Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Finally Getting to Potty Train Caleb

Caleb is in the middle of potty training finally.  The doctors told us to wait since he had to have surgery.  Well, it's not fun for him because he always has the fear that it's gonna be painful.  Slowly, little by little, he's starting to realize that it's gonna be okay and is picking up on it fast.  It's not going so great when we go out somewhere.  If I put underwear on Caleb he tends to think it's a diaper so I'm constantly reminding him to go in the toilet.  Not in his cool Spiderman underwear.  :)  When his older sisters work in their homeschool workbooks, Caleb likes to think he's homeschool also in his coloring book.  (Girls just finished in this pic).

The other day Charles was trying to talk on the phone and all the kids got into an argument.  When he got off he put all seven of them in time out.  We had just been loading to leave so Juliet was in her carrier.  As a joke we put her carrier in with them.  Heh heh.... I had to take a pic because when Charles put them in time-out the house went from crazy loud to completely silent in one second.  That's rare in our house unless everyone is sleeping.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Putting Out Extra Plates for Extra Kids

Did I ever think about the fact that my kids my might make friends with other kids and so we'd have lots of extra kids over?  Noooo.... Ha ha.  Lately I've been making lots of extra food for welcoming more little guests in the house.  In fact, I have so many kids over lately that today I couldn't even remember why my friend was dropping her kids off at my house.  When she said thank you and that she was leaving to their work party I was like, "Oh, yeah, alright."  We're just happy to have them so it really doesn't matter why.  Tonight I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner to feed the hungry herd.  I got out my 5lbs of pork and quickly put together a stirfry meal since I happened to have all the ingredients. 

So this is what it's like to feed 10 kids.... the house was active and very loud.  Charles and I looked at each other and smiled because we know we are in the best times of our life right now.  So far.... If it gets better and better then that's awesome! 

My boys are big on wrestling so I always have to warn the other boys that come over if they aren't used to it.  You can usually tell if they don't have any brothers of their own.  :)  Usually the girls will hop into the big pile. 
My girls looooove to play in the their play make up.  Although they can't wear it out, it makes them feel big and it's hilarious where they think some if it goes.  Today Ashley had blue eyebrows.  I don't know, maybe the fad can catch on?
After we ate we took all 10 kids to Mcdonalds.  It went from a quiet cafe type scene into what it's supposed to be, a kid playland!  :D  We seriously need to get a bigger van so we can go on more adventures with extra kids. 
Ivy (left) with her friend

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Keeping Kids Pure in a Hollywood Loving World

I have completely disappeared for a week but for a really good reason.  :D  This one makes me smile.  We were completely decluttering our house.  Our garage is filling up with stuff for our garage sale.  I can't believe how fantastic the house looks again and I'm really proud of the kids for decluttering with me.  After decluttering my room, I thought I'd show you a picture of one of my daughter's great decorating ideas.  It's not really my favorite and I had to remove it.  See if you can spot it in the picture.  :)

Recently we shut off our internet to focus more on God and more on our family.  We are fine with it but since I've noticed the kids have withdrawals from it, I'm glad I cut the entertainment I.V.  We don't have movies in the house but there are some exceptions to the rule.  If it is for educational purposes it's fine.  We allow all 19 Kids and Counting episodes, and some Clean House.  Of course all are on DVD.  I let the kids get an idea of what we were gonna do by letting see some Clean House episodes.  It was so awesome seeing the kids go through and clean out their rooms without me having to push them.  We used to have regular movies before but it was getting almost impossible to find anything that had no fornication, swearing, or blasphemy.  Why is it so hard for Hollyweird to show a married couple without making it seem boring or bland?  It's just so wrong of me to make stands against these things to my kids but then watch it in a movie.  Yikes. 

