Tails from a mother of five in photos, videos, humor and short stories...welcome to our zoo!

May 21, 2015

This Week At the Zoo

It's time to update this blog once again. Little Bear is taking a nap and the rest of the kids are at school. I'm sitting in my favorite spot on the comfy brown chair, with my soft brown blanket on my lap and Fox News on the television in front of me.  This is my happy spot. The place where I go to think about my day, relax, drink my coffee in the morning and drink my glass of wine in the evening.  This week has been unseasonably cool here in Chicago, so my blanket keeps my lap warm.

A lot has happened this week. Momma Robin's babies hatched on Tuesday,  we got an official closing date and time for the new house, the kids and I went to my hometown of Stoughton to celebrate Syttende Mai, Kitty lost her Kindle then found it then lost it again and then found it, we are impatiently waiting on the insurance company for Monkey's new prescription, I started working for a big brand on a social media campaign, and Goose has been busy working - and she's lovin' it.



On Tuesday morning after I took the kids to school, Bear and I witnessed something beautiful.  We were walking to the front door and Daddy and Momma Robin were perched on their nest. Daddy handed Momma a worm and she passed it into a tiny beak.  We saw God's beautiful creation in action and it was amazing. I wish I had my camera.  I've tried to capture the baby chicks, but all I could get are these photos.

Momma appears poofy because she has babies underneath her. I think she's keeping them warm. When I approach the door and she is in her nest I talk to her and tell her that she is a good Momma. She's getting braver around the kids too and doesn't fly away every time they get close to her nest. Here's some more photos.








Chris is down in Tennessee this week but he's kept me updated through text messages on the progress of our new home we recently purchased.  All the paperwork for the mortgage has been signed and approved, the current owners fixed everything that was recommended by the inspection and we officially have a date and time for closing.  We close on June 5, 2015. I am super excited! I can finally have a garden again, my kids will have a nice basement to play in and we will be within walking distance of their school.  The process has gone so smooth.

Syttende Mai was a lot of fun. Chris drove the kids and I up to Stoughton to visit my parents and go downtown for the festivities. Goose went to some kind of cartoon convention in Rosemont so she didn't go with us to Stoughton. She dressed up as a character from one of her favorite anime shows and hung out with her best friend who did the same thing. I am not nerdy enough to understand these conventions.  All I know is that she had a great time.

The kids behaved in Stoughton for the most part and we ended the weekend with a parade. Here are a few photos of the parade.




















The day after we got back from Stoughton I unpacked the suitcase and my bag and put everything away. All the clothes were washed, folded and placed in the dressers or closets.  I took all the toys and little things they got from the parade out of my bag and placed them in a safe spot.  When evening arrived Kitty asked me if I'd seen her kindle.  I couldn't remember where it was. I asked her if she had it at Grandma and Grandpa's and she said she didn't. Then I remember I had placed it on their counter and it never moved.  Oh, no! Did I leave her kindle at my parents house?

I called my mom, left her a message and frantically searched the house.  When I finally talked to my mom on the phone she said that they did not have the kindle. We said a few prayers and I got a feeling that I needed to search the cupboard that I just organized the day before.  There it was. That was Tuesday.

Then yesterday the kids piled in the van so I could take Goose to work. Kitty decided to take her kindle along. We were not home for very long until we needed to leave again for choir practice at church,  Kitty wanted to take her kindle to church but she couldn't find it. She swore that she left it on the floor of the van. When we got home from choir practice I searched the van but couldn't find it. It was dark and I couldn't see much.  I drilled each of her brothers to find out if they had seen the gadget. Parrot said he saw it on Kitty's lap when we went to take Goose to work. Finally we all went to bed and I was hopeful we would find it in daylight.

This morning before I took the kids to school I searched the van once more. Within minutes I found the kindle underneath the passenger's seat.  I'm glad that ordeal is over!

Monkey's  psychiatrist took him off of Ritalin and prescribed Adderall.  He was hyper and aggressive in school even on the Ritalin so the switch made sense.  When I finally got the written prescription from the Pioneer Center on Tuesday I took it over to the pharmacy right away.  Little Bear came with and I promised him I would get him a little something if he was good.  The pharmacy stated that it would be about a half an hour to fill the medication. So, we walked around the store. Bear found a Hot Wheels car that he wanted and I placed it in the shopping cart. Then, I got called back to the pharmacy. I thought that his prescription was ready, but got disappointed when I found out why they called me back.  Because Monkey doesn't turn 6 until July, the insurance company is requiring authorization from his doctor before they can fill the Adderall. What!! So we left with just a Hot Wheels car and un-medicated Monkey has been hyper and aggressive at home and at school ever since.  He's driving me nuts! We are still waiting on the prescription. And we need him to be on it for at least a week so we can monitor his behavior in school while on the Adderall. That way we will know if it is working or if we need to put him on a higher dose or try a different medication.  The kids have less than three weeks left of school. I am screaming inside!!

