Life With Nine Kids

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer days, life with kids... and no crock pot

What we've been up to...
Our garden is heading right along. The kids have helped me slowly but surely plant cilantro, tomatoes, yellow squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, broccoli and sunflowers. We plan to get some lettuce in the ground soon. We added hay to our lasagna garden but the chickens make a total mess of it and scratched it all up, which uprooted a lot of strategically placed moist newspapers. That was pretty aggravating. But, nothings ruined I just have to go out and pick hay off of the plants every other day. In hindsight I wish I would have skipped the hay because of the chickens. I have a big sheet roll of plastic I should cover the hay with... if I find the energy or time I'll do that. The kids have really been a lot of help this year with gardening. It's turned into a real family/group/homeschool project that they all seem to enjoy.

The kids have been enjoying some nice weather, lots of outside play, parks, the library, and the small local water park. (When I say small I mean small...but fun)

Aside from our regular www.time4learning.com program we have been doing the kids have been working on math with www.mathusee.com materials and Charlotte has been doing www.spellingtime.com I am getting ready to purchase the Big States Time section which teaches states, capitals, facts, abbreviations but I am waiting until she gets more of a routine down with all we've already got going on.

Last week we painted pictures which was nice. I don't get the paint out enough anymore and I'm going to start to. We do a lot of clay/sculpey stuff, crafts, drawing... but we need more painting! And they really don't make too big of a mess with it (even the little girls).

Today the kids asked about currency exchange rates. So tomorrow we are going to spend some time online looking into that. Not sure how that came up but it did.

Layla (4 in August) informed me yesterday that blood is in our veins. I thought that was cool and funny. I have deep prominent veins (runs in my family) and she said, "Mom you have a lot of blood in you, see." And she pointed to my veins.

She is working right now on a surprise picture for me. She's so cute. I am thinking about introducing letters to her via Waldorf style. She needs me to keep her busy this next year I can tell. She is going to bore easily.

Oh and Layla made me laugh so hard yesterday, because you see Layla has a way of having an answer FOR EVERYTHING. She's quite a pain actually. For example yesterday I asked her to please stop hitting the wall with the flag pole to our wooden castle....

Layla: Why?
Me: Because I want to have that for a very long time.
Layla: (keeps hitting it against wall)
Me: PLEASE Layla I want your children to be able to come over to my house and play with that someday, I want to keep the castle nice forever.
Layla: Forever?
Me: yup
Layla: Well... (in total snooty tone) what if my kids break it anyway?

I can't win with her very often. She is so good at comebacks! Arugh!

Layla told me she wants to go to Australia to meet Bindi The Jungle Girl. I told her we would have to save up money to go there someday. She said in that ever so cute kid voice, "MOM! I got lots of money in my room we can use!"

BROKEN THINGS...
A couple weeks ago I broke our crock pot. It was really a bummer because we use a slow cooker a lot around here, plus I had it a long time (One of the first things Ricky and I bought as a couple together). Well to replace it Ricky and I went and bought the biggest one we could find and spent a decent amount of money on it. Well today, only one week and one pot of chili later, Ethan broke it! It was in the sink waiting for me to wash it and he tossed his plate into it and it broke. Ethan was horrified having to come tell me. I really could not say anything other than, "What?!! Okay. Okay.... It's okay. Hold on..."
I went to my room and told Ricky quietly, "OMG Ethan broke the new crock pot $$%#! I came in here because he already feels so bad but I am still so mad."

You see, I didn't want him to know I was mad about it so I just left the room for my first reaction to get out of my body.

