Sunday, December 30, 2007

Kid Profile #1: Macy Loo-Hoo

I've decided to take a portion of our Christmas letter profiling each of the munchkins and share one at a time on the blog, perhaps expanding a bit on what the Christmas letter included.
Macy Loo-Hoo, Macil, Boo-Boos~these are the assortment of nick-names that we have found ourselves calling her. I know they sound a little strange, and we gladly admit that. I offer no explanation. There is none. Well, Kurt and I can hardly conceive (haha) that we have added yet another munchkin to the Munch Bunch since writing our Christmas letter last year…little Macy was born February 16 and has added such sweetness to our family! She is the happiest baby alive, and I told her this morning that she is the most babylicious baby ever. She has scrumptiously chunky leg rolls (I measured them, and they are larger than Cam’s!), and we can’t get enough of her! She eats everything she is fed, and would eat until she burst if we didn't cut her off! The pediatrician told me that her eyes had a “mongoloid slant” (I wondered if we should be concerned). Next he asked me if we had any native American Indian blood in us (isn’t white-blond hair on all of my kids sitting in your office a give-away, or was there a small Swedish tribe that I’m not aware of???), then proceeded to look at all of the kids eyes (and mine!) declaring that we all had the slant! Who knew? Macy is starting to talk! She yells at me when she wants something (or just wants me). "MAMA!!" It's pretty clear. She has also had to start defending her toys as she is beginning to recognize when Cam takes them from her. I think it has caught Cam off-guard a couple of times, because normally there's no fight. Macy will yell, "NO!" or "NONO!!" and of course Cam comes right back with the melody to the song, "NONONO!" It is beginning to get interesting as Macy is figuring things out. Today when our friends were watching her, they swore that she said "Thank-you" repeatedly! Another new favorite word is, "uh-oh"... She is becoming her own little person- how did it happen so fast???

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Steal of a Deal

Today while Macy napped, Kurt held down the fort (I guess making macaroni and cheese, watching "Lord of the Rings" with Reilly, and doing a little clean-up is considered "holding down the fort") Kinley and I went out shopping with my gift cards (thanks Grandpapa and Dee and Aunt Maggie!) and had a great time. The highlight was our Old Navy experience...

I found this great sweater in the boys section, but it had no tags. And wouldn't you know, there were no others like it. I found it on the clearance rack, and so had hopes that it would be on sale. I'm pretty cheap, so I was only planning on buying it if it was at least 50% off. Almost everything was on sale, so I figured my chances were pretty good. We finished our shopping-or I should say Kinley finished shopping ("Mommy, my legs hurt!" "I am SOOOOOO hungry!" "Can we go now?" "Can we go NOW?") so we headed for the check-out. First thing I said was, "can we please check the price of this sweater?" "Sure", was the friendly response. She entered the numbers from the little side tag, and stared at the screen for a second. Then she hit a cancel button, and started again. She finished entering the numbers, then came the same puzzled response. So she asks the guy at the next register, "hey, have you ever seen this?" She flips the screen over to him, as she says, "It's ringing up for a penny! What should I do?" He shrugs his shoulders, they discuss it for a moment, then came the response I never thought I'd hear, "Hey, just give it to her!" Stunned, excited, a little guilty, but thrilled for the story I could tell, I walked out of Old Navy with the best deal I have ever found!!
I spent at least an hour last night looking for the receipt so I could post a picture of it with the sweater, but to no avail...I will keep looking!

Friday, December 14, 2007

"The Ten-Ten Dollars"

Well, I am sitting here in the kitchen cracking up to myself. Cam came out of the bathroom with something in her hand, delcaring that she found "The Ten-Ten Dollars". I glanced over her shoulder as I was doing the dishes, trying to see what she had in her hands (thinking she had taken money out of my purse), and saw my little Bible. She has repeatedly announced that she found "The Ten-Ten Dollars", and Kinley has helped her turn to just the right page. "There. There is the Ten-Ten Dollars". They are so cute! I finally figured out that they were talking about the Ten Commandments!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

When 4 is Less Than 1

Well, 4 happens to be less than 1 in my house today (and most days in the recent past). 3 dress themselves, brush their own teeth, pour their own drinks, and even do some small chores like cleaning their rooms (in a kid sort of way), wiping the floor, emptying their trash, and putting a few other things away. The baby still doesn't make huge messes, typically. These are the "4".
I am honestly astonished at what "1" two year old can undo in a matter of seconds, and the chaos they can cause by just being a two year old. Without even having malicious intentions, a two year old can make the hugest mess imaginable in no time at all. I spent my entire morning keeping up with my two year old.
Breakfast: the big kids ate their Reese’s Peanut Butter Crunch (disclaimer: we don’t usually do junk cereal on school days) before school, and Cam was right behind wanting some. So I recycle a bowl and pour a small amount in for her, and a small amount of milk. Not more than a minute later, somehow, it’s spilled all on the table and on the floor (the kitchen rug- I’m expecting it to start retaining some smells soon with all the spills that have occurred).
Snack: Cam notices me drinking my protein shake (when I don’t have time to make my own breakfast) and wants some. So I pour a small amount in a cup (with no lid…) and give her a straw. I should remember that the straw always confuses a two year old- ‘do I tip the cup up when there’s not much left, or hold it down?’ By the time their little minds figure it out, they’ve already tried both ways, which means another mess…
Fun: An open water bottle half full on the counter, an empty squirt bottle from Disneyland within reach… of course this presents a perfect opportunity to practice pouring (a favorite practice for small children of all ages). But without enough practice yet, every drop ends up on the floor. Oh well, water is easier to clean up than other substances, and actually gives me an opportunity to mop an area of the floor. Look at the bright side, right?
Etc.: So I’m checking email on the computer and in walks my two year presenting her underwear to me with her little nudie booty out to the side (it goes along with her sassy attitude). With the sweetest smile and a hint of pride, she says, “Look mommy, I go poopy!” A bit sternly and irritated, I respond “Cam, you don’t go poopy in your underwear.” Cocking her little head to the side with a furrowed brow she looks as if she was disappointed along with me (at someone else). She responds, “Oh, dat yucky. Wipe my tushy.” No joke. Two year olds say what they want to say, and usually have a funny way of saying it.
I looked at the clock on my computer and realized that it wasn’t even noon yet, then wondered what the rest of the day would hold for my busy two year old… she is presently hugging my arm chanting, “mommy, mommy”… these are the moments that cause me to remember that it’s all worth it.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Daddy of the Year

I am so thankful for this man of the house!! Sometimes people ask me if Kurt is the same crazy guy at home as he is elsewhere...wonder no longer!! And yes, this is a pretty normal evening in our home. Kurt wrestles with the kids on an almost daily basis and spends lots of time investing in their little lives on their level! Be it playing Disney's "Scene It", throwing a baseball with Reilly, dancing with Camdyn and Macy (this afternoon) or letting the kiddos cheat out of eating all of their green beans, Kurt is a great dad (and husband, but we'll save that for another time!)!!

