Sunday, June 29, 2008

California Brush Fires

Rich has been up north fighting the fires up there. He is in the Big Sur area, it's almost been a week now and there's still no talk about them coming home anytime soon. Looks like he's going to miss Andrew's birthday tomorrow. Bummer :(

I worry about the air quality that he's breathing day in and day out up there. That can't be good! I wish a BIG rain would come and just snuff the fires out in one day.

So anyway...I'm here with all the kids, carrying on as normal.

Not much else is new.

Boring post, I know.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monterey, CA

Rich just called and he and his crew just got sent to Monterey, CA...some seven hours away, to fight a brush fire. Darn!! Not only do I worry for his safety ...but now he'll be gone for who knows how many days. Bummer! So now not only will I be thinking and worrying about Audriana who is in New York for the next four days, but I'll also be worrying about my husband who will be in dangerous brush area fighting a fire. Well....I guess it could be worse. It could be time to have this baby and I'd worry he wouldn't be here for the birth. Luckily my due date is some 5 weeks away. He *should be back by then, lol!! Only ONE good thing comes from being sent on a brush fire for days -- all days are overtimes! So yea, that's good money :) But still...if I had my choice, he'd be home here safe with us.

Last Few Days of the Month....

Where did the month of June go? I can't believe there's only a few days left! I can't help but to be GLAD and excited about that...because that means that the baby will soon be here. ( if you all will remember my due date is July 28th, so I'm anxious to get into the month of July) It's not like I'm not enjoying my pregnancy -- I totally am -- but I just don't get much done around here because I am HUGE and slowing down. That is the part I'm not liking much. I have so much I want to do, you know how that can be. But then I walk from downstairs to upstairs and I need to sit down. What is UP with that? Is it my age? Is it my weight? I don't remember being like this before, to this extreme at least. So yea...July 28th is a welcome date for me. Although I am loving feeling the baby move around in my belly. She sure is an active one!

So today we are having Avery's birthday party. Yep, that would be Avery, who has a birthday of April 14th. The thing is...when her birthday came around this year, it was such a busy time. I just couldn't plan a date to do her party. So, on her birthday I took her and Aislynn to Build A Bear and then we had cake and ice cream and presents with the family later that evening. A few days later, she said, "When is my birthday party?" and I was like....uh oh. Turns out she, of course, wanted a party with her friends. So, I promised her that we would have her friends over for a party soon. "Soon" turned into months. And here we are at the end of June. Hey, better late than never, right? So today I am picking up four of her little friends and we are all going for ice cream at our local "Swirls" which is a place where you can serve up your own ice cream, put on your own toppings, and then it gets weighed at the end to see how much $$$ you owe. The kids love this place. Then we will come back to the house to open presents and hit the pinata -- Avery has requested a pinata. Wouldn't you know that Rich was supposed to come home today to help with the party and keep the other kids occupied so that I can concentrate on Avery and her guests -- but of course he got an overtime today. Which is okay because we need the money -- but still. Here I am -- feeling ready to have this baby at anytime -- and I'm going solo with this birthday party. Ah well whatever....I've done harder things.

So then Andrew will be two on the 30th of this month. Thank goodness he's still so young he has no clue. So I can get away with just a family birthday celebration! Yay! I remember back in the day when I had just two kids or three kids or four kids...we would go ALL OUT for every single birthday. The first birthday was huge, of course, just had to celebrate that all-so-important first year with all our friends and family. Then followed by the second, and of course the third birthday was big because they were at the age where they were interacting with their little friends, and so of course there was a party with a bunch of 3 year olds and their parents. I used to make the cakes myself and go all out with the decorating. And it would take me about 6 hours to prepare for the party. HA! Now...well, all that has changed...and I'm doing simple birthday parties months after the kids' actual birthday. Okay...call me lame but I just can't keep up.

Rich got another house painting job -- this one is for a larger house and he bidded it pretty high. We didn't think he'd get the job, but he DID! That's so great! This is so cool for us, because dang it, GAS is killing us over here!! You would not believe how much we spend in gas for our cars. And it's been so HOT here we have been running the A/C all day and night. So yea, this money will definitely come in handy. It's hard work, though...because Rich doesn't hire anyone to help him. Of course not.

