Thursday, January 26, 2012

the toys

When we get the chance to get away for a weekend, one of the things we love to do as a family is to go camping with the toys.

And when I say the toys

I'm talking about

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THE TOYS!!!

Avery on her toy


This is how we spent the recent 3-day weekend:  Camping & Dirt Bike Riding.  Camping is not #1 on my list of favorite things to do  (I'd rather be in a nice 5 start hotel, to be honest)  but I DO love going to the desert and riding our quads and dirt bikes!  That is A LOT of fun for our family.  We have quite a few of these toys for our kids to ride, and one big trailer to haul them all in.  When that trailer is hitched to the back of our motorhome, it makes for one long vehicle on the road.  I have no idea how Rich drives that thing, but he does it well.   (must be all the practice he gets while driving those fire trucks!)


 Rich helping Alex start his bike.

Aria was able to ride around a little bit, too.  Rich would take her for a ride now and then, but mostly she just had fun being adorable in her racing outfit.  She was so excited to "look" like the rest of her siblings, all dressed in riding gear.


Every SINGLE time we go...someone breaks down and needs a tow.  Hey, I sound like Dr. Suess!  This time it was Andrew on his quad.  He was way over on the hills and we saw him just stopped still, and we knew something was up.  Sure enough, the quad had engine troubles, so Rich went up there and got him down. 



I didn't take my good camera on this trip, so all these photos are from my iPhone.  They didn't come out too bad, actually.  Ya just gotta love the iPhone. 

I love this picture of Aria

The next time we go, Aria will be on her own toy. Rich is looking for one her size, and once she gets one she will make me a nervous wreck because the girl has no fear when it comes to riding dirt bikes.  She will be keeping up with her older brothers and sisters in no time.  My sweet three year old.  I wish she'd just stay a baby for a little while longer!

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in the 1800's

Yesterday was what I like to call one of our Fun Field Trip Days.   Because I'm a natural homebody, I have to schedule Fun Field Trip Days and actually make reservations for some place to take the kids.  If I don't make actual reservations that hold me accountable then chances are I'll skip out on going. I know, I'm pathetic that way.  What can I say except that I love being home?  That's not such a bad thing.  But for kids it is.  Kids need to get out and do stuff!  Especially kids who are homeschooling.  They need to be out and about on a regular basis.  

So yesterday we joined our neighborhood homeschool group and met up at the Heritage Museum where the kids learned all about what life was like back in the 1800's.  Our tour guide was Jason, and he was really good with all the kids.  Our group was fairly small - just about 7 kids total - but he knew how to keep their attention, which isn't easy when you are working with kids of different ages and attention spans.

*pretty cool that I made all my pictures look vintage, right?  Neat effect!  Oh, and I might mention that all photos were taken on my iPhone.  I know, I sound like I'm a salesperson for Apple, but I just can't help bragging about the picture quality on that phone!


The kids learned about certain machines that were used in the 1800's.  Their favorite
demonstration was watching the blacksmith make nails and tools over the hot coals.


They were able to dress in clothing from the 1800's.  Aislynn loved this part of the tour, but A.J. not so much.  He would only allow me to take a photo from the back view.  Even from behind they look like a very proper lady and gentleman from the 1800's, don't you think?  (pay no attention to the Vans tennis shoes that they are both wearing)


They learned to appreciate our modern washer and dryer.


They did a quilting craft.


And they thought it was absolutely ridiculous how people used to talk on the phone!



I learned a lot on the tour, too....like how I would NOT have been a very good housewife back in the 1800's.  There was way too much work!  Especially in that kitchen.  I hardly even cook now, with all the modern stores and appliances.  If I had to kill the chicken, pluck the feathers, gather wood for the stove, churn my own butter, milk my own cow, and wash and dry all the dishes by hand....well, I believe we'd all starve.  Not only that, but we'd be running around naked half the time, because laundry would take just waaaaay too much time!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

no more babies?

So I'm going to tell you a little secret.  I've been pregnant five times since having Aria, my last baby,  who is now 3 and a half years old.  Obviously since I have no new babies this means I've had five miscarriages. The first two I've written about, but the last three I've kept to myself because I did not want to mention a new pregnancy until I passed that 12-week mark.  And they never got that far.

Here's my track record:
  • first miscarriage - lost June 8, 2010 @ 11 weeks
  • second miscarriage - lost March 8, 2011 @ 10 weeks
  • third was a positive pregnancy test... but then a week later it was gone.
  • fourth was a positive pregnancy test...followed up with blood work confirming the pregnancy, but then I lost it in that second week.

