Saturday, December 7, 2013

Peace On Earth...and in Me

We are busy decking the halls. We've got our tree and decorations up, been to see Santa and have attended one of the two Christmas concerts for our kids' schools. Tomorrow we are hosting our annual Dessert Open House and collecting basketballs, soccer balls and playground balls for orphanages in Ethiopia. It's a very fun time of year!

It's also that time of year when I get a wee bit overwhelmed. Eeeek! But, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve i.e.; a long list of things that have worked in the past. Cam is my best friend and he knows what gets me feeling stressed. So, he is enthusiastic to get some of our Christmas "to dos" done early. Although I was tired from Thanksgiving, Cam insisted we head out for our tree AND get our Santa pics of the kids done. He is right though, getting those things done early gives me lots of time left in the month to sit back and enjoy the festivities.

A few other things that help me to ease the stress and therefore enjoy the season:

I have several beautiful nativity sets displayed. I love to look at them and talk to the kids about the reason we have Christmas. It helps me to focus on Christ's birth and remind me what really matters.

I look at the world through my kids' eyes. They don't care about the end result, they enjoy the experience of getting there. It's a good reminder.

I *try* to take a few minutes each day to sit and enjoy the view from my bedroom windows. I drink a hot drink and rest, relax and quiet my mind. Sometimes one of the kids lays next to me and we visit. Sometimes I snuggle my sweet dog. It's amazing how just 10 minutes relieves stress.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Newest Black Belt

This awesome kid just earned his black belt in TKD!!! We are so proud of him. Three years of hard work and dedication! Way to go Mr. P!

Sunday, November 24, 2013


We went to my Uncle and Aunt's house for their annual Cider Pressing Party. So fun! The weather was a beautiful sunny crisp fall day.

Cam is wearing kind of a crazy outfit....but wow....hubba hubba! I didn't take too many pics since I was having so much fun...and enjoying the sunshine. We took home a few jars of cider to drink. Man oh man is it good!

We also took home boxes of apples. We ate a bunch and then prepped the rest for the freezer.

I finally went and bought an apple corer/slicer....the kind that suctions onto the counter top. The kids did all the work. I have been struggling with a pulled muscle in my neck/shoulder so I couldn't turn the crank.

Moses and Mr. P were thrilled to do the work! We decided to prep all the apples for pies. I put flour, sugar and cinnamon on the apples and put them into freezer bags. Now when we want to make a pie all I have to do is pull it out and thaw it. Yummy! 

Sis loved to help too. And I think Kali wants to get in there too.

Mr. P sampled them to make sure they were nice and cinnamon-y!

I'm totally cracking up!! Why is there a roll of toilet paper on the kitchen counter??? I don't know! All I can say is that it was one of those crazy days when I was behind in everything and the kitchen was a wreck but I had to get the apples processed. So...toilet paper on the counter....okay....awesome!

I love fall! Love cinnamon. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What Doin'?

Okay, I just went a little nutty trying to find the link to write a new post. I could NOT find it....and then I got panicky....

What if I am really losing it?

Why can't I find it?

What if something is wrong with my brain...or eyes...or brain?

Where is it?

Oh my gosh....okay, don't freak out....holy cow...seriously!

Oh, there it is. 

See're brain tumors.

So how have you been? Me? I've been wearing the Landlord Hat, which apparently is making me question whether or not I have brain issues/diseases. We have decided to sell our rental house. **Please take this time to send up prayers that it sells.....quickly**

We feel (hope, pray, beg) that the market is good now to sell. Plus, we are really not so good at being landlords. It's a lot of work to maintain two houses when really I only have the time to do a good maintenance job on a kid's playhouse.....or maybe dollhouse.

I will be SO glad when the house sells and I can throw away my Landlord's ugly and hats always wreck my hair. I've spent the last two weeks dealing with The Rental. Cleaning, fixing, repairing, hiring repairers (yes, it's a word) is exhausting. We are trying to get The Rental in tip top shape. 

The downside to selling is that we will be paying two mortgages without the benefit of rent coming in. Hmmmm. Very NOT good! 

So, in the spirit of saving money having enough money to eat we are cutting out all fluff. What is fluff? Let me tell you. No TKD, No YMCA, No gymnastics, No piano lessons, No Weight Watchers, No dinners out, No entertainment. 

And yes, Christmas is just around the corner. I've told the kids that we will have really yummy food AND love each other all day.

The end.

I'll leave this rambling post now with this lovely picture. I've been taking photos of things I see while I'm out walking. Walking is, it's free!

