Friends & Family Archives

A few things this morning.

-I mentioned yesterday that I wasn’t sure if I should include Kait and Joe when I say that I did something or whatnot with 10 kids because neither of them are kids anymore. In fact, Kait doesn’t even live here anymore and will be a Mrs. in 2 months. However, it feels weird to not include her in my kid head count when I’m writing about our day because even though she isn’t a kid anymore, she’s still my kid.

This same thing goes for Joe but he still lives at home and so it isn’t as weird for me yet. Hm.

-I had a weird dream where all my hair fell out and, while I didn’t like that it happened, I wasn’t alarmed by it at all. This alarms me.

– The rest of our sod was delivered last night right as I was finishing up cooking dinner. The guys got to working and I served dinner outside on the patio table. It was a nice, cooler, 78 degree evening and everybody seemed to be much happier laying sod than on Friday. My backyard looks amazing.

– Rabbit has finished sanding and the table has been stained, praise God from whom all blessing flow.

We’re using this dark brown gel stain. I like it so far. The color is rich and reminds me of a chocolate bar but it leaves these paintbrush lines even though Rabbit doesn’t put it on with a paintbrush. It’s weird.  I’ve read that it just needs another coat, or that the wood was sanded too fine, or that it wasn’t wiped off quickly enough, or that gel stains just do that, or that or that or that…  We’ll get it figured out.

– My kids have adjusted to not watching movies or playing video games every day. I know they are over the withdrawal because they have become happy to find other things to do. They have now formed a club and it is very important and intense and there are passwords and disguises and drawings from a hat. It’s quite entertaining to watch.

– I cleaned out the pantry.

It was a crazy mess of expired baking products and empty granola bar boxes. There were three opened jars of peanut butter, 3 open containers of raisins, 3 opened containers of corn starch…  apparently we open things in threes.  Ben and I filled more than two trash bags full of unnecessary junk. I should pay attention to the pantry more often.  Rabbit asked how long I thought it would stay this way. I said about 24 hours.

– The reason I cleaned out the pantry was because we have had all these gnat-like bugs flying all over our house and they are making me crazy. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t any spoiled food attracting them. There wasn’t. We’ve cleaned and bleached and sanitized but they still show up in my coffee if I don’t drink it fast enough. I’ve decided that they must be coming in from outside because my kids don’t know how to close exterior doors. They are really good at slamming interior doors though. Go figure.

– I’m getting rid of our microwave. Probably today.  It is very small and we rarely use it and what we do use it for can easily be done on the stove or in the oven, which makes more sense with the number of people in our family anyway. I’m the only one who cleans it and I don’t even like it so it’s going away.

– This post has become much longer than I originally planned so I will go for now. It’s almost 8am and time to run.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Take Me Out to the Ball Game…

Yesterday we took the day off from doing projects and chores and took the kids to see a baseball game.

It may seem like some kind of crazy chaotic thing to take 10 kids to a ball game because it is.  This is not for the faint of heart but with good kids and a couple of adults constantly counting heads it is doable. Also, should I still count Kait and Joe when I say 10 kids because they are both adults? It just feels weird not to include them in our number.

Kait’s fiance, Vince, works for the Blue Wahoos and he sprang for tickets for the whole family because he’s awesome and we all had a great time even though the home team lost when the Wahoo’s game fell completely apart in the 8th inning.

But that’s okay because Kait got pictures!

Lucy and Maggie were glued to Vince.  I have warned Kait before that she needs to keep an eye on these two because they are out to steal him out from under her. I’m pretty sure this is why she was adamant about a short engagement.

I was reminded once again that Lanie is not heat tollerant.  It was warm and humid but it wasn’t unbearable but she was super red and sweating like crazy and all she wanted to do was nurse, which made her sweat even more because I had to cover her to keep from being exposed.

I had thrown a jar of frozen baby food into the bag on our way out of the house and that seemed to help and then the weather cooled as evening approached and she was in a great mood after that.

