Life With Nine Kids

Monday, December 26, 2011

Having a wonderful time

I never stopped to love this view when I lived here. You bet I do now. My first home.

Day 1: Made Christmas candles and rosette cookies with my mom and Grandma Smith. Took mini hike in the desert and had a cactus scavenger hunt.
At 8:30pm we did Polar Bear Club at my dads -a family tradition every 10 years we jump into a 35 degree swimming pool. (omg it was WAY worse than I remember!)

Day 2: Christmas surprises galore ...life changing surprises! I will write more when I can! Amazing!!! Lots of family time, lots of blessings, lots of love.

Day 3 family pictures with 35 people! Tonight off to The Tournament of Kings show at the Excalibur. An amazing live action dinner show with dancing maidens, jousting, fireworks, and eating with your fingers! It's my favorite! I've waited a long time to take our kids! 31 of us are going! Then I want to show the kids the volcano eruption at the Mirage.
Desert hike









Polar Bear Club photo...getting ready to go in, most of us in clothes
Could NOT have planned this photo. I snapped it just the right moment. My dad and my husband lol!
They are getting fired up for Polar Bear Club


Christmas Day My husband and Dad still messing with the COLD pool! Ricky was jumping in the spa (not pictured) between cold pool dips, the kids were enjoying a hot spa dip as well.

Kids X mas morning

Follow up about the life changing surprises Click Here

Sunday, December 18, 2011

LAS VEGAS BABY!

This year we planned a surprise Christmas trip to Las Vegas (my hometown) to visit family. We haven't been in a very long time and I never want to go. (Not because I don't want to see my family, my family is awesome, it's just totally exhausting to haul a million kids to Vegas and juggle 15 places to go in 4-5 days! And we have a ton of animals at home, and we are total homebodies!)

Since we wanted it to be a Christmas surprise we had to keep it a secret for a while and only reveal it as close to Christmas as possible! We kept it from tons of people, even friends and some family!

Ricky and I decided last week that last night was our Christmas Eve here.We wrapped the presents the other day and this morning we surprised the kids by having Santa come a week early. The kids didn't know what was going on this morning when they woke up. Penelope was running around excitedly saying there were presents under the tree. First we gave the kids a wrapped suitcase to open. It was a 3 piece suitcase set nested into each other.
Inside the suitcase was an envelope that
said "vacation 1" on it.
This is what they found :


I hate the cold! So this was a bizarre trip to tell the kids we were going on. Plus who wants to sleep in the snow?!!!! Charlotte said, "ARE YOU CRAZY!?" They decided the open the next suitcase.
This is what they found in
vacation envelope #2



This was hilarious. The kids were flabbergasted, wanted to know if it was safe, wanted to know how it would happen. (Would we be in a tank?) One kid asked if we would be in a cage. Hahaha. They decided to trade this vacation in for whatever suitcase # 3 had in it. Sage later said, "I almost picked sharks, would we really have gone?" LOL!
They open the 3rd and last vacation envelope:



They were very surprised and happy we get to go see our family for Christmas. They don't know we have more surprises that await in Las Vegas! They do know it will be a fabulous time though! yayyyyyy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

She's Crafty!

We love making things!


Old Suitcase
 
Helping put on travel stickers

I used mod podge over the whole surface so they won't peel off
  It is now a decoration and storage for the circle hallway room I've been working on decorating. I want to paint the floor and put in a new light fixture this winter. The light fixture that is hanging on a chain is this gold thing from the 80's with glass and an etched flower on it. BARF.


Charlotte Painting
I plan on framing a bunch of art work made by my kid's and hanging in the upstairs hallway. I love this piece!

Sooooo we decided we were going to do this dryer lint project I saw online. You mix dryer lint with water, flour and a dab of oil to make a modeling compound. I've been saying for at least 10 years dryer lint had to be good for something. Turns out our dryer lint is DISGUSTING.



It's hairy, dirty, crumby...
We have 4 dogs, a ton of cats, and I shed like a dog so we have lots of hair. I sweep the house EVERY DAY (no kidding) and still somehow we have hair go through the wash and apparently dryer. Our lint was more disgusting than we thought. Charlotte and I mixed this stuff up and wanted to barf. It was not working out and so we added more flour. Then we added even more flour so that we couldn't see the yucky dirt and hair as much.


