Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Santa Clause Came to Town

On Saturday I took the kiddos to Miles City to meet Santa Claus.  By sheer luck the Children's  ChristmasShop was going on at the High School.  My Sister used to take my niece and nephew and I remember them gifting the most random and delighful things. Fishing lure earrings and an opera cassette tape.  So much fun opening a complete surprise.  I was rusty with how it all works and what amount of money they needed for shopping.

The rules are kiddos aged 4-10 or 4-12? I can't remember at the moment.  We are rule breakers and I sent Bear who won't turn 4 until March.  No adults are allowed.  Your child goes with a volunteer, who I would guess were high school aged, and they are supposed to have a list and their money.  I did not send my children with lists, my goal was for them to do their Sibling Secret Santa.  Also $5 is more than needed, $1 per person on the list I would guess is about right based on the change and presents they returned with.  There must be a table that wraps and labels the items for the kids.

Bug drew Meekers, Big D drew Bug, Bear drew Gracers, Meekers drew Big D, and Gracers drew Bear.  Bear and Bug shopped for Meekers, so a few tags will be switched.  Bear also came back with a present labeled to her from Santa and a gift for me and 3 bags for Meekers.  Bug had change and went for a second round to shop for Mom & Dad. Big D had two presents and change. Overall they enjoyed it and the experience of shopping for others.  They older kids really wanted to give hints and brag about their finds, within 1 hour of drawing names the Secret part of Secret Santa  was out of the bag. I am hoping we can hold out another 3 weeks for some surprises when it comes time to unwrap presents.

The big event was apparently Happy Meals at McDonald's complete with Hello Kitty teacups and Pokemon figurines.  As the twins napped on the way up, we grabbed food and ate in the parking lot and snuck in a half hour early to see Santa.  In years past the line has been a couple hours long and with 5 kids it isn't worth it if they are fussy.  There was a line but it wasn't too bad and Murdoch's has double carts.  Which ranks them pretty high in my book, double carts are a Godsend.  Bear curled up in every ones coats in the cart and the twinks were buckled and contained.  The boys made friends with a family behind us and played the whole time.  I forgot to confiscate toys before it was time to see Santa.  Bug handed Santa a list which Mom thinks she had a peek at first, but his lists are an evolving thing.  The littles seemed indifferent to Santa as long as I held them, the attempt to sit on his lap was ill fated.  As soon as they were in Mom's arms they were happy though. Santa received many hugs from the older 3 and Big D told him what Bear wanted because she was too shy/star struck to speak.  I was so excited for the picture.  The I noticed Meekers has her hand in my shirt and Bug was more concerned with showing off his pokemon.

In my mind the trip was also going to include Christmas shopping for teachers and grandparents and maybe groceries.  However, though the kids were cheerful still, I was was tired and not up for another store. So home we went.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tales from the Tooth Fairy

*Another find from Drafts.  This was written in March 2017*

After having a tooth loose for well over a month, Big D finally lost his first tooth. The neighboring tooth is also loose, but I have finally learned my lesson and am firmly in the mindset of acknowledging I am a terrible judge of when teeth will be lost. No more guesses, or soons from this lady.

In the Big D's case his replacement tooth grew in and was pushing the baby tooth out. He doesn't play and wiggle them as much as his big brother does. Which of course is vital to decreasing the time spent in the wait it out method. Our household doesn't indulge in pulling teeth.

Bear has been begging for me to pull out one of her teeth, she is feeling left out.  Soon enough little girl, soon enough.

Our ToothFairy leaves fifty cent pieces and a note. Usually the impression of how well the TF thinks the tooth has been cared for, and the obligatory reminder to brush teeth. We are debating having a special tooth bag or pillow. Always trying to help the TF out and make the exchange as smooth as possible. A solid working relationship is key.

We have used an envelope on the kitchen table and a fabric pouch. Though the kids feel that under the pillow is the proper place for the exchange. They also are curious as to what happens if both of them lose teeth on the same day. How will she know who's is who's?

Bear has decided she is going to be a toothfairy when she grows up.  She would really like to stay up late and meet and talk with the Tooth Fairy. Tips of the Trade, insdier info, all that. One cannot be too careful in career choices.


From the dustbins of the drafts posts back in April.  Bear was a freshly minted 3.  I had forgotten we went through a phase of calling her little sisters Jesus.

