Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Whew. We're back from a 7 week trip to Iran to spend time with family. We just got back last Friday night-a journey of about 30 hours door to door with five kids 10 and under. Now that's fun! ;) It's good to be home and it seems like we're all back on the right time schedule now. I took bunches of pictures of sights this time around but haven't had a chance to download them from the camera between 8 million loads of laundry and the usual daily tasks of keeping a family of 7 up and running. Just going through nearly two months' worth of mail seemed to take half a day and that doesn't count looking at any of the magazines or catalogues that came while we were gone. I didn't have any internet access this time around so besides snail mail, it looks like I've got almost 80 pages of new e-mail to sort through with 25 messages per page. It'll all get done and looked at eventually.

I would have gotten this posted sooner but our little guy discovered buttons in the last few weeks and how much fun it is to push them to make things happen like turning the computer off while mommy's typing or turning the tv on and off while everyone else is watching. Now that's fun!

I hope everyone out there is doing well and not getting too stressed. I'll write again soon.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Busy Days

This is picture of the little guy after the first surgery. It was done laproscopically so he only had two little cuts (only about 1/2 inch each) under his diaper and a bandage over his belly button. The second surgery left him with about a 2 1/2 in. scar on his stomach. I'm hoping since he's so little that it will fade in time. Besides the scars you'd never know anything had happened to him. He's as active as ever and has even started walking.

We're in the last few days of Ramadan and gearing up for Eid on Wednesday which means buying new dresses for the girls and and dress shirts and pants for the boys. I've already bought them some small gifts and on Eid we'll take them to Chuck E. Cheese as a surprise after the masjid. We're hoping the make a big present out of going to see their grandparents. We've got the tickets reserve but still have to get them. If all goes well, that means I won't be around until about mid-November. (unless I get a chance to post again before we go) I'm hoping to get at least one quilt top made while we're gone if I can get the pieces cut before we go. I'm pretty sure I'll have time to work on it since we'll be hanging out with the relatives and I can hand piece it while everyone chats and plays. I'm planning on doing a sampler in black and batiks while blocks from a quilt a-long at crazy mom quilts but switching one block out to use a star block from Judy's latest BOM at Patchwork Times.

Between preparing for Eid (shopping, gift wrapping, cookie baking and house cleaning), packing, quilt prep and the regular chaos of running a 7-person household I don't think I'll have much time for anything else right now. Speaking of chaos, the little guy has dumped his bowl of (dry) Cheerios all over the floor and is having a mini-meltdown so I've got to run.

Have a great day everyone.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm back

I know, I know. Long time, no post. But I've got an excellent excuse. A couple of weeks or so after the last post, I learned a brand new word...Intussusception.

What is this strange and exotic new word? you ask. It's a somewhat rare medical condition where a portion of the intestines rolls up inside of another part of the intestines. The medical websites give the metaphor of a telescope being collasped but I think a more accurate description would be to compare it to those kids' toy-water worms or water snakes. You know-the ones that are like a continuous donut-shaped tube filled with water that rolls out of your hand if you squeeze it. Ya didn't know that the intestines could act like a water snake, did ya? Well, neither did I.

How did I learn this fun new word? One night our little guy woke up crying. It started as a little cry but quickly progressed to scream-crying that nothing would pacify that would cycle-2 mins. crying, 30 sec. quiet, 3 mins. crying, 40 sec. quiet-you get the idea. After about half an hour of this, he threw up and seemed to calm down a little but he looked so drained we called the dr. Dr. says take him to the er just in case. Mind you this is 2 a.m. So we wake all the other kids and get everyone loaded in the car and head not to the nearest er but to one further away but better. By the time we get there (3 a.m.), little guy is calm and only throws up a tiny bit as we are checking in. Fortunately, the er is quiet so we see the dr. quickly. She takes a quick peek and orders an x-ray. X-ray doesn't show anything and the dr.s not sure what's going on so she orders ultrasound but they want to wait until the change of shift so a pediatric radiologist will be on hand to look at it. During this time, he's sleeping while nurses are trying to find a vein so that they can get a blood sample and an iv started just in case. Three tries and no luck when the night shift radiology tech comes in to takes us down before he leaves. (At this point I'm thinking that this might just be a waste of time because little guy is sound asleep and seems to be much better now. {It took three more tries before they finally got the blood and IV started.}) It was a change of plans but I'm glad he is the one that did it. Within minutes of starting the ultrasound, I could tell from his actions he had spotted something wrong. And this guy was good, checking and rechecking, asking a senior tech for advice and then grabbing the first available radiologist. Without saying what it was he redid the ultrasound of the radiologist with me following along trying to keep up. This is when I learned this great new word. My little 9 month had a portion of this small intestines rolled up about 6-8 in. into his large intestines (up and about half way across his belly).

