Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why I Have a Lot of Kids

My husband's work has been slow so he has not worked at all this week.  Yikes!  I have to say though that I LOOOOOVE having hubby home.  He's my best friend and we have tons of fun with the kids together.  The last couple of days we've taken the van to get worked on and then hung out at fun places together. We FINALLY have our big van back and we are so relieved.  However, we are still looking to take the captain seats out and putting a bench in for the kids.  We need the extra seat belt and we need to separate our Aspergers kids so he is not right next to someone else.  We are gonna have baby Juliet be in between Chaz and Ryan. That should settle the issues we are having.

Today while I was holding baby Juliet, Charles and I were just commenting on how far we've come with how we think of babies.  It USED to be that babies were a ton of work and we couldn't wait till they got a bit bigger.  You know, like wanting them to hold their own bottle (if they can't nurse), be potty trained, dress themselves, make their own sandwich.  Ohhhhh, how things have changed.  Before having Juliet people were asking me if I was nervous at all.  I was nervous.  I was worried about the work of a baby again till I had her and then realized how truly easy it's become.  It gets easy when you've learned to put others above yourself.  When you've been changing diapers for 12 years without any breaks in between.  It gets easy when you realize that it actually gets harder in other ways as they grow older.  I wish I could take Chaz and Ryan back down to their baby years and just be happy with cuddling them and not wishing for them to grow up.  It's easier than having to correct issues of the heart.  I guess maybe simpler is the right word.  Ahhh... I love my babies.  People wonder why I have so many.  Well, when you love (almost) every day of your life because you are surrounded by cute and funny kids, it makes it hard to imagine being DONE.  Now, if I complain tomorrow about how hard life is, know that it's probably because the house got messy. AGAIN.  

Actually, I'll just get the complaining out now.  Oh my gosh, the kids just had a hay day in this house.  We have been in and out so much that I can hardly keep up.  The boys got back from their 3 day camping trip and mama has to clean and put away all the clothes. It stinks like mud, smoke, and sweat.  Guys are just so sweet smelling, huh?  Don't ask if you can come over my house right now. I'll just say no.  Well, last night I went in the girl's room and asked them to just pick out the stuff they want to keep and I'll throw out the rest.  They literally picked only five items to keep.  I insisted we keep all costumes because I KNOW they love to play in them even though it wasn't the items they picked. The rest went into the donation bag.  This is gonna be done in every room.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Finally Getting to be a Band Mom

Caleb and Ivy playing soldiers
Oh, today started out so rough I ended up in tears.  We finally got a large van fixed.  I'm so happy about it.  It cost $1,000 in repairs and although I choked on that (tomorrow another $500), I'm grateful to have it back.  On Sunday we went to go pick it up after church but we forgot that they only took cash at the mechanics shop.  Could we even pull out that much money from an ATM?  I was pretty sure we couldn't.  After pulling out some of it, our account locked up and I couldn't even use my card to buy a bottle of water. After several hours we finally called the fraud department and had the limit lifted temporarily.  Good grief.  I know they do that for a good reason but it stinks when you can't get your own money out when you need it.  

Monday morning I was excited to finally get to drive it again and take the kids to school.  As I back out of my garage I notice something wrong.   A tire was flat!  I had to transfer all the kids and the car seats to our smaller van and try to get them to the school they go to on Mondays.  Now they were gonna be late and missing their favorite class which is the chess class.  Finally we get going and the van is heating up.  Argh!  I didn't want to stop but I didn't want to kill the van.  My husband calls and says work is slow and he's coming home.  At least then we could get a tire and we did after we dropped the kids off.  Before saying goodbye to the kids I promised them that I'd rent their bells kit that they needed for band.  I also told them I would get it before they had band at the end of the day.  Well, that didn't work out because it took so long running errands and getting things fixed.  We finally get all three boys their bells kit just in time for band to let out and go home.  No problem.  I can read music since I played in band for several years in school. You know what hurt though?  How much it costs to rent three separate bell kits.  OUCH!  Oh, for the love of your kids.  In three months the band teacher will start letting them learn on snares and I can return the bell kits.