Ryan and Chaz

The other day we were walking through Walmart picking up a few items and I didn't really notice that we were walking through the women's section.  Chaz had his head down and once we passed it said, "How come the world has to always portray women in a perverted way."  Surprised by this question  I told him that whatever good God makes the devil always has to pervert or twist it.  Sometimes it's truly hard to live with higher standards because it's so opposite of the flow of the world, but watching my kids grow up with a love of God, a willingness to serve others, and see them desire what is pure and righteous makes it all so, so, so worth it. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Life After Internet and Entertainment

Chaz and Ivy
I can't say it enough.... :D  I'm loving no internet at home!  I'm loving that we are all playing together and learning together.  If we want to learn something that we don't know about we just find it in a book or go find it in a library.  My kids are really getting along and have been working through issues more.  The only videos we allow in the house are educational, The Duggar Family, and anything about Organizing (Clean House).  Since watching some of the Clean House episodes, which I did on purpose, they have been going through their own stuff to toss.  We've made a pretty big donation pile and we're not nearly done.  I hope to get rid of lots more.

Kids homeschooling at community center

Ashley working on her Kindergarten workbook
I added a new chore for Chaz and Ryan.  As much as I love the idea that I can do it all, I just can't.  I've tried and tried and I really need them to pitch in more.  I don't ever want to be the mom that gives orders from the couch.  Do this, do that, get me this, do the chores.... blah, blah, yet not being a good example myself.  I didn't have kids to have someone do chores for me even though they make messes of their own. A supervising mommy is someone who has training in mind.  Chaz HATES to get dirty so his job is to unload a clean dishwasher at least once a day. Ryan's job is to load the dishwasher of dirty dishes once a day and start it.  I'm hoping this will also make them aware of how many dishes they are dirtying in the day.  I have been having to show them how to do it right.  I don't just hope they are doing their work right, often I have to be right alongside each one of them and walk them through it.  After awhile they sometimes try to slip through or they just miss stuff because they are kids.  It's just ridiculous of me to think I can handle the work of 9 people living in the home all by myself.  The kids are starting to understand it's not worth keeping the clutter since they are the ones having to keep up on their own stuff.  It's been nice not having any distractions at home so we can be more focused on things that really matter. We still have LOTS of fun but the differences is we play together rather than how it was before, everyone seem to go off to do their own thing. 
My poor dog.  The girls really like to pretend that's their baby.  You would think they've spoiled Juliet enough but apparently they haven't.  Last night when I went to drop Juliet off in the church nursery, I told them it's not my fault if she acts spoiled.  The kids pick her up at every whimper or squeak so she's learned to fuss to get some attention.  Little stinker.  I have been doing a lot of decluttering and the bassinet is one of the things I'm donating.  I guess Ivy figured it'd be a good bed for doggy till I finally take it out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Finally Dropping Pounds and Working Out Homeschooling Outside the Home

I had been getting so frustrated with my dieting because I was stuck at only a 10lb weight loss.  My mom reminded me about another friend that lost a lot of weight by replacing two of her meals with a protein shake.  Good idea!  I was already having 1 a day but was still eating three Paleo friendly meals.  Well, it was keeping off my weight but wasn't letting me drop more.  So now I've lost 13lbs and super excited.  Every morning I wake up I'm losing more.  Super happy with it and gonna keep it up till I get to my goal weight which is only 10 more lbs.  It gets harder the closer to you get to your goal weight.  My husband thinks I'm crazy and said I'm too strict on my diet but I tell him I love being thin more.  :D  The other night our church had a potluck and it was kinda tough to pick only meat and vegetables since there was so little like that but eventually I found some chicken (without the breading), some pepperoni's, and some soup without any carbs in it.  It was delicious!  :D  I was proud about that because there was food and dessert everywhere.  It was more filling fellowshipping with my friends anyway.

Since we shut off the internet we are homeschooling at our community center.  It is in some ways harder because we need to drive over here but it's better because it's less distractions for the kids.  It keeps the two separate and all kids can be on a computer at once.  We still do some homeschooling at home but take the computer work to the lab.  We are condensing it so we don't have to be here every day.  So far we like it so we'll see.  Charles and I are still loving not having internet at home.  We have been reading books a lot more which is way healthier.  I'm excited! 

