Sunday, July 31, 2011

Syrupy Sweetness

It was a dark and stormy night.  Actually it was, but thats not relevant to the story.  I was laying in bed nursing the baby to sleep when my five year old comes bounding in.  He jumped on the bed and said, "Ewan got out the syrup and squirted it all over the floor in the kitchen."  He seemed very pleased.  Probably that he was able to get his brother in trouble but also because its really amusing.  I put the baby in his bed and went down stairs to the kitchen.  The perpetrator ran past me and I told him to go clean himself up.  I was already sticking to the floor before I even got to the kitchen.  When my son ran out of the kitchen he took the stickiness with him.  What awaited me in the kitchen was a syrup version of a slip and slide.  A package of waffles lay on the counter.  There was no plate in sight.  I knew what he had tried to do, but when you accidentally poor syrup on the floor, and no one is around to see it except for the two year old, your little mind starts to think up awful things like, 'I will squirt some more out, already made a mess anyway'.

There was syrup foot prints smeared this way and that.  From the pantry to the dining room with a giant puddle right in the middle.  Half the two quart bottle was gone. And the smell. Oh the smell.  No more does maple syrup remind me of pancake breakfasts with turkey sausage and eggs.  Forever indelible in my brain will be a sticky floor and sore arms.

I scrubbed and scrubbed and mopped and mopped.  Lots of towels were used, an entire wash load in fact.  I enlisted my 10 year old son  to help with the drying.  He had a towel under each hand and one under his foot.  He scurried across the floor in small circular motions drying drying drying.  I laughed.  He laughed.  We both bust out laughing.  Meanwhile remember I sent my son to wash up?  Instead he hid in his bed.  So then I had that to clean.  Every rung up the ladder to his bed, the door knob, the walls, the rails.  All had to be washed.

When all was said and done it was pretty funny.  I actually didn't yell at him, hes only four and he was hungry and I was busy.  I told him he had to ask a big person from now on, which includes big sisters.  I am thinking after wrestling him into the shower they would much rather make him something to eat than deal with the aftermath of whatever mess he makes.  And who wouldn't laugh at a syrup slip and slide? My two year old however was stunned.  He just stood there.  Probably because the toy he was riding got stuck in the syrup.

 The victim. 

The weapon. 

 The perpetrator. 
And isn't he a cute perp?  As bad as this was, it was easier to clean up than the petroleum jelly my oldest got all over her toys and herself and her room when she was two.  I have never bought another big jar of that, only the little tiny ones for us now.  Way less mess can be made with that size.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


When I was 15 I decided I wanted to be a midwife.  So I started going to college getting all my pre reqs.  Thats when I was exposed to all these different ideas and professions.  I changed my mind and decided to go for a degree in Psychology.  Until my last year when I started having nightmares of dealing with abused kids.  But what was I gonna do with all those Pysch classes?  I figured I would go into advertising, so I got a degree in Communications.  And what did I do with it?  Become a mommy.  Then as a mommy I took my hobby of sewing and writing and made money doing that.

The Dh had a similar experience.  He actually got a degree in CAD and did that for 14 years.  He was a landscaper in there and a maintenance man.  He got into IT then Appraising and did some security work and pizza delivery then back into IT again. 

I know very few people who have stuck with a profession or career for more than 10-15 years.  These are adults who spent a considerable amount of money (and time) on school, who really thought they would love their job and do it for the rest of their life. 

I look at my kids with all their different interests and talents and feel bad when I get upset that they won't stick to any one thing longer than a few months.  However, a few months to an 8 year old is a really long time. I know I am not the only parent out there that gets frustrated after buying all the Ballet stuff only to have your daughter decide 3 months later that she would rather take Tap.  But how will kids know if they really like something unless they try it out?  They might get in their head they would love soccer, but until they try it they don't really know.  Then, why stick with something you hate or aren't good at? 

You never know when a hobby will become your career and when your career will become obsolete. I think that indecision that kids have,  trying things out, is natures way of making sure we have enough interests in life so that we have something to fall back on when one job doesn't pan out.  In our case when Appraising died at least the Dh could get a job in IT again.  I turned my hobby of sewing in to a job and was paying the bills for awhile.  Don't look at it as indecision as much as alternative opportunities in life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I am sure everyone's meal conversations are about fecal matter or eating insects or the latest gross thing one of your children did.  Because, really, doesn't food make everyone think of disgusting things? It does at our house, and I know we aren't in any way weird, so I assume its the same at your house.  Which is why I have no problem sharing this story and everyone will shake their head in agreement, because this totally happens at every dinner table.

Me: Whats that on your arm?  Is it chocolate or poop?

