Thursday, June 30, 2011

Free Educational Games Online

I have been having too much fun playing games at History.com.  The State that Plate Game is HARD. 

And if you want a better Place the State game check out Addicting Games for one that gives you how many miles off you are. 

Sheppard Software has awesome games; everything from the food chain to vocabulary.  


If you are more into reading games you might like Kabongo. I am not sure my kids actually got to the games section, they were having too much fun designing their character.

Don't leave the preschoolers out, theres stuff for them too so they can feel like a big kid.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Say Hello!

I know there are people out there who take time out of their day to read my blog.  Thanks so much!  You either like me or need something to put you to sleep at night.  Either way, I appreciate all the page views.  I got curious to see where you all were coming from and I found some very interesting things.  First, someone out there got here by searching for Big Boy Socks on Girl Boobs.  I don't even want to know what you were expecting to find with that but I bet what you found wasn't what you thought you would.  Secondly, the majority of you came from another lovely blog: http://jurnal-de-mutunau.blogspot.com/

Everyone, say hi to our readers in Romania!  Hi! 

I might be easily amused but I think its totally awesome to be read in Europe, and slightly creeped out by someone searching for such a weird use of socks. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The No Good, Awful, Horrible....Typical Day

If you told someone, who didn't have kids, what your day is like on a day to day basis - they would think it was an awful existence.  They might even classify one of your days as their worst day ever.  When you have kids things rarely go smoothly.   The problem arises in the fact that you have kids.  They aren't pros at life. They are still trying to figure out how to do basic things like pee in the toilet and get food into their mouths.  Let alone the big stuff like cleaning up after themselves or speaking in complete sentences.

Take for today instances.  Its not even half way over and it would still classify as most peoples worst day ever.  It started at 3:30am. At that time most people are still sleeping.  I wish I was sleeping.  I had gone to bed at midnight, was up at 2 am to feed the baby and then at 3:30 because my 2 year old woke up scared.  He was up again at 4:30 and 6.  At which time he figured he had had enough sleep...wait did he actually sleep? And so my day started.  Being tired isn't something new to most parents. Pretty typical day so far.

It wasn't long before the trouble started.  Dh had left the umbrella open which doesn't seem like such an awful thing till you realize its made of metal and its 112 outside.  Its like putting your hand on the burner of a stove.  I can't just leave it up because it came off the base and every little breeze knocks it over.

Then I noticed the wash had not been moved over from the night before.  Meaning it threw off my laundry schedule because I have to rewash it.  Now that I was sufficiently ticked off at the dh -  I told him so. Only for him to tell me he wasn't the one to wash the clothes.  It was my daughters.  Well now I am mad and embarrassed, I restart the wash myself.  I finally get to drink my coffee only to be beckoned back to the washing machine by a horrible screeching it began making.  Worry about my scheduled is taken to whole new heights.  Especially when I have a load of peed in sheets courtesy of my 4 year old waiting to go in. 

During my shower my girls are supposed to watch the little kids, only they apparently decided to listen to music in their room with the door shut.  So my 2 year old took that opportunity to get naked and pee on the stairs.  My 5 year old alerted me to the emergency, soon followed by said 2 year old completely naked and asking for his Wow Wow Wubbzy DVD.

Are you exhausted yet?  Its only 9 am.

I get out of the shower and quickly put a diaper on my 2 year old, before he goes again.  Once I am dressed, and my hair is done (miracle of miracles!) I get to hold my baby, who is very happy at the prospect.  As soon as I pick him up I can smell it.  He pooped. But, when I get the wipes out of the cabinet the whole handle came off.  I change the baby, screw the handle back on and smack my ankle on the bottom of the dresser. 

I work my way down stairs (after I move over the laundry) where I find my now dressed 2 year old eating gold fish crackers out of a ripped bag.  Its about 9:30 at this point, so not really a great breakfast food.  When I go to get the gallon ziploc bag I step on a wet diaper.  The diaper that my 2 year old had taken off before he 'peed a line on the stairs' apparently.  I get the gold fish cleaned up and look for that Wow Wow Wubbzy dvd he wanted. Which I found in the computer, unfortunately it won't play because it got scratched.  I wonder how that could have happened.

