Monday, September 16, 2013

My new morning routine...

School season. I couldn't wait for it to come, and now I look forward to weekends. There just is no pleasing me, is there?

Here is the reason that school season is not so fun.

On a typical school day I wake up at 5:30am to wake the teenager up. He has to go to seminary classes, which is something our church does for high school aged kids. Its scripture study, for the most part.  Since the teenager isn't really a morning person and doesn't yet see the merit in seminary class, I have to bribe him out of bed. I promise him breakfast, made by me, if he gets out of bed in a timely manner. I'm happy to make him breakfast if he "happily" goes to seminary classes every morning. Now, I never said what kind of breakfast. Sometimes he gets pancakes, or sometimes just cold cereal. It works.

Then I drive him to seminary class by 6:30am and get back home to wake up the rest of the kids. For some reason none of them can dress themselves without me standing there handing them each article of clothing.

They'd be content with just going in yesterday's shorts and mustard-stained t-shirt if I let them. Some mornings I have to practically drag them into the shower and threaten that I will wash their hair myself if they won't! (always works).

So, after the dragging out of bed, making sure there is breakfast and washing out bowls (because for some reason we can't keep dishes in this house and only have four cereal  bowls at the moment), handing out clothes and making sure no one has sneaked off to play video games...I take the 11 yr old to middle school first.
For some reason the schools around here can't start on the same, or near same, schedule. The middle school, junior high, and high school all start at 7:45 but the elementary schools start at 8:25. Big difference since I can't drop off my elementary kids until 8am at the earliest. So I make another trip. I drop off the 11 yr old and come back home, hoping and crossing my fingers that the younger kids have finished getting ready as I instructed them to.
Usually that is not the case.
 Usually no one has shoes on yet, and no one knows where their shoes even are. Often we finally get everyone clean, dressed, shoes and all, and into the car only to find out that someone left their back pack inside. Sometimes I don't even realize this until we get to school and someone is missing a backpack, so I have to mad dash back home to grab it and get it to them before the school bell rings.

Finally, finally. 8:10am is my happy time. The house is quiet. Everyone but the 4 yr old and baby girl are in school. This is when school season is really worth it. But, of course the quiet doesn't last long and in seven hours I have to do the rat race all over again, figuring out where my big kids are and how they are getting home and waiting in the car line to pick up the younger kids, hoping and crossing my fingers that they are on time getting to me today because the 4 yr old has to use the bathroom, my morning sickness is getting the best of me, and the baby girl is tired of waiting in her car seat.

School season - its a love/hate relationship.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Big promised.

Last week I hinted that I had an update to post very soon.

Well, I am happy to say that I can post that announcement now.

In April of next year the Bunches O'  Boys and One Little Girl will be getting a new sibling! I may have to change the blog name to "Bunches O' Boys and Two Little Girls" never know! ;)

Baby makes 9 (including mom and dad). Wow!

No, I never imagined I'd have such a big family.

No, I don't know when we'll be done having children...that is kind of up to my husband and I.

Yes, we are happy even though it's a bit of a surprise.

Yes, we know what causes it (obviously).

There is so much negativity out there about large families, I have found. I'm not sure why everyone likes to make it their business on how many kids people choose to have. One kid or ten, its no one's business to judge. Yet, judge they do.

I've yet to hear (too many) negative comments, but I am sure its coming. LOL! I will just put on a happy face and throw positive things right back to the naysayers.

Here  is a close-up of baby #7:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Back to school confessions

So...summer is over. It went by way too fast. Don't take that to mean that I was sad to see the boys go back to school, because I wasn't. I was excited. And I am not ashamed to admit it!  I tried to keep the boys busy this summer with trips to grandparents' houses, zoo trips, amusement parks, bowling, beaches, and regular city parks. Its exhausting, however. Not to mention how much my house suffered. I wish I had boundless energy and ten arms, but I don't (or not, that would be weird).
The simple truth is that I can't entertain the kids, make them all happy, serve them three healthy meals a day, and keep the house clean. Nope. Can't do it. It was either one or the other... The house suffered.

Now the boys are back in school and I have quiet afternoons with just the 4 yr old, baby sister, and me. :) I can pick up a room and it STAYS that way.

As a bonus, the boys LOVE school. They prefer to be at school anyway, because at home they have to compete with their brothers and help me clean. So its a win-win as I see it!

