeding for a little bit and my brain hadn't processed that a hunk of my flesh was gone. Then it started hurting like I cut my whole finger off and the blood started pouring out so fast I couldn't get a good look at how bad I hurt myself. I did what I could to keep myself calm because I didn't want to freak out in front of the girls and scare them to death. I put a napkin on my finger and squeezed it while it was above my head. I needed another napkin quickly and I waited about 5 minutes to get it to stop bleeding but it didn't even slow down. I sent my oldest daughter downstairs to tell my mom that I needed her to watch my kids so I could go to the hospital because it was late enough that all the urgent care places were closed.

But instead of driving myself, my mom drove me while my dad watched the kids. The people at the hospital asked me over and over how it happened. Like they didn't believe me, or they couldn't believe that someone could get hurt in the kitchen. It got really annoying. Then the ER doctor came to look at my finger and he started squeezing it which almost brought me to tears. Finally they came and gave me a shot to numb my finger. I've been through 4 pretty traumatic and painful csections so I'm pretty good with pain. I would rather have another csection than to cut myself again. It is painful, so very painful. After they got me numb they took their time. They had someone come clean it and wrap it up to wait to get my stitches.

Then about an hour after that the nurse came in and undid the wrap and told me the doctor was going to be in soon. She should have checked with the doctor because I sat there bleeding all over for the next 20 minutes. Since I was numb I didn't mind waiting all that much but without the bandage on I couldn't keep my hand above heart level without getting blood everywhere. So after bleeding everywhere and having blood all over my freshly cleaned finger the doctor came in to sew me back together.

It didn't take very long to give me 3 stitches. Then he instructed me on the aftercare and said that someone would come bandage my finger. I thought bandage would mean some gauze and tape. Nope, bandage meant getting a band aid put on my finger. I was given the choice between regular and snoopy and I figured that since I'm probably going to be making a $300 copay I deserve the snoopy.

So here's snoopy. Not a good pic, but I'm right handed and I can't do anything with my left, including taking a decent picture.

And when I undo the band aid, here's my wonderful view. Warning: this is the picture of the stitches that I warned you about. Don't say you weren't warned. Personally, I'm morbid and this kind of thing doesn't bother me so I'm posting it. Hell, I even watched my finger get sewn up.

I don't know why my thumbnail is yellow. It isn't yellow in real life.

Luckily the doctor used the long acting lidocaine and my finger didn't wake me up from pain until about 5am. It has been hell today, and the tylenol and motrin are not working all that great.

My other blood story is my 6 year old daughter's story. We were out of milk so I stopped at the store and got a few things that would be easy to make until I'm healed enough to not be in constant pain. While we were at the checkout my daughter bit some plastic to open it (mom of the year award here) and started crying. She had been whining all day so I didn't think anything of it until I looked at her and her mouth was full of blood and it was starting to run down her chin. Fabulous. Turns out a tooth that wasn't very loose at all had caught on the plastic and had been ripped out. So we got to go into the public bathroom and clean up her mouth. Yum.

Oh, and the toothfairy is too hurt to go to the bank to leave her money under her pillow so she's going to be getting a bunch of pennies and nickles for her bank. It'll look like she got more money anyway than to have a paper bill. Just as long as the tooth fairy remembers anyway.

I also had a horrible time clothes shopping today but that will have to be another blog. Typing with only one pinkie while trying not to move your hand too much to keep the pain down is a little hard. So you'll just have to wait until it doesn't hurt so damn much. Besides, I have to go get into my bank and count a bunch of pennies.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jake met his dad... well, his dad met him.

I took Jake to the doctor the other day and found out he has pneumonia. I've been fighting with child support, vital records, and the social security office on behalf of his dad, you can read about it in my other blogs.

So Carl (my younger two childrens' father) had his family and friends call me about getting the birth certificate in to social security so he could get his disability benefits. Long story short, I didn't get the amended birth certificate for my daughter, only the one where the father's name is left blank since he never signed her birth certificate. I told his friends and family that if he wanted to talk to me he could call me himself.

He did and was absolutely convinced that the social security office would take the birth certificate that I had. I told him that I had already asked if they would and they said no, he had to be listed as the father. But he didn't believe me so he asked if he could take it down there. If he wanted to waste his time that was fine by me. But I wasn't going to go out of my way so I made him meet up with me while I was getting Jake's nebulizer machine.

Let me back up a little bit. I have hearing problems from meningitis that I got a few years ago. I don't like talking on the phone because I usually have to ask people to repeat themselves. It makes work really fun. As far as I know Carl also prefers to text and since I was at work the night that he called texting was our best bet. When I told him that they wouldn't accept the birth certificate I had he got mad and sent me a text saying "sorry for bothering you."