And the fifth one just happened. I got a positive pregnancy test on New Year's Day 2012.  The blood work looked good. I even had a follow-up blood work taken to see if it was progressing, and all look good. I even went on progesterone supplements to ensure my progesterone levels.  But then I lost it in the 7th week (this past Friday)

Okay, can I be honest here?

This pisses me off, big time!  I obviously have no problem conceiving.  But since I've turned the big 4-0  I have not been able to hang on to a pregnancy.  What is the deal with that?  I'll tell you what the deal with that is:  I'm getting OLD.  Yep, I must have old, defective eggs. I hate that my stupid age and my old eggs are preventing me from doing what I love the most.  Yes, having babies and being the mother of young children is what I love doing the most.  There, I admit it.  So shoot me, but it's the darn truth.  This time in my life is my absolute favorite time and I cannot even imagine what it will be like without a baby on my hip or little ones running around this house.

This makes me angry.  It really does.  Maybe even more angry than sad this time around.  Rich and I would love to have another child.  But we are getting OLD.  Blahhhhh.  I don't like it, I don't like it, I don't like it.  Not one bit.

This post is just for my venting purposes.  I don't want or need advice or opinions or any nasty remarks.  Don't tell me that this is God trying to tell me something; I don't think God puts babies in my womb and takes them away just to say, "There! That'll show you!" The God I know and worship isn't cruel like that. Don't tell me that I should just be thankful for all the children that I have been given;  I am thankful for all of my children and know that I'm extremely blessed to have so many.  But because they make us so happy, and because they are blessings, of course it's only natural that our hearts would love more. I would love more children.  It's not a bad thing to want children,   so don't make this into something bad or wrong.  There is nothing in my heart that is bad or wrong when it comes to children.

Defensive much?  You bet.  Because believe me I get all kinds of comments.

My heart wants more babies, but my body has other ideas.  And I guess that's just going to have to be okay with me at some point.  But I haven't reached that point yet.  Right now it still pisses me off.    The way I see it, 42 is still "young" -- I have  friends right now who are pregnant at ages 42 and 43.   In my eyes, they are young and I am young.  But it's really not all that young in reproductive age.  In fact, anything after age 35 is considered "elderly" in reproductive age.  Ugh, I hate that I'm elderly already...when in fact I still feel so darn young!

Anyway, so that's what's been going on with me this month.  I apologize for the bad words in this post. Yes, I consider "piss" a bad word.   And before you ask -- I have NO idea what we are going to do next. Try again?  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  I just don't know.  Part of me looks forward to losing weight, getting my body back, not having to think about any other body except my own body, and getting back into some cute "skinny clothes".  Wouldn't that be nice?  I guess it would be nice. 

But then there's another part of me...

that would like 

maybe 

just 
one 
more.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

just a few words on Sunday

I remember back to when I was a kid and I looked forward to the weekends.  The weekends always meant one important thing for me: SLEEPING IN!  Is there anything better than the feeling you get when you first wake up and then remember that it's Saturday or Sunday and you don't have to get up for school?  so then you do the "roll" back onto your side and fall back asleep.  That's the BEST feeling.  Yea, I miss that feeling.  Because it's not like that anymore.

Ever!

This morning I got out of bed at 5:45am.  I took a shower.  I then woke up Alex and A.J. at 6:00am and fed them breakfast.  Then we three were out the door at 6:30  to be at Alex's soccer game by 7:00.   His game started at 7:45 but he had to be there at 7:00 for pre-game warm-up.  

I miss sleeping in, but there's a positive to waking up early, even on the weekends.  Here are a few positives that I'm already discovering about my day today:

1)  I was up and showered and ready by 6:30am.  Make-up on, hair done, and dressed in shoes.  This automatically gives me an energetic start to my day.

2)  I was able to have quiet time with just my two boys this morning without the rest of the crew.  Quiet, alone time around here is rare and very valuable.

3)  I got Alex to his game on time!  BIG accomplishment for me, as I aways tend to run late.

4)  I was able to take A.J. to Starbucks, just the two of us,  while we were waiting for the game to start.  He and I shared a table in the back and sipped our hot chocolate.  Again, rare and valuable one-on-one time.

5)  After the game I returned home and made the kids pancakes for breakfast.  It was only 9:15am and most of them were up but a few were still sleeping.

6)  I folded and put away what was left in the dryer from yesterday, and started a new load.  I only have about 3 loads left and our laundry will be ready for the week.

It's only 10:00am right now and I feel like I already accomplished quite a bit in my day.  Hey, I even managed to get a blog post out!  

