Tag Archives: family

Giving Scrooge a Kick in the Pants

Yesterday was a HORRIBLE day. The dog escaped (again) and I had to run all over the neighborhood – finally my neighbor trapped him in her backyard (thank you, thank you, thank you, neighbor), the kids were all little monsters (with the exception of Robert – he’s not old enough for monster status yet). We had temper tantrums, pee spots, poo spots, talking back, fighting, the disapearance of treats being saved for giving away and stockings, and more.

By the end I was the re-incarnation of Scrooge. Christmas be hanged, bah-humbug. I was ready to call the whole thing off, throw out the tree, lights and all, and smash the next radio that played a Christmas song. Consequently I had gone the entire day without even turning on the Christmas lights and my one attempt at listening to Christmas music only seemed to enhance how horrible everyone was acting (me included) and I wanted to hurl, so I promptly turned it off again. It had never felt so non-Christmassy, ever, EVER.

Well, we were planning on either going to the Zoo to see the lights (our pass gets us in to see the lights free – yay!) or doing more caroling, but by the time Paul came home all I wanted to do was go to bed. But, despite the rotten day and my rotten attitude we managed to pull together and stumble out the door to head out to the Zoo. It was late and we knew we wouldn’t have much time, but we knew, for whatever reason we needed to go.

Dot suggested we turn off the radio and sing our own Christmas songs and that maybe it would help bring the Spirit of Christmas back. I kinda mumbled at first, but pretty soon the car was full of singing as we bounced along to the zoo.

From the parking lot to the entrance you cross over the road on a bridge beneath a canopy of lights, with the excitement of the children catching on I found my horrible rotten day melting away. For whatever reason, we needed that family moment and we had a lot of fun.

Our favorite was the light display timed to flash along with the music. The kids were fascinated by it. Rosey cheeked from the cold, we were swept along by the lights and joy as we reveled once again in the magic of Christmas and the feeling of family. We even stopped in on the elephants and in the building that housed the birds – which were AMAZING! I was most intrigued with the ginormous bats – they were HUGE! And some of the birds were so colorful – brilliant amazing colors, purple, yellow, orange, blue, green – so many colors!

Too soon we found out the zoo was closing and we made our way toward the entrance. It was 9:30 and the kids were tired, Jacob especially was beginning to wane. Finally he plunked on the edge of a bench. “I’m too tired,” he said looking at me.

I looked to the side where the girls were running ahead and saw a lane brilliantly lit with red and white lights. A sign to the side read, “Candy Cane Lane.”

“Don’t you want to go down Candy Cane Lane?” I asked in hopes of distracting him and aiming him back toward the entrance so we could get back to the car and head home without too much of a fight.

He hopped onto his feet and began patting his legs. “Wake up! Wake up! Please, wake up!” Then he dart off to Candy Cane lane, leaving me chuckling behind him.

When we got home, Paul tucked the kids into bed while I promptly turned on the Christmas lights and filled the home with Christmas music. The horrible day didn’t seem so horrible anymore, and I was thankful for family who can come out shining even at the end of rough day. I sure do love them.

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Filed under Children, Dot, Family, Humor, Jacob

Snow!!!

One of my favorite memories from my childhood is of sledding down the hill in our own backyard. We even built ramps to fly off of and would layer sleeping bags in the bottom of our sleds for cushion when we landed. Sledding and playing long into the day, building snow forts and having snowball fights. And of course our memorable 8-10 foot snowman – dad had to climb on a ladder in order to finish him off. He leaned like the Tower of Pisa until he was almost at a 90 degree angle to the ground before he finally fell over. The lone while pillar of snow after all the rest had melted away.

Living in Oregon I have been a little wistful the past few years, wishing the same for my children. We have had our snowing spurts, but the only hill available for easy access was our driveway which offered very little.

Well, now, we have the COOLEST backyard and nothing gives me more joy than watching my kids go speeding down the hill on sleds, squealing and laughing all the way. They say it’s not typically this snowy in Cincinnati in December, but I am SO glad for it. Now, If I can get just baby fed and asleep, maybe I can do a little sledding to! 😀

Our first snow, we just had the tobogan…

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Sledding 1a

Then I got smart and picked up a couple extra sleds at the local Target, figuring they’d come in handy hopefully sooner rather than later.  And they did! Today has been an absolute blast!