After everything I had done to try to do this for him, that made me mad. So this is what I sent to him.

"In all honesty I know you don't give a shit about our kids. And even knowing that I was still willing to help and I did try. I did order the birth cert, I have made more phone calls to child support not only to get you added to the cert but to also stop the child support because I knew you weren't working. I called vital statistics over and over until I finally got an answer. I didn't have to do all that and I sure as hell didn't do it for the money but I did it because some small part of me will always hope that you will change your mind and want to at least know your kids. I've had a really horrible past few weeks so you will have to forgive me if I"m not jumping at the chance to please you. If they will take the cert I have you are more than welcome to it. That is all I'm going to say."

So anyway, when I was getting my son's nebulizer machine he met up with me. He took some pictures of the kids, Jake slept the whole time, and Leiya wanted nothing to do with him after she remembered that he used to come around but he stopped seeing her even though she cried for him.

I'm hoping that things will turn around, but I'm not expecting them to. He was supposed to meet with me yesterday to bring the birth certificate to me but said he was out of money for gas. Then today he sent me a text asking when I wanted to meet up and when I got back to him he said that he was out and couldn't meet up with me. Like I said, I'm not expecting things to change but I can hope. Expect the worst hope for the best right?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


So the cough that Jake has that I thought was either a cold or allergy related is actually pneumonia. The cough started before Thanksgiving and has gotten worse. This week he started to make noises when he was breathing and last night I could feel movement in his chest when he inhaled and exhaled. Last week I checked the website his doctor has up that is kind of to defer every patient with a cough from wanting to be seen. The website said they didn't want to see him until he had it for three weeks. I had a gut feeling that it was something that needed medical attention but I hate being the person who freaks out and rushes a child to the doctor for no obvious reason.

But this time around it was serious. So serious in fact that the doctor got out the machine that checks your oxygen level in the blood herself and ran the test herself instead of waiting for a nurse to come do it. Then she went and got a nebulizer and gave him some albuterol. Of course they could have had a slow day but it is rare that a pediatrician has nothing better to do during the cough and cold season.

So I was told that Jake has pneumonia and the rattling is because his airway is partially blocked and he needs medicine to help him breathe easier. I feel really bad but in my defense he never got a fever, and until yesterday he didn't even act sick. I guess he was a real bugger when I was at work. I had bronchitis a few years ago and that completely sucked so I don't know how he can be so freaking happy. As I type he is right beside me wiggling and laughing.

To add to my mother of the year award he decided that today would be the perfect day to learn how to roll from his back to his front. Now in any other situation this would have been joyous. But he picked the exact moment his doctor walked through the door to try to jump off the table.

My mom had readjusted the straps on his carseat sometime within the past week and I noticed that they didn't get threaded through a section that they should have. It was a very quick and easy fix so I thought that I would do it while we were waiting for the doctor. Jake was on the exam table and I was in a chair right in front of him and I had almost finished with the carseat when the door started to open and he rolled over. Since the table is all bumpy it wasn't a smooth roll. I suppose if I hadn't been there he wouldn't have fallen on the floor but still. And I WAS right there.

So then they brought in his first neb treatment. They told me that he would probably fight it so I should hold him down on my lap. For those of you (like me before today) who aren't familiar with a nebulizer, there's a little mask (or if it is for an adult it is a tube that looks like an extra long inhaler spacer) that is connected to a round chamber where the medicine sits. Then there is a long tube that connects the medicine chamber to the nebulizer machine which blows air out. Through the magic of medicine the air blowing through the medicine chamber creates what I have been calling a mist that is pushed out of the mask. My son wears the mask and breathes normally, inhaling the albuterol. Most babies don't like thinks over their face.

So I expected him to fight it and he did for about 10 seconds. When he discovered that he could still breathe he was just fine and happy that he got to sit in Mommy's lap. He's had 2 more treatments since then and didn't fight it at all. I hope that isn't a sign that he's tortured too much by his older sisters.

So he's not quite as noisy when he's breathing but I can still tell he's sick. I don't know if he's contagious and my brother starts his chemo on Friday so I think it is best if we stay away for now. My brother had a stint put in today and some bone marrow extracted to test just in case. Also, my Aunt was admitted to the hospital yesterday after having a stroke. We're hopeful that she'll make a full recovery.