Avery slept at a friends house last night, and so did Afton... and Audriana left for New York last night. All I had home here were all four of my boys and Aislynn. It was a semi-quiet house! Audriana called me this morning at 5am from New York to tell me that her plane arrived safely. I didn't sleep well at all last night thinking about her on a plane flying to the other side of the United States. She gets home on Friday. She is with her Girl Scout troop. I know she will have a blast on this trip -- BUT it's not easy for me to have her so far away!

There are a lot of brush fires going on in Northern CA. I hope Rich doesn't get sent on one! I hate when it's hot like this...it's a dangerous time of year for fire fighters.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Measuring BIG !!

Well...I'm now 34 weeks pregnant. Yesterday I had my midwife appointment. She comes to my house, which is so convenient for me. She'll start coming every two weeks now. Anyway, I measured 36 weeks instead of 34 weeks. I knew this was a big baby. I doubt my due date is off, but you never know. Perhaps she will come early? I'm usually late, so that will be a switch. My due date is July 28th and I was hoping to go into August, because we have two birthdays already in July, and none in August. Plus, how cool to be born in the 8th month in the 8th year? And if I can hold her in until the 8th day...what a cool birthday that would be -- 08-08-08 -- but I sincerely doubt I will be 10 days late with this baby. The latest I've ever been was with my last baby, Andrew, who was 8 days late. So being 10 days late would be really far-fetched. Oh well.

I bought the DVD "The Business of Being Born" and I really enjoyed it. Has anyone seen it? Since I'm a homebirther, I can totally relate to the topic and I agree with it all. I really think, though, that all women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant in the future should watch this, whether or not they are planning a home birth or a hospital birth. It just opens up your eyes a bit to how birth has been turned into such a medical event over the past 50 years.

This Friday I am getting away by myself for a girls' scrapbooking 3-day retreat. Yay, I'm so excited to go! I've collected all my photos together and have decided to devote the weekend to the year 2006. I have all my photos from January 2006 to December 2006 all ready to go. I should come home with a completed book. I'm looking forward to all my meals being cooked for me, to the peace and quiet of the retreat house, to being pampered with facials and massages. I go to this awesome place in Apple Valley. The woman had this huge house designed just for scrapbookers, and she cooks 3 wonderful meals a day for us plus serves us drinks all day long, and desserts. There's a comfortable tv room if you want to watch tv (I never do, though...too busy with my photos!) and you can go rest in your bedroom if you want, take naps -- she even has a really nice pool in the backyard. I'm sooo looking forward to it. I've been going to this place since 1999 when I was pregnant with Alex. Christine, the woman who puts this on, always sees me pregnant, because I don't go the year after having a baby because I breastfeed for the year and won't leave the baby, and by the time the next retreat rolls around I'm usually pregnant again. So this is the 6th pregnancy Christine has seen me in. I forgot to tell her I was expecting this time around, so I know when she sees me she's just going to laugh and say, "Again??!!!"

Yep. Again. Soon I'll have six children under the age of 9. How cool is that? And then of course three others who are ages 13, 15, and 17. Our house is getting small. Well, our family is getting big...I guess the house isn't shrinking any. It stays the same, and we grow. I wish we could get into a bigger house, but there's just no way with this market. It's a great time to buy -- but a lousy time to sell. And if we were going to get into anything bigger, we'd need to get all we can out of this house, which just wouldn't happen in this market. Oh well.

Monday, June 9, 2008

"I am"

"I AM"
by Afton
age 10
(September 2006)

I am Funny and Creative
I wonder what I will be when I grow up
I hear the Pitter Patters of the rain hitting against my roof
I see the sun setting across the mountains
I am Funny and Creative
I pretend that my cat understands what I'm saying
I feel cheerful when I play with my little sister
I touch the soft little toes of my baby brother
I worry about my dad when he is out fighting a fire
I cry when I feel like I have too much pressure
I am Funny and Creative
I understand that my family loves me
I say "Believe in your dreams and never give up"
I dream I will get a scholarship to a good college
I try to be friendly and understanding to everyone
I hope to go to USC for college
I am Funny and Creative.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"Amazing"

Going through my files...found this school paper Audriana did a few years back. I didn't edit it but instead left it as she turned it in. One of her biggest struggles is spelling. And she seldom takes the time to proofread her papers. She is now 15 and now I can see how much she has improved with her writing and spelling. Seeing this paper shows me her progress, and also touches my heart to hear her words as she describes a season in her life:

"Amazing"
by Audriana
age 12


I was four years old when i could of died from my car asident. never really new what happened, i just herd storys from my mom or my dad. its a merical that im here.
i just have a foe injurys but nothing bad.