When we had a nice paste that could easily make very realistic owl pellets (we thought about making some lol) we started sculpting on cardboard canvas. (We used the back of a puzzle board that had lost it's pieces.) Charlotte doubted we could make anything out of this gunk, and really so did I, but we had just made a disgusting soup of matted lint and hair we had to do something with it. We had dirtied a pot and wasted 15 minutes of our life. I wanted something to show for our hard work. "It's art!" I shouted. "One can create anything and make it art!" So we began. I made a bird and a nest, we worked on the tree together and Charlotte's faith was restored in ART!
Gross bird we call an Eagle.

When our masterpiece dries, I estimate in 2 years because of how thick it is, we'll paint it and see how it really turned out. For now we wait. We do look forward to painting you, you gross art project!





Boxes Rule

Cardboard boxes are a blank canvas. No toy can compare to a nice sturdy brown box to crawl into. Since I order almost every Christmas gift for the kids from Amazon we accumulate loads of boxes. Today we put all those boxes to great use!

Airplane ready for take off!


                                                                 I love this airplane! I love their faces!




 We glued lids from various things as controls. I made a strip of buttons from construction paper that say on, off, eject and uh-oh.




 This box was a tunnel for cars and trucks, but Everett and Layla found a second use for it





  Everett popped out and said, "Raaaaw!" He is cute when he tries to hide and then scare or surprise you. I say, "Ahh!" and he laughs and laughs.

Toy kitchen made from cardboard boxes


Penelope LOVES toy food, tea sets and toy kitchens. Doesn't matter how many tea sets or pretend food she owns, she LOVES all of it. She adores this toy kitchen. She has a "real" toy kitchen in her room but she loves this one more. She asked me if she could keep it for "eighty-four-fourty-days." I told her of course she could.


 


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Fun and Tradition... and some crafts for the day

We had a late start to the Christmas season. Our tree went up the day after Thanksgiving, but little else happened around our house. Smith-wick just now finally appeared yesterday. You never know when he will arrive.

Smith-wick is our elf. Our elf on a shelf. We received him five years ago from my Grandma Smith. If you are lucky enough to receive your own personal elf from the North Pole then you read the story he comes with and give your own personal elf a name. Your elf reports on good and bad behaviors (naughty or nice!) to Santa every night and returns the next day at your house in a new spot. (We don't do 'good or bad' children thing, but it goes along with the Santa Christmas lore.) Children can also talk to him and tell him their Christmas wishes, which is how we use him. This part is reallly super cute: they do go up to him and talk. It's adorable.

The children delight in looking for Smith-wick each morning. Sometimes he forgets to leave and in that case the children come running to me exasperated about Smith-wick not leaving for the North Pole. I tell them the reasons he might not have left yet... North Pole is on a different time zone, there is a snow storm, he's tired, his alarm clock didn't go off...

My favorite is when I say, "Are you sure he's not there? Wait a second kids, there's dog barf in the living room...hang on...just a..."

I go clean up the "dog barf" and by the time I'm done Smith-wick has moved into a new spot. Then it's show time; "Ok it's cleaned up now! Hey what do you mean Smith-wick hasn't moved? Hey where is he, I don't see him."

Heheh. It actually works.They all find him in a new spot marveling over the fact that he just forgot to move to a different spot...or whatever. I'm not sure what they think. But they are happy and not bummed anymore.

Believing is believing. It doesn't have to make sense. It's part of the fun.

When our elf arrived I wanted the kids to name him something very special that honored my Grandma Smith since she sent it to them. I have lots of very creative, fun, fulfilling, Christmas-magic memories of my Grandma Smith. Sage came up with Smith-wick's name, which to me sounded like a REAL elf name for sure. Everyone loved it and so it was, Smith-wick joined our family. He disappears just like he arrives, unexpected and all at once.


