Wednesday, August 31, 2011

schedule overload

It was bound to happen.  
There's just too much to keep track of.  
Five kids in soccer.  
One kid in baseball.
Three kids in Kung Fu.
Two kids in piano lessons.
All week long there are games, lessons and practices.  And I am the "keeper of the schedule".  I am responsible for making sure that everyone gets to where they need to be on time each week. That's my job.  And yesterday I blew it.  Like I said, it was bound to happen.  I'm on schedule overload, big time.

Yesterday I sent Aislynn and Andrew with Rich to A.J.'s soccer practice.  Rich is the coach of that team, and he likes for the other two to come with him to the practices so that he can work with them, too.  And so I sent them and thought all was well and good with that.  Until today, when I realized that I completely forgot that Aislynn had soccer practice at the same time as A.J.'s practice.  She only has one practice a week, and it's on Mondays, and I completely forgot.  So while she was playing with A.J.'s team, she could have/should have been practicing with her own team.  Ugh!  

Here she is at LAST Monday's practice ~ I can't believe I forgot this week's!!

She's going to be so upset with me when she finds out that she missed her practice this week.  I hate letting my kids down.  It makes me feel awful.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

middle school

Alex is starting middle school in just two more weeks.   He's very excited about this and couldn't wait for the 6th grade orientation day.   I bribed one of the big kids to watch the little ones for a couple hours so that Alex and I could have this time to explore the school.  We got his list of classes and found each classroom so that he would not be too stressed out on the first day of school.

We found his locker, and he tried to open it.  

The first attempt: FAIL
The second attempt:  FAIL

The third attempt:  SUCCESS!!  (notice the I did it! smile on his face?)

I can remember back to my middle school years.  I had the same locker all three years, and the locker combination was 21-47-11...and it never opened for me on the first try.  Never!  Not in all the three years.  I can still remember the panic feeling I had when I sensed that the halls were beginning to clear, and the bell was going to ring, and there I was still fumbling with my locker.  Being tardy to class was the worst feeling.  I still have nightmares about it.  And then I wake up so RELIEVED that I'm not in middle school anymore.

Anyone else have dreams about school?  being late for class?  showing up to school without your pants or your top on?  Or am I the only one?

Alex got his books on orientation day, too.  Three thick books!  Yep, serious study days are in store for this boy.  Welcome to the middle grades, buddy!

My sweet boy...starting such a BIG school.  So many kids.  I worry that he'll get lost in the shuffle of things.  I worry that he's going to grow up faster and faster now.   It seems that these middle school years go by so quickly for me!  Before I know it, they are in high school.  I don't think I'm ready for that to happen to my Alex yet.  

I wish I could freeze time.

Another one takes this step towards independence.  

After he saw all that he wanted to see of the school, he asked if we could go to Baskin Robbins for Ice Cream.  So of course I said YES to that, and I bought him the biggest two scoops of chocolate chip ice cream that they could stack on top of a sugar cone.  You know, because I love him like that.

So I sat across from him, studying his face as he devoured the ice cream.. and crazy thoughts floated around in my mind:  One day this face will have a shadow of a beard and mustache because he hasn't shaved in a couple days.  One day this face will have a tired look from working long hours to support his family.  One day this face will smile down at kids of his own...  

Sometimes I think my heart can't take it, the fact that they eventually grow up and out of the home.  I have trouble saying good-bye to a potty seat, for crying out loud.  How am I supposed to do it with my own children?  !!


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Friday, August 26, 2011

a life lost today

So Rich is at work all day today, and at about the 7:00pm I get a call from him.  This is not unusual because he calls us often throughout the day, usually just to say hello.  So I answered the phone with a cheery "Hey, there!"  and begin to tell him that we are just getting home from the pool, the kids are acting crazy as usual, I am looking forward to getting them into bed....and I notice he's quiet on the other end of the line.  

" still there?"  I ask.
And he sighs and says, "We had a bad call..."

Oh, no.  I've heard too many of his sentences starting out that way over the years to know that it's never good.  He goes on many calls that don't end well, but he doesn't tell them all to me.  He only tells me about the ones that really shake him up.   And I could tell that this was one of them.

"What was it?  What happened?"  I asked.

His voice is cracked, and he said, "A baby.  They.... they just couldn't get her out.  They couldn't..."   His voice was breaking up, and I could tell he's having a hard time with his emotions.  My husband's job causes him to see a lot of hurt and death, but nothing ever effects him as much as a child. When they can't save a child, that cuts the fire fighters to the core.

This particular call was especially tormenting.  He quickly described the scene to me:  car crash on the freeway; gas tank on one car ruptured; car went up in flames within seconds; woman tried to get her baby out of the back seat; couldn't open the door or get into the window; flames engulfed the car; others came to help; everyone is getting burns on their bodies trying to get this baby out; baby could be heard crying from her car seat; the mother and others are frantically trying to get her out;  fire fighters cannot  get to her in time.  She died in the fire, still strapped into her car seat.  She was 11 months old. 

