When what to my wondering eyes should appear…

No, not a miniature sleigh. The world hasn’t gone that crazy yet but after shopping at the Walmart yesterday (and might I add that you should never take your 5 youngest kids to Walmart on the first of the month) and filling our two carts up with fruits, veggies, meats, and dairy because we’ve been taking eating a cleaner diet more seriously I stumbled upon these and completely ruined the healthy vibe my cart had going on.

Candy Corn, people.
Candy. Freaking. Corn.

Some of you people may think that Halloween is bad because of ghosts and goblins and the devil but no. What makes Halloween evil are these orange and yellow bad boys. If unicorn horns could produce nectar this is what it would taste like.

I accidentally opened them and poured them into the glass dish that sits empty all year long waiting for candy corn before I took a picture because I’m too eager.  A couple also accidentally fell into my mouth as I was pouring them.

I guess I had better step up my running since apparently it’s officially sugar season now.  I’m already late for my run this morning so I had better go.

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Filed under: Only at the WalmartSometimes we do stuffUm...

I’m not quite sure about what to write about this morning.  I woke up a half hour early because a cat was staring at me but I am about 45 minutes late on my morning so far and I’m not sure how that happened. Maybe I accidentally made decaf or something.

Hahaha.
No.
That would never happen I was just kidding.

I don’t have anywhere I have to be today and I’m hoping that I can shake the frustrations of the last couple of days off by grocery shopping. I don’t know why I think going to the grocery store will help. It’s not like it’s ever been therapeutic for me.

I have more to say about the orthodontist because I have another kid that is ready for braces. This is in addition to the Wednesday morning debacle.  This is my Thursday afternoon story.
Ben is my 3rd kid to need braces and he’s been in pre-treatment for 2 years waiting for some teeth to come in and some growth spurt and he is now ready for his braces, which apparently must happen RIGHTNOW. But since we just shelled out a surprise $600 for Matthew’s metal on Wednesday, and we have a wedding coming up, I told them that I wanted to wait until after the holidays to get Ben’s treatment plan started. I was subtly accused of putting Ben on the backburner in favor of Matthew’s treatment. We really need to get Benjamin started very soon. I understand that you paid a down payment just yesterday for Matthew’s treatment but we really don’t want to see this guy put on the back burner.

Really?
I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too sensitive here but I really don’t think so. I would also like to add that the billing gal talked in very hushed tones about our not being able to afford it and mentioned that she wasn’t supposed to talk to Dr. Brooks about it but she would just for us even though I never implied that we needed help, I just said that we were going to wait. It was all very patronizing. And weird.

I normally really like the kids’ orthodontist. He was great with Kait’s wonky mouth and has been pretty good with Matthew’s up until recently. I’m going to call a different ortho today and get Ben in for a consult because I’m really irritated right now and why are all these little flies all over my house? We’ve completely cleaned out the pantry and all the cupboards and the boys’ rooms and where the heck are they coming from?

It’s been a hard week.

On a brighter note, literally and figuratively, our main bathroom has been changed from a brownish yellow color to a soft white (thanks, Matthew!) and scrubbed clean (thanks, Rabbit!), and has new knobs and it looks great.  We are going to refinish the cabinets eventually too but we have a gazillion other projects in line ahead of that one. Like the never ending kitchen redo.

And Lanie has turned a bit of a corner mentally and physically. At physical therapy yesterday she showed increased muscle strength and then in occupational therapy she was making an effort to interact and tried to mimic what her therapist was doing. It was the first time that it didn’t seem like Lanie was just in the room with the therapist, but actually participating with her. It is a really big step.

Here’s a blurry picture.

This is how Lanie reacted to me explaining my week.
This girl just gets me.

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Filed under: baby wears glassesBenFriends & FamilyLanieMatthewSometimes we do stuffthis house

You know how you start your day out early, in a good mood, after a decent night’s sleep, and then everything falls apart about 3 hours in when your kid’s orthodontists surprises you with a $600 down payment for a set of braces he has already had but needs again? Yeah that happened.

