Friday, June 28, 2013

Great Families Have Extended Families

We had such a good time with our Alaskan Grandma here.  She stayed for a whole week, which was not nearly long enough because we only get to see her once a year.  So we try to be as much with her as we can.

Last year, we weren't able be with her as much as we wanted to, because her visit fell just after my mom passed away.  But this year, we had a great time together.

We are incredibly lucky to have a strong extended family web.  We have so many good friends in our family, and we know they are always there for us.  How lucky for us that we have THREE (Jay's, mine, and Trent's) big extended families.  That means fourteen sets of aunts and uncles, and (I'm trying to count) about 60 cousins!  Whoop!

How we love our grandma.  And Opa.  And Gram and Pop.  And our Angel Grandma Susie and Angel Grandpa Ras looking out for us from Heaven.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Men Have Toys Too

We have an iPhone.  An almost-new, perfectly good one.  But then Alec got a new, non-iPhone.  It was newer and cooler and best-er.  He showed it to Trent and they compared phones and apps and features and coolness levels.  Alec won.  So Trent just had to get a newer phone, too.

So if a man gets a new toy,

He will have to play with it.  And if he starts playing with it, he will need to look up and hook up all new cool things.

And if he spends time getting the new toy working, it will get later.

And if it gets too much later, his wife may just go to the bedroom without him and read a book.  By herself.  

And if it gets too much later, 

she may try to bribe him to come to bed.

But if it gets too much later.

She may just give up and eat it herself.

Sorry, Sweetheart.  But then again, I really don't feel all that bad.

And that's the truth.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


In these last few weeks with Alec, before he ships off to boot camp and his new life with the Army, I really wanted to get some work done.  Partly to keep him busy, partly for him to be helping out, and partly to use his strength and expertise while we could.  So we got the new t.v. as an early Father's Day present, and Alec  had it all hooked up before I could blink twice.

He worked on the dining ceiling repair job and got the sheetrock up and most of the coats of mud.

He helped a bunch on the building of the chicken coop.  I see that I need to update our progress on that project, 'cuz everyone has worked really hard on it.

And he climbed in this baby and ripped out some of the shrubbery that has been slowly dying in our front yard.  Only too happy to do that that one!  Demolition is more fun that building, anyway.

I was happy that he was productive, and happy that we were getting some of these jobs done.  What I did not want was for him to start a job and leave it half-finished.  Sigh.  Sometimes we get what we want, and sometimes we don't.

I'll need to finish the last couple of coats of mud on the ceiling repair.  He had a hard time admitting that he didn't know how to do the finish work, and just left it.  It's hard and tricky work, I know.  I'm glad he learned as much about drywall repair as he did.  Wish I would have done that last bit with him so it could be done.

And the bushes?  

It's a disaster.  Looks like a war zone, with twisted branches and piles of dirt and rocks randomly scattered. A mess.

Kind of how I feel about him leaving.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Great Families Learn

Education is important in our family.  I got my bachelor's degree in education, so I have all the pedagogy for teaching.  I use the stuff I learned in college all.  the.  time.  But maybe even more than the information, or even the methodology, I am glad that I learned how to learn.

I want my kids to know how to learn, too.  I encourage them as much as I can in their schoolwork, but I won't do it for them.  Been there, done that.  I don't need to know how to do the projects - they do.  We talk to teachers, get supplies, and cheer them on.

As much as I love for them to learn, we are all happy when summer comes.

And we'll learn different things outside of school.  Because it's important to keep learning.  It's good to have a mind open enough to get things in, but not so open that they all leak back out.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Goodbye, Strollers!

Remember my hoarding problem with strollers?  And how hard I tried - unsuccessfully - to get rid of them?

I found a solution.  My little salesmen were more than happy to take them off my hands for half the earnings.  They stayed out here for a day and a half and sold five strollers.  Five!  And we still have one more to go.  But the others are gone to new families who can use them.  Yippee!

They each made some good money, and I have more room in the garage.  Win, win, win, win.  Way to go, guys!

(And the double jogging stroller there is still up for grabs, if anyone wants it!)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Great Families Hug

I am Angel and I am 4.  My birthday is in three months.  I think that is after this Sunday and then the next and then it will be my birthday!

