Wednesday, November 30, 2011

7 and 7

Happy  7th birthday to my 7th child!  What a lucky birthday today is ~  Seven & Seven!  Today is November 30th and my sweet Aislynn was born on this day.  We told her we would take her wherever she wanted to go on her birthday.  And she picked a place.  And the kids are SO excited!  Aren't you just dying to find out where we are going?  Sorry, but you'll just have to wait until my next post!

In the meantime, here are a few FACTS about my girl:

Aislynn was...

born under water
our  first  home  birth
delivered by her daddy
born on her exact due date
9  pounds   7  ounces  at  birth
a very happy and content baby

Aislynn is...
tall for her age
 talkative and social
a great playmate for Aria
learning how to play the piano
always eager to learn new things
the reason we got our 15 passenger van

Aislynn might sometimes....

stay up too late
pick a fight with A.J.
throw a temper tantrum
slam a door when she's angry
leave her room very, very messy

Aislynn always...

brings me joy
wants to snuggle
likes to sleep in my bed
eats all of the food on her plate
enjoys spending time with her friends
reminds me that seven is indeed a lucky number!

Happy Birthday, Aislynn
Mommy loves you very much!
post signature

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
click this link once a day to vote - thank you so much!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I've been a bit sad lately.  Actually, everyone in my family has been.  It's so hard to lose a beloved member of your family. But I believe it's especially difficult when they pass away during the Holiday Season. Because this is supposed to be such a fun and joyous time. But for us, we have a grey shadow hanging over us this year...keeping us from being 100% joyful and festive. Everything we do - decorating, Christmas shopping, listening to holiday music - just reminds us of who we are missing this year.

Tony, Afton, Alex and Avery with their Grandma Bernadette ~ Halloween 2001

I keep thinking about random things....

Like the last time we spoke:  just two weeks ago she texted me to ask for ALL the kids' clothing sizes.  So I did.  And a day later she called to thank me, telling me that she now had ALL of her Christmas shopping completed.  (I hadn't even started my holiday shopping, yet she was done! That was SO like her.  Always a month ahead of the game.)   And that was the last time I heard her voice.  If I had known it would be the last time, I would have kept her on the phone longer.

Like how she won't see my kids grow up.  Some of them won't even remember her.  I should have taken more pictures of her with each child.

Like how she won't be at Audriana's high school graduation this coming spring. Knowing all the hardships that Audriana faced with her brain injury, I know she would have been especially excited to attend her graduation ceremony. She has always been so proud of Audriana, but I bet this day would have shined in her memory. I should have ordered Audriana's senior photos so that I could have sent her one. At least she would have been able to see her graduation photo, the one that will be in her yearbook and in the graduation announcements. 

Like how she and Audriana had a cruise to Hawaii planned to celebrate her high school graduation. They were going to go the week after her graduation.  Audriana had already saved close to $400 for this trip, and she was so excited.  It makes me sad that they will never take this trip together.  Thankfully, I can be happy that they did take a cruise together to Mexico a few summers ago.  At least Audriana will always have that memory.  

Like how we haven't had a Thanksgiving with her in .... well, I can't even remember how long ago it was. And every year she called to ask us what our plans were. And never once did she ever give us grief about not spending it with her. Not once.  If I had known that last Thanksgiving  2010 was going to be her final one here on earth, I would have been at her house without even thinking twice.

Like how I never got to give her the "my grandkids" picture frame that I bought for her about a year ago. I was planning on giving it to her as a Christmas gift this year.  I should have given it to her on her birthday in June.

Like how I was always "going to" make a scrapbook album for her of all her kids and grandkids. She would have loved that!  If I weren't always so darn busy, I could have given her one for her 65th birthday.  If I had known that she was going to pass away on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011,  I would have MADE the time to make one.  I would have stayed up  all hours of the night for a week straight just to make it for her.  If I only had known.

Like the last time we visited her house was this past June for her 65th birthday party. I was playing with my new camera and started taking random shots of all the photos on her walls, all the frog collectibles that she had lying around the house, etc.  I was just playing with the settings on my camera, and so when my memory card filled up, I deleted all those photos thinking them unimportant.  And now, well I just wish I still had those pictures on my memory card.  I would have liked that detailed memory of how her house "looked" while she was still living in it.