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town

Macy Loo-Hoo is just about the happiest baby on earth...she is such a gem! I had just rubbed her nose fiercely to remove all remnants of boogers and had her worked up into a fit, but as soon as I stopped, this is what she looked like...what a sweetie!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Basketball Stars

Well, we have two basketball stars in the family...Reilly plays for the Celtics and they are currently undefeated (2 games into the season). He loves the game, and you can see a great shot of him mid-air MAKING a basket for the team! Go Reilly! I asked Shea how she enjoyed her first game, and she announced that she did not like it. I was a little taken back, since she looked like she was having fun to me. "What do you mean, Shea?"
"Well, Mommy (if you must know), I had to run up and down the court so much that I was sweating!!"
Imagine that...sweating while participating in a sporting event! I was hoping our kids would be athletic, but if She has a serious problem with sweating, we'll have to wait and see what comes of her athletic career!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy Madness

There was all sorts of madness and happy screaming going on downstairs for at least an hour straight before I came down to check out the haps, and this is what I found (running, screeching, tripping, laughing, having some good old fashioned fun)! I absolutely love it when the kids all get along and have lots of constructive fun together! I want them to be BFF!!! (haha)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Okay, something happened with our sweet kitten...maybe she didn't like that we changed her name... We asked Kurt if we could change the name of our last cat from "Slight" to something else. We all put in our votes, then decided together that L.C. would be fitting. A little more feminine, and cuter than her given name ("Slight Hinricks Gebhards"). Anyway she has turned psyschotic in the past couple of days since becoming a lone cat in our house. She is tearing around the house presently, clawing up the couch, eyes bulging, tail curled, prancing, skipping, crouching, ATTACKING everyone and everything. She has terrified all of the girls at least once in the last two days, including me! I was minding my own business doing laundry this morning, and without notice, L.C. jumped at least 3 feet in the air attacking the piece of clothing I was holding. I think I jumped at least 3 feet in the air. Yesterday she was "in a mood" while the kids were upstairs and Cam was in the bath. L.C. kept running (in skittish, freak-like manner) in and out of the bathroom, which scared Macy who was crawling around (and caused her to cling to me, whimpering) while I helped Cam. Then she was jumping up and walking around the outside of the tub, and I knew something was about to go really wrong...after I threw her out of the bathroom several times, she insisted on tempting fate, and she LOST and fell into the bathtub with quite a splash, and of course a shrill scream from Cam. I was just hoping that she wouldn't freak out and claw Cam in the process! Thankfully, I got to her before there were any serious injuries. Today L.C. decided to check out all of my little people in my Department 56 Village...and again she was thrown out. Maybe L.C. needs to be an outside cat...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Mom! I think I'm feeling sick!! Like I'm gonna- uh-uh (uh oh...)

Yes, Kinley is always happy...I'm not sure what is going on with the rest of them...

She picked a good one... "Hi Mom!" (why are they waving??)
Today I decided to try to get a good picture of all of the kids for our Christmas letter, and I am SO thankful for digital cameras! Attempting to get 5 kids to look the same direction, smile, and sit close to each other is like without biting, pinching, squeezing, or tickling each other is like asking 5 stray cats to share a couch with a Golden Retriever puppy. Nobody listens, nobody cares, they're all screeching, and all they want is to get down and run away. I don't want to spoil the Christmas letter picture, but I'll share a few failed attempts with you...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The STEEP streets of San Francisco

What fun! My college friend Kim and I met in San Francisco for a full day of shopping, eating, chatting, laughing, and almost getting killed in the GHETTO where we parked... but we lived to tell about it! It was so fun to get out kidless and to catch up with an old friend. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to spend time with Kim (whom I haven't seen in years), and to be refreshed and encouraged! And to live to tell the story is an added bonus- between driving in the city and walking in the ghetto for a good block and a half, we were truly thankful!

All I want for Christmas is stuff for everyone else

McKinley's Christmas List

Well, I have received the big kids' Christmas lists (I didn't ask, they just handed them to me), but have no idea what to get for McKinley, so I decided to ask her a minute ago. I absolutely love the way she puts it, so here is as close to word for word what she told me. She had obviously NOT thought much about it, which makes it even cuter!
1. A Cabbage Patch Kid
2. A toy that I don't want for Shea or Macy (???)
3. A microphone that we got that didn't work so I don't want another one (one of last years' gift failures- I actually bought two microphones for the girls, thinking they would just plug into the wall and amplify, and even opened the package before realizing that the mikes plug into an amp (DUH), and that the whole gift was a huge and embarrassing flop)
4. A Star Wars light saber for Reilly
5. A toy for Camdyn
6. Another kitty and another cat
7. A DOG
At this point, I tried to ask her to be realistic and reminded her that this was supposed to be a list of things that SHE wanted, so then she just says, "Just get me any toy that you want and I will like it!" Precious little Kinley!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

Well, it's been a pretty bad "cat month" for us... it's actually hard to believe! Our cats have been dropping like flies (or like our house plants in our first month of marriage)!! So Knick "passed" around 6 weeks ago (reference "Wendy and a Dead Cat"). Since then, our cat situation has only gone downhill, as we had a runaway a week and a half ago. Wilbur- one of our kittens, ran away after we forgot to put him in the garage one night. He is a sweet cat, so we wouldn't be surprised if he has been adopted by a nice family. We are thinking about putting up "lost cat" signs, but I haven't pushed for that. The lingering drive in the back of my mind to put up signs isn't because I particularly love the cat, but because I just spent $154.00 getting him spayed and having his first vaccines. It was only two months ago that I spent that much money on him, and at that rate he cost us around $75 a month+food and maintenance (I am the maintenance woman/litter cleaner-upper). So we'll see about trying to find him. He is a very good cat, and the kids miss him, so we'll keep you posted. That's not the end of the cat saga around here.
Jet, our cat of 9 years, started showing signs of illness 10 days ago. I hadn't noticed, but suddenly he was super skinny and laying around on our bathroom floor, drinking out of our toilet, and meowing like he felt really sick. It was a long, distressed sounding, extra-loud meow. So by the time I noticed, it was already too late... hey, with 5 kids to chase around, a deathly sick cat can go unnoticed rather easily. Jet has been such a great cat, that we decided he (of all cats) deserved a second chance, so I took him to the vet. We got in the evening before leaving for Thanksgiving. The vet said he was "jaundiced" (I thought that was just a baby term) and appeared to have kidney failure. What to do... I have never had to make medical decisions affecting the life or death of a cat! He recommended that I administer a subcutaneous I.V. daily to see if we could flush out his kidney (an I.V. for a cat??) and feed him with a syringe! This humored me slightly, but I also did have a soft spot for the cat, so figured I could handle it (I actually did it 3 times!). And the cost was quite minimal (especially considering the monthly rate- 10 years, 120 months- it came to .70/month) compared to the alternative- blood tests, antibiotics, etc. I was getting a little nervous in the vet's presence- I kept asking what the cost was for each of the different medical options he was offering. I was trying to guage his responses to my cost questions as I wasn't sure how sensitive he might be to my inquiries- I mean, we were talking about the life and death of an animal with a potential "animal rights" guy. "How much will that cost??" seemed a little shallow (maybe dangerous!) to be asking...especially multiple times...I think he was also (at least before I asked cost questions 4 times) trying to be sensitive to my (non-existant) emotional connection to the cat. I also wanted to show at least a little bit of emotion, since he knew we had had the cat for 9 1/2 years, lest he think that I was emotionally deficient. So after I asked 4 times "How much will that cost??" I balanced it out with, "Do you think he is in any pain?" I feigned a little sigh of relief.(No? good, because then he'll die peacefully since I am NOT spending all that money for the other treatments...)
The syringe feeding was a little messy- or a lot messy. I ended up with it all over my hands, squirted some on my pants, and got some on my shirt too. Anyway, we brought Jet in a pet carrier to San Jose with us over Thanksgiving, however, we left him there in my parents' backyard next to their beloved cat "Taffy" buried in the corner of their yard. Jet only made it a couple of days before he "passed". Another one bites the dust! The kids took it well- my mom even recorded a little "memorial service" they had in the backyard. They were all bouncing around during the service, so I think they will get over it! Kurt presided over the service, and the kids all put a shovelful of dirt over the grave... we're down to one cat! (The maintenance woman is okay with that!)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Any Dream Interpreters Out There??

