Tag Archives: kids

It gets better. Right?

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The older my kids get the harder it is to be a parent.

People with small children ask “It gets better, right?” and my answer is always “No. No it doesn’t.” And if they ask that same question about girls my answer is “No, it gets worse.”

Just for clarification, some things do get better. You don’t have to wipe their butts anymore. That part’s way better! If they’re hungry they can get food and feed it to themselves. That gets better. They can bathe themselves, it won’t be done very well and only when you tell them to, but they can, so that’s better. They can pretty much care for themselves. Which is better.

Other than that, not better.

When kids are small it’s a physical game. You are just wiped out. Every. Day. You’re up at the crack of dawn after you’ve stayed up half the night trying to get him to go to, or stay, asleep. There’s never any rest because you’re constantly chasing a toddler to make sure she doesn’t get into anything and try to keep her safe. You’re always feeding someone else then you forget to eat. You’re always taking him to the bathroom for the 5th time in an hour and answering the call to ‘come play outside with me’. And do you really want me to start talking about grocery shopping with three kids under the age of 4?

When those cute little ones turn into teenagers it’s a whole new ball game. It turns into a strategic mental game that will leave you emotionally exhausted for days on end. And they are ruthless. Teenagers don’t back down. They push and push until you back down. Then once you do it, even just that one time, they will never forget and push even harder to get you to back down again. Not to mention that the struggles with teenagers are bigger. Now it’s trying to get her to wear real pants, not leggings. Prying them away from electronic devices so I can remember what their face looks like. Not to mention the boyfriends and girlfriends and every unfortunate thing that goes with that. There’s riding in cars with other teenagers and worrying about road conditions and weather. Attitude and disrespectfulness, anyone? Watching them make decisions that you know aren’t the right ones. And let’s not forget the fact that they know everything and are never wrong.

So no…it doesn’t get better. It just gets different. Harder and different.

I have to admit though…As difficult and draining as it is to be parents of teenagers there are rewarding moments. Like little gems nestled in between the jagged edges of the cliff you want to jump off of on a regular basis. I enjoy having good conversations with them that were impossible when they were small. I look forward to sharing a meal with them every night and hearing about their day. I love going to their ceremonies and celebrating their artistic talents and accomplishments or watching them play sports and celebrate wins with them. I always watch in awe as they build a bow and arrow out of a rubber band, a pencil and shish kabob skewer or design and create an elaborate rubber band bracelet. And my favorites are family movie nights, going to the fair and spending holiday mornings together. Those are all the moments that make it worth it. And keep me from running away.

running away

Tongues Aren’t Suppose To Do That

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I know my kids are talented, but this is just insane. I mean really! I didn’t even know tongues could do this. I know there are people who can tie cherry stems in a knot with their tongues. There’s even more people who can roll their tongues. But how many people can do this? It really is kind of freaky looking if you ask me.  Maybe I’m just jealous I can’t do it.  I tried, but I just got a cramp in my tongue.
So tell me, what kind of weird talent do you have?

If You Can’t Find Your Tupperware…Check The Woods

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Gary and I like to do a lot of fun things together. We have more things in common than not I think. We just love spending time together (and with the kids) so we are always searching for things we both enjoy and we do them. We’ve recently found a new hobby that we can’t get enough of! Finding Tupperware hidden in the woods! What? You don’t?

It’s a high tech treasure hunting game using GPS devices and multi-million dollar satellites floating out in space. Yep, that’s our new hobby. Tromping through the woods acting like pirates looking for hidden containers with kids’ dollar store prizes and a log book inside. At first I had no idea how this got started. My guess was some friends were sitting around drinking beer one night and one of them said “You know what, I’m gonna go hide a Tupperware container out in the woods, give out the coordinates and see how many people can find it”. And his friends looked at him and said “You’re crazy. Let’s do it”. And here we are with a gazillion Tupperware containers hidden all over the globe. Ok, so that’s not how it really happened. But I was close. Ok, I wasn’t close. It’s way more geeky than that. You can read the real history of geocaching here. I for one am super happy that this whole selective availability thing happened and GPS is now available to all of us Regular Joes. Because I just don’t know what I would do with my weekends if it wasn’t for searching for Tupperware in the woods.

