Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finding a Family Friendly Gym for Our Large Family

I had to say goodbye to our beloved gym Kroc. I loved their indoor pool, loved their awesome gym, loved their rocked climbing wall, their children's library, their basketball court. We loved everything about that place except one thing. It's not mom friendly because they have a childwatch only open to 2-6 year olds. You pay extra a month because it's not included in the family membership AND the hours are weird. So you have to hope you have those kids in the exact age range. Basically in one year of having the membership I've gone to the gym twice. I just didn't have the heart to leave my family at home with my husband every other night when he also wants to work out.

The other day we drove by this really big gym and decided to stop in. We really just wanted to see what it was all about because it was HUGE. Right away a guy greeted us and I had to get my question out straight away. Did they have a childwatch?  A big yes!  What age range?  3 months-11 years and it's open alllll day. Yessssss!  He had me right there. Nevermind that they had a cafe, outdoor and indoor pool, water slides, and everything else cool in between. I just wanted to be able to work out with my husband like we've done for years before we joined Kroc. In fact, we both were major gym goers before we married. At least 2 hours everyday or every other day. I'm in love with Lifetime Fitness. Chaz and Ryan get to do whatever they want because they are old enough. I get my 2 hours to workout, swim, or get a break in the cafe. Sigh. So happy.

Meanwhile, I have my elliptical at home for days I'm not at the gym. Charles and I started a weightloss contest but we felt kinda put out that we had to always be apart to get fit. Anyway, it's late and I'm exhausted. Just super excited!

Note to Kroc. The reason I have so many people tell me they are leaving is only because of the restricted childwatch. It's worth fixing because we paid more than double to have that at our new gym. ;) And every mom said....  Amen!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Thank you, Thank You to All the Veterans!

America is blessed. My life is so abundant. My freedoms are abundant because of your sacrifice. I'm so grateful to everyone who served our country so we could have so much freedom. Wow!  I wish I could hug each and every one of you.

Sooooo, this weekend went fabulous. We took our free selves to several places and just had fun as a family. We joined a new gym on Saturday. We are IN LOVE with it. The next day we got to go to our church, which is of our choosing, because we live in a free country.  Today we visited some friends and had lots of yummy food. It was just a GREAT weekend!  It flew by but we feel so refreshed. I have three days left of homeschooling and we are finished for the summer. Yeehaw!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Worried Kids

Conversation with Ivy after I heard her say:

Ivy: I wish I was a boy. 

Mommy: Why, Ivy? 

Ivy: Well, I don't want to grow up and clean all the time like you. You work soooo hard.

Mommy: Oh. You don't have to stay home and clean all the time if you don't want. You can be whatever you want to be. An astronaut, horse trainer, fireman, help people find nice clothes.... 

Ivy: Yeaaaah.... I don't know. It just seems so hard. 

Mommy: (put my face in my hands to hide the tears. Made me sad to think she'd be worried like that.) 

Ivy: Why are you sad? 

Mommy: You don't have to move out. I'll take care of you. Or... You could make a lot of money and have a maid.
Ivy: Yeah, but that's so sad.

Mommy: But they're happy to get paid. 
Ivy: How much would I have to pay them?  $3?  $5?  Oh, maybe just $2. (Smiles)  Yeah, I think that's good. 

Mommy: Okay, so that's settled. Wanna horsey ride on my back? 

Ivy: Yeah! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Oklahoma Disaster, Natural Disasters, and Family Disasters

Such sadness. I started wondering how the mornings were for some of these moms before school began. Were they grumpy and rushed their kid out the door, forgetting to say I love you?  No one knew it was the last time their precious kid would ask help for tying their shoes. Or the last time they would walk their child to the bus stop. My heart aches for these parents that lost a child to the Oklahoma tornado.

What is going in with all the disasters?  It cannot be a coincidence. In my heart of hearts I know but not wanting to speak it out loud. Every time a big disaster hits, my heart wonders who is next. It's so scary. Yet the only thing I can do it to keep my heart right with God and keep my accounts short. Keep telling my family everyday I love them.

Recently someone asked me when I'm gonna send my kids back to school. So far I'm not planning on it. I can only take one year at a time. OF COURSE it'd be so much easier for me to send them off. My house would stay clean longer than 8 seconds. I could even have time to get all my laundry done. Maybe take a break with coffee and a book. But... When I see and hear about all the school violence, homosexual agenda, and abortion without parental consent being pushed, homeschooling sounds better and better. Of course I'm not perfect and I'm having to relearn things right along with them but it's worth the HARD, HARD, (did I say Hard yet) hard work. There are more disasters going on in schools besides natural disasters.

