Monday, July 19, 2021

Time to Catch Up's been a while. That seems to be a theme here on this blog.  Alas, I am making an attempt to get back on and track our days.  I've mentioned it before that the boys would really like to have their memories preserved.  We certainly have a few years that are 'missing'.  Jonah turns 13 today and last night he wanted to hear the story of his birth. So we read through it on here, and then he and Aubrey spent time looking over past memories.

My first order of business will be to get my camera fixed.  It needs a major cleaning or tune up. I haven't used it in a few years!  It's been sitting unused due to the need to get it fixed.  I just haven't made it a priority.   I'm just not sure how to go about it. Find a camera shop or send it in to Canon.  In the meantime I can make some catch up posts about what we are all up to, but the kids....they want pictures to go with the stories.

Life has been going pretty well. Definitely some snags, but also some progress as well.  I spent two months being down due to covid.  We've done a lot of work on the house!  Still more to be done.  One thing that I am in the beginning stages of planning is for a big overhaul of our spaces inside.  Too much clutter.  We have to make another attempt to tame the electronic devices as well.  Lots of work to be done in that area.  

So, stay tuned for our adventures in simplifying and renovations. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Fit Journey gets a snag...

EDIT: I typed up this post in the very beginning of March, about 6 weeks ago.

So my last post lays out three steps I was going to take for us to get fit.  I tackled the third, which was to organize the kitchen. It's nice to be able to get something out easily without knocking things over.  We have gotten out to the park multiple times, started a garden.  Things were on a roll.  And then.....and.....then.....

The first shoe to drop was a call on the weekend from Jeremiah's job agency (his current job was a contract, temp to perm).  Um, that can not be a good sign.  Phone tag ensued, until Sunday when they got to talk in person....oh, hey, don't worry about coming in tomorrow for your job, your contract was cut short.  Sigh.

The second shoe to drop happened while I was washing down the walls to prep for painting.  Moira decided it was time to fly the nest, leaving a room open.  We were moving some of the boys over to her old room, and their current room was in desperate need of attention.  Having moved here almost 13 years ago, with all our walls just primed, and not actually painted, I can assure you that it is not a good idea to leave such walls to be left unpainted for over a decade.  Anyways, I'm cleaning the walls when my cloth dips between the wood laminate flooring and the baseboard (the trim was never put back on when the floors were put in).

To my surprise a black spider jumps out and attacks my cloth.  The spider looked very  much like a black widow, which we've had a few in our house over the years, so not out of the realm of possibility.  The creepy crawly scooted back under the baseboard. Jeremiah decided to pull up the first board to get access to the spider, only to accidentally pull off about 4 boards to reveal, to our horror, black mold.

Well, that explains a LOT.  It explains why after a year of just one cold, we had a winter full of back to back illnesses.  It explains the inability to lose weight despite eating a whole foods, no sugar diet.  It explains Jed's increase speech difficulties.  It explained a lot.  What's more, is when we went into the master bathroom to finally tackle finishing the shower, in preparation of dealing with the mold in the boys room and the bathroom on the other side of their wall.....only to find MORE mold.  What was bad about that was the shower has not been used in 8 it's not like we had a leak.  Come to find out that the moisture from under the house, coming through the hole in the floor was enough to spark the 'fire'.

Needless to say that's put a snag in things.  The painting has been put on hold, so we can now deal with the mold.  BUT.....that means once the mold is killed off at their original sites, we have do the whole 'WASH DOWN' of every. single. thing. we. own.  To say that I seriously thought it would be easier, and faster, to burn our house down, not only crossed my mind, but I entertained it.  Yeah.

The pictures today are going to be a mix of what we all *want* to see.  Having fun, doing things, etc.  But, today I also show a few of the very, very nitty gritty reality.  It's not all fun and games.  It's no secret I don't always keep it together.  But here it is in pictures.

 Our spring baby turned 15 this year!  This is a cake based on Saoirse's favorite band's animated characters.  Not sure what they are called.....but it's from BTS.

 Going furniture shopping with Moira.  This was the table and chairs she decided to go with.  Even
though she moved in 2 weeks ago, she still has another 13 days till it arrives!