So at 5:14a.m. this morning I had a rude awakening. It was not the baby waking up, nor was it my husband snoring, nor was it my alarm clock (though I hit the snooze button a few times before I realized this). My telephone rang louder than it ever has rung (or so it seemed) this morning at 5:14a.m. Once I realized that someone was calling us, I thought for sure that someone had died, or something terrible had happened. I reached for the phone on my night stand, but was grabbing everything but the phone...and when I finally did pick it up, no one was there. I checked caller ID because I wanted to know who I could blame (and get mad at!) for this courtesy wake-up call, and it said, "Wal-Mart Stores". I was baffled and spent a few moments trying to get my heart rate back to normal.
Anyway, after settling back down, I realized that I was in the midst of one of the most bizarre dreams I can remember. This may top the list of bizarre dreams. (I always have bizarre dreams when I am pregnant- I sure hope this isn't a sign) Anyway, I began describing it to my husband who was falling back to sleep. For anyone that thinks dreams mean something, I'd LOVE to hear the interpretation for this one! Here it is: My husband and I were driving in a car around some construction site with gravel all over the place. Here's the first twist-there was a pirate ship somewhere in the middle of the construction site, and the "beautiful" pirate ship was serving as the back-drop for a wedding party as the bride and groom were having their pictures taken. In addition to this, (this is NOT a joke) as we were driving aimlessly through the construction site in some sort of a sedan, there was a spiney extra arm growing out of my side that felt bumpy like the spine of a skinny cat. As it would protrude out of my side, I would scream for Kurt to pray that it would go away. (James 5:16) So he would pray for me and the spiney arm. It shrank back when he prayed, but when he stopped, I reached down and felt my side and it began growing back.
"PRAY FOR ME!!!" I screamed at him again louder this time as I felt the spiney arm regrowing.
That's about when the phone rang and "Wal-Mart" interrupted my nightmare.
So for all of you dream interpreters...
By the way, when I had a moment of free time this evening, I called the Wal-Mart phone number back (two times) and it seems to be a personal phone number of someone with the last name "Berger"-apparently not associated with Wal-Mart. Strange......does this remind anyone of a "Heroes" episode???

Saturday, November 10, 2007

We Love Spinach!! (I know it's long...sorry!)

(I long for the day I hear that one!!)
I’m tired. It’s been a long day, and I’m wasted. I’m not actually physically tired yet, but I could go to bed and sleep like a baby (until the baby wakes up sometime in the middle of the night). My mind needs a break.
It started this morning, when I made the fateful mistake of meeting my friend at Target. I was across the street shopping when my cell phone rang, and my good friend from college lured me with her silly humor. (Really, she still prank calls me!) How can you say no to Target? I didn’t need anything, but she makes me laugh and I couldn’t say no. I had also just filled my cart at the store I was at, and was spending a little more than I anticipated… oh well. So I’m off to Target with a tired and hungry baby (the main reason I should not have gone), no diapers (2 kids still in diapers- another reason I should not have gone), nothing to buy at Target (why in the world am I going there?), and a friend whose motto is “just get it”. Seriously, whenever I pick up any random thing off the shelf and show any interest, she says that phrase to me. “Just get it.” I have a long standing joke with her about it. Anyway, for some reason when I’m around college friends, we act like we’re still in college. Silly, giddy, smart-allecky- it’s always fun. So I didn’t even think about it, I just said, “I’ll call you when I get there,” and quickly made my purchases at the other store and crossed the street to Target. We wandered for a while through the aisles, trying to entertain the kids and keep the baby quiet. That’s when the reality that we’re not in college anymore sets in. One screaming baby (she wasn’t screaming the whole time), two toddlers that have a love/hate relationship, and two kids that we lose track of when we turn a corner in the store. Despite her motto, I only bought 3 things- shower curtain rings, baby spoons, and something else I can’t remember. Anyway, that’s not when the day went south.
After greeting 27 people we know there, we parted ways and left Target at just the wrong time- it was 12:40 and the little ones needed naps, but if they took naps, they would certainly not be awake when it was time to pick up the big ones from school at 2:30. Well, my dilemma was answered when my two year old fell asleep in the car. She would get a short nap and then would go to bed early. No such luck. She slept in the car, I carefully carried her upstairs, but less than 5 minutes later she reappeared announcing “poopies” in her diaper, which means that she will not sleep any more. So basically no nap for her, which means rough afternoon for all. Two year olds really need naps. When they don’t get naps, lots of noises come out of them that you would rather not hear. High pitched screeching when someone takes something from them and they are gripping it with all their might, screaming “MINE” when anyone touches something she wants to play with (she didn’t even necessarily have it first and doesn’t necessarily own it, and doesn’t even want to play with it, just wants to make sure no one else plays with it), “NONONONONONONO” is another noise that is unpleasant to hear in such voluminous tones.
Anyway, that’s not what made the day rough either. What made it difficult started when the big kids came home from school. First thing that happened was that I thought I caught one in a lie. After working through that, talking with her and expending emotional energy, I believed that she was telling the truth. That took some energy out of me.
Then began the search for the missing library book. My first grader Shea has a hard time keeping track of things, as we discovered tonight when she was looking for her homework and had given up the search. In my frustration, I agreed to look for a minute, and found her homework in such an obscure place. It was in her homework folder in the homework basket!! Imagine that… I probably put it there last night after she did her homework. So back to the library book. She is so distressed about not being able to find the library book, that I call off the search to give her and me a break from all of the emotional trauma that it is causing. I’m fighting to find a way to talk her into having some perspective on the matter. There goes more of my emotional energy.
On cue, the phone rings. It was the phone call from my husband. “I’m going to be a little late- maybe 15 minutes.” “No problem,” I reply. I can handle that, even though I am actually on time having dinner ready.
I head out into the backyard to check on the girls, who had gone next door to play in Emma’s backyard. “Play outside, and DO NOT go in their house.” We have a few standard rules when it comes to going into anyone’s house- and I reminded them of these rules right before I gave them the okay to play in their yard. “Shea!! McKinley!!” I shout, not hearing them in the backyard. “What do you need, Julie?” comes the response from Mitch, Emma’s dad, who apparently is in the backyard by himself. My blood is beginning to boil. “Can you please send the girls back over now”…(So I can bring them in the house and tan their hides!!)
Dinner was lots of fun. My husband came home a little later than 15 minutes late (like 40), so dinner was cold and not to the kids standards. I had really worked hard trying to make it palatable for them, but creamed spinach is not on their list, no matter how much butter and cheese you add. They were all gagging, and spent most of the time at the table whining and asking if they could not eat the spinach. The two year old was not happy when I shoved a bite in her mouth, and was waving both of her hands in the air like a bird with dwarfed wings while she hung her mouth open squealing. Not happy squealing, but the kind that goes with flapping arms and spinach drool. My son thought that if he took a huge bite and ate it with a big ice cube, the spinach would melt in his mouth (he said that). The spinach did nothing like that, and I know that for sure, because in one split second my son stood up, turned his head away from the table, and launched all of it onto the floor, including the two bites that he had already swallowed. After he cleaned up his mess, it was off to bed for all. I turned into the wicked step-mother and sent all of the children off to bed with empty stomachs (not totally empty- they ate rice and chicken). They were all relieved (as I knew they would be- that meant no more spinach).
We tucked them in bed, reminded them that we love them even though some days are “different” than others, and they returned that unconditional love that is built into the heart of every child. No matter what we do as parents, even when it is only a moment that passes between our ugliness toward them and our apology, kids are just so quick to forgive. Even when there is no apology from us, they want to hug us and love us…Why do we ever let our pride get in the way of acknowledging when we have been wrong? Children are such a treasure and a gift that we don’t deserve. Those precious little faces are the cause of great duress and emotional drainage, yet can be the source of such deep joy and satisfaction…so much depends on our perspective. My perspective today was a little dim, but ironically has brightened at the close of the night. I will go to sleep with joy knowing that tomorrow is another day I have with my children to love and be loved by them!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

What's in a Day?