Kairos moment when I saw this lovely trellis covered in hops. Beautiful. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

Halloween at our house started at 5:30 am. Yes you heard that right. I think the kids are conditioning me for Christmas. No, I was not thrilled. They ran around the house talking WAY too loudly. 

We are lucky to have a school that allows costumes. They call it Story Book Character Day. Genius! I decided to get into costume too! The little kids were thrilled and Mr. P look petrified that I might come to his classroom as a kitty. I told him that yes I would be coming to his classroom and that I'd be doing the Litter Box know....the one from the movie Puss In Boots. Muwahahahaha!!

First stop on our Halloween Party Train was Sis's classroom. The room parents did an amazing job with the party!! was so cute!! 

I love hanging out in my kids' classrooms. Plus costumes and candy!! Woot!

Then it was on to Moses's classroom for his party. More fun! I painted kids nails and put black lipstick on them. So cool!

After all my partying I brought the little kids home and put my pj's on. Time to re-group and get ready for the rest of the day. 

I make chili and corn bread every year for dinner. While the dinner cooked the kids ate MORE candy. Oh!

Cam got home in time for dinner and then off to trick-or-treat our neighborhood. It wasn't raining AND it wasn't freezing. Double bonus!!

This year we had a ghoul. I do not like this! I begged and bribed him to be something cute like Batman.....again. Hmpf! I do not like my boys getting big! I actually shed a few tears at the Halloween store. Okay....1. The store was full of horrible creepy things. 2. I was a bit overwhelmed that day. 3. My baby wanted to dress as something creepy. My tears did nothing to change his mind and quite frankly my husband wondered if it was close to "that time of the month". No it is not!! Rude!

So, I ended up with a ghoul and a Ninja. What a cute ninja!! That ghoul...he's disgustingly scary! Turns out that during trick-or-treating he found out the mask was sweaty and he took it off. Happy Mom.

Tuba is always a witch. A good and happy witch.

George was a pirate and Sis was Bell the princess. Oh how I love the little's costume choices. I'm savoring it. 

Let's talk about the candy. HOLY MOLY!! We came home and weighed the candy. 40 lbs.!!!! That's more than Sis weighs! Although she ate so much candy in one day surely she will gain a pound or two. 

Today she is buzzing with nasty sugar energy. NOT pretty. Poor girl. Her candy is not under lock and key and she can have one piece a day. Anyone who feels sorry for her can take her for the day....I'll provide the candy. :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tooth Palooza

The kids have lost four teeth in the past four weeks. Eeeks! The Tooth Fairy is working overtime....and if you remember from past posts....that Tooth Fairy is a little lame. 

Sis lost her first tooth. She is ecstatic!!!! I'm sad!! My baby!

The Tooth Fairy actually came on the first night that the tooth was out. I wrote her a BIG note AND set an alarm for her to remember. Sheesh! 

Sis was so thrilled with her $3.00. She wanted to buy a Barbie Camper. Hmmmmm.....she only needs another $147.00. 

I took her to the Dollar Store today. I've never been into a dollar store. New experience....I didn't realize that EVERYTHING in the store is actually $1.00. Wow! 

Sis was so happy to buy three items!! She chose two Barbies (fake Barbie dolls that will surely lose all their hair in about two hours flat), and a packet of Barbie stationary with stickers and rubber stamps. She's been playing all afternoon. So fun! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Photo Shoot Turnout

As I said in my last post I was going crazy trying to figure out all our outfits. I finally settled on this bunch.

The scarves on top of the ironing board I borrowed from my fab friend and neighbor Ann. I could NOT decide which scarf to add to my outfit. I asked the kids numerous times. They just smiled and said, "yes, that one" even though I was wearing a different scarf each time I asked. I asked Cam too. Finally he warned me not to talk to him about scarves.....ANY MORE. Sheesh! I settled on the scarf on the left side. 

The only items I purchased for the photo shoot was a red bow for Sis and Cam bought a new down vest. Not bad! The rest of it came right out of our closets....matchy and all.

It was a long 90 minute drive to the location for the photos. The kids were not excited about spending that much time in the car. I gave them the "mom does lots of things for you" speech and then plugged in ALL of our electronics to charge for the trip. 

The setting was amazing! Exactly what I wanted for our photos. An old farm with a huge barn, fields of grass, a pond and lots of lovely trees with fall leaves. Oh my!! 

We spent one hour taking lots of shots. The kids were good and put up with all of it. Of course the promise of pizza and root beer kept them smiling and posing nicely. 

We went to a yummy pizza place for dinner. It was so fun!

My favorite yummy beer too!

Look at my loves! So precious!