To add to all this, Jake met his dad for the first time today. It is a long story and I am tired so you'll just have to wait until I have time to relive that *wondrous* experience. Truthfully it wasn't so bad, more awkward than anything. And he's supposed to call sometime tomorrow so we'll see.

This week has just completely sucked. My daughter's birthday is Sunday, which is the start of a new week and next week better be freaking awesome to make up for this weeks suckiness.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holy bad news Batman!

Wow, these past few weeks have been hard on me. My brother has been waiting for a few weeks to get test results back from the doctor on whether or not he has cancer. The tests came back and yes he does have it and he starts his treatment Friday.

Then on Dec 1st a neighbor of mine, Marv died. He was older, but he was an awesome guy. He's lived down the street since I was 10. He lost his wife a few years ago but he just kept on going. He was diagnosed with cancer and I'm not sure if that is why he died, but they do know he passed away in his sleep.

On his porch he has a life size Dalmatian statue that my girls would go up and pet every time we walked by. He never once said anything to them about it. I was raised that you keep off people's property unless invited and I always told my girls that wasn't their property but he was not bothered at all that they wanted to pet his dog. He would sit outside in the summer and I think he actually liked that they would come talk to him and see his dog.

Almost 3 years ago I got meningitis. I was in the hospital for a while and was released the day before my oldest daughter's 5th birthday. I was still feeling horrible, I couldn't get out of bed, I couldn't eat. If I hadn't done her birthday shopping early she wouldn't have gotten anything. I barely had energy to watch her open her presents and blow out her candles. I knew she wanted me to spend her birthday with her and I hated myself because I couldn't. My parents had gotten her a bike for her birthday so they took her for a bike ride so she wouldn't have to be sad about me being sick. When they got to Marv's house she told him that it was her birthday and she got her new bike. He pulled out $5 and told her happy birthday. She was so excited about it that they didn't finish her bike ride, she had to come home and tell me.

Of course by this time in her life she was used to her dad not coming around or calling on her birthday and I think having two parents out on her birthday was a little hard. But that $5 really made her day, it really made her happy on her birthday when I couldn't and her own dad wouldn't.

When it snowed he got his snow blower out and used it on the whole street and in the driveways of the people he knew well. When he got too sick to do it he called his son over to do it for him. He was always happy even though you could tell he wasn't doing well. I'm glad that he is not suffering anymore but I'm sad to see him go.

So now I'm worrying about my brother. He's going in for surgery on Wednesday and to test his bone marrow. Then Friday he has his first treatment. My daughter's birthday is on Sunday but I don't think he'll feel up to coming over.

And today my Aunt was admitted to the hospital for severe vertigo and headache. They think they know what is wrong but they're doing more tests in the morning.

So please keep him and my aunt in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

It is 2:30 am and I am just getting in bed. It could be worse I guess but it sure could have been a lot better. This year I decided to check out early to see if there were going to be any sales I needed to save for. The only one that I really wanted to get was at Walmart and it was for the Toy Story 3 dolls they had on sale for $12, regular price $25. I asked two people if I were to buy them before black Friday if I could bring them back and then get the sale price for them. I asked 2 different people because I wanted to make sure that I had the right answer, both were yes as long as I bought them less than a week before the add.

So with the help of my mom and 2 Walmarts I got a complete set of Jesse, Woody, and Buz and saved the receipt and had them ready to go back sometime Friday since the sale price was an all day thing starting at midnight. Then I got the actual paper add for Walmart today and saw that the True Blood season 1 was going to be on sale for $12. I was so happy because I bought it when it first came out, got a great deal on it for $30 (regular was $50 at the time, $40 now) but one of the discs came up missing and I'm pretty sure I know what happened to it. Anyway, I had this great idea that I could go to Walmart at 10pm and pick up what I wanted and just wait until midnight to buy everything. And my plan would have worked except for some misinformation... Yeah, we'll call it misinformation.

First I went to electronics and picked up the last 2 copies of True Blood (one is a gift) and then I hit toys because my kids have decided they want some Zhu Zhu pets. There were plenty there but only 2 styles which were already purchased for Christmas. Then I found one that was pink and another that was purple. Awesome, so I put them in my cart. Then I went to look for the DS games that they had on sale for $9. The only one I could find was the one that was for the Zhu Zhu pets.. for $9 I could get it even though I think those things are so fugly. Anyway, I headed over to the toys and saw they had a bunch of Woody and Buz dolls. I figured I might as well get a few more since they were there and it would hopefully help the fighting over the ones I already got.