Me: Go brush your teeth. 
Bear: No thanks, they not dirty. 
Me: You have to brush your teeth in the morning and before bed. 
Bear: Ok, I pick morning.
Bear: Mom, you mother? 
Me: Yes, I am your mother. 
Bear: My Dad Father? 
Me: Yes, Daddy is your Father. 
Bear: Oh, babies Jesus? 
Me: No 
Bear: Hmm..just twins?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Test I Didn't Have to Study For

To settle curiosity once and for all and after recurring moments of guilt for getting my babies momentarily mixed up, I ordered a bucal zygosity test.  This company was the most frequently recommended in MoM Groups (Moms of Multiples).

In my defence, the moments of "Who are you?" all happened either in the middle of the night, after long nights with little sleep, or in crowded places (being around large groups of people makes me anxious and I don't function well).  Also I call my singletons by the wrong name on a somewhat regular basis, so there is also that.

I have a game I like to play mainly with my husband and sister.  I text pictures of the twins and ask them to tell me who is who.  My sister currently has the better record.  In the early days, when I would be holding only Baby B, I sometimes had to look at Baby A to remember who I was holding.  Baby B could look like Baby A, but A always looked like A.  Then suddenly A looked like B and I had to stare at them and figure out who looked the most like B.  In the morning after a solid stretch of sleep I could tell them apart.  Panic subsided...zygosity test still ordered. Since that time I have decided "what a complete waste of money, they look like siblings but no way can they be identical."  To "I am glad I ordered, they are so hard to tell apart today.  If the results show identical I won't have to feel so guilty." Also "How the heck did I get them mixed up? They look nothing alike" To looking at old pictures and desperately trying to remember how I dressed them that day because they are in hats and I have no idea which baby is which.  Today is a "they look nothing alike day".

A little over a week after ordering the test kit arrived. Ignore the donut in the background.

2 test tubes, clearly labeled and 4 cotton swabs for each baby.
A bit unsure about all this.

  The first baby, 2 cotton swabs swirled on each cheek.  

A found everything interesting...and also edible.
 A tried to eat her swabs, which made things slightly more difficult. Overall, still pretty easy.

4 swabs in each test tube and popped in the pre-paid postage mailer.

Now it is just a matter of hurry up and wait.  There is a live tracker online you can see what phase the test process is in.

Order Received - Kit Shipped - Kit Received - Test in Progress - Results Shipped

The website said it typically takes about 3 business  for the company to receive the kit back, then 10 business days for the results.  I ordered the kit on November 9th.  Kit received on the 17th and mailed the 18th. The online tracker shows Test in Progress, December 1st.  Results to be mailed on or before December 14th!  Two more weeks of waiting!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Halloween 2017

This year for Halloween I wanted to try and make costumes instead of buy costumes.  That almost immediately went out the window when Bear spied an Elsa dress.  I decided that the dress would also serve for several years as an everyday dress up piece and with 2 little sisters it would likely be used until it falls apart.  So I bought her costume and had to listen to her beg to wear it every single day and try to convince me that "It is Halloween today!".  Rookie mistake the cape is coated and covered and dripping glitter. The day after Halloween my house looked like Sugar Plum Fairy had a wild party and ice skated over every surface.  Dress up will have to wait until the basement is finished. Her sweet Aunt did crochet her an awesome and very loved Elsa hat, which should be fun all winter. The hat is the must have accessory of the year, tied in place with a jeweled tiara, and is allowed to be worn whenever she likes.  She wore it for 3 straight days only taking it off for bathing purposes and that my friend took some convincing.

The twinks I decided I wanted to make chickens and even spray painted cardboard red in order to turn their double stroller into a chicken coop.  Snow and wind changed my mind on that point.  I also conducted an informal Facebook poll to help me decide between the chicken possibilities.  Ruffle Romper or Fluffy Ballerina Tutu.  One of each crossed my mind, but the tutu was too easy to wiggle out of.  I traced a baby glove on red felt and hot glued it on last years winter hats, layered the rompers over a long sleeved onsie and yellow leggings.  I forgot the dish gloves to cover feet, but as they were mainly strapped in car seats and only hauled out to see grandmas they weren't really missed.