We have seen just one of the photos so far. LOVE!! I can't wait to see all of them. I will post them here soon! I have one fabulous and gorgeous family!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Photo Shoot

This weekend we are having family photos taken. We haven't had a professional photo taken since we were a family of four! It's time!

We are planning an outdoor shoot with fall leaves and beautiful green grass. 

I am madly, crazily, neurotically planning our outfits. Ugh! I over think things like this....I can't help it. We are wearing jeans. That much is easy. Then I have to decide on shirts/sweaters/vests/shoes....and in what color scheme. Ack! 

I don't want to buy anything new so I'm closet shopping. I've laid out each person's outfit in my room and have been adding/subtracting things all week. I'm making myself nutty.

I should just have Sis the fashion girl do the job for me. But, I don't think there are enough pink sparkles in the house to outfit all of us. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Busy Becky

Today was CRAZY busy! Busy Bee Day!!

Cam is out the door before I'm up.

My alarm rings at 6:00. By 6:15 I was up. I firmly believe that nobody should have to be awake before it's light outside. Just saying...

Make tea, get Tuba ready for school.

6:50 Tuba on bus.

Other kids trickle in. Make breakfast, make lunches, get kids ready, get myself ready. It was a hair and makeup day....fancy that.

8:40 leave for school.

8:45 drop big boys off for Boys Only Reading at school. Fabulous program!

9:00 drop off George for preschool. Ooops we forgot a hat for Hat Day. Good thing we live 1/2 mile away. Back in van quickly.

9:02 run home.

9:05 drop off George again at preschool. 

9:10 Back to elementary school with Sis. It's also my volunteer day so I go in too. 

11:55 done volunteering. Grab Sis and run home to grab a snack and my shopping list.

12:40 pick up George and his friend Maddy. Run Maddy to daycare. 

1:00 Costco. Run with cart and two kids eating a hot dog. I had a huge list and only 45 min. to get it done. I think it doubled as shopping and my cardio.

1:30 pay and head out to load van. 

1:45 head home. 

2:05 Tuba gets off bus. Kids and I unload and put away groceries. It takes forever to put away Costco day! Eeeek!

3:00 fold some laundry clean up breakfast mess (yes, I said breakfast). Snack time. 

3:35 pick up boys. Head to gymnastics for Sis's lesson.

4:00. Homework while watching Sis tumble. 

5:15 Home. Put on my pjs, put my bangs in a clippy and wash my face (heavenly), get dinner ready (I always buy a rotisserie chicken on Costco shopping days AND a bag of broccoli slaw. I added some left over brown rice and done. Cam is working a LONG day so he's still not home. Bah!

6:00 Clean-up dinner, monitor piano practice, build a log home with George and Sis.

7:00 Bedtime snack for kids (dark chocolate....mmmmm).

7:05 Writing on my blog while I sit and listen to kids being wild. Why are kids so wild between dinner and bedtime? Why?????? NOT my favorite part of day.

7:09 Cam home!!!! Now THAT is my favorite part of the day. :)

7:20 Monitor showers, teeth brushing, toy clean-up. Book time.

7:45 Prayers and......BEDTIME!!!!!! Yipeeeeeeeeee!! (It hasn't happened yet but I'm really looking forward to it. does this day make you feel?

Yes I'm tired. Yes I feel a bit frazzled by the number of times I got into and out of my van. I'm in need of some quiet time.

But, all day long I kept thinking how lucky I am. So very blessed. Maybe I was just in a good mood but I really took notice today of my many blessings. So many.

I got to spend the day with my kids. The whole day. I feel lucky to do this because it's what I want to do.

I felt good. Everyone is healthy.

I am able to volunteer in my kids' classrooms....and I love it!

I have a nice new van to drive me around.

I ate healthy delicious food and it was plentiful.

I could afford my groceries.

My kids are lucky to attend lessons like TKD and gymnastics. We can afford to pay for them.

My kids are old enough to help carry groceries, set the table, and pick things up. Very nice!

My husband worked a long day but he has a good that he enjoys too.

It was a long day, a busy day but a good day. Thank you God for my abundance. I'm thankful.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pumpkin Patch

Now this is the way to do the Pumpkin Patch. Thank you so very much to our dear friends Farmer Vern and Cheryl. Vern grew us pumpkins and invited us up for a farm day of fun. 

The setting was beautiful. A sunny crisp day to boot! 
Farmer Vern rigged up the trailer to give us hay rides. The kids LOVED it!!

There was a huge garden with so many beautiful things to look at. 

The kids each got to pick a HUGE pumpkin. If you go look at the post from last year you'll see that this size pumpkin sells for $25.00. Whoa!!