Chalk warriors running around the house!

First you tap the chalk on the board to make a powdery mess.  Dip fingers in the chalk powder and apply to face!  Repeat with different colors.

Make sure to involve your baby nephew.

If you give a girl the keys to her first apartment, she may want to run to Target to get the needed items for her apartment.  If she needs to run to Target for new stuff for her apartment, her sisters and friend may want to come along.  

Checking out the new dig!

Throw in Prom night to the mix.  We had our oldest's last prom, and Saoirse's first prom.  Too bad Merida is too young to go, but the four oldest girls all at the prom this year!

New kittens on the homestead!  Only two.  A boy and a girl. Names being debated.  Very interesting names to be sure.

And there you have it...the wonderful, though not quite Pinterest quality, photos.  Here we have the reality of behind the scenes.  You can see some furniture in the middle of the room, awaiting to be moved to another room.  The leftover items from my kitchen organizing, about 6 water bottles brought in from the van, and dishes.....they multiply like rabbits around here.  Sigh.

You thought I was exaggerating when I said the boys room was in need of serious attention.  No, no I wasn't.  Never mind the other walls....sigh.

The mold we found in the boys room, that was coming in from the bathroom that is on the other side of that wall.  Though devastating, I am very glad we found it and can now kill it, and stop the cycle of ongoing sickness.

The mold in the  master bathroom.  Joy, joy, joy.  Lots to look forward to.  As a matter of fact the food grade H2O2 just came in while typing this up.  That will be used to kill the mold, then once dried we need to seal it.  THEN we can finally finish off the master bathroom, finish the boys' room, and redo the main bathroom.

In the midst of the yuck, we still have to get outside.  This was an amazing beautiful day temp wise!  It was on the chilly side.

But this is reality too.  When small things finally add up and I snap.  Just two days before, Moira took the kids out of the house for 6 hours.  I was able to get a lot of work done.  That picture up there of the mess in the dining room and family room?  Yup, all cleaned up.  The living room, tidied, vacuumed. ALL the dishes done, counters cleared.  It was a breath of fresh air.  And two days later we have this.  Just before I took this picture Jonah was going to take out a large vase we were getting rid of.  Just the day before I had cleaned it out, as someone had dumped a bunch of odds and ends in there.  Not only were those items *back* in there, but another container of odds and ends I cleared out of the boys' room had been dumped in there as well.  My reality is that I take one step forward and am pushed 5 steps back.  And sometimes, sometimes, I am not sure I can take that happening one more time.

I know we will get past this.  I know we won't always have little kid toys in the house.  I know I won't always be feeling puffy all over from the mold, and feeling like I can't move.  In the mean time the little things can get to me.  The big things can get to me.  These are the days when I look around and realize this was NOT what I had expected or hoped for.  And so, I need to dust off and try to make my dream in my head a reality.

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Krew Gets Fit!

We have been busy, busy bees over here!!  Soooooo much going on.  As you know I can be long winded about one thing going on in my life :-)  I shall try to break things up so I don't dump a novel on you all!

After a long winter filled with one sickness after another, too much computer time, and too much nutrient poor foods, it is time to pull up the boot straps!  I talked it over with everyone and everyone is on board with making some big changes.  We are all struggling with our fitness levels, energy levels, overall health, and for some of us....our weight.  I hit a number on the scale that I don't even think I hit when I was 9 months pregnant....and for some pregnancies I had gained 50 to 60 pounds!  I am having a hard time going up and down the stairs, and forget about trying to get off the floor without wondering if I need backup.

I got away to the library to make some plans.  Things are pretty crazy in the house right now, and I wasn't even sure where to start.  So I made a list of ideas.  I had to go back another evening to iron some things out and mark out our first steps.  So far this is what we've been doing:

1. Getting outside more!  Right  now there is a lot to do on our property, so I am starting there for a good reason to get out and active.  We've cleaned up most of the 'yards'.  We have various fenced off 'yards'.  There's the dog area, the horse area, the middle area (where the swing and trampoline are), then we have two front areas (one with the fruit trees, the other just a yard), then there's the rock garden, and two more fenced in goat areas.  On top of that we have the bike trail, and creek area.  We only have 2.5 acres, but these are the areas that we've 'named', if you can call it that.  The boys, Merida and I got out and pick up the middle area, horse area, rock garden, and the two front yards.  So we still have some places left to clean up.

