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.