Sledding 2

Sledding 2a

Let it snow!!!

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Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Every Day Life, Jacob, James, Lizy, Memory

Raking Up Leaves is Fun to Do…

For now anyway, I am sure the excitement will wear off soon, cause they’ve just barely begun to fall. Luckily Paul has a leaf blower which helps out – A LOT. Murdoch seems quite intrigued by the leaf blow too – he tries to fight the air to “bite” the nozzel – pretty hilarious to see his gums flapping in the breeze.

So, today, while I took a nice little walk with Robert and James, everyone else got started on the leaves. My walk was wonderful, by the way, I was even joined by a neighbor and it was awesome to get to know her better. I am loving out neighborhood and the people in it! Anyway, back to the leaves… When we got back the leaf raking party was in full swing and James was all to excited to help out.

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Oh, and I think James had just as much fun with the leaf blower as Murdoch did…

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And of course in the midst of all that hard work there was plenty of play!

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Oh, and each kid as they flew through the air to jump in the leaf pile was shouting “WAHOO!” So, you have shout it in your mind – or even better out loud – as you look at each picture in the collage – it will complete the visual experience. Seriously. Do it. NOW. 😀

Leaf Jumping 2010 2

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I love Autumn! I love the trees and the leaf piles. I love the giggly kids as they fly through the air to jump in the leaf piles. I love pumpkins and apples and cider. I love the crispness to the air and crunch of leaves underfoot. And to think, we’re just getting started – there’s lots more Autumn to come. Yay!!

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Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Every Day Life, Jacob, James, Lizy

Introducing Robert

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7 lbs 13 oz. 21 1/2 inches long. Born at 7:32 Friday, September 3rd and adorable as all get out!

We had joked a few weeks before that it would be perfect if he were born the Friday before labor day because Paul had Monday off. Well, in all honesty the idea wasn’t mine – my friend Emily (due just two days after me) divulged her plan to have a Labor Day weekend baby whilst we were visiting teaching one night. It sounded good – We never thought it would actually happen! He had been breech for a long time and was not wanting to turn. So, we scheduled to do a version on Friday morning – hoping they would be able to turn him and avoid a c-section.

Paul gave me a blessing the night before and the baby was blessed that he would turn. I went to bed shortly after and it felt like he was having party in there! He was kicking and moving so much I could hardly sleep.

Friday morning I woke bright and early – well early at least, and headed up to the hospital – I had to be there by 7. My hope was that if they got him to turn we’d induce – not give him the chance to turn back again, and it just felt like the right thing to do.

So, I got to the hospital and they got me prepped. Our midwife went to check the baby’s position and mentioned she thought he had already turned. She did an ultrasound to make sure, and yup, smart kid had turned on his own during the night. Smart guy, no wonder it felt like he was having a party in there. So, they decided to go ahead and induce and I was very happy. It felt like he was ready to come, and I was SO ready for him to be here.

We started things slow and when the contractions were finally picking up around 4:30 they went ahead and broke my water and that’s when things really got moving. After 5 babies born all naturally, and having to do this one so completely different, I decided to be a wimp and have an epidural. I must say it was the right decision this time and it was wonderful (though I wouldn’t change any of my previous births at all). Little guy was born 3 hours later. It was a wonderful experience.

So we began our family with a horrible hospital experience when Liz was born and ended it with a wonderful hospital experience when Robert was born. Seems fitting. 😀 Anyway, we are so happy to have him here – and I’m happy to not be pregnant anymore :-D. There have been so many wonderful blessings and miracles around this birth, we are truly blessed.

I had to stay a minimum of 24 hours in the hospital – there are some required tests here in Ohio that have to be done at 24 hours of age, but I convinced them to spring me after the required 24 hours – yay for kid number 6 and being an experienced mom!

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Paul brought the kids up on Saturday and they were all so enthralled with the baby.

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We’ve already had some priceless comments from them on the new little tyke.

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James was just taken with him and kept saying, “Baby” over and over again. Then that night Paul was helping him say his prayers and said, “Please bless Robert.” James looked up at him and said, “Who?”

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Jacob proclaimed, shortly after meeting his new baby brother, “But he doesn’t do anything!”

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Dorothy, after seeing pictures of him just after he was born (but after they had already put him in a onesie) asked in no small amount of awe, “We’re born with our clothes on?”