I think our flamly is great because we "stir the pot."  It's always fun.  We are all together in a circle.  So we pretend there's a pot (in the middle of the family circle) and there's pudding in there and soup in there and we just stir it up and mix it up together.  And so we do like this (sticks thumb out like a hitchhiker) and we put our thumbs out like this (everyone stacks their fists on top of each other, with your thumb up and holding the thumb below in your fist - as if all helping hold a giant stirring spoon) and stir all together and we say:

Stirring the pot of family love
Goodnight everyone!
Group hug!

And we all hug.  That's what's fun.  I like hugging ever-body. And it's silly and we laugh.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Great Families Smile

Alec is leaving this weekend.  Going to boot camp.  Yi, yi, yi.

I need to have a family picture before my family changes, because it ain't ever gonna be the same again.  I'm ok with that.  Life changes and they grow.  Growing is a good thing - hard, but good.  

Our last family portrait (I'm discounting the after-church hurry up and smile for me puleeze shots) was nearly three years ago.  Too long.  So we need something more current.  Something more now.  Something more this-is-my-boy-while-he-is-gone.  

The only time we could do it was early Tuesday morning.  I expected everyone to moan and groan about getting up at 5:30, but they didn't.  They got up all cheerful and helpful.  I was amazed and delighted.  We had a good session with my fun youngest brother - hero to my older boys.  We chose a spot in the backyard that would catch the morning golden light, and stood and smiled.  We all had a good time, and I have my portraits.  Happy Mama, me.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Today I

Arose 5:30
Family portraits
All smile!
Restaurant breakfast
Water lawn
Trent roofing
Alec shopping
Ben shopping
-separate trips -
Camping prep
Nap time!
Read news
Feeding family
Clean kitchen
Clean again
Want pictures
Lose hardware
Not happy
Demolish bushes
Edge garden
Chris grumpy
Encourage children
Make dinner
David scouts
Wake daughter
Neighbors visit
Dirt monsters
Bathe twins
Prepare forms
Tomorrow morning
Scout camps
Preassemble lunch
Low IQ
Short words
Hem pants
1:00 am


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On Vacation

My first mother-in-law came to visit us.  She lives far, far away so we only get to see her once a year.  So glad she comes!

We are thoroughly enjoying her visit and want to soak up every moment of her time.  So... no posting until after we take her to the airport.

Have a great week!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Great Families Help Each Other

        Eddie here.

Yesterday we decided that we were going to have homemade pizza.  Since the three older boys weren't home me, David and Mom had to do it by ourselves. I grated the cheese. Me and Mom put the pepperoni on and did the dough.  David took it out of the oven.  And Mom did the goodies (onions and green peppers).  I helped Georgie during dinner, and David got drinks for Angel and Freddie.  I like helping.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Great Families Say Sorry

by David

Me and Eddie were playing around with dress ups, and we were having a playful battle. We were playing a pretend game, and I playfully threw something at him and accidentally hit his eye. I went away until I felt better. And after I was done, I went and apologized. He didn't do any thing when I first apologized, he didn't react. But after a little bit he emerged feeling better and we could continue being friends.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What Makes Our Family Great?

It's summertime, and we have more together time.  Sometimes that is good, and sometimes it makes things tricky.  We have a looser schedule, and I can spend the whole day in my pajamas if I want.  However, it also means that I have hardly any uninterrupted writing time.  I want to write, but I also want to spend time with my family.

We'll do both.  The kids are going to help me chronicle this summer.  First off is a series of thoughts about the wonderful things that happen around here.  Sometimes we overlook the simple in looking for the grand - but it's the simple everyday happies that make life a beautiful place.  That's what we'll be looking for.  The little things that make our family great.  And marvelous.  And real.

I wrote it up on our white board, where we can all see it and be thinking about it.  Let's see what comes of it!

For the record, I do not want to spend the day in my pajamas.  But I could.  If I wanted to.  Which I don't.  Usually.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pillow Talk

We have too many pillows on the bed.  It reminds me of the scene in Regarding Henry where he first comes home from the hospital and goes to bed.  He lays down - or tries to - but there are too many pillows to let him get horizontal.  He reaches behind his head and pulls them out, one at a time, and flings them across the room.

I do this every night.

I have a pillow or two for under my head.  My man has the same.  And since we have a large bed, there is another one or two to fill out the row.  And then there are two large decorative pillows and two small ones on top.  And somehow, there are no fewer than six other pillows in the middle.  Why?

