Emergency Preparedness for the Next Storm #emergencyprep #wellwater

So, there was a storm last week. This was kind of a new thing because it’s the first time we’ve lost electricity while living on a well.

Of course, immediately I was like, “wow, I am SO THIRSTY.” And I wanted WATER.

When My Chemical Romance got home from his business trip — this was really poor planning on the part of the storm; we hadn’t seen him all week — I dashed off to the closest grocery store that had power. I drove past three before I found one and I bought them out of water. I also bought a bunch of soup (gluten free), flashlights, gf chips and more water.

The power was out for a total of 16 hours, and in that time I started our emergency preparedness corner in our back room. (It’s indoors and finished but not insulated. It’s just a porch room, I guess? I freaking LOVE this house.) Here’s what I’ve got:

  • Water! Probably not enough for seven people and two dogs, but it’s a start. Next time there’s a bad storm, I’ll fill the bathtub so we can use that water to flush the toilets.
  • Soup
  • Canned fruit
  • can opener (we upgraded to an electric for the kitchen!)
  • 4 flashlights with batteries (and long lives, allegedly).
  • Three candles
  • matches
  • Roll of paper towel
  • Paper plates, paper bowls, plastic cups and plastic utensils

I think this will be enough to get us through 24 hours of no electricity, which was about as long as it lasted for the worst of those who didn’t have power. We’re not that far from bigger cities that we’d haul out if we needed to. We actually planned to go to Charlotte for the day but when we stopped home to get swimsuits, the power was back on.

I also recently made an emergency kit for me, appropos of nothing except my kids always raid the actual first-aid kit for bandaids and then I have a fully stocked first-aid kit minus bandaids, which are the ONLY thing I’ve ever needed. Here’s what’s in it, per instructions of a EMT on reddit.com :

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Tylenol
  • Benadryl
  • Bandaids 😀
  • Neosporin
  • Saline solution/salt wash
  • Maxi pads (to use as bandages)
  • Duct tape

I also want to make a car emergency kit. My car is ollllllllllllld (I’m hoping to get a Ford Transit Wagon when they come out, in diesel! They seat 10!) and falling apart. At home I have plug-in jumper cables but that doesn’t help when I’m out so I want those. Also, flares, a multitool and a small fire extinguisher.

I want to be like a Boy Scout, minus the exclusion of gay leaders and atheists.


Cleaning Up Playlist #pandora #adulthits

I love Pandora’s Adult Hits channel. I am not embarrassed about it at all. The kids always want music when we clean up (pick up room, throw out trash, put away toys, sweep, vacuum, repeat again in 24 hours because it’s never truly clean) and I agree if it’s Pandora Adult Hits. We have surround sound and I blast it. Here are my top ten songs.

Before cleaning starts: Over My Head (The Fray). That about sums it up.


While We’re Cleaning:

Rolling in the Deep (Adele)

Keep Your Head Up (Andy Grammar)

Pumped up Kicks (Foster the People)

Dog Days Are Over (Florence + the Machine)

Tik Tok (Ke$ha)

Dynamite (Tao Cruz)

Stacy’s Mom (Fountains of Wayne)

Harder to Breathe (Maroon 5)

We Found Love (Rihanna)

Yes, my taste tends toward pop hits that are years old. I like the 80s channel too. Image

What I don’t like about living in the country #countryliving

I would say I 90% LOVE IT here,  5% feel neutral and 5% hate it.

1. Bugs, amphibians and pine needles, oh my!

If I have to pull one more tick off one more child, I’m going to… consider it a day that ends in  y. Because I pull ticks off them constantly. And also the dogs. The dogs are officially banned from sleeping in our room til tick season slows down. Also, I know that I try to be a relatively fun-loving mom, but I DO NOT LIKE BUGS OR FROGS. I act all calm but inside I’m jumping up on a chair and screaming like a banshee when I see a beetle. (I just don’t want the kids to see me freaking out and think it’s okay to freak out. I’d like them to have a more zen attitude toward bugs. They’re already pretty zen about frogs and turtles.)

Pine needles hurt when you’re not wearing shoes. I recently learned why they’re called NEEDLES when one of them stabbed me.


They probably all have lyme disease by now.

