Friday, May 27, 2005

Hey! My cookies actually got a bid on ebay! Woot! Too cool. I think that next I'm going to offer my very wonderful whole wheat pancake and waffle mix. I grind the wheat myself, and the quality and taste is SO much better than anything you can get at the store.

I got to wash my bedding yet again today, this time thanks to the dog who sometimes coughs up some icky stuff akin to a cat's hairballs. Niiiiiiiice. Methinks it's time to make sure the doggie doesn't sleep in my room any more!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

It's not that I'm a person lacking in the exercise of reasonable amounts of caution....which I know is a curious statement coming from a woman with 6 children..... But why-oh-why is it that the child who 8 times out of 10 manages to stay dry All Night Long, manages to pee out of his Pull Up not just once, but TWICE in one night?! And WHY does this happen in MY bed? Right Next To Me. WHY? You'd think that if you spring for the Pull Ups as the additional I-don't-want-extra-laundry-to-do insurance each night, that you should get what you pay for. But, alas, you see how that went.
Posted by Hello

Three big fat loads of laundry to start my day... Thanks, Doodles! Posted by Hello

I tried out a new cookie recipe today, much to the joy of all the children. They turned out perfect, so much so that I even decided to see if I can sell 'em on ebay! Posted by Hello

It's really not quite warm enough for all this nekkidness, but that doesn't stop my kids, and fortunately all my neighbors mind their own business. Posted by Hello

I wish you could have seen and heard the happy sounds of children playing in their clubhouse. One of them was hammering away cheerfully, others playing, one was arranging things, and so on. They got a new window in their clubhouse yesterday so that has added some new excitement to the place. Posted by Hello

Summertime fun--running through the sprinkler. Posted by Hello

Jake the Great who loves to slick his hair around. Posted by Hello

A little reading after the sprinkler action. Posted by Hello

Eating dinner outside. (why is it that all 2 year olds get so goofy when you hold up a camera and say "Smile!"?) Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Blog to Take Time For

I would just like to point out that although there are some blogs that make you angry and some blogs that make you wonder why the person would share such boring stuff, and some blogs that make you laugh very very hard, there are other blogs that inspire. I decided tonite to point out the one blog that I read that inspires me to be a better mother, and a better version of myself. It is a blog that contains beauty, poetry, wisdom, and loveliness. Go take a look at Belle On Her Toes. She is wonderful.

Why we don't "do" TV

Dazey Mae left a comment asking about why we don't do TV here, and so I thought I'd bore you all with the story. Especially since I don't have any inspirational summer break photos for you today. :)

There is no deep, dark reason that we don't do TV. We didn't have one when we got married, then found that we were fine without it. (although it was hilarious how people would act like we didn't have running water or something when they found out!) Then we got a TV for a Christmas gift about 2 years later and we watched it faithfully for probably 4 years before making the decision to put it away. We found that we spent too much time watching TV instead of engaging with our kids or each other. We found ourselves watching junk, making kids wait for our attention til the commercials, etc. We realized that although some people do just fine having a TV and don't overdo it and don't stay up too late watching stuff they'd be better off without, we just weren't those people. We're TV weaklings, I guess. :)

Once we stopped watching TV (we stopped videos too...just put the whole thing away) we found that we got more rest (no more staying up til 11pm because that's when the made-for-TV-movie ends!) and therefore felt better, our house was quieter, and we were better parents since we weren't putting off our kids in favor of Phil Donahue or the nightly news. I did go through a couple of transition stages, one where I listened to talk radio for hours during the day, and the other where I talked on the phone for hours every day. Thankfully, I am now able to go through entire days without any fillers in my noise space. Somehow, I think having 6 children fills that space quite enough. ;)

When we haven't even had videos available we have found that the kids do so much more creative play, they read more, and just generally spend their time in more positive ways. So, it's a good thing.

When I was on bedrest with baby #4 and I had kids ages 1, 3, and 7, we did get a little 13" TV with built-in VCR in order to help fill the hours of laying in bed trying to keep little kids happy while my husband worked his 24-hour-long shifts. TV didn't really come in very well, but movies worked just fine. Since that time we've gotten to the point where we now have 2 TVs, 2 VCRs (both broken, though, so we're considering getting rid of all of our videos), 2 DVD players, plus the PS2 which can also play DVDs. We have watched possibly too many movies, but now that we are Netflix-less, there will be less of that, although we will still avail ourselves of our library's free DVD collection. I am trying to get myself into the midset of offering movies less and less, just in the interest of having the kids choose to do some other stuff. But I will admit that I am just like every other mother who sometimes just wants the kids to shut up and veg out so that I can get something else done. So, offering movies gives me a helping hand and I'm not going to give that up at this point in my life.