Regrets?  Yep, they are there.  

I hate regrets.

With all the people we love in our lives, how do we live our days as if each person could leave us at any moment?  How do we remember to do that?  To make sure that there are never any regrets? Or are regrets just a part of the normal emotions you feel  when you lose someone you love?  I'm starting to think that I need to make a list for every person who I love, and on that list I will write what I have been meaning to do, to say, to write, to take pictures of, etc... and work on completing that list so that I never, ever miss a single thing ever again.

Because living with any form of regret really sucks, especially when it's too late to fix it.

(Sorry this is such a bummer post, but it all can't be rainbows and roses, you know.)

post signature

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
click this link once a day to vote - thank you so much!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Not Me! Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

I did not get a new header for my blog!  Nope, not me... because I hate change.

Not only did I not get a new header, but I did not get it designed so that each of us was drawn to fit our individual personality and hobbies.   For example....
  • That is not little Aria holding her pretty pink purse and wearing her Cinderella shoes!
  • The little boy with the sword in one hand and Milo's leash in the other hand is not my sweet Andrew!
  • The girl next to him wearing her blue Daisy Girl Scout smock and her favorite purple shoes while hanging onto her older brother's shoulders is not Aislynn!  Nope, it's not her!
  • The kid in his favorite red baseball cap, comfortable ripped jeans that he wears almost everyday, and riding a skateboard is not my sweet A.J.!
  • It most certainly is not my Avery standing there looking pretty while wearing her roller blades that she's so into lately.  No, that's not Avery!
  • And that other boy can not be Alex wearing his soccer uniform with a fistful of Red Vines, his most favorite candy in the whole wide world.  No way!
  • And who is that girl with the hip-length hair and the iPhone in one hand while the other hand is on her hip showing all that teenage attitude? Is that Afton?  wearing her favorite Ugg boots and her soccer Jersey #19?   No, it couldn't be her!
  • That tall girl with her nose stuck in the Twilight book and her baby sister's arm wrapped around her leg because she is her second mom is not my oldest daughter, Audriana.  
  • The kid on the end with the surfboard and shaggy hair?  That is so not my oldest son, Anthony.
  • And the woman in the middle wearing the cute red top and jeans, holding a camera... don't even for one second think that hot mama is me.  No way, she is not me!  Because we all know I ain't that skinny.

If this header were my new header -- which I'm telling you it's not -- it would almost be too good to be true, because   we all know that there is  no one talented enough to pull this off. To draw my entire family so precisely?  No way!  But IF anyone were ever so talented to do this artwork -- and that's a big IF -- it would be these people right here:

Whatever you do, do not click on their button to check out their work!
Don't even THINK about doing that.

Other things I didn't do this week....

I did not forget to bring my 40% off coupon for Justice when out shopping with my ten year old at the mall yesterday.  I did not go ALL the way back home to get said coupon....only to save 40% off of an $8.00 black tank top.  Yes, I know that the gas it took to go all the way home and back to the mall again totally negated the savings.  But still.  I just had to do it. 

I did not tell my husband "I'll be there in a minute"  when he got into bed last night,  only to get sucked into the computer stuff I was doing, and then an hour later I did not find him sound asleep in bed, obviously had fallen asleep while waiting for me. I did not feel guilty about that.  

I did not get 3 people scratched off of my Christmas list by shopping online at Sticks & Stones ... and not only did I not get 50% off my second item but also did not save 10% off my entire order by using the coupon code  IBGIKL.No I did not, because I'm usually just not that good at saving money.  Nope, not me!

post signature

and while I'm thinking about it,
 do not click on this link to vote for me today!

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
just don't do it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

save $20 on that Kelly Moore bag you've always wanted

Guess what?!!
My favorite camera bag is on sale!
On "Black Friday", you can get any Kelly Moore bag and save $20 off the price!

Check out all the compartments!
I love this bag because it doesn't look like a camera bag -
it looks like a stylish purse!