2. My little town is OCD about rules

Trash can only be put in front of the house — not actually on the street but SHOWING FROM THE STREET — in town-approved, 32 gallon containers. 32 gallons is very small for my paper-plate-using family. That’s like, literally, ONE bag of trash per container. Also, trash has to be bagged. So does recycling, which also goes in 32 gallon containers (on a different day). Try to tell the difference between a 32 gallon container of bagged trash and a 32 gallon container of bagged recycling. It’s not as easy as it looks because they look exactly the same.

3. It’s not walking-friendly

My car is having some late-life issues. It’s in the shop. My Chemical Romance is on a business trip. His car is at an airport parking lot, 90 minutes away. I’m stuck at home with the kids, other than when my friend Jackie babysits them and I go to class, and run to Harris Teeter on the way home. Anyway, this is NOT a walk-friendly area. There’s, like, no place to go, except the golf course.


Poor us! The indignities we suffer!

That’s really it. I could comment on the lack-of-young-children thing, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a country living thing. Apparently there are children over yonder. But we have to drive to get to them.

June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Human Beings #carnatpar


Welcome to the June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:
Parenting in Theory vs. in Reality

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing how their ideas and methods of parenting have changed.


If only parenting in reality were like reality tv: full of cute anecdotes, funny coincidences and beautiful clothes. Instead, it’s anecdotes that only a mother would find cute, coincidences like my baby having an explosive diaper when I’m already running late = I don’t have time to shower before my gyno appointment for a pap smear and beautiful clothes that have been ruined by spills.


The reality is, over the last ten years and five kids, I’ve made a ton of parenting mistakes:

Had an epidural during labor

Didn’t have an epidural during labor

Had a hospital birth

Had a homebirth


for only three weeks

Am breastfeeding a toddler and not loving every nursing session.

Used disposable diapers

Toilet trained (rather than waiting for readiness)

Turned my then-11-month-old twins car seats forward facing

Kept my then-4yo’s car seat rear-facing

Bribed my then-7yo to read books

Borrowed from their allowance jars when I needed some change for candy

Let them eat candy

Let them eat hot dogs

Let them eat gluten

Let toddler touch raw chicken

Let them get away with leaving clothes on the floor

Yelled at them when they left clothes on the floor

Left nursing toddler with dad for five days while I went to Florida

Didn’t bring home gifts

I could go on but you get the idea.

There are things I’ve done that I do truly regret, like not breastfeeding my first three kids very much, and not taking good care of myself when I was pregnant with #4, which I think contributed to a post-partum hemorrhage. I regret that I’ve spanked some of my kids. I wish I yelled less. I wish I spent more one-on-one time with each child, because it seems to make each child so happy.

But the reality is that I’m a human being who has made mistakes — and so are they. That concept has been revolutionary for my parenting: Each one is a human being, deserving the same rights and respect as all other human beings.


Also, human beings make mistakes. I try to remember that when they spill (organic, grass-fed, $9/gal) milk all over the floor. They’re not intentionally driving me crazy any more than I’m intentionally driving them crazy. (They are, however, intentionally driving each other crazy.)

I ask myself questions: Am I treating them the way I would treat another human being? Am I being as kind as I would to a neighbor, a stranger asking for directions — or my best friend? If I can answer yes, I’m doing okay.

In reality, I’m a human being parenting five other human beings. And my gyno promised me when she saw my v*gina that she didn’t care.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (posts will be live and updated no later than afternoon on June 11):