Here’s a rundown of my day. It’s a little ranty. I’m sorry.

  • Matthew’s mouth was somewhat complex to sort out and he’s had an expander, braces, a holding arch thing, a couple different kind of retainers that weren’t doing their job. With all the things he has needed to have done I think I was just confused about all those layers and when I took him in because the holding arch had broken and to ask for a better retainer they said, New molars! Looks like he’s ready for his phase 2! Braces again to straighten things out! We’ll need $600 to start this phase! Thanks!
    I took a couple of deep breaths and went about the rest of my day.
  • Lanie had two appointments together at the same place. They called a few hours before hand and asked if I could come in an hour early. I said sure. What I didn’t know was that they wanted me to come in an hour early for the first appointment, and then sit for an hour and a half and wait for the second one. Lanie became restless, I didn’t bring a stroller because I didn’t think I’d need one, and I couldn’t reschedule because it took 3 months to get this appointment. I became what you might call very put out.
  • They want to put tubes in Lanie’s ears. Recent studies have suggested that in most cases tubes are not really all that helpful. I’m going to do some research and see if we can reduce the fluid in her ears here at home before we resort to cutting into her eardrum.
  • She most definitely needs surgery to remove her adenoids and tonsils. This was not what I wanted to hear but Doc did say we could wait on the surgery for a few months and try two meds to try to shrink her oversized adenoids and tonsils. I said yes please.
  • Went to get her prescriptions. Turns out, Tricare won’t cover one of them or its generic. Great. We had to pay for that sucker. But that was okay because if we could keep her from needing surgery I was willing to try it but I was still not thrilled with another surprise payment in one day.
  • At home later I was reading through the pamphlet for Lanie’s meds. The expensive one, a nasal spray, says not to use if you have had cataracts or glaucoma. I’m not even kidding. If you want to know why this is an issue read here.

Now that I’ve done all the complaining. I should add that there were a great many positives that really did drown out the frustrations.

  • Rabbit has been on leave and has a nice salt and pepper beard that I find quite attractive.
  • Sam made me a crown with Rubies on it.
  • Deep fried peanuts. What will the south come up with next? Also, this is why I love the south. Also, DEEP FRIED PEANUTS, PEOPLE!
  • Ben kept me company at Lanie’s forever appointment yesterday and Lanie was incredibly cute.
  • My table looks fabulous. Rabbit had to sand it again because of a problem with the stain and we loved the look so much that we’re going with it. It’s so unique and really gorgeous.  I’ll get a picture and blog more about that later. but for now I’ve gotta go because I’m already an hour later than I like to be starting my day. We have therapy and more ortho and groceries and I need to run and Tropical Storm Harvey is still making the rounds.

It’s going to be another fun day.

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Filed under: baby wears glassesBencongenital cataractsFriends & FamilyLanieMatthewSometimes we do stuffThe Rabbit

Today we are busy. We have three appointments because Matthew’s metal mouth spacer thing broke in half the other day so we’ll need to run in to the orthodontist and have that repaired this morning. His plastic retainer broke too and I don’t know why they just won’t give him a metal one.  This is the second time it has broken and it’s getting really irritating and I’m thinking of switching orthodontists because his teeth are moving back into their previous positions. He needs a real retainer.

I’ve been waiting for three months for Lanie’s otolaryngology appointment after her sleep study in May showed she has severe apnea. She also has an audiology appointment before the ENT appointment and it’s going to be a long afternoon at Nemours and Lanie is sure not to be happy about it.

And it’s raining.  We have tropical storm Harvey visiting us today and I’m not sure when we’ll get our run in. I may just have to go out there anyway and hope for the best.

There are other things I need to get done today too, like mop the floor and brush my hair.

I’ll be requesting a few more hours today.