Now, I'm off to take A.J. to his baseball practice and then it's back to the field for Alex's second soccer game of the day.  Then I'm free until 5:30 church with the family.

Well...not exactly "free".... but you know what I mean :)



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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Penny Update

Remember the dog we adopted back in December?  Penny is doing quite well.  Of course she gets into everything, as most puppies do.  If it's lying on the floor, she will have it in her mouth soon enough.  Shoes left out get chewed. Toys get destroyed.  Paper gets shredded.  Food gets eaten.  (crayons, too, for that matter. Penny's poop is always very colorful.)  We have to "Penny Proof" the house constantly. During the Christmas season with all the wrapping we did, she was in Heaven.  Every time we finished with a roll of paper we'd let her have the cardboard tube afterwards.  She'd carry that big thing around in her mouth all day, before finally shredding it.  


If there are any dog experts out there, here are a few things that Penny does that I need to break her of.



1)  Penny will dart out an open door and just RUN into the street!  She doesn't stop to look around first, she doesn't sniff the grass or the surroundings.   Nope.  She just runs straight into the street and then runs around IN the street.  I can't figure her out.  When Milo used to get out, he would at least run to the nearest tree or some grass or bushes.  But Penny just runs right out into the street.   She gets walked at least twice a day, so it's not like she's deprived of the outdoors and runs whenever she sees the chance of freedom.   I don't know why she does this other than just the simple fact that she's not trained well.  But how do you train a dog not to run outside?  I'm so afraid that she will get hit by a car.  We live on a fairly busy street, so she has been extremely lucky so far.

2)  Penny will not go outside in the morning.  I let both dogs out of their kennel at around 7:00am so that they can go to the bathroom. Then once they go, they get let back in again.  Penny knows the routine, so as soon as I let her out of her kennel, she runs around the house.  She will not run outside with Milo, but instead just stays in the house.  I call her.  I even go outside myself and call her to entice her to come out.  But she won't go outside on her own will.   I can't have her run free in the house when I know that she has to pee after being in her kennel all night.  So I go  pick her up to put her outside, but then she does that nervous "piddle" and makes a mess on my carpet each morning.  Rich is NOT doing well with this habit of hers, by the way.  He is a cleanliness freak and cannot stand the fact that this dog pees whenever she's nervous or excited. 

3)  Penny will growl at people when we are on our walks. She either growls or barks at them.   Adults and children,  which I just can't understand because she is so good with our kids and has never done anything even slightly aggressive towards them.  But it seems that with strangers she is always in "guard dog mode"  and it's not only embarrassing,  but I can't trust her.  She has never bit anyone in our family, but the way she growls at others makes me wonder what she's got going on in her head.  

So what can I do about these three things?  Any advice?  Other than these two things, she's a great dog and we all love her so much. 


me and my "baby" 


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Thursday, January 19, 2012

let's wrap



This year I let my three year old wrap all the Christmas gifts that she had carefully chosen for her brothers and sisters. She has 4 brothers and 4 sisters.   That's eight gifts.  Do you know how much self-control it took for me to just sit there while she did her best to cut that paper straight, watching as she carefully picked off each piece of tape and placed it delicately onto the gift wrap....for eight separate gifts.  She would not allow me to help.  And of course I had a million other things I could be doing.  Yet, all I could do was watch.......her wrap........eight.......presents.....one.....at.....a.....time. 

Can you imagine how much time this took?   The tape would get stuck to her fingers, again and again. Even the tiniest rip in the paper made her want to start over, again and again.    Yet,  I had to smile.  I had to encourage.  I had to be patient.  I had to endure.  I had to sit on my hands at times to keep from giving some assistance.   It was almost painful.

But do you see that smile on her face?  That smile clearly says, "Look!  I did it myself!"   That smile shows how proud she is of herself.  That smile means the world to me.

That smile made it worth every single minute hour!  

linking up with And Then She Snapped

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Birds fly. Fish swim.




Andrew's preschool class has a bird for a class pet, and each weekend "Mike the Bird" goes home with a family so that he will not be alone in the classroom.  At the beginning of the year we signed up for the weekend that we wanted to take the bird home with us.  Well, of course I got to the list late, and the only "weekend" that was left was for the two-week Christmas break.  No one signed up for that one, of course.  So it was left for us.  Yep, the family of eleven with two dogs gets the bird for two weeks instead of two days.   Of course! Why not?!

During the two weeks Mike was the perfect guest. He stayed in his cage like a good little birdie should.  It wasn't hard to take care of Mike.  Andrew helped to feed him, clean his cage, and put his cover over the cage at night. We have never had a bird, so all of this was new to us.