My family and i were coming home from the snow one day when a car was going to fast on the road and slid into our car. it hit into the left sid of our car where i was siting and smashed right into me. My mom looked bach to see if me and my brother tony were ok. She saw that tony got glas in his eyes and then she saw that i wasnt breathing. my dad quickly got out of the car and started doing cpr on me. my mom quickly called 911 for them to come get me.


i had to be in coma for two weaks. the doctors had to shave my hair off because they had to do serjury to my brain. i had to start doing everything all over again. my mom helped me do almost everything. the most help i got from her was trying to walk. each day we had to walk up and down these stars in the hospital. she also helped me to talk and the frist word i said was i love you.


now i can walk and talk because of the help of my mom. i have lots of friends in cheer in school and in girlscouts. i cant believe that i made it in cheer. this is my secent time in cheer. i have lots of brothers and sisters and we all start with a. i think i am the luckyest person on earth.



(No, baby girl.  I'm the luckiest person on Earth.  Because God left you here with me instead of taking you to Heaven on that day.  It's me who is lucky.  And so, so thankful!)

Email to my daughter....

Okay, tonight I have some kind of energy to go through all my files and clear them out. I save all kinds of kids art work, letters, notes, etc. in my file cabinet in my office, and add to it all the time as the kids give me things. Well, it's getting too full, so tonight I am transferring their stuff into plastic bins. As I'm doing this, I can't help but to read a few things and this is by far the funniest thing I've come across. It's an email correspondence between me and my oldest daughter that I printed out and saved. Audriana, who at the time she wrote this was VERY anxious and excited to be getting her new laptop computer that we purchased for her. This was written at the beginning of the school year, 2006. Alex had just turned 6, Avery was 4, AJ was only 3, Aislynn wasn't even 2 yet, and Andrew was 4 months old. You have to know the backgroud first: The computer was purchased at the Apple store in our mall. Before we could take it home, they had to install a few of the school's programs in it, and we were told it would be read to pick up in about 3 days...and that they would CALL US when it was ready. Well, Audriana was impatient and asked at least twice a day if we could go pick it up. Finally, she wrote me an email and this is how it went:

Dear Mom,
If it is ready by tonight, will you go get it tomorrow morning and try to drop it off at my school so I can have it for school tomorrow?

Dear Audriana,
No. I'm sorry, but you will just have to wait.
For me to go to the mall tomorrow to get your computer and then drop by your school to give it to you -- well, let me paint that picture for you:

First, I would have to get out of my housecoat, shower and get dressed and pray that while I am doing that Andrew doesn't cry and Aislynn doesn't get into the toothpaste somewhere in the house, and hope that AJ won't tear apart the couch and use it as a trampoline. I would also hope that Avery and Alex stay out of the pantry so that Aislynn won't find her way in there and once again get into the graham crackers and smoosh them all into the carpet. So, taking a shower in the morning, as you can see, is quite the risk for me! If I did manage to shower without the house falling apart or one of the little ones getting hurt... I would next have to get all the kids dressed and seatbelted into their carseats...drive to the mall, find a parking spot...get the double stroller out of the back of the car...get all the kids out of the car and put Andrew and Aislynn into the stroller....walk through the parking lot pushing a double stroller with AJ, Avery and Alex all holding onto the sides of the stroller...walk all the way through the mall to the Apple store...then I'd have to wait in the store while someone went into the back to retrieve your laptop. Now, while I'm waiting for that, I'm quite sure I will have to tell AJ to stop touching something about 18 times, tell Avery to get BACK here about 6 times (you know how she likes to wanter off), tell Alex to stop pestering Aislynn at least 4 times, tell Aislynn to SIT DOWN in her stroller seat constantly (because you know how she's learned to unbuckle herself and how fun that is), and I'd probably be juggling Andrew on my hip during this time because you know how he hates to be in the stroller. And then the guy would come out from the back with your laptop,I'd have to sign some paperwork, and once finished with that I'd take it and walk everyone back through the mall towards our car. While I'm walking through the mall, you know the kids will see that darn candy store and want a bag of candy. And you know we will have to pass the play area and they will want to play. BUT...I will have no time for that because you are waiting at school for your laptop and I'd want to get it to you before your lunch break. So I'd pass the candy store and pass the play area with kids who are tugging and whining at me to go there... somehow I'd manage to get out of the mall with them and back to the car (probably still holding Andrew and pushing the stroller with one hand) and so I'd get to the car, open the doors and shuttle kids back into their carseats...and remember, these would be kids who are now probably crying a bit and whining "But I want candy!!" And then I'd have to fold up that heavy stroller and put it into the back of the car. And then I'd be off...driving to your school...with five little ones now who are not happy at all. Okay. So I'd make it to your school -- and guess what? I have to now find a parking space. But of couse there is never one in the school's parking lot, so I'd have to park on the street. Fun. I'd park, get ALL the kids out of the car again, and while holding your computer in one arm and Andrew in the other, and telling he others to "follow me and stay close" I would make it up the stairs to the office of your school. Of course it's not easy to get the computer to you, so the office people would have to look you up to see where you are at that time (because you know, being in middle school you change classrooms every hour) and so while they are trying to locate you, AJ would have by then climbed onto some chair or desk, Avery would be wandering off to look at the artwork displayed in the front office walls, and Alex would be poking at Aislynn -- whose hand I am still trying to keep hold of, even though she keeps trying to squirm away. And of couse, Andrew is getting very heavy in my arms. I'm sweating now because its very HOT in November this week, isn't it? I would ask Alex to please get AJ off that chair (because of course he's not sitting in it but standing and jumping from it) and when Alex goes to get him off the chair, of course AJ protests with a scream. And it's a nice, quiet office and I'm sure they wouldn't like that kind of noise in there. So finally they would tell me that the computer will get to you, and that I can leave. So then I would have to walk all the way back to the car and put all the kids back into their carseats, and finally drive home. Where they will all be hungry for a snack. And all that would have taken me probably an hour or an hour and a half, interrupting Avery and Alex's morning schooling time with me -- the morning would be completely shot, cranky kids and tired mom and all.