I have this one in the heather grey color!

And I also have this one in the purple.

If you've had your eye on a Kelly Moore bag, now is the time to get one!
Use the coupon code    blackfriday
This code will be valid from 12 midnight 11/24 - 12 noon 11/25.

Finally…a camera bag that gives you MOORE!
Don't miss out on our $20 off Black Friday discount code.
This code will be valid from 12 midnight 11/24 - 12 noon 11/25.
Discount not applicable towards previously placed orders.

to check out all the styles and colors and to place an order,
just click on the link below or any of the bag  images in this post

post signature

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
click this link once a day to vote - thank you so much!


I am thankful for this woman.

 Grandma with Alex back in March 2000

This is Rich's mom.   I am thankful that she raised up a small boy to be such a wonderful man.  I am thankful that she taught him how to care for family and that she gave him a wonderful example of "Family always comes first."   I am thankful that she taught him how to cook!  I am thankful that she always gives me great marriage advice, but only when I ask for it!  I am thankful that she dotes on all my children and always makes them feel special.  I am thankful that we celebrated her 65th birthday with a HUGE birthday party this year, that we made such a fuss over her that day.  I am thankful that she came out to visit us for a week this past September, right before school started.  We had a lot of fun times during that week, a lot of laughs.  I am thankful that I've been blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law for my 19 years of married life.

I am sad that she suddenly passed away late last night.  I am sad that I didn't get to say good-bye.  I am sad that my husband's heart is now breaking.  I am sad that her 65th birthday was the last one we will celebrate with her.  I am sad to have to tell my children the news in the morning.   I am sad that I no longer have a mother-in-law.  

Those we love are never with us long enough, are they?  I mean, when is a "good time" to say good-bye?  Never!  We always want our loved ones right here with us.  It's just never long enough.

It's Thanksgiving today.  And ours has a black cloud hanging over it this year.  Rich has left to be with his siblings, and I am home with the kids.  This will be our first Thanksgiving apart.  I'm sad for that, too.  But despite it all, I have much to be thankful for.  I have my health, and so do my children and my husband.  I have a warm home, many friends, and I have wonderful memories in my head of all the people I have loved who are no longer with me.  That is a lot to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.  
Now .... go HUG or CALL all those you love!

post signature

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
click this link once a day to vote - thank you so much!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

family rules

Although my family is nothing like the Duggars, I will admit that I like some of their family "Rules" -- thought I'd share them here.  If my family could follow even just a few of these, I'd be happy:
  1. Always use soft words, even when you don’t feel well.
  2. Always display kind actions and joyful attitudes, even if you have been mistreated. Have the right response by quickly forgiving others in your heart even before they ask.
  3. Always be enthusiastic and look for opportunities to praise others' character.
  4. Always deflect praise and be grateful to God and others for the ways they have benefited your life.
  5. Always use manners and be respectful of others and their belongings.
  6. Always do what is right, even when others may not, or when no one is looking.
  7. Thank God for how He made you, for what He has given you and everything He allows you to go through. (Romans 8:28)
  8. Don’t mock or put others down. Develop compassion and pray for others.
  9. Never argue, complain, or blame. Quickly admit when you have done wrong and ask for forgiveness (even if you were only 10% at fault). Don't wait till you’re caught. Be sure your sins will find you out. He who covers his sin will not prosper, but he that confesses and forsakes it shall find mercy.
  10. Have a tough accountability/prayer partner to daily share your heart with and to keep you in line (your parents, spouse). The power of sin is in secrecy.
  11. Be attentive and look for ways to serve others with sincere motives and no thought of self-gain.
  12. Think pure thoughts (Philippians 4:8, Romans 13:14).
  13. Always give a good report of others. Don't gossip! Never tale-bear unless physical harm will come to someone. (Use Matthew 18.)
  14. Never raise a hand to hit.
  15. Never raise a foot to kick.
  16. Never raise an object to throw.
  17. Never raise a voice to yell.
  18. Never raise an eye to scowl.
  19. Use one toy/activity at a time. Share!
  20. Do your best to keep your surroundings neat, clean and organized.
  21. Never let the sun go down on your wrath.
    (Don’t go to bed angry or guilty)
  22. Amendment J.O.Y. - -Put Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.
Okay, these are all find and dandy, but I guess what I'd really like to know is what they do when a child raises a hand to hit, a foot to kick, an object to throw, a voice to yell,  an eye to scowl, or any of the other things?  What then?  Do they do time-outs? spank? what?  They never address this on their show.  Or if they did, then I missed that episode.
    Here are 10 tips the Duggars say can help any parents with one to 19 children:

    1. Praise your children 10 times more than you get on to them.
    (I could get better at this!)
    2. Model the character and responses you want your children to develop.
    (check! I do this, not always but often.)
    3. Don't raise your voice or say put-down words, stay under control.
    (ugh, a hard one for me.  I tend to yell.)
    4. Humbly apologize when you blow it.
    (check! I do this.)
    5. Lead by example, look for opportunities to serve those around you.
    (check! I do this.)
    6. Turn off the TV and spend time as a family building special memories.
    (Ugh.  I could improve on this.)
    7. Be involved in your children's activities and go to church together.
    (check! check! We do this!)
    8. Have heart to heart talks with each child on a regular basis.
    (On a regular basis?  O.K. this one is hard -- the only negative to having many children, in my opinion.)
    9. Encourage your children to make wise choices and to choose wise friends.
    (check! I do this.)
    10. Post your own house guidelines.
    (Yea, I should really do this.  Because sometimes I'm not consistent, and kids really thrive on consistency!)

    So what do you think?  Do you have family rules that you live by?  Or, like me, do you fly by the seat of your pants on most days, making it up as you go along?  Okay well I'm really not that bad.  But I'll admit that I'm not always consistent.  Sometimes my kids will remind me to step it up...

    sister: Mom...Andrew HIT me.
    me: Andrew.  Be nice.
    sister: MOM!  Aren't you going to DO anything?
    me: Andrew...come here.
    Andrew:  What?
    me:  You hit your sister?
    Andrew:  (silence)
    me:  You know that's not nice.  Say sorry.
    Andrew:  (turning towards sister)   Sorry!
    sister:  Mom! He SO isn't sorry!  Send him to his room!
    me:  Andrew, go to your room.  You think about what you did.
    sister:  And don't come OUT ever!
    Andrew:  How long?
    me:  Well, I'll let you know.

    Then you know what happens?  I get busy with other things, I get distracted, and soon enough I see Andrew back downstairs playing the Wii with everyone else.  And then of course,  the wronged sister comes at me...

    sister:  MOM!  Andrew is downstairs playing!
    me:  Andrew!
    Andrew:  What, mom?  (all innocent-sounding)
    me:  Are you out of your room?
    sister:  Yes, he IS out of his room!  And he shouldn't be, right?  Tell him to go back!
    me:  Well...he was in there pretty long....
    sister:  NO he wasn't!  Mom!  He HIT me!

    The problem with me is that I've got no law laid down.  Sure, I say things like "no hitting" and "no name calling"  but there are no concrete consequences for these actions.  And my kids know this.  This is something I need to work on.  Like, right now - before my kids are all adults who  go around hitting everyone who makes them even the slightest bit angry.

    Actually, I the more I think about it, I really don't think I have too much to be concerned with regarding the hitting-thing.  My kids have always slugged each other every now and then, but yet not one of them has ever hit any kid outside of our family.  Never!  Not once have I ever got a phone call from the school or another parent about a kid of mine hitting.  So maybe, just maybe, it's more like a show of love and affection here in our home?  Not really anger or aggression after all?

    Yea, that must be it.
    post signature

    WAIT!  Don't leave without a click here to vote for my blog!

    Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

    click this link once a day to vote - thank you so much!

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Not me! Monday

    Mckmama- Not Me Monday

    I did not turn around while at a stop light to snap this sweet photo of my Aria snoozing in her car seat, and then heard an angry honk! from the car behind me because the light had turned green and I wasn't paying attention.  No way, not me! 

    While at our local mall, I did not embarrass my kids by making them take a photo of me standing next to a Breaking Dawn poster as if I were some kind of Twilight groupie.  Nope, not me!