Advent Calendars are another beloved Christmas tradition My cousin Michelle sends the children all their own chocolate Advent calendars. When a new baby is one year old she starts sending them a calendar, too. I always really appreciated this. It's really awesome because the babies really do watch and want to do what their siblings do. They totally get in on the action! As can be told by this picture.
Baby Everett gets a real treat having his first Advent chocolate with the other kids


The first snowfall of the season we have snowman pancakes and hot cocoa. I was low on milk so I talked the kids out of hot cocoa yesterday. Actually they forgot about it after I said, 'We'll do it later on.' Their idea of the first snow is often different than mine. Snow flurries stuck to the car and real snow on the ground are two different things. However, they'll start flailing about the house shouting, "hot cocoa!" at the sight of sawdust on a cold day. Regardless, another nice tradition we typically do is hot cocoa on the first snow, and snowman pancakes around the same time. And just LOOK at these faces, they just love 'em.


whipped cream for snowflakes falling



As I write this my littlest children are complaining, fighting, and need some help from their mother. One day they'll read back at this blog of our life with joy. For now I'm met with a lot of crying over me being at the computer on a cold, boring December morning. 


Lucky for them I have some crafts planned for today. Homemade snow globes,  paper doll elves, paper chains, and stringing cranberries just like I did when I was a kid. I am also making a Christmas wreath. Wait until I tell you where I got the base for the wreath. You'll never guess... 




(I got the wreath in the cemetery across the street. It was in the trash. I dug it out. Free wreath, I say.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving crafts: thankful for crafty down time with kids

We made Thanksgiving napkin holders and placemats today! Glad there were so many of us working on them or it would have taken even longer than the several hours it did! Working together as a family is so much fun. The big kids made all the napkin holders and created an assembly line to get them done, Sage made the eyes and cut beaks, Charlotte assembled hats, Ethan helped cut and glue and make the gobbler thingy. It was great seeing them work together. When they were done I glued them around the napkins.

We all hate the cloth napkins that don't absorb anything so we bought these cheap fall colored wash cloths from Walmart. (That's what we normally use day to day but I felt a little weird giving guests wash cloths but with the napkin holder it dresses them up a bit!)

Place mats made by everyone, covered in clear contact paper

Everett eating grapes as we load tons of Thanksgiving groceries




Friday, November 18, 2011

Overnight Trips Away ~~ PACKING


Why do these people have so much stuff and only 1 kid, does this make any sense?
My friend told me I should be helping her big family of six kids pack for a weekend away because I should be good at it by now, as we go away on 2-3 night visits more often than she does. Here's what I told her to do :) (Number 7 cracks me up! It's so true!)

1. Wash all clothes, or at least enough to pack. Make sure 1 load is drying right before you leave and stand around waiting for it.


2. Line up kids clothes on the couch in sets with socks and underwear. Older kids bring their own to you and you tell them which ones you approve of and then explain for the 1000th time what play clothes vs nice clothes are.

3. Use 3 laundry baskets instead of suitcases and start packing kids clothes in them. Don't forget extra blankets if needed and a sling (usually only need this for babies), bring a zip lock baggy of  Motrin and other care items for kids. ~~If you have a baby or two pack up the cloth diapers! (Or wuss out and decide to buy throw away diapers on the way there which I have done lol!)

4. Start packing the grown up clothing stuff in one of the baskets, top it off with personal care items: make up bag, toiletry bag, hair dryer, curlers or whatever.

5. Intend on having this all loaded up and ready to go the night before you leave but fail at that thought, I always do. LOL!

6. Get that last load of laundry out of the dryer but forget what you really need out of it because the baskets are already packed. So just pack a couple more clothes just for good measure.

7. Forget to pack your own pajamas.

8. Leave 4 hours later than you thought you would and now every kid is starving to death. At least one kid can't find their shoes. But more likely it's two kids.

9. Have fun :D

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Knight In Shining Armor

The other day A CRAZY guy was driving up and down the parking lot rows at Walmart in a mini van, we didn't see why but a man loading groceries with his wife near where we parked told crazy guy to F-off. I thought to myself that I wouldn't do that because this guy looked crazy (like for real mentally ill kinda crazy). He was really big and heavy and he looked a lot like a crazy wild eyed Juggernaut from the X-men. 