This little blond haired, blue eyed baby doll turned into a red headed, green eyed girl in the sunlight. I love how her hair and eyes seem to change colors depending on the weather.

Kait got pictures of everybody but I don’t have time to put them all up right now so I’ll just end off this post with this one of 3 of my daughters being completely themselves.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

How we travel with all these kids

We’ve moved across the country numerous times and we’ve always had young children with us.  We’ve found that while it is fairly easy to keep one or two kids occupied enough, it is more difficult to do this with multiple children who are all bored at the same time and asking where we are and why we are driving in circles and did mama leave her wallet somewhere again?

Notice that while it looks like we are in an airplane, we are actually in our 15 passenger van that actually only holds 14 people and really only 12 because we have 2 seats out at the moment.

Anyway, we’ve had to come up with some pretty creative ways to keep the kids content on long car rides and I have found that these 88 cent trays from Walmart are ingenious for child entertainment.

We initially bought them to serve food while we were on the road. Because they are small, light weight, and stackable, they were easy to stow under a car seat when not in use. We quickly discovered that they had many, many other uses, however.

  • They are great for holding paper and crayons for easy drawing and coloring.
  • They are magnetic so these cheap magnet letters work perfectly.
  • Grease markers wipe right off so they can draw, erase, draw, erase to their heart’s content.
  • They make playing card games and other travel games much easier. Rolling dice isn’t quite as frustrating.

Another thing we have done is print off Mad Libs and laminate them. We bought ultra fine tip grease markers and they work perfectly on them so we can reuse each Mad Lib indefinitely to create new humorous stories.

We fill those little snack baggies with cereal and crackers and whenever somebody is hungry we just pass those out.

I readily admit that Fruit Loops and Cookie Crisp are not the healthiest snacks we’ve ever fed our kids but it’s a vacation and there are 12 people in the van and can’t everybody just please calm down for a minute? So this is what I do. I think we filled more than 60 of them and they were gone by the time we returned home.

To counter said unhealthy snacks, I have this little gadget that allows me to make those squeeze fruit pouches at home and then I freeze them. On travel day we pull them out and toss them in the cooler.

This allows my kids to eat fruit and veggies and counter all the less-healthy snacks without making an incredible mess.

Another thing we do is always try to stop at rest areas to use the bathroom so that the kids can get out and run around. The younger kids really look forward to this for some reason. They really seem to enjoy running in half dead grass at rest areas while I sit on a blanket and picnic with Lanie.

I still have so much more to write to catch up from the last couple of days. Ben has asthma. Gabe got new shoes. We have a new fire extinguisher.  And there are ten pallets of grass sitting in the backyard. The last few days have been a little bit crazy.

Gotta go.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Home again

The trip was really amazing.  My mom and my sister refused to accept any help with the food and they were feeding 26 people all weekend long. The food was seriously amazing and we all got to catch up while the cousins ran around playing together and having the best time ever.

We left for home this morning. The long 9-hour drive ahead of us seemed like it would take 9 days but it really wasn’t all that bad. The kids were good. Maggie was good!?!

I was bad though.

We stopped at an Arby’s for some breakfast and because the little girls gotta go bafroom and, wouldn’t ya know it, I left my wallet and my phone there and didn’t realize it until we were a half hour down the road.  I was so frustrated with myself but it turned out alright. We got home an hour later than we had hoped but I got my phone and wallet back in tact because of the great employees who kept them safe.

We stopped at a rest area so Jesse, Lucy, and Maggie could make a bird’s nest for what reason I don’t know.

And then they ran some energy out while I fed Lanie some fruit.

Really, the trip home was so uneventful that I don’t have much to say about it other than leaving my stuff at the Arby’s.  When we got home we had to run and I was sure it would be slow and tired but I we were wrong. Sitting in the car caused us to store up energy or something because we all felt great during our runs and finished strong.

