Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice when He could do something about it. But I'm afraid God might ask me the same question.

Monday, February 28, 2011

I love boys, I know it is so fun to dress up little girls with the outfits and paint their nails and all.  But boys are so much easier, and so much softer, and so loving with so little maintenance.  It is a wonderful simple love.  I am so happy I get to experience it.  

 So our very last weekend of our self imposed "no-spend" month went off well.  We scrounged up enough coins to ride the train into the city and go to the museum, since we paid with "found" change it felt like it was free.  I know that is false but just go with me on this, please.  We have an annual family pass to the museum, and if you ride the train you don't have to pay for parking (or CRAZY priced gas). We also packed a lunch so a fun filled FREE day.
  We have been to the science museum dozens of times, but the kiddos just can't get enough of it.  I don't know why we hadn't taken Ty before today. 

He was loving every second.  He really soaks in everything.  He loves new adventures, he would have been satisfied with the 20 minute ride on the commuter train.   His English is getting so much better and I LOVE being able to communicate with him. 
  I keep asking him all these questions about his time in China.  We knew right when we met him that he had very little exposure to the world outside the four walls where he lived.   Now he can tell us, and it breaks my heart.   
 Things that I had assumed are true and things I hadn't even though of...just sad really.
 All the kids had a fun day.  I can't wait to take them all to Disney in a few weeks.  Ty is going to pop.  I mean the boy jumped up and down with excitement because I bought grapes at the grocery store the other day. His excitement is contagious... can't wait to see him on Thunder mountain & Small world with a big ol' icecream bar.  It will surely be the highlight of my trip :)
 All in all our no spend month went really well.  I love the perspective it brought to me.  If I had to spend a few $'s on something I REALLY considered it.  I didn't step foot into a T@rget.  and only stopped at the dreadful walm@rt once for V-day candy.  We did save enough for Marc and I to go on a little trip this summer, so now I get to do the fun planning part...the payoff!!!  We will definitely be doing this every year.  I think everyone should try it.. let me know if you do!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So I've said before that my daily mood seems to be 98% based on the weather.  Thankfully for all who know and love me we have had some warmer days around here lately.  Warm enough actually to get out and do some work around the house.  We got the kids all involved in washing our cars this weekend.

 I regrettably couldn't help because: 
     A. I had to take pictures to document the precious milestone of a moment
     B. It still isn't warm enough for my coldblooded self to get near the back spray 
           of a 5 year old holding a hose
     C. I didn't want to steal their joy
     D. I can be a lazy bones when I wanna be
 Anyway the kiddos were way jazzed about wielding a hose and washing the cars...which got me to thinkin' .   We need to put these munchkins to work more often. The one thing we have going for us is our manpower numbers. 

  They all have Saturday morning chores which take them all of about 15 minutes... which I think is pretty ok, especially for the youngest of the brood.  And they pretty much clean up after themselves when asked.  BUT dinner time around here is N.U.T.S.O!  We do eat dinner together as a family at least 6 but usually 7 nights a week, which always consists of me being in the kitchen for a while preparing.  Then my super cute hubby does the dishes.  Fair and square.

But that dinner time hour is obscene around here so we are thinking we need to give each of the kiddos a chore to go along with dinner time.  Just one simple 5-10 minute task to ease the burden but most of all occupy them while moms and pops are getting dinner ON the table or cleaned OFF the table.    They know full well to take advantage of the 'rents when they are preoccupied.  Plus 6 kids = tons of messes that they could surely participate in, right? 
The problem is we are having trouble thinking of things that will actually be helpful.
 Last thing I need while I am trying to get dinner on is 5 little ones in the kitchen asking me to help them reach something, open something, or just making it more chaotic in general.  

couldn't resist my baby's saggy bottom look :) 

Please oh please give me your advice and tips.  I don't want to screw these guys up like I screwed this kid up.
I'm telling you.. he is an awesome kid, never gives us any trouble, is respectful and does well in school..but he is a TOTAL slob.  My apologies to his future wife, He is the most loyal and driven person I have ever known, but oh how I wish I would have laid out a few more household chores as part of his everyday routine. 
his room on a good day :(
 PLEASE HELP! I would love a few chore suggestions for the 3-8 year old crew!  I am craving a more simplified and structured home...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Day