Next confession, I am a big dreamer but not a great do-er. Before summer started I was making Pinterest lists of cool summer things to do - fun summer crafts, outside activities, summer fun to-do lists, and so on. I even made up laminated summer schedules for us. Yep, I even laminated them. Did we use them? No. Did I do anything I pinned on Pinterest? No. I am ashamed to admit that we didn't even make it to the library once, *gasp*.  I just lack the patience to bring all the kids into a quiet library. My kids don't have volume control. And toys in a library are just begging to be played with, and played with loudly. So we avoid the library. Still, we could have done SOME reading. So yeah...I slacked off there. The school sent out a comparison sheet of the kids who read every day compared to those that don't. Big time guilt trip. I thought about it every day, but it was just easier to give in to the kids then fight about reading. Oops. Next summer will be better, I promise!

Now school has started and we are trying to start new, better, habits right away. I have found that suddenly changing the boys' normal routine can cause major drama. SO, we are trying to start the year off right. That means no video games before school, homework and go through backpacks, sign any paperwork, etc. as soon as they get home from school and get their snack. No computers, video games, etc. until homework is done. This may mean a later dinner, but I've found that leaving homework until evening quite often means homework is done too fast and sloppy or just all-together forgotten. Oops.

Here is to a successful year and good routines!! :)

Psst....Check back next week for an exciting update. ;)

(Don't forget the non-school kiddos too! Enjoying home time with mommy)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summer Madness

Summer time is crazy...trying to keep up with these boys exhausts me!

The key to keeping the kiddos out of trouble is keeping them BUSY.  I've been trying to run them around like crazy, but I'm running out of ideas (and energy!)
So far there has been taking turns at Grandmas' houses a week at a time. That has probably been the most fun for them. Nothing compares to Grandmas' spoiling! ;) Also, I've been taking them to the "beach" a few times. However, the kids were pretty disappointed in our local river beach that is all pebbly. So instead they played in the volleyball sand pit.
Also our local bowling alley is part of the free kids bowling in the summer! We have been doing a game of bowling at least once a week. Its fun...but Gabe (4 years old) doesn't have quite enough patience for a whole game of bowling. There is a lot of waiting for turns with all those siblings!
Next has been a few of the local parks, but those get boring as well. Its tough with Abby since she's so little and can't run and play like the others. Usually it ends up me holding Abby in the hot sun and hoping the time goes faster...
I think our next adventure for the week will be geocaching! That sounds like a lot of fun, and right up the boys' alley. I will update on those adventures soon.
Oh! And we had a zoo trip, but I haven't downloaded those pictures yet. It was fun, and we only lost Billy Jr twice. ;)

In other news, Abby is walking! All the time she walks, rarely does she crawl. She still is working on her talking but I know she'll get there in her own time.

As for the adults - we are busy with kids, work, and school. I have signed up for my classes in the fall. I'm super excited to be attending Central WA University and getting my bachelor's degree in two years. YAY! I will be pursuing the social sciences area, perhaps focusing more on psychology.

Okay - a few pix to entertain you until  next time! :)

Alex when staying the week with his Auntie :)

How the boys entertain themselves if I don't find ways to keep them busy...

Fun kids fishing day! We got three huge 8+ lb Rainbow Trout. Yummy!

And a recent picture of cutie Abby, always the little princess :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Shame on me...

I don't know how mommy bloggers do it. I can't keep up this blog for the life of me!
I love that I still have daily visits to this blog, even if I haven't updated in a few months. Shame shame on me!
To my dedicated visitors - thank you!

Now, moving on my from guilt trip and onto other things...

Soccer season and school has sucked the time right out of my days. Yeah, I do have time to check Facebook. Sorry. However, there is a difference between checking Facebook from my iPad, while lunch is cooking on the stove, while I keep one eye on the baby, one eye on the 4 yr old pestering the dog, and another eye on the screen. Wait... Anyway, my point is that Facebook updates do not take any certain level of skill or brain activity really. I can check Facebook in my sleep. Literally.  Blogging, however, takes a quiet house, kids all in bed, hubby too, and a spark of energy to ignite my brain waves again.

In other updates,
Boys' soccer season is over for now. yay.  Owen and Brayden had a good time and Alex enjoyed his first year of reffing games for money. (First job, yeah!) Its been a pretty good year, and I think public school is suiting them well. They are all excited to start their summer break!

