Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's That Time Again!

Time for potty training!

It's high time HH started using the toilet, and so far I guess you could say it's going well because he likes his little toilet seat. There's only one problem...

He likes it as a hat.

And for those of you who thought I invented my conversation with GA in the last post, here's what I found when I got out of the shower...

I guess she was exaggerating about it being on the floor. It wasn't so bad to clean off the table. And CD.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gerb Unplugged: Some Random Musings (It's long, so grab a sandwich)

To those of you who watch TV on a regular basis and still maintain a blog on a regular basis I ask:

How do you do it?

Because, as previously mentioned, I don't watch TV at all and I still don't have time to post to my blog regularly. Especially lately. When I first started blogging I decided that every post would have a picture. They are so much more interesting that way! However, today I am breaking my unwritten rule. Otherwise there would be nothing, once again, for those of you who are nice enough to check often. I also decided I would post at least once a week. That has obviously not happened either. Here's what I've been up to since my last post...


Do you ever have weeks or months where life just happens at such a rapid pace that there is no time to sit and reflect on the chaos (whether it be the good or bad kind) around you? That's what I'm talking about. Here's one small example:

We had Thanksgiving here at our house, just our little family and no visitors. We practically begged family members to join us but they all had plans. The good thing about being just us for dinner is this: MORE FOOD. The bad thing is this: I have to make ALL the food. Which I am used to for everyday stuff, just not the Thanksgiving caliber of meal. I baked 7 pies (3 were frozen, purchased from neighborhood kids for fundraising). Of the "from scratch" pies I made were a banana cream, a cherry and 2 pumpkin. No big deal, right? Well, silly me, I thought it would be fun to make the pumpkin pies from fresh pumpkin. What a job! They were a hit (still are...anyone want some pie?) but the work put into them may not have been entirely worth it. The entire day before Thanksgiving was baking & extras day - I made my pies, rolls, and frozen cranberry salad (it's worth it, trust me!) and that took all day. Thanksgiving morning I put in the turkey, made the mashed potatoes and gravy, yams, green beans & sparkling cider. I decided to skip the stuffing since the majority of the family does not appreciate it unless it's in turkey stuffing casserole. I also went for the kind of whipped cream I got to whip myself. More work, but I think that the difference in taste was definitely worth the 5 minutes.

We all sat down to eat, and within the hour everyone was done. Who washed dishes? Me. I decided I wanted to reflect on what I was thankful for during all of the food preparation time, and my family is definitely #1 on the list. So, since no one volunteered to wash, I just did it. (The kids did come dry the dishes, I must give them credit for that.) By the end of the 2 day ordeal, I was ready for a long nap - or at least a good book.

I decided that Thanksgiving is the time for me to show the family how thankful I am for all they put up with the rest of the year. It's definitely a labor of love, or else it wouldn't happen around here.

Other things keeping me busy:

(Today anyway...)Trying to remember not to use my kid's names in my posts. I don't want to make my blog private, but I hate not using their names. Their initials seem inadequate somehow. Why do there have to be wackos out there? Can't we all just get along?

CD started climbing a couple weeks ago. On the table, on the piano, on the beds, up and down the name it, she climbs it. And I remove her from her lofty destinations or prevent her from reaching them. Plus, she had a disgusting runny nose for 2 weeks straight. That was fun to keep up with. But her 1-year-old cuteness makes up for it all. Every morning I marvel at how she can become even more adorable each day.

HH is as precocious as ever, and those of you who know any of my boys (who share the same personality for the most part) know that he's a delight, but quite a handful. He can get into the refrigerator and up on the kitchen counters all by himself (kitchen drawers make the most convenient ladder!) and likes to help himself to whatever looks good. When we had egg nog in the fridge, he would wake me up in the morning, carton in one hand and cup in the other, with, "Can I have some egg drink, mom?" He has discovered that non-fiction books about trains are much longer than AND have more pictures than children's versions, so he will sit and flip through one for a good, long spell. Add his independence to his latest full-blown ear infection and painful ingrown toenails (which the doctor keeps telling me he will grow out of), and welcome to my life.