I got hired to help with a big social media campaign but am not meeting my click through goals.  I am supposed to get a total of 465 clicks on my special link before the campaign ends on June 4. I need 40+ clicks every single day in order to reach the goal.  I have done several other social media campaigns in the past and reached or surpassed the click goal, but for some reason no matter what I do I can not get enough. This is leaving me frustrated, irritated and extremely stressed. I have several ideas to try to get the clicks, but they take time, lots, and lots of time to implement. Time that would take me away from my family, housework, and sleep.  But, I need the money. I get paid per click and we can really use the money. We just bought a house, and Monkey needs to be in a sport, but right now we can't afford sports.  I am losing my mind and sleep over this.  I think I just need to work harder.

Meanwhile, Goose is working and she loves her new job.  Too bad I can't get a normal job.  All I have are my websites, an unfinished book, and the occasional freelance jobs.  I guess family is more important than money.







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May 19, 2015

#WordlessWednesday with #linky on a Tuesday - Uff Da!!

Wordless Wednesday is live on thehealthymoms.net and talbertzoo.com. Link up to your Wordless Wednesday post.

This past weekend we went to my home town of Stoughton, WI to celebrate Syttende Mai, which is the Norwegian Independence Day. We saw a big parade on Sunday but before the parade, Parrot, Monkey and Kitty posed with a friendly troll for a photo.  Does your town have an annual festival to celebrate their heritage?


















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Glimmer of Hope

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  • Add your Wordless Wednesday Link
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  • Visit the other blogs linking up.




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May 13, 2015

A Not So Spring at the Zoo

May isn't even half over yet and already it's been a crazy month at the Talbert Zoo. We have birds living on our house and more birds in a bush less than ten feet from the house.  The weather in Chicago is not very spring like yet, with high temperatures barely reaching above 60 degrees.  We recently learned that Monkey's medication is only making him behave worse in school. Goose's new job has changed our regular routine, but for the better.



Momma Robin
Momma Robin has been sitting on her nest for hours on end. If Chris, or I enter or leave the house she will stay there. However, when she sees the kids then she flies over to a neighboring tree until they are out of sight. I think she trusts adults but isn't so certain about children.  Children are loud and unpredictable. If I was a bird I think I would fly away if I saw three noisy boys and an excitable little girl too.

I learned that it takes 12-14 days for robin eggs to hatch. My birthday was on Monday and I was hoping that the babies would be born then, but no such luck.  She is still sitting on her nest as I type this.

Momma Robin has a neighbor living in the bush in front of our house.  We call her Momma Mourning Dove. I've seen her fly in and out of the bush several times, but her nest is so hidden we aren't able to see it. Sometimes Momma Mourning Dove will hang out on the ground near the bush. If she sees us she'll fly to the roof. She is a very protective Momma. Once Goose and I were entering the house and she fluffed her feathers at us as if to say, "Stay away, you are too close to my nest."

With the birds comes my favorite season of the year, spring.  Spring begins with my favorite holiday, Easter. It is a time for everything to start new. The trees bud, flowers bloom, the kids get anxious about school ending for the year and the weather is supposed to get warmer.  But here in the Midwest the weather is hard to predict.



Yesterday we woke to temperatures in the 30's.  Today it wasn't much better. By Friday we are supposed to have normal temperatures close to 70 degrees, but there is a catch.  It's going to rain.  This cold, icky weather is putting a damper on my morning runs.  I usually wake before 6 am so I can go for a 2 mile run. I skipped it altogether yesterday and this morning I jumped on the elliptical instead. Maybe by June it will be warm enough to go for a run wearing shorts.  Right now I am sitting here with jeans, a sweatshirt and a blanket on my lap. So much for spring this year.


My little Monkey has been on Ritalin for ADHD since March. I noticed an improvement in his behavior at home, but at school he's been terrible.  This afternoon he has an appointment with the psychiatrist so his teacher typed up a report outlining his behavior at school.

In her report his teacher states, "Over the course of the year, CJ has made great academic progress and is performing with his grade-level peers and is achieving kindergarten expectations. Currently, CJ does not have any academic concerns. The most challenging area for CJ is his classroom functioning and behaviors. Typically, CJ is often out of control and all over the place, such as running in circles around the classroom, jumping off of his chair, shouting, wrestling his peers during a lesson, getting physical with others, etc….. CJ can go from 0 to 60 in seconds and it’s getting harder to redirect and focus his attention. Earlier in the year, CJ seemed to be calmed and more focused, and within the last couple of months CJ’s behavior has become less manageable and more out of control. CJ often needs a stern redirection and even then CJ appears to not hear the teachers’ directions as he is constantly moving and doing or getting into something. "

She also explained that he is very competitive and if he doesn't finish his assignment first or win in a game he throws a tantrum. I noticed this behavior at soccer too. Hopefully, the psychiatrist can help. I am at a loss.  I don't know if this type of behavior is related to ADHD or if there is something else going on.