Monday, October 15, 2012

10 Reasons We Take Internet Breaks

What a rough yet wonderful weekend it was!  I felt like I really had my head in the sand for a loooong time.  I had friends amongst me and didn't even realize it.  At first my weekend started out terrible with lots of tears.  With the end of one chapter, yet hoping for the best with starting anew. 

10 Reasons we Take Breaks From the Internet

1. Internet can be a distraction

2. Library sounds fun again

3. My kids now think McDonalds is exciting again.

4. Without the distraction, church is more looked forward to. 

5. Our kids remember that really fun game Hide & Seek

6. Our kids get along better (no fighting over who's turn it is on the computer).

7. We read books more.

8. I have more time to do chores and be done earlier.

9. Less gossip

10. My kids remembered how fun vegetable gardening is.  :D

On Saturday my husband and I decided it was time again to shut off our internet. We usually do this once a year for a few months. Sure it's wonderful to have the conveniences of it but it can also be distracting. We wanted to get closer to God and closer to each other so we decided Saturday would be a good day to start.  We don't have a TV either so we feel like we are going primal. lol.    That's where our fun began.....

We had some kids over after church on Sunday and it was great to see them all playing together, running around outside.  The kids were all sharing their DSi's and bikes.  I don't know, it was just such a pleasant afternoon.
One of the changes in me through a recent, yet heartbreaking, experience is that you don't put all your eggs in one basket.  That can have several meanings but I'm using it for friendship.  It's good to have a close friend but is it healthy to keep it exclusive?  What about making other friends?  We get comfortable with our one friend and don't reach out sometimes.  At least I know I've been guilty of this.  What happens when that friendship goes sour?  Where am I then?  I've then put all my eggs in one basket and end up with nothing.   It's GREAT to have a close friend but it's even GREATER to make other friendships too. 
Last night we had an appreciation dinner for our pastor and so many people expressed their thanks for what he's done.  I know he's been there for me more times than I can count.  Any time I EVER needed advice, someone to talk to, ask about an idea, he was always there.  He's never been too busy for my family.  Also, he's loved us enough to rebuke us when needed.  It wasn't done out of anger but out of love to see us make it.  Anyone that comes along in my life and trash talks him because they are hiding sin, well, I don't give a time of day to.  Someone who committed major violations against people, and seriously hurt others, I'm not exactly gonna want to listen to gossip about people I love. If I were to compare character, why would I listen to the one that is like a serpent?  If I lose friendships over this then so be it.  If anyone talks about your pastor, the best thing you can do for your own mind and heart is to run it by him and hear his side of the story.  Pastors get attacked a lot, if anything, take the time to give some appreciation.  They get a lot less of that these days.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Terrible Birthdays

Yesterday was my husband's birthday and it was a rough day.  I feel so bad and I tried to hard to smile and act like everything was okay.  People can really throw me for a loop but it's time to move on, get over, and remember that today is a NEW  day.  

The day started rough when I got some nasty hate mail.  I was shocked by it's contents. How could anyone write something so mean and hateful?  How could someone do it all in the name of Jesus?  Remember that if you are writing a letter in the name of Jesus, it might need to contain some of his characteristics.  If you want to rebuke someone, do it out of love.  I had to write a letter to this person but it was written out of love, not anger, or spitefulness, or insulting.  When I thought I couldn't be shocked anymore by hate mail, this took it to a new level.  Oh well.  Time to dry up the tears, build a bridge, and move on.

Today is a NEW DAY!  :D

Towards the end of the day yesterday I took my boys and their friend to the pool for some fun in the water. It was cloudy and possibly rainy outside but this is all indoors.  The boys like to kid for the pictures and I didn't stop them.  LOL.  They are so funny.

