About our blogger: rawisner

My name is Rachel, but more importantly I am mom to Sarah, James & Daniel and step-mom to William & Clayton. Lots of times they make me want to bang my head on my desk or run away from home, but most of the time they keep me smiling and certainly make my life interesting. Neely is my other half, my soul mate, the love of my life. He's a musician, audio engineer and all around good guy. He smokes, so he's not perfect, but I'm working on him. On my blog I post things about our blended family, lots and lots of pictures and a recipe from time to time. I hope you enjoy getting to know us!

Visit Rachel @ http://www.rachellikestoramble.com

Posts by rawisner:

January 19th, 2011

Daniel makes me laugh.

Out loud and often.  He says the funniest stuff.  Mostly because he’s hearing his brothers say things and he doesn’t fully understand what they mean, but he’ll repeat them anyway.  Yesterday our conversation went like this:

Me: What in the world are you screaming about?
Him: Well, Clayton and me built a town and I wanted to be mayor and he said I didn’t do enough to build the town and I did;  I made the train tracks and I built the flinger thinger to fling bad guys out of the town.
Me: Giggling
Him: Mom, I’m being serious.
Me: I know you are, but you’re also being cute.
Him: Mom, I’m being serious serious, not serious funny.  OK, Clayton also said I couldn’t vote for myself.
Me: Well, I think you’re cute and you can vote for yourself.  People do it all the time in elections.
Him: See, Clayton, I told you so!  I’m voting for myself and I’m the mayor of this town.

I don’t know where he comes up with some of this stuff.  And “flinger thinger” is definitely a new term for me, but I’m gonna use it again.


January 5th, 2011

No, I don’t have the flu

I’m just pregnant.  Uh huh, I’m not kidding.  I’m a pregnant grandmother.  Our new baby is due August 5, 2011.

Neely has been pretty hesitant about me sharing this news because of our last loss, but anyone he’s trying to keep it from does not read my blog.  Or at least I hope not.  I am very excited!  I was very nervous for a while, but 2 days before Christmas we had an ultrasound and got to see our tiny baby’s little heart beating away at 168 beats per minute.  I’ll turn 39 two months before this baby is born and I’m totally OK with that.  We are going to get some prenatal testing, but only so we know what we’re up against, if anything.  I am really not that worried about it, to be honest.

Morning sickness has hit me hard this time around.  While I haven’t thrown up (yet), I have been pretty sick most evenings, starting at just around dinner time.  It’s made fixing dinner really hard. It also prompted Will to ask if I was coming down with the flu.  We have not told the younger boys about the pregnancy yet.  Neely wants to tell them at the end of the month when I hit the second trimester.  Sarah and James both know and Sarah was ecstatic for me and James seemed pretty indifferent.  He’s a man, after all.  *insert eye roll here*

I anticipate that I’ll probably end up with a late July baby as opposed to August, but I would really like to hold off till August.  See, my parents have 7 grandchildren if you include Will & Clayton (and they do!).  Sarah and Lauren (Philip’s youngest) were both born in November.  James & Alison (Philip’s oldest) were both born in July.  Will & Clayton have birthday’s in March.  And Daniel is all by himself in August.  I’d love for him to share his birth month with a sibling or cousin and since my brother and sister-in-law are not planning on having any (more) children, I guess it’s up to me!

I am looking forward to blogging more and sharing this journey with you!  Stay tuned for more updates!

January 3rd, 2011

Trying this again

Last year I started a 365 Photo blog on January 1st.  I made it to March before I stopped posting everyday.  It was around th time of my miscarriage that I gave it up.  I just didn’t have the energy for photography at that point.  But this year, I really want to keep it going no matter what.  I’m committed to taking and posting at least 1 photo per day, every day this year.

Happy New Year!  Follow along on my Project 365 here.

December 23rd, 2010

My perspective: Gabby’s Birth Story – Alternatively titled: My Daughter is Amazing

If you follow me on Twitter you probably know lots of this already, but read on anyway.

Sarah had her last prenatal appointment on Tuesday, December 14th.  December 14th is her original due date, but an early ultrasound pushed her back to December 22nd.  Sarah was close to 5cm dilated on Tuesday and 100% effaced. Dr. Yeshnik had previously discussed with Sarah that he was going to be going away starting on Thursday and would not be back till the following Monday.  He said that since she had dilated so far on her own with virtually no contractions, he could schedule her for an induction on December 15th or she could take her chances and possibly end up having an on-call doctor deliver her.  Since she had never met any of the other doctors, she chose the induction.  I know there is a lot of controversy about scheduled inductions and I’m not going to debate it; I’m just telling Sarah’s story.