The Big D couldn't make up his mind.  At one point after discovering his cousin Conman had once dressed up as a lion that was the costume of choice.  Alas, I found it is next to impossible to find brown sweatpants or hoodies for boys.  Toddlers and babies, but no boys.  My sewing skills are next to non-existent so I rely on hot glue and preferable second hand clothes or something that can be used again.  I was practicing sugar skull makeup and he decided he wanted to be a skeleton.  I took an old, almost too small black long sleeve shirt, and a clearance pair of black leggings and cut out white felt bones and hot glued them on.  I also used face paint to make a skull.  He was happy, everything was delightfully off, and I decided it made for homemade charm.

Bug couldn't decided what he wanted to be and most of his ideas were beyond my skill set.  He noticed a scythe when I was browsing ideas and has a love of "death" so I ordered him a grim reaper costume from Amazon. With luck it will be used for future Halloweens as well.

So I ended up with about half homemade, and half purchased costumes.  Glitter aside the purchases should be able to be enjoyed for dress up and future holidays.  I was going to do sugar skull and be a skeleton myself, but Bear said she preferred my "Mommy face" better and the twinks couldn't stop giggling every time they saw me, so I was just the chauffeur.

We tried downtown trunk or treating, grandmas, a few houses around our block and the assisted living home and called it good enough.  The kids did well, I gained 3 pounds from their unguarded candy stash. Happy Halloween.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Snow = Christmas Plots

I am already making Christmas plans. My husband and I have different opinions. He says "it's not even Thanksgiving". I say "I would rather have a plan and spread everything out so it isn't a stressful get ready for the holidays rush."

Bear says Santa is bringing her a doll house, he told her he made one just for her.
The Big D says he is only putting one thing on his list. A combine like dad's with two headers you can really switch depending on the crop. If I only put one thing on my list that is what Santa will bring me.

Bug has similar views but can't seem to narrow down what he reeaaaalllly wants most and is contemplating putting down "everything" as it is only one item.
The twinks are toddlers and have no requests. Though I notice that Gracers steals big sister's baby dolls to snuggle, rock, give a bottle, ect. She might get a baby doll or rag doll in her stocking.
Meekers I don't know. I now enter the question  "Do they get the same gift or different?" She will pack around a doll, but she doesnt spend extended time with them like her look-a-like does.  Maybe magnetic blocks or a quiet books with zippers and buttons? She is interested in mayhem and getting into things.

I also want to start a new family tradition of having the siblings draw names and shop for each other with a $ limit. They expressed interest last year and I think it will be educational in financials for them and help them to think of others.

The older kids are also going to help bake goodies and treats to distribute.   So far on the list: Garbage men, Librarians, Post Office, Neighbors, our Priests, Nursing Home and Assisted living home.  I feel like we are forgetting someone.

I am also waiting impatiently for the in-laws drawing and thinking on the annual white elephant gifts. I love shopping for others or making something special. When thinking and planning  dont you spend time thinking about all the wonderful people in your life, how grateful you are for them? I love it. Packing love into tokens.

Are you a one thing at a time person or constant planner?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Memory is a Picture Your Heart Takes

 One of my more recent favorite pictures.  Big brother and his littlest sisters.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Weekend Wedding Adventure

The fam loaded up and drove a couple hours for a wedding yesterday. The bride was my husband's first cousin. The groom a farm hand that grew up Amish. It was an outdoor wedding next to a river and a pretty cool park with a zipline. 100 degree day and not a cloud in sight.

Have you ever noticed and admired the ease children can make friends. Bear made fast friends with a little Amish girl. Their eyes meet and lit up almost in unison, they held hands and ran off to play. So sweet. My boys made friends with a boy and girl roughly their age as well.

It was this friendly atmosphere that was also miserably hot.  The wedding began after a bus came and delivered about half of the guests. The groom and bride side were so different. The women wore crisp white bonnets, I can't think of the proper term. The adults dressed in darker colors and the children in bright colors. The children also seemed to be color coded. Which, I do that myself. Easier to keep track of when your kids are in the same hue. Quick head counts are easier.    I broke out from something during the wedding and we required a quick a pitstop to grab some benadryl.