People often ask me what I do all day-not because they wonder if I do anything (although if they saw my house on some days, they might wonder), but because sometimes it's hard to grasp the notion of caring for 5 little kiddos and to think of how it's even possible to keep them all alive- Let alone do laundry, clean bathrooms, wash dishes, make my bed, get myself dressed... Here are a few highlights and noteables from our day today just to give you an idea:
1)7:25 (should be more like 7:00)Wake up Reilly and Shea to get them ready for school- pick out clothes for them, and remind them to brush their teeth
2)Make lunches (PB&J for Shea, ham & cheese for Reilly), fruit, cookies, drinks, and chips and get them PB Captain Crunch and some Smokies for breakfast, do Shea's hair, make sure back-packs are filled with homework and all the right papers, permission slips, signed behavior reports, etc.
3)Drive them to school!
4)Get the rest of the crew up to get ready for Master's Kids (Kurt was still home while I took the big kids to school)
5)Pick out 3 more rounds of clothes for the little girlies, help them with shoes, change the baby's diaper, dress her
6)Get them all breakfast, do their hair, and pack food for Macy, diapers for her and a pull-up for Cam, and remember to feed myself (I could afford to forget this part a few times) #6 sounds simple, but remember some girls don't always wake up with a smile and get particular about food, and some want to be held while I'm doing everything, some don't like the clothes I pick out, some want cookies for breakfast, some don't want to eat
7)Load up the baby in the car seat, make sure I remember the songs I'm playing-I'm the music person (run through them one time on the piano), grab my Master's Kids bag and double check the "things to bring" list for today, wipe faces and load em' up in the car
8)Drop off Cam in the nursery, enjoy TMK (The Master's Kids). I love this program- mom's get a good hour and a half to chat and laugh without interruptions (except for a little snotty-nosed Macy who wasn't healthy enough to go in the nursery)
9)Eat lunch at church with daddy, Cam, Macy, Kinley, and some friends on campus
10)Head home, feed the kids a snack, rest (did I say rest?? I don't usually get to rest, but Kurt came home with us from work and I have had a terrible back pain the last 2 days and haven't slept well). I got a whole hour of rest, then woke up to crying Macy, who was tired of the exersaucer and ready to nap.
11)Get a bottle for Macy, warm her up with a blanket (she had gotten cold by the open back door!), and rock her to sleep... I love that sweet time upstairs in our dark, quiet room when she lets me rock and hum with her and she just puts that little head down on my shoulder and goes right to sleep.
12)4:00 Send Reilly and Kurt off to basketball practice while Cam finishes her nap (oh yah, we put her down for a nap after TMK) and the big girls play games on A+ math (on the computer upstairs).
13)Come downstairs, put a few things away in the kitchen, think about what to make for dinner, make a batch of cookies per Cam's waking up request (the dough was already made and in the fridge), then sit down to the computer and check out some friends' updated blogs, decide to write my own since it's been a few days
14)It's now 5:17, and I should get dinner going! Kurt and Reilly should be home in the next half-hour, and will be hungry for dinner! I guess that's my cue to end this blog!
I know this may not be too exciting, and quite honestly, this has been a slow day without much craziness. Yesterday, however, I found myself cleaning up pee three times (twice from our potty trainer, once from the kitties), doing three loads of laundry, cleaning toothpaste from all over the bathroom counter, wiping Cam's drawing off the living room wall, doing a craft with Kinley (she requests this every day while Cam and Macy are napping), finally putting away my clothes from the top of my dresser from our vacation (did I just admit that?) almost two weeks ago, working through the stack of papers that was building up for weeks on my desk, and more...
Anyway, I love what I do, and love my little mess-makers! I wouldn't trade a day of this (okay, I'd trade a week if I could go to Grand Cayman again with Kurt!) for anything! I guess I should re-phrase that. I wouldn't go back to the days before kids for anything- I love my "promotion" to mommy and these sweet kids!

Monday, November 5, 2007


I have been moved in the last couple of days by encouragement to be in prayer fervently and creatively (thanks to Daniel Henderson!) and tonight my heart has been heavy for Todd and Ashley Kostjuk. Many of you may know them, but many may not. I know them both from my college years at TMC. They just delivered their third little sweet baby a few days ago and were aware of some of the medical challenges they would face with baby Reese, but learned of more complications with her arrival. Yesterday they were given the news that she had no hope of survival, yet we serve a mighty God that is in control of everything and can do as He pleases! Please join the many who are praying for them, and you can learn about their situation through their blog. Their blog address is They have amazing perspective about their situation, and have challenged me and blessed me so much! Please pray for a miracle for little Reese, for God to show His favor to them and to display His power over all things! Thank you!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Vacation Pictures!

This was taken at a restaurant near our condo that we enjoyed a couple of times. It was called, "Over the Edge"- and the deck was nearly over the edge of the water. It was breathtaking!

This is the Ritz-Carlton on 7 mile beach on the west side of the island.

This was taken on 7 mile beach as well. Do we look like we're having fun? Absolutely!

This was taken on the Catamaran ride out to Sting Ray City on an overcast day. That didn't ruin our fun!

This was an evening at the Wharf restaurant on 7 mile beach. We ate outside on the water and watched the Tarpon swimming around waiting to be fed- and we watched them eat too! They were flipping all over and it was neat to see the light reflecting off of their huge silvery scales and eyes.

Dudley Pippin

Little Dudley Pippin had a great performance! He did a great job in the talent show, and we had a fun afternoon watching all of the talent at CES...some were more talented than others! Reilly said that he wants to sing a Narnia song in the talent show next year! We'll see about that. For now the skit with around 3 lines to memorize was quite enough! Good job Dudley!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

CES Talent Show

Well, Reilly will be performing tomorrow in the Castaic Elementary School talent show as "Dudley Pippin", a boy who gets mistakenly accused of knocking over the sand table in his classroom. He is doing this skit with the principal of the school, so it's really big time!! He is excited, but very nervous. This will be the first performance in his acting career. A few weeks ago Reilly told me that he wanted to be an actor and perform in a movie, then buy the movie so we could have it forever. I love it. We'll let you know how the performance goes tomorrow, and then he does it all over again on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Here we go! Those tanks on our backs weigh around 50 pounds- I'm used to the extra weight, it's just normally in the front instead of the back!

Hi Mom!

How's this for some perspective? Yep mom, that's me down below.

Amazing colors, aren't they?

After the fourth time attempting to upload these pictures...success!! Here are just a few of the amazing creatures we saw in the underwater world! Maybe I'll add a couple more with fishies- I noticed that these don't have lots of fish after I uploaded them.

Boys are like Kittens- Who knew?