  • My little gastronomes — “I’ll never cook a separate meal for my children,” Maud at Awfully Chipper vowed before she had children; but things didn’t turn out quite as she’d imagined.
  • Know Better, Do Better. Except When I Don’t. — Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy was able to settle in her parenting choices before her children arrived, but that doesn’t mean she always lives up to them.
  • Judgments Made Before Motherhood — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks back on her views of parents she came in contact with before she became a mother and how much her worldview of parenting has changed!
  • A Bend in The Road — Lyndsay at ourfeministplayschool writes about how her visions of homeschooling her son during the elementary school years have changed drastically in the last year – because HE wants to go to school.
  • I Wish Children Came with Instruction Manuals — While Dionna at Code Name: Mama loves reading about parenting, she’s not found any one book that counts as an instruction manual. Every child is different, every family is different, every dynamic is different. No single parenting method or style is the be-all end-all. Still, wouldn’t it be nice if parenting were like troubleshooting?
  • The Mistakes I’ve Made — Kate at Here Now Brown Cow laments the choices she made with her first child and explains how ditching her preconceived ideas on parenting is helping her to grow a happy family.
  • I Only Expected to Love… — Kellie at Our Mindful Life went into parenting expecting to not have all the answers. It turns out, she was right!
  • They See Me Wearin’, They Hatin’ — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different contemplates putting her babywearing aspirations into practice, and discussed how she deals with “babywearing haters.”
  • Parenting Human BeingsErika Gebhardt lists her parenting “mistakes,” and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting.
  • Doing it right: what I knew before I had kids… — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud, guest posting at Natural Parents Network realises that the number one game in town, when it comes to parenting, is judgement about doing it right. But “doing it right” looks different to everybody.
  • A synopsis of our reality as first time parents — Amanda at My Life in a Nut Shell summarizes the struggles she went through to get pregnant, and how her daughter’s high needs paved the way for her and her husband to become natural parents.
  • Theory to Reality? — Jorje compares her original pre-kid ideas (some from her own childhood) to her personal parenting realities on MommaJorje.com.
  • The Princess Paradigm — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen had planned to raise her daughter in a sparkly, princess-free home, but in turn has found herself embracing the glitz.
  • Healthy Eating With Kids: Ideal vs. Real — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs had definite ideas about what healthy eating was going to look like in her family before she had kids. Little did she realize that her kids would have something to say about it.
  • How to deal with unwanted parenting advice — Tat at Mum in Search thought that dealing with unwanted parenting advice would be a breeze. It turned out to be one of her biggest challenges as a new mum.
  • How I trained my 43 month old in 89 days! — Becky at Old New Legacy used to mock sticker charts, until they became her best friend in the process of potty training.
  • My Double Life: Scheduling with Twins — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot was banging her head against the wall trying to keep up with the plan she made during pregnancy, until she let her babies lead the way.
  • Parenting in the land of compromise — As a holistic health geek trying to take care of her health issues naturally, Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama regrets that her needs sometimes get in the way of her children’s needs.
  • Practice Makes Good, Not Perfect — Rachael at The Variegated Life comes to see that through practice, she just might already be the parent she wants to be.
  • 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering: How to Free Yourself and Your Family — Sheila Pai at A Living Family shares in theory (blog) and reality (video) how she frees herself from 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering that can damage the connection, peace and love she seeks to nurture in her relationships with family and others.
  • 5 Things I Thought MY Children Would Never Do — Luschka at Diary of a First Child largely laughs at herself and her previous misconceptions about things her children would or wouldn’t do, or be allowed to do.
  • Policing politeness — Lauren at Hobo Mama rethinks a conviction she had about modeling vs. teaching her children about courtesy.
  • The Before and The After: Learning about Parenting — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work reminisces about the perspective she held as a young adult working with children (and parents) . . . before she became a mother.
  • Parenting Beliefs: Becoming the Parent You Want to Be — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how we can make a mindful decision to become the parent we want to be. Decisions we make affect who we will become.
  • The Great Breastfeeding Debacle — In Lisa at The Squishable Baby’s mind, breastfeeding would be easy.
  • What my daughter taught me about being a parentMrs Green asks, “Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?”
  • Sensory Box Fail! — Megan at The Boho Mama discovers that thoughtful sensory activities can sometimes lead to pasta in your bra and beans up your nose.
  • Montessori and My Children – Theory vs. Reality — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her experiences with Montessori parenting and describes the results she sees in her now-adult children.
  • I Like The Mother I Am Now More Than The Mother I Intended To Be — Darcel at The Mahogany Way thought she would just give her kids the look and they would immediately fall in line.


Book Review: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff #bookreview #howilivenow #megrosoff

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff 4 stars

Say there’s an anorexic American teenager who goes to visit her aunt in England and falls in love with her cousin who happens to have a form of ESP — just as world war breaks out.