The reception was held at the school where the bride teaches. The groom lead a song in Low German that is sang on Sunday Mornings. Truly Beautiful as all of his family joined in. One of his sisters has 11 children, her youngest are 3 year old twins. The twin mom connection is strong.

I mainly chased my busy little toddlers. They found a gentleman with a white beard and cowboy hat.  They smiled at each other and ran over back and forth. Sometimes letting him catch and pick them up, sometimes faking him out and giggling and running away. It seemed like they picked him out and said "You sir, we like you. You shall be  an honorary grandfather"

It was a crowded reception, no dancing. Little air conditioning.  My twinks were crabby and but became braver with their exploring. Likely they were tired of being held. My new dress covered in grass, sand, and smeared mashed potatoes. The glamorous life of a mom. We decided to duck out after the cake was cut but before we had any. Another hug to the bride and handshake to the groom as they walked around to visit each table. Bear thought the bride was a beautiful princess.   The boys dubbed weddings as fun, but noted it was sad to make new friends you won't get to see again.

Best wishes to the new couple. May God Bless you with many happy years together. Thank you for inviting us to share in your day.

Friday, August 4, 2017


*This has been sitting in drafts since August, but I decided to post it today. Still reminders everywhere of the preparations that should still be in full swing but aren't.*

One of the cruelest things I have noticed recently. Ads based off semi-recent browsing. Seems innocent enough right?

Well last month I was browsing cute maternity outfit ideas for Fall/Winter. This month the ads popping up are of those items, and it stings. The email reminders that I looked at something but didnt check out, offering a discount and "hurry before its too late".

Well, it is too late already. 3 weeks ago it became too late. I was cleaning/swamping out our bedroom today and found a list of baby name ideas. All of my pregnancies I have spent the duration doodling and writing names ideas, things I need to do to get ready, goals, reminders. I was working on a wardrobe capsule and sketched different outfits from what I had in my closet and what basic pieces I needed.  Dumb I know, I just like to feel in control and feel like I am planning. I keep finding these little reminders on the backs of envelopes, bookmarks, random pages in notebooks. So much for control.

The positive of that though, is it shows me my husband was right. I was happy about having another baby. I was preparing like for all my other kiddos.

My tiny baby, you were here for such a short time. I had 10 days of knowing for sure my family was growing, a couple weeks of anticipating. I wanted to name you Oliver James. I had a feeling you were a son. If you were another daughter I liked Scarlett or Theresa (Tessie for short). Of course I likely couldn't have talked your daddy into any of those names. Who would you be? How would you have fit in our family. Who's smile would you have? Would you have brown eyes like your Daddy? Maybe you would have my curly hair? Your 5 brothers and sisters are supposed to be sleeping, Daddy is gone for four days of Guards. The house is quiet. And I miss you, without ever having met you. I miss you.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mom Brag

Feeling pretty proud of my oldest son. Last Sunday after Mass, the Activities Director of the Assisted Living Center asked me if Josh would be interested in joining a Junior Volunteer Group she would like to start. Through school he has already been going and reading to the residents, of course he usually seeks out his Great Grandma and reads to her. They both love it. Grandma's memory is slipping a bit, she doesn't always know who I am, or my other kids. She always knows Josh though, and I think it is so special.

Anyway, the AD told me that Josh is at home and completely comfortable. He is well behaved and energetic, visiting with everyone. This awkward Momma, who is still trying to learn how to stop being uncomfortable in public is so happy. Sometimes I really need to step back and appreciate this beautiful and kind soul that God has blessed me with. I mentioned it to my little guy, and he lit up and said "You mean I can go read and visit anytime!?"

Further bragging on my kiddo. Earlier I took the kiddos to the playground to enjoy the nice weather. We briefly had the joint to ourselves and then were joined by our neighbor down the street. One of her girls is in Josh's class. We were visiting and she told me earlier in the year her daughter came home and was impressed with Josh. Kids were fighting and Josh came over to help mediate and told them to remember that God doesn't want us to fight.  I love that boy's caring heart.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Staying Humble

My children keep me humble.

Friday I spent the last 1.5 mowing the lawn and didn't feel like making supper. I decided to order burgers and onion rings and picnic in the backyard. I invited my oldest to ride with me to pick up our food. On the way home I added an errand and we stopped at the post office. Josh remembered there was a package so we picked it up and emptied our mail box. We loaded up and he wanted to know why I leave the package slips in the box when the window to pickup packages is closed.