After we got back home I asked Charles what he would like for his birthday dinner and he said tacos.  Thankfully I had all the ingredients so I whipped them together fast and they loved it. It was gone in a whirlwind. Man, if you want to not die of starvation in a large family as a mother, be sure to cook more than enough so you can have some.  Heh heh.  I always under cook the right amount and get stuck with what's left.  Good for the diet though!  We sang to Charles with a cake in hand and before you could say " Joe Biden should never become vice-president for anyone", the cake was gone.  Wow!  It went fast.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Celebrating Ashley's 5th Birthday Party with Just Us Girls

We had to celebrate Ashley's birthday late but for this birthday it was just my mom, dad, Ivy, Ashley, and I.  My dad just met us for dinner and then us girls headed over to Chuck E Cheese.  

My dad is so good at winning these things and he got one of the first try.  Sheesh!  Isn't it funny though how the people tuck everything in so tight?  We were lucky to get that one because after that he couldn't get a second one.  I mean, nothing budged.  I seriously need to own one of those machines.

It is really, really nice to spend time with my parents.  I always wonder what life is gonna be like when all my kids grow up and I'm still here without them.  Are they gonna move far away?  Are they gonna want to bring their children here?  Charles and I have already planned out making one of the rooms a guest room and another one a nursery....just in case anyone will bring the kids by.  I know that's really thinking ahead but I love family around me so much.  It was even a little bit hard going to Chuck E. Cheese without the rest of my family.  We still had fun but I can't help feeling like that.  I think the hard part about being a grandparent would be knowing that you aren't the decision maker on raising the kids anymore.  Your job is done and however your kids decide to raise their kids, that's their choice.  

Have you ever been to Chuck E Cheese during the school year on a week night?  It's so empty AND wonderful!!!  We had the whole place to ourselves.  Usually the place with all it's noise can get really crazy but it was much more enjoyable with not having the over crowding.

Chuckie completely caught me off guard.  I turned around, saw him, and almost fell over.  Sheesh.  Ha ha.

I think the girls cared more about winning tokens then anything.  Ashley was excited about her winnings!  She still carries them around everywhere.  She's so polite though so when we got home and the kids wanted to try out her things she said yes.  I told her to be careful because they break easy.  She shares everything.  Her toys, candy...  The wonderful thing about having several kids, they learn to share so much easier. :)

Happy birthday my sweet princess.  My 5th child turned 5.  You have been so easy to raise thus far and you always have such a sweet spirit.  You even skipped the terrible twos.... I need more of you.  Heh heh.

After Chuck E Cheese we headed to McDonalds so we could have coffee with the cake.  Boy, my mom is a night owl and we only left at 11pm because they were closing.  LOL.  I got my night owlness from my mom.  

So you know how I'm on a diet?  Seriously, I love my diet.  I basically eat only meat and vegetables.  I allow myself only 25 carbs a day MAX.  That's usually just from my milk and coffee creamer.  I ate two tiny bites of my cake.  Heh heh..... so proud.  Seriously though, we went to Denny's, Chuck E Cheese, then McDonalds and I still stayed within my diet.  I'm so proud.  Pat on the back, pat on the back.    :D

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Saturday, October 06, 2012

Little Ballerina Girls and Chicken Soup for the Soul

Ivy and Ashley had pictures today for their upcoming recital.  So cute.  I had to wait in the mommy waiting area but I could hear Ashley shouting out "That's how you know!  That's how you know, he's in love!" from the movie Enchanted.  The ladies told me she was dancing and singing around the studio.  I guess she doesn't have stage fright.  Tee hee...

It can be fun sitting in the waiting area for two (Agggh!) long hours listening to the other moms.  I heard one mom say she goes to Starbucks every single morning for her drink.  I started adding it up in my head and it comes out to $210 a month!  Whoa!  Hey, if you got the bucks, you got the bucks.  LOL.  I think sometimes it's more than just the coffee because I love my Keurig at home.  Maybe it's the atmosphere that people would actually drive there every day just for a cup of joe.  Hmmm.... I don't know.  Haven't figured it out because it just tastes like burnt beans to me.