I got worried when I saw the crazy guy stop his van in the middle of the road and get out. He tensed up and looked like he was metamorphosing into the Hulk. I had just gotten the baby out of the car when I headed for shelter in front of my truck. The guy who had said 'F-you' was in his 50's and I knew my husband wasn't going to stand around and let this older-ish guy get beat up by Juggernaut. I tried to coax my husband into hiding too, but he told me to wait a second. Luckily Juggernaut had some crazy conversation under his breath to himself (with clenched fists!) and then peeled out screeching and squealing his tires in the parking lot. The people there then asked us what that guys problem was, I felt like saying, I have no idea, we just got here and we aren't the ones that just told him to F-off! LOL! We finally started heading for the doors of Walmart and crazy man finally parked somewhere. My husband kept an eye on his van while we walked in the store. Just before we got inside my hubby spotted Juggernaut talking to himself as he was coming in a different door. I said, "Should we be here? What if he starts shooting up the place or something!?" My husband calmly just said, "Well then if that happens get behind me."

What else does a lady need to hear than that?

Me at Walmart:

Virtues of chivalry include such things as mercy, courage, valor, fairness, protection of the weak and the poor.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I've never kissed Batman


Sebastian told me something tonight and I really had no idea what he was saying. He was so cute and he was carefully explaining it. I nodded at him and smiled lovingly, he was being SO cute. His blue eyes were beaming back at me through a black, hard batman mask. He'd had the mask on for over an hour tonight. When he was done talking I told him he was so cute and to give me a kiss. He leaned in and I kissed him. I suddenly exclaimed, "I kissed Batman!" Without missing a beat he lifted his Batman mask up onto his head like you'd do with a pair of sunglasses, then in an excited and informative voice he said, "It's really 'bastian under here, see!" 

As if I didn't know. Hilarious. I adore his innocence, his playfulness, and the joy he brings me.

(He woke up tossing and turning in his sleep tonight talking about Batman :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

I love the fall ~ and early winter fun...

 Fall is the perfect backdrop for cute photos. This is such a great time of year to snuggle up with loved ones and enjoy the holidays. We were just talking about how we are ready for the season of coziness, delicious treats, seasonal foods and coffee creamers! We love warm sweaters, hot cocoa, pumpkin pie, rosette iron cookies. I love decorating early for both Halloween and Christmas to enjoy it for a while. We didn't build and decorate gingerbread houses last year, we will for sure make them this year (save uneaten Halloween candy for them)! Halloween is almost at a close and then two more months of fun before hibernating for the rest of the winter. We are like bears. This winters plans include learning piano and some Spanish, doing lots of crafts, crocheting and sewing. 



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

LOVE: mushy, kissy, make other people sick LOVEEEE...(our wedding anniversary!)

0.
I finally did my photo wall project for one of our bedroom walls. The theme is classic kisses. You can't see because of the flash glare but the bottom middle 5x7 photo is a picture from our wedding. (posted it below) It was taken in front of the stone steps by the creek at Indian S. Ricky is on one knee and holding my hands and I am leaning over to kiss him. I didn't intend to have it done right around our anniversary, but the timing was perfect.


The spacing of the frames wasn't totally ideal, but I had to work with plaster walls that crumble and needed to stick mostly with studs where I could for the larger pictures. It doesn't look so off in person.


I love this man

with every

ounce of my being.

(the best part is he loves me too!)