Abby has started walking finally - my latest of the kids at 17 months. She still is often carried around and passed from brother to brother, however, so that may have something to do with it. She also finally started to say some words - mostly "eye", "hi" (they sound the same but the context is different, this is important), and "this", Everything else is "ooooh!" The world is fascinating to her right now. Every color, every sound, every object is super cool to her.

Now the school year is almost over and the boys are looking forward to summer. I have great things lined up for us this year. No laying around wasting the days away. We have trips planned to grandparents' and aunt's houses, zoos, amusement parks, scouting camps and hikes, free bowling (Sign up for Kids Bowl Free if you haven't already!) and summer reading contests. My goal is to keep them as busy as possible. This will hopefully lessen the odds of a cranky, stressed out mom. Bored kids find other ways to entertain themselves, which may or may not be a good thing.

My article this month in the Kid's Connect magazine is on creative toys kids can make. My boys LOVE to scrounge up random junk and tape them together to make something from their imagination. They don't get to do it often enough, however. I was inspired while watching the Youtube video on Caine's Arcade to get the boys' imagination churning this summer again. Here are the links to Caine's Arcade (make sure to watch part 2 as well!)
Kids NEED to use their imagination more. Too much focus is spent on toys that do everything for you these days. How will our future generations ever learn to invent, create, and imagine if they are never given the chance?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Journaling Every Day Moments

Tonight I was at my book club (yes I have a social life too, surprisingly! It's a rare and elusive creature however) and I was talking about journaling. It struck me how every day little moments pass that I often wish I could capture forever. If I could find a way to print out and publish my facebook comments, then I'm sure I'd nearly capture them all!

When I became pregnant with my first child I kept a detailed journal of my pregnancy with him and most of his first year. I wanted to keep writing in it and give it to him when he turned 18. Then baby two came along, and I started a journal for him too and wrote in for a few months. When number three came a long I only found myself writing a few entries in it. By the time numbers 4 and 5 came along, I barely had time to write their birth story in it after they were born. Abby, number 6, doesn't even have a journal.

I still think that journaling the kids' childhood is a great thing. There are so many things they say and do that I wish I could treasure forever.

So instead of feeling guilty about not writing pages upon pages in each child's journal (that he, or she, may not even want to about all my ramblings some day), I love the idea of just writing little tidbits. One friend even suggested writing one sentence every day - just a sentence to sum up the day or whatever. I think that this is a nice, guilt free, and easy way to remember those special moments or funny stories.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Birthday season 2013 has commenced

 Abby kicked off birthday season with her birthday a couple weeks ago. Now we're on to our second birthday.

Gabe has turned 4!!

Gabe, my "baby" before Abby came is now four. I can hardly believe it.

Flashback photo:

Gabe now, 4 years old:

Today Gabe insisted he be called "Birthday Boy" all day. He also was one spoiled birthday boy. First he got to go pick out his own gifts the night before his birthday. He loved the shopping spree and was trying to grab random items to throw into the car the whole trip - from Angry Bird soap dispensers to various bags of candy. Finally we got him narrowed down to a pirate sword/shield set, a My Little Pony trading card pack and slap bracelet, a bag of his favorite chips, a box of juice boxes,  and a new bike!
Then Gabe got to bring cupcakes to his preschool class today. Next he had special treatment at lunch time including his juice box, a strawberry smoothie, and shells and cheese. He even got to open his pirate sword set early and played a bit of sword fighting with mom. Then his brothers got home from school and he shared his cupcakes and had more sword fights. For dinner he got to pick out his favorite food -which was PIZZA. (Uhh not on our new health eating plan though) We splurged and got him pepperoni pizza complete with cookie dough and cheesy bread. For dessert he got strawberry shortcake. YUMM  However what Gabe REALLY wanted was a Minecraft cake. So I've got a cake being made to be ready at a later date.

I'd say, overall, the birthday boy had a pretty good day! Now mom gets a breather before the Insane Birthday Week more month.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Year's Resolution UPDATE

So. Its half-way through January. Amazingly we're still sticking with our New Year's Resolution. Rather then bog down the family blog with healthy eating updates, I updated my See Mommy Run blog (See tab at top of this blog). :) So go there for the skinny on getting skinny (okay, I admit that was cheesy).