Me: Then the next time someone stops the slip is there to remind them of the package and so the slip doesn't get lost.

Josh: Why couldn't you just keep track of it and bring it?

Me: Well, Dad and I decided this was the best way. That way whoever gets the mail has the slip. You have to have it to get the packages.

Josh: Oh...so you aren't smart enough not to lose it?!

Me: I'm not smart?

Josh: Smart enough!

Me: You don't think I'm smart? This way is the smartest way. If the slip is in the box whoever checks the mail can grab the slip and when the window is open get the package. I don't have to worry if it is in dad's pickup or hanging up on the fridge.

Josh: Because you lose stuff when you aren't smart enough to keep track of it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Week 2 down

Weekly Wrap Up
Friday- I watched my niece so her mom could help your folks brand. Loved using the blender you bought me. So great for making table food into babyfood. It was fun having an extra baby for the day.
The boys spent every possible second outside. I went and bought Bug new pants. Which leads me to a huge pant sizing related rant. 8s are too small in waist and leg, 10s are too big in both areas even in the slims. I demand 9s, but my demands are ignored, maybe because I don't know were to make my demands.

Saturday - SIL took the boys for the 2nd day of branding. I watched both nieces. The big girls got along great. Small arguments over who Cinderella belonged to and whose turn it was to dress up as batman, and a brief discussion of who was the better Elsa/Anna. Ch and the Twins had some jealousy issues. C likes to be held alone. At one point I uncovered a hidden talent. I fed 3 babies at the same time!

Sunday - Again thankful for those people who sit near me during Mass. Hot Potato with babies again. I can't speak to how well the bigs behaved, I ended up in the cry room with Nora and the poor saps sitting near me watched over the rest of our brood.

Monday - The kids enjoyed playing outside with the neighbors. School has been going good for them. Top secret projects going on that I assume deal with Mother's Day coming up.
Tuesday - Lots of rain today. I was glad I hooked up the new sump pump last night. I felt bad for the boys and picked them up from school instead of making them walk home in the deluge. I would assume your folks moving cows was interesting.

Wednesday - Mom and Kiddo pictures were postponed for another day. No one came to Bible Study, so Father and I agreed to try one more week and if there isn't enough interest I will scrap it. I am a bit disappointed because I feel like I need to be learning more. Also on a more selfish note because I want to get out of the house and do something for me, during the daylight and not dependent on anyone's nap.

Thursday - The girls and I went to Miles City. I had my blooddrawn and another Doctor appointment. Did a little running around. After school we were going to have pictures taken, but they ended up being canceled. I mowed the backyard and it was beautiful out, so we ended up having a picnic for supper. The Twinks didn't seem to mind walking in the grass barefoot. All of the kids loved being outside. You should know that I really want to put in the paverstone patio we talked about. Then get a patio furniture set and a gazebo or pergula....and a fire pit. When the weather is nice I think the kids and I will just live in the backyard.

Whew! That about covers it.

Family Photoshoot

We had family pictures taken at the end of the year, but it was freezing and the photographer said when the weather was nicer we would do more. I knew asking my husband to take more wouldn't fly, but I really wanted updated kid pictures and at least one nice pictures with me and the kids. All I have are selfies, and no pictures with me and all 5.

While I wait for school to get out I was playing with pose ideas. My sister is definitely the artist in the family.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

1 Week Down and Alls Well

Well husband, you have been gone nearly a week. Your family misses you. In fact Bear told me you hurt her feelings and broke her heart. She sure loves her Daddy and yesterday demanded to be dressed like a farmer...just like my Dad.

The boys sound like they have done alright in school. Big D informed me he broke up with Miss M and is now with Miss A. The former beau got angry at him too often. Apparently he moves on quickly. No longer wanting to marry the little girl who was going to marry a Tug Boat Captain his dream job is back to being a farmer. And yes, he received another lecture/reminder he is too little for girlfriends and figuring out who he will marry.