Since it was a rough day Charles took us out to have fun.  It was much needed but the boys were excited to get home and practice on their instruments.  They immediately set up their bells and we got working on the notes and what they mean.  Quarter notes, half notes, whole notes and rests.  All three understood it quickly and after only one hour they could play a whole page of music in their books and kept time really well. Wow!  That makes a band mom proud.  Charles and I both grew up in band so this is our passion.  I really want the kids to learn an instrument that they can use later in life.  I learned flute and although it was a beautiful instrument, I wasn't able to use it for ministry since bands don't exactly call for flutes very often.  Heh heh....When I was younger and playing flute, I did expand my horizons and eventually learn the alto sax, tenor sax and added piccolo.  It was a lot of fun.

Ivy took this picture of her view from the couch
Finally I am home and although the house looks like a tornado ripped through it, I'm tired and ready to have a meeting with my pillow.  Sigh... :D

P.S.  Diane, thank you so much for following my blog. My dad let me know and I'm so happy you are doing well.  Love you! 

Friday, August 24, 2012

When the Boys Are Away the Girls Will Play

The guys are gone camping for three days.  I love to plan and pack so I enjoyed going to the store looking for camp items and packing the bags. I put each kid in one corner of the room, yelled out an item off the list and they had to quickly go find it and put in their pile.  It was fun because I sounded like a drill sargent and they moved fast.  Ha ha.  It was one in the morning and we were tired.  It's Kyle's first year going with the guys so he was excited and kept saying he couldn't believe he was going.  I looove taking pictures so I'm sad I won't be able to see the fun stuff they did. I only have four kids with me so it's super easy to go places.  Us girls and Caleb found our own fun stuff to do....

My 3 are on the right.  Caleb's ball was so slow they laid down to watch it go.

Above: Ivy bowling

Caleb watching to see where his ball is gonna go

The kids had sooo much fun and they played two games of bowling

Ivy kept practicing her splits for ballet while she was there

Ivy (right) with her best friend Kerrie

Ashley (right) bowling next to her friend

We might go somewhere today.  I'm trying to figure out whether I want to take advantage of the quieter house and get some cleaning done or go out again today and have some fun!  Argh.  I have the cleaning lady on my right shoulder waving her feather duster at me and the party girl on my left trying to get me to have some fun.  


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Moving My Family Into a New Chapter

My life in some ways feels like a blank canvas right now.  Although a bit sad at times, I'm able to see who my true friends are.  When I walked away from a certain situation, although I walked away peaceably, I lost friends in the process.  I love those people very much and although I'm walking away, it is not out of anger, spite, or disappointment.  I actually have so much to be grateful for beyond words.  Do you know how many baby showers I had?  Lots.  People that taught my kids and invested in them. No way am I walking away with an ungrateful attitude.  I'm walking away from my place of worship for different reasons.  I truly miss the home church I grew up in and look forward to having ministry with people I've known for 30 years.  People that also invested in my life for many years.  In fact, the Sunday school teacher I had will also be my childrens' Sunday school teacher.  Imagine that!  It blows me away.  It's a smaller place but my heart has always stayed there, even after I moved further away and relocated.  However, my kids have only known one place. 

I was a bit worried about relocating my kids but being it was originally their idea, mainly because they are feeling a bit tormented by bullies right now, I worry.  Are they thinking all problems will just go away forever?  That the way to solve a problem is to just run from it?  I have talked with them almost every day to see where their hearts are at and they told me over and over the move is something they really, really want.  I was bullied as a child so I know exactly how they are feeling.  With that said, bullies are everywhere.  Sometimes they can get away with bullying for a very long time and parents are blind to it.  The last few times I attended with my kids I assured them that if they stay by my side the bullies won't bother them.  Well, Chaz is 13 and doesn't want to have to stick by mommy's side.  He wants the freedom to walk around and socialize.  My kids just really went through a horrific bullying experience and that's when I decided enough was enough.  Bullying can cause major damage in a child when it goes too far.  I have to say though, bullying is not the reflection of a church, it's a reflection of the parent who does nothing or doesn't even notice.  I would be horrified if my child was bullying.  Truly.  We have discussions all the time through family bible study time about loving every person despite differences in looks, race, or weight. 

Even with a  loss of friends, I am grateful for the friends I have gained from my place of worship for the last 13 years.  I have learned a lot and really grown spiritually, emotionally.  I have welcomed correction (with tears) and accepted guidance with an open heart.  Hopefully, this new chapter in my life with open up even more for me spiritually as I have always strongly desired to have an impact on kids, besides my own.  I've never been given the chance and am excited about it. 