Goose's graduation is only seventeen days away. I can't believe that I am old enough to have a child graduate high-school.  She also got a new job at McDonald's - her first job. Again I am a proud Momma.  Due to her autism, Goose can not handle driving and did not show an interest in getting her license.  She wouldn't be able to handle driving anyway and I don't want to endanger her safety. So Chris and I are her transportation to and from work. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make because I love my little girl and want her to have a job.

Chris is at his company's annual conference in Phoenix this week. Whenever he is away for an extended time my anxiety causes health problems. This morning I woke up with a stomach ache and it quickly turned into diarrhea. I've only eaten a banana this morning and don't feel like eating much more. I need to try to relax and play it low key, but it's hard for me to do that. Maybe my anxiety came on after I watched the news coverage of the train accident in Philadelphia last night, or maybe it is from reading Monkey's report from his teacher, or the fact that Chris is away. It is more than likely all three.

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May 12, 2015

#WordlessWednesday with #linky on a Tuesday - The New Job

Wordless Wednesday is live on thehealthymoms.net and talbertzoo.com. Link up to your Wordless Wednesday post.

Goose started her new job last week. This is her very first job and Chris and I are very proud. 

I had my first job  when I was 14. I worked at a farm picking strawberries.  What was your first job?







If you are participating in Wordless Wednesday scroll down and leave your link. Thanks for visiting!





Visit these great blogs where Talbert Zoo links up each week.




Glimmer of Hope

Rules of this #BlogHop

  • Grab our new button on your blog so I know that you are linking up here.
  • Add your Wordless Wednesday Link
  • Leave me a comment so I can visit your blog.
  • Visit the other blogs linking up.







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May 7, 2015

Balancing Family and My Blogs



Ever since my fifth child was born back in 2010, it has been a struggle to find time for my blogs and my family.  I've wrote about this several times right here on the Talbert Zoo.  I wrote about how blogging has changed, I sorted my time and priorities, and as a mother of five kids, four with special needs and a husband who works 80+ hours a week, I have had my share of stress, stress and more stress.

I've been doing this blogging thing for nearly 8 years already. Wow, it's really been that long? You'd think I would have it all figured out by now. But, my page views  and revenue for my main blog has gone down considerably. I am not making nearly as much money with it as I did just a few years ago. I used to pay myself every Friday and it was great! Now I am lucky if I get paid once a month. 

I come up with these brilliant ideas, but have difficulty finding the time to execute them. If I don't have time, then I think about hiring somebody to do it for me, but I don't have the money to pay that person. So, there goes that.  

Then last fall I decided I needed to write a book. Remember that idea?  If I write a book and self publish it on Amazon, then I can finally make a decent second income to support my family. That was my idea for my new project

For the first few months everything was going great. I went to the library every Saturday to work on my book. There I had zero distractions and all the resources I needed. I was able to go to the library 3-4 times a month from October until mid December. Then Christmas arrived so I took a break. I went a couple of times in January, a couple of times in February and once in March. I haven't been back to work on my book since. And that time in March, I didn't work on my book, I had to write a very important article on The Healthy Moms Magazine that required a lot of research for a hot button issue.  You can read my lengthy article HERE.

I think I have about 35% of my book typed out. But I need to finish it, hire someone to edit it and format it for Kindle and then publish it. At the rate I am going I may not ever finish my book. I need a new strategy in order to make a decent income again. 

Recently, I read a book about SEO in 2015.  The guy that wrote it is an expert on the topic and has helped several companies reach number one in Google for their keywords. He's brilliant and I trust what he wrote. I learned so much from reading this book and know that in order for me to get my page views back I must execute as much of his tips as possible. 

But how in the heck am I going to do this? I could stop sleeping, but then I won't be living what I preach. Adults should get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I remember years ago when I was sleep deprived and looking for answers, I do not want to go back to that again! 

I can easily work 10 hours a day on just that one website (Healthy Moms Magazine), but how am I going to come up with 10 hours when I have a family to take care of and a home to keep up as well? I know that successful small business owners work 12-16 hour days and I wish I could do that! But, then I would need a nanny for my kids, and I don't have the money for that right now.  

I'm tired. I'm frustrated.  There is so many things I want to do but I can't. I want to start a new link building strategy and write more articles for other websites and blogs. I want to finish my book and get it published. I want to feature more bloggers on the Healthy Moms Magazine so I can build good quality links that will produce traffic as well as help with SEO. I want to spend more time on social media so I can increase my followers.  I want to e mail bloggers to invite them to join Healthy Moms Social, so I can watch it grow and thrive.  I want to visit 20-50 blogs every single day and leave meaningful comments. I want to organise my blog calendar so my posts are planned ahead of time. I want to contact potential advertisers so I can make more money with sponsored content.  But how am I going to find the time for all of that? 
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