What I realized was that birds aren't all that much fun to have as pets.  You can't really pet them, or cuddle them.  What do they do but sit all day in their cage?  I actually found myself feeling a bit sorry for Mike, day after day just standing there on that stick.  What kind of life is that for a bird?  Shouldn't he be out flying somewhere?  What crazy person in history decided to catch a bird and stick it in a cage?  Who was the first guy to do that?  Am I the only one who thinks this is unfair?  I guess the same could be said for fish in a fish tank?  But at least they get to swim around. They still DO what they are supposed to DO. But birds can't fly in their cages, and by definition isn't that what birds are supposed to DO?  Birds fly.  Fish swim. I think it's an injustice to keep birds in cages. But I don't know, maybe that's just me.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

stomach bug

We had a stomach bug here in our house recently.  It was so much fun, let me tell you.  Seven out of the nine kids got it, and I'm still holding my breath on the other two.  I've been busy disinfecting toilet knobs, door knobs, stair railings, desks, counter tops - if they can touch it, I've got a disinfectant wipe on it, doing my best to keep the germ at bay.  

But I have to be honest, I'll take a 6-hour stomach bug over a regular cold with stuffy nose, cough and congestion any old day!  Those coughs and congestion can last anywhere from 1 - 2 weeks, and then everywhere you take your kid everyone gives you the stink eye when he or she coughs, and you just want to hang a sign on them that says:  I had the cold 10 days ago. This is just a lingering cough. I'm not contagious anymore. 

The stomach bug we got here ran it's course in each child in about 4-6 hours.  They had no fever, they didn't feel achey; in fact, it was hard to keep them in bed they were feeling so good.  They just threw up every 15 to 20 minutes.  

I was a little worried about Aria.  Being just 3 years old and not remembering the days when she used to spit up as a baby, I thought that she might freak out and cry when she started to throw- up.  You know how little kids can be.  But that wasn't the case with her.  In fact, when the bug hit her, we were driving somewhere on the freeway and she said, "My tummy hurts." and I thought, okay...here we go.   So I pulled off the freeway, gave her a plastic bag that was in the trunk of my car, and I said, "If you get sick, throw up in this until we get home, okay?"  and she said, "Okay, Mommy."   and I thought to myself, well this will be a fun ride home.

So I started back on the freeway again.  Less than 5 minutes went by and I heard her making coughing sounds  and sure enough she had her head in the bag.  I said, "Aria, are you okay?"  and the other kids told me that she was getting sick, and I was about to pull off the freeway again, but then she pulled her head out of the bag, took a good look inside of it,  turned to her brothers and sisters and said, "Guys...you DON'T want to see this! "  meaning the contents of the bag, of course.  And I just started laughing.  We all started laughing, and then she started laughing.  So I didn't pull the car over but instead just continued on our way towards home.   

She was the best sick three year old I've ever had.  Once at home, she never missed making it into the toilet.  She would get up from playing and say, "I be wight back.  I just have to go fro up."  Then she'd run to the bathroom.  I'd quickly follower her to see if she needed help, but she never did.  Then I'd wash her hands, clean her up, and she was ready to play again. 

I swear, only if they were all that easy.  They boys - oh what is the deal with boys and being sick?!!  Alex and A.J. complained the most.  After every time they got sick they would moan at me, "Mommmm....when is it going to stopppppp?!"  and I'd say, "Oh, 6 hours or so. You'll be fine."   and they would whine, whine, whine.  The wimps.  Rich can be the same way when he's sick.  I'll be honest and admit I don't have too much sympathy for Rich when he's sick.  I would have a lot of sympathy  if he wasn't such a baby about it.  It's like he's always trying to exaggerate it,  and that's where he loses me.  If he plays it up too much, then I give him the famous  "Oh give me a break.  Try morning sickness for 8 straight weeks."  comment, which he never likes to hear me say because he knows he can't compete with that.

You know what's totally not fair, but I do it anyway?  I compare everything to childbirth.  If Rich gets a cramp in the middle of the night, gets out of bed screaming because his hamstring muscle has seized up, to where he's practically crying out in agony... I just prop myself up on my elbow with a smile on my face and say, "See?  Now imagine that feeling over and over and over and over again for three or four hours straight.  Yea, that's right.   Hurts, don't it?"   Oh, I'm so mean.  But darn it, if they only knew!!  Getting a cramp in his leg is the closest he's ever going to get to the feeling of contractions during labor, so I use it as a comparison.  What's even worse is that during his cramp he can't even get mad at me for saying that because he's in too much pain.  He just agrees with me as he's seizing up  "Oh wow oh wow oh wow you go through this I can't even imagine it oh wow oh wow oh wow it hurrrrrrts!"   - by the way, he doesn't really say oh "wow" but I'm just trying to keep it clean here on the blog.  