We also tackled the baby trees and brambles growing along side our dirt road. They've been increasingly creeping closer to the road each year.  So some gloves, clippers, and a saw and we have that area free of those intruders.  I think I should plant some shade loving plants/shrubs in that area to hopefully fill it in so the other things don't grow. 

Jeremiah and the boys did a lot of work on the shed/barn.  We needed to switch original plans since the pony kept getting out.  This will help when we get goats in the future.  There is still quite a bit of work to do for the chicken barn.  Moira took a day to knock off the walls.  The barn had some mold damage, and a rotting floor.  We've made some plans to change that area as well. 

On top of all that work, Jeremiah and the boys are starting to make 3 or 4 raised garden beds for the front.  So lots of outside time!

2.  Organize the kitchen.  I know, seems odd.  How does that play into getting fit?  Well, I have like no energy.  I need to go back to eating all plant based.  The problem the past 9 months or so has been I want to eat plant based, but no one else does.  So I have been making multiple dishes for meals.  I. Am. Burnt. Out.  We have resorted to eating junky foods (box mac and cheese, pb and j's, Ramen....ugh).  It has to stop!  So I told everyone I am only making ONE meal for each mealtime.  And it will be plant based.  I HAVE to, for my sanity, and for my energy and health.

The problem is that my kitchen was a mess, and cooking is hard enough when things go right.  But when you have no energy to begin with, and you have to search for the foods you need to prepare...well, for me it is too much.  So the past few days have been pulling everything out of each space and organizing it.  Jonah has been my right hand man.  He loves doing projects.  He was watching the youtube inspiration videos with me! 

3.  Making an investment.  We already have a Y membership, though we haven't been good about using it.  So we have plans to make certain days Y days.  Then I went online and bought some jump ropes and bouncy balls (the ones they sit on and bounce around on).  Last week I bought two playground balls and a huge box of chalk.  Next week I plan on buying a few more playground balls.  I have plans on trying to put together a gym day for them to play group games. 

We are also pretty excited to have a Greenway Challenge.  We will print out the greenways around our area and we will walk/run, bike, skip the trails. The challenge will be to color in all the trails! 

There is more to my plan, but this is where we are starting.  I am excited to share this adventure!  There are other things going on, some big changes, others not as big.  I'll write about those another time!

Jonah working on the side of our dirt road.  I tried looking for a before picture, but couldn't find a good one.  Maybe I'll take a picture of the pile of stuff they cut down!

Aubrey working hard.  There were  many battles over who got the cutters!  They were afraid they wouldn't each get a turn cutting down the small trees and brambles.  Not to worry, there was plenty to go around!!!

Merida was there for moral support.  Ha, ha!  She did help to transfer the cuttings to the other side of the road.  

Monday, January 28, 2019

First of the year birthdays!

After a wonderful New Years celebration, it is time to get ready for a couple of birthdays! Aubrey's is up first, and he turned 8 years old. I feel bad, as I can never seem to be on top of things to have a big birthday ready for him.  Being that it is after the holidays it seems to always catch me by surprise.  Aubrey wanted to make his own cake this year.  Over the past few years the girls have been in charge of making the cakes.  Now that the littles are not so little, they want to make their own cakes!  So that's what he did.

Turning 8 kind of went to his head....quite literally.  He was thinking that he could handle stopping the hay bale rolling off the pick up truck...all by himself.  There were four of us lined up to stop the hay bale as it rolled off the back of the truck.  It's just how we deal with huge hay bales around here.  Anyways, Aubrey lunged...LUNGED...for the hay bale, and before any of us could react he found himself, face down with the hay bale rolling up on his head! 