You might think, what a weird premise for a book. But that’s How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff.


Daisy, who has been cast off by her father and stepmother, goes to England to meet her aunt. Daisy’s mother died at her birth, and she’s never met her British relatives. But her aunt travels often for work, leaving Daisy with her cousins and their strange customs and pets. She’s both intrigued and somewhat repulsed, having grown up in NYC and not in the countryside. But gradually she gets to know the empathetic, loving family, and just as she finds her place with them, war changes everything.

The dialect is pure self-absorbed teenager, even as Daisy faces starvation (not self-imposed) and separation during the war. That’s what makes the book amusing even as it Tackles Serious Issues (as Daisy would say/write). Yet Meg Rosoff also embraces a huge degree of anonymity. We know they’re in England and we know there’s a war. That’s ALL we know — although that may be a plot device (see: teenagers, self-absorbed). We don’t know the year or the time frame — there’s vague reference to internet and email so it must be current/future — and we don’t know much about Daisy’s family except what’s happening in the now. It works, as a device.

There’s enough detail and yet enough left to imagine that the pacing is fantastic — until the end, which felt incredibly rushed. Thank goodness this book isn’t 1 of 2, or a trilogy, because I’d hate to see it stretched out beyond the story. But the ending is abrupt and doesn’t do much for the storyline.

Highly recommend on basis of creativity and storyline (and editing) alone.

Also, it’s going to be released as a movie in the fall!



I look forward to seeing it.

The Evolution of Erika and Update on Stronger Than Memory #evolution

When I started blogging, I wrote about being an apprentice to a licensed midwife. Then I wrote about being “just” a stay-at-home mom of four. Then I was a sahm unexpectedly pregnant with #5. Then I was a stay-at-home-mom of five, including one with severe ADHD, who cooked a lot. Then I moved away from my friends and was lonely and homeschooling my kids. Then I wrote a novel during NaNoWriMo last year and planned to edit and publish it.

Now I’m taking community college classes and planning to get my Associate’s Degree in Nursing and work part time as a RN.


I have a lot of things in the air

For the last six months or so, I’ve intended to use this blog as a platform to promote myself as a writer. Yet it would be disingenuous to continue saying I’m going to self-publish this year, because I don’t think I’m going to follow that path. I would like to publish Stronger Than Memory someday, but right now I don’t have the time, money or INCLINATION to get it ready to publish. It’s still in draft form, and while it’s on draft #5436345, it’s not the final draft, or even close. The time and money thing isn’t as much of an issue; the lack of inclination is.

I want to become a nurse because there are people who need medical help, and I want to be someone who can help them. Between the education required for that and my family, I don’t have much free time. I haven’t even read this month’s book club selection and we meet on Wednesday evening!

But I did get a 94 on my most recent math quiz.

On campus in May

On campus in May

So I’m going to change my description on this blog and I’m going to take down my Goodreads profile that lists me as a Goodreads author. I’m going to pat myself on the back for being creative and ambitious and hope that someday I get the time, money and INCLINATION to continue editing Stronger Than Memory until it’s ready to be published.

And then I’m going to go back to refreshing my college course offerings website until I find an open seat in Anatomy and Physiology for the fall.


Glaucoma #glaucoma

I went to the eye doctor recently. It’s been a few years, but my Rx has been stable for years and I wear glasses, which is less stressful on eyes. Also, I always wear sunglasses. I thought I was in good eye health.

I always wear Rx sunglasses

Because I live in an area with a lot of (golf courses and) retired people, my exam was thorough enough to detect all the eye issues that older people get. It was THOROUGH. I’ve worn glasses since I was 12; I’ve had a lot of eye exams.

And the eye doctor found glaucoma on my left eye.

My Oma has macular degeneration and is legally blind, so I knew eye problems were a thing but I was still disappointed/freaked to get the news.


The doctor said it could be years before the glaucoma affects my vision, at which point I’ll have surgical options.

My Chemical Romance suggested medical marijuana. Thanks. Hilarious.

The doc also cautioned against LASIK, which I’ve always wanted, because when I do need surgery for glaucoma, it will negate the effects of the LASIK.

I was not happy to hear that.


I’m going to get a second opinion.

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