At this point, we became the teaching case of the er. The cause is unknown but may be trigger by the lymph nodes swelling up after any kind of illness. (He'd had a little cold for a couple of days. Later findings make me think it was caused by something else.) It mostly happens in boys around 3 mo. to 6 years old. There are two methods for trying to correct this anomaly-1)an enema administered by a radiologist using continuous x-ray to monitor the progress and 2) surgery. Because the enema is deemed less invasive they always try this first. Either way we were told he would be kept at the hospital at least over night to make sure it wouldn't recur. (We called some friends who came and pick up the kids for us.) They performed an air enema and let me tell you, I would not call that the best option. It may be less invasive but I think it's far more tramatic. There were three of us trying to hold him down and as still as possible while he screamed in pain each of the three times they tried. He would collapse back down exhausted each time they relieved the pressure. The x-rays should that the enema couldn't complete push the intestines back in place so he ended up having to have surgery anyway. He had laproscopic surgery around 2 p.m. The surgeon told us that the intussusception corrected itself by the time he went in but half of the appendix was swollen and purple so he removed it just in case. (It wasn't the cause but likely got caught between the two layers of intestine.) We get settled into a room and dh goes to pick up the kids and get some rest. I bounce around between trying to rest, keeping an eye in the little guy (whose snoozing soundly from the trama of the day), trying to deal with being very uncomfortably engorged (He hasn't nursed since 1 a.m. and won't be allowed to nurse again until after the surgeon checks on him in the morning) and finally being incredibly bored since the only thing I brought with me is the diaper bag. It was a shared room with only 1 t.v. so I couldn't even turn that on to pass the time. By 8 a.m., I finally break down and ask the nurse if they've got any kind of reading material I could borrow. She was so great. She knew exactly what I was going through and managed to find me a couple of magazines. Amazingly enough, we left the hospital before noon with a happy baby and a passing post-op warning to come back in if he should any sign of a recurrence but with the assurance that this was very rare.

How rare is it? It only happens in 1 to 4 out of 1,000 kids.
How rare is a recurrence? When an enema works, there's a 10% chance of recurrence within 72 hours. After surgery, there's only about a 3% chance. (Do you see where I'm going here?)

Given these odds, I decided to hope for the best but prepare just in case. I got some little travel-size toiletries and stuck them in the diaper bag. 9 days later, at almost the exact same time of night, he had a recurrence. This time I grabbed a book, magazine and a quilting project along with an extra shirt and the diaper bag. (I forgot to mention that my little angel peed on my sleeve during the ultrasound the first time around and I had nothing else to wear.) We didn't bother calling the pediatrician this time. No point waking her up at 2 in the morning when we already knew what we'd have to do. Woke up the kids and headed back to the hospital. Ultrasound confirmed what we pretty much knew only this time it wasn't quite so bad. (Once again, our friends where kind enough to come and take our kids to their house.) The decision was made to wait for the day time shift change and the pediatric radiologist to try the enema again. (This doc was a much older man, who thankfully was very gentle as well as cautious. It was still tramatic but not nearly as bad as the first time.) No good but the surgeon decided he'd rather take a wait and see approach this time. Around 2 p.m. he showed symptoms again so the surgeon ordered another enema. Back to radiology we went, only this time with the surgeon watching from the other room. No luck again but this time the radiologist pointed out a mass/dark spot that he had seen the first time around and felt is was somewhat larger. So back to surgery, this time with a larger incision so that the surgeon can feel what this mass is and decide whether or not to remove it, but first more waiting for antibiotics and an open operating room. We finally head down to surgery around 8 p.m. Around 10:30, the surgeon comes out to give us the update. He couldn't identify the mass so he decided to remove it but to do that he had to remove part of both the large and small intestines and then form a new connection. We'd have to wait for the pathology report to find out exactly what was removed. We finally got settled back in the room around 1:30; nearly 24 hours after we arrived. Dh finally went home to sleep around 2. (It was a very cramped shared room.)