Ds: I don't know. 

Another ds: Smell it.

Ds smells arm: Hmmm, I don't know what it is.

Me: Lick it.

Ds licks arm.

Meanwhile another son was gagging his dinner. And the rest of the kids are falling off their seat laughing.  Just for your piece of mind, it was Nutella.  I get the grossest mom award for telling her son to lick an unknown substance off his arm.  Honestly, I didn't think he would actually do it.  Why I don't know.  I really should know better.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I don't care how many kids I have, I can never stop being excited when a baby reaches a milestone.  It holds the same excitement that watching my first learn to roll over, sit, crawl, talk and walk did.  I think maybe it actually gets worse when you have had several kids.  I notice every little development.  "Hey hes vocalizing 8 different sounds now!  Last week it was 4!"

For instance, my baby can grab his feet, and suck on his toes.

My daughter said hes thinking, "Hey, 2 more thumbs! And these ones are bigger and juicier than the others."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Learning through Experience

2 of my boys have discovered how to do back flips off their bunk bed.  Thankfully we are talking about the older boys, because I am sure if it was my 2 year old I would be hospitalized for a heart attack.  I have told them repeatedly not to do it.  But like climbing the walls (literally, I have to clean the foot prints off the hall walls) they do it when they think no one is around.  Of course they don't realize I can hear them land when I am downstairs under their room.  Part of me wants to tell them about how when I was their age I discovered flipping off my bunk bed too.  And that I stopped because I hit my knee on my forehead nearly knocking myself out.  But I know it wouldn't be a warning as much as it would be a challenge.

I left my 2 year old in the care of my 13 year old while I nursed the baby.  I came back to check on him before I started dinner.  In that time he discovered fingernail polish and painted his sisters make up case.

She told me, "I smelled something and turned around and there he was makin art with my finger nail polish." As I walked away I said, "You need to pay better attention, you can't smell all messes."  My 12 year old was entering as I was leaving and I could hear her say to her sister, "What the heck is that supposed to mean?"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Value of Things

Cost of an iPhone: Avg $500

Cost of a laptop: Avg $500

Cost of homeschool curriculum: Avg $360

Cost of a chest freezer:

 Cost of a Nintendo 3DS: $250

Cost of a pair of Seven Jeans: $180

Cost of a Convertible Car Seat: $150

Is there a reason I can buy a laptop for less than a cell phone?  Someone wants me to believe that it costs me nearly $12.5k a year per child to raise from birth to 18.  Which is just silly, cause we do not make $113k a year.  I wish!  I mean I know diapers are expensive but really?  You can use the USDA calculator to determine how much it costs you to raise your family in your area.  Unfortunately it only goes up to 6 kids.  I inputted our information with only 6 kids and it says I would spend almost $20k on childcare and education.  If I could do that I would have them all in private schools. Housing would cost me $40,000, which includes utilities. Transportation costs is identical to food expenses at $12,000.  No wonder people think kids are expensive given the "Experts" take on it. Everyone say it with me, Life Styles are expensive, not kids.

Common sense tells us that this is way over estimating expenses.  Paying cash instead of using loans or credit cards, recycling and reusing cuts expenses way down, typically the greener the household the less the expenses.  Using items till they is no life in them, living within our means, changing our perception of want and need would ensure our expenses remain well below what the "average" supposedly is. To borrow a Duggar saying, "Buy used and save the difference." Showering children with gifts, privilege and money does not make you a good parent or ensure they become better people. 

What I value is not lifestyle just a good life for me and my children.  I can get lots of toys for lots of money, or I can get great school curriculum, items to keep them safe, and to feed them for less than the toys for myself.  Theres nothing wrong with having all sorts of fancy and fun stuff. But we can't be made to feel guilty because we or our children don't have the fun stuff.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Too Smart

The dh has made himself a dark and quiet place to sleep since he is now nocturnal.  He has dubbed it the "Matt Cave", he thinks hes so clever.  Our 5 year old thought it was a grand idea and announced, "Its like your natural habitat."  5 year olds shouldn't even know the word habitat, let alone its correct usage.  Although, I had to laugh because he was so right.

My kids like blocks, but I refuse to buy the little legos.  Ever step on one of those things? While running down the stairs?  It wasn't pleasant, I still have scars.  And that wasn't even my kids, that was my brothers 20 years ago.   So they have to be happy with the big toddler blocks. 