The comment I got on a recent blog was harsh but not shocking.  Sadly, at that time I had not fully decided to relocate but that comment sealed the deal for me.  It meant so much to me to have some of you rise up and challenge the commenter.  I never meant to put any place in a bad light.  I have so much gratefulness towards this place of worship and no bitter feelings.  I just want to move forward into a new chapter and hopefully new growth in me personally.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Meeting Moms in Parking Lots...In Your PJ's

So my big van is finally getting fixed!  I mean, the whole works.  New transmission, new power windows, new rims, paint job possibly, and darker tint.  I love my van but it's just been sitting there while we drive a smaller one.  We've been squished and it's not fun.  Have you tried to squish in with an Aspergers kid? Everyone can be in tears within 10 minutes.

I needed to go to Target today since my kids and husband are going on the father-son camping trip tomorrow with our church.  Well, as we were unloading I noticed another big van pull up.  This one was a 12 passenger or something like that.  A mom of seven came out and I don't know about you but when I find another large family mama, I want to say hello!!!  Then, across from me a mom of 10 is getting into her van.  Wow!  This almost never happens.  I actually felt normal for once.  The mom of seven gave me her email and to top it off she homeschools.  I loooooove to learn from others and how they run their home.  The problem was that since I had only intended to run in and out of Target quickly, I wasn't dressed so great. Next time I get the fabulous idea that it won't matter to wear pajama shorts going somewhere, I'll just remember this.  You might meet another mama who you might want to impress just a tad.  Pajama pants won't get the reaction you want. Heh heh.

I took Caleb and Ashley in for a regular check up and I was curious as to how Juliet was doing with her weight.  I've had people point out how little she is and some say they were worried.  I knew she was perfectly healthy but this way I can say "doctor said she's perfectly healthy."  She's three months and 11 lbs.  She's following the curve perfectly but she is long for her age.  Caleb is healthy to but the one thing that was sad is that his binky shaped how his teeth grew in.  Oh mannnn, makes me sad.  At least they are not permanent teeth.  That thing is just going in the trash.  She said it's not a problem for moms to use binkies for naps or night time but should otherwise keep them away.

It's hard for me to want to take them in because I'm used to getting pressure about vaccinations.  She told me I need to get them vaccinated for pertussis because it's going around.  I asked her if it's going around amongst the unvaccinated kids.  Do you know what she said?  Nope, it's going around amongst the vaccinated kids.  Yeeeeah, I think I'll stay away from that one.  I smiled and politely turned that one down.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Anorexic Christianity

Today I got so MUCH done while the kids were in their one day a week school.  Wow!  It's super easy to clean while they are gone!  So THAT'S how moms do it.  Ha ha.  It's so nice for the breaks on Monday.  I use the breaks for either errands or cleaning house really well.  So far I think I like the part about getting the house clean!  It's super easy to get dinner ready early too.  Wheeeee!  Okay, a bit excited here.

Last night in church I was just feeling frustrated with myself about some things.  Maybe not feeling like I'm good enough as a Christian.  I know in the past I've been judgmental about other people and how they act.  I just held those feelings inside of me and I didn't realize that over time it was just eating away at me.  Before I knew it I felt spiritually anorexic.  I spent so much time focusing on how others were doing that I forgot to feed myself.  Maybe it was that or listening to too much unhealthy chatter.  Last night during praise and worship my eyes wandered over to a gal who I've had some issues with in the past.  I know she's lost her temper at people, including my best friend.  I saw her raising her hands and really just focusing on praising God.  It was totally genuine.  Then it really hit me.  THAT'S why we are here.  We're not here because we have it all together.  We come to church because we desperately need God.  I need God.  I've hurt others and been judgmental when I had no right.  Instead of looking at the crowd with a tainted view, this time I saw a people just like me.  We are all there for many of the same reasons.  We live in a world that celebrates fame, money, immorality, and condones murder.  We constantly hear blasphemy, words of hate, bitterness, and have our eyes violated just trying to go to the mall.  A church is a place where we can be refreshed, hear from God, take in a big breath, then go out again to be a light in a very dark world.  In order to make it I need to be reading my bible and praying every day.  Not refreshing yourself every day in His Word is like not eating and paying attention to the natural urges of your body wanting nourishment.  It lasts for so long till you feel really weak.  The world offers only junk food, and when you're full on that it's hard to accept what's good and nourishing.  I need to take the time out of my day, NO MATTER WHAT, and do that.  