I didn't sleep much since the nursing staff in this department wasn't exactly attentive. They didn't hook him up to a single monitor despite him being on morphine and post-op. In the morning his i.v. alarm sounded for 40 min. (starting before shift change), we were right across the hall from the nurses station even and no one came. Fortunately, because of being short-handed, a nurse from a different department took over his day time care and immediately hooked him up to the monitors and checked up on us frequently during the day. When dh came later that afternoon, I told him about my annoyance with the night time staff. He encouraged me to ask if we could move to a different ward. I'm so glad he did. Our wonderful nurse stepped right up and got us moved to a big private room on her normal ward. It made the rest of our stay much more relaxed. Our little guy needed alot of holding during his recovery in the hospital so I didn't work on the quilting I'd brought but it came in handy at night as an extra blanket. :)

We had to stay at the hospital for 2 1/2 days after the surgery and wait another week after that to find out that the mass was a diverticula. A diverticula is just an extra little pouch that can form on the intestinal wall. Usually they happen on the lower end of the large intestines in older adults who haven't had the best of diets. His was a rare occurance on the beginning portion of the large intestines that he was probably born with. I believe this is was triggered the intussusception. I also think it was the cause of other things he was experiencing that were different from our other kids. He always had very loose, frequent poops. He was, also, awful about eating solid foods. It could take 45 min. just to feed him about 1 oz. of food. Now he's a much better eater and his bowel movements are much more normal.

So, between helping him recover and taking care of all of the normal everyday stuff, I just haven't had to time to blog.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I hadn't realized it had been more than a month since my last post.

We've been pretty busy around here. Passed around a nasty little infection that started out like a cold but progressed to ear and eye infections in nearly everyone so I've been busy passing out doses of antibiotics and eye drops to multiple kids over the last month. Fun, fun, fun.

I came down with it the night before I was planning on going to a huge, homeschooling used book sale so I missed out on that. :( I have one more shot of finding some deals on used books at a convention in the middle of July before I break down and have to pay full price for the stuff I want to use this year. For now, we've started up again using our McGuffey Readers, some math workbooks and DVDs from Netflix for history.

I've been busy doing some clothes sewing as well with tons more to do (pants and skirts for the girls and me). When I get more done, I'll post some pictures.

As my birthday present, Mohsen watched 3 of the kids while Safiya, Husein and I went to the local annual quilt show. We had tons of fun, probably bought a bit more than we should have but enjoyed ourselves so it was worth it. I haven't had a chance to transfer the pictures I took but hope to this weekend if I can get my sewing projects finished.

The little guy just woke up from his very short nap so I've got to run. I'll try and post again this weekend.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Finally some pictures

Thank you to everyone that has been popping in to see if I've finally gotten around to updating my blog.

First, here are two pictures of the baby quilt I finished back in March. No new quilting has been going on but I did make 2 pairs of pants for the girls as well as a swimsuit for myself and new swimpants for the girls before we took our trip. (I still have to make the girls new tops. The color is almost completely bleached out of the old ones.)

The trip was great. We ended up not going to Disney but still had tons of fun and didn't even get to all of the attractions I had planned. (We did, however, go to Downtown Disney to check out the Lego store and the big lego creations like the sea serpent behind us in the last picture.)