It struck me this morning that little boys cooped up in a school room are kind of like little kittens cooped up in a clothes dryer. Here are the similarities I noted:
1. When the bell rings for school to get out, as when the buzzer goes off at the end of the dryer cycle, out comes a bundle of energy running spasmodically away from its point of origination.
2. The uncontrolled hyperactivity continues for a period of time varying from one incident to the next, depending on the cycle and length of the days events/lessons.
3. Pouncing happens like no other time of day. Pouncing on bugs or mice for some, siblings for others. Pouncing always ends in some kind of noisy mess- whether it's a splattered bug, tumbling bones (kittens or kiddos) on the hardwood floor, or a pinned and screeching sister.
4. The pawing takes place not soon after. The little kittens are usually the ones pawing the kitchen rug incessantly (sharpening their claws), and the little boy is known for pawing at every electronic button he can touch in the front seat of the mini-van on the way home from school. The key to this similarity is the incessant repetition of the pawing. "Keep your paws off!" works for kittens and kids.
There is one significant difference I noted when repeating the experiment (sending the boy to school, kittens to the dryer). When the boy goes to school, peace and quiet settles in at home, but putting the kittens back in the dryer certainly does not make for peace and quiet...tumbling kittens screeching and's better to let them out and deal with the spasmodic, hyperactive, pouncing, pawing kittens...and no, I don't put the kittens in the dryer-I leave that to my two year old who is the inspiration for this blog!
So it goes...who knew there were so many similarities between boys and kittens? In case you were wondering, my two year old did shove a kitten in the dryer this morning, but thankfully didn't figure out how to start it tumbling. That will be next weeks story...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Scuba Diving at Grand Cayman

We are definitely back into the swing of things at home...literally speaking we have been swinging the spanking spoon a few more times than usual as we need to whip (haha) those kids into shape after being spoiled by grandma and Miss Erin for a week straight! Okay so I don't really mean that-it just sounded like a good introduction to a new post-post vacation. Wow, the word play is just flowing out of me! Okay, okay.
Well, our 10 year anniversary vacation was a blast! We relaxed a ton, but also did a lot on the island. For now I'll just give a taste of scuba diving so you all can imagine that you were there with us...
Scuba diving. I've never thought much about it-it looks cool, adventurous, fun, and amazing. We had maybe mentioned the possibility of doing it on this trip, but then came to understand that you have to be certified to go out. So the thought was dismissed, and we were content to snorkel, especially since we had no idea what we were missing. So we snorkelled, and had a great time and saw all kinds of things. Massive tarpon immediately when we entered the water. I thought I might have a heart attack at the sight of these 5 foot long fish with large silvery scales. They just kind of sat motionless in the water, swaying with the current, eyes bulging. 4 of them. Then there were these amazing squid that were changing color to camoflage themselves. At least 30 or 40 of these. When you think of flounder, you picture the cute little yellow and blue striped guy from Little Mermaid, however we found these amazing little flat fish that were hiding under the sand on the ocean floor (camoflaged) and would only move if you frightened them. They were some type of flounder. Parrot fish were one of my favorites- they have these big lips that make them look pretty goofy, but they have every color of the neon rainbow (if there is such a thing) in them and are beautiful. Every direction you looked under water and it was an amazing sight with every color of the spectrum represented and fish swimming around everywhere, acting as if they didn't see you. They certainly were used to swimmers. It was amazing.
Church Sunday. We had a great Lord's day, and met some wonderful people. A "friend" we met (Kurt won't let me risk exposing the law-breaking scuba enthusiast) was a great guy with a great family. He and his son "Jonathan" (that's what we'll call him) scuba dive. After having lunch with them, our "friend" mentioned to Kurt that he would like to take us scuba diving if we were interested. A very generous offer, and Kurt was eager to do it, but maybe I would just come along for the ride and chill (sweat, rather) in the boat. We joined them for dinner another evening, and they began discussing it again...I'm still not sure I'm up for it. I'm teased a little for the hesitation, but the plan is made. By the time we get to the destination for the dive, I am informed that there is no boat, that we will not be taking the certification course, and that basically we were diving at our own risk. The choice was mine. Even with my hesitation, it just looked so fun to me. How can I pass this up? I was also told that this is the greatest dive spot in the world. Our "friend" knew of my hesitation, so after we geared up and were swimming out on our backs to the spot where we would dive, 1) he told me that he hoped to see some sharks, 2) that no one offers insurance for scuba diving, 3) he had been bitten by a moray eel, 4) that we may see poisonous fish, 5) that the fish we saw snorkeling the other day was a baracuda, and 6) that they shut down a diving operation on the island because of shark attacks. You know- all the things that instill confidence in your decision to try something new. Thanks "friend"!
At this point I wasn't sure that I was going to enjoy this at all, especially since 1) I was also a little nervous about breathing out of a tank under water for so long, 2) I couldn't keep the buttons on the oxygen tank straight, 3)my ears pop under water, and 4) my mask kept filling up with water. I started to understand that a scuba diving course with certification was the way to go. I guess it was a little late for that. Oh well, trust the Lord, right? He knows all things and at this point I realized that I must rest in Him.
Time to dive. Wow. I don't know how to even explain what it was like when I flipped from my back to my stomach and took my first look under us, but it was not what I expected. And then we went 60 feet down. I guess that's pretty deep for a first dive, but once you're down there, it's absolutely captivating. The colors that you see are beautiful, the creatures are amazing and we must have seen at least 50 different kinds of fish. Black fish with what looked like tiny blue neon Christmas lights all over his body. Then there were black fish with bright yellow stripes, yellow fish with a black spot on their flat bodies, lobster hiding under a rock with amazing striping, a poisonous scorpion fish (didn't find out what I saw until after the dive), lots more parrot fish, tiny orange and purple fish, and I could go on and on. The best part of this dive was the sea turtle that we saw. He was absolutely adorable, and totally friendly! He swam around us a couple of times, and I kept up with him and even pet him on the shell! It was amazing to watch him swim around so gracefully, the sun light beaming down around and on him, and to swim so close that I could touch him! In that moment I was struck with the kindness of God to allow me to experience this, and the beauty of watching the turtle swim with such grace. It was overwhelming to be in this underwater world- the sheer immensity of it was breathtaking. It is one thing to look out over the surface of such an immense body of water, and quite another to dive down, be what feels like in the middle of it, and then to realize that it is 6000 feet deep only a quarter-mile from where we were diving (termed "the wall" around the island of Grand Cayman). Our God is so powerful, creative, immense, amazing, and more.
Thankfully, our "friend" did not point out the shark that he saw during our dive, and I was so caught up in my own world of coral and cute fishies that I didn't look up to see it. He refrained from pointing it out to me, and I'm quite glad that he didn't mention it until I was out of the water. I think I still panicked when he told me.
I was so proud of my dive that I had to call my mom and tell her about it. I was quite shocked at her initial response when I told her we had just gone scuba diving.
"I went scuba diving, mom. You know, with the tank on your back and swimming with the fishies?"
"I would never do that. Don't tell me you really did that!?"
Now is there a more perfect opportunity to disclose to her all of the pertinent information about the dive?
"Yah mom, and we saw a shark, too. And we weren't even certified, and I pressed the wrong button during the dive on my tank, and mom did you know that they had to shut down a diving operation on the island because of shark attacks? And we went 60 feet down! And I saw a scorpion fish and it's poisonous!" On and on I went, as my husband laughed hearing my mom through the receiver panicking for me.
"I'm going again tomorrow too, mom."
"Don't tell me that! You have 5 children!! Oh, I can't believe you, Julie. I can't believe that you are going again!"
Anyway, we loved it, we went again, and I would do it again if I had the opportunity. (Not to spite my mom- my interaction with her was all in fun and she knows that and can appreciate it now that she knows I made it without being attacked by a shark) It was an amazing experience that I won't soon forget and will tell people about for the rest of my life!! Pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire in our hometown!

Wow, what a wild vacation...we are enjoying all of the beauty of the creation and relaxing on the white sands, while poor Erin (watching the kiddos at home) has evacuated the house and taken the kids to her parents house to steer clear of the fire that is out of control near our home! We are glad that they are out of danger, and trusting the Lord with the house. If it burns, it burns! Hey, it's going to burn in the end anyway, right? We're trying to stay updated with the fires but it's a little difficult to hear specifics on our fire when there are sooooooooooooo many fires all over L.A.! If anyone has any information about the Castaic fire, I would love to hear new developments- how close it has gotten to homes, what direction it is turning, etc. Thanks! Please pray that we would be trusting the Lord although we are so far from our kids, and that they would not be disturbed by the thought of the fire. Poor Kinley was upset yesterday and didn't understand what it meant that they had to evacuate-I think she thought the fire was super close to the house and that they were in danger. Erin is doing a great job with the Munch Bunch and I know they are in good hands! Thanks for your prayers, and we will keep you posted!