He had a nice sized scrape.  I watched him closely to see if he had a head injury.  All seemed fine, until about 36 hours later when I realized he had bruising under his eyes!  Yikes!  His forehead was all swollen up, which I expected, but I was not expecting bruising to show up under his eyes!  A trip to the ER showed that all was well.  Phew!

A handful of days later it was little misses birthday.  Merida turned 5!  I can't believe my youngest is 5.  For many, many years, the youngest was no older than 3.  Merida wanted an ice cream cake, but wait, no a Barbie cake, no,no...a Paw Patrol cake....well, when we went to the store she ended up picking a premade Shopkins cake! 

Merida also happens to be our youngest child to loose a first tooth.  It was a few days before she turned 5 when she was screaming...SCREAMING...that her tooth fell out.  There was blood, but all her teeth were there.  She kept insisting it fell out.  Nope, all teeth accounted for!  She wouldn't let me feel for a loose tooth till later that night.  And, sure enough, she had a tooth hanging by a thread.  Like how did that happen?  When?  All my kids notice a loose tooth way before they are hanging by a thread.  She was terrified she was going to swallow it during the night.  Thankfully that did not happen, and the tooth came out the following morning. 

Flannery made some comments on the amount of drama that went on for the loose tooth (by Merida).  I laughed, a lot, and reminded her that she was the last to be able to speak on that!!!  Flannery would FREAK out whenever she got a loose tooth. She freaked out until it fell out, which unfortunately was always a couple of weeks after she noticed it was loose.  I mean, crying, and screaming!  I started to get anxiety thinking we were going to have to go through that again with Merida. Though that was before she let me feel for a loose tooth, and I thought she was going to follow the same timing as my other children....taking two weeks for a tooth to come out...or even longer!

Homemade cakes by Aubrey!  He had a little help from Merida. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth over sharing cake decorating duty!  Aubrey wanted to do it ALL himself. 

With the kids getting older some of our traditions are mutating.  The birthday sign is supposed to be done the night before, and hung up for the birthday child to see on their actual birthday, as a surprise. The surprise being the design of the sign.  However, Aubrey and Merdia, wanted to be in on the design and coloring of their own birthday signs.  The older girls protested much, as this is NOT how birthday signs are to be done!!!  Change is hard people....hard.

You can barely see the bruising under his eyes.  I assure you it was very noticeable in person!  But you can see his whole forehead is swollen.  And to think that he didn't even have a headache after all of this, just the first night!  No more hay bale tackling for you!

Merida is a total ham when she knows the camera is out.  She insists on posing in at least 30 or more poses, which you must capture each one, AND show her them all!  Taking her picture takes a very, very long time!


Pose 17.  Ha, ha!

Merida asked for the 'cup game', which took quite a while to figure out what she was talking about.  Then I realized it was the punch game that Jed had for his birthday party last year.  Jed's was in the shape and color of a Pokeball.  For Merida we made a cupcake.

She could hardly wait until we could take off the little plastic purse.  Once we got it off she forgot all about it! Oy.  Now she has some little trinkets and paper stored in it.

Although she didn't make her own cake, she did insist of putting on her own candles! 

Monday, December 17, 2018

When they grow up....

I have the unique position of being a mom to adults, teens, a tweener, school aged, and one about to exit the preschool age...along with being a grandmother.  One minute I may be playing dolls, or admiring lego creations, the next I am putting my grandson down for a nap, and then the next....helping to plan a wedding.  Yes, a wedding.  So it seems that the doll days are very much done for some of my girls...ok, most of them!  And now we have a room full of talk and excitement about colors, food, and guest list.  Phew!

Don't worry, there is no date yet, nor has there actually be a proposal!  I know, I know, you are probably thinking then why are we planning for a wedding.  Well, the plan is that once there is a proposal that the wedding should take place no longer than about 3 months later.  I don't make the rules!  Just gotta follow them :-)  

And so it is, that there are now Pinterest boards to be scoured, food choices to decide, photographer to be sourced, flowers, venue, and so on and so forth.  All done between younger children yelling and running.  Teens that need the latest kpop album.  And lets not forget to keep an eye on any little tidbit of crumb or paper on the floor....because if we don't the baby will!  