Staying at a rental house was definately THE best way to go. Lots of space, very comfortable, economical and quite relaxing. If anyone out there is planning to travel in the near future, especially if you'll be travelling with kids, you should really consider renting a house rather than a hotel. Just google "vacation rental" and the city or state (or even country) you'll be heading to. Just goofing around, I've found some amazing looking places all over the US and abroad. If anyone has any questions I'd be more than happy to answer them.

I, also, want to say a big thank you to Sue at Quilting Chatter. I had completely forgotten about the Pay It Forward thing until this wonderful box arrived on my doorstep this week full of great stuff. Sue was so incredibly generous. She sent two pincushions, two bags as well as four crochet dish clothes. I haven't had a chance to take a picture yet but will include one in the next post. I feel guilty now because I haven't gotten any takers for my offer to Pay It Forward so I'll offer once again to whoever would like to participate. I'll send you something if you promise to Pay it Forward to 3 more people.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Long time...

no post. Sorry about that. Thanks to everyone that keeps popping in to see if I'm back to blogging.

I came down with the flu just two weeks after I'd been sick with a cold. (Stunning since I hardly ever get sick and I get struck twice this year back to back.) Then one week later dd2 gets it, followed the next day by ds2 and a week after that dd1. So all of that took close to a month to get through. Then I had a friend's baby shower. I managed to make a baby quilt in one week and a day. (Machine pieced, hand quilted) The shower was at 2, I put that last stitch in the binding at 1. (Pictures with the next post.) And all this week I've been putting in computer time planning a surprise trip for our kids to Disney. (I'll post more on our Disney plans later too.) We plan on putting them in the car and not telling them where we're going until we get there. ;)

We're also surprising them with a trip to the circus next week. They haven't been yet since before they were too little and/or we were too busy. I'm pretty sure that they will think that the trip to the circus is the one and only surprise we have planned. Heehee!

Right now I'm trying to finish up our taxes since we'll be on vacation when they're due, so I'll leave you with funny things my soon to be 3 year said a few days ago.

"I'm gonna get two catapiller poops for my birthday from Chuck E. Cheese's."
(With all the excitement in the world in his voice and yes, I did ask him to make sure he really said/meant what I thought he did.)

Later the same day, regarding fish we just got.
"Ew, the fish went poopy! You have to give him a bath in the bathtub."

Have a great day everyone!

1. Kids that keep me on my toes so that life never gets boring.
2. A husband that took a whole week off of work to take care of things while I was sick and recovering.
3. Everyone is healthy again.
4. Having the financial cushion to take a vacation this year and finding great ways to save money on the trip.
5. The forsythias are in bloom and the hyacynth is almost there!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Ack! I'm sick for the second time in a month. I never get sick but this bout really hit me hard. I actually spent most of the first 22 hours sleeping on and off. Thank goodness I have such a wonderful husband. He's stayed home from work this week to take care of me and the kids. Unfortunately, it seems like 3 of the kids are sick including the little guy. I think we probably picked something up from the doctor's office last week when I took him in for a check up. I hate when that happens! Anyway, I'll be scarce for a little while longer while I get us all healthy again.

I hope everyone out there is healthy and enjoying you day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Women & Money"

Oprah and Suze Orman are offering a free download of Suze's book "Women & Money" until 8 p.m. central Feb. 14. (TODAY) I haven't read this book yet but I have read other books by her and I urge you to take advantage of this offer. She provides wonderful information in a straight forward manner.

Go to and click on Women & Money about halfway down the page.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Still here

I'm still here. I'm so sorry it's been so long since I've posted. I have a post I've been working on but it's been slow going since I've mostly only been able to get on-line when I have a baby either nursing or in my lap. Right now it's about 1:30 a.m. so everyone else is asleep. (Knock on wood.)