Kids are committing suicide from bullying. Some running off for a lunch time abortion without mom or dad knowing, many losing their innocence way too young. I know because I was there. I just wanted to go to school to learn but the pressure from classmates to push the boundaries was screaming in my ear. Some make me feel bad because they want me to realize what my kids are missing out on. Yeah, they're right. They are missing out. Let's hope it saves their lives because of it.

I feel like Hollywood agenda has pushed it's way into our homes and knocking us flat. Kids run off and lost to drugs, alcohol, and flings left and right because Hollywood makes such a mockery of marriage. Families torn apart.

Even if we never experience a natural disaster, something we can't control, we can control other disasters that try to make their way into our homes. I can only raise my kids once. :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Juliet's First Birthday

Oh my goodness. Yesterday was just a fantastic day. After Ryan woke up he immediately started working on Juliet's birthday pancakes. It was so sweet of him to think of her like that. He wanted to give it 3 layers but just before I took a picture, Juliet grabbed the top one and shoved it in her mouth.

Charles and I were contemplating what a good gift would be for her. She already has dolls and play toys. We decided on a Superyard for her to have more space to play when I need her to be in a safe spot. However, they are $70 for six panels. I looked it up on Craigslist and found one for $40 and he went down to $35. Perfect! The great thing about it is you can go to Walmart and buy extra panels to make it bigger which we're going to do. She absolutely loves it and she has plenty of space to practice her walking. She is in that phase right now where she puts things in her mouth and wants to play in the toilet.  No matter how hard I try to teach six other kids they can't leave little things on the floor, Juliet always manages to find a lego somewhere. I can't wait to make the play yard bigger for her but for now she loves all her toys in it and walking around. So cute!

Before we picked up the Superyard we headed to Dennys kids eat free day. Literally, all my kids, except Chaz who is almost a teen, eats for free. That saved us $25 on the bill. Amazing!  I love that place. When we got there Juliet demanded food right away. This girl is tiny but she eats a lot!  She ate a bowl of fish crackers, 4 saltine crackers, a whole bowl of macaroni, and a small bowl of yogurt. Then she went home and had cake and a bottle of milk. We seriously wondered how her body held all that. :D

Ryan, my 11 year old, wanted to make her a cake so he made a yellow cake with hot pink frosting and sprinkles. It tasted fantastic!  The kids are happy they finally get to stop saying she is zero years old to people. LOL.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Secret to Toy Stores and Kids

So, you know how I keep kids happy in a toy store when they want everything they see?  Simple!  I tell them I'll take a photo of them with the item they want and keep it on our family wishlist for their next birthday or Christmas. They happily take the picture and walk away. Heh heh.... Works like a charm! Actually, I often do refer back to those photos on my Android when the time comes.

Last time we went to a toy store, which is so hard with kids, they wanted everything. The worker guy kept coming up to us and asking if we needed anything almost every five minutes. It was so annoying. He was so sweet but seemed hopped up on caffeine. We must've told him we were fine at least 10 times. Argh...  He even asked our kids if they were with their parents while they were right next to us. We were like, huh?  Maybe he didn't think they could all be ours. Lol. Anyway, it was a weird night at the mall because it was super crowded and we were squeezing through people. I realized after a bit it was because of Mother's Day and everyone was thinking about their mom or husband's were treating their wives out for an outfit. So sweet!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cure for Stomach Issues/Mother's Day 2013!

My husband has really had some health issues and we have searched around for what could help him. He heard that taking Probiotics can cure fatty liver (along with losing weight), Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and many other issues. Charles has really battled these things and IBS is something passed down in the family. Most of his immediate side deals with that. After doing some research I saw how much live cultures from Probiotics can help. I found GT's Kombucha and then called around to find the best price. Places like Whole Foods and Sprouts carry it and you can get a discount for buying it by the caseload.  I'm really excited to find something for Charles. It doesn't just help those problems but can totally cure it!

It's really important to have good bacteria in your body but we have both good and bad. Well, when taking antibiotics you are killing both the good AND the bad bacteria. Especially if you are taking antibiotics, you should be putting the good bacteria in you. I used to take a lot of antibiotics for kidney infections. Well, recently when I was really, really sick the doctor was worried that I developed Autoimmune disease. Well that can come from taking too much antibiotics over the years. Since God has healed my kidneys I have not had to take antibiotics for several years.

Hopefully this is the road to better health!

