Friends & Family Archives

First thing in the morning…

Jesse kicks behind at Monopoly.

Today is day two of what is looking to become a never ending game of Monopoly.

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He’s only 6 years old but once the boy understands the rules of a game he really gives the older kids a run for their money.  He appears to be exceptionally good at strategy and I’m wondering if he could hold his own at Catan.

I’m not sure who he gets it from but it certainly isn’t me.

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Dad, I think Gabe stole your face.

Kait has a themed Christmas party this afternoon and while the plan was for Joe to go with her his finals tomorrow have kind of taken over his life. Gabe was happy to take his place, however, so the two booked it home from church to get made up in a somewhat 40’s fashion.

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There might be 6 years between these two but they are quite close. It’s enjoyable watching my each of my baby’s relationships with each other change as they go through new stages in life.  And even though sometimes it can pain me that my older children’s kid years are behind us, it really does seem to only get better as time goes by.
I’m living in a real life enigma, people.

Also, Gabe looks just like my dad did when he was younger so if any of you have ever wondered what my dad looked like as a teen, which is kinda weird and I don’t know why you’ve been thinking about that and maybe you should get a hobby or something, you have your answer.

Merry Christmas

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Gabe turned 15 last month.  He’s somehow become significantly taller than the rest of us at 5’10” – a full two inches taller than the next tallest person.  As of last week he wears a size 12 shoe, and his pants are now a 34″ inseam and I’m right to think this is completely ridiculous, aren’t I?  Also, he is now old enough to learn to drive. He completed all his little quizzes and classes and then passed his permit test with a perfect score yesterday. Now he is off with Rabbit driving for the first time.

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He is learning on Rabbit’s Mini Cooper, as my Mini, Watson, is off limits for this sort of thing. My poor car has been crunched twice since Rabbit bought it for me 3 years ago; once by a guy whose breaks went out, and once by a guy who backed into it, gave Rabbit bad insurance information, and was never heard from again. Mini parts aren’t super easy to come by according to our body shop here and it took more than a month to repair the front end last time. I’m not super excited about having to go through that mess again so for now only experienced drivers are permitted to drive my car.

Even though I’ve been here already twice, with Kait and with Joe, it still took me by surprise that I have a new driver and seeing him in the driver seat yanked me back to last week when he was just a little blond-headed toddler who couldn’t sit still and bit my knees out of sheer excitement.  I just don’t understand when all this change and growth is happening.  I am, however, pretty happy that he no longer runs up and bites me on the knee.

I wish it didn’t take so long to realize how short life is and how quickly it all passes by.  I wish I could somehow give my older children perspective on that – to help them understand the importance of enjoying where they are in life and appreciating the moments that they’re in. To be truly content in the here and now.

It really is a never ending lesson.

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So we got a Christmas tree

Shopping for a Christmas tree is one of those things that I would do the day before Thanksgiving if I could because Christmas Vacation has taught me that having a tree up while eating turkey and fixins with a bunch of people over is much more entertaining than not having one.  However, being that there are certain adult members of my family who are against having a tree in the house before December 1st because their inner grinch won’t allow fun that early in the year, I usually have to wait until we are a week or two into December before I get to decorate my own Douglas fir.

This year I only had to wait until December 2nd though.  It is tradition that Rabbit, Kait, and I head to Lowes to look for a Christmas tree, get out of the car and walk up to the tree lot in front, then without hesitation immediately leave and go to Home Depot’s tree tent, all the while being berated by Kait for not going to Home Depot first.  Then we walk around for 10 minutes and argue about what height, width, whether we should get a 2D tree…

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…which was incredibly flat.  That pictures don’t do it’s squashedness justice but Kait felt sorry for it and suggested we take it home and maybe use it as a bed or something.

We didn’t.
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We ended up adopting the one that Rabbit’s got in the background.  You can’t see the tree he’s holding but it was a little better than marginal and I wanted a taller tree than we normally get because we have a high ceiling where our tree goes and this one was 8 or 9 feet.  There was an absolutely perfect 12′ one I really wanted but we don’t have a stand to accommodate a tree of that height so this is the one we decorated last night.