Why indeed.

I have to have a taller pillow to support my shoulder or I'll have pins and needles in my arm and hand the next day.  All day long.  And it can't be too hard or I wake up with an earache.  And it can't be too soft or I feel like I'm suffocating.

His pillows have to be right so he doesn't strain his years-ago-dislocated shoulder.  And so he doesn't make too much noise while sleeping.  And a few more for tucking around here and there.

I'm feeling like a picky eater, writing this out.  It shouldn't be this difficult, should it?  So we keep shopping for the "right" pillow, and accumulate all the fails.  One day we'll find a great one.  Maybe.  Actually, I'm giving up hope.

Meanwhile, we have plenty of ammo for a great pillow fight.  Wanna come over?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Today I learned how to use a jig saw.  I bought us one, to cut out the windows of the chicken coop.  So I did.  It was kind of fun - makes a big difference, really quickly.  And now the chicks have windows.

And I have sawdust... all over.  I also learned that when one is using a jigsaw chest-high or higher, one must be wearing a turtleneck shirt to avoid getting sawdust... all over and in.

That's all.  And I'm headed to the shower.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hanky Panky

We woke up too early.  Either that, or the morning started too early.  Doesn't matter - it feels the same.  Don't want to get up.  I rolled over into Trent.  And smile.

Within roughly three seconds, a little person's head appeared at my side of the bed.  Georgie, grinning, climbed into the bed.  I pulled up the covers to let him in, and he snuggled into me.  Moments later, another little head appeared at Trent's side of the bed.  Freddie scrambled up and snuggled into his daddy.

The bed was getting cozy (realtor-speak for "crowded"), but I wasn't ready to get up just yet.  Trent wrapped his other arm around me and pulled me closer.  He stroked my hair, and kissed the nape of my neck.  I sighed.  He nibbled a little more.  No way was I getting up.  It wouldn't go much further with young 'us around, but it was so nice...

Suddenly, Georgie sat up.  "Daddy!" he yelled.  In my grogginess, it was startling.  Trent also sat right up when he heard the next thing out of the little guy's mouth.  "Have you sex?"

That was the end of snuggling for the morning.  "Do you think they know... do they understand...?"  Trent was worried as he hurried his clothes on.

I laughed, because I heard, "Daddy!  Are you six?"  And the next thing Georgie said, that Trent didn't hear in his quick escape from the bed, was "You are six and I am fwee."

Funny how things sound differently when you aren't quite awake.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Computer Confessions

It was a crazy day yesterday.  What should I expect from the first day of "school's out" and not being ready for it?  Serves me right.

And then Ben cut through the internet cable.  He was digging post holes and trenches so we could put in the chicken run.  I told him to do the chore, and where to do it - not remembering that there was a cable back there.  When we moved in this house, we laid the internet line inside a pipe for protection.  So of course Ben cut right through the entire pipe.  Maybe next year I won't let him sign up for weight training as a PE class.

I was getting ready to go grocery shopping when the line was cut.  Remember when I was working so hard on making up a menu and getting all the food we would need to feed all these summertime mouths?  I am just now getting around to going grocery shopping.  It's not that the task itself is hard, but I do have a hard time settling everything so I can leave the house.  It's something I can work on.

But it didn't happen yesterday.  Because I needed to console the now internet-less lads.  And I had to figure out how to get the line repaired.  I had a great solution: call Trent.  My hero.  He called the internet company, got everything arranged so they would come out right away, and even came home from work to make sure it all was done correctly.  So glad I have him to share life with!

And I didn't make it to the grocery store.  By the time everything was all better, the twins were up from their nap.  And then... and then... and then...  And then it was the end of the day and I was tired so I went to bed.

The most interesting part of the whole drama was how lost I felt when I knew I had no internet.  Lost.  Disconnected.  I immediately thought of all the things I "needed" to do that I now couldn't.

I need to do some examining.  Perhaps I might be spending too much brain energy on the computer.  And even if I don't spend too much actual time in front of the monitors, I might be spending too much time thinking about it.  Or depending on it.  We even had to get out a phone book <gasp!> to find a phone number and an address.  Pity.

Maybe we're forgetting how to think by ourselves.  I think I shall google that to see if it's a real problem.

<back now> It is!  It is a real problem.  It's called infobesity.  I shall like this.