So lets recap.  I got no sleep, my son peed the bed, my washer is breaking, I stepped on a diaper, my toddler peed on the floor, I had to repair a handle, I hurt my ankle and burned my hand on the umbrella.  Its not even lunch time yet.  Remember that I also have to nurse the baby, feed the kids, do the dishes, clean the house, etc during this time.  It might sound awful but that is a typical day. 

Now, my life is not awful, I have come to expect these things.  Its what having kids is all about.  My toddler doesn't know how to go on the potty even though he thinks hes a big boy.  My 4 yr old can't always wake himself up to go pee at night, and I understand that.  My girls are still teens and haven't fully grasped the concept of responsibility, though they are getting there.  So when you stick all those kids in one house things can go wrong.  I expect it.  Just like when you have 1 you expect to not sleep, get thrown up on, get peed on, get pooped on etc.  Each child you add you expect that and whatever the older child has to throw at you.  Well if you have 9 kids you have that much to expect too.  Thats just a typical day here.

My kids just wrapped the dog in thread while I was typing.  Well at least its past the half way mark for the day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Free Candy

My kids are in a homeschool bowling league.  Today, however, they couldn't bowl since the systems were down.  Presumably because of a near miss we had with an asteroid, sending out bowling disruption rays; or something like that. Unfortunately we didn't know about it till we actually showed up at the bowling alley.  And by we I mean my brother the chauffeur and my four oldest kids.  I guess the phones were connected to the lanes and were down too.  Cause a business would never not call all the people of a league and tell them there was no bowling that day.  My kids weren't terribly disappointed since they got passes to play another day and free candy.  At least thats what I thought when they came home. Not sure what made me think that but it was probably when my daughter said, "We got free candy."  The free candy turned out to be more like stolen candy once I got the whole story. 

It was dinner time and conversation abounded.  I am not sure how we got onto the subject but someone said, "The candy machine was broken so we got free candy." 

I stared at my husband.  I knew exactly what they meant: that asteroid really had it out for those bowling alleys.  No.  It meant that they could get candy without putting any money into the machine.  

Oldest daughter: "I told them not to do it." 

Oldest son: "Yea, after you had already gotten your candy." 

The dh: "Thats stealing." 

Oldest daughter: "No, they knew the candy machine was broken." 

Me: "They don't own it.  Its independently contracted."

Oldest daughter: "Yea, thats what they said." 

Me: "See!  Stealing." 

The dh: "What kinda candy we talking 'bout here?"

Oldest ds: "Gob stoppers, Skittles, licorice.  It was one of those scoop things." 

Me: "This story just keeps getting better and better." 

And what I want to know was where was my brother during all this?  Hello?!  Adult Supervision? 

A Rare Breed

Big families aren't common, that pretty standard knowledge.  Thats why we get stared at, comments made and why whole reality tv shows are filmed around us.  We are an oddity.  But what most people don't realize is that big families were always a rare breed. A common myth people believe is that if everyone were to give up birth control people would be popping out babies like rabbits.  That every woman would have dozens of kids.  That simply is not the case, it never has been the case.  Take for example the New York Times page, if you were to input our family you would see families like mine make up .0028% of the population (or 3,158  families) in the US today.  In 1900 families of 11 accounted for .1235% of the population.  Back before the pill and before abortion on demand.  Back before Women's Lib and the Baby Boom. 

So how is it possible that in the absence of birth control people weren't having huge families? Part of it was that there really was never an absence of birth control. It might not be as neat and tidy as taking a pill, getting a shot or a trip to the drug store, but there was birth control.  The other part is that its a myth.  Most women will not pop out baby after baby if she does not use birth control.  Sure, more women will have big families compared to what we have today, not that many more. Some women are more prone to Lactational Amenorrhea than others.  Some couples just don't have relations as often as other couples, and long separations for military deployment, traveling for work or just travel can hinder conceiving.  Stress and illness can disrupt fertility not to mention interest.  Even under the perfect conditions you are not guaranteed a pregnancy. 