Monday, October 22, 2007

The God of Cayman and all creation is good

Alert-This is another Poppa Post
Well, God's richest grace to you all.
Julie and I are having an absolutely amazing time. God's goodness to us has been manifest in: 1) learning to love each other more and more (I adore this wonderful and beautiful woman! Just ask me about her and I will spill over with praises.), 2) fellowship with the dear saints at First Baptist Church Cayman (Thabiti, Christi, Dave and Kathy), 3) some AMAZING life experiences (e.g., swimming with, holding Sting Rays and touching Moray eels in the wild, 4) having uniterrupted talk time with Julie to relate and cherish and discover more and more about my fascinating and godly wife, 5) enjoying some great food (the only thing that I would not recommned is the turtle burger. Think of warmed-over spicy pate and you're there), 6) many opportunies to engage Julie in deep spiritual conversations than our normal pace does not allow, and 7) to revel in the infinite expanse of God's creativity while snorkeling and exploring (e.g., blue iguanas?!?!?).
(Note-please pardon a preacher's rhapsodic moment) I simply cannot wait to experience heaven! Consider a reality with these features 1) a creation competely unencumbered by sin, where sin has had no greying effect and entropy (the disintegrating tendency of all physical objects toward chaos and disorder) does not come into play (Rom. 8:20-22) 2) where God can create outside the limits of space and time, 3) where our senses are perfectly atuned to received supernatural amounts of information (all noetic effects of since are put to nought) 4) where pleasure will be perfected and all-satisfying (Psalm 16:11) and 5) where the light spectrum includes dozens of inconceivable colors well beyond our 7-layered light spectrum. What that place will actually feel, look, smell, taste and sound like is truly unimaginable! It is almost heaven to dream of being there. Maranatha!
As for the Castaic fire, no worries. As always the fear factor of something happening to our home exceeds the real possibility of that by about 1,000 fold (our home has a 200 foot clearance from the brush behind our house. Other homes do not enjoy the luxury of that safety). We are praying for the Linahans and the Arnones since they are much closer to the fire.
Looking out on this seemingly infinite ocean (our property is right on the water) with the perfect blues and greens of a of the Caribean sea makes me thankful to Christ for all mercy and worshipful in heart for God's love and power. To love God is life's greatest gift and deepest mercy.
Thanks again to Judy and uber-Erin for giving a week to the Lord for our family. Your reward is great.

Life reminder: There is victory and safety in a multitude of counselors (Prov. 11:14, 12:15). Thank you Dave Muxlow and Eric and Danelle Bancroft for paving the way with counsel for this trip.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Chompier than Reilly

I'm listening to the sound of waves crashing about 10 yards away from our condo here in the Grand Cayman... more of that later.

Last night we had a sweet time tucking in the kiddos after a few rounds of hide-and-go-seek. I got to Shea's bed, and she was evidently tired. Yet she decided it was a good time to tell me all about the bad dream that she had the other night. You have to understand something about Shea. Shea has always been very dramatic and emotional from the time she was a baby. It is a great strength, and also can be a little over the top sometimes (like the time she tried to bite the front of the dishwasher in anger-true story). Like I said, Shea was getting tired, so in addition to her normally emotional extremes, coupled with the fact that mommy and daddy were leaving, you can imagine the intensity of her emotions. Here's the content of that bad dream:

"Mommy, it was a very bad dream and I want to tell you about it." Already I can hear the emotion coming through. It's somewhere between being on the verge of tears and feeling emphatic disgust for the "bad men". Her eyebrows are furrowed with intention.

"Mommy, there were two bad men and they were kidnapping other kids and they were chasing after Reilly and me. We ran into this restaurant and I tried to lock the door, but it wouldn't lock. So they came in."

Next comes the first part that I loved.

"I knew they were going to kidnap me because they already had like two other kids. So I told them, 'You don't want us! Our mommy even hates us!'" Then she added this to clarify. "Mommy I had to say this even though I know it is a lie. It is okay to lie when it's like this," Shea assures me in an instructional tone including the nod.

"Yes, sweetie, of course it is." I'm beginning to be amused by her story, but know that I have to maintain a stiff upper lip, lest she think I'm making fun of her.

She continues, "Then mommy, they said something to me. They said, 'We want the Chompier one!'" Here's where I had to drop my head so she couldn't see my reaction. At this point it was getting a little harder to contain. I mean, where did she get the word, "chompier"?

"Mommy, I knew that was me!"

"How did you know that?"

"I knew that they meant that I was the one that talked more and that's what 'chompier' means! They wanted to kidnap me!!"

Wow. Here I was all prepared to give her the "you're beautiful the way you are" talk...

Well, what a precious little girl and a hilarious twist to the bad dream. I finished tucking her in and assured her of our protection and that God was much more powerful than "the bad guys"...and then there's your daddy...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

10th Anniversary trip, here we Cayman

Warning-This is a Poppa post not a Momma post.
I am taking my wonderful, beautiful and godly wife on a 10th anniversary trip to Grand Cayman. I will do my best to provide her with the queen-quality care that she deserves. She is a great lady and I love her very much.
If you do not receive the hilarious blog updates that you are becoming accustomed to, it is hopefully because she is being pampered, waited upon with plain M&M's . Lord knows that living with me for 10 years deserves not only eternal but earthly reward.
Please pray that this trip would be not emotionally burdensome. Julie will be without all of our kids for the entire trip. The reason for the fact that we are completely child-less is for another post (read: rant against the passport "service'). Also pray that this trip would serve as a relational, emotional and spiritual foundation on which to build the next ten years of our life together. Pray for The Munch Bunch who are in the wonderful hands of Grandma, Erin Solt (uber-sitter), and Co.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mom's Day Out