The visit was wonderful but I would be lying if I said I’m not glad to be home sitting on my bed. I think we’ll all be sleeping well tonight.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Chasing the sun. And the moon.

I wasn’t all that interested in the eclipse, to be honest. I was born with a defective awe gene and most things that make others stand beside themselves in wonder won’t even get me on my feet.  I felt this way all these months leading up to our planned eclipse trip to Moncks Corner, SC.  I was excited to see my family but it was my children and husband who were all about the eclipse.

But that all changed in the span of about 3 minutes this afternoon.

My mom came over to my sister’s house. She had bought cookies and called them different names like moon cookies and sun cakes. She had done an eclipse project last night with all the kids to prepare them for what to expect and then today before the eclipse she did a viewing tutorial with them teaching them how to use their glasses and keep their eyes safe. She handed out the spectacles and the kids ran around with them like it was the apocalypse and then we collected them back up because that wasn’t the greatest idea we have ever had.

We still had more than an hour before the eclipse so my brother said I should have his car.

The people in the background, Aunt Naomi, Mom, and my sister, all thought I should have his car too and, as you can see, they are very happy about it but alas, we were all mistaken because Matt said I should drive his car, not have it so there was a little disappointment.

Anyway, no matter how hard Rabbit tried to keep it from happening, I got to drive this gorgeous blue Tesla and it was a most remarkable experience and, people, I really, really feel like there could be an X in my future. Just look how good this S and I look together.

When we got back it had become so cloudy and stormy and Matt and Joe were freaking out like Chicken Little because the eclipse was coming, THE ECLIPSE WAS COMING, and we wouldn’t be able to see it while it was pouring rain. I felt a twinge of disappointment for Joe because he was so excited but what can you do?

Well, apparently you can drive all over Moncks Corner looking for blue sky like storm chasers (or what’s the opposite of storm chasers?) and it was one of the most entertaining experiences.  All 24 of us jumped in our vehicles and set off in a caravan chasing the sun. My brother and Joe were leading the way in the Tesla and they were hilariously intense about the whole thing, calling everybody in the group with updates and suggestions about where to turn and what direction to go and we only have 11 minutes will we even make it in time and I think I see blue sky over that way!

And we did make it, thanks to the efforts of my brother and my son, who both really, really, really, really, really wanted to see the moon blot out the sun for 3 minutes.

So we got out of our cars on the side of the road and put on our glasses and I hovered over my younger children so much, certain that everybody was going to go blind, that I accidentally looked at the eclipse without my glasses. It was brief and apparently not long enough to cause me to lose my vision but I spent the rest of today waiting for my sight to suddenly vanish.

My mom passed out eclipse gum because she knows how to make things extra fun for the kids and we all watched as the moon swallowed up the sun until the only evidence that it was daytime was the orange ring of fire that poured out from around the moon.

I got my eclipse selfie, even though it really did not do the event any justice because I am no good at these things but I was there and I saw totality.

And, guess what guys. It was amazing. Seriously amazing. What I thought would be a cool, but somewhat boring event turned out to be one of the neatest things I’ve ever seen.

The entire day was perfect. Driving the Tesla, chasing the sun, seeing the total eclipse with my family – minus Kait and Vince and Nina who all had to work 🙁 …

And then Matt had Joe jump into the driver seat and let him drive the Tesla for a bit before he took off for home.

It was a very good day.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

My brother has a Tesla. I don’t know if I have ever mentioned this but I have wanted an X for as long as they have been out. I watched Elon Musk’s unveiling of the X years ago. The $120,000 price tag, however, has kept that want as just a wish because who has that kind of money to spend?

So Matt has an S and he drove it down from Virginia to Moncks Corner, SC yesterday to enjoy our total solar eclipse family reunion and this thing is pretty awesome except when it needs a charge that takes hours so you shop at the outlet stores and buy amazing kitchen gadgets and then leave to find out that the charging wasn’t really happening because the stations were generic and required a special account and I really feel like swiping a Visa and plugging in a car shouldn’t require a stamp of approval from President Trump.