By the way, Mother's Day went Fantastic!  Not perfect though because my mom was home sick so she couldn't eat out with us. She was going to be joining us with my in-laws at a seafood heaven. Yum!  It is JUST like me to grab an extra kid from church and take them along. Not sure why I do that. I just really love kids. :D

Monday, May 13, 2013

Guest Post: Live Naturally During Your Pregnancy

Live Naturally During Your Pregnancy
It's so easy to make excuses for eating poorly during pregnancy. Why not have the slice of pie or extra piece of candy? You already know you're putting on weight, so how could a few extra calories hurt? Unfortunately, eating poorly can diminish your energy and make you feel awful at a time when you should be healthy and happy. Instead of junk food and comfort food, take time during your pregnancy to research natural and healthy alternatives.
Getting in touch with your body is a big step to living naturally. You'll want to pay attention to how much energy you have, how your body feels and how what you eat affects you and your growing baby. Try some of these tips to increase your stamina and feel better during your pregnancy:
Prenatal Yoga or Pilates

Exercising during your pregnancy may not seem like it belongs on a list of "natural" things, but exercise secretly has lots of benefits. It makes your body stronger and more able to deal with being pregnant. You'll have reduced aches and pains, which means fewer medicinal treatments. Look for a specific prenatal class to learn poses and exercises that are good for you and your baby.
Drink Water

Water flushes toxins from your system. It also hydrates you and makes you feel better. You'll also feel fuller, which can reduce your need to eat junk food. While you shouldn't diet when you're pregnant, that doesn't mean you have to overboard. Water can help you with that.

Eat Organic Foods

Whenever possible, strive to eat raw and organic healthy foods. Carrots, apples and spinach are all excellent options that are relatively easy to find in organic form. Try farmer's markets if you can, or use coupons at the grocery store to bring the cost down.

Cut the Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates can make you feel sleepy and can lead to additional weight gain if you're not careful about eating them. When possible, try to eat fresh vegetables instead of carbohydrates. Swap pasta for steamed veggies and cut out bread whenever you can. You'll feel better and have more energy all throughout your pregnancy.
You don't have to make dramatic changes to live naturally and healthfully during your pregnancy. Make sure to talk with you doctor throughout your pregnancy. I was fortunate to talk to my doctor about every aspect (eating healthy, cord blood banking, swaddling and more!) Try making a few of these simple changes and see how you feel. You might even get inspired to continue living a healthy and natural lifestyle after your baby is born!

Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Small Town; Small Vacation

The couple days before Jer's accident we drive up to see him for his birthday. We knew his dad (bad scene) wasn't gonna be there so Charles and I really wanted to be there for him. I'm NOT a fan of having to pack for so many people. It's truly not easy to make sure we have everything for nine people for 3 days. I've tried several different ways but I'm hoping I landed on my favorite way to pack. I bought 3 separate bins and labeled then Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. We even had a shoe bin. I really liked it even though some tried to cheat and throw things in whatever bin. Usually once I find a good routine I stick with it whole heartedly. :D

We had such a good time and the birthday party went really good. We got to go to Michele's church and visit with a lot of friends I grew up with. People that I don't necessarily have a lot of things in common with, we just click really well together. It's so refreshing to walk into church and have so many friends to talk to. :)

We didn't know that on Sunday, when we were saying our goodbyes, that we were gonna see each other again the very next day. Jeremiah had taken his birthday bike out the very next day and got really hurt. We teased with Jer (once we knew he was gonna be okay)  that he didn't have to go to such extremes to visit his best friend again. They live in a smaller town so when he crashed his bike, the hospital up there had them flown to a hospital just 5 minutes from my house. Michele ended up crashing at my house a couple of times. We are so glad he was flown out to a place by us till it was all sorted out and he got better. Thank God little Jeremiah is okay!  However, when he was here waiting to go back home we had to make sure 7 kids would all be calm around him. He has to be very careful for three months and he can't go swimming. Bad timing for the little guy now that summer is almost out. :(  I'm glad he is home safe and sound now.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Guest Post: Tips to Save on Babysitting Services

For some families, one parent staying home is cost effective. They can save on weekly childcare services, which frees up cash for other important household expenses. But even if one parent decides to stay home, you may need someone to watch your kids at other times. You and your spouse may have weekly date nights, or you make accept an invitation to an event that isn’t kid friendly.
If you have a huge support system, finding someone to watch your children for a few hours shouldn’t be a problem. But if you live away from your family, or if friends and family are unavailable, you may seek a babysitter.

Like most families, you want to spend your money wisely. When shopping online, you can search promo codes, as well as other forms of discounts to save money. Saving money on babysitting services doesn’t imply sacrificing quality care for your children.
You can leave your children in good hands while saving money. Here are three ways to save on babysitting services:

1. Know the going rate
Some daycare centers offer drop-in services. With this service, you can leave your children at the center for a few hours each week. And if local centers offer nighttime or weekend care, this is the perfect place to bring your child if you’re attending an event. But don’t choose any daycare center for your children. To keep costs within budget, contact multiple centers in your local area and compare prices. Additionally, ask your neighbors for recommendations or go online and check reviews.

2. Get a student
Daycare centers are plentiful, and finding quality child care for your children shouldn’t be an issue. However, centers can be costly. If your finances are tight, consider hiring a student or a neighborhood teenager to watch your children. But don’t hire anyone for the job. Again, you can ask your neighbors for a few referrals. Likewise, you should carefully interview those who apply for the position. Do they have childcare experience? What age groups are they most comfortable with? Are they CPR certified?

3. Learn how to barter
When you don’t have a great deal of money, you may do anything possible to save a few bucks. This can include clipping coupons, or perhaps searching Black Friday ad leaks at NerdWallet. There are other ways to stay within a babysitting budget. If you trust your neighbors, perhaps you can suggest a bartering service. This way, you can acquire quality care for your children without spending a dime. In exchange for someone watching your children, you can provide this person with a service. For example, you can clean their homes/apartments or provide other personal services.
Finding someone who is qualified and affordable can create opportunities for you and your partner to spend alone time together. Don’t automatically assume that you cannot afford a daycare center or a private babysitter. As a matter of fact, the cost might be cheaper than you think. With careful planning, there are ways to keep cost within reason.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Birthday Bike Accident

Lately I've felt like I've had so much to do but things, IMPORTANT things have been popping up. That's life for you and it's better to be there for people rather than put another checkmark on my To Do list.

Sunday I had just got back from an out of town trip. I got to visit with my friend for a few days. Sunday night we made it back home and the very next day I had gotten a scary phone call. Little Jeremiah had crashed on his bike on the way home from school. He was trying to avoid a car, hit a curb, and flew into a stop sign. It knocked him unconscious and had to be airvac'd to my city. Michele saw him take off in the helicopter but had to drive several hours to get the the hospital. I dropped what I was doing and went as fast as I could to be there. I got there just after the helicopter landed. Kyle (my son nd Jer's best friend) stayed till Michele could get there. He was still passed out when I got there and looked pretty banged up.

He has a skull fracture and a concussion. He gets to go home once he can hold something down. Poor guy. We had just celebrated his ninth birthday and he got a new bike. :(  Thank goodness he is okay.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Dreaded Trips to the Salon

It's so weird how on one hand I'm as girlie as heck but then so tomboyish. I love looking girlie but completely dislike the process.

My friends know the only reason I take so long to get my highlights touched up is because I dread the trip to the salon. Sitting there for 2 1/2 hours is pretty boring with only gossip magazines around to entertain. Gossip magazines are completely pointless because it's... gossip. What is true?  Hollywood people look so sad to me. Can you imagine thinking how awesome it'd be to be famous and then realize later you can't even peacefully shop in a store without people following you?  Can you imagine checking out at the grocery store only to look over and see a gossip magazine commenting on your belly pooch and how fat you've gotten? They are pretty brutal. My gosh.

Anyway, I had finally made an appointment to the salon. Even though I called ahead and they'd said it would be fine that I'm 8 minutes late, they replaced me with someone else to work on. I sat there for 45 minutes before a  Toni & Guy worker sat me down. Then he juggled me and the other lady's hair through the rest of it. I sat another half hour while he washed the other lady's hair. I was sad because I had hoped to be done soon and join my family somewhere in the mall for a birthday celebration. By the time he finished, the mall completely closed. Was kinda creepy walking through it with no one around and having to exit through those long, dark hallways meant for employees only. CReEpYyYyYy. Oh well, I got over it and before the guy had even finished we were having fun talking.

Earlier, while still getting my hair done, we're talking about family and being silly. I mentioned I had seven kids and people laughed. A few minutes later my husband walked in with 8 kids and brought me some food. He talked for a little bit and then left. The workers were surprised and told me they thought I was kidding about how many kids I had. Another worker commented about how well behaved everyone was and said it's a real reflection of the parents. Wow!  That made my night and the looooong sitting not feel so bad. ;)

By the time I joined my family they were all quietly reading in the bookstore and looking oh so cute.