Every now and then I think I might like to get cable or satellite so that I could watch HGTV or some good history or nature stuff with the kids to enrich what they're learning about in school or whatever, but then we talk about how our whole life would be oriented to the boob tube again....and so we decide not to. And truly, I can't imagine spending money on TV every month. It would probably be one of the worst money choices we've ever made. We're just really better off without it.

I love it that we have no TV in our living room. I love it that the room all the people that visit in my home is oriented toward people and not toward TV. To me I feel that not making TV a big part of our life is very much in harmony of one of my distinctive values, which is People First. I try to always value people more than other stuff, and this is one way I can do that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Sunshine On My Shoulder Makes Me Happy.....

Day 4, Summer Break

Today, like yesterday, was a wonderful, breezy day here. The temperature is still somewhat low for this time of year, but the sun was shining. I sat outside reading Surrendering to Yourself, the third and final Surrendering book from Iris Krasnow. As Iris challenged me to figure out what I love to do, what I felt was the desire to lay down in the grass and soak up some sun. So...I did! I got a couple blankets, my favorite pillow, and just took a little mini-snooze while the the sun warmed me and the wind danced through the leaves in the apple trees, and the kids ran around the yard. I loved smelling the fresh grass smell and it made me think that I'd like to try out stuffing some mattress ticking full of sweet grass as I remember being described in some Little House book or something. Ah! To sleep on a mattress smelling of sweet grass!!!!

I don't know if I will find my great passions and purpose in life by taking naps (although SARK seems to think napping can help our creativity grow!), but I know that as I lay there on our hill, squinting to change the shape of the sunlight coming through the blanket that I had over my head, I felt very peaceful and could remember doing the same thing as a child. I was able to distance myself from some recent financial stress that has been plaguing me, and to feel that my life is good and full as it stands, with or without money. Although I'd like to always pay every bill early or on time, to have a nest egg of 3-6 months income "just in case," to be out of debt, to know how every need will be taken care of........what I do have is so much more than so many others. Even more than many people who have all the financial security that I do not.

I have a husband who goes to work and comes home and plays with the kids and tells me I'm beautiful and is committed to this family no matter what.

I have 6 healthy, happy children who love each other and their parents

I have a house that I love, and a wonderful, fabulous back yard

I have a best friend that is the rare kind of friend that will hang in with the friendship through over a decade of highs and lows and changes and personal growth that is sometimes spectacular and sometimes painful

I have a wonderful, amazing mother who is also my very close friend

I have two siblings that I love and enjoy

I have the knowledge and skills that allow me to stretch a dollar, keep my family healthy or help them back to healthy most of the time without needing a trip to the doctor, teach children, help myself learn things I need to know, and to be content in most circumstances.

I have faith in God, that helps me accept the things I cannot change, to hang on when things seem unbearable, and to remember that my life and everything in it is for a purpose that is greater than any of the parts of it.

It's a good life. Maybe a little time in the sunshine will help you too. :)

At Times Like These, I Really Wish We Had TV

Well, folks, tonite's the night! Rob and Amber's wedding is going to be on TV...and I'm going to miss it! :(

We don't do TV here, although we do watch plenty of videos (less now, though, since we've just recently canceled our Netflix....sniff sniff). I got hooked on Survivor thanks to the couple of seasons available on DVD, so I got to watch Boston Rob and Amber fall in love during Survivor All-Stars. And now, say what you will, I wish I could watch their wedding on TV! Anybody want to tape it for me??????? (9PM, CBS--Be There!)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

This morning our kids asked us to come outside and judge them on how well they could ride Big Wheels down the hill. We have a dug-out spot in our yard where the Easy-Set Pool goes, but until it gets set up, the ledge there makes a great spot to jump your BW off of and pop wheelies. So, we had to score the riders based on speed, coolness of pops, and coolness of the landing, with an optional bonus point for especially spectacular creativity. Our whole family enjoyed a rollicking good time screaming, clapping, and cheering as the kids took turns showing their stuff.... Posted by Hello

