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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Meet Mama Minx



I have been blogging for over seven years now and I didn't think that one of my best friends would start blogging too.  But she has and I am so thrilled for her and excited to introduce my readers to Lisa, aka Mama Minx.

Lisa and I have been best friends since middle school. We both grew up in the same small town just outside of Madison, Wisconsin.  Now it is time for me to embarrass her. Sorry, Lisa but I must share this photo.

I searched my old photo albums and found this one from Homecoming circa 1993.  I am in the black dress and Lisa is wearing the floral print dress. I decided to hide the identities of our dates.


I could fill a whole blog post reminiscing about the past, but instead I will share a little about who Lisa is today.

Lisa and I have a lot in common, a lot more than we did way back in the nineties when we were just kids.  Both of us had our first child when we were still teenagers and are mothers in a large family. I have five kids, three boys and two girls and she has six boys, zero girls.

I am amazed at how strong she is and her ability to raise a home full of handsome and well behaved boys.  She is often asked how she does it. Which is funny because I am often asked the same question even though my situation is a little different than hers.

The most difficult things for me is being a parent of five children, four with special needs, and a husband who travels for work every week. I don't have a lot of help raising my kids.  I have to be able to handle Aspergian meltdowns, prevent a hyper and impulsive little boy from harming himself or others, encourage an anxiety ridden, depressive eight year old girl to have a positive attitude to prevent herself from hurting herself or pulling her hair out, and help a disorganized Aspergian teenage girl learn how to become more indipendent in preparation for what ever lies ahead for her after high-school.  My hands are full.

Lisa has just as much on her plate as I do.  Her boys have different fathers so she is managing co-parenting. This is something that I do not know anything about, nor would I know how to handle if it were thrown at me.

Her oldest son is 18 and her youngest isn't even two yet.  She is parenting nearly every stage of childhood today.  I have a teenager and then a big 8 year gap between her and child number 2.

Lisa also owns a massage therapy business in our hometown where we grew up.  If you are ever in Stoughton, Wisconsin go and visit her at Relax Massage. If you don't live in Stoughton or aren't up that way you can also visit Lisa on her personal blog, Mama Minx.  Leave her a comment and tell her that Cascia from the Talbert Zoo sent you.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

#WordlessWednesday with #linky on a Tuesday - Snuggle Time

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

Here in Chicago this week the temperatures have been very frigid. Our highs are in the teens. This is the beginning of my hibernating season.  My favorite thing about the cold months is that I get plenty of snuggle time with my little ones.






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  • 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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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Let it Go

Just like Elsa did in Frozen, I need to let it go too. But for me, the it is my anxieties and high expectations of myself.  It is time for me to "Let it go."

Elsa stopped hiding and stopped trying to be who she really wasn't. Ever since I was little I wanted to be who I wasn't. I was too hard on myself and thought I could do more than I could really handle. When I didn't reach a goal, I felt defeated and humiliated. I set my goals too high and I still do.

I have surrounded my life with lists, expectations and to-do's.  Each time I don't complete my list, I think I am the worst person ever.  Chris said that I have always been too hard on myself and try to do more than I am actually capable of.  He is right. Starting today I am going to let it go.

"The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I'm the queen.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I tried!
Don't let them in, don't let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know
Well, now they know!
Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door!"

It is time that I stop pretending to be the superwoman that I am not.  I am letting go of the lists, letting go of my anxiety and worries.  The dishes can wait, the laundry doesn't have to get done right away, it doesn't matter if there are scuffs on my wall or toys on the floor.  Who is going to notice if I took a shower or not, today? That will be my little secret.




It is time that I pay attention to what is really important, like spending time drawing pictures with my kids.



And watching them play, sing and dance to music.


I need to laugh more when this little guy is being silly.


Starting today I will praise my kids more and yell less. I will be more generous with my hugs and kisses.




When they misbehave, I will tell myself that it is okay to have that glass of wine at 7:30 in the morning.