He peeked his head in our room a minute later sputtering (in near tears) about how he thought the crock pot was our gigantic plastic mixing bowl in the sink. They match in identical color. I told him I totally could see how he could make that mistake. He wasn't even being careless. At that point I hugged him and said, "Ethan it's okay. You didn't mean it. It was an accident. You know we need that crock pot and you would never want it to break." I then hugged him and said, "At least you aren't broken, right?"
He smiled up at me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

At the car wash....friendly people and poop tales

So this definitely falls under the category of "life with six kids"

Today after playgroup I stopped by the car wash. We did the drive through tri-color thing and then headed for the DIY car vacuum. I seriously don't think I've vacuumed this van since we got it. It was a horrible mess (took me 4 cycles of paying the vacuum machine .75 to finish it!) So during my vacuuming some of the kids ran around in a nice grassy spot and some kids stayed in the van as I worked. I met eyes with the guy at the vacuum station next to me and I said hi to him. (I say hi to nearly everyone) He was a friendly man in his 40's he said hi back. Inbetween my vacuum shutting off on me he asked, "How many kids you got over there?" [lol] I answered back with one hand, "Five."
He asked, "And one one the way too!?"
I laughed, "Yup, I think we're done now though..."
He then said, "I'd say so! But who am I to talk? I'm one of nine, big families are nice."
When he left he wished me good luck.

I happily continued paying the over priced vacuum that kept shutting off on me. I love when I hear positive things about big families. I also like (most the time not all the time) the attention in public. It does sometimes make me feel self conscious though. I'm afriad people think I'm selfish or irresponsible. Or that I lack the education to use birth control. [lol] Lots of people assume we do it for religious reasons, some people thing we are just plain nuts. We really just love having kids.

Anyway, back to the carwash because the fun part now begins:
Penelope and Sage have been all over the front seat, the windshield wipers are going because Penelope turned them on. A water bottle is spilled all-over the passengers seat, and I'm trying to get the van mats back in place. I head towards Penelope, who is in the drivers seat, to put her in her car seat and I notice she smells. I lay her down and change her. While I'm changing her (and before I can get a new diaper on her) Charlotte moves about in the van climbing seat to seat and fights with Sage, after I holler for her to take a seat she accidentally hits Layla in the lip and Layla bleeds. While I check on things Penelope in the meantime is unattended in the drivers seat diaperless. By the time I get back to Penelope she has pooped more -all over the drivers seat! Thank goodness I had just put a new pack of disposable wet wipes in the van this morning. I used lots. She had it on her leg, feet, butt, seat...

Then after I clean her up (still diaper less) I toss her to the middle of the van so I can clean the seat. By the time I clean the van seat up she has pooped on the van floor. At this point I look around me... is anyone watching this spectacle? Thank goodness no. I'm the only one in the parking lot of the car wash. We load up and I laugh to myself. I also thought to myself what endearing friends and family members have told me before about having all these kids; "If anyone can do it you can."

Thanks. :) They have no idea how meaningful those words are at times like this.
At that point I also realized the garden was not getting worked on this afternoon. There is always tomorrow.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Last week ~ and Father's Day


The above picture is of the kids doing sand art outside last week.
Last week was a great week. Aside from a seriously needy Penelope and grouchy moody Layla (both kids have been sick) last week was so productive. At the time I was having a hard time dealing with the girls, but in hindsight we accomplished so much and the week unfolded into a routine of homeschool, housework, outside fun, arts, and gardening.

I taught the boys how to clean the bathrooms, all the kids have newer "more advanced" household chores. I've struggled with taking the time to show them how to do more housework because it's just faster if I do it myself. That sort of attitude just hurts them and me though!

Father's Day was spent grilling on the new BBQ we got for dad and playing outside. We had what we called an old fashioned Father's Day; playing in the garden hose, kiddie pools, grilling, making organic homemade vanilla ice cream, and we left the air conditioning off and used a box fan in the house to keep cool. By 4:30 P.M. However, this barefoot and pregnant mama had enough of no air and turned it on. We then settled down on the floor and watched a season of Punky Brewster. We love getting old shows from netflix. They are so much fun for the kids (and us) plus we can introduce them to good story plots and wholesome lessons. They just don't make TV like that anymore.
Ricky seemed to have a very nice Father's Day. I'm so glad. He is such a great dad to these guys. They are lucky children. And I, a very lucky woman.