I had heard about this geocaching thing years ago but just never did anything with it. Then Gary and I talked about it and thought it would be fun to do with the kids but never did anything with it. It took finding one by accident while my brother and his wife were visiting from Florida to ignite the fire and begin the obsession. When the kids headed off to their other parents’ for the weekend a few days later us adults had date night Friday and date day Saturday. Guess what we did? That’s right. Searched for caches! Gary and I were hooked. The day Yancey and Kristen left we had to distract ourselves from our sorrow so we spent the day geocaching. It was the best day! Wait….not the best day because Yancey and Kristen left. That made it the worst day. The geocaching made it the best day. Phew, glad we cleared that up!

Yancey and Kristen with one of our finds.

Our first find on our own!

I have to say that geocaching isn’t for everyone. In order to enjoy geocaching you have to enjoy the outdoors. And a good challenge. Not all caches are hidden in the woods, on walking trails or in parks. A lot are found in very urban areas such as restaurant parking lots or a stop sign in a shopping village. I enjoy all types of finds. My favorite kinds are the ones hidden in the woods though. I really enjoy a good hike through the woods. It’s so relaxing and beautiful. And it reminds me of my childhood when my best friend Brian and I would play in the woods and the only worry we had was getting home before it got dark.

Once Gary and I had some good finds under our belt we took the kids out to give it a try. It was a school night so we only had a chance to find one but they loved it! Couldn’t wait to get back out and do it again. We were thrilled because we love having cool, fun family things to do! So the weekend came and we planned a day full of geocaching. We were all excited! Gary and I learned a few things that day.
1. Paige is not an ‘outdoorsy’ type of person. She loves playing outside. In the yard. The woods, not so much. She jumped at everything and every five seconds it was “watch our for snakes”, “be careful!”, or “don’t stick your hand in there!” in a very high pitch concerned voice. It doesn’t help she is petrified of spiders.
2. Emma would rather be home playing soccer. Or doing anything else for that matter.
And
3. Kids get mad when other kids keep finding all the caches. But there’s a schedule for that.

Our first find as a family!


So Gary and I decided that the kids will go on abbreviated geocaching trips. And we’re definitely taking steps to insure that all kids have an equal opportunity to find the hidden caches. In the mean time Gary and I are going solo. Wait…it’s not solo if there’s two of us. Well, whatever. We’re on a mission to find as many caches as we can. Or at least more than my brother.

Are you a geocacher? If you are tell us your Geocache username so we can be friends! If not, leave a comment and let us know what you like to do for fun in your free time!

A Single Smartie and Other Junk From My Couch

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I’m not so sure life is slowing down any time soon. I mean, I know our life is never going to slow down. What I mean to say is it seems to be busier than normal lately and I don’t see any signs of it slowing down any time soon. I’m not really sure why it’s so hectic these days. I can’t decide if it’s because of increased extra-curricular activities for a couple of the kids, the small “home improvements” we’re working on, or the four milestone birthdays we’ve helped our friends celebrate over the last two months. None of which is a bad thing. Nor would I want to give any of those things up! I love my life even when it’s super hectic. But I am missing American Idol people.

So our furniture came in last Wednesday and we were all super excited! Still are. We actually stayed downstairs all evening that night. We watched a tv show together as a family and no one had to sit on the floor! Except for when they were eating their popcorn of course. Gary and I even went back downstairs after the kids went to bed. We just sat there on the new couch and recliner. It was great. We still have to wait a couple more weeks for the media console. Which kills me. I’m so ready for the living room to be put together and finished! Of course, I still have to do the two art pieces for the wall. So I’ll need the next two weeks to do that anyway. Funny~That makes me sound like a lot more of an artist than I really am. Crafty is more like it. Anyway, I’ve been scouring the interwebs to find accessories [in my head I hear Gary saying that in his fake ‘sweet little lispy voice’ every time. Cracks. Me. Up]. I’m on the hunt for the perfect throw pillows. I actually already found them but apparently I’m the only person who likes ruffles. I got the ‘no go’ from my husband AND my best friend. She’s not a ruffle-y kind of girl apparently. I just know that I don’t want plain boring pillows. I also know that I don’t want patterned pillows. Or pillows with buttons. All I know is I get these visions in my head of how I want something to look and I don’t stop until I find it. Or something else that I end up liking just as much as what was in my head. Speaking of which is probably a very scary place. All dark and cob webby probably. Who knows. I’m sure my family and friends have their own guesses. Anyway….I have some great ideas that I hope are just as awesome in reality as they are in my alternate reality that is my head.