So I had them in my cart, I was done shopping and I was heading up to the front of the store to sit on a bench until midnight when I could get the sale prices... but one of the employees guarding a stack of toys to keep people from getting it too early told me that the dolls that were on the shelf were not the ones that would be on sale. The ones that were going to be on sale were a special doll, different packaging and they would NOT match the price from the black Friday doll for the one they have in store. Now since I'm an employee I know that they special order things in for black Friday sales, like the PJs and the storage containers, and a LOT of other things that are on sale that they don't usually carry on a daily basis. So I thought the dolls would be a special just for walmart set of dolls.

So I'm thinking damn, the dolls I have at home I won't be able to get the special price for so since I'm waiting I might as well get 2 full sets. Against my better judgement I put the dolls I had already picked out back on the shelf and went and found the pile of dolls that were wrapped all up in saran wrap. If I had been smart I would have taken them with me and compared them, but there was already a line waiting for some things and people were getting yelled at just for trying to look through the wrap at the product. So at 10:30 I stood in front of the Toy Story 3 dolls and waited. And waited. And waited. Employees were guarding to make sure we didn't open it before midnight and then about 10 minutes or so before midnight someone came up and was holding a Buz doll from the shelf that I had put mine back onto. The employees almost attacked her telling her she couldn't have it yet when she told them she got it off the shelf. I told them that I was told that they weren't the same... So the gal Tammy who was guarding the toys in my area checked and sure enough they were the same damn thing. I was so peeved it wasn't funny. I do have to say that after explaining what had happened Tammy went back to the shelf to see if there were any more left. There were only 2 Buz dolls and I figured I had waited over an hour I wasn't going to give up now.

So then they came back and said that we couldn't have the shopping carts with us, that we could only buy what we could hold. So I was pretty pissed because I already had things in my shopping cart. But luckily I had worn a sweater with a big pocket in the front. I put the 2 True Bloods in there with the ds game and stuck the Zhu Zhu pets up my sleeves. That way I had my hands free, also I had went from wanting 2 sets to only wanting 1. So then midnight came and they were cutting the wrapping off the toys that were 4 layers high. I knew that the 2 rows by me were all Buz, and the 2 rows further away were Jesse with 2 Woodys at the end. I also knew that there were Woodys on the end of all 4 layers. So when people started shoving at me from behind I grabbed 2 of the Buz toys (I only wanted one but they were back to back and that is just the way it happened) I tried for an upper level Woody but they got taken out of my hand. So I grabbed a Jesse and went for a Woody from the lower level. As soon as I had all 3 I backed up as fast as I could. I checked to make sure that I did have the right ones and looked back up and the people on the other side had shoved Tammy who had been cutting the wrap, into the pile and a bunch of management were shoving people aside to save her. I was lucky that my side weren't quite as aggressive up front, only the people in the back. So I hid down a side isle and got a cart to put my things in. Then I went back over and put the extra Buz back.

Then I went to get in line. The lines were clear to the back of the store. So I walked around for about 10 minutes, went over to check out the movies they had for $2 and they were a little better so I got in one of the huge lines. As we went through the store the line took me right by the PJs that were on sale, and there were different movies from the big sale shoved everywhere, like someone took a huge cart full and then picked through them. So just by being in line I got almost everything that I wanted to get but didn't want to waste time getting. Then there was a picture frame that I was looking at just sitting there, so I put it in my cart. When I was finally close to the register there were more and more piles of movies for me to go through. I was talking to the lady behind me and she was asking about the different movies and I told her that the one that I really wanted was the 3 Lord of the Rings movies because they were on sale for $2 each but I didn't want to loose my place in line. The guy in front of me told me that he knew where a whole bunch of them were and if I would hold onto his pillows and movies that he was buying (he didn't have a cart) he would get them for me. So about a minute later I had all but 1 thing that I really wanted.

So then it was finally my turn to put my things on the belt after over an hour in line. As I finish putting my things up I looked at one of the registers that didn't have anyone working on it and saw the last thing I wanted. It was a waffle maker for $9, the kind that you flip to cook. I was so freaking happy that I ran over and grabbed it. Then as I was rang up I found out that the Zhu Zhu pets that I picked up were NOT part of the add... but they were too ugly for $9 so I had her take them off.

I paid for my things and now here I am at almost 3am still venting because I could have been home a lot sooner. I wouldn't have everything else so it is kind of bittersweet. I guess I won't complain too much because I'm going to sleep in my nice warm bed until my kids wake me up while so many people are camping out in tents at stores waiting until 5am. And on the way home my van said it was only 15 degrees outside, and that is Fahrenheit.