I had the privilege of doing a photoshoot of the said couple.  It's funny to think that I remember first meeting him, as Merida, who was not 18  months old at the time, took an immediate liking to him.  She didn't go to just anyone!  We actually took a picture of her sitting on his lap because it was such an astonishing sight.

Moira and Adam's relationship has not been picture perfect (though, whose is?). But this has given them time to dig in deep and learn.  I can honestly say they are much better prepared for marriage than I was.  They strive to put Christ as the center, and all decisions based on the Word of God.  

I might not have any details to give, but I do have pictures! 


Friday, November 16, 2018

Party time!

  We have had many years when friends were few.  There were times when friends were made, and we then had to move.  But along the way a friend here, and a friend there were gained...and kept.  Over the years we've had a few parties.  And in the recent past couple of years the party planning, decorating, and food prep has been in the hands of the girls.

  It's been a while since we've had a party that wasn't a birthday party :-)  So this Halloween was the talk of the house.  Even though it was the *girls'* party, the boys were pretty eager to help out!  The boys spent a couple of days getting the outside ready. Cleaning up, chopping some wood for the bonfire, and power washing the porch.  The girls were busy with decorations, and food....and of course costumes.

  The boys decided to go for some store costumes, as did Flannery.  Everyone else put some outfits together with what they had.  We did a little photo shoot, though Jeremiah, I and the littles took off to our church's Fall Fest so I was not able to get photos of all their guests as they hadn't all arrived.

  It is a blessing to see a house full of wonderful teens.   Teens that you can leave at home and know that all will be well while you are away.  We came home to everyone either playing board games or hanging out in the kitchen snacking.  Unfortunately the bonfire did not happen.  The wood would not catch fire.  That did not deter them.  They just changed plans.  Instead they hung out on the trampoline telling scary stories.

  The littles had a blast at church.  Lots of food and fun.  A hay ride and games were a huge hit with the kiddos.  The evening ended with trunk-or-treat.  With only about 10 cars I was surprised to see my kids come away with more candy then they have ever received going door to door!  Since we have started detoxing I didn't want the kids to be eating sugar on a weekly basis, so they got a good handful...or two...and then they traded it all in for a new toy each.

  What really warmed my mama heart was when we got home and the bigger kids didn't ignore the little kids :-)  I know it can be a bummer to have your little siblings running around when you are trying to have a big kid I was relieved when they were included, at least up to a point.  We tried to make sure that the littles didn't come in and take over!  Ha, ha!

Saoirse was going to be Black Riding Hood, as we didn't have a red cape.

But that quickly changed to a vampire sort of character.

Flannery was going to be this cowboy cactus-bee-butterfly-cat kind of character, but she decided to just go with the cowboy cactus.

Merida was supposed to be Minnie Mouse, but her costume went missing that day.  It ended up being in the closet...the one behind the photo 'booth' that the girls set up for the party!  We found her costume the next day.  So she went with what she was last year...a cat.

Kristi was a butterfly back from the dead.  The one that you either killed by accident, or get revenge.  They have some imagination!

A close up of Saoirse's makeup artistry :-)

Heidi was a sorceress.  We thought adding the cat in as a prop was the finishing touch.

Aubrey was Picachu.  As soon as he saw this costume he insisted he HAD to have it. 

Even Loki got in on the dressing up :-)  Not sure how much he enjoyed it, but he did look festive!

I couldn't get the other boys to break from the group to get individual shots.  Here are all the littles.  Jed as Bonnie, and Jonah as Foxy from Five Nights at Freddy's.

Everyone decided to jump in to do a dab, or three.

Katie and Merida.  Katie was a fair maiden. 

Moira and Adam were trying to find a great couples costume idea, but they couldn't find one.  So Moira decided to be a deer, and Adam was a lumberjack. Adam's mom had made him this yarn beard and I wish I had gotten a picture of it, it was really cool!

Isabella dressed up as a student from Hogwarts and Liam was Harry Potter....a *very* cute Harry Potter if I do say so myself!

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