GA is such a funny little girl. She is at an age where everything is absolute- black or white. She wants me to "do school" with her all the time, which would be fun but is not possible with other little people here needing attention, too. We make time everyday to color, practice writing her name, read a story (or 2 or 3), or play with Furryvilles or the dollhouse or Legos. She likes to keep me informed on what's going on around the house, especially when I'm trying to take a shower.
(knock, knock)
Me: "Yes?"
GA: "Um, are you in there mom?"
Me: "No, I'm an alien life form, using your mother's voice."
GA: "Um, OK mom, um, CD is going down the stairs now. And HH won't stop being mean to me because he is not so good at sharing."
Me: "Well, I'm in the shower right now. Can we talk about this in a minute?"
GA: "Um, but CD can fall down the stairs so you better come get her now, OK, mom?"
Me: "In a minute."
GA: "Um, and CD also got HH's breakfast and put it on the floor. And um, she likeded it, so maybe you should make some more."
Me: "WHAT? Did she make a big mess?"
GA: "So, mom, um...maybe you need to get the vacuum out. You better stop taking a shower now, OK mom?"
And so on.

EG is becoming as obsessed with reading as her older siblings. She is strict about rules and does not like it when other kids do not follow our family rules. She likes to inform me when they are not following her interpretation of the rules, which I believe is often called a 'tattletale'. She is an arts and crafts fanatic, often leaving behind paints, water, paper, scissors & tiny scraps of paper for me to clean up - or for CD to eat, whichever comes first. She loves learning and would do math/reading/spelling worksheets all day if I had enough of them.

KC is the man with all the questions. He and his 2 younger sisters are also notorious room-destroyers. I don't know how their room can be orderly and clean and then 5 minutes later look like a tornado came through. He loves to pay all of the neighbors visits and make some kind of note or treat to take over with him. He's a socialite if we've ever had one. He feels very put-out when I will not allow him to go to a friend's house before his jobs and homework are completed. He is obsessed with Pokemon - always wanting to talk about Pokemon characters/cards to anyone who shows even remote interest. He is also into getting all his Cub Scout requirements signed off so he can advance. Thanks to one of these requirements, he decided yesterday that doing dishes is FUN! Thank you, Cub Scouts!

JC becomes easily frustrated when it comes to getting things done on anyone's time but her own. That's all I'm going to say about that. I get to do a good deal of nagging to get her out of the door in the mornings, which we both hate. Her talents are in writing and drawing, and she's a frog lover. Frogs! Not the real kind, just the cutesy ones. I'm not sure how she'd do around a live little hopper. JC is still the sassy gal in the family, and also a good helper around here.

EM is also a great help when she's asked. She enjoys art and outside sports, most especially Ultimate Frisbee. She is fun to go shopping with, something we both enjoy. Otherwise, she's holed up in her room reading some book series about magical pants that fit a girl and all of her friends. What in the world??

AM has become obsessed with 3 things: friends, ping-pong and tennis, in that order. We noticed his screen was pushed out of his window, and we all know what that means with teenagers, right? He isn't really the type of kid to do that sort of thing, so we asked him about it. He was sneaking his tennis racket out of his bedroom window because he didn't know if we would let him play with it outside. Ummmm....did he think we expected him to use our indoor tennis court??
Wait...I thought of 2 more obsessions: Food and Sleep. In that order. He is at least a good 3 or 4 inches taller than me now.

Hey...was that my Christmas newsletter? YES! Consider it a personal greeting, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Just kidding. I'm making the kids each write their own summary of the last year for our newsletter, and they'll have to edit it down to one paragraph of about 3 sentences each so they can all fit on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. I love writing projects! Did you know that I occasionally print out an email so I can go through and edit it with a red pen? Crazy, I know.

I'm not sure how to end this random post.

How about this?


P.S. My big kids read this and noticed I still left one kid's name in. It is now fixed! Foiled again, blogstalkers!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's Not A Mid-Life Crisis

I have become very aware of something recently.