Fennel and lettuce and more.

Our kids love Wally the farm dog.  

Wally loved the hay rides too. Check out Conn's funny!

For dinner we had beef stew, fresh baked bread, and salad....and root beer for the kids. We ate outside around a big camp fire. It was even more lovely (and yummy) than it sounds. Berry crisp for dessert.

We had such a wonderful time. Thank you Vern and Cheryl!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Slice

The Slice is back by popular demand....just kidding....I just really like doing this. 

Outside My Window - It's cool and foggy. The leaves are beginning to turn orange and red. yard looks fantastic. We spent a a day last weekend getting the yard shaped up for fall. It's not cold enough yet to kill off the remaining blooms so there is still plenty of color out there. The grass is nice a green too. 

I Am Thinking - A lot about my health...and all of the things that affect weight, my muscle mass, my flexibility, my diet, my exercise, my cancer risk, my heart health, my anxiety, my happiness. All of it....on my mind lately. Trying to find a good balance.

I Am Thankful - For the privilege of volunteering in my kids' classrooms. I enjoy all of the kids and the whole school environment. I know that I'm lucky to get to spend so much time doing what I love. 

From The Kitchen - Tomato and Roasted pepper soup with cheesy bread sticks for dinner. I'll confess that the soup is from Trader Joe's....although I plan to find a recipe and make my own soon. Cheese bread by moi.

I Am Wearing - A nightgown with little pink flowers and pj pants that are pink checkered....bare feet. And I'm all tucked into my bed with a lovely down comforter. Heavenly. More confessions. It is 2:22 pm on a Friday afternoon. :) There was no school today and the kids and I have been hanging out....and cleaning...and reading...and hanging out. 

I Am Creating - Order and cleanliness in my house. Summer is my slacking time so now it's time to get down to business. I gave the kitchen floor a MAJOR cleaning today. It. Was. Gross. Not gross like sticky spilled things but just dark in the high traffic areas. I had to laugh because the cleanest area was from the back door through to the hallway. That is where kids came in all wet from the sprinkler all summer. do clean! 

I have a steam cleaner for the flooring in the kitchen and bath. The tiles are the industrial kind that schools use. Nice for a big busy family. I'm looking for something non-toxic to make them shine. I know I can hire a janitor to buff them with a machine but I'd like to do it myself. Any suggestions???

I Am Going - To Physical Therapy. I have an old (26 yrs) knee injury, and low back strain and a neck problem. All of it is related and it's HIGH time I address these issues. I've been learning about my posture (its terrible...shoulders up to by ears, back arched, pelvis tilted back, knees locked) and which muscles are "on" too much and which ones aren't on enough. It's been interesting but really slow. I was complaining to Cam that I didn't feel like PT was helping. He asked me how many sessions I had gone to....ummmmm.....two. I know, I know...patience. But, I am the girl who has been dieting and exercising for a week and thinks I should be thin and strong....TODAY!! C'mon already!

I Am Reading - I'm catching up on my magazine pile while I wait for my newest book club book to arrive. I just finished reading Me Before You. REALLY REALLY good!! Story of a young man who is a quadriplegic and wants to end his life through assisted suicide. Loved the book! Bawled my head off.

I Am Hoping - That my knee, back, neck feel better SOON. That Cam gets home from work early tonight. That it doesn't rain on Halloween. 

I Am Hearing - Sister is brushing my hair (God bless her) and chatting with me while I type. The dog is sniffing around my bedroom....she makes little snorting sounds like a pig. I can hear the boys downstairs. Mr. P is reading and then he will play a tune on his recorder. It's actually Cam's recorder from when he was a kid. So fun! I can hear the other boys chatting and playing. 

I Am Laughing At - Sis and I are laughing. As she puts my hair into pigtails I make terrible wincing faces because she IS NOT GENTLE! As my hair is pinging and ripping I can't help but make faces. OUCH! But, it makes Sis laugh...and then I laugh....reinforcing her brushing style. The good brushing is worth the pain...most of the time.

Here's a photo from another Beauty Shop day.

Around The House - My pumpkin collection is on display. I really love fall and all of the beautiful colors. The house feels clean and organized. Today would be a good day for unexpected company. Oh, except we are all in pjs or sweats. But, the house looks good!

One Of My Favorite Things - 

This jar is my favorite, favorite, favorite thing!! I've always drank water out of a quart jar. Now I have a reusable lid and reusable straw. This jar is 24 oz. I can easily keep track of my water intake. I fill it up three times a day. It fits in my car's cup holder too! Much slimmer than my old quart jar. I take it everywhere with me. Love this!! Get yourself one HERE. You can buy lots of different jars too. Plus, you can buy the lids and straws if you have a jar you want to use. 