(The story was in the news the next day.) 

After telling me what happened, Rich asked me to please hug Aria especially tight for him...then he quickly said, "I gotta go --" and hung up before I could say anything else.  I was unable to comfort him from my end of the phone.  

My thoughts are with that family tonight; that poor mother, who is right now being treated  in the hospital for  burns she sustained while trying to get her baby girl out of that car.  

I am hugging Aria extra tonight, per Rich's request.  Since she is the closest in age to that little life that was lost, he wants me to hug her extra tight.   He wishes he could be home tonight to do it himself, but he has to finish up his shift.

And that little girl who died today... I know that right now she is also being hugged tightly, by her Father in Heaven.   Rest her little soul.  

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bed decisions

Aria is finally in her own small room, with her own small bed. At last, a place to put her "stuff" instead of our bedroom.  A place for her to sleep instead of our bed!  Oh, happy day!

But when I say small room, I am not exaggerating.  In our master bedroom, we had a room off to the side that was called a "retreat" -- so we built out the wall and added a door.  Now that retreat room is Aria's room.  Yes, you have to go through  our room to get to  her  room, but still.  There's a door.  It works.  (with nine kids in a 5 bedroom house, you have to be creative!)

And when I say she has her own small bed, what I mean is... a crib mattress on the floor.  A twin bed will not fit in this room without making the room look like a closet.  So she is just going to have to use a toddler bed for now.  What I'd like to do is get a really nice toddler bed frame.  Here is one that I like:

How cute will this be?  I can put a curtain around the railing so that the space below the bed can hold her toy containers and also double as a "fort" for her and her siblings to play under. And I will paint  the frame white and stencil her name on the side.  Maybe stencil some flowers or butterflies on it as well.  She's going to love this!  

So Rich swears he can make this for her, instead of buying it.  Of course he doesn't want to buy it, since he can MAKE it himself!  Same old story.  I told him that I have no doubt that he CAN make it, but the question is... will he ever get around to making it?  And will she be eight years old by the time he finishes?  Yeah, that comment went over well.   

So he finally said, "Fine. Just order it then."  
He didn't sound mad, just a bit disappointed.  

Ugh, the guilt!

So...should I just let him make it?  If so, how long should I give him to do it?  Aria just turned three.  I figure she has about another year, possibly two, before she outgrows a toddler bed.  I would need this bed asap if she's going to get any use out of it.  

Today we went to a friend's backyard pool.  I'll admit that this makes me want to get a pool in our backyard!  So nice to have the pool all to ourselves, with no worries of others coming to invade our space...or of us invading theirs!

Andrew is swimming on his own now, without his life vest.  He's jumping into the deep end, swimming across the pool...

I'm so proud of him!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011


We've been enjoying some awesome summer weather this week, with blue skies and high temperatures.   I guess "mild" temperatures would be more ideal for a "perfect" day, but for me, summer is all about the heat.  If it's not hot, it doesn't feel like summer.  So I welcome the high temperatures.

Avery in the Sky with Diamonds

Of course the heat isn't always such a great thing when you have practice in the middle of the day.  Thankfully, kids don't seem to mind it much.  Any chance to get outside and play with friends, they take.  Heat and all.

And practice for them means a little park time for the rest of us - where we do a little practicing of our own.

We practice swinging.

baby feet turning into big girl feet

We practice digging.

We practice collecting.

And  tossing what we've collected.

We practice laughing and enjoying one another's company.
These two need plenty of practice in this ~ they argue waaaay more than they get along!  Which is what makes this photo so fabulous ~ a rare moment in time - captured! 

 We practicing making wild and crazy hair.

And while the kids are doing all their practicing, I'm doing a little of my own behind  the camera... always trying to take better pictures.  Lucky for me I have  more than enough models to work with! 

Love this shot of Ari.  I'm wondering what thoughts were running through her three-year-old mind at the time?  I'm entering this photo in the Favorite Fridays Photo Challenege :) Favorite Fridays at Skinned Knees

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Saturday, August 20, 2011


Since I now have a camera bag that doubles as my purse, my camera is going everywhere with me lately.  Which is so cool, because then I can capture pictures like these during our everyday errands.  

Avery - with a texture added for a neat effect!

Favorite Fridays at Skinned KneesThe Daily Wyatt

and Audriana, with an antique tint added to soften it up a bit

I got these great shots today at Alex's soccer field while waiting for his practice to end.  Yep, just squeezing it in wherever I can!   Afterall,  photography is a fun way to kill time while you wait :)

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and then, she {snapped}



I'm linking up with a blog hop of sorts, where you show your "themed" photos.  This week's theme is TOGETHER....and I think I have plenty of those kinds of photos to choose from:

 TOGETHER at the pool

TOGETHER in the van

TOGETHER in the hotel room

TOGETHER in the bed

 Yep, there's plenty of TOGETHERness in this family :)

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