One of the things we've been up to lately is snow days. Since the 15th it's snowed twice here. The first was just a little bit that was gone by the next day but the second snow gave us at least 5 inches, a full day of play and there is still snow/ice on the ground. During the day of play the kids decided they wanted to make a snow slide, so they shovelled snow on to our deck stairs so that they could slide down it into a pile of snow at the bottom. We don't have any hills for sledding in our yard so I guess they decided that this would be the next best thing.

Here's a tip for reusing out-grown socks-Not too long ago, I went through the girls dresser and took out all of the sock that don't fit anymore. The frugal part of me decided I should keep them in case I should need them for "something" so time soon. Well the sometime soon came sooner than I thought it would. While the kids were playing out in the snow, I noticed that Z.'s coat sleeves kept riding up. We didn't buy her a new coat this year since this one still seemed to fit back in late Sep./early Oct. Finding out that it no longer fits during a snow fall in Jan. isn't exactly the best timing. Anyway, I sat for a minute trying to come up with something that would keep her little wrists from getting frost bite. (She's a full contact player. Laying in the snow, sticking her hands down in it as far as they'll go, carrying around big chunks of it.) Then I remembered seeing some knitted wrist warmers while following blog links. Now obviously I couldn't knit her a pair of anything right then but I did remember the bag of socks. I went inside, grabbed a pair and a pair of scissors. Snipping the toes off and an oval for her thumb, gave us something very similar with almost no work. As an added bonus, we got to reuse something that still had usefulness left in it and I gave my kids another example of how to be creative with the things you already have.

The other thing I've been working on is M's quilt. I finally got the borders on and have started quilting it. I was going to try machine quilt for the first time on this quilt but my machine seemed to be acting up a bit while I was attaching the borders so I decided to just go with hand quilting. Now I've procrastinated quite a bit with this (and the other 3 quilt tops I've got done) and I realized that I've been avoiding trying to machine quilt since I've never done it before. If I had just decided to hand quilt them from the start, I'd probably have at least two of them done and in use by now. Go figure! We'll see how quickly I can get them done now that I've figured this out.

Ok, I think it's time to go to sleep now before the little guy wakes up wanting to be fed again.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Women's contributions

This is something I've had running around in my mind for a while now. It started when we were discussing life insurance with a friend of ours and he asked why bother getting a life insurance policy for me. Now, he's a good friend and well meaning, is the father of 4 and has a wife that was stay-at-home but now teaches at her kids school to cover the tuition. I, of course, reply by asking him what he'd do if something happened to his wife. (Hopefully giving him something to think about.)

After this, I started thinking about all of the financial books I had read. Every one of them touted the importance of life insurance for a wage earner while ignoring the financial contributions a stay-at-home wife gives to her family. What contributions could they possible be since she's not bring in any income? Surely no one is depended on them, right? Well, let's think about this for a minute. A stay-at-home mom at least provides child care services. That alone represents a pretty big chunk of change the family is not paying, especially if there is more than one child. What if the kids are school aged? Well, until they're at least in their early teens, according to many states' laws, they still need after school supervision. How about eating? At least at the beginning, there will likely be a good bit of eating out because of all of the other things dad is trying to adjust to.

Another big point to consider is if you homeschool, what will happen if you die? Will dad try to keep homeschooling them? Hire someone to watch them during the day while he works then teach them in the evenings? Or maybe hire a tutor? Will he send them to school? Public or private? Obviously, private school is a lot more expensive than homeschooling and most homeschoolers really don't want to have to send their kids to public school.

These are just some of the bigger, more obvious ways we contribute to the family finances. There are plenty of other some times smaller or less apparent contributions. Many stay-at-home wives/moms are frugal and know when and where to get the best prices on everything from groceries to toilet paper to clothing. If your spouse has to manage the shopping and work then chances are convenience will take precedence over cost. Do you do the family taxes? That's a cost that will change as well. If the family eats out more, chances are good that the food won't be nearly as healthy as if you cooked it so there is a higher chance that the kids will get sick more often.