I am done with my shopping for the year with the exception of 2 things that I have to buy online. Now I've just got to wrap it all up.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I hate the child support office sometimes

When I was pregnant with my youngest daughter I told her father that if he abandoned me while I was pregnant I would go after him for child support. I guess he either didn't believe me or didn't care but he left and I didn't hear from him for a long time. So as soon as I was recovered from my csection enough I went and applied to open a child support case against him. I expected to get a call or something but a few months went by and I didn't hear anything. So I went back down to the office to ask them about the status of it. They had no record of it. So I filled out another application. Every few months I would go down and they wouldn't have a record of my last visit. Finally after almost a year I demanded that I spoke with a supervisor. After a lot of people telling me that I couldn't possibly talk to a supervisor I finally got one. By that time I was completely pissed off and almost yelling. I had been in 7 times, turned in 7 applications and nobody knew who's ass they got shoved into. The supervisor told me that he couldn't possibly help me but I could fill out yet another application. When I asked how I could be sure that somebody would do something he told me to sign up for all the benefits health and welfare had to offer. So I filled out my 8th application along with an application for food stamps, cash assistance, day care, and everything else that I possibly could. A few weeks go buy and they send me another application in the mail telling me that since I was eligible for a few things I applied for that I had to fill out an application for child support. At this point I wanted to scream because it must be too damn hard for people to actually do their job. What the hell are these state employees getting paid to do since they won't even do what is in their job description?! So I filled out my 9th application and turned it in. I got a call the next day saying I had to fill out an application but have it notarized since they had recently changed the process. So I filled out my 10th application, had it notarized and threatened to cause a huge scene if I had to fill out one more damn application.

So a month later a lawyer for the state contacted me and said that they were going to get a court order for a dna test because Carl was saying that he didn't think my daughter was his. The lawyer told me this process usually takes about 6 months. Great, just effing great. Then two weeks later I got a letter saying that I had to be at the collection site 4 days from when I got the letter. They gave me FOUR days notice. It was a good thing I was able to switch my shifts or I would have been screwed. So I waited and waited and waited. The test was done in April when My daughter was almost a year and a half old. Finally in July I called the lawyer and asked if they had the results back. Of course they had them back in April but child support hadn't gotten around to notifying me. The next day I got my first child support payment. They told me that they would order back child support from the day that I applied. I thought they meant from the first application, but no, it was only for the last.

So I thought we were done playing, I hoped we were done playing because they wouldn't play fair. Not so much. Carl became disabled this summer and now qualifies for SSI. Because my daughter is his dependant he listed her in hopes of him getting more SSI. Since she lives with me the money will be coming to me. I had a lady from SSI send me a form and I needed to send that with a copy of her birth certificate with Carl added as her father from the DNA test. So I got the form, filled it out, sent in my money and got her birth certificate yesterday.... And he was not listed as her father. I called the vital statistics office and they said they never received what they needed from child support. So I called child support and explained what had happened and the gal said no problem, she would have the lady in charge of that forward the dna test and whatever else they needed to get him added to the birth certificate.

Today while I was at work this gal called and said that she got an email and there wasn't enough information on it to know what she needed to do to help me but I should have a nice day. Nothing about me calling her back to clear it up, nothing except she just couldn't help but she hoped I had a nice day. So I called child support and explained again what was going on. They told me that vital statistics had to add him. So I called vital statistics and they said they couldn't do anything at all until they got the paperwork from child support. I called child support again and they tried to tell me that they couldn't help me, only vital statistics could. The lady kind of got an attitude with me so I got enough of an attitude with her that she put me on hold to look into it. After about five minutes on hold she finally came back. She said that in order to add him to the birth certificate there had to be specific wording in the dna court order to add him. And there was they just never did their job and sent it over. For some reason since it has been so long they have to go through the court again to have the judge order him to be added to her birth certificate before they can send the information over. Then I have to wait for vital statistics to update their information before I fill out another form and send more money in.

The gal told me that it would be about 2 weeks and then it takes about a week to get the birth certificate back after it is ordered. I kind of started to feel bad because Carl can't get his benefits until I get her birth certificate turned in. The whole application is on hold waiting for me. Then I decided that I wouldn't feel bad or guilty because it is not my problem that he wasn't there to sign her birth certificate in the first place. If he had been I wouldn't be going through this whole thing so he can just wait. Not my problem he can't be a man.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Regret is something that everyone experiences, some more than others. Sometimes it is something small like the choice you made in what shoes you wore. Sometimes it is huge, a life altering event that leads to something major like the creation or destruction of life.