But at least I got rid of my microwave yesterday and that feels really good because there is a new level of clearness on my counters. And Rabbit bought me a cast iron pan because I complained that I am tired of having to buy entire sets of new pans every other year after we’ve eaten all the non-stick materials that have come off into our food.

And my table is stained and looking fly. I am not sure if I used that slang correctly but it felt right so I am going with it.

Things are pretty good around here.

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Filed under: FloridaLanieMatthewSometimes we do stuffthis house

Happy birthday, twins. Now you’re old(er) again.

This is a re-post but it’s my brother’s and sister’s birthday again and I just couldn’t resist.


My brother and sister were born when I was just 17 months old. Not old enough to understand what a toilet was for, but definitely old enough to know that these two monsters were going to destroy the little world of selfish power I had been working so hard to build. And they were cute. Too cute for their own good. It was always the twins this, the twins that.  I would have packed my bags and run away had I been able to reach the door knob but I couldn’t so I was trapped.
But then the two rugrats grew on me (a little) and I realized that having another girl around wasn’t so bad and the boy made for an excellent scape goat. I got really good at saying, That boy did it.

I don’t really remember any of this exactly, but I imagine that it’s probably what went through my head based on evidence found in old(er) pictures.

See:

My brother, Matt, was completely over-dramatic about everything. Really. He would fall down and pretend like you had broken 2/3 of the bones in his body if you even looked like you were maybe thinking about pushing him. Yeah, he was that kid. He was also a big mouth and completely asked for it.  And yellow “frightened” his eyes, whatever that means, so he always got the blue cup. The blue cup that I wanted.

And my sister, sweet Carrie, used her freckles and dimples to fool most everybody but me in to thinking she was an angel sent from heaven to delight each and every person she came into contact with. But she stuck her tongue out at me and told on me for EVERY LITTLE THING, including putting an extra teaspoon of sugar on my cereal in the morning like she didn’t do the exact same thing. I think she had a plan from the start to make herself an only child.

Just look at her sly face. HELLO? How was I the only one that knew? But a picture speaks a thousand words and if you look closely you’ll see that my brother’s and my faces are blurry. Carrie was already trying to erase us.

This is how I wish a happy birthday to people who tormented my childhood. So happy birthday Dramatic and Sly. Glad to see you’ve grown up. And I’m glad your antics didn’t send me to the loony-bin in the process.

Also, I made you each a cake so just go ahead and stop by sometime today to pick yours up.

Seriously though, I love you both tons. I miss that we don’t get to hang out like we used to when we were younger but I still value my relationship with you both more than you know. I hope you both had a great birthday and look forward to seeing you in November.

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Filed under: Friends & Family

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.

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Filed under: Friends & FamilyI tried to do a projectSometimes we do stuffThe Rabbitthis house

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.

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Filed under: FloridaFriends & FamilySometimes we do stuff

My minimalist senses are tingling

I am a minimalist at heart. I love getting rid of stuff and clear spaces and having nothing on my counters.  That new refrigerator that has a Keurig in the door makes my heart pitter patter because that would mean one less thing I’d have to keep on my countertops.  Though I do wonder how a Keurig works in a refrigerator door because these coffee machines are known for their short life spans. I wonder if there is an easy way to replace it when it inevitably dies the week after its warranty is up or if you’re just stuck with a refrigerator Keurig that no longer works.

Being a minimalist in my family means that I cannot actually practice minimalism the way I’d like. If it were up to me we’d have about a quarter of the stuff we have now. I think the only things I would have a hard time parting with would be little girl clothes and books.  Even still, I had been able to work around my maximalist children and keep the house at a reasonable junk level until I just gave up trying a couple of years ago. I don’t know what it was. Rabbit’s mom’s death and then the miscarriage and then the hard pregnancy that followed…

I just sort of quit.

And when I was ready to get things back in order at the beginning of this year it all seemed so overwhelming and my kids had become comfortable in their growing piles of stuff and I didn’t know where to start.