Homeschooling each week starts again and this time I feel like I have a fresh start.  This time I'm not pregnant, not on any bed rest, not facing any huge things.  I can just focus on my kids.  :)  I'm excited.  Crossing my fingers here.  Well, having faith would be more like it!  This is gonna be a good year.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Need to Feel Needed - Don't Most Women Desire This?

I haven't blogged because nothing bothers me more than being told I am not allowed to blog about a certain thing I'm going through.  I have always blogged my heart and for my kids.  I love to see the changes and seasons of my life.  I am not one to lay my life out on the table for everyone to see but I'm also not one that tries to be fake in any way.  I have stalker readers that report me to people or family if I ever say anything they don't like.  It's really weird, I know.  But a family member will call me up and say, "I got a phone call for so and so and she said you blogged about this."  Argh.  Drives me crazy. 

I'm taking a different direction in my life because I've been at a stand still for a very long time.  I want to talk about it without putting anyone or place in a bad light.  This place is a very good place.  VERY, VERY good place.  However, just because a place can function very well, doesn't mean it's perfect.  Hello!  What place is?  :)  Sometimes someone can be in the middle of a lot of people and feel completely lonely.  Watching people around you make plans with each other for 13 years yet never ask you.  Ministry wise, I've always had a strong desire to work with kids.  I love kids obviously.  I have very good memories of people giving their time and love to training me up in Christ.  They have had a huge impact on my life. I would love to give back or pay it forward.  I am 34 and still haven't been able to no matter how much I've tried.  I've never been a chair warmer.  I grew up learning to be involved and go getter.  To make things happen.  Not just to be an observer and receiver.  My parents taught me to be a giver, not just a taker.  So why did I feel like I do after 13 years of just being not much more than a chair warmer?  Because that's not the kind of person I am.  I have tried and tried to get more involved and there just hasn't been room for me to help. God knows I've desired to do more because He's heard my cries and seen my tears.  Fortunately, the place I'm going to now has been very, very blessed to have so many giving people that there isn't much room for me to squeeze in somewhere.  But I think that's a wonderful problem to have, right?  I'm just seriously lonely somehow in the midst of it.  I need to feel needed.  A part of something.  Like I belong.  Being a chair warmer has made me feel like an outsider.  Partly my fault because I'm not a pushy person that HAS to have my way.  I can't be like that.  Some women can be very vocal in wanting their way.  I will offer but if I get turned down year after year I finally just quit asking.  The problem is I feel like I'm fading away and I don't like that feeling. 

I'm searching..... waiting..... praying.....  Wanting to do what is right.  I want to make people happy and stay faithful but without sacrificing myself in the process.  If I'm dying on the inside I have to do SOMETHING.  In the light of eternity, my relationship with God is the most important ever and if I feel like that is in Jeopardy, I would be a fool not to stop and evaluate.  To make a change. Not because I feel like one place is bad and another better, but only because I feel like I fit in better like a puzzle piece that fits.  Hope that makes sense because it does to me.  :) 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Why I Switched to Cloth Diapers

I'm asking for prayers for my husband's job that more work will come in.  I have 244 followers and would love the prayers to be lifted to heaven.  This economy is not that great and work tends to dip drastically in my husband's field.  I'm praying that God will bless my husband's job with more projects.  His boss is Christian and it's such a blessing for Charles to work there.  Ohhh, I wish our economy would stabilize.

Did you know I switched my babies to cloth diapers?  I spent an hour with a lady (thank you, Rosemary!) I met on Craigslist who was super nice and she had almost every brand of cloth diapers out there.  She showed me each one so I could see the differences.  A lot of it is about preference but there are just some that function better.  Functioning by not leaking!  I wanted to cloth diaper 9 years ago but there wasn't as many options and I hated the constant leaking.  Maybe there was good ones out there but I just wasn't good at finding them. Anyway, the selection is HUGE now and we're lovin' it!  I can afford to buy the disposables but being that I spend $700 a year on the Target brand, lets not even mention the more expensive brands, cloth just makes sense.  

I used the excuse that you have to also use electricity and water and you have to count in that cost.  Well, in just one load I can wash several days worth of cloth diapers.  I have a front loader so even better.  Sweet!  I have been changing diapers nonstop since the year 2000 without even a month break.  Do you know how many diapers that is?  Around 50,000!  Whooooaaa.... You know you love kids when you don't mind changing THAT many diapers.  I wish I could see all the diapers I changed in a big mound to really understand how much I added to our landfill.  That is just me alone that used that many and threw away. Eek.