Lasagna Garden
We didn't water yesterday... and by yesterday evening the temperature dropped significantly outside and a beautiful thunderstorm rolled in. So did wind. Ricky and I found ourselves running around the lasagna garden picking up newspapers that were blowing far away into the woods. Ricky started spraying the dried papers with a hose because it wasn't yet raining. Once the rain started and he sprayed they were weighed back down and they stayed put. (I was supposed to put hay on them already but haven't yet! Once I do they will stay put!!)

The day before yesterday the kids and I finally planted our starter plants. We planted tomato, cantaloupe, watermelon and zucchini. We have seeds to plant today if the storm blows through (it's still storming this morning). We hope to get some sunflowers, cucumbers, green beans, and lettuce in the ground. Since we are planting so late I'm going to order some fertilizer from Gardens Alive in hopes for a bountiful harvest this year.
Photo Below: Lasagna garden layered with newspaper, cardboard, old leaves, old cloth diapers and retired corn from our play-corn-bin. We will add hay this week. You can spot a row of tomatoes to the far left. When you are ready to plant in your garden you just dig up a spot and go! We have nice top soil under here already, but if we didn't we'd have to wait for this to break down more. Next year when we start at a new spot it won't be this fast because we will be starting with little soil. The debris helps stomp out weeds (it suffocates them) while creating a nice home for worms and mulch for the garden.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

lasagna garden ... and other

I'm feeling so unorganized. And I only have a short time to get organized. I am seriously decluttering and having the kids pull more weight around here. Now is the time. I will not be able to stay above water when new baby comes if I don't buckle down right now.

Today was very productive (I think) but I still feel like there is SO much to do. The kids all did their computer work, I made lots of needed phone calls, I decluttered a few areas of the house. We went outside and started our lasagna garden. The kids loved it. Penelope cried anytime we took the hose from her though. So the project was both fun and aggravating for us and her! We are using newspaper, cardboard, and old/worn retired flat cloth diapers. We are so late planting but I decided it was important enough to do anyway. Besides we need an outdoor project. The tomato salmonella scare also pushed me. I LOVE growing tomatoes by the bucketful every year. In fact it's almost all I grow LOL. I have already started tomatoes at least, they are just not in ground. They seem to be doing okay though. We are going to try to also grow watermelon, sunflowers, and green beans this year. Maybe a squash variety or two.

Something got all but one of our new chicks. (they were getting lots bigger and definitely were ready to be free range). I guess I need to leave our Great Pyrenees outside at night EVERYnight. The kids and I might buy some laying hens on Thursday (not chicks). I'm just not sure I want to though. I'm afraid we'll waste money if something is stealing my chickens! I'm frustrated, can you tell yet?

We have been limiting TV and it's going well. Life is so good without TV. We are really getting ready to getting rid of satellite. (we don't get local channels in our area without it). We wouldn't even have it if we could just get local TV stations. We would however up our 3 at a time netflix to 5 0r 6 at a time. So we aren't talking TV free, just TV-less of an option!

I wish the kids saw in the same way that we see how much more creative, fun, talkative, imaginative, and productive they are without TV.

Layla has been a total handful lately. Seriously a child-monster. I love her dearly and hope she makes it to 4 years old. :) She's throwing a classic fit now... time for me to get these guys in bed it's getting late.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Back home

Our trip to Las Vegas was fun. The kids played a lot with their cousin Echo, which is a big highlight of the trip. Grandpa Craig (my dad -Pictured below with the kids) took the kids to Old Nevada http://www.bonniesprings.com/ where they got to learn a little about the old west and see two old west shows. We went along as well, and it was a lot of fun. They also spent many hours in the pool at Grandpa Craig and Grandma Mindy's house. My little brother's wedding was very beautiful and fun. We also got to see my mom and Grandma Smith. They had never met Penelope yet. My Grandma Smith brought the kids a beautiful chunk of petrified wood because she knew they loved stuff like that. (She is a great fan and collector of rocks, minerals, fossils and bones.) More pictures on my blog



It's good to be home now...