Getting a running start from up the hill....(I LOVE our yard!!) Posted by Hello

Revving up! (trying to keep the dog out of harm's way was trickier than figuring out how to score each jump) Posted by Hello

Sullen doing a cool wipe-out in the sand. Posted by Hello

Jake the Great! Posted by Hello

The Firecrapper even got into the act. (I'm so sorry to tell you that I did not take a turn riding a Big Wheel down the hill...) I thought that with all of his boyhood ramp-jumping experience he would have been great at this, but actually he was....not. Posted by Hello

Not to be outdone, our only daughter rode fast and hard, even free styling by riding down the hill backwards one time. She can pop a wheelie with the best of 'em! Posted by Hello

All smiles, he heads down the hill (pedaling at a snail's pace.....) and...... Posted by Hello

Doodle rides over the edge. Posted by Hello

Izzy Man! Posted by Hello

They also spent time playing in their tree fort/club house and climbing in the trees so that they could ride our newest toy...... Posted by Hello

This is a sad little attempt to catch one of my kids riding our new zip line.....better luck next time! It was fun, even if hard to take pictures of! Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Waste Not, Want Not!

What to do with all the scraps of bread left from the kids' raid on the freshly-baked bread? Run it all through the food processor and then turn it into...... Posted by Hello

Bread crumb cookies! (which taste better than the title or the way they look in this picture) Posted by Hello

The recipe comes from The Tightwad Gazette, which I've been rereading a bit since we're currently in the poor house. My kids love these cookies, and although they aren't entirely healthy, I like knowing that the bread scraps (especially the homemade bread!) never goes to waste. Here's the recipe:

1.25 cups flour
1.25 cups sugar
half teaspoon salt
half teaspoon baking powder
one-third cup cocoa
half cup milk
1 egg
1.5 teaspoon vanilla
two-thirds cup melted shortening/cooking oil/butter
2 cups bread crumbs

Stir together dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls onto non stick cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees 12 min. or so until set.

"It's a beautiful day!" Posted by Hello

A beautiful day indeed.....

So, we've had a nice day here on the real (meaning all the kids are now out of school) day-number-one of summer break. Tonite the littlest 3 guys got their baths. Izzy Man was all bundled up in his towel, strolling through the house....and then I hear the older 3 kids saying, "Quick! Get the camera! Mom! You gotta see this!" And so out to the living room I go, where Izzy Man (age 5) is laying on his back on his bath towel all nicely spread out as if he was at the beach, totally nekkid, calmly grinning and saying, "Ahh....It's a beautiful day....."

Born to join a nudist colony, that one.....

Philadelphia Chickens

My fab friend SoozieQ gave my family the wonderful and hilarious Philadelphia Chickens book and CD a few Christmases ago, but it had been awhile since I had been able to listen to it since the CD was missing. But, Good News! In my recent hard-core decluttering binge I FOUND IT and so today I got to listen to this very, very clever stuff. Basically, it's smart, witty, clever, and musical enough that parents AND the kids will be able to enjoy it. My oldest son likes the song called Snoozers, about wanting to sleep all day and stay up all night. My younger kids get a kick out of the song about the guy with 15 animals, all named Bob. "I've got a cat named Bob and a dog named Bob, and two fish called Bob and Bob...." (very easy to sing along to!) My personal fave is The Belly Button Song ("Belly belly button you're oh so fine, ooh belly button I'm so happy you're mine....." and then with very meditative sounds in the background saying, "So great to contemplate....").

Well, OK! I know you can't hear it in your head like *I* can, but just take my word for it--it's sime very fun family music. I've purchased it as a new baby gift for friends with several kids and they love it too.

More fine words from The Big Yellow House

In a recent post about bumper stickers, Chris comments:

And just what is up with the sticker of the boy peeing on things? For some reason I always see this one on pick-up trucks driven by boy-men under 30. Am I supposed ot be impressed that you have a penis and can pee standing up? I'll admit it would have advantages when camping in the woods.

But, I can push a live baby out of my vagina, much more impressive.

Clearly you can see why I think this woman is a complete HOOT. Go pay her a visit at her blog today!

Cheese! (or is that cheese-y?) Posted by Hello