    I did not let my three year old make Jell-O while sitting up on our kitchen counter.  Why would I do that, when she could sit perfectly well, and much safer, at the kitchen table?  This just doesn't seem like something that I would allow.  No way, not me!

    And finally, I did not have such a crazy-busy week last week that I got out the Geoboards, let the kids play around with them for a little while,  and called it our math lesson for the day.  No, I did not!  Not me! Because math isn't supposed to be fun, right?

    What sort of things did you not do recently?
    I'd love to hear them!

    post signature

    By the way....have you voted for my blog today?

    Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
    click this link once a day to vote - thank you so much!

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    all I want for Christmas...






















    Seriously, I'm all for sharing...but this is getting ridiculous!
    post signature

    P.S.    Have you voted for my blog today? 

    Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
    click this link once a day to vote - thank you so much!

    this post is linked up at Mommy of Two Little Monkeys

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    just some random things and thoughts

    It's been a busy week.   Soccer season has ended for AYSO and that means we had a lot of final games and team parties to attend.

    Afton volunteered to referee Aislynn's final soccer game of the season.  

    Here's a shot with both Afton and Aislynn in it.  Aislynn is #7.

    Two weeks ago it was Alex who volunteered to be the center ref at Aislynn's game.  I think I forgot to post the photos of that, so here are a few:

    Here's one with both Alex and Aislynn.

    Don't they both look sporty in that yellow uniform?  I will say that it's kind of neat to be at your kid's soccer game while your other kid is the center ref.  I have double the reason to be proud while sitting on the sidelines!

    Aria likes to come to the games with me.  I know this is not the greatest picture of her, but I just had to post it.  Check out the pink purse in the background.  And the Cinderella shoes.  Yes, even on the soccer field she wears the shoes and carries the purse.  So while this photo isn't the best of her, it still tells a story.  And that's what photos are supposed to do.

    We had many end-of-the-year team parties to attend this week.    A.J.'s soccer team was undefeated, and so his party was a fun celebration at our local Sports Grill.  Pizza, cake, and a few games of pool.  It just doesn't get better than that, you know?

    Yea, that's my 8 year old playing pool in a bar.  So?

    My iPhone has become Aria's most favorite thing.  She would carry it around in her little pink purse if I let her.   Why does she love my iPhone?  Because she is addicted to Angry Birds.  She plays every chance she gets.  

    playing Angry Birds at A.J.'s team party. 
    (pink purse and Cinderella shoes are under the table)

    I have been avoiding the computer this week due to all that's going on with the final games and the team parties.  Not only that, but I have a few clutter spots to take care of around this house and I don't want computer time to distract me from it.  It's my goal to go into the holiday season with a clutter-free house.  Seems impossible, but I'm determined!  I'll post photos of my efforts soon.  

    Speaking of the holiday season, I can't believe that Christmas music is playing in the stores already.  Not only that, but Santa is already in our local mall.    If holidays had feelings, I'd feel so sorry for Thanksgiving.  Christmas is stealing it's thunder this year.  How rude.

    Have you heard all the stories on the news lately about the missing babies? One mother passes out after a night of drinking, leaves the doors to her home unlocked, and wakes up to find her baby missing from her crib.  Another mother leaves her two-year old in the car and comes back to find him gone.  What is the matter with mothers these days? They are failing to protect their children.  You don't leave your house open at night, you don't drink so much alcohol that you pass out and are therefor unable to protect your children in case an intruder enters your home, and when your car runs out of gas, you don't leave your baby in the car while you go to get help.  I don't know, these things just seem like common sense to me. What about you?   I just keep hearing more and more stories like these and it makes me so sad.  What makes me even sadder is when the truth comes out and the mother is found to be the one who lied and actually did harm to the baby, such as in this case. 

    I just wish I could scoop up all these little ones and bring them home to live with me.  Even in my full house, even with my super-busy schedule, even though I feel I am stretched to my limits at times.... I would still take better care of them than their own mothers did.  It's just so sad.

    post signature

    Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory
    click this link once a day to vote - thank you so much!