I made sure to go to Sprouts and buy Country Save which is safe for cloth diapers.  It's 80 loads for 10 bucks.  I asked Rosemary why it was important to use this kind of laundry detergent and she said because regular laundry detergent will break down the material that keeps diapers from leaking.  Okay, I make my own laundry detergent but I might just figure out how to alter it to be able to make it safe for cloth diapers as well.  I've been noticing lately that I have this desire in me to learn how to do everything the hard way.  Not sure why but I just like learning how to make things myself.  What if I couldn't go to the store and by the top brand out there?  Isn't it nice to know your options?  Save money?  To actually know what you need and how to make it?  Maybe it's the frugalness in me, I don't know.  

It really is important to protect your cloth diapers so if you are curious about brands, just click on this link HERE to know which ones are safe and the cost differences.  

By the way, I'm trying THIS next!  Keep one in the shower filled with a mixture of half vinegar and half Dawn dishsoap.  Use it to wipe down the shower while you are in there and your shower will always be clean.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ryan's 11th Birthday Party & Added Chores

Today is Ryan's 11th birthday!!!  Happy birthday to the one who one moment acts like a kid, does pranks, and is just goofy to the next moment acting like a grownup. You are my sunshine!  You were such a surprise to us being you came almost exactly 12 months after Chaz was born and you are still full of surprises every day.  I love you!!!!!

Ryan, friend Georgie, and Chaz
We took Ryan to a trampoline place for his birthday.  Although we had a Groupon for another place, we're gonna save that one for another time, we went to one that was closer.  On their birthdays we let them pick the location and who they want to bring.  OF COURSE he brought his best friend Georgie.  :D  

Kyle and Ryan playing dodgeball on trampolines
My mom took Juliet so I'd be able to follow the little ones around easier.  I loooved how they had a 7 year old and younger area so I didn't have to worry about the little ones getting run over.  

My dad, the kids, and Charles
Friend Georgie and Ryan
Caleb and Ashley in 7 and under area
Caleb and Ryan in the basketball area.
We had a lot of fun and I always love visiting with my parents.  This is the time of year where there are birthdays every two weeks so that's why you see a lot of partying.  Ha ha.  Four birthdays down and three to go.  Yes, I am counting Juliet's actual birth day because that was work too.

As kids are all turning another year older, they are each given a new chore added to their other one.  It's been a couple years since I've done that so it's about time.  Don't worry, I don't give them a chore on their birthday, that would be cruel.  I wait till the next day. Heh heh.... Seriously though, we have to step it up around here because mommy can't do it all and I think they have it pretty easy.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rocket Experiment and Boys with an Attitude

Today I took the kids to the science center to learn how to make rockets.  It was so neat!  

This is a class of all homeschool kids and the local science center offers experiments for them.  This time it was about making our own rockets.

We learned about Sir Isaac Newton and about action and reaction.  We only needed cardboard, cups, soda bottles, water and air from a bike pump. It was awesome.

This is Chaz's rocket.  Who knew we could shoot the rocket high in the air using only water and air?  How well you made your rocket determines how high it goes.  Obviously it's best to make everything symmetrical 

Ivy is getting ready to shoot her rocket

Ashley was pretty excited to put on her science glasses and do her first experiment.  So cute.

This guy has it set up to where you have your rocket (20 oz soda bottle) filled halfway with water.  He made a thing where you hook a tube up to it, turn it upside down, clamp it with an attached string, and pump air into it. When Ryan pulled the string, it made the clamp let go and the rocket shot really high into the air.  

Once we were finished we went back into the science center for awhile.  A nine year old built this ferris wheel and donated it. It was going round and the boys were amazed a little kid built it.


Chaz and Ryan

Ashley weighing herself on the weight wall.

We didn't stay for very long because while the boys were on the bed of nails, they got in a punching match.  NOT JOKING.  I was so embarrassed and upset with them I calmly walked up to them and said we are leaving.  I cancelled the McDonalds trip, Game Stop trip, and put them to work with chores at home.  They were NOT happy but hopefully they learned their lesson.  They were all in tears.  I kept a notebook in hand and whoever complained about their chores got another one added to it.  They learned real quick to work in silence AND with a good attitude.