Bug tells everyone that you are gone to Oregon. Germany/Oregon...foreign enough. At a classmates birthday party he played Pokemon and is now making similar battle cards of his various interests.
The twins have been a bit clingy and at the same time more adventurous. They climb now and seem to look for opportunities to fall. The older children's rock collection is the bane of my existence. Mainly because they end up in the hands of our minis who put them in boots and pots and doorways.
I was supposed to start a new Bible Study tonight, but it wasn't well attended and there was a Parish Counsel Meeting which would have left me alone. We will try next week and if there isn't enough interest I will scrap it. The material is pretty deep and I am not sure I am smart enough. Perhaps I should look into the Bible for Dummies? Is that a thing?

Anyway Week 1 summary.
Friday we ran errands and checked out books at the Public Library. They may need to build a new wing for all the books they are getting in for Bug.

Saturday the boys went to a birthday party. I spent 2 hours mowing the lawn and getting a sunburn.

Sunday I relied heavily on anyone near my pew at Mass. Everyone gets a baby! We also went the the PTAs Bingo day. The prize for a BINGO was picking out 2 books, picking an additional 5 before leaving and everyone got doorprizes.

Monday was a low key day. We didn't do much.

Tuesday while the boys were in school I took the girls to Glendive to visit my sister and pickup pallets for our future backyard playhouse. It rained and I discovered our sump pumps weren't working. The outside one just needed plugged in, the Basement one Neil got the float unstuck. This week I will pickup a new one.

Friday, April 7, 2017

March Twink Stats

Gracers has been walking more this week. The older kids have been competitive on who has witnessed the most consecutive steps. 10 steps is the most Mom can confirm, bragging rights of big brother swells the distance of her journeys at each telling.

Meekers has taken a few steps, but is generally more inclined to dive towards arms rather than walk. She cruises along everything and has an crawling speed.

Gracers has been sleeping through the night, Meekers did once this week. Bear still doesn't sleep all the way through the night as a 3 year old, but I am trying to be optimistic that 2017 will be the year of restful nights.

Monday, April 3, 2017

There Cannot Be Only One

My view everytime I am feeding only one baby and the other notices.

I guess our motto is tandem feeding or tears.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Coming to a Bookstore Near You!

My 7 year old is making how to books today. The back page has "coming soon" and listing his other books, currently out and up and coming. I haven't explained copyrights yet, which may effect things.

The instructions range from incredibly detailed to vague. His first book has the 1st step as opening the book. Step 2: turn the page and read all other steps. The next 3-5 steps deal with finding and gathering supplies, with a helpful note that it will be hard and some items might be mistaken as garbage. Also getting yourself a secret lair to keep the creations. Several items needed in the two books I have been allowed to read: a bobby pin, popsicle sticks, glue, a broken christmas light, and the top of a Yummy Tummy drink (have your mom/dad buy you one. Then drink it, but don't throw away the lid.)

We are showing his work to trusted family and friends first before pursuing a publisher.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Bedtime Hour(s)

The time of excuses, and "need to tell you something", quarrels over how far open the bedroom door should be or if it should be shut, and a healthy dose of crying. Drinks of water pleas and numerous trips to the bathroom, and some more crying.

Nursing babies, tucking in a toddler, bedtime prayers, and reminders for lights out. Hoping to get the dishwasher loaded but valuing any possible minute of sleep more.

Trying to hang on to the small string of sanity that began fraying 45 minutes before the whole routine started.

Attempting to remember who has showered and who needs to. Feeding the family members who come home from the farm after bedtime and getting them to take off their muddy clothes before they dive on a couch. Get them cleaned or fed first?

Getting the twinks settled and my husband asking a question. Doesn't he know by now if the sense me move or hear my voice they wake up and the crying starts all over!? Resisting the urge to say "your turn to parent" and remembering he has been working for the last 14 hours and is tired too.

At the end of bedtime prayers I ask everyone in the family to pick one thing from their day they were grateful for, the best/favorite part, and thank God they were able to experience it. I do this more for me. I am emotionally spent at this point and it can be hard to feel grateful. There really is so much to be grateful everyday though.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Lesson in Giving

Last night I took the boys to the basement with their tote we use as a toybox. I dumped it out along with all the other toys downstairs. A few side notes: toys that a parent had to pickup went in a garbage bag and was relegated to life in the basement. Also, prior to our descent, I had thrown away all broken toys and sorted out a good share that were long gone and donated to St Vincent's Thrift Shop. The remaining toys were to be sorted in 3 totes of equal size.
1) Toy box for everyday play
2) Donation
3) Storage/Rotation/Sentimental Toys

Box number 1 was quickly filled, the other two remained barren. I dumped the toy box again and delivered a pep talk. I would take care of toys for the girls. Each boyo would pick 10 toys per basket. Then we would repeat the sequence in groups of 5 items.