So while I would love to think that in some point in time my family would be celebrated and accepted I have to realize that is probably not the case.  But I really hate that people use my family as an example of why they shouldn't give up their birth control.  As if every family would be like ours. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Things we learn from babies

The best way to get mommy to smile at you is to smile at her. 

That sometimes you just have to cry.

Even though you are fed, clothed and loved, the basics aren't always enough.

Sometimes you just want to see the sights, listen to some good music and go for a ride. 

If you are grumpy, take a nap.

Its easy to be a morning person when you are waking up to someone you love. 

Comfortable clothing is better than cute clothing.  

You can say I love you a million times over but its how you show it that really matters. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Too cute

I had watched a clip of an actor on CBS and simply could not get over the women screaming.  I told the dh about it and he asked me if I ever felt like fainting at the sight of someone.  I told him only of my kids because they can be just too dang cute.  And I swear the smell of baby breath is like a drug. 

Not 5 minutes later my kids had to go prove me right.  I caught my 7 year old talking to the baby, "What was it like before you were alive?  Was it dark?  Were you in heaven?"  Yea, it was so cute I wanted to faint.  Baby wasn't sharing his secrets though. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Reading is fun

You will find us reading quite frequently here.  I have a few kids whose reading appetite is simply insatiable.  By insatiable I mean will read a book the same day they get it.  They will read anything that is left laying around that has words on it.  I have 3 kids right now who are doing extra chores and their reward is more reading material.  My oldest wants the boxed collection of Warriors, my youngest daughter is working towards a subscription to Astronomy and my oldest son is working for the last 2 books he needs to complete his collection of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

If you have kids like mine then check out your local library for summer reading programs.  Ours also has a reading screening for grades 1-3. Not that they need an extra incentive to read, but if they are going there anyway for more books you might as well sign up.

Worried the kids will trash the books and you will end up replacing it anyway?  You can get them cheap at Book Closeouts.   It helps they send me a $7 coupon every time I order.  I really like that I can find new things to try out for myself there.  Cause even though I will spend a small fortune on books for the kids, I simply can't spend more than a few dollars on myself.

Check out my widget to the right, We Read.  Keep track of the books you want to read, the ones you have read, read reviews, recommend books to others, review books and get recommendations based on your reviews.  Remember when I made my New Years Resolution to read more? I ended up surpassing my goal of reading 1 a month and read 13 in 2010.  This year I hope to read more than 13.

How about Barnes and Noble Kids Club? Who doesn't want a cupcake on their birthday?

So go read.  Its fun.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Your toddler might be teething if....

Right at the bottom edge you can see teeth marks.  Its a flip flop.  You can still see the dirt on the bottom.  Ewwww!

Mmmmm paper.  You can still see some in his mouth.  I also see him biting his dolls feet frequently.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Crafting Stars

Without some sort of schedule my kids go crazy.  True Freedom is too much to handle for some people I guess.  So I did some crafts with them.  An easy one for all ages is the String of Stars.  Little kids need to learn how to trace and cute and this is an great way to teach that since it does those things repeatedly.  Which might get kinda boring for big kids or kids with ADHD.  My hyper 8 year old did 2 stars and got bored.

First you print out the star template.  On their site it says to color it and string it.  But I suggest using construction paper for an easier craft for the little kids.  What I did was trace the printed out template onto cardboard and the cut that out since paper is hard to trace for little kids. I made enough for each kid to have their own to trace.












After that they can trace as many stars as they want.  You can let them make their own strand or you can combine them to make one big one.  My 7 year old decided to write his name on all the ones he cut out, I guess he wanted to everyone to know which ones he did.

I didn't even have to pose this picture for you.  Its what my 8 year old left when he got bored.
Some of my kids enjoyed it though.  My 13 year old and my 5 year old.  A craft for any age! After all the stars have been cut out you fold over the top of a point and staple, glue or tape it the string.  I found that stapling it leave it able to move along the string.