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week - After last year's pumpkin patch debacle SEE HERE we are going to our friends' house for a Harvest Farm Day! We are going to pick pumpkins, have a bonfire, have dinner and have FUN! For FREEEEEEEE!!

While I was getting the link for the Pumpkin Patch debacle I stumbled across THIS. I now have to go hug all of my babies....and get a Kleenex. 

A Picture Thought I'm Sharing - 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Littlest Acolyte

He's been known as Busy Guy for so long. He's not really Busy like he used to be. He is so helpful, so attentive. He really shouldn't be referred to as his toddlerhood nickname anymore. But, I don't like to use my kids' names on the blog. So, I'll use his Patron Saint name, Moses.

We have a new acolyte in the family.  Moses is thrilled to join the bigger boys on the altar at church. He is (of course) doing a great job learning the job.

What a beautiful boy! Moses has a caring heart and true spirit of stewardship. I see a priest in the making. Hmmmmm......

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Hot tea...with milk
Having my hair brushed
Falling leaves
Clean sheets

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Homecoming Duke

We have had an amazingly busy and fun week!! Last week was Homecoming at Tuba's High School!! For the first time in the history of Homecoming the school decided to include kids from the Special Education program!! Tuba and his friend were selected to be on the court. They were Dukes! 

At first I wasn't sure how much Tuba would want to participate in the festivities. But, he surprised me as the week went on and he was VERY excited to be included. The first activity was a pep assembly/talent show. Tuba's education assistant Anne made the boys the most fabulous cars as their costumes. The theme of Homecoming was Disney so the boys were from the movie Cars. Tuba LOVES his red car....working headlights and all! 

I took the kids out of school to go watch the show. They were so thrilled to get to see Tuba! When the boys were introduced the music blaring was Life Is A Highway by Rascal Flatts. The announcer asked everyone to stand and cheer for the boys. The crowd was so loud! The boys walked down the aisle of the auditorium and onto the stage. I. Was. Bawling. 

Each rehearsal or homecoming meeting that Tuba attended he became more excited and more willing to participate. On Friday was the coronation assembly. 

Cam took the day off of work and we took the kids out of school again. Tuba LOVES a tux and was so thrilled to get all spiffed up. Shiny shoes are his favorite. 

Once again as the boys were announced the crowd went wild. Cam was yelling, "that's my boy" and another started high fiving him. It was SO much fun. Tuba loved it! He was escorted by a cheerleader. Loved that too!

Our local news channel came to the school to film the story. It was very exciting. I knew the camera was on our family so I tried not to do The Ugly Cry. After the coronation the news anchor interview me for the story. If you'd like to see the story I'll send you the link. It's AWESOME!! For privacy concerns I didn't want to post the link here in cyberspace. Just leave a comment with your email and I'll send you the link. Or, if you know where we live you can google Special Homecoming with our local city and you'll find it. The story has so far been shared almost 2,000 times!! Really a beautiful story. Get yourself a Kleenex!

On Friday night the Homecoming Court is announced at the football game. This is THE only time you will find me at a football game. ;) Grandma Barb and my sister Jayme and her two kids were able to join us. It was fun!! No need to watch football with so many fun people to talk to!

Here is Tuba's awesome EA Anne. She is an angel! Seriously God has sent this woman to us and she blesses our life every day!!

The pic is blurry but it gives me such great memories. As we walked across the field the band members were lined up on both sides of us. The kids started cheering for Tuba and Casey. The yelled out, "you look great, good job" and other kind things. It made Cam and I cry....again.

Casey was escorted by he and Tuba's teacher and her husband. They rock!!

The dance was on Saturday night. Tuba had a wonderful time. 

He loves to dance and dance he did!! 

I love the smile on Casey's face.

The girl in the hot pink and black stripe dress was also on the court. She is the kindest girl. All during the week she went out of her way to include Tuba. She radiates joy and kindness. A beautiful girl inside and out!

Whew!! What a week!! I haven't cried so much in one I don't know how long. My poor eyes were swollen and red most of the week. I don't even know how to explain how much this week means to Cam and I. We want our special boy to be loved and included and that is exactly what happened. I had anxiety and worries that he would fall apart in front of the school. But, he did great. I had so many emotions during the week that came pouring out in tears and laughter. It was a special special week and I'm so glad that Tuba got this opportunity. Tuba loved the whole week! 

You go Duke Tuba! Keep surprising me and showing me how to live!!


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