I will soon be the mom of 9 children. NINE! Not that I don't think I can handle it. It's the rest of the world that I'm concerned for. Will they know that it's impolite to ask things like, "You're done now, right?!" or "Are those ALL yours?" I am always tempted to reply with the sassy remarks that cross my mind ("Heck no! We're just getting started!" or "No, I borrowed them from the local orphanage") but instead give polite answers. I don't want them to think ill of me.

Which brings me to my next epiphany.

Am I looking like a mom-of-many? Do strangers look at me and think, "Look at her, she can't even take care of herself - let alone all those kids!" I know, I'm being a bit dramatic. But it's only to explain myself to those who are wondering what's going on.

It's like this.

I looked at myself in the mirror a few weeks back and wished my hair was a bit more tame. I thought, "How would my hair look if it was straight?" So I straightened it. And then it needed bangs, so I gave myself bangs. The kids all asked, "What happened to your hair, Mom?" or, "Your hair looks different. Is it going to be curly again tomorrow?" I love the honesty of children. So I decided to forget the straightening thing and just love what God gave me - but I kept the bangs. I liked how they helped me look a little more....I don't know. Nice, I guess.

Then I thought about make-up.

When we had our family pictures taken about a month ago, I put on the basics - eyeliner & mascara. My 13-year-old daughter told me I looked good with eye make-up, that it made my eyes look "brighter". So I put on make-up, too. And you know what? I liked it.

Anyway, to make an already long story longer, I'm making an effort to look my best these days. You'll have to be forgiving if you drop by unannounced in the middle of the day and I'm still in my PJs, though. That's still going to happen. But when I'm out of the house, I'm going to look my best - and hopefully completely shock anyone who sees me pregnant and asks, "Is this your first?"

I'll proudly answer, "No, it's my ninth. Isn't it great?!"

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tag, I'm It

I have been "tagged" by both Shellie and Su in the last week. This means I get to share 7 random things about myself with you. I am also supposed to "tag" 7 other blogging friends, but I honestly don't know who would roll their eyes at the idea and who would be a good sport. If you want to share 7 random thoughts, leave a comment and let me know.

Random Item #1: I LOVE old pictures, like the one of my dad in his first car posted above. There is so much personality and interest in an old photograph - each has a story waiting to be told.

Random Item #2: If you knew me before the age of about 6 or 7, my name was Donna - at least when family was around. Donna is actually my middle name, but one of my grandmas told my parents that I would hate my name and blame them for it, so I was "Donna" for a good, long time.

Random Item #3: I do not like large bodies of water. They scare me because of all the unknown. Is there a piranha in there? How deep does it go? This may be due to the fact that I did not learn to swim until I was nearly 18. The funny thing is, I'm OK with the ocean - but only from the shore. I'm slowly learning to overcome this fear, though. Give me time.

Random Item #4: In high school I always told people I wanted to have 32 kids someday. 32 was my lucky number, and it seemed like a good number of kids to shoot for. My plan was to adopt 25 and have 7 with my husband. I had all of their names chosen. (Names like Brock Lee & Calli Flower - they were the twins) When I married my husband and my amazing mother-in-law had her 16th child, I realized that she will be living that dream for me once all of her kids are married.

Random Item #5: I love music. Some people love music for the music, and some people love music for the words. I love different songs for different reasons, but I especially love songs that capture emotions that are very real to me and songs that bring back memories in vivid detail. Actually, some songs I do NOT like because they bring back memories that I would prefer to leave buried in the deepest recesses of my mind.

Random Item #6: I have a hard time making real, true friends. I don't know how to explain this one really, so let me just say this: I have to know that the person is genuine. I'm not sure how else to explain it. I can't allow myself to be vulnerable with someone else unless I feel my secrets are safe with them. And once I decide you're one of these friends, you're stuck for life. Words are such a mucky mess when trying to describe things like friendship and love, aren't they?

Random Item #7: I can express myself much better in sign language than I can by speaking. The English language is frustrating at times because it does not translate the passion and depth of meaning behind words which I prefer in ASL. Because of this, I have a love for learning new words and vocabulary. The more words on my side, the better I can express what's really going on in this crazy head of mine.

I could continue, as my life can be rather random, but that's 7 items so that's where I'm stopping.