Now that we have our new furniture there are a few new rules for the living room. Well, really just one.

1. DON’T RUIN THE NEW FURNITURE

This includes all old rules [no eating or drinking in the living room, no climbing on the furniture, no sitting on the arms] and a few new rules [no popcorn on the couches on movie night, no Beyblades on the coffee table at any time]. After cleaning out the old furniture to move it upstairs I realized that our kids believe that our rules don’t apply when Gary and I aren’t home. I wish our friends had been there to witness us cleaning it out. Because no one will ever believe how much crap was on the inside of that couch. I am not kidding you. Here’s what we found~
*almost two dollars in quarters that went into our vacation fund jar
*a match box car that was pink and apparently belongs to Paige
*a pocket knife that we’ve never even seen before
*the iPod Touch that we may or may not have accused people of stealing
*lots of, and by ‘lots of’ I mean a bajillion, snack wrappers
*Tootsie Rolls and wrappers -some still in the wrappers, some not. some half eaten.
*and a single Smartie that looked more like a teeny, tiny Petri dish. Yeah, I didn’t know they could grow mold either. But they do.

And don’t even ask how we got all that stuff out. It was a job. I felt like I was playing that claw game where you get stuffed toys as a prize. Only I was using a pair of tongs and a magnetic pointer with a much less desirable outcome. Needless to say I have threatened the kids within an inch of their life to keep the new couch…well, new.

So, now that the living room is semi-done we have to start working on the guest room down stairs. My brother and his wife are coming to visit for a week over Spring Break which is just under a month away. Right now the guest bedroom looks more like a junk drawer rather than an acceptable place for two people to sleep. The walls are covered in spackle, we still don’t have a frame for the mattress and….. yeah, you get the idea. Did I mention they’ll be here in 18 days?

Things will slow down. When I’m 80.

A Baby, a Cold, and New Furniture

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I would like to apologize to my millions of fans and followers….wait, I don’t have millions of fans and followers. Ok, so I’d like to apologize to my two friends, my husband, and my parents for my absence and lack of ability to get anything posted for the last two weeks. In my defense, it’s been a crazy two weeks. And someone needs to invent a handy little gadget that can convert my thoughts to text while I’m driving, laying in bed sick or cooking. On second thought that may not be a great idea.

Last week was mid-winter break for me and the kids. I’m not sure why we got it but I’m glad we did because, quite honestly, I don’t like to work. Ok, I dont’ mind work. I really love my job actually. But who wouldn’t rather be home? Anyway, since I was off I was able to help out our best friends by watching their little one for a few days. He’s one year and one month old and the cutest thing in the world. He was so entertaining! And best of all I had an excuse to watch Blues Clues and The Backyardigans again!! One of those nights their daughter Bug (yes, we really call her that) spent the night with us and we all went to the zoo the next day! I took 7 kids to the zoo by myself. Call me crazy! My niece (she’s actually my ex’s niece but I love her and I’m still claiming her) went with us but she had two of her own ages 3 and 1 so I was still on my own with my 7. It worked out great though. Tank (yes, we really call him that and there’s a reason for it) was contained in the stroller the majority of the time and Bug was attached to Emma the entire time. The other’s are old enough and fairly easy to keep track of. If I ever do ‘lose’ anyone it’s almost always Matt and it’s usually for only a few minutes. So I was good. This trip was very successful though! No one was lost, a great time was had by all, everybody was happy, one took a long nap and everyone else was too tired to fight when we got home! SCORE!