We never did figure it out but it still has plenty of charge so there is some time to get this done. And he said I could drive it so hopefully that will happen sometime before he leaves after the eclipse tomorrow.

There are better pictures but, of course, they are on Kait’s camera so I’ll get them later but until then, here is one of it being all blurry and stuff.

Also, we got tons of Family pictures that Kait is holding hostage too so that post will have to wait a little longer I guess.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Lately it’s been all about the dinosaurs.

One of my younger kids’ favorite activities is cutting construction paper with scissors and pasting the pieces together to create dinosaurs.  I don’t know why it’s specifically dinosaurs but it is always dinosaurs.

Yesterday, just after showing me yet another construction paper dinosaur Sam asked where I keep the pins and I said I love your dinosaurs but you are not pinning them all over my walls.

The kids seemed to respect my desire to not have 500 tiny holes in all of my walls. However, unbeknownst to me they had started brainstorming about other ways to hang their dinos.  Since I had earlier vetoed the tape everything to everything idea, they opted to just use paste.

Gabe (16): Mom, are you aware that there are a bunch of dinosaurs glued to the walls and doors all over the house?

Me: What do you mean?

Gabe: I mean that the little kids are making many dinosaurs and gluing them to the walls.

I was rocking a fussy baby at the time and I didn’t get any pictures before I had them remove the quickly drying creations and for that, I am sorely disappointed in myself. I guess you’ll just have to trust me when I say that it was for real a historically accurate portrayal of The Land Before Time up in here.

Today I’ve decided that we’ll be taking a break from cutting paper and gluing all the things so now the kids have turned off all the lights in the house and they are playing some sort of ninja/manhunt game with flashlights and Nerf guns because it’s storming outside. They’ve even roped Gabe into the game and that is helpful because he tends to be good at keeping things from getting too out of control.

I think I’ll just hide out in my room with Lanie while she naps.

It is too quiet though. Not sure if I should be worried or just keep hiding and hope for the best.

Edit: As soon as I hit publish there was a loud eruption of laughing and confused conversation so I think we’re all good here.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

I’ve always enjoyed the 90 degree weather that comes with living in the south. I could easily run my daily miles in 95 degrees except my running buddies wailing that it’s soooo hoooot makes me crazy so we try to get our run in during the cooler parts of the day.

Lately, while I still enjoy running in the height of warmth in the afternoon, I am finding myself looking forward the the cooler temperatures that may or may not be right around the corner because we live in Florida and while summer is quite predictable, you never really know what you’re going to get each winter. 85 degree Christmas? Sure. 30 degree New Years? Possible.

Yesterday the temperature here didn’t even get into the 80’s and I feel like this should be celebrated as some monumental record low for us here in Florida in August. Maybe it’s not, I don’t feel like asking Google. But the drop in temperature got me thinking about fall and I’m realizing that my love affair with hot southern weather is not what it once was and I’m ready for scarves and jackets and boots and does this mean I’m finally old?

For the first time in my adult life I am dreaming of sipping on coffee while sitting under a quilt on the porch watching the snow quietly pile up on the lawn.
What is happening to me?

Alas, this is not a realistic dream here in the southest of all states and for now I’ll have to be content to be here in this place that I have come to love.

I am beginning to believe that we Culbertsons are nomads at heart and the challenge for us might just be planting deep enough roots to hold us securely in one place.

I feel like a long vacation may be in order.

P.S. I cannot find the origination of the picture I used in this post so I cannot credit the source but I did not take it myself.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

The long process of adoption

Many of you know that we have completed our homestudy that qualifies our family to adopt from foster care here in Florida and many other places in the USA.  That was a year and a half ago and since then we have experienced the ups and downs of matches, non-matches, hope, mistakes, recertification, and the heartbreak of knowing a child is a victim of something that can potentially create in him or her predatory-like behaviors.  It angers me that a parent, or anybody, would do such things to a child. It angers me that those abuses can and do change a child, even a very young toddler, forever.