I am tearing up my lists and tearing up my schedules. I can not accomplish everything. I will not accomplish everything. What doesn't get done can wait until tomorrow.  No longer will I get upset if I don't meet the expectations I set for myself.  Starting today I will "Let it go."



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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

#WordlessWednesday with #linky on a Tuesday - A not so Wordless Wednesday

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

I am finding less and less time to update this blog and well, do things that I enjoy. I know I have ranted about my lack of time since we've moved to Chicago and the rant continues.  I pray and hope every single day that soon I will have time for the things that I enjoy.  I need to try to accept the way my life is in the here and the now which has been very difficult for me.  I am still dreaming.

Here is what the Talbert Zoo has been up to this past week.



We have been resting a lot more than usual due to illness. Monkey had an ear infection and pink eye. Then Kitty came down with an ear infection. Little Bear got sick one evening and threw up. Chris and I have had a cold for a week now. The only ones who were blessed with good health this past week were Goose and Parrot.

There's been a lot of celebrating this week for our favorite football team.



Here in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago there is a mixture of Bears fans and Packer's fans.  If your home state is Wisconsin (like myself) but had to move here for work, you will still be loyal to the Green Bay Packers. But,  the native Chicagoans love their Bears no matter how terrible they play. This year the Bears do not have a very good team.  On Sunday night we stayed up late to watch the Packers soar to victory over the Bears with the final score of 55 to 14.

During the game Chris and Monkey had a little cuddle time.


Chris protested before I snapped this photo, but I took it anyway!

Bear keeps on playing with the camera on my phone and I can't seem to get the settings to function properly. My photos are a lot blurrier than they used to be. I don't have time to dig out my real camera and upload photos from it, so my phone will have to do.

I've been spending the my days cleaning the house in preparation for my in-law's arrival from California for Thanksgiving. I enjoy turning a messy bedroom into something spectacular and beautiful like this one.


I won't let you see the horror of the before photo.

My weekends are spent at the library working on my book. I've learned that my writing is much better without the distractions of the kids. However, if I am going to meet the deadline that I set for myself I am going to have to set aside time at home to work on it too. I'll probably stay up late a few nights.

I am super excited about writing my first book. This book is not going to be available in print. Instead it is only going to be offered on Kindle.  Even though it is just a Kindle e-book, I am hopeful that I will sell enough copies in order to pay for Kitty's guitar lessons.  Currently, I am dipping into the money that I inherited from my grandmother in order to pay for the lessons. That money is vanishing quickly so I need to get on the ball and complete my project.

What has your family been up to this week?



Rules of this #BlogHop

  • Place my 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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Thursday, November 6, 2014

We Love Our Library

When we moved to Crystal Lake (Chicago) I knew that Bear was going to get bored quickly once his siblings all started school. This is the first year that I have Monkey in school full time and am home with just my youngest.  I knew he would need to develop better social skills and interact with kids his age. We can't afford to put him into a preschool, so the next best thing is our local library.

The Crystal Lake Public Library is one of the top rated libraries in the country. I am honored to have such a wonderful establishment in our community.

On November 15, 1913 the Crystal Lake Public Library opened it's doors to the community. Over the years the library grew from just having fiction books in a small room in a house to the beautiful two story building near downtown that we love today.

"In 1999 the Crystal Lake Public Library was ranked #10 among public libraries. The September issue of American Libraries included the article "Great American Public Libraries: HAPLR Ratings, Round Two," by Thomas J. Hennen, Jr. The Crystal Lake Public Library was ranked #10 among public libraries serving communities of 25,000-49,999 across the United States. The HAPLR Index includes 15 factors. The focus is on circulation, staffing, materials, reference service and funding levels." (crystallakelibrary.org)


The Crystal Lake Public Library offers many activities for families including story time for kids ages birth to 5 years and reading to the dog every Saturday for elementary age kids.  I haven't taken the older kids to "Reading to the Dog," yet, but Little Bear is enjoying preschool story time.

Each Wednesday we head out the library. He joins a small group of 3 and 4 year-olds in a small room on the lower level of the library. The woman who runs preschool story time, Bear calls her his teacher, is a retired preschool teacher. The kids listen to her read and play fun learning games for about a half an hour.