Through our choices in our life we develop who we are. We learn from our mistakes, giving us the choice to avoid or repeat them in the future. These experiences makes us who we are as a person. Everyone has regret but in the end it is both the negative and positive experiences that give us our outlook on life and forms our personality.

I have plenty of regret. Would I go back and do any of it over again? No, I don't want to. Even changing just one small thing, one second of an experience could alter my life. The butterfly effect. I love my life and don't want to change my past. Do I wish things were different in some aspects of my life? Of course I do but that is why I'm going to use the future to change it.

Over the past year and a half I made some bad choices that I thought were good for my family at the time. These choices helped make a little clearer the difference between being used and helping someone. My choices broke my daughter's heart after she got to know her dad and then he left. Overall though, I'm glad this happened when she was young because I think it would be harder to accept the fact that for over six months her dad worked to get to know her and gain her trust but in the end he still doesn't want her. It also answered my questions that I had. I always wondered if he would show up later in her life and decide that she is good enough for him to want to be her dad. Him walking out of her life proved to me the same thing I learned when I got divorced. She's too good for him. I refuse to raise her thinking it is okay to run from your responsibilities.

Two great things came out of everything and those two things outweigh any of the loss I had over the past year and a half. First, I learned that I really do want to buy a house. Form now on it won't be just talk, it won't be just a dream that someday might come true. It is a goal that I will be working for. And the greatest thing is my son. I know he was meant to be because just a few weeks before I got pregnant I tried to break up with his dad for that very reason. I wasn't sure if I wanted more, I know he didn't but I wanted to keep my options open. He lied and said things that I believed and I ended up with my son. All the pain and heartbreak I felt when I discovered all his lies is pale in comparison to the love I have for my kids. That is the greatest feeling in the world, love. So when I start to think of the bad things and start feeling regret, I replace it with thoughts of my kids and my love for them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Before my son was born I got a dSLR camera for a great price. I am kicking myself for not learning how to use it before my son was born and waiting until he was almost 3 months old. But thanks to a few great groups and a few great books I've learned a lot. After looking through my old pictures I'm kicking myself for not getting one sooner! My point and shoot camera rarely took pictures in focus, they were too dark or too light... all kinds of things were wrong. I'm pretty sure that I have improved though.

This picture was from the first few learning days learning how to meter, and how ISO/SS/apeture worked.

This is a week later

and another week

and another week

and this week

I practice a lot on my younger two when the older two are in school. When they're not in school they still don't want to pose for me. I thought I had a few years before that started lol. I still have a long way to go but I hope I've improved at least a little bit. My sister is going to have a baby any day now and I've talked her into letting me torture the baby with a camera...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Today was one of those rare days that I wish I was married

I work in a pharmacy and on the weekdays there are one of three shifts I can get: 9-6, 10-7, or 12-9. When I get of at 9 I'm rarely in bed before midnight and the rest of the nights it is usually 11:30 to midnight that I'm in bed.

This week for some reason my son has been wanting to be awake and playing from midnight to 2am. Last night he was asleep at midnight showing no signs of waking up. Just as I'm getting ready to get in bed so I can work at 9 this morning my youngest daughter who will be 4 in a few months decides she wants to "help" with the baby by waking him up and playing with him. Not 5 minutes after she wakes him up she's asleep. Normally I don't have a problem getting my daughter to sleep but this week has been weird for her too. I wish I could put her in a room and close the door but for now she shares a room (and a bed) with me so I really can't do that.

So then my son was up until after 1am playing (he also shares a room with me but he has his own crib at the foot of my bed). Finally he went back to sleep and as I'm getting into bed my daughter starts crying and screaming. She was asleep while she was doing this and it took me forever to wake her up. When I finally did she told me that she had a bad dream. I rubbed her back and she calmed down and went back to sleep. Again, I'm just getting my head on the pillow and my son wakes up again wanting to eat.

I feed him and he goes right back to sleep and back in his crib. I decide I'm thirsty and get a drink and again getting back in bed. I'm at least able to close my eyes this time and my daughter starts screaming again. It takes a while to wake her up, she says she had a bad dream again, I calm her down again. I look at the clock and it is after 3. I close my eyes and calculate how many hours of sleep I'm going to get. I decide to bump the alarm back 10 minutes for a little extra sleep.