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I would like to point out that the ornaments Ben and I picked out at Target the other day, while inexpensive, were incredibly glittery.  I don’t do glitter.  At all.  I hate how it gets onto and into everything and there is no way to get rid of it.  Usually I deal with it at Christmas time because according to Lucy a Christmas tree’s primary job is to sparkle.  However, these ornaments have created such an over abundance of glitter that I don’t think we’ll be able to rid ourselves of it.  After trimming the tree last night it was as if a giant bag of sparkles had exploded in our living room.  And kitchen.  And dining room.

Lucy is not disappointed.

I do still need a tree topper for it.  All the ones I like are red and since we are doing a teal, turquoise, and silver themed tree this year a red topper just isn’t going to cut it.  I’m sure it won’t be too difficult to find an appropriate topper.

Or we could just go with terrifying.

weepingangel

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So what’s new? Or not so new?

It has come to my attention lately that I am really, really bad at passing on information.  I guess I have known this about myself forever, but I never realized how much it bothered other people that I don’t always tell them everything that is going on with me right away.  It isn’t done on purpose, it’s just that I don’t think about it.

All that to say that we are expecting our 10th baby and I’m sorry if you wanted to know but didn’t know because I didn’t think about mentioning it.  I’m 23 weeks along, due in March.  It’s a girl and we know this because we had an ultrasound this go-round. I won’t be able to have a homebirth because there are no homebirthing midwives within an hour’s drive of our house so we’re at a hospital this time, unfortunately.  Or fortunately.  I’m trying to look at the bright side.  Maybe the hospital here will be an amazing place to have a baby.

So if anybody is still keeping up with this blog after my long quasi-hiatus I’m sorry I forgot to mention the new baby that is to be joining us soon.

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I’d also like to mention that Ben(10) thinks it’s twins even though we’ve had two ultrasounds already showing only one baby.  He is sure he can see the shadow of a second baby in the background. He would like to go with me to my next appointment so he can point out the oversight to the midwife.

Wouldn’t that be hilarious.

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Smells like football. Almost.

Because we aren’t busy enough around here with cello, violin, piano, two kids working, and one kid starting college soon, we decided to tell the boys that we’d sign up any of them who desired to play football this year.  We figured maybe two would want to play but the joke was on us because 4 of them said, me!me!me!.

The cost alone makes me almost say bad words to myself silently in my head.  But the fact that they are all in different age groups, and on different teams, and practice at two different fields about 4 miles apart…
We will not will try not to complain.  We will just call the next 4 months a challenge.

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Conditioning camp started today and as you can see from the picture, it didn’t start off resembling football at all.  What you’re looking at is a bunch of little kids doing stretches the wrong way.  Sometimes one of them would take off running in one direction and then a bunch of other kids would see him and go along too even though they were supposed to be going the other way. Or not going at all.  It’s very much like herding cats out there and it is so easy to stand at the fence and laugh because I’m not one of the coaches.

The coaches, however, were not discouraged and are apparently good with cats because after about twenty minutes everybody was doing football-ish things and everything started to look a little orderly.
We’ll be at it again tomorrow night.  Fun Florida heat and all.

Man I love football season.

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A table fort for the masses.

Having a 14 foot long table this past year has been such a pleasure. It has meant that we can all eat dinner together without elbowing each other. It has meant that one person can get up from the table to use the bathroom or grab a drink without making everybody beside them have to do this sort of half standing chair scootch dance that inevitably ends with somebody getting their foot smashed. It has meant that we can have friends over for a meal without half of us having to eat standing up.

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And it means that many more of Nona’s quilts are needed to complete a super large table fort.

 

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A couple nights ago I put spaghetti on the table for my children to eat for dinner.  Rabbit and I had to run a quick errand so I charged Gabe and Matthew with dishing up the littles’ food and we headed out the door to the bank and then to Publix.

We were gone for about an hour and when we got home the kids were just finishing up dishes and evening clean-up chores.  This made me happy because it meant that I had missed the bulk of the work.  Two points for having awesome kids.

About an hour after we had returned home everybody started to notice the faint smell of roasted garlic.
Roasted garlic on burnt toast to be more exact.

Ben was the first person to realize what it was.

MOM! It’s the bread!  It’s still in the oven!

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Before I had left with Rabbit I had checked on the garlic bread in the oven.  It wasn’t even close to being finished yet so I set the timer so the children could get it out after about 10 minutes.

Only I had forgotten to mention that to them.
And they had forgotten that I was cooking garlic bread.
And somebody had just turned the timer off when it buzzed because the boys use that timer for a million things and probably thought it was for something else, like whose turn it is on the stationary bicycle, with which they are all obsessed.