Our wedding anniversary was last Sunday and so I'm writing 10 things
I noticed that make our marriage great
1. Kissing (sure it's the same person over and over and over, but it's the person we are madly in love with. Kiss like it.)
2. Laughter (This is why we fell in love, really. We made each other laugh all the time and still do.)
3. Honesty
4. Trust
5. Saying sorry (Even when I don't think I'm in the wrong I say it. My husband actually invented this and taught it to me.)
6. Family values (Families stay together and kids deserve parents who aren't selfish or screw ups. Or both.)
7. Friendship (He is the only man that has ever told me I am his best friend.)
8. Loyalty
9. Being considerate (Avoiding fights, helping each other, the little things you do for each other add up to be huge)
10. There is no score (Dearest love of mine, I'll keep picking up your clothes and towels off the floor, you keep kissing me sweetly every single day. I'll keep cleaning up after your coffee cup in the living room, you keep being a fantastic dad. I'll keep cooking awesomely creative meals, you keep helping with the dogs and chickens every night. I'll keep rocking sick fussy kids in the wee hours of the night, you keep food on our table. You keep ignoring my PMS and giving me a hug instead of telling me I'm bitchy, I'll keep the laundry washed and folded. You keep ironing your shirts when you don't have one ironed, I'll keep making you lunch for work. You keep brushing kids' teeth at bedtime, I'll get them to sleep. You keep loving me and I'll keep loving you. You don't keep score and either will I, we are a team and we work together.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Cleaning up after the hubby... something so many wives resent. Not me.
My husband leaves at least some part of his clothes or socks on the floor every single day. He leaves his bathroom towel in front of the closet door every single day. I used to think this was annoying. For two years I wondered why it was so hard to walk a towel back to the bathroom, or simply place it in a hamper. I used to complain about it. I rattled off to myself when he wasn't home and I was picking it up. 'Dang towel on the bleepity-bleep floor again, how come you can't pick it up, it's not freaking hard, dang it!'' After a little while I felt stupid complaining about him leaving a towel on the floor while he was gone off to college to earn a bachelors degree and then later a masters degree. A masters degree he had to earn by driving into the city (four hours round trip four days a week) while working part time, keeping a wife happy and able to stay home with the kids, all the while being a good loving, playful father. When I started thinking about this it paled in comparison to me just simply picking it up for him. I started pretending that each time I picked up his towel he was saying 'I love you' to me. He has always treated me like a princess and wanted me to be happy. He gives himself selflessly to his family. He would rather spend time with us than do anything else.

This morning I'm looking to the left of me and in front of the closet floor is his towel on the floor. I'd be disappointed if it wasn't there. It's in my morning routine...nurse baby, check email, pick up his towel and hang it in the bathroom, make our bed, make the children's co sleeping beds in our room, make breakfast, have some coffee. About 4 days a week I get a phone call from him at work sometime between 10am and noon. He says, "Hi, I was wondering how your day is going..." 

I love my life.


Happy Anniversary to us

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Barbie Cake Tradition

The Barbie cake tradition started with Charlotte. She wanted a Barbie cake for her 5th birthday. This was before they had the Barbie cake pans you could buy. So I bought a little metal round mixing bowl from the store and put some cake batter in it. I greased up the bowl, baked it until it was solid in the middle, and it worked. I'm still using that same bowl 15 years later! The first cake took me a crazy three or four hours to make and decorate. When Layla was going to turn five Ricky and I made it together and it took about two hours. Our last girl to turn five is our sweet little Penelope Juliet, and this mom's getting good because I baked the cake the night before and then the next morning it only took 30 minutes to complete. She loves it. We had a really fun birthday! 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PENELOPE!

Ok, see the right side at the bottom of the dress, where the frosting is blobby and a different color? THAT is where the dog licked frosting off the cake because Sage put the dog on the chair for some reason ("Mom, I didn't see the cake there!" lol) and all I had was that color to patch it with! hah.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Baby Lisa

The missing Kansas City baby has my heart pounding and my nerves rattled.


I'm sad and nervous for the parents. I think it's horrible that they've been treated so badly; their local media, the community passing judgment, the police who interrogated them for 11 hours one day and then AGAIN the next day. The police accused her to her face. :(

I think that it's really hard to do the whole innocent until proven guilty thing sometimes...but it's important. Benefit of the freaking doubt people. Just for a little while. The baby hasn't even been gone a week. :( I just feel so bad for them and baby Lisa.

My heart is trembling for them because...

About three weeks ago my kids had the door open and were running in and out all morning. We have a baby gate at the front door that we usually keep up, it's not a great one but it's good enough when we keep an eye on it. The 3 and 5 year old climb over it to get outside and it loosens it after a while and it falls. After lunch Everett had just been walking around the living room playing with toys. I was in and out of my room and in the bathroom sorting laundry and such. After about 5 minutes I said, "Where did Everett go?" I looked at the front door and the gate was down. Usually if the door is open at least some kids are outside, after all we do have 7 of them! I walked outside and it was silent. No kids. We have a fenced in yard so it's not an immediate panic type thing but the fact that a baby could easily be snatched from the front yard never escapes my thoughts. I walked back inside and said to the kids in the dining room, "Have you seen Everett? No one is outside, where is everyone?" Charlotte was in her room upstairs. Two kids were in the dinning room, other kids came from other areas as I spoke. My boys started looking for him and calling his name. I ran to the road outside even though the yard is fenced. Then I saw the side gate was open. It is not close to the road, but he can walk. He can walk verrry fast. I yelled for more kids to come out and look with me. Nothing. We had to make sure the road was clear of him. I walked out in the middle of the street and looked around me before heading back inside. Just like how you check bodies of water FIRST. You check all dangerous places first.