Sarah arrived at the hospital at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 15th.  By 8, she was comfortably situated in her room and waiting for Dr. Y to make his appearance.  The house doctor checked her at 8:30 and there had been no change since the previous night.  They started the IV Pitocin about that time.  She had a few contractions after that, but nothing too painful yet.  At 9:30, Dr. Y came in and broke her water and told her that the anesthesiologist would be in to discuss the possibility of having an epidural, but he told her that it was iffy because of her platelet count.  It turns out that her platelets were at 89 and they won’t give an epidural to anyone under 90.  Sarah was only going to be allowed IV pain meds.  I felt horribly for her because I’ve had labors augmented by Pitocin and I know how bad contractions are with it.

By 10:15, the contractions were coming pretty steady but Sarah was managing the pain pretty well.  By 10:30, she had about had all she could take and asked for some Nubain for pain.  They were having some trouble picking up Gabby’s heartbeat on the external monitor so they had the house doctor come in to insert the internal monitor.   Read the rest of this entry »


December 15th, 2010

Why I don’t do Santa and other fictional characters.

That’s right.  I said it.  We don’t do Santa at our house – as in, no gifts under the tree “from” Santa, no milk and cookies left on a plate, no trip to the mall to sit on Santa’s knee, and no trying to explain how big fat Santa can fit down a chimney that we don’t even have.  We just don’t do Santa.

Now, that’s not to say that I go out of my way to explain to my 5 year old that Santa is not real.  I certainly don’t want him to go to school and tell his friends “my mom said Santa isn’t real” and have to explain that one.  We just don’t talk about Santa.  At all.  We talk about Christmas, for sure, and also what presents we’ll be getting and what presents the kids really want.  I enjoy Christmas and love seeing the how excited the kids get on Christmas morning when it’s time to open presents, but I just don’t think filling their heads with stories (lies) about how Santa flies all over the globe on Christmas Eve has any bearing on what Christmas is supposed to be about.
I’m sure part of my beef with Santa is that I didn’t grow up believing in him.  I remember being 3 years old and my grandfather calling my cousins on Christmas Even pretending to be him. Neither Philip nor I talked to him, and we knew all along that it was our grandfather.  Also, from as far back as I can remember, I was taught the real reason we celebrate Christmas, and I want to pass that on to my children.  I also never wanted my kids to wonder what else I was telling them that might not be true.  There have been years when Christmas was bleak, and there was just no money for the gifts that they really wanted.  I never want to see my kids disappointed that all-knowing, all-seeing, can make reindeer fly, super Santa didn’t come through for them when they had been just as good as the next kid whose parents were better off than we were.
Santa just does not work for our family.  If it works for you, then great.  Your kid, your family, not my business.

December 12th, 2010

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Well, not at my house since I’m such a slacker and don’t have a tree up yet. I probably will get it up next week. I do have lots of packages stored away that will need to be wrapped as soon as the tree is in place. I feel like I’m ahead of the game a bit this year, even with all that is going on in my life right now.

We go to Court next week with W & C’s mom, and hopefully we will finally have a resolution on the child support issue that we’ve only been trying to get resolved since April. It won’t be much money, but it certainly will be nice. We are also eagerly awaiting the arrival of Sarah’s baby, who is due in less than a week. We’ve had two false alarms already, and we are so ready to meet Miss Gabrielle. I, for one, am on the edge of my seat!

We met recently with the IEP (Individual Educational Plan) team for Will. We are really excited about some of the things that we are going to be working on to help him with his (lack of) organization. He somehow manages to lose everything at least once. It’s really bad. The latest loss is his entire gym uniform. Clayton is not immune from that sort of behavior either; we just last week had to replace Clayton’s lost winter coat.

Last Saturday night, Neely was asked to judge the instrumental aspect of Century High School’s talent contest, “Century’s Got Talent.” Read the rest of this entry »

December 11th, 2010

Day 6 of 30

Favorite super hero and why.

Hrm.  I’m going to have to go with Wonder Woman.  I always liked Wonder Woman as a kid.  I had a Wonder Woman doll (like a Barbie), and of course, what girl child of the 70′s didn’t have Wonder Woman Underroos!  I liked Wonder Woman because she was/is beautiful and always seemed to have it under control.  I wish I was like that in my life.  I don’t always have it under control, but I really strive for that.


November 25th, 2010

5 of 30

A picture of somewhere you’ve been to.

Well, I’ve been to lots of places, but the furtherest was to England in 2003, to visit my nieces. I don’t have the original pictures any more due to the “hard drive crash of 2009″, but some of them did manage to get saved on photobucket.