Cheap entertainment for an hour.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yummy

I don't allow the kids to have dessert unless they have finished their fruit or veggie.  Today I guess I forgot to give my 5 year old anything besides a main dish cause he asked me, "Can I have dessert?"  Like I was playing some sort of trick on him.  I said he could and he looked at me all confused, "But you didn't give me any fruit."  Opps.  I could have sworn I did, but I didn't even get an hour straight of sleep last night so I'm not totally there.  I told him to go look for something he wanted.  He comes back about 2 minutes later and says, "There is only bananas and onions.  So can I have a banana?"  I can't imagine he actually thought I would make him eat an onion! Never mind that there was raspberries, carrot sticks, celery and apples in the fridge.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Honoring our Fathers

When we were instructed to 'Honor our fathers and mothers' I don't think it really meant buy them the biggest screen tv you can fit in your house.  I know for my own father, if I going to go show respect for him, its not going to be done in gifts and praise.  Although, he would probably go for that too.  I will show him respect by not telling him he needs to baste the turkey more, cause dang its dry.  And I won't poke his belly and tell him he could lose a few pounds.  I will keep my mouth shut when he tries to convince me the computer is cheating when he plays hearts.  Instead of laughing at him I will help him get up off that floor.  When he tells me the next one better be a girl, I will just agree with him.  Although we are all thinking the same thing, "Yea right."  And most importantly I will talk to him with dignity and do as he asks so as to set a good example for my younger brothers still living at home.

Kids can honor their father by being obedient and showing him their love.  My kids have a funny way of showing you their love.  When they have 1 french fry left and offer it to you, you better believe that was a huge token of love and esteem right there.  2 year olds think that changing their own diaper must be the best gift anyone could ever give.  But they also can be totally sweet and cute with their gift giving too.  My 7 year old made a house out of a pizza box complete with tables and chairs.  Several drew pictures for daddy, which will probably end up on his cubicle wall at work.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Time for another round of "You Might have a Big Family if...."

You Might have a Big Family if....
Your stack of baby books is too big to fit on the shelf anymore.

Your dh says, "We night need to get that trailer so we can go grocery shopping." After trying to fit the groceries from a shopping trip to costco in our van which was full of kids.  Or maybe he should just go by himself.

The cashier knows there must be a house full of kids at home based on what you are buying (this after dh went to costco to shop alone).

People think you have a lot of kids and you are only out with some of them. 

People aren't quite sure how many kids you have anymore. 

You have to start thinking of baby names 6 weeks postpartum because it takes you 2 years to find one you haven't used yet.

You go to a party and you outnumber all the other guests. 

You make up 2 teams on the bowling league. 

You consider Walmart quiet.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I've learned

There was a time, when I was a mom only to young children, I would get easily frustrated at some play time activities.  When the kids were doing tattoos and they would leave the clear papers everywhere and wet towels laying on the counters.  When the kids would paint and get it on the table, and their clothes, the chairs; basically everywhere.  When they would color and every crayon would end up broken, and then they would gave me a stack of precious art projects knee high and I would have to figure out what to do with them all.  Playdoh was the worst and I have forever banned it from the house.  Clay they can have, but no playdoh.  If only I knew then what disasters awaited me as a mom to 9.  If I only knew that how bad of a mess they really could make.  But I have learned. 

I learned that compared to when they throw blocks all over the house, the little clear pieces of paper all over the place is not so bad.  I learned to hang up the wet towels and let them dry to be used again later for more tattoos. I learned that paint comes off, usually.  And its not so bad as compared to 100 army men on the floor.  They really hurt to step on.  I learned that broken crayons aren't the worst of it.  If you stick it in an electic pencil sharpener it breaks.  And I learned that some kids like to eat crayons.  And I learned that if one gets stuck in the bottom of your vacuum it colors all over your floor.  And I learned that if you dry them in the dryer you have to throw out a load of clothes.  I learned art projects could be boxed up and taken out years later to be smiled at.  I learned that a 5 year old with a piece of clay the size of a corn kernal can have hours of fun and develop a keen imagination. 