Oh the tears shed of forced discarded favorites. How an item not meritting a rank in the top 20 still qualified as "one of my favorites" and "so special to me" astounds me. Items one child donated were plucked out by the other and traded for items in another tote. More tears, more gut-wrenching decisions. It was painful all the way around. Reminders that sets counted as one item, whether as a keeper or a donation. My oldest is clearly more attached and sentimental. With cries of "How could you want to donate that?! It was a Christmas present!" After a few rounds I deemed the rest would be donated. More sobbing and wailing. Another Oscar-worthy speech about children in the world with no toys to their name and witnessing children with 2 totes full crying about parting with toys they had forgotten existed.

Honestly it wasn't the warm fuzzy life lesson I was hoping for. Hearts weren't filled with the joy of giving.  wasn't a patient parent carefully imparting and passing down wisdom to my offspring. After taking their box of treasures back upstairs, my son's Catholic guilt reared its head and he decided he should have given more and been more generous. I wouldn't describe him having a relieved face when I said we could always give more and sort through toys again on another day.

This morning though I deemed the mission a success. Bear alone has been a carpenter, doctor, batman, and princess before my cup of coffee was cold. The boys have been more interested in playing in their room than begging for more television time. The amount of toys are more manageable and easier to keep picked up and apparently more fun. Win-win-win.

For a better lesson of giving, I am considering taking the big 3 shopping to pick out a toy or two to donate. And putting together a shopping list for groceries to take to the Community Cupboard. Experienced parents, please share how have you taught your children to be generous and giving?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Basement Schemes

House projects are on my mind again. In the next month, as soon as the weather warms up we are finally going to work on the basement. Of course by we, I mean we are hiring someone. Family was offering to help us do it ourselves, but my husband didn't think he had the time to take it on.

The floor will be jack-hammered out and removed. Then we will do plumbing work ourselves. 2 egress windows will be cut. Some keep-water-out-measures will be made before the floor repoured. Finish work will be done with the previously volunteered help.

I have been organizing and packing up the basement. We will have to demo a bedroom the cinderblock shower and remove the furnace and hot water heater. Then temporarily move out until the work is done. Likely living in my in-laws basement, which has me a bit nervous. I don't like feeling like I am in the way.

I am mostly excited. This will double our liveable square footage and the boys will have a room to share between them. A bathroom I am excited to design, our upstairs remodel turned out so great. An extra bedroom for guests, or if our dream of moving to the farm is further away than we would like Bear will move into it.

The other for sure plan is a storage room. We are debating about an office/adult workspace.

The rest of the space will be open for the kids to run and play. My old counter-height table will be setup for jigsaw puzzles, lego building, boardgames, etc. I would like to put a sectional and chair or two with an entertainment center and lots of builtin bookshelves.

1140 sq ft extra. We will end up with a 4 bedroom 2 1/2 bathroom home. Upstairs parents and girls room. Downstairs boys room and guest room. Plenty of room for kids to be kids.

Other projects on the to-do-list:
-take up carpet in livingroom and kids' room and refinish hardwood floors underneath
-remove kitchen wall next to basement stairs and build half-wall
-put up shiplap walls in the kitchen and paint
-attempt to convince husband to trim windows and doors...and consider crown  molding in bedrooms and livingroom.
-paver stone patio in the backyard
-till area in backyard for a vegetable garden
-replace siding and roof again from last summer's hailstorm

Sunday, March 12, 2017

On my mind, or out of it

Big D was puking last night, he only made it to the bathroom 2 out of 4 times. I am again firmly decided that we need to rip up our old carpet and refinish the hardwood floors. Or just rip up the carpet, the wood floors actually look pretty good.

This carpet has gone through 3 potty training children, horrific accidents and spills, grease, mud, and manure from the corral tracked over it. 6 1/2 years of stomach flu and exploding diapers. I am over the carpet shampoo-er and what to do with 5 kids and a damp carpet in winter.