All the kids, even the 3 year old, started looking around the downstairs with me. I sent one kid outside to look in the yard even better (behind the tree, Etc). Still no baby. I yelled for Charlotte who was in her room upstairs to look upstairs. He never goes upstairs but he has the climbing ability to get up there and the door leading upstairs was open. She said he wasn't up there, this is when she joined the search. We scoured the house and I hollered out ideas inside and outside to check. I got panicked after about 90 seconds of frantic looking. Basement door- locked. Behind any doors- no. Under tables - no. In the bathroom or bathroom closet - no. In closets -no. Kitchen pantry - no. We were looking every place we could think of. Layla got panicked and cried out a little, "Mom I'm scared!" I held it together and told her we have to stay calm. I told her I was very scared, but we have to just keep looking. The kids looked and looked and looked.

I knew he was probably here somewhere. Child abductions are rare, even though they haunt us like they lurk in every corner of a neighborhood. I told myself he has to be here, but what am I missing. We have no water that would be a danger. The house is fairly safe if the basement door is locked. I tried to call Ricky at work and got his work voicemail. I sent him a cell phone text that said 9-1-1.

I went to the road again out of fear he was some place dangerous, I didn't know Charlotte was there looking already. I checked the back porch and back yard. He couldn't get to those places, but you still HAVE to check them. When I was checking the back porch I saw the side garage door was open. My eyes caught a  image of the open garage door and the sight swirled in my head, it almost made me dizzy. Black from the dark inside, against the white garage siding. I starred at it for a few seconds and thought to myself slowly: What. If. I. Never. See. Him. Ever. Again. What if this has happened to us...someone took him.

If he's not in the garage I'm calling 9-1-1, I decided. He wasn't in the garage. I was still clutching the phone and took a breath. I thought to myself that before I call 9-1-1 I have to make sure I checked every single place. Kids are not reliable searchers. I have to check upstairs, DUH! Charlotte only checked for a second when I called her down. I ran up the stairs and flew down the hallway. He was happily playing in his little sisters bedroom. He looked up at me with those blue eyes and I could barely catch my breath. I wanted to cry my eyes out but instead through tears I send my husband a text that everything was ok. Didn't want him leaving a meeting or freaking out upon seeing it. I yelled for the other kids that he was safe. When Charlotte hit the bedroom she landed on the floor scooped him up and we sat down with him and bawled. He toddled away from us smiling.

I had to spend what, 3-4 minutes with a lost baby? I'm not sure how long, but long enough to get my phone ready to call 9-1-1. I can not even imagine what I would have done if he had been taken or if he had been hurt or killed. I still hold him and think, "I almost never saw you again." That isn't true, I didn't almost never see him again. I did however know what it felt like to search my house for a lost baby. I just didn't have to actually live the part where he doesn't get found :(

If some one had accused me of murder or of being neglectful I would have ripped their tongue out. I have never been judgmental of a family who has lost a baby. It's just not fair. Pool accident, lawnmower accident, gun accident, bath tub accident, pulling a TV on themselves or a kidnapping. Those who judge others think it couldn't happen to them. What a foolish selfish thing to think. I even defend families whose babies die in hot cars. I don't understand it, I barely comprehend it. But to be vicious to others is just not right. I'm compassionate to others. I'd rather give someone a cautious benefit of the doubt than shun them in their hour of darkness and unthinkable pain.

I'm so, so sorry for baby loss. No matter how that loss occurs.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Charlotte! And other update things I want to remember...