Well today was quite a day for me. I spent most of the day out with my good friend Kristin, with NO KIDS! That doesn't happen often (she has 4, I have 5). This was a treat. It was Kristin's mission to find me a bathing suit for my ten year anniversary trip (leaving in 3 days!!) to the Grand Cayman (are you jealous?). Along with finding me a bathing suit, she made an appointment for me to have my eyebrows "done".
She assured me that I would love it and would never stop doing it once I tried it... I wasn't entirely convinced although I'm always good for trying something new. So she whisked me away, we spent the day shopping and having all kinds of fun until the appointment time arrived.
We left the mall and made our way over to the salon where a friendly receptionist greeted us and we drank a cup of water from the pitcher that every salon has. Soon enough, I'm taken back to "the chair" where the simple procedure is done. I have never thought about having my eyebrows waxed, and never desired to change them in any way. But like I said, I'm game for anything.
For some reason, almost immediately when I sat down in the big chair something came over me. I'm not exactly sure why, but I was extremely amused by all of the attention given to my eyebrows. I didn't want to insult the beautician, but on the other hand, I couldn't resist the impulse to laugh at many different aspects of the process.
First, she began smoothing my eyebrows-running one finger on each brow repeatedly, while carefully examining them. She took note of the light color of them, and commented on the shape of them. I have never had anyone look at my eyebrows with such scrutiny. This definitely hit my funny bone and started the giggles. Then started the actual waxing-ouch! She described it like a band-aid being pulled off, and I guess it was kind of like that, only she did it at least 4 or 5 times on each side and it was a very sticky band-aid! I literally jumped in my seat each time (I tend to overreact). My repeated overreactions to her yanking the hairs out contributed to my giggles even more. She was just so serious, and maybe part of it was that she was so close to my face and staring intently.
Then she got out this teeny-weeny pair of special scissors that somebody made just to trim eyebrows, and began brushing my eyebrows with her teeny-weeny eyebrow brush and trimming with the teeny-weeny trimmers. Since I kept giggling, I think she felt just a little bit awkward, and so she kept explaining what she was doing. "Now I am trimming some of the longer hairs. Just trimming them."
After the trim she got out the tweezers. Seriously? How is it possible that there is enough left to pluck more out? She began tweezing more eyebrows out, and I wondered if I had ever even looked at my own eyebrows. I never thought I had bushy eyebrows, but I was beginning to get a complex at this point. She tweezed at least 15 times, and I jumped every time, once again.
Then came the topper. "How about we dye your eyebrows? Your eyebrows are light, and I can just dye them a shade darker of blond if you would like." Has anyone heard of such a ludicrous thing? I have never in my life heard of anyone dyeing their eyebrows. When the beautician suggested it, I heard Kristin yell from her room, "Do it!!" I'm not sure what went on in my head, except that this was now over the edge-way over the top. I didn't even dye my hair until just a few years ago-but dye my eyebrows? What next? Highlights? So now I have to figure out if I am going to let her dye my eyebrows. I figure I can go back to blond if I want to. Wait, am I really considering this? Then I wonder if eyebrows will grow out like hair, and what does that mean? Will they have roots? Will I have to keep this up? I've always been rather spur-of-the-moment, and don't know much about eyebrows, so I guess I'll trust the experts. What the heck? Why not.
"Sure, let's do it." It'll be fine, I tell myself. Kristin is cool, and she does it, so why not. She returns with a teeny-weeny bowl just for the teeny-weeny eyebrow dying brush, and after mixing, paints it onto what's left of my eyebrows. The three minutes she told me turned into at least 10, and I am now a little nervous since my eyebrows are darkening with every minute. She finally returns, and my eyebrows seem to be nearing black. My humor is waning just a little being clouded with a nervousness that is beginning to make me question my decision to dye. She washes off the dye, and I am a bit relieved for a moment, until I get a good look in the mirror... I no longer look like Ronald McDonald, but I also didn't look like me, as far as I was concerned. My sense of humor comes back slightly and I'm just staring at my new eyebrows with the hand-held mirror, all trimmed neatly and now darker than before. I still thought I looked like a clown, but Kristin and the nice lady who did them assured me that they looked great...maybe that's because it was their idea in the first place...
After Kristin and I parted, I drove home and called Wendy, because I knew she would appreciate the experience and would laugh with me, but had to leave her a message. I found that I couldn't tell her about the waxing and dyeing and plucking and trimming without laughing out loud as I talked to her voicemail... I'm still not sure what I think of my new look, who knows? Maybe I'll be talking Wendy into getting her eyebrows "done" soon!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Princesses and Boogers

My two year old never ceases from entertaining all of us. No inhibitions, no pride, no self-awareness, no cares to speak of. You always know where she is, and usually what she is doing. There is nothing quiet about her. If she’s happy, she lets everyone know, and it is so fun to join in her joys. If she’s upset about something someone has done, she will scream a shrill scream until she gets whatever she wants (mind you, I do step in and discipline when she’s out of hand). She is all out there, and holds nothing back. Ever.
So this afternoon she is into the dress-ups. She is just at the stage where she can dress herself (most clothing items), and insists upon doing so all of the time. I especially love that when we’re in a hurry running out the door and she comes down in clunky plastic dress-up shoes and Cinderella’s ball dress- after I have just dressed her in normal clothes. Anyway getting back to this afternoon. She was coming down the stairs in different dress-up outfits every few minutes and we were all “ooing” and “awing” at each outfit. “Mommy, I do this all by myself!” She was so proud each time we commented on her outfits. Just as she came down the stairs in Snow White’s dress, the doorbell rang. The doorbell ringing is a big event at our house. I don’t know what it is, but when the doorbell rings, all of the kids go running. It’s a big event to answer the door, too, and causes occasional bickering. On the way to the door, someone usually says with confidence, “It’s Sean!” He is the only person that rings our doorbell. So here we all come to greet Sean. Cam, in her princess outfit, Shea, Kinley, and me. Sean’s the neighbor kid who lives up the street who loves to play with my son. Sean, skateboard in hand, has come to see if Reilly can play. “Sorry Sean, Reilly is in the shower.” Cam loves Sean. Whenever any kid rides a bike past our house, Cam shouts, “HI SEAN!” If we are driving away from our house and Cam sees any kid out playing, she says, “That’s Sean.” So she walks out onto the porch to greet him, repeating in her most grown-up voice, “Hi Sean.” I don’t think he hears her, so she repeats it a couple of times until he says, “hi”. Shea likes Sean too. Shea is 6 and is boy crazy. I don’t know where she gets it. So Shea, with her silly boy-crazy grin and batting eyes, sits on the front porch bench and makes eyes at Sean while I talk to him.

Me: “So Sean, how is school going?”

Sean: “Good.”

Me: “Do you like your teacher?”

Sean: “Yeah, she’s nice.”

Cam: “Look Sean, I have a boooger” (she shows him the end of her finger).

Sean smiles a little, and Shea giggles (looking at Sean). I’m just watching at this point. Yep, there is a booger on the end of her finger. I don’t know where my kids pick these things up- I promise I have never picked my nose and showed them my boogers. Ever.

Cam: “Look Sean, I eating my booger!!”

Sure enough, before I could stop her, she is eating her booger, Sean, being a little bashful is giggling. Shea is giggling too, and still making eyes at Sean.
You wonder what in the world possesses a two year old to do such a thing. I really don’t think she has seen anyone else eat their boogers unless it was in the church nursery or at the park or something. Now that I think about it, there probably is a good chance that she has seen someone do it there, and just had the novel idea to try it herself. Who knows. I have never seen any of our other kids do it. And besides- don’t most kids who do that do it in secret??- at least I did when I was a kid (did I really just admit that?)

Me: “Cam, don’t eat your booger- it’s yucky!”

So immediately Cam realizes that she doesn’t want to be eating her booger and begins to spit it out on the porch. Nice. A two-year-old spitting is not like an adult spitting- they don’t have control, direction, etc. So it’s more like she was slobbering on her chin, her Snow White dress, and the porch. For some odd reason, Kinley then begins spitting on the porch. “If Cam can spit, so can I” goes the four year-old logic. Anytime one kid has perceived license to do something, they all take advantage of the opportunity… I’m not sure how to conclude this- it isn’t much of a story so much as an incident. What can I say- two-year-olds hold nothing back- ever. And it’s pretty entertaining to watch them in action. I want to remember these “incidences” for a long time. I guess that’s a conclusion.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Beach Pictures

Beach Bummin'

The beach was great!! Highlights of our time:

-Grandma's hot cocoa to take the chill off the morning marine layer
-Shea learning to ride a bike for the first time!!
-Reilly and grandpa enjoying some fishing on the beach and catching lots of huge ones- at least that's what they said
-The munch bunch building a massive sand castle (with mom and grandpa's help) that rocked the whole beach and sent other kids home crying
-Grandpa letting the big kids stoke the campfire with wood
-S'mores and campfire songs, of course!
-Collecting shells and rocks on our adventure walks down the beach
-Discovering all kinds of God's sea life- we saw dolphins, seals, sand crabs, real crabs, and anemones
-Walking into the quaint little town of Carpinteria and stopping at the candy store where Reilly got the winning gumball from the vending machine and took home the grand prize of 6 Air Head candies
-Camdyn chasing seagulls up and down the beach
-Kinley screeching and jumping as the waves came in
-Time to love on each of the kiddos and live in their world for a few days without the responsibilities of home life... I guess that's what I enjoyed the most! Thanks mom and dad (grandma and grandpa) for taking care of us and making for such a fun week!

Monday, October 8, 2007


The kids and I are heading to the beach for a few relaxing days (not really relaxing when you're trying to make sure 5 kids don't drown or wander off with a stranger...) but grandma and grandpa will be there to help out. We'll be staying in the fifth wheel luxury trailer, affectionately called "stuga" by my mom who clings to her Swedish heritage. The kids are on fall break for a week so we're excited to take advantage of the opportunity. I'll post pictures when we return on Thursday!