So no...I won't be getting your computer while you are in school tomorrow. Instead, we will do what they told us to do at the Apple store and WAIT until they call us, and THEN go in to pick it up. So, if they call me tomorrow, I will WAIT until you, Afton and Tony get home from school...I will then leave all the little ones at home with Dad (who will be home tomorrow!) while you and I quickly drive to the mall, run into the Apple store, grab your computer and leave. We will slip in and out of that mall very easilsy with the computer in our arms.

Now...doesn't that sound like a much EASIER way for me to get your laptop? I think so!

I have learned this far into the game of being a parent that it just does not make sense to make my life more complicated than it has to be. I sure hope that you can understand this. If not, then SAVE this email...then just wait until you have little ones of your own one day, and then you can go back and reread this email, and you will surely understand what I mean.

Sorry to disappoint you. I know you are anxious to get your laptop and use it...but just remember this; last week you didn't even have a laptop, didn't think you were going to ever have one -- and this week, you WILL have one! Now, doesn't that cheer you up some? Good.

So be patient and wait until it's ready...and we will go down to the mall together without all the little kids to pick it up.

I love you!
Mom


and her email reply:

Dear Mom,
Was I giving you a hard time about my laptop? If I was, I'm sorry. You are right about you saying that I ask too much from you. You do try your best each and every day. Maybe you did not say that in the letter that you wrote me, but I feel that I do ask too much from you. You are such a perfect mom in every single kind of way. Sure, we sometimes get in fights but it's nothing we can't get over. Now, I don't care that much on when I will get my laptop. I used to because of seeing Afton with hers and everyone else's at school. I love you lots and hope they call soon. Remember, you are the best.
Love,
Audriana

** Okay...that just cracked me up. I guess my email to her made her feel a bit guilty which I wasn't trying to do...I was just trying to explain to her why it's not so easy for me to just run down to the mall. It's no easy task when you have five little ones in tow :)

Mother's Prayer

Dear Lord, it's such a hectic day.
With little time to stop and pray.
For life's been anything but calm
Since you call on me to be a mom.

Runnin errands, matching socks
Building dreams and building blocks
Cooking, cleaning and finding shoes
And other stuff that children lose.

Fitting lids on bottled bugs
Wiping tears and giving hugs
A stack of last week's mail to read
So where's the quiet time I need?

Yet when I steal a minute, Lord
Just at the sink or ironing board
To ask the blessings of your grace
I see them in my small ones' face.

That you have blessed me all the while
As I stop to kiss those precious smiles.




May 2008 -- at the zoo
Sweet Smiles!