They also made a Spongebob and an Eiffel Tower. My favorite had to be the game system with removeable disks and the controllers to match.  This here is a character from Minecraft. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


We recently had not one but two Haboobs hit Phoenix.  It happens every so often,but mostly our dust storms are rather small.  The first one was moving so fast that one minute we were outside swimming and the next we were inside wondering why outside was pitch black.  Took me a minute to realize what I was seeing was dust.  The second one was slower moving, we got to see that one come in.

 Thats the view out of my back yard.  We actually got some rain with this one, my mother quipped she was glad she wasn't able to get her car washed like she had wanted.  She would have been ticked to have a mud caked clean car.
 Once again, science in your back yard. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Kids are Adaptable

Mothers, not so much.  In fact I think the say, "Old dogs can't learn new tricks." came from some mom trying to explain why she can not possibly do another shift change.  The dh started a new job, which involves a very dramatic shift change.  He went from sleeping 10 pm to 4 am to sleeping 10 am to 4 pm.  Meanwhile I am supposed to keep my schedule and keep the kids quiet while he sleeps.  Someone should probably have told him we have 9 kids.  Actually, they have been incredibly good.  I will tell you, you have no idea how good your kids truly are till you need them to be.  Unfortunately, I don't sleep so well when hes not here.  Apparently even *I* can't live on as little sleep as I am getting. 

Its going something like this:
1-2am - Tries to sleep, takes about 30-45 min before I am out

2-3 am - Baby wants to nurse

3:30-4 am - 2 year old wakes up wanting a drink and needing a diaper change

4:30 am - Baby wants to nurse

5 am - 2 year old wants a drink and needs ANOTHER diaper change

5:15 -  5 year old starts yelling at his 4 year old brother in his sleep. 

6 am - baby wants to nurse again

6:30 am the garbage truck rolls around

7 am I am finally bad to sleep, but I know I have to be up at 8 so I can shower and get done before the dh gets home to crash. 

Then as I walk around all zombie like during the day while the kids have all this energy and get to take naps. We shifted their schedule over the last 2 weeks so they are staying up later so they can see daddy more when he is home.  They have not noticed anything, no one has complained.  But me, I am falling up the stairs, not down but up, because I am so tired I can't make my legs work the way they are supposed to. 

Once we are on this schedule and back to "normal", what ever that is, we better never ever change again. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fish and Eagles and Stink Bugs

We are spending our summer doing short jaunts around the state.  This week we went to Willow springs Lake in Northern AZ.  First we stopped at the lake in down town Payson for a picnic.

It was so refreshing to step out of the car and not bake in the sun.  We can actually enjoy the outdoors.  After that we had to get up the road to the fish hatchery before the road closed for 45 minutes.  If you are going to make the trip be sure to check road closures.  Last year we got stuck in it and it was not pleasant.  We had fun feeding the fish and seeing the different stages of development.  We wanted to see a deer but all we really got to see was squirrels.  Oh yea, and a lizard with no tail.

  Somehow there was a dead fish laying outside the runners.  We hypothesized it had tried to jump up the water spicket and landed outside the area.  The kids wanted a picture, because whenever you have a fish story you have to have a picture.  So I knelt down to get the picture and told the fish to say "Fish". Yes, I was talking to a dead fish...And? My kids were probably thinking the same thing as you all cause they, in unison, said "Fish."  If I had tried to explain myself to them they would have just thought I was even more nuts, so I let it go.

After a lovely ride down a windy road, where we all got lite headed from the thin air, we went to the lake.

See, there are pretty parts to Arizona, its not all desert.  We walked along the water for a ways when my brother pointed out this huge bird over the lake.  It ended up flying over us and landing at the top of a tree.  It was very apparent we were looking at a Bald Eagle.   A hawk then started to dive bomb the eagle. A hawk dive bombed an eagle.  Yea, probably not the smartest bird around. The eagle could have had the hawk for lunch it was so much bigger.  Yes, I know eagles eat fish, just go with me here.  Then, as if it wasn't cool enough to see 1 bald eagle, another flew down and perched on the tree. 

After the Eagles flew away we were left to entertain ourselves with whatever wild life we could find.  The kids chased some chipmunks till they found a stink bug.  There was a bald eagle, 2 of them, and we saw them take off and land, but give the kids a stick with a stink bug on it and they act like they won the lotto.  My daughter insisted I see it; I insisted I not get sprayed.  She assured me I wouldn't, "I've poked it and prodded it and it hasn't sprayed me."  Great, get it all angry before you bring it over to me.  Thanks.  Then, instead of returning it to the trees, she left it on the cement pillar next to me.  It wasn't long before I had little boys with sticks poking the stink bug.  I must have said, "Stop poking the stink bug." 20 times.  And do you think anyone thought to get a picture of it?  No.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How to Make a Diaper Stacker

This is the first time in a few years that I have had 2 in diapers.  I have come to accept that my toddler will not potty train anytime soon.  Or at least not soon enough for me to stop being annoyed with having stacks of diapers laying around.  I needed another diapers stacker.  I didn't have a pattern and I have had no luck finding one in ANY store.  So fine I will make one, it can't be that hard.   Well, its a little hard but at least I have somewhere else to stack my diapers and not my night stand. 