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Emily didn’t say much – I think she was absolutely speechless and in love with him on sight.

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Elizabeth couldn’t quit talking about how adorable he was. I happen to agree. 😀

So, welcome aboard, Robert! We’re a nutty bunch, but something tells me you’ll fit in just fine…

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Filed under Bobert, Children, Dot, Em, Family, Humor, Jacob, James, Lizy, Things Kids Say

Exterior House Photos

The long awaited for house photos – and tire swing photos too! Exterior only right now – I’m waiting on the interior ones until things inside are a little more orderly and you can see the interior through the boxes 😉

Ohio Backyard Collage 2

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Independence Day! We celebrated by driving up to Dayton to hang with a good highschool/college friend, Bonnie, and meet her family. We had a ton of fun and met another wonderful family too. On the way home we watched fireworks popping up all over the place and finally pulled into a parking lot to watch the display happening all around us.

This evening we set off our own fireworks (it was too late when we got home last night, so we did them early tonight because kids were tired) and beat the heat with popsicles.

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Filed under Every Day Life, Family

Hello, Blog. My name is GoofyJ. Remember me?

Wow. That is really all I can say. Just wow. Time has flown and dragged by at the same time. And now, here I sit in a home, my home, in Cinci, Ohio. Weird. Oh and I only have two months until baby comes? How did that happen? Double weird.

Where do I start?

Maybe I’ll just fling up some photo collages of our journey since right before Paul left – some of you might have seen the pics on Facebook, simply scroll faster if you want to get through them quicker. Though if you go too fast you might miss any witty reparte in between them… well, no promises. 😀

We’ll start with the loading the truck collage. We loaded the truck the day before Mother’s Day. That is my awesome bro with the ductaped pants – they kept splitting further… and further… and we just kept adding to the tape so he wouldn’t be indecent. 😀

Moving Collage

After the truck was loaded, we realized there was a lot of stuff we wanted to take that didn’t fit. Then when the car behind it was pulling heavy we had to empty it – so that meant all of our musical instruments had to stay behind. It was the deciding factor on driving out a second truck.

Sunday, Paul tried to leave me a Mother’s Day present…

Saram Wrap 1 Collage

Saram wrapped kids. Unfortunately, they escaped.. and then they revolted and tried to keep dad from leaving.

Saram Wrap 2 Collage

He escaped too, and left the next day.

Then came the fun. And all the hard work. I worked on packing odds and ends, painting the inside of the house, mowing lawns with grass up to my chest in some places, chasing five kids, growing a baby, going on last ditch outing with friends, and keeping from going completely insane. The worst part of it all was how much I missed having my hubby with me. I love that man!

We had fun too in the midst of all the work. I would have like to do more, but we at least made it to the beach one last time, and to Mt. St. Helens.

Goodbye Northwest Beach

My brother and his family came with us on the beach trip, the Mt. St. Helens trip I did solo.

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I was proud of myself with two things on the St. Helens trip- 1. I didn’t go completely insane and 2. I managed to stay awake on the way home (though I had to chug a giant Dr. Pepper in order to do so – yuck. At least it tastes a little better than the other colas, and without the caffeine we wouldn’t have made it.)

In the midst of everything else we also threw an early b-day party for Em…
Em B-day Party

We had to have the cake on the floor because our table was already with hubby in Ohio.

And had Jacob’s preschool Graduation

Jacob Preschool Grad Collage

Is he just stinkin’ cute or what? 😀 Then we were on the road. My bro from Oregon helped us drive – he drove the truck while hubby and I enjoyed the un-air conditioned van. Our first stop was Utah to visit my big sis. Heidi and Paul’s big bro. Mark. Of course we were exhausted and dead in the brain when we stopped by Mark’s place so I didn’t get the camera out. SHOOT. At least I remembered at Heidi’s – it was a close call though – it didn’t come out until right before we left. (My feet were looking slightly pudgy)

Utah Collage

Then on to Colorado to visit my next big sis. Lisa. We went to the most amazing park while we were there. We got to see my parents too. I am shooting myself in the foot for not taking more pics. Grrrr. (My ankles were feeling left out and decided to join my feet in pudgyness)

Colorado Collage

Then we crashed at my big bro. Kimball’s place in Arkansas. By now, my ankles resembled tree trunks and I began to hang out in the truck with my bro. I’d like to say it was sibling bonding, but it really was the AC – just kidding. 😀 It was definitely both.