I don't think I mentioned our other half of the New Year's Resolution, however. Billy came up with an idea to help our family also. While I'm working on the healthy side of things, he's working on the moral side of things.

Some of our boys have potty mouths. While our version of potty mouths range from "crap", "butt", or "stupid"...the extreme end of this range includes the Big Ones occasionally. You know, the ones they can't even air on TV or the radio. Oh boy.  So, dear husband has come up with a plan to Feed the Pig whenever an unacceptable word is said. While most of us don't have change on hand at all times, we keep a tally system. The boys are given an allowance and have to pay up their tally marks for bad words, as well as pay tithing (10%) before they get the remainder of their allowance. The first week our boys roughly got half of what they were supposed to get...
So said Pig is actually a pig of the ceramic variety. Decorated with festive "Vacation Fund" wording (see photo). Next year, when its family vacation time, we will break open the Pig and take a nice vacation with our potty mouth earnings. Further, if we cheat and go to take-out we have to put the same amount we spent into the Pig. Another stipulation was added as well that if we skip church for no good reason, each person has to put in a small amount in the Pig.

At the rate we're going, we'll be half-way to Hawaii in no time.

Everyone is slowly getting involved and in the game. I can't say "crap" now without little ears somewhere shouting at me "FEED THE PIG!" The boys get great joy from catching each other in the act.  The other day the TV was on, and the 3 yr old was even chastising actors on the TV show to "feed the pig" every few minutes.

Look forward to more updates from us soon, including some blog changes. I am thinking of switching the blog up a bit...any ideas?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

First Birthday Photos...

Just a quick, shameless, photo post. I will have more to post later, but for now here are Abby's first birthday photos that I thought I should share!
The cake! An awesome princess cake, chocolate with raspberry filling, made by our cousin Heidi from Heidi's Treats. SO yummy!

Interestingly enough, the boys were jealous of all the pink and fuss over Abby. Maybe because they have birthdays so close together that its not often they get a whole party to themselves. I insisted to each one that they had a big 1st birthday party fuss as well!

Abby loved the paper, ribbons, and bags the most!

Big brother Brayden holding a smiley Abby.

Cake time...but she's just daintily picking pieces off like a true Princess. She just started picking the pink and purple fondant balls off to eat.

So big brother Alex got in there and showed her how to tear into the cake properly.

"Oh..there's chocolate in here you say?!"

Digging in...


Finally getting the hang of this cake thing.

"Did I get it all?"

The aftermath...not too bad!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Haaaaaapy New Year! (And Happy Birthday)

 Wow what a year 2012 was...
First of all, biggest news, THE WORLD DIDN'T END! We get to see 2013 (bet the Mayans didn't see that one coming...)

2012 was a happy year for us. We added a new special little member to our family.
She almost came on New Years. We were sort of hoping for it. Rumor had it the first New Years baby got a prize. However, every other mom and baby must have had the same idea. The delivery rooms were full and so we had to wait another day. Oh boy was that tough.

January 2nd celebrates Abby's first birthday!!

Here's a quick look back, just a day old:

And now (well last month):

She's spoiled and loved by all. The boys still fight over who's turn it is to hold her. Now they like to sneak her treats behind mom's back also. She's going to get every little thing she asks for. Oh Boy.

Now...on BIG Family New Year's Resolution.

We are going to attempt to eat healthy, preservative-free, artificial sugar-free, and just as pure and healthy as possible. I think going too extreme our first attempt will burn us out quick. So this will be a learning process. I'm taking it one week at a time with  my meal planning.  We may be having to do this in baby steps. A great tool to start our journey out with is the 100 days of real food website. Recipes, meal plans, lots of tips. Great stuff.
I will be updating our progress here on the blog. By the end of 2013 I hope to be writing a similar post to this telling you of all the great things we've seen by changing our diet. Yay!
I'm not a baker (nor for that matter a butcher nor a candlestick maker) I will be limited on what I can do. However it will be interested. I was pretty excited to see a Great Harvest Breads in Wenatchee. I guess I never paid attention before! I hope to buy our whole wheat bread there since I lack a wheat mill as well as the desire and talent to grind my own wheat and bake my own bread every week.
Check back weekly, or maybe monthly, to see how we're doing!

School starts back for me, like now, so I'm back to being a busy full time mom/full time college student again.

Hoping that 2013 will be a fantastic year for all!