You will need:

Sewing machine or needle and thread
Scissors, pins and a pen

Measure and cut the washed and dried fabric to 35 inches wide and 23 inches long keeping about 1/4 inch for the seam allowance. The bottom is 11x7 inches again with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. The bottom does not have to match the fabric. I used a cotton woven, you don't want anything stretchy like knit because the weight will end up stretching it out. 

Sew the biding onto the ends of the short side.  If you would  rather not deal with binding you can add an inch instead of 1/4 inch then turn  twice and top stitch.  Binding gives it a cleaner look though and its really not that much harder to do. 

Sew the bottom onto the body of the fabric.  To do this find the middle of the long side of the bottom, place the binding at that mark and start sewing there.  Keeping right sides together and taking special care at the corners not to round them too much.  Using pins will help keep the fabric from shifting.  You may want to do a faux serge on the edges to make it more secure. 

At the top of the body again find the middle and fold the corners in and sew straight across.  Once sewn measure in from the corners about 3 inches and fold the corners in to that point. Pin down and sew straight across the top again.  This is designed for a children's hanger and this pulls in the top to form corners for a smaller hanger.

Measure 4 inches from the top and stitch just the bound edges together.  This will give you a loop with which to put the hanger through.  Its supposed to be covered by a bow but certainly doesn't need to be.  I didn't have one so I just left it. 

Turn right side out and place cardboard at the bottom and hanger through the top.  Fill with diapers and hang.  Viola!  A diaper stacker.  It took me about an hour to complete and that includes all the cutting, marking, etc. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Reviews

I love to read but don't have much time for it. I can usually get in a chapter a day.  My goal for the year is 14 books.  I remember a time where I could read 14 books over the course of the summer, like my kids now.  I should be having them write reviews, they could do a couple a week! I think I have a new idea for school work, will have to work on that. 

So onto the books I read. 

First was Diners Drive-ins and Dives by Guy Fieri.  This is basically a cook book with stories.  Guy's humor doesn't translate as well to the written word but its still a good read.  Its amazing how many restaurants aren't run by people who are trained chefs.  You will want to keep this book for the recipes, there are some killers in there. 

Next I read Dave Barry's History of the Millenium.  If you have ever read his year in review this is that, just compiled for the first part of the 21st century.  Not great for reading in bed at night with your significant other, on airplanes or any where else you are supposed to be quiet.  A quick and funny read, great if you need a pick me up. 

And I just finished What Mothers Do by Naomi Stadlen, now this was a good book.  I wished I had had this book when my first was little.  This is not a parenting book, or at least she tries very hard to keep parenting tips out of it.  This is more of a mothering book.  If you ever looked around your house after swearing you worked all day, yet it doesn't look like you did a thing, you need to read this book.  It made me feel normal, about all those things you are sure no one else goes through.  Possibly the best quote from the book, "I've done all sorts of jobs, and I've enjoyed them.  But motherhood is the first thing I've done to the best of my ability.  I'm not perfect, but I feel I'm doing the best I can.  I thank God for motherhood, for letting me have the chance to work like this."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Where do all those Helium Balloons go?

Have you ever wondered where all the lost helium balloons go to? A couple of my kids were having this conversation the other day.  Surely they must come down somewhere, we thought.  But you would see evidence of this wouldn't you?  I guess if you had seen a flat balloon on the side of the road you wouldn't even give it a second thought so perhaps they do come down we just don't notice.  How would you know if one such balloon was a lost balloon?  Well I guess if it came down in your backyard while you were out there playing, that would be good way to know. 

As if God wanted to punctuate our science lesson with real life evidence, we had such a balloon land in our back yard today.  Yea, Really! 

And it just so happens we have our own helium balloon my 5 year old got over the weekend.  So when my 2 year old saw this in the back yard he thought he got his very own balloon too.  Its the little things I tell ya. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Great Tie Dye Disaster of 2011

If your child wants to tie dye be smarter than me and do it at the park, not at home.  Tie Dying can be a great craft, where you can wear the fruits of your labor for months or years to come.  But if you are gonna tie dye with small children around you either you need to keep track of the dye really really well, or do it where there is less to destroy.