Bear is a little shy and this past Wednesday he chose not to participate. Instead he wanted me to stay with him so he could sit on my lap and watch and listen to what was going on.  The sessions are three weeks long with a week off in between. Your child must have a library card and be registered in order to attend.

We love our library.  I go there each weekend to get away from the kids and work on my book. I've checked out several sources which will help me quite a bit. Now I just need to make time to take notes on them so I can get some new sources this weekend.

Do you go to your local library? What makes your library special and unique?
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

#WordlessWednesday with #linky on a Tuesday - Halloween

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





If you read my Very Scary Halloween Story from yesterday, then you will know that I didn't get any photos of my kids together in their costumes this year. It was a very disappointing Halloween. But, I did capture this photo of Monkey sitting at the dining room table after trick or' treating was over. It is a little blurry, but that is the only photo I took on Halloween of one of the kids still in costume (minus his mask).

Rules of this #BlogHop

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Monday, November 3, 2014

A Very Scary Halloween Story

Once upon a time there was a tired and cranky mother of five energetic children.  Halloween had arrived and the youngsters were excited about seeing their Jack o' Lanterns all lit up, attending the Halloween party at school, and of course trick or' treating.



The young family had recently moved from a far away state. Their new neighborhood was friendly, but  many areas in the new town were unfamiliar.  Mom and Dad warned their children about going trick or treating outside of the neighborhood. "It just isn't safe to be out too far away from home," the mother stated.

After school on the day of Halloween the five kids were anxious and eager to get outside and knock on neighbor's doors.  The eight-year-old girl was dressed up like Rainbow Dash, her favorite cartoon pony, the seven-year-old boy adorned his ferocious shark costume, the hyper little five-year-old dressed up like a Power Ranger and the shy little three-year-old wore a warm and snugly carrot costume. 



Mom didn't know when Dad was going to be home so she and her teenage daughter agreed that each of them would take two younger kids with them trick or treating.  The teenager agreed to Mom's rules to stay in the neighborhood.

"Don't forget your jackets," Mom stated as the three older children headed out the door.  The temperature was 35 degrees with a very strong wind that day. They raced outside in the cold leaving the 8-year-old's jacket inside.

Mom bundled up the two younger boys and 10 minutes later they were ringing neighbor's door bells. "There's Dad!" the hyper little five-year-old announced pointing to the red car pulling into their driveway.  



"I guess we can go home now and go trick-or-treating with Dad," Mom said. The three of them headed home.  A few minutes later Mom got a text message from the teenage daughter which said that they  they were trick or treating outside the neighborhood. Dad and Mom agreed that it was time to head back out to trick or treat and look for the three missing children.

Dad, Mom, and the two younger children were nearly a mile from home, when Mom got the call. "Kitty forgot her jacket and she is freezing. Parrot is complaining that he is cold too," The girl on the other line stated. 

"Where are you?" Mom replied. 

"I don't know. Deer Path Ct, I think."

"I'll go and get the kids," Dad said. And he rushed off using his GPS to find their exact location.

Later that night the angry parents learned that their oldest daughter got into a car with her two siblings and they were dropped off in a neighborhood that was over two miles away from their home. She endangered the little ones, because they got into a vehicle driven by someone who was a stranger to Mom and Dad, they did not have their car seats, and they were over 2 miles away from home in freezing temperatures.  

The kids were too excited about trick or' treating to let their mother take their picture while still in their costumes. The oldest child broke the rules and ended up grounded for the rest of the weekend.  This was a very scary Halloween indeed.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#WordlessWednesday with #linky on a Tuesday - A Day at Two Parks

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























The school district had parent teacher conferences on Thursday and Friday so the kids had those days off of school.  We had a lot of fun enjoying the time off and beautiful weather.  On Thursday I took the four younger ones to two different parks near us.  I felt the need to get them out of the house to ease my anxiety. Sometimes I come up with great ideas. What did you do over the weekend?



Rules of this #BlogHop

  • Place my 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.
Wordless Wednesday




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