Without too much effort, it's not difficult to see how the death of a stay-at-home wife would impact the family's financial situation. Could you're family survive this impact without the extra cushion life insurance would afford? How much life insurance would be necessary is up to the individual families but don't let anyone try and convince you that life insurance is never necessary for a stay-at-home wife just because she doesn't have any income.

Lookie what I found ->

"The Gentle Art of Domesticity" by Jane Brocket, a fellow blogger at yarnstorm ( It's not even published here in the U.S. yet and only came out in Britain at the beginning of Oct. Where did I find it? At a library booksale that I almost didn't go to. It was only $4. Now this is normally a bit more than I'd pay for a book at a book sale but I couldn't see how I could pass up such a find.

It's really a lovely book with wonderful pictures. It's a bit hard to describe though. It's sort of a collection of essays on all kinds of domestic pursuits with tips, recipes and lots of eye candy mixed in. Definitely worth the $4. Her blog is just as pretty. BTW, she was railed against in the British media for promoting the domestic arts and setting unfair standards for the poor working feminist who has much better things to do with her time. In my view, she like some many generous women out in blog land are trying to encourage others who stay at home or would like to by showing the value in this choice that doesn't come with an easy to calculate price tag.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

I hope everyone enjoyed thier holidays. Now it's time to settle in a bit and relax with few obligations on our calendars than in the last few months. The only thing we've got coming up is S.'s b-day. The kids already did their testing for their required grade level so they (and I) have slacked off on keeping up with doing something everyday. We've shifted to a more unschooling mode lately where they do things of interest to them for a good chuck of the day. I do still have them doing workbook pages but let them slide a little about doing them every day. (For those wondering how we've done this, we started back in June so we've already put in more than 100 days of "school".) Having a new baby in the house has really thrown off our schedules for longer than I had anticipated. This is not a huge deal since I know that they are all at or above grade level in most areas and they pick up on new stuff everyday through their play or our daily activities. i.e. They've been earning and saving money and all decided that they wanted to order some fun things from a homeschooling catalog we had lying around. They all practiced reading and budgeting skills pouring through the catalog to figure out what they could afford that looked/sounded interesting. M. and S. were also introduced to calculating with percentages so that they knew how much the shipping would cost. I just ordered their choices this morning and added some learning games that everyone can play which I think they'll enjoy while learning new things.

One activity we've been doing is Mad Libs. There are few things more fun for learning parts of speech than Mad Libs. The kids have really gotten a blast out of those lately. If you haven't done them before, give them a try (you can find some or similar forms like wacky webtales on-line). The key is to be as outragous as possible with your word choices. If asked for a verb don't say something boring like walking or talking, try bob sledding or prognosticating. Need a noun? How about sea cucumbers or kumquats? And they absolutely should be done with group participation.

I haven't made any resolutions for 2008 specifically. I'm still working on my weight. (After 5 kids, like that's a big surprise.) I still haven't finished the quilts that I showed back in Sep. so those are on the list of "to be finished sooner rather than later". I, also, have to add 2 more baby quilts to the list-one to be finished by the end of Feb., the other by the end of April. I'd like to add a few receiving blankets to the quilts, but those are easy and shouldn't take more than 10 min. each. The fabric for most of this was purchased at Jo-Ann's after Thanksgiving Day sale. I may have to add one or two things but I haven't had a chance to compare what I have to what I'll need yet. Along with those I want to try my hand at a smaller version of the strip twist quilt, this time in blues and white-on-whites for a wall hanging. I've just gotten swimsuit fabric for making myself a suit so that I can continue the kids' swimming lessons. Hancock had a great deal on this. ($3.50/yard and then this week it was further discounted to $1/yard so I bought more for making the next size up suits for the girls) Hancock also has a really great deal on the Janome Sew Mini ($40) which I got to teach the girls on. I've read good reviews for it so I'll let you know what I think once we have a chance to get some sewing time in.

It's time for me to get busy with other things. Take care all and have a great day.

Completely unrelated photo of kids and their cousin at the Persepolis ruins