We recently received a call about a child that our family is being considered to adopt.  This caught me completely off guard because I feel we are often overlooked as a possible match because of our family size.  We’ve had calls about 3 possible placements so far and each call has had me so nervous.  The case worker asks me questions about our family, why we want to adopt, what we do for fun, and I’m so afraid of saying the wrong thing, not being clear, not giving enough information or giving too much information or going on and on about nonsense that doesn’t do anything but make me seem a little crazy so I err on the side of caution and do more listening instead of talking which I am not sure is any better.

I can’t think of the right questions to ask until I get off the phone and then I’m afraid to call back because I don’t want to appear obsessively eager but if I don’t call back our interest in the child might not be fully realized. I get my hopes up and remind myself not to get my hopes up in 10 second cycles and my stomach sits in knots while I try and reason with myself that being calm and patient and trusting in God is the best course of action.

The truth is we aren’t likely going to be matched with this child, no matter how much I want this placement. Because even though we believe that being adopted into a large, bonded family can be an asset to a traumatized child, from the outside looking in it can just appear like organized chaos, which is also true.

But, seriously, who wouldn’t want to be a part of this obviously fun family?

My plan is to remember that God is in control and if He is preparing us to adopt a child or sibling group we’ll know when He’s ready for us to know.  Until then, I’ll just hope and pray that we’re prepared for him, her, or they when the time comes.

And when that happens we’ll have fun updating our family pictures for sure.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Did you know that I run every day? I’m not exaggerating. My legs do at least one mile each and every morning and most of the time I run longer. Sometimes I run in the evening too.

Rabbit and 5 of my kids run every day too (6 if you count Lanie in the stroller) and even though we all prefer to run at different times of the day, we run in pairs and I always have at least one of them running with me.

There are things I’ve noticed since my family started running together that are definitely worth telling.

When I started running every day I was not new to running. Matthew(13) and I had been regularly competing in local 5K runs, and I was pushing Lanie in a jogging stroller (Lanie is another reason I run. I’ll explain that in another post later). Pushing that stroller, however, was taking so much out of me that I decided to do a little bit every day to build up more strength. Matthew joined me in that every day running challenge. Two days later, Sam(9) decided to start running with us and the day after that Ben(12) opted in too.  Since then, Gabe(16) and Rabbit started up with our little running club. And just a few days ago, I bought Jesse(8) a pair of running shoes because he wants to start running with us too.

Kait doesn’t run with us because she’s out on her own but she runs every day too and joins us for 5k races.

And now Joe(19) is considering it.

A while back my sister and I were having a conversation about getting kids to be active.  She said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that it should be a family thing and that she had this idea to start a family exercise program to get parents and children working together to achieve fitness goals.

And what she said is really starting to make sense because, while that wasn’t my goal when I started everyday running, I have noticed that in this short time of doing something hard together every single day our already bonded family has become considerably closer. We are setting goals together, encouraging one another, and holding each other accountable. We keep each other working toward something bigger. We keep each other running.

Running every day has become this huge bonding experience that I could never have predicted.

I’m not saying that you need to run everyday or workout or start this crazy, sweaty, heart pounding program to bond with your kids.  What I am saying is that doing something hard with your children, setting goals with them and meeting those goals with them, being proud of what you have accomplished together…  This is the kind of stuff that binds people. And while they grow up and morph into adults in the blink of an eye, and it sometimes seems like there is not much you have in common with them anymore, you’ll have this big thing to give you that common ground.

I am really having trouble figuring out how to end this post so I’m just going to leave it at this.
Don’t be afraid to do hard things with your children.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
 Page 2 of 22 « 1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »