Category Archives: My kids

The Girls

Following the trend of the last 4 years of my life, I can now add the sentence, “I own six chickens” to the list of things I thought I would never say.

There are six of us in our family, so we each picked a chicken and a name.

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The parent’s chickens~

Stevie belongs to my hubby. A fan of all things Apple. So, naturally she is named after the late Steve Jobs.

Princess Consuela belongs to me. I have seen every episode ever made of Friends. I find it to be the best show ever. So, upon the recommendation of my niece, Princess Consuela it is.

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*Stevie and Princess Consuela

Both of our chickens are Silkie Chickens, like Tori Spelling’s chicken, Cocoa. If you are unfamiliar, please google. These “chickens” are “exotic” chickens the Chicken Store people told us. I think they are a cross between a poodle and a chicken. Whatever the case, stinking adorable. Black and white for us. Romantic, eh?

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*Emily

The kid’s chickens~

Cameron’s chicken is named Diver. This kid LOVES him some ocean. Appropriately named. Very clever.

Taylor’s chicken is named Iris. She LOVES her some astronomy. Iris is named after the Iris Nebula.

…and may I just say now that I love those two kids.

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*Diver is camera shy

Emma’s chicken is named Lola. You know why? “Because it is a cute name”. Good reason. Great reason.

Greyson’s chicken is named Emily because he loves Thomas the Train and since we have girls we had to name it after the girl train, Emily. Makes sense right?

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*Princess Consuela

In several weeks these girls will move into their chicken coop Home Sweet Home.

In several months we shall be eating their eggs for breakfast.

Pretty fabulous.

Thanks in advance, girls.

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The Crib

“Why are you crying, mom?” she says as she enters my toddler’s room. “I’m just rearranging and baby proofing in here because his crib is coming down soon. It’s a mom thing. I put all four of you guys into this crib that your grandma and papa bought for us and this is the last time it will ever be used for one of my babies. It’s a little sad to me.” {WHICH was a total lie because it is a lot sad. Like eat a pound of chocolate and wear black for an entire decade kinda sad. The kind where I have to text one of my besties and say “you’ve been through this, I will survive, right?”. My 12 year old can wait to realize this part of motherhood, I decide.}

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“Unless”….I perk up.

“I’ll save it and then when you guys start having babies maybe I will have an extra room in my house and can set it up again for your babies to sleep in when they come over to party with grandma!!!” I have a moment of triumph and then…

HALT.

Wait just a minute.

Grandma?

I had a sickening revelation that I am the grandma in this scenario and that these days are not really THAT far off. The tears begin again, mixed with laughter, and the confession to my 12 year old that I am struggling lately with the speed in which time is choosing to fly.

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The crib came down.

With heart ache quite deep and plenty of cuddling and savoring the moment of the last shred of babyhood I could find in my boy. We rocked, he hugged me, he patted my face, he wiped one of my tears. God is so great and my baby boy is so dang precious.

Then I made the choice to celebrate.

1-2-3 YEAH..chubby hands over head, we all cheered with him.

“You want a big boy bed?”, I ask? He says yes to which his answer is to just about everything. He has no idea what a big boy bed is, but I need somebody in this scenario to be excited he’s getting one.

“I want more” he says.

1-2-3 YEEEAAAHHH…again and again.

We repeat 602 times. The exact amount I need to remind me.

He had no idea what he was celebrating, but I do not want to live my life living in what is no more. So, when all else fails and it is hard to find your happy, throw your hands up in the air and yell.

The first haircut, transition to the big boy Sunday School room (complete with the craft he brought home), the move to the toddler bed…

all beautiful steps of growing up.

Diapers, pacis, and bottles are disappearing in my home and talks of high school days are beginning. Having a 2 year old and a 14 year old simultaneously is quite interesting. It makes me conscious and present of what is to come and how fast time does go.

Then today I read this.

Last Bites.

We are having plenty of those last bites around here these days it seems. They are so delicious, but the new chapter will be too.

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Finding the good…it’s everywhere.

 

 

 

 

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Cleaning Up

I don’t really understand allowance. Maybe, I am mean. Maybe, it’s just the ultra tight budget we live on. Whatever the case, it just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t ever recall any time in life when you get paid for nothing, right? Except when you breath a sigh of relief as you go past Broadway, turn the corner, and collect $200. Then there is FREE PARKING. You gotta love that.

Around here, my kids do chores and always will do chores. There is no payment for them. They are expected because they live here and we are a family and all help pitch in to make the household run.

A few weeks ago, I told them that they now had somewhat unlimited earning potential in the form of Quarter Chores. I will offer them during the day at random times when I need help and they are free to do them or not. They are also free to come and ask me if I need help or any quarter chores done. {The neighbor kids also have been known to help out with Quarter Chores. The word on the street got out that I am payin’.}

It has been fascinating to watch how they all handle this. The chores, mind you, are maybe 10-15 minutes tops. Little things. Only one of my children has grabbed a hold of the fact that a little bit over and over adds up to a lot. {I need to learn that lesson too}. It was really humorous the other day to see that my oldest figured out if he did one quarter chore each day, he could have $7 per month. Kinda like allowance. Oh, light bulb moments. How I live for them.

So, I figure it is teaching them discipline and hard work. They have the ability to earn and save. It’s all on their shoulders. Kinda like life, right? I realize that .25 cents is hardly “worth it” to them to help out. Maybe they will learn the value of hard work. Maybe I’ll just constantly be at a shortage for quarters.

If you are in the need for quarters, come visit. I have a list waiting…

chores

 

After several weeks of no menu planning, it felt good to sit down and get my meals all squared away for the next couple of weeks.

January Meal Plan

January Recipes on Pinterest– All in one place so that I can easily find them!

I just recently bought this ecookbook. It’s pretty fantastic. I am excited to try a couple of new recipes (that are on my menu plan) from it this month. Freezer meals, healthy food, crock pot. I’m in 🙂

 

Today we cleaned up the shaggy heads of my four cuties. We drive about an hour to get hair cuts. I know that is kinda crazy, B U T…. it’s worth it to me. Low key, non snobby salon, adorably nice entertaining people in salon, and ridiculously cheap prices {$5 a kid, no lie. We were there 2.5 hours and she gave them the royal treatment}, plus insanely talented stylist. That’s my perfectly normal explanation. We make an adventure of it. Hair Cut Day.

My littlest. His first hair cut and his first lollipop which he kept yelling “mmm dandee”  for candy and not because he thought it was dandy.

Yes, my heart broke a bit.

Before.

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 and after. The curls stayed! Which is good because if they had left, I might have cried in the salon. Crisis averted.

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 mmm I am so glad I get to squish this little monster every single day. I freaking love him.

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Seriously, how did these kids get so big and how many times can I say that?

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 and dear sweet girl, can I please have some of that gorgeous hair? After all, I did go through labor for you. It hurt really bad and I think it would be only fair. Thank you. Muah.

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Jaime’s magical chair. I’m going to buy this girl a pony one day. She’s the hair whisperer and we love her.

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Happy Wednesday.

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The Mission Statement

“Do you think it’s normal that at 41 I feel like I am just figuring out who I am?” I ask.

“No”, he says promptly…”but I think it is good.”

Park conversation between my man and I, while chasing a toddler, watching two girls try and master shoot the duck, and feeling the absence of the 6 foot tall teenager who was lovingly abandoned us to join the neighborhood teens at the skate park near by.

Hardly the words that should accompany this moment, I think. Truth is, moments rarely happen the way you think they are going to. For that matter, life in general rarely happens the way that you think it will.

I’ve got post holiday slump. I always do this time of year. Tonight I was driving home and I gasped alone because off in the distant field I saw it, the one lone house. The hold out. Multi colored lights in meticulously straight lines framed an outdoor tree that was unaware of the date on the calendar, as it still shone brightly. Blow up Santa was peeking out of the chimney and I paused thinking this will perhaps be the last time I see lights this season. I wonder if the inhabitants of this house were die hards and didn’t want to see the sparkle boxed up until next year, or far more likely just busy. Maybe even just big procrastinators. Who knows, or really who cares for that matter. I am just glad that they still had sparkle. My last hoo~rah.