TODAY is Charlotte's 15 Birthday. She is one of the most fantastically awesome kids you could ever meet! She's helpful, kind, sweet, SUPER witty, and funny. She's very clever too. When she was about 11 years old we got stranded on the side of the highway in a blinding Midwest rainstorm because our wipers broke suddenly. Totally on her own she took the laces off her shoes tied them together and then tied them to the passengers wiper blade. She pulled the strings up and down and exhausted her arms while I drove peering over on her side to get off the highway. She saved the day. We were actually pulled over at a really bad spot on the highway too. One of my favorite memories of her!

Another favorite...
We were driving along and I said a bad word. I don't remember why. Seven year old Charlotte asked if she could say one bad word given the situation. I thought it was cute. I said sure. Charlotte has always been the child that chooses right from wrong and has always been nice and polite. I was anxiously waiting to hear what she might say. Perhaps damn? Whatever it was it had to be fairly mild. I thought "shit" would be BAD in her book so she'd say that. She suddenly yelled, "MOTHER FUCKER!"

I almost ran off the road! Then I couldn't stop laughing. Actually I was on a dirt road and I pulled over and laughed so hard I cried. I didn't say anything or make a big deal out of it other than my laughter and telling her I did not see that one coming. To be honest I've never heard her say another bad word again either. :)

A favorite quote from when she was about 6 years old and her brother Sage was bothering her...
"Mom, Sage is getting on my last nerd!!!"

Happy Birthday my Charlotte!

Charlotte 10 years ago


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yesterday my really great husband took a half day off work and hustled home after he heard his wife on the phone stressed out and ranting about the ceiling leaking (leak in upstairs bath) and kids crying in the background. I was totally surprised when he walked in with a bottle of wine at noon. :) He told me he didn't have any meetings and it sounded like I could use him at home today. Then we played and tickled the little kids and tried to do a little homeschool. We laughed and laughed, too. Our kids keep us so entertained. Mostly we just took the opportunity to just live in the moment. A 20 minute nap with each other and the baby, a chance to sit outside and enjoy the weather and kids playing. Then last night after the kids were finally asleep we just sat on the couch and talked. Such a great afternoon and evening. I am so, so happily married.


Other things the home front:
Besides a coldish sickness, runny noses and mild sore throats we've been really busy. We are in the process of making a big volcano out of chicken wire and paper mache. We are doing a super mish-mash unit study on quilting, the American flag, the history of the telephone and communication. In an attempt to get my kids to write more they are developing fictional characters, I'm hoping they will be inspired to write a story...

This week the kids and I went and bought 40lbs of red grapes to freeze and 25+ lbs of tomatoes to make and can more salsa. Why in the middle of a busy week do we decide to do such a thing...because I'm me and they go along with my love of food storage. lol. We are like little squirrels getting ready for winter. I really missed having a huge tomato garden this year, next year it's going to be massive. In about a week we are going to can apple pie filling. Gotta get rid of these tomatoes and grapes first...

The husband and I are embarking on another project too. It might throw everything off for a while. We are cutting a hole in our bedroom ceiling and trying to fix a bathroom leak ourselves. So adventurous. Our life may look boring to some, it's perfectly zany and fulfilling to us.

Seriously this dang leak looks bad! I hope we can fix it, we have 9 people sharing 1 bathroom now! LOL.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Googly Eye


We have lots of these jumbo googly eyes for crafts. Layla came into the kitchen a couple days ago while I was cooking, her hands were over her eyes and she said, "Mom I can see you..." she then stuck out her tongue and a giant googly eye was there. I told her she was very funny. A few minutes had passed and I'm in my cooking groove stirring my food and thinking about what to do next, suddenly I was hit hard with a whapppp sound across my back and side. It really hurt! I spun around and started to say, "WHAT the..." And there she was wide eyed, scared, pointing to her face, and waving her arms frantically. No sound and no air. She was choking. I spun her around and as I got ready to do the Heimlich maneuver I heard a little air slip through her throat, there was a slight wheezing now. She gasped what air she could, she started choking with a small amount of sound. I reassured her, "You are getting it up, I can hear it, keep coughing, I hear sound now, it's ok. Keep doing that..." She started making gagging sounds and I continued to reassure her she was getting it up. "Good! Throw up," I cheered on. She spit up some chocolaty saliva (chocolate covered pretzels was snack that day) and then finally *SPLAT* a big googly eye hit the kitchen floor. My eyes teared up in relief and my sense of humor laughed at the ridiculousness of a googly eye staring back at me in a pile of chocolate drool. Layla's first gasping words were, "I want and rag and drink of water." As we wiped her off and she took a drink I hugged her and told her that was the scariest funniest thing I'd ever seen at one time. We looked over at the googly eye and the puppies had licked up all the chocolate drool and were now sliding the googly eye around the floor with their tongues. We laughed and laughed in a heap of relief.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stages of getting sick baby back to sleep in the middle of the night