And if you can't find the red and the purple you might want to look in your sons bedroom.  He just wanted to tie dye his socks.  Unfortunately, at four he just isn't all that coordinated. He also dyed a set of sheets (the blanket was black thankfully), his mattress, his brother and the shirt he was wearing at the time, his outfit, the carpet and a whole Thomas the Train set.  The Thomas set came clean, the other stuff, not so much.

On the good side my daughter did do a great job on a bunch of socks and shirts.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Whose a Domestic Goddess?

Not me.  Thats for sure.  If there was any doubt after my adventures of the thing that lived in my sofa, let me erase that now.  Did you know there is a fill line on a vacuum cleaner bag?  And that if it gets full past that line it doesn't really work that well?  Well you should have told me. 

I attempted to vacuum the floor, but when I turned it on it made this funny noise.  Kinda like "hhhhheeeeeelllllpppppp", but way higher pitched.  After trying a few things, like smacking the vacuum on the floor, I turned it off and opened it up to see what the bag was like.  What it was like was nearly exploding.  Fill line...HA.  You can fill that thing WAY past the fill line.  That bag weighed 4 lbs 5 oz.  Aside from the fact I weighed a full-to-the-brim vacuum bag, you have to admire that fact that not only did it not explode but that my floors have had at least 4 and a half pounds of dirt and debris on them!

I went to put a new bag in the vacuum only to discover the bag was so full that it was now storing dirt from the top of the hose all the way to the bottom of the bristles.  What I removed, just from the connecter, looked like a dead rat covered in doritos.  The hose I had to take outside and spin to get the stuff out.

I am happy to report that my vacuum suffered no ill effects from bag replacement neglect.  My floors are now, relatively, clean.

Next on the domestic front: Teaching my children how to use a clothes line.  Stay tuned for the riveting details. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Under the Heading: Things You Need to Pay More Attention To

Nearly mobile 2 month olds. If you place your baby in their crib to fold clothes and you hear him start to fuss you figure he might be bored, or lonely or hungry.  Whatever it is can wait a few minutes while you finish that load right?  Wrong.  Because if you had been paying attention you would have noticed they have scooted their way to the top of their crib and gotten lodged in the corner.  Which apparently isn't very comfortable. 

Dirty loads of laundry.  Do you check pockets?  Do you shake your clothes?  Do you go piece by piece before you throw them in the washer or dryer?  You might want to.  The cell phone you save could be your own.  Actually today was a new one for me.  I have washed everything from cell phones (3 and counting) to lock box keys, to crayons and probably a small fortunes in spare change but never dirt.  What?  I guess I should mention that we are using towels to cover the ground when we go swimming so that we don't get dirt in the pool.   The load I washed today had not been shaken out.  So when I washed it what was left was piles of dirt at the bottom of my washing machine.  Makes you wonder how much dirt really is going out with the dirty water and not getting redistributed onto the next load. So I ended up vacuuming out my washing machine and rewashing the  towels - properly shaken out of course. 

Two year olds. I swear, I could watch my two year old like a hawk and he would still find mischief.  Today when we were at the grocery store he wanted apples.  Really wanted apples.  I really wanted mushrooms, which happen to be right by the red peppers.  I told him they weren't apples but I don't think he believed me.  Because he grabbed on and said, "Apple."  then proceeded to bite into it.  I guess I was gonna have red peppers on my pizza too.  I turned my back to get another bag.  As a mother I should know better.  You never turn your back on a two year old.  He grabbed another red pepper and took a bite of that one too.  He probably would have taken a bite out of every one in the display had I not buckled him in to his stroller for the remainder of our shopping trip.  No word on how he liked his "apples". 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Are we Greedy?

Am I greedy to have 9 kids?  Greed means wanting more than you actually need.  The question is then begged; Do we NEED to have children?  I don't need to have children.  No one person needs to have children.  Society, however,  needs us to have children.  Children are the future generations that will support us and care for us when we are too old to do it ourselves.  The more children we have the easier the burden will be on them both physically and financially.  No one wants to be overworked or overtaxed.  And don't even get me started on Overpopulation

So far we have been told we are Addicted and Greedy, and obviously naive that we don't know the numerous reasons we shouldn't have children.  We must be evil, terrible people! Gosh, I walked around with my family and people are starring at us thinking I am an addicted, greedy, ignorant woman.  There are probably more adjectives I could throw out there, from things that have been said, comments I have read etc. Those who give up having children so they can travel, so they can buy all the latest gadgets, to maintain their lifestyle, they aren't greedy of anything apparently. So even if I were to think I was greedy, that would mean I was guilty of wanting more life.  More love.  Gee, what a horrible thing.