Last week wasn’t so fun. I was sick all week with a sinus and ear infection. I know it’s bad when Gary looks at me and says “You don’t look so good. Kinda like death. But warmed over.” Yeah, it was that bad. My house didn’t get cleaned and I didn’t care. Which is huge. I went to work all week. At least I think I did. I’m hoping I didn’t screw anything up too bad. I do remember getting aggravated and a little offended because people kept coming in my office asking me how I felt and then saying “…because you look horrible.” Well, thank you. Then why did you ask? I mean really people?

I finally started feeling better on Friday. Just in time for the weekend baby!!! Yeah, a weekend full of work. We’re getting new furniture on Wednesday. So crazy excited I can’t stand it! Our first furniture purchase together. My first ever! I’ve always had hand-me-downs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m all about free [or cheap] stuff. But this is furniture that I actually chose myself! Specifically for me and my house. Anyway, the living room needed a few small improvements. So after a weekend of spackling, sanding, painting, grocery shopping at ten o’clock at night, moving furniture and shampooing carpets, the living room is now ready for the new furniture. That won’t be here for three days.

So hopefully I now have everyone’s sympathy and I’m forgiven for being slack unable to post for the last two weeks. If I don’t post anything for another two weeks it will be the furniture’s fault for being so pretty to look at and too comfortable to get off of. Just sayin’.

Kids Will Do Anything For A Puffball

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Even though we have so many schedules and routines it takes a lot of work for things to run smoothly around here. Just so you know….I do not do it all myself. There’s no way I could. I would be a) completely and totally exhausted 24/7 and 2) a mean person. To save us all from the heartache everybody pulls their own weight around our house. There are too many people in this house for one person to take care of everything. And everyone in this house is capable of helping out. This is our home and everyone is responsible for helping to take care of it.

So instead of a chore chart we have a RESPONSIBILITY BOARD. I’m not fond of the word chore because it implies that you are going to get paid for doing it and we don’t do allowance. I’m not going to pay you to pick your underwear up and put it in the dirty clothes because it’s something you should do anyway. It’s your responsibility. Now if you want to pick up dog poop or wash the car then yeah, I may give you a little something. But don’t tell the kids that…I won’t be able to afford it. Our responsibility board has the bath schedule on it as well. Their names are magnetic so we can switch them around at the beginning of each week. There is a list of daily responsibilities for morning, afternoon and evening and each child has a weekly responsibility as well. One lucky kid gets a ‘bye’ week. Only because we couldn’t think of a fifth thing for them to do. Leave your suggestions in the comments below. And don’t say vacuuming. I thought about that but I like my vacuum lines to be a certain way and I know the kids won’t do it right. Wait…when I actually say these things out loud it does seem very obsessive compulsive. Anyway, the weekly ‘responsibility’ is also magnetic and we’re thinking about adding more but I can’t let any of the kids do anything else around the house without going behind them and doing it over again. There it is again, did you hear it? Anyway, the board comes in really handy. And it’s super cute too, which as we all know, is what matters the most. Am I right? We also have a reward system to help motivate them to take care of their daily responsibilities. They each have their own jar and they receive puff balls for completed tasks, when they do something super nice for someone or help with something that’s not their responsibility. They’ve all set goals and when they reach said goal they receive their chosen reward. Gary and I had to give them guidelines on what a reasonable reward is. Chalon’s first goal was 20 puff balls for a PlayStation 3. Try again buddy! In the end, they did pretty well.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter how many schedules or responsibility boards we have. If we don’t work together it just doesn’t work. I am only one person and there are 7 living here. It’s just not possible for me to do it all by myself. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m not Super Woman. Thankfully I have a husband who knows that. Gary sees what I do for our family and he values that and appreciates it.

My job in this house is to submit to my husband. I am to put his needs above mine and serve him. Ephesians 5:22-24 says 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. It continues on saying 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.t28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

As I submit to Gary and act as a servant to him he in turn desires for my happiness and loves me with the same sacrificial love that Christ has for the church. He also puts my needs ahead of his own and longs to serve me. It’s this kind of love and obedience that keeps things running smoothly around here. As I said before, the reason why it works for us is we put God first.