Big Ben

The Crooked Spire in Chesterfield

November 15th, 2010

I’m guilty.

I didn’t even know I was guilty until recently. You’re probably guilty too and don’t even know you’re doing anything wrong.

What am I guilty of? I’m glad you asked. I’m guilty of improperly using a car seat with a winter coat. And I’ve been doing it for years; how bad is that? Children are not safe in car seats while wearing their winter coats. They just aren’t. There are other ways to keep your kiddos warm and safe and my good friend Maddie showed me how and also why it’s not safe for your children to wear winter coats in their car seats. Maddie is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (as well as a great mommy!) and she posted these pictures on Facebook as a demonstration. Maddie has given me permission to share them with you. These are her pics, as well as her comments on them.

Maddie used her cute (then 4 year old) son for this demonstration.

Winter coats in car seats are NOT SAFE! Here are some tips to keep your child warm AND safe this winter.

This goes for passengers in boosters or seat belts as well. The coat will compress and leave the seat belt too loose. For infant seats, do not use bulky snow suits or a Bundle Me. Instead, use a “shower cap” style car seat cover that fits over their infant seat. (Something like this: http://amzn.to/9sJeH9 )

*PLEASE feel free to share this album! I made it public so people can repost it :)

I’ve been getting lots of messages so I thought I’d post this here- I am a certified CPST. (Child Passenger Safety Technician). I live in Minnesota where the winters are brutal, and my kids don’t freeze. :)

I put his winter coat on and buckled him in. I tightened it as far as I could. He looks safe, right? He’s not- click the next pic to see why!

I took the coat off and put him back in without loosening the straps at all. (If you doubt me, give it a try!) In a crash, that bulky winter coat will compress, leaving the harness much too loose to protect him. The huge force from his body will push the chest clip down, if not break it. You would never buckle your child in like this, right?

If he can easily do this, imagine what would happen in a crash.

His shoulders easily slip out. He has no upper body protection, and nothing to hold him in his seat.

To keep your child safe, first put them in their car seat with no coat on and adjust the straps properly. (harness snug and not twisted, chest clip at armpit level, straps at or above shoulders for forward facing/straps at or below shoulders for rear facing).

Make sure you can’t pinch the straps at their collar bone. If it passes the “pinch test”, it’s tight enough. (don’t make it so tight they can’t breath, just nice and snug)

Safe Option 1 – Fleece!
I didn’t have to loosen his straps at all, and he’s warm. Fleece will not compress in a crash, so his harness is tight and he is safe. In addition to a hat and mittens, and maybe a blanket for their lap, this will keep them plenty warm! Promise.

Safe Option 2 – The Coat Trick
Put them in their seat with no coat on and tighten the straps properly. Unbuckle them (without loosening the harness!) and put their coat on. Pull the sides of the coat through the harness so the straps sit on your child, not on their coat.

Then buckle them in properly (harness snug and not twisted, chest clip at armpit level..) The harness is tight without the bulk of the coat between him and the straps. Once you get the hang of it, it doesn’t take any extra time to get their coat through the harness with their arms.

You can zip the coat *outside* of the harness and keep them warm AND safe!

I’ve gotten some messages from people who are concerned about trying to unzip the coat in an emergency. You absolutely do not have to zip the coat if you’re not comfortable with it. :) It’s always the caregiver’s decision. However, if you are in a crash, you should leave the child buckled into their car seat and remove it from the vehicle. This will keep them still in case of head/neck/spine injuries, so the zipped coat won’t matter.

You could also put their coat on backwards after they are buckled, or look into something like a car seat poncho.

Thanks Maddie for sharing your little guy and your car seat knowledge with us! I hope this post will help keep kiddos safe this winter. If you have questions about this or any other aspect of car seat safety, stop by and visit the Car Seat Safety board on JustMommies. Maddie and others CPST’s and car seat safety advocates will share their vast car seat knowledge with you.

November 9th, 2010

Day 4 of 30

Day 04- A habit that you wish you didn’t have.
Man, that’s a rough one.  I have lots of bad habits.  From drinking too much caffeine to sleeping too late, to snacking on SweetTarts too much.  But I think the habit I wish I didn’t have the most was my impulse purchasing.  Although I am much much better than I used to be about this, I still struggle with purchasing things that I really don’t need at the moment.  It’s tough on my budget, but since lately it’s been snack foods, it’s also tough on my butt.  And right now, since I’m in the smallest pair of jeans that I’ve worn since 1991, I want to keep those impulse items out of the house.