So love day falls smack in the middle of our no spend month but all is lovey dovey and well over here.  We actually "celebrated" last night since everyone was home and Collin didn't have to work.  I made everybody's favorite spaghetti ( I love it cause its so darn easy :) ) ! And the kids and I had made some yummy cupcakes with candy cane hearts.  I still haven't replaced the chairs that I sold on craigslist so the littles had to sit up at the counter but I tried to make it look all nice and festive.  I also poured them all grape juice in fancy wine glasses,,but a few minutes later I realized that was probably a really bad Mommy idea because one of my kiddos was so excited they were drinking wine and kept talking about it all through dinner that it kinda made my skin crawl.. I won't be doing that again. 

 Then my sweet hubby valentine woke me up this morning and surprised me by telling me that he had taken the day off just to hang with me!!! Since only our littlest and most mellow baby is home on Monday mornings it was a real treat to be able to spend the morning together!  Plus he did my laundry for me today (since I always do laundry on Mondays)  Yeah..I'm a happy girl, and feeling super loved today. 

Now for the debbie downer part of love since when did kids get so fancy schmancy with the valentine card giving?  I used to think it was amazing if there was a piece of candy stuck to a random card... but today 4 little kids each came home with a huge bag full of awesomeness... some of the loot included...  mixed cd's, gift bags the size of a small puppy, professionally made cards with said  childs professional photo and personal message embossed inside, hand made stamped and filled gift boxes with baked goods. You get the picture.   

Seriously, come on, seriously, is valentines day becoming that commercial?  I refuse to buy that extreme at least.  We get the sad little To: & From: fill your name  and tape a piece of candy to it kinda a cards and we are sticking to it.  That is my stand on that, just in case you were wondering...  But you know what it kinda makes me think...  Sometimes I feel like I can never do enough.. My house can't be clean enough or stylish enough.  My kids aren't in enough sports and they don't play the violin. I wear yoga pants with no intention of working out. I made mac and cheese straight outta the box for lunch the other day.  and please what ever you do don't open any one of my 15 junk drawers around the house.    All these things are a source of Mommy guilt for me, but for some reason, I see these over the top valentines and I wonder if those people were just trying to keep up, or "one" up, and it makes me feel free from guilt.  I don't want to play that game.    
Or maybe I am just being too cynical and they were just enjoying a fun little project with their kids... maybe I'm just a grump...maybe I just need some sunshine and I will get over myself...

Anywhoo...  Happy Love Day. Hope you all are feeling surrounded by love today! I'm gonna go have a dance party with the kiddos to this new awesome mix cd one of the kids got at school today :) and then probably swipe it for my mini-van...such a hypocrite :) 


Thursday, February 10, 2011

for lack of a better topic...

Things are really mundane around here lately...we are 10 days into our no spend month and when I woke up on Sunday my husband said I was being trendy (I am never trendy)  because there were two separate articles in the newspaper about families using February as a no spend month.  So I felt a little between validated and pathetic.   Our no spend month may not be like the families in the paper who spend less than $10 a week..but I am pretty darn proud of the first week and a half...hopefully we can make it through the long haul.  I spent $87 the first week, which was on gas and groceries.  Our family grocery budget is insane.  We have a family of 8 and every one of us can eat like truckers,especially the littles.  For instance when I am grilling up chicken breast for one weeknight dinner I put TEN chicken breast on the grill.  That will feed everyone AND if I hide one, Marc can make a lunch for work the next day.   So needless to say our grocery bill is higher than our mortgage payment...usually.     I do feel a tad guilty that the stash of the cash is going directly into a Mommy and Daddy ONLY vacation fund...but seriously we need to get away and have some time without the constant chore and tag team parenting schedule we have going.  I know the kids will benefit from having their parents happy for sure :)  Plus the littles don't even realize anything has far.
I was bummed to have to shell out almost $30 this week on valentines stuff...does that make me a total scrooge ?  It's just busting up my cheapo groove that's all. 

I'm also spending this month getting organized and getting rid of a bunch of needless stuff.. trying to trash or donate at least one garbage bag o' stuff a day.  So all of the time I save from running errands,,, I spend getting stuff in order around here. 