I have been strangely silent the last month. Not because I have nothing to say, but rather because I have too much.

We had an amazing holiday season, all of it. It seems I just declared my intent to move slowly through December and savor every last bit of it when I suddenly find myself banging pots in the street at midnight and yelling Happy New Year as loud as I could. I blinked and the best 6 weeks of the year happened. They were planned for, lived out, and almost cleaned up in the fraction of a second. I don’t know how that happens.

*our yearly post Jingle Bells in hushed tones serenade to mom and dad picture. Read about that here.

…and now here we are. Just days into the New Year. The blank slate, the shiny new calendar. The opportunity to grab dreams and make them realities. The inevitable moments to reflect upon the last 365 days. The very convenient time to make changes, better ourselves, and our lives. What will this year hold?

All of these fragmented thoughts and feelings swarm around inside my heart and head struggling to make any rhyme or reason at all. I recently remembered the opening scene of Jerry Maguire. That’s who I feel like these days. That night where it all bubbled out in the form of a mission statement. It ultimately cost him his job, but “I was 35, I had started my life.” -Jerry Maguire. True change requires true sacrifice. It’s never easy.

*little man received a train table. He played with it for 3.5 hours straight. #notkidding

One of these days, and it’s coming soon, it’s all going to blurt out of me. I am going to channel my inner Jerry, but until then I keep processing and dreaming of an old school typewriter that I can unleash my new found thoughts on when they become coherent.

*new favorite game, to copy my faces

It’s amazing to watch the days play out in my life and see God’s hand using every single breath I take. He promised it and so it is, but sometimes we can’t see the bigger picture and then sometimes God in His infinite wisdom, allows us a glimpse. I caught such a glimpse the other day. A big huge dream and thought wow…what if? If I knew this was coming, how would I change my todays. It inspired me.

*the whole family, minus me behind the lens

Growing older is crazy. The more wisdom I gain the more I realize just how very little I know.

I began praying for a word to focus on in 2o13. The last word of mine was passion. I had lost mine. I found it again and I have had a burning desire for where to put it all. After very little time the word that just was screaming at me was HOME.

I have such a passion for home. The four walls and roof that house the hearts that dwell here. The whole thing from top to bottom and inside and out. The structure that frames it and the people that fill it. Without them I would not be who I am. They make my role on this earth possible. The wife and the mother that I am to be depends on the very breath that they take. They are not a prop in my life. They are my life.

I have been awestruck the past few months at the very big responsibility that lies in my home daily. What a big role I have in shaping our home. I better be doing it and doing it well. Living intently. Living healthy and whole and living Holy. Relying on the very One who gave me life to guide me and move me. My responsiblity is one that is easy to overlook as a home becomes just a place to lay our head at night all to quickly in this warp speed life we find ourselves living. So many things fighting for our attention and it is easy to think home is o.k. when in fact it is not. It’s easy to turn our eyes and take for granted those we hold most dear. To give them our left overs instead of our firsts.

*antique shopping. He doesn’t normally carry furniture around the streets of small quaint towns.

My heart, my marriage, my children, and my home….in Christ, the foundation for all things. It better be in order.

*how we roll on Fridays.

Not so coincidently, I have been gearing up for the great organizational clean out of twenty thirteen. I have said it so often that my husband is threatening to write a jingle for it.  It’s in full swing. I began in the kitchen. Everything got sorted, wiped down, cleaned out, and rearranged. It energizes me in ways words can not express. {Not to mention entertains me immensely as I watch people go to reach for things, remember they’ve been moved, roll their eyes, pause for a moment, and then go to the new location.}

 *”E A T.”

 I’m just kinda crazy like that.

Happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Day of Christmas Merriment

I declared a day of Christmas merriment. I made the decision last Thursday at about 9:43 am.

*Sorry my little man. With two older sisters, zebra print and hot pink fur lined santa hat it is.

It was a day focusing on their hearts, not their brain. Truth is, I think I needed it more than they.