While I waited I also mentioned the frustration of my dieting.  I told them I lost 10lbs like nothing when I started but then it just stopped.  I guess I'm gonna have to hit the gym again and I seriously don't have the time.  I will have to MAKE the time.  Argh...  A lady mentioned that she does the Insanity workout and she lost 20lbs really fast.  It's a video she buys to do in her home.  I asked her if she ever tried to do aerobics in her house with kids everywhere trying to do it with you.  It's cute till you fling your hand and knock another kid across the room.  I always had to wait till they were sleeping.  She mentioned that on her diet you can eat whatever you want and just not go over 1,500 calories.  I told her I can't eat the carbs because it just makes me hungry again real fast.  I basically eat only meat and vegetables.  Here is one of my favorite meals.  Just chicken soup without the noodles.  So it's just chicken, keep the broth and add NO extra fake chicken flavoring.  That's basically just the broth from the chicken there.  I also added the celery and spinach leaves.  Sooooooo good and the bone broth is so good for you.

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Friday, October 05, 2012

Surprises Kids Leave on Your Camera

My kids have been getting a hold of my camera a lot lately.  I seriously need to get them their own cameras to be creative. They make videos and take pictures.  I'm always in for some surprises every time I load all the pictures on to my computer.  Here are a few of the funny ones... Of course I edited them for better color.

Above: Ashley put on goggles to look at the new doggy bone brought into the house for our big Great Dane.  

I guess goggles make it so much safer to get near it.

Ashley posing with a kitchen tool.  

Little chihuahua watching big Henry eat a bone.  That's how I feel when I see my husband eat a candy bar and I can't have one.

Above: Kyle wanted to send a video of him singing happy birthday to a friend.  Not a good quality video but creative and funny.  LOL.  I didn't know he was making this but it was pretty darn cute.

Caleb waking up in the morning....

Juliet and Caleb in a bucket

Even though I have to wade through hundreds of photos from the kids, there are a few great treasures in them.  :)  I need to give them the camera more often.

Kyle relaxing on his bed.  Some day he's gonna mention all the teddy bears behind him.  I think he was trying to look cool in this picture.  Soooo cute though with the teddy bears.  

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Meatoplasty Surgery on My Toddler

Yesterday Caleb went into surgery for Meatal Stenosis.  He has been in a lot of pain and it was causing an infection.  We didn't have time to try alternate routes because it was worsening fast.  It's not fun when you have a toddler that is screaming and jumping up and down every time he has to pee.  Poor guy.  My friend came over to watch the kids so we could go alone with Caleb.

In waiting room before prep
Good thing I left an extra half hour early because we got lost and barely made it on time.  There was several other little kids there and I wondered what they were there for.  Can't help the curiosity but of course I didn't ask anyone.  After they led us back they gave him a little gown and socks.  He would not keep the socks on and kept taking them off no matter how many times we put them back on.  Finally they just brought him a blanket.  :)

In prep before surgery

It was sad when they took him from us and we saw him walk away holding the nurse's hand.  What parent excitedly waves bye to their baby going into surgery even if it's minor surgery?  It's scary when you know they are getting an epidural and being put under.  We couldn't wait till he woke up and when he did he had a sad face for a long time.  He was begging for us to take his I.V. out but he had to wait.  He's in a lot of pain now and on some strong medication.  I'm supposed to help keep it open every diaper change and it's tough because he doesn't want anyone near that area.  Poor guy. :(  The medicine knocks him out thank goodness because he needs to let himself heal.  

I got back from the hospital and my poor friend looked tired with nine kids in the house.  She has three kids herself but you know it's quite a jump when you come along and go, "Here is six more!"  She so amazing because I don't know of anyone else that would do that for me.  She went a step beyond and had them do their chores while I was gone so I could come back to an easier evening.  Phew.  Thank goodness for such an amazing friend!  :D