Top 5 Funny Things my Kids have said

1. I can’t just list this one- it has to be explained a bit. This was actually a song that Shea sang when she was around three years old. I think she made it up. The words were, “Poke a spoon in the bottom of your heart, poke a spoon in the bottom of your heart…” (ouch-sounds like it might hurt!)

2.“Mom! The apple bit my cheek!” This was Cam, just a few weeks ago. Not because she actually thought the apple bit her, but because she has just learned to put words together and thought that sounded interesting. She makes up all sorts of tales and opens those big blue eyes so wide and nods her little head with conviction as she tells you.

3.“There’s a purple dog in my tushy!” This was also Cam and was recent. In fact, she elaborated on this story and with a little prodding she told us the dogs name was “Scruffy” and that he was even barking.

4. “MOM! Reilly is returning evil for evil!!!” (Shea) This one cracks me up, and even after clear (what I thought was clear) explanation, she doesn’t realize that she is indicting herself when she says this. In fact, they both use this one on each other- no joke.

5.“Hey mom, do we have any homing device milk?” This was my 7 year old son asking me. It took me a minute to respond. “What did you say?” He repeated the question, word for word. “Do we have any homing device milk? You know mom, with the red lid?” (homogenized- he tried reading the label, and “homing device” stuck with him) I have perpetuated this lie and couldn’t give it up yet. I only asked “what?” so I could hear him say it one more time. “Oh, homing device milk. No son, sorry. We don’t have that kind now. Only the blue kind.” I absolutely love the way that they hear things, and I don’t want him to figure it all out yet. I also don’t want him to embarrass himself in front of his friends… maybe I should tell him…but then I would have to tell him that "licence plates" are really called Frosted Flakes.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Wendy and a Dead Cat

My friend Wendy just left a few minutes ago (10 p.m.)with her three little ones (Ty- 6, Jaden-4, and Kate-2 1/2). There is no school tomorrow so we let the kids rock and go wild, which is exactly what they did. Reilly doesn't know what to do when there are boys around, so he runs wild, tackles whenever possible, plays PS2 till his hearts content, and makes all sorts of boy noises, which are all really loud and some are not exactly polite. But they're just boys.

Wendy and I have a unique relationship. Whenever we get together, we act like we are still in college. We laugh at really stupid things, try to embarrass each other when anyone else is in the room, eat like we did when we never gained weight, and don't use very good judgment in general. I guess that adequately sets up the incident that occurred the other day.

So our cat died the other day. Yah, I know I sound matter of fact and heartless, but the cat burned lots of bridges and blew opportunities to be cuddled and loved like some other cats. He used to be pretty normal, until his first encounter with children, and he has never been normal since. We described him as schizophrenic and he really was crazy. The kids would sometimes try to go in the garage to see him (he lived in the garage- he was afraid to go anywhere else) and would come running in the house screaming because he was so abnormal and skittish. Anyway Knick died in a really relaxed position, which was comforting to me. I had grown rather detached from the cat, but didn't wish him any harm. So I was glad that he didn't look like he was struggling or uncomfortable. He looked like he was just resting.

Wendy came over the day Knick went the way of all flesh. Wendy is one of the funnest and funniest people I know. She got pranked more than anyone I know when we were in college because she is super dramatic about certain things (Live chickens and crickets in the middle of the night in her dorm room topped the list of pranks-that's a great story). When I told her that we had a dead cat in the garage, she flipped out. So naturally, I begged her to come in and check him out. She fought me (even though I knew she wanted to see him) and I had to pretend to force her to come see him. So she slowly walks into the garage with the "ewe disgusting" expression on her face, looking as if he might jump out at her, and followed me to the corner where the peaceful cat lay, eyes wide open. Immediately her dramatic side kicks in, and she spouts out all kinds of "I can't believe you", "That's so disgusting", "why did you make me look at him", etc. Then she says,

"How do you know he's dead? He looks alive!"

I couldn't resist the urge. You know you would do the same thing. At least if you knew Wendy, you would. It was a perfect opportunity. So, I picked up the closest ball (a volleyball) and gave it a little overhand throw, which hit Knick right in the stomach and just kind of stopped there. You can imagine her reaction. I got a hilarious tongue lashing with all sorts of name-calling.

Was it worth it? Of course it was. I didn't hurt the cat after all- he was already dead. And her reaction was just as dramatic as expected. I think she's told everyone she knows.

Friday, October 5, 2007

So I found myself laughing out loud when scrolling through the different options for "industry" as I dutifully filled out my complete profile. There were at least 17 different industries that I dabble in on a fairly regular basis- all without leaving my home!! I'll save that post for another day. It's getting late, and I was planning on garage saling tomorrow morning. Besides that, I just started my "blog" an hour ago, and at this rate, I will drive up the cost of blogging in no time...

Inside the Mind of a 4 Year Old...

Inside the mind of a 4 year old… 10/2/07

Wow, what a moment I just had. Do you ever wonder what is going on inside the mind of a child? Here is a just a glimpse of one of the possibilities as displayed by my four year old as she finished her lunch. There were a few tortilla pieces on her plate, and her used napkin as well as her sisters used napkin. These served as her “puppets”. After I heard a few words of the dialogue between the tortilla and the napkin, I ran and got a piece of paper, and a colored pencil and stood behind her at a table where she would not key in on me, and started writing as fast as I could, capturing most all of her chatter. There were a few dramatic pauses, which enabled me to catch everything. Whatever I missed wasn’t much different from what is written below, and what is written is verbatim. I promise. I may have missed 2 lines. She used a couple of different voices as she moved the napkins and tortilla pieces, bouncing them off of her empty purple stage (plate). It went something like this:

“What can I do?”
“I brought food for you.”
“Hey!! There’s none food left. I’m all scrunched up like this and I don’t wanna be!! I’m going back to bed!”
(in a song- evidently this is a musical) “Oh what can I do? I’m never gonna die like you, cause he’s sinking!!”
“I thought that was my dad.”
“GRANDPA!! I thought he was going to sink like that. This isn’t fun!!”
“I and you are fish. So what can we do?”
“I’ll fly and go away forever. I just want to stay here with you.”
“Oh, what can I do with you. Oh, Grandpa, I wanted to stay here with you, but I can’t!”
“I didn’t like it when I was a baby with you!” That folks, is where it ended. I’m not sure if that was the end of the musical, but that is where Grandpa and whoever stopped conversing. I’ll have to say, I could’ve listened for a lot longer, and look forward to the next musical. I’ll keep you posted.


No way!! I can't believe how easy this is!! I have debated starting a blog, then finally decided it was time to tackle this. So I got the kids in bed, finished cleaning up (mostly, anyway) then sat down determined to figure this thing out. So I clicked on "create your own blog", clicked on like two more things, and now I have an official real blog!! Seriously! It was that easy!! And it was free!! I thought I was going to have to use some of my new-found computer savvy (yah right, I have no such thing) and spend half the night figuring it out, then shell out some cash (or credit). But not at all. And I'm wondering who the nice person is that offers this service for free!! Oh well. I am thrilled to begin! Well, I have been typing Word documents for the past few weeks preparing for this night... my husband wasn't convinced that I could keep it up so wanted me to "try it out" first. So I will add one of those docs (if I can figure it out) and let the fun begin. Oh, and this is the most recent picture I could find with the entire munch bunch. Right now their ages are "2-4-6-8 who do we appreciate, MOMMY! MOMMY! Yeah!!" Oh sorry, I'm a little excited...The baby is now 7 months old and doesn't look like the picture. I'll try to post new pictures soon. I can't wait to check out my own blog! Here we go!