Stages of baby sickness in the wee early morning hours. Usually applies to colds and/or  fever, not stomach bugs.
Stage 1: restless, flops around in bed, needs changed, wide awake, rosy cheeks
Stage 2: happy to get out of bed, talkative, finds a toy
Stage 3: gets bored, throws toys, starts fussing, may need changed
Stage 4:real tears, settles down to nurse, starts kicking legs and gets bored and fussy.
Stage 5: gets bored, sits up, throws toys, looks sad with watery eyes, cries and/or whines a whole bunch
Stage 6: pace around, rocking, singing, more fussing, may need to be in baby carrier/sling
Stage 7: starts to yawn, settles down usually because baby is ready to really nurse, sleep
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It's 2:45 am and we are at stage 6

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dear Everett,


I'm nursing Everett and checking email as I just sang in my sweetest soft voice, "Happpy birthday tooo youuu." And my little Everett closed his droopy little eyes the second I finished. <3 It was a busy fun day. I told him happy birthday and kissed him a million times, he loved the attention. He loves singing, so that was fun for him to get sung to all day long.

~HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY~

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Daycare?

The lady that checked out my giant click 'n pull order at Sam's Club yesterday asked me if I ran a daycare. LOL. I had stuff like 8 bags of bagels, 1 case of cream cheese, 3 boxes of cinnamon rolls, 3 packages yogurt, 3 bags of dinner rolls, pizza rolls, tons of cheese and lunch meat, pretzels, goldfish crackers, crackers, individual chip bags for lunches, 3 huge cans of pineapple tidbits, noodles, salad stuff, frozen fruits and veggies. All the stuff you'd need to feed a whole army of kids!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How to make watermelon smoothie with your car

Today little Penelope asked to make smoothies. She wanted to try using the frozen watermelon we had in the freezer. It was frozen in a iceberg like hunk in a plastic baggie. I explained to her why we couldn't put it in the blender like that. So as I pondered taking it outside and smashing it with a hammer I asked Penelope,
 "What do you think would happen if we ran it over with a car?"
Her blue eyes got wider and she said with a grin, "Let's DO IT!"

So we call all the kids up and down from various rooms of the house and tell them we have an experiment to try if they want to watch. Penelope and Sebastian some how get in our Excursion before I even get outside, the older kids must have opened the doors for them. I put the watermelon baggie in a plastic grocery bag because this is not the first time I've ran food over...LOL. (I've made breadcrumbs from croutons like this before! haha)

The little kids are all excited, I get in the car I start it up... wait it won't start. Big disappointment.  Some how the lights got left on and the truck is DEAD.

I call it quits and tell the disappointed little kids we have to wait for Daddy to get home and fix Mommy's car. Sage says, "Wait! Put it in neutral. We'll push it."
They start pushing...

Ethan and Layla join in, and Charlotte takes pictures (Thanks Charlotte! I didn't even know you were taking pictures of this! Awesome!)


They roll the truck over the bag with a splat. I brake and then they roll me backwards. We all gather around to see our watermelon had really splatted. I say, "Five second rule?"
All the kids start scooping watermelon off the ground, leaving most of the underparts that are touching the ground. We figured a little dirt won't hurt.


Penelope puts her frozen watermelon chunks in the blender.  


We added this really tasty fresh strawberry and lime drink Charlotte made this week that we had leftover. We also added a handful of blueberries. Which some of the kids thought might be dirt because of the dark flecks of blueberry skin, it was funny!


I just realized her swimsuit is on backwards. lol.
Super fun. Very yummy.