Tissues, Soap, and S’mores…or How To Make Memories

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I grew up as an only child even though I have two brothers. Actually all three of us grew up as only children. We each have different moms and share our biological father. So technically we are only half siblings but let’s not split hairs. I actually didn’t meet my brothers until I was an adult. I knew they existed but had never met them. How we met and grew to know one another is another blog for another day. And this ain’t the day.

I was kinda spoiled growing up. And by ‘kinda’ I mean extremely. I was the first [and only] child for my mom and the first grandchild for my grandparents. Plus, my mom and I moved in with her parents when I was about six months old after my biological father left us. We lived there for 5 years. Needless to say I ended up becoming very close to my Nana and my aunt and uncle, who were both still kids themselves when I came along. At five years old my mom married my new dad. A wonderful man who loved me like his own and proved it by legally adopting me. He’s my daddy and I’m his little girl. I am so blessed to have him as my dad. And as a Papa to my kids. Between my parents and my Nana, who am I kidding…my aunts and uncles too, I was spoiled rotten. The thing is that even though I totally enjoyed all those things that I got I cherish all the memories that I have even more.

I grew up out in the country on a dirt road that only my family [and some family friends that are family too] lived on. We didn’t have cable tv or the internet. We had four-wheelers, a dirt road and the woods. My best friend Brian and I actually used our imagination and played outside. We were ninja’s some days, veterinarians on other days and then we were scientists one day. But only one day. We blew up mom’s bathroom and that was the end of that. So we went back to being ninja’s. We had chickens, horses and pigs. It was my job, at least occasionally to collect the eggs and I learned that roosters aren’t exactly the nicest creatures. The pigs were pretty cool. I would feed them scraps over the fence and I think I even named them. Then one day a big truck came and they loaded the pigs up on the truck. That’s the day I learned what the word slaughter meant. Sad day. I look back on the days of me and Brian exploring the woods, almost killing ourselves on riding the four-wheelers, climbing trees and building forts and wish that my kids could have those same experiences.

Thanks to my parents I was quite the traveler. My dad was in the military until I was in high school and even though we didn’t travel the world we did live in Colorado several times. And I’ve seen most of the United States. I’ve road tripped across the country several times and it was amazing!! From what I understand my grandmother was less than pleased that my parents did such a thing to me. I believe that’s because she was just mad that they were taking me away from where she was. Which is understandable. I’m extremely thankful to have had the opportunities that I had though. I had driven across the country [at least twice], skied the Rocky Mountains, spent the night in Vegas, went deep-sea fishing in the Pacific, saw the Hollywood sign, been to Disneyland [and Disneyworld], went to many Braves games, went to a home Dodger game and went camping in the Rocky Mountains [and lots more]. All before my 16th birthday. How many sixteen year olds can say that? Ok, I know I’m not the only person who’s done that much by that age and I know that some have done more than that. I’m just thankful to have been blessed with the opportunities my parents [and the military] gave me. Those memories will be with me forever and my kids are going to hear amazing stories of things I’ve been able to do and things I’ve seen. I’ll never be able to give my kids those kinds of opportunities. My plan is to give them everything I can. Not material things that will rust and break. But memories that they will cherish forever. I want to give my kids stories to amaze their kids with some day.

Soap Carving


We haven’t road tripped across the country. We have been to Disney World though! Just for a day. But it was the best day EVER!! We don’t need lavish vacations to make memories though. We build fires and make s’mores in the backyard. We fry candy

Best day EVER

bars and Oreos and pickles. We buy bars of soap and carve them into soap sculptures. We tour our State Capital and feed the birds and squirrels [we were mistaken for a school group when we went in for the tour, I took that as a complement about my organizational skills]. We do fun science experiments too. One time we made ice cream in a zip lock bag. Another time we made Mentos fountains and a cool video! We have the coolest kids and we love making memories with them.

Here’s a video Gary made of one of the memories we made with the kids. We bought 8 boxes of tissues, moved the furniture and told the kids to have at it. You can see the confusion on their faces turn into sheer bliss. And one day over Thanksgiving dinner they’re going to say “Remember that time our parents got us all those tissue boxes…….”

Fun With Tissues from Blending Chaos on Vimeo.