So the month of February sure may not be to exciting around here, but it feels like a fresh start. A cleansing of sorts.  I will keep you posted about how I am feeling about my lack-luster month in a week or two.  
How is that for excitement :)
We do have a family fun side trip in March that has been in the works for months.  So we are all looking forward to that as well.  Disney on the CHEAP :) Sunshine here we come :)  

Friday, February 4, 2011

So here we go... we are starting the countdown of sorts.  There are going to be a lot of these posts I'm sure between now and summer.  The end of a childhood and the beginning of letting go.  It's bittersweet.  This week was the last of Collin's regular season wrestling matches.
So we all went to watch him wrestle, it was Senior night so all the graduating seniors and their parents received special recognition. It was nice.  

The kids all made signs and cheered on their big bro...even when he was waiting his turn and warming up :) Here he is as captain, leading his team in stretching,  the little kids thought this was kinda funny :)

This sport consumes his every thought.  He has to drop THIRTY pounds to wrestle at this weight...and keep it off, and weigh in a few times a week, then get on the mat and wrestle. 
He is measuring his water consumption. So you can see how just the mental game of being hungry all day every day for months is enough to consume your every waking moment, plus there is a ton of pressure once on the mat.. and my boy is INTENSE in everything he does.  he takes everything seriously. he does nothing half way.  even if he's just being a goofball

He has loved wrestling.. and it is sad as he doesn't think he will wrestle in college.   But I would be so nervous knowing he was wrestling where I couldn't supervise his daily water intake or drive him to the ER, which is a regular occurrence during wrestling season.. Stitches and x-rays and orthopedics...  yeah just a day in the life around here.

So bitter sweet for sure,  I will miss watching him compete, I know he loves it so.  I will miss that my 'fridge actually has food in it, my boy is so ready to start eating and putting back on his 30 pounds. 
I'm sure he will still be at the gym every day.  He is also very passionate about health, nutrition, & exercise.  Don't ask him a nutrition or exercise question unless you REALLY want to know the answer in every minute detail. 
Here is Finn taking a rest while waiting for Collin,  his nickname in school is "slinky"  it's a long story, that actually isn't that interesting but for whatever the reason the name stuck.  It is pretty strange that when talking to parents, I say I'm Collin's mom, and it means nothing.. but when I say , Slinky and they know right away. I even had one parent question me as to why I named him that...sheesh, seriously.  He has even had to go as far as getting his name changed to "slinky" on student council ballots 'cause no one would know who "Collin" was :)   He is looking forward to shedding the name in college and so am I.
Not sure if this poster was real sportsman like, but the kiddos sure thought it was funny :) 
We love you big brother! We will miss you next year, but we can't wait to take over your room :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

she wrecked me today...why did she have to do it... i was not prepared to face the fact that my baby is three.  i mean she holds the baby spot so well.  she loves the baby spot, or so i thought.  but she had to go and wreck our perfect little game... peek--eeee- boo.  she changed it.  i must not have told her the rules on that one.  but she said a perfect peek -A- boo and i was crushed... i need to find out who taught her the right way to say it and give them a stern talking too.  there are a thousand words i want her to say correctly  peek-eee-boo is not one of them, thank you very much!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!

 We got a few of our local families together to celebrate Chinese New Year this past weekend.
 That is a lot of kids,, and they all had a blast :)

 Everyone outdid themselves and brought the most beautiful and yummy, and plentiful food.  But most of all it was so great to get so many amazing and friendly families together...families that we all know and love... families that would all be there for each other whenever we had a problem or just wanted to meet up at the park with last minute notice.
 Here's my hubby making 3 plates at once and helping Jackson do his.. I think I asked him to hold my drink while I was taking pics and he looked at me like I was a bit nuts..  not sure why?
 Here's the two true party planners...they have been so excited for this party for months, they had craft tables and decorations galore... we let them lead the way and they did a great job.. they had so much fun. They look just a bit happy.
Seriously they even made the ice tea cute :)
And their poster they worked on... so sweet :) 

 And then there was us,, we were in charge of the clean up :)  Thanks ladies,  we had a great time!