I have learned and become more patient.  I learned that in the long run, in the big picture those little disasters are only little disasters.  That kids can make WAY bigger disaster and even those don't end the world.  I learned to let the kids have fun when they are kids, because you can't sterilize the world.  And even if I could, then I wouldn't have the memories I do.  I think how proud I am that I have learned, that I am not so thick headed that I couldn't learn.  It gives  me hope that I am still learning, still becoming the better parent, better person.  And thank-goodness for my kids, they have years of fun ahead of them. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What homeschoolers do on summer break

Like most people we look forward to the time off from school that is summer break.  We like to sleep in too.  But give free range to kids and all hell breaks loose. You need to keep kids occupied.  This is a challenge here in the desert, you can't really send the kids outside to play.  Indoor activities are usually the safest thing to do.  In the dark, with the air conditioner on. 

One of our favorite things to do is read books.  This summer we are doing Book Adventure and it really brings out the kids competitive side.  I am impressed with how much the kids remember from their reading.  I am gonna have to start getting more strict when they say, "But I forgot!"

Reading is all good and fine if you like laying around all day.  Apparently my boys do not.  I need to get them moving.  But again, here activities have to be done in doors. But thats cool, you can bowl for free! Well the kids, not you.  You can also join a league, which is what we have to do since there are no participating centers in AZ.  We have a homeschool league here that meets on Monday mornings.  Great way to meet and play with other kids. 

And what else do you do in the summer, but swim?

Monday, June 6, 2011

One Persons Trash...

That saying has never been more true as it is today.  This week is bulk trash pick up.  Thats where the city picks up the stuff too big to go in a trash can.  It only happens about twice a year so the rest of the time you are storing your trash in the back yard waiting for that flyer to come in the mail.  Or if you get too sick of it you load it up into your van and take it to the dump yourself.  For a fee of course.  We were saving it up in the back yard.  We had a swing set we took apart, a broken carpet cleaner (hmmm wonder how that happened), a dresser that was in pieces, a toy car and a pile of tree clippings.  This morning  when I got up the only thing left was the tree clippings.  People had come by and taken everything else.  My tree clippings aren't desirable? Meanwhile my neighbors all have their trash sitting out: a mattress set, a sofa, a toy tool bench and more tree clippings.  I would have thought the sofa and tool bench would have gotten snatched up.  No, instead they took long metal poles? Truly, one persons trash is anothers treasure. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sometimes I need to laugh too

When you read about my kids doing things funny its usually not too funny for me....at the time.  Later after I cooled down I can see the humor in it. For instance, when the kids have shoved veggie sticks in their nose and then spit popcorn kernals at each other its only funny after the mess has been cleaned up.  Not so much at the time. Sometimes I need to laugh without waiting an hour.  A friend shared this today and I can't help not to pass it on.  I am not one for potty humor.  Just ask my kids how many times I day I have to say, "No potty mouth talk." But those last 2 are especially funny:
While you are using the restroom, do various co-workers come in the stall and ask you to settle a disagreement or open a packet of fruit snacks?  During a board meeting when everyone is present, do you notice a smell and then have to check all your colleagues’ pants to locate it? In fact, at ANY point in your day do you have to deal with another person's feces?
I think, the next time I discuss work with the dh I will ask him first which of his coworkers used his shirt to wipe their nose.  A little levity never hurts!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I think they might be stir crazy

Schools out.  We are at day 3 of summer break, and I think they are already bored.  Not sure what tipped me off.  Maybe it was when three of my boys decided to stick veggie sticks up their nose.  No worries they are hollow.  Or perhaps it was when my 4 yr old sat on the top bunk and threw the stuffed animals from our Noah's ark all over the room.  It could have been when the kids ate popcorn and then spit the kernels at each other.  It might  have been when they tried to vacuum each other.  The idea was good but my vacuum can't handle dirt like that.  I didn't mind the chair and stool maze too much, that was better than when they sat behind the sofa pillows and threw "bombs", aka blocks, all over the floor.  Its far easier to avoid a chair, not so much for avoiding stepping on blocks. 

I think someone has to come up with things to keep these kids busy.  And I am betting that someone is me.