Okay, enough of that.  Let's move on to nicer things.




Like the weather!  We are still having very warm weather for January and are enjoying being outdoors.  Rich's favorite place to go locally is down to the Harbor, so on this day we took the dogs, some of our kids, plus two friends -- and we had lunch down by the water.  





What made this day a rare one was that Afton graced us with her presence.  Usually this sixteen year old has a full agenda with friends, sports, homework, etc.  But on this day she said, "I'll go, too"  and we all about fell off our chairs from the shock.  It was nice having her with us :)

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

my hobby

My most favorite away-from-home place to go...



I've been going here since 1999, right before I had Alex.  In fact, it was about 3 weeks before my due date that I went for the first time - my belly was huge and I was scrapbooking for 4 days straight.   I swear I could scrapbook for days on end without getting bored.  It's my #1 hobby and I just don't take the time to do it at home - I need to get away to get anything done!




There are so many things that I love about Christine's Retreat.  First, it's very, very relaxing  there.  There is such a feeling of calm.  It's quiet.  I can sleep through the night without being woken up.  I can shower without being disturbed.  I can eat meals that are prepared for me, and not have to clear my plate or wash a single dish.  I sit at a large dining table with other adult women and can have the best conversations without being interrupted.  It's quiet. (did I already mention that? oh, how I crave the quiet!)   Second, I am very productive with my scrapbooks while I'm there.  I can leave out all my stuff and come back to it without the worry that someone (kids!) will get into it and mess things up.  I can sit there, uninterrupted, hour after hour and just work on my photos without having to stop to take kids to soccer practices or school, or make lunch, or take someone to the bathroom.  I get so much done while I'm there!  I love that.  Third, I always come back from my weekend feeling very refreshed and ready to jump into all my mommy duties.  Not only that, but I feel accomplished and caught up with my scrapbooks, and that is a really good feeling.  (those of you who scrapbook know what I mean!)

So I just thought I'd share this place just in case any scrapbooker near Apple Valley would like to get away for a weekend.  I'm going to try to go in the month of March, not too sure which weekend yet, but if you'd like to join me, maybe we can compare dates and meet up!  For more information, just email me at mommmy9times (at) aol (dot) com.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

she got stung!

Penny got stung by a bee today!  She was out in the yard, just hanging out with Milo like always, and the next thing I knew her lip was all puffed out.  It was HUGE!  At first I thought she just had a ball in her mouth or that she had picked up a toy and was carrying it around, typical Penny, and I didn't think too much of it.   But then about five minutes later I noticed that there were bumps forming under her fur, and her face had gotten swollen, and by the time we got to the animal care office - about 10 minutes after I first noticed her swollen lip -  her eyes were swollen so much she could barely open them, and her fur was all lumpy from all the bumps.  She was lumpy, bumpy and so swollen.  She was a fright!  

They quickly took her and examined her, plucked out the stinger that was in her lip, then they gave her two shots of something that helped reverse the reaction.   Then we waited.

Here is a photo of poor Penny during her time at the animal care clinic. By this time, the medications were already starting to take effect and the swelling had gone way down.  But even here she doesn't look like herself.


You can see the right side of her face where that lip is still pretty swollen, and her head is all lumpy from the bumps, and the back of her, too, which is barely visible in this cell phone photo.  

We hung out in their office for a while to be sure she was going to be okay, and then we went home.  Right now, just an hour after being home, Penny is downstairs running around with all the kids, seems to be back to normal and having a good old time.   Everyone keeps saying, "Poor Penny!  Poor Baby Girl."   She is loving all this extra attention.

So this is the first time I've ever had a pet get stung by a bee.  Leave it to this one to get stung.   She always has her nose to the ground, sniffing for things, and she's very playful.  She probably saw the bee when she was sniffing around in the grass, and then she probably wouldn't leave it alone, thinking it something "new" to play with... and then ZAP!!  She got stung.  I hope that she will remember that the next time she comes across a bee in our backyard!



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Monday, January 2, 2012

it's almost not fair

Here we are


at the beginning of January


and while in some areas across the United States


the weather is bitter cold, wet, and even freezing


the weather here where we live


is a pleasantly warm 78 degrees.


It's almost not fair, right?





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