In my mind, looking over our fence at the greener grass that is noncarpeted floors cleanup seems easier. What mom, strike that, person isn't 110% for easier cleanup?

At least one member of our household has been sick: either coughing, snifflely, achy, pukey, feverish, sneezing, Hershey squirts afflicted, plagued of some sort since the last week of January.

I blame the carpet. I can't sanitize the carpet. The carpet that our slobbery kissing germ sharing cuddly children crawl and roll across daily. Also the boys seem to have forgotten how hygeine works. The days of obsessive handwashing are over.

I am drinking coffee, hoping the kids will nap, and having hateful thoughts about carpet.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Nora's Nine Month Milestones

Nora has had an eventful March. On the 1st she took her first wobbly steps. On the 5th I heard something clinking when she took my glass of water, and then discovered her 1st tooth.

Today is the 10th, and she has 4 teeth and 2 more she is working on. Which really explains all the fussiness and biting this week.

9 months old and growing up fast. She says Mom, Dad, Up and gibberish. If you ask her big brothers she says all sorts of things, usually things they want.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Twinning in the shop

My inlaws were out of town today so we delivered lunch to the farm. With a warm snap, and tired of being in the house we decided to hang out at the shop. Not sure it is my most brilliant plan.

We are out of the house, but the babies are limited to being held or in their carseats. Mom is getting more out of this outing.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Schay It Ain't Schlow

Mama, I want to schwim underwater like Arieal. Claire wants to.

Mama, I cant schleep.

Mama, I help you schweep the floor.

Bear tidbit. Words that start with the letter 'S' are pronounced 'Sch' or 'Shhh'. Why I don't know, but I find it adorable. She also randomly adds Ls.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Notes to self

Notes to self
  • Stop calling every member of my family honey. It gets too confusing.
  • Make it a priority to program the coffee machine before bed. The grinder going off is a better alarm clock anyway.
  • Throw out at least 75% of the Husband's T-shirts. That should make room for the ones he actually wears.
  • Find and sign up for a woodworking class.
  • Start putting together the tax stuff, extensions shouldn't be annual event.
  • Get a babysitter and go do something enjoyable with no guilt, even if it means going alone. Maybe a weekend trip.
  • Start supper before family members air grievances of hunger.

Kid Notes

Bear is obsessed with her dad and being a farmer. This topic deserves it's own post, so more on Farmer Claire later. There are days she will not answer to her name, unless is it preceded by 'farmer'.

Gracers when she gets mad, spits. I think I now understand my grandmother's saying. I will try to get a video, she is my only kid to do it. She takes a break from squawking to spit. We find it funny, I am not sure what that says about us as parents - laughing at the crying, angry baby. A lot of emotions experienced all at once.

Gracers also sticks her feet in her mouth, with preference for her right big toe. Big D used to put his toes in his mouth as a babe, my other kiddos didn't. So there is that.

Meekers hair is well past her nose and constantly in her eyes. Bug was the same and he financial received a haircut at 7 months. Meekers I can get away putting her hair in a ponytail, so I am hoping to put off haircuts. 

Bear so far has only ever had the haircut she gave herself, and she will 3 in a few months!

Bug and Big D both say they want to be home-schooled. Bug I am afraid, is finding school is too easy. Which has caused him to be in near constant trouble for talking too much and blurting out all the answers, and wanting to interrupt most subjects to share something he read in a book. 

Big D says school is boring, playing with friends is okay, schoolwork isn't interesting and as he knows he wants to be a farmer he would learn more if we just allowed him to go to the farm everyday with his dad. He is learning to read though, and we are both proud of his progress. He is very frustrated with words he can't sound out, or really anything that doesn't come easily. His teacher reports that he gives her a bearhug at the end of everyday (subs too). Substitute teachers are a huge exciting occurrence.

Most days here at home involve a lot of reading. Bear brings me books throughout the day. We read a least a chapter a day from a book outloud to the whole family (well Mom and kids anyway, Dad is typically off reading his own book) Bug both loves and hates this. He tries to sneak the book off to read ahead.

The big three love doing dishes, poorly, and with massive amounts of water everywhere.  But I tend to let them.  They are learning, having fun...and I just consider it rinsing before they go in the dishwasher.  Hey it keeps my counters shiny.