I feel myself drifting away and I get smacked in the face and my daughter starts screaming again. This time she won't calm down, she's wide awake and she won't tell me what is wrong. She throws herself off the bed, starts running around screaming, throwing herself down and for some odd reason hitting herself on the forehead. No matter what I say or do she won't stop and I'm exhausted. This goes on until after 4 when she finally tells me she's thirsty. We get her a drink and get back in bed. She's awake and doesn't want to go back to sleep so I turn on the tv hoping that something boring will put her to sleep. The only thing on at 430 am is the news reruns and infomercials so it really wasn't hard to find something boring. She's finally asleep around 5.

At 5:15 my son wakes up hungry again. I hadn't even slept but I was almost there. So I feed him and he wants to play. He laughs and wiggles and giggles and screams and smiles. But only if he's right next to me, if I move he cries. I wish he would do this during the day, for some reason he only does it after midnight. Finally at 7 he was showing signs of being tired and was asleep at 7:15 when I put him back in his crib. I was so tired I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow because I don't remember getting in bed. My alarm went off at 7:45 and I got up and ready for work.

Today was hell at work and I fought every single minute not to fall asleep standing up. It has been a long time since I've wished that I was married (I'd rather be remarried than share custody of my kids and I've always said I'll never get married again) because I would have really appreciated more than 30 minutes of sleep.

It is almost midnight now and my older two girls (who luckily slept through everything last night) and my son is asleep and my daughter is being a little chatterbox. She has a lot to talk about, when I got home from work I took her to the doctor because she has an ear infection. That is why she was screaming last night. If I had put it together I would have figured that out earlier. But it really wouldn't have done any good cause I wasn't about to take all my kids into the ER at 4 am.

I'm looking forward to this weekend, I'm doing my first photo shoot for people who aren't related to me. They're my friends so I consider them family but still, it is a step up for me. It should be fun.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I don't know why but for some reason I have been terrified that my son is going to die from SIDS. After I had my girls it was always at the back of my mind but I didn't sit up night after night holding them to make sure they're still breathing like I have done with my son.

My son was born in June and I have been an active part of since I found out I was pregnant with him. In August one of the June mothers lost her son to SIDS and then last month another mother lost her baby, possibly to SIDS. After I heard about the first one I kept having nightmares. In my nightmares Death appeared as a butterfly and sprinkled purple polk-a-dots all over the people when they died. Death was after me and for whatever reason I was in a pickup with all of my kids trying to outrun it but it got in anyway. Instead of killing me, it sprinkled my son with purple polk-a-dots and he died instead. The dream was so real that when I woke up I had to think for just a second to remember where I was. I hate those kind of dreams, even if they're good dreams. I looked over at my son and had a hallucination. I thought I saw him covered in purple polk-a-dots. The feeling of complete despair and utter horror came over me. I can still remember it today. For those split few seconds I thought he was dead I wanted to be dead too. I picked him up and when he woke up the relief that washed over me was so overwhelming that I started crying. I've had that nightmare several times since then.

For a few weeks after that I didn't sleep hardly at all. I stayed up and held my son making sure that he was breathing. I seriously fought sleep and only fell asleep when my body simply could not take it anymore. And I only slept long enough so I could be awake again. I went for quite a long time with about 2 hours of sleep each night. I made myself sick.

During those nights I would research SIDS on the internet. I looked up statistics to see how at risk my son is for SIDS. 50 out of 100,000 babies die of SIDS. In reality that number is quite low but still 50 babies too many. Males die more than females. Black babies are highest at risk. My son is half black but I didn't find any statistics for biracial/multiracial babies. I breast feed, I don't smoke, I don't let people smoke around him. Babies who have mothers who have their first child before the age of 20 are at higher risk (even if they are not the baby who was born before the mother was 20). At 20 I had two kids so that is another strike. Most babies die between 2-4 months. He's less than 2 weeks away from 4 months old.

I finally bought an Angel Care monitor online for half the price they are out of the stores. That thing is awesome. It has low beeps for movement that is detected, after 15 seconds of no movement it gives of a loud beep and after 20 seconds the alarm goes of. It is so sensitive that it detected the ceiling fan as movement. I did a whole bunch of tests to see what would and wouldn't effect it and now I have it set up so that I am happy with it.

My son is a silent choker. From day one, he's spit up a lot. When we were still in the hospital he started choking but didn't make any sound. The nurse was checking on him at the time and rushed him out to the nursery. He turned blue but they got him breathing again. They took him for a few hours and had him under an oxygen hood to make sure that he was okay. There have been several times since then that he has choked and I just happened to be looking at him when he was doing it or I would not have known and would not have been able to help him.