Arkansas Collage

Finally in Ohio – I don’t have more pics yet – but they will be coming…

Ohio Backyard Collage

for now enjoy our back yard and a really cool park. The deer in the pics is in our neighbor’s yard. We saw it three days in a row this week. The first day it was two yards down (when I took the pics) the second it was in our next door neighbor’s yard, and the third it was in our yard. If we see it again, I think I will name it. 😀 We have millions of lightning bugs – my absolute favorite – there’s just something magical about them. And I have been able to see and catch a photo of the Red Cardinal – my favorite childhood bird, which I completely forgot lived out here. Also in our back yard and neighbor’s back yards we frequently sight bunnies hopping around. 😀

Cool Ohio Park Collage

A wonderful end to a long and fun few months! I am hoping to have lots of adventures to tell. For now – I am off to bed. Because even if I don’t post this until later – it is 1:00 in the AM right now.

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Filed under Cakes, Children, Dot, Em, Every Day Life, Family, Humor, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature, Photography

As Time Goes Spiraling Past

Wow. So much has been happening. It seems time just keeps speeding up and moving along. Leaving me lurching along behind.

Jacob turned five and had a marvelous birthday, I had an amazing day out at the beach with Betsy (without kids! woot!). Spring break came and went with a mixture of sun, rain, and fun. Then, Easter sped along in its wake and we made our annual visit to the hospital.

Now, today, we are facing one more major change as time spirals past. Paul got a job. A great job, one that we are thrilled and excited about. So, we are on the move. Ohio, here we come! Crazy thing is, we’ll only be about 5 hours away from where I grew up and all those crazy stories of mine about my farm days took place.

We are excited. Way excited. We are nervous and scared too. And I will miss so many of our wonderful friends that we’ll leave behind, but excited for the new ones we’ll make. We’ll have to find a new cardiologist, and a new midwife or something for me. We’ll be moving the family out in June – right at the start of my last tri-mester. Most of May and June I will be flying solo with the kids, while Paul heads back to Ohio to get started. So many changes, both exciting and scary. But we know it is right. It feels good. It feels like the answers to questions we have been searching for for a few years now. Most of all we feel peace about it.

This really is going to be our year after all. New job, new home (hopefully a house of our own), new baby.

Now, I just need to start packing. YIKES!

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Filed under Every Day Life, Family

Dancing the Night Away

“Mom, Mom! We want to go!” the girls burst in the door after school and thrust three pink sheets of paper in my face. I gathered the papers and noticed each one advertised a community daddy daughter dance for Valentine’s Day. My first response was, “Of course! What fun!” but then I noticed the price per person – a whopping $23 a piece. There was no way we could send three girls and their dad to the dance at that price, so I conjured up a quick plan.

I explained it was more than we could afford for all of them, but (and I had to sneak it in there as quickly as possible to hold of the moans of dissapointment) how about if we had our own Valentine’s Dance on the Monday after Valentine’s Day? It would give us the day to clean, decorate, and make refreshments. They readily agreed and the plan was put in motion.

Sunday afternoon we took turns writing on giant hearts what we loved about each member of the family and about our family in general. 49 hearts later they were plastered all over our dining area wall (where we would have the dance.) Monday we cleaned and scrubbed, baked and decorated. Everyone pitched in and waited with anticipation for Daddy to get home from work.

For dinner we mingled finger foods in with the refreshments in true dance fashion and even pulled out the glass punch bowl for authenticity. We put lamps near the kitchen and turned out the overhead lights so even the lighting would be perfect and turned on the music.

It was a blast and the kids decided we needed to make it a tradition – have a family dance yearly at Valentine’s Day – we’ll see how they feel about that when they’re teenagers, heh. But for the time being it was wonderful and created lasting memories of special times with Daddy and Mommy.

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Valentine 1

And, I just had to put this photo in because of Jacob’s and Em’s faces – I thought it was just classic!

Valentine Dance Em and Jacob Faces

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Filed under Children, Dot, Em, Family, Humor, Jacob, James, Lizy, Photography

“I don’t know that my mom is pregnant”

We found out a few weeks ago that number six is on the way.  SIX!! We felt very strongly for some time that we had another member of our family waiting to join us, but it is still mind boggling to me.  We told a few people when we found out, we usually wait to tell people until we’ve safely made it through the first trimester, but the more kids you have the faster you pooch and the harder it is to hide (for me anyway).