I’ve decided now, however, that it is high time to take back control over this home. We have a lot going on over the next several months and all this clutter is keeping my brain from being able to focus on becoming a foster parent and my daughter’s wedding and the holidays and all the preparation that goes into life this time of year.

I started with one corner.

I love this artwork Rabbit and the kids made for me a couple years back but it really doesn’t match this area of the house and because of that I feel like this corner has become an easy catch all spot. This is definitely not the corner of a minimalist.

This area is at one end of our long dining table. I knew what I wanted here because I saw it somewhere on a video or Pinterest a while back because I have no imagination of my own and I count on other people’s creativity for these things. Yes, I’m a copy cat.

The previous owners of our home are awesome people that we know and love and I asked if they’d let me have their large wooden spoon and fork if we bought the house.  They quickly said yes and they’ve been sitting in a corner of the dining room the last 3 years, sometimes being used as swords. It was ling passed time to give them a spot.

I wanted giant letters to spell the word eat but I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them. Rabbit spotted this cheap wood scrap while we were at Lowe’s yesterday. It had some great grain and he asked if I would like the letters cut out of it. I had a better idea that wouldn’t require any work from him and we grabbed the wood and headed home where I got to work and TADA!

It’s not crooked. I just can’t hold a camera straight.

The kids all helped me. I usually don’t like the distressed look but this seems to work well here.

I really, really like it.

I think I am going to keep this momentum going and actually get some family pictures on the walls and while I’m at it I’ll throw away everything in the living room.  Don’t tell my husband.

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Filed under: I tried to do a projectLook what I madeSometimes we do stuffthis house

I woke up at 6 am yesterday morning. This may not seem super early to most of you but for me this is like a 6am-er waking up at 3. Lanie doesn’t usually fall asleep until after midnight and as hard as I’ve tried to change her bedtime she just keeps reminding me that Lanie does what Lanie wants and the rest of us here are just along for the ride.

Also, since being sick she has gotten into the new habit of waking up to eat at night. Sometimes twice. Normally, my typical children would have never gotten away with this at 17 months old but Lanie is a different story. Anytime she will eat, I will feed her because failure to thrive is one of the scariest things and she still has trouble gaining weight and when she does gain weight it is difficult to keep that weight on her.

Back to my story…

So, I woke up at 6am after having gone to bed at around 12:45 and after being up with Lanie for more than 2 hours in the night and tucking Maggie back in after she had to get up to go potty and I would like to interject here that I love not having to buy pullups anymore.

I think I probably got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep. Normally that is fine and I function alright but it’s been many weeks of bad sleep and yesterday I was mostly sleep walking which was perfect because this was delivered at about 7am.

We needed to put all those squares of grass here:

So I made a bacon and spinach quiche for breakfast and then went on a run and then went out to see this:

And I realized that this was going to take forever.

Good thing the weather was a nice 70 degrees. Perfect for a long day working in the yard.

Until about here.

All of the sudden it was 95 degrees and super humid. All the kids were out working in full force, along with one of the older boy’s friends (Thanks, Danny!).

But these guys just pushed through while I made food and took care of the littles and took pictures of marginal quality.

Maggie really wanted to help so she put on her “work clothes”, which consisted of an oversized pink t-shirt and a long pink skirt.

Laying sod required a lot of wheelbarrowing. Or barreling according to my younger kids.

Some people may have died.

But the transformation was amazing.

We miscalculated and still need two more pallets of but sod even with that section not being completed I am so happy with the yard and I can’t believe we actually have grass!

Next project? Paint the bathrooms. Or maybe edge and put red mulch down in the front garden. Or maybe print some pictures out for the plain white walls throughout my house.

No, finish the table!

Wait, cabinets…

I’m going to have an anxiety attack.

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Filed under: BenJesseLucyMaggieSamSometimes we do stuffThe Rabbitthis house

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.

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Filed under: Friends & FamilySometimes we do stuff

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