So for 2 hours the garlic bread cooked itself into a hard rock-like substance.  There was no fire, no smoke, and only a hint of burnt smell. Thank goodness I had it cooking on a low temperature because once when my mother-in-law and father-in-law were cooking us dinner they set their garlic bread to burning, like on fire, when they were broiling it to give it a quick toasting on top.

We have a big family with many eager cooks so we frequently have a newbie in the kitchen trying something they’ve never tried before. Obviously mistakes are going to happen.  Things bubble over on the stove, green beans get burnt to the bottom of a pot, muffins get set on fire
But we’re not talking about a newbie here.  This was simply me being a doofus.

And now I must go because Maggie is dumping Super Puffs all over and around the stationary bike.

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Catching up

I’ve rarely even thought about this blog lately.  Every once in a while it’ll cross my mind that I should post something but then, just as quickly, that thought will leave my mind and be replaced by something else.  Like, how many nights in a row can I get away with making sandwiches for dinner before Rabbit notices that I’m not really making dinner?

Speaking of Rabbit, he’s now Bambi.  I hate it and I refuse to call him that and I’ll have to write about it sometime because at least the story is interesting.

Did I mention that we took a trip across the country for two weeks in March and April?  No, I didn’t, so I will now.

Rabbit’s mom passed away unexpectedly on my 40th birthday.
Oh yeah, I turned 40 in March.

Anyway, her situation is a long story so I will just say that she was a wonderful mother-in-law who opened up her heart and home to this girl whom she had never met who married her son after knowing him for just 6 weeks. She spent a great many years putting her heart and soul into caring for people and I never heard her speak a negative word about anybody. She just loved her family and wanted good for us.  One Thanksgiving she taught me, against my will, to peel potatoes.  I remember it fondly and will always be thankful for the time she put in teaching me the little things that I needed to know to be a good wife and mom.  I’m sure I had plenty of chances, but I never told her how thankful I was for her.  That is sad.

We had made the decision right away to make the most out of the trip and most of the time everything seemed fine and we were just on a family vacation.  But there were those solemn, quiet moments where we suddenly remembered why we were traveling 2500 miles from Florida to Washington State.
Many parts of it were heart wrenching.
And still, there was so much joy.

We visited with our friends Carrie and John in Montana and, sidenote: Carrie, WHY DIDN’T WE TAKE ANY PICTURES? This is the second visit with you guys where we forgot to take a photo.  Something is very wrong with us.

Then we played in snow.

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We visited with so much family.

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And I got to see my best good friend, Mama Squirrel, who I haven’t seen in way too many years.  Our families are two peas in a pod and it was such a great thing to see her and all her babies.

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We also stopped by Craters of the Moon and the Grand Canyon but I’ll save those things for another post so I don’t run out of blog ideas too quickly.

There really is so much more to say.  These last few months have been quite crazy for us – crazier than normal, even.  There has been a lot of pain. A lot of sorrow.  But there has also been so much happiness and so many great memories created.  I hope it will motivate me to keep writing this time.

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So many questions were answered for me.

And here we have a conversation between my second oldest and my second youngest.

Lucy (3): Joe, I need a herring so I can go cut down a tree in the backyard.

Joe (16): I don’t know what a herring looks like.  You’ll have to draw one for me.

Lucy: Well, I could draw it on paper if I had some chopsticks but we don’t have any chopsticks so you will have to get me some and then I can draw a herring for you.

Lucy’s (eyes suddenly very big):  OOOORRRRR   I could draw the herring with a crayon or a pencil!

She ran away and returned with a sheet of white paper and an orange crayon and then drew something that doesn’t resemble anything that exists anywhere.

Lucy: Wait, that doesn’t look like anything. Hmmm… I’ll fix it.

She added some eyes.

Lucy:  There. Now it’s a scary ghost.

Lucy:  Joe, I can’t draw a herring.  I need help.

Joe took the crayon and drew a simple picture of a fish.

Lucy:   That doesn’t really look like a herring.  It needs legs.

Joe drew some legs on it.

Lucy (laughing): Jooooeeee, that doesn’t look like a herring, it looks like a guy. He needs wings.

Joe:….

Lucy: Wait, noooo not wings.  I was thinking of an astronaut.  It needs wheels.

So, without further ado I give you a herring that can chop down a tree.

lucysherring

You’re welcome.

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