It began with a trip to Trader Joes. I had been promising the kids to let them try those Candy Cane Joe Joes that have been the topic of many a Facebook post over the last couple of weeks. They are ridiculous. Best cookie out of a box ever. Eat them.

I also decided to entertain myself with letting my 2 year old push his own cart. He pretty much entertained the store as well, while he was doing his shopping.

I had no list and no plan. We bought a few things for a favorite lunch around here of quesadillas and Trader Joes Corn Chips and salsa. We tried a new fruit. I don’t even remember the name. I believe it was something with a “p” involved.

We wandered back and forth up and down aisles, repeating rows frequently. It was completely an inefficient shopping trip and completely perfect and yes my baby is wandering somewhat unsupervised in the wine section.

*when did he grow up? and how cute are his ringlets?

We ate cookies in the parking lot in the morning and then headed for home.

On the way, I made up a game of how many Christmas decorations can you spot? (including, please yell it out as you see it). It gave me a 20 minute ride of Christmasness. Ho, ho, ho.

Mid way home, I impulsively pull over to check on “our house”. You know how you have a home of your dreams (the one you’ve created on Pinterest boards where unless you win the lottery, there is no way it will happen) and then a realistic home of your dreams (the one where it’s slightly out of reach, but not impossible)? This home is the latter. A couple of years ago, we almost purchased a house and had looked at this one. It was slightly out of our price range, so some other blessed family is now living in it. However, when I crossed the threshold, my heart stopped. It’s a small home, perfectly cozy, but with plenty of space to raise our family. It has more character in those walls then I can ever explain with words. A master suite with cement floors, open tub in the room, dark hardwood floors, arches, chandeliers, huge yard, outdoor fireplace, round towers, oh I could go on and on. It is a bit of a fixer upper, but the house had my heart. It wants me to live there, I am sure of it. We check on it from time to time. Someday, maybe….For now, it’s our “castle house”.

Our return home held another impulsive stop of a in the street dance party (on a back road, no worries). A little Taylor Swift anyone? Street dance parties are the best. I highly recommend them.

Then we were home and on to more Day of Christmas Merriment.

Lunch, coloring, naps, Just Dance, candlelight spaghetti dinner, Candy Land, and sugar cookies from scratch (try these-best recipe ever).

It all made a day that my heart needed and their’s did too. I committed to no raised voices, no work, all play. All Day.

Be nice, talk nice, feel warm and fuzzy, celebrate. Be a Hallmark card in real life.

It was an all day Christmas school party. Impromptu. Unplanned. Perfect.

School is officially on break.

Bring on some more celebrating.

Classes will resume on January 7th.

Can I get an Amen?

 

 

 

 

 

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New Territory

My heart shed tears this morning, if that is possible. My baby girl is no longer a baby. She hasn’t been for quite some time, but today it really hit home. We were clothes shopping. Size 1 is no longer for babies. It’s for a young woman, formerly my baby girl.

We started our trip out in the girls department like usual, when it became glaringly obvious that the stacks of sparkly heart shirts had seen their days. We walked through and she was clearly uninspired. I knew it was coming. I kept silent for a few extra moments, pretending I was going to outfit her here. Then I said the words every preteen longs to hear.

“Lets go check out the Junior section.” It’s like the mothership was calling her home. Eyes sparkled, choirs sang, and all was right in the world.

Then it happened. I sat there in the dressing room, sore from Insanity because 12 years later I am still trying to get some sort of figure back, and my darling girl stood across from me looking into the mirror in a pair of size 1 aqua jeans. I never thought about this day, but unexpectedly here we were. A size 1. I’m certain my own booty has never graced the likes of a size 1 pant in all my days…

But there was my girl. Looking all long and thin and beautiful and grown up and I couldn’t decide whether to cry, hug her, go fetal under the dressing room bench, or buy a shot gun… because I’m gonna need one soon.

This mothering gig gets tougher and sweeter as the days go by.

Tonight she asked if it was o.k. if she had her own flat iron and some heels.

It’s begun. A new phase. Game on.

 

 

 

 

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Lola

I have many projects going on in my head, heart, and real life. They are all incredibly fun. They are all creative. They all fill me up. I have a couple of projects on the horizon that I feel very strongly the Lord is leading me to. I have a lot going on these days.

However, yesterday? Yesterday was a day off. I gave myself permission to accomplish nothing extra. We celebrated the end of the first quarter of school with a pizza lunch. I took the kids to the store to spend their earnings for their “sticks”. {I’ll explain more soon}. We dug into quarter 2 studies. We wore jammies. We moved where the wind took us.

Everyday can’t be like that, but I sure need to make sure those days are ever present in my life.

Last night, I went to Bel Air and bought Lola at 10:42. I searched through the bins of pumpkins, freezing and alone, looking for one that I could come home and stick Mr. Potato head pieces into. I had no criteria of what I was looking for as you usually experience when pumpkin shopping. I’d know when I found her.

I needed to make something that made me smile.

Mission Accomplished.

She’s fabulous.

She’s accessorized.

She’s wearing a pink cape for crying out loud.

Emma and I decided that if she were a Care Bear, she would be princess hugs a lot.

My teens decided that she is epic.

Greyson just giggled and waved.

Somehow my heart just settled a teeny tiny bit. The silly satisfies my soul.

I have time management issues. Not the kind of getting everything done, but rather the kind of spreading myself too thin.

I can keep up with the best of them. I can hit the ground running and keep going until wee hours of the morning for days on end. I can cry in the shower alone from sheer exhaustion and keep my public place at the front of the rat race. Only those closest to me would know I was tired. I can pride myself on the quantity of checks on my to do list. I can outwardly swoon at complements of “Wow, how do you do it all?” While inwardly questioning, “Why, do I do it all?” I know this, because I did it for a lot of years.

Now I realize I don’t want to. I don’t believe that that it is God’s best for my life. When I move at warp speed, the view along the way blurs. That view is what it is all about. When it is blurry, I am missing something.

I am 41 and I will live at a pace where I give it my all. Every. last. bit. For as I was reminded this past weekend at our women’s retreat, we can rest in heaven, for eternity.

I have learned that giving it my all isn’t about quantity, but rather quality.

God is showing me what my plate SHOULD hold, not what it could hold.

Overworking, regardless of what you are doing is no bueno. I need to be careful of that. I need to be careful of being a workaholic and I need to be careful of being influenced by one. I need to be checking in with God regularly on what is right for me.

“Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up.”

~ {Rework/ Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson}

It’s all about balance.

Lola helped me get some yesterday.

 

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Party

We keep it pretty party simple around here. One guest for each year of life. The theme is usually not what’s popular or in right now because what was popular or in two years ago, is usually on sale for ridiculous cheap prices. This year our party was Hannah Montana. My mom found about a gajillion party necessities for like .10 cents, I kid you not. She gave me a brown grocery bag full of goodies: favors, plates, color your own pillowcases, cups, and I was half expecting to pull out Hannah herself. I mean there really was everything. I think she paid like $10 for the whole bag. Most items were over 90% off.

This, added to the press on nails, make up, and mirror kits she found for like a half a cent earlier on in the year, made for a glam party that was perfectly perfect.

Poor Hannah. Her party theme value is no more. However, we scored. Thanks grandma.

The girls had a great time. They played Just Dance, ate pizza, cake, made pillowcases and had their hair/makeup and nails done by my older daughter and our sweet neighbor friend. It was loud and giggly and chaotic and tiring, exactly how I like it.

I pinned this cake a while ago and was super excited when Emma requested it for her party. It’s adorable and incredibly easy. I will be making it again!

I love birthday cake, birthday blowing out the candles, birthday song sung with no regard for pitch. It’s all fabulous.

Happy Birthday my sweet and quirky Emma Rose.

Have an awesome weekend, my friends.

xo

 

 

 

 

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Yabba Dabba Do

I believe there is a spiritual gift of clearance shopping. O.k. maybe not really, but perhaps there should be. Very rarely do I pay full price for anything. There is a sea of coupons, sales, and clearance items ready to be scooped up and made fabulous. Shop the end caps at Target and look for those red stickers!

AND

Stay one year behind. “That was SOOO last year.” My words to live by.

That’s right. It’s cheaper there.

In 2011 my mom was able to pick up some costumes for me at 90% off from good ‘ol Target. My kids just know that they will be what was available. They have never really known much different and it definitely does not make trick or treating less fun because I saved oh about five million dollars by not paying full price for costumes they wear for about 2 hours.

My little guys favorite thing to say is Yabba Dabba. We are trying to teach him to add the do on the end. It seemed only fitting that he be Fred. Plus, Fred cost me $5.00 to make and took less than an hour. It was destiny.

I love dressing up and love costumes. However, living on a frugal cash only budget? Things just gotta go sometimes. It would be so super easy to spend about $150 for the four of my kids to get cute and all. Not to mention costumes for me and my hubby. But why would I when you can score deals like this! These costumes were $2-3 a piece and when you add in the splurge of $5 Fred you bring my grand total up to about $12. I can live with that!

P.S. I posted yesterday at Hip Homeschool Moms. I struggle sometimes with living in the moment and I wrote about it.

P.S.S. According to my phone it looks as if the weather is starting to recognize it is fall. HAL-LE-LU-JAH!

 

P.S.S.S. My husband falls asleep faster than any human on the planet. Not that I have tested this theory, however, it’s about .0002 of a second. I’m SO jealous.

Enjoy today!

xo

 

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One Sixth Done

We just completed week six of school. I am planning my date to plan quarter 2. I’m planning a date to plan. Does anyone else see a problem with this?

We started reading chapter books this year with Emma. I wanted a fun way to incorporate it into our school day and I stumbled upon this book at Rainbow Resource. It is pretty much the cutest thing in all the land. It has already been a big hit with Emma. It is a keepsake book to record 15 books that she has read. It even has bookplates for the books. Oh and…$7.95. SCORE!

I honestly am so thankful for Pinterest. Come follow me there. If you homeschool, I am telling you it is a lifesaver! I found this fun craft. We are focusing on geography this year and this was just a great review of what’s what.

We are learning all the states this year. This week we had Emma’s first state test. She nailed it. I add a couple of states each week. We have map posters to review them daily and then I give her different worksheets and things to practice. You can grab a blank map outline here.  I also purchased this magnetic map. It’s been great as well AND it’s from Hobby Lobby, so I just gave you ANOTHER reason to go and drool your way around the store. We nailed it to the wall and then I just give her the states as we learn them.

…another Pinterest find. Domino Math. They currently have dominos in the $1 section at Target and you can grab the recording sheet here.

Last year I created a file system for all of my “extra” resources. Thin worksheet style books and printouts from the computer live in here. This way when I am sweetly minding my own business online and some magical worksheet jumps out at me, I can print it, file it, and actually find it again so that I can use it.

We are back in the swing of things with one of our favorite curriculums, which is one of our electives, Expedition Earth. We have visited Germany and the Netherlands this year, so far. We have made lots of crafts, studied music and art, famous landmarks, and on and on. This week we finished up our stay in the Netherlands by eating one of their treats (chocolate bread) and playing a game of pumpkin bowling (thanks Pinterest). Bowling originated in the Netherlands way back when, so we gave ’em props with a little fall version of our own. Taylor won. Go Tay.

 Our littlest student has really fallen in line with the routine. Week one and two had me questioning my sanity a bit, but as I told the kids, he will get it-and he has. We have that super hexagon gate for play time (with extensions=lifesaver), movie time, outside time (the older two kids take just 15 minutes each of watching him each day), snacks, high chair play, and whatever else I can think of.

He has finally decided that talking is a good idea. SOOOOOO lessons around here are frequently interrupted with sweet toddler speak of beep beep, monkey, fish, stuck, plane, Elmo, and mmmmuah (as he kisses his sock monkey). There is enormous cheers and high fives goin’ on each time he speaks. I am not the only one around here completely head over heels in love with this little dude.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend, my friends!

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