So a week or so ago one of my friends, not realizing that we hadn’t told all the kids yet, mentioned it to my 7-year-old. “Are you excited your mommy is having a new baby?”

She looked at the woman, shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know that my mom is pregnant.”

I waited for her to ask me about it, but she never did. My friend and I, and Paul all had a good laugh over it, but the question never came. We finally gave in and told the kids this week and Em was elated, as was every one else, but she never acknowledged that she had been told a week earlier – I don’t think it ever sunk in 😀

So, there you have it! Number 6 is officially on its way. I had my first ultrasound today and so I now have a due date – September 10. My first prenatal will be partway through Feb. Oh – and morning sickness? Eh, not much, just perpetual nausea that lasts most of the day – and being REALLY tired.  Other than that, we are good (as long as no one minds the messy house).

So, this year is proving to be an interesting one full of changes: a baby,  and some major change in living arrangements and/or job, and with any luck maybe I’ll get a bite or two on one of my manuscripts – 20 rejections on one and counting – yeehaw! (I can’t complain or get discouraged until I hit triple digits :-D). Who knows what will happen or where we will land. My parents are coming home soon and we will either be buying their house (if Paul gets a better job that will allow us to) or flying the coop to who knows where. The great job/house hunt has begun and where we land is anybody’s guess.

Scary, exciting, nervewracking, and wonderful all wrapped up in one.  We get to focus on painting and being sure the house is ready to sell in case we don’t buy it, while hoping we can stay (we really do love it here and the house, and yard and… and…) but looking anywhere and everywhere for a job that will support the growing family better and pay Paul what he’s worth. (He’s officially done with school by the way – woot!!)

So, maybe this will be our year too – at any rate we already have one marvelous change and are looking forward to possibly many others and hopefully not TOO much stress along the way. 😀

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Filed under Children, Em, Pregnancy

Has it really been over a month? (a random post)

Wow. I’ve been writing so much, I haven’t realized I have neglected my blog so terribly. Another NaNoWriMo has come and gone and I while I have completed the goal of 50,000 words in a month the first draft of this book still isn’t completed. I have come to the conclusion that it is really hard to keep up the blog while I am writing a book – I feel guilty if I have time to write and I don’t spend it on the big project. 🙂

At the same time – I miss all of my blog friends 🙂 So, with November being done with I am hoping to be around more.

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About a week after Jacob was kind enough to bring the police over to the house James got a hold of the phone and dialed 911 – seriously – 3 visits from the police in just over a month is NOT my idea of fun. Thankfully we haven’t had any more visits since then.

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I had the most awesome piano recital! I only have a few students and while I am a firm believer in piano recitals and such, it seems silly to have a recital with only one or two students playing (my adult students don’t have to play, and about half of my students right now are adults). So, this time I contacted a local rest home and held the recital there. It was a hit! The residents loved it as well as the piano students, in fact, the students asked if we could do that for the piano Christmas party this year. 😀

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I get to be in a bell choir! It is so much fun 😀 I have always wanted to be in a bell choir and it is just a hoot and a half.

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Surprisingly enough, we have been able to dodge all the sick stuff – well until last Friday anyway. Jacob and James had their H1N1 shots on Friday morning and then out of the blue that night James was sick with the croup – bad enough we wound up in the ER in the morning because, though we had managed to get his breathing better, it was still very labored. He’s doing a lot better now with the meds he’s on, but he had us quite worried there for a while.

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I am revelling in the freedom and novelty of having a child old enough to babysit her siblings. The idea of being able to run an errand without five children attached is mind blowing. The idea of being old enough for that to happen is even more mind blowing.

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The best and final randomness – Paul will be done with school tomorrow! Like graduated done! This last term has been the hardest ever. Partly because he’s been taking two classes, and partly because we are so close to being done I can taste it. It will be wonderful to have him around again in the evenings and such. Not to mention, having the stress of grades and all that done with. Now we just need to figure out a job to allow us to buy this house or any house anywhere. So, while we’ve been job hunting all along, it is going to begin in earnest and where the wind blows us is where we will land.

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Filed under Every Day Life, Jacob, James, Music, Writing