Last night my Angel Care Monitor was more than worth its weight in gold. I'm a very light sleeper so when the beep at 15 seconds of no movement went off I woke up. I heard some gurgling noise, not very loud and they would not have woke me up. I was wide awake and went to the crib and picked my son up. He was choking and if he hadn't stopped breathing and moving for those 15 seconds to set off the beep I wouldn't have known. If I hadn't had the monitor, I wouldn't have known. I flipped him head down and sucked the junk out of his throat and he started breathing again. Then he spit up a whole bunch. I highly recommend this monitor to anyone who has infants.

When I was pregnant with my oldest my ex husband's sister lost her daughter to SIDS. That was 8 years ago and I still think about it. I haven't talked to my ex sister in law in over 7 years but I still think about her. My heart goes out to everyone who has ever lost a child. One of my daughter's friends lost his brother to SIDS a few years back. I didn't know the family very well but it was still so horrible to think about.

My grandma lost her son when he was only a few days old. It wasn't SIDS, it was because of a heart defect. My son looks a lot like he did. He was such a cute little boy and what makes it even worse, it is a condition that would have been detected on an ultrasound today and fixed at birth. I thank God for all the medical advances we have because it has saved lives of many children and prevented many deaths.

I love how little my son is, and since he is my last I don't want him to grow up too fast... But I think I'll sleep a lot better when he's old enough to roll around so I don't have to worry about him choking.

Monday, October 4, 2010


I got some very disturbing news yesterday. For personal reasons I can't go into the details but I can say that it has caused me a lot of stress. I stayed up until 3am because I was doing research and because the stress kept me up. I'm not sure which was the leading factor for my insomnia, but I paid for it today. I didn't get up until after 8 and the kids were late for school. Not by much, but this was the first tardy for them this year. I'm proud of them though, since they were late almost every day last year.

I was a zombie at work. Luckily I wasn't in charge of actually filling prescriptions, just taking them. Also lucky for me the pharmacists are pretty good about catching the mistakes I do make. It is funny though, I didn't make very many mistakes today, or at least wasn't aware of many. On the days that I do concentrate I make way more. Perhaps I over think things too much, I have a tendency to do that. I need to learn to just follow my gut. Like with my pictures. My best shots haven't been planned. I just want to play around with my camera settings and see what else I can learn and end up getting a great natural shot.

My heart is torn in two separate ways. On one hand I want to believe that people change. I want to believe like Anne Frank did, that there is a little bit of good in everyone. But actions speak louder than words. Years have gone by with little or no change so why should now be any different? I know there are ulterior motives in place, and what should be the obvious motive is nonexistent. Working with the public has proved me wrong time and time again about what I thought about the human race. The majority of people lie on a daily basis, and usually over something that is small, something that doesn't matter in the big picture. Maybe they've been doing it their whole life so they can't tell the difference between the truth and a lie.

In all reality I AM hoping for a change. I've been hoping for a change for the past seven years. Eight if you count the time I was pregnant. The fact of the matter is that I haven't seen it. There were a few times that it was close, but the change just didn't come. I wish someone could tell me what to do. I want what is best for my kids but I worry if my own personal feelings don't get in the way of my decision. I ask my kids how they feel but in reality is the opinion of a 6 and 7 year old the best to be taking? I'm not saying their feelings are not important or I don't care, but I remember when I was that age and I hated some of the things my parents did but it turned out to be some of the best things for me. I just don't want them hurt anymore.

Sometimes I feel like I've failed my kids. I want what is best for them, but studies have shown that what is best for them is a mom AND a dad, and because of poor choices on both sides I can only give them one. I could point fingers and blame everything on either one of my exes but the truth of the matter is that I had a choice in it all too. I mad bad choices at to who should be the father of my children. I think they deserve better than what I can give them but I know for a fact that no one can love my kids as much as I do. Everything I do revolves around them. When I'm at work I think about them, I go to work so I can provide them what they need. I would love to go back to school, my dream is to be a cardiologist but at this point I don't have the means to make my dream come true. Perhaps I never will and that is okay because that just means I gave up my dreams to be with my kids. I would do it again in a heartbeat. But I'm afraid that I'll never find anyone good enough to be their dad who is willing to take on 4 kids. A lot of guys don't even want to take care of their own kids much less someone elses kids.

It is times like these that it would be nice to have someone tell me to stop worrying and that they will make everything okay for me. Just to have someone to share the stress, someone to be in charge of things for even an hour so I can let it all go. Hell even a hug would be a great improvement!

But until then I will stay strong. I always have before. It is true that you don't know how strong you can be until strong is your only option. I've surprised myself before, I'm sure I can do it again. It isn't like stress is something new to me, I just try not to let it get to me.