Thursday, December 8, 2011


Grandma is here!


Mom came out in May to see the kids before school got out. She stayed through the end of the school year. They were all so excited to see her.  Grandma cooked and they loved it. Granny and Kenzie made cinnamon rolls and there is nothing Mackenzie loves more than cooking with her granny.

Mike and Amanda loved having her pick them up at the bus stop each day. 

Mike loved having her drive him to his soccor practice and play in front of her. He really is good at it and loved his coach this year. Hopefully we will be able to get him again.  

Lot of park trips took place. Jake's favorite past time even though he can't play int he grass.

And granny's favorite past time of yard work. There is never enough time to get it all done and there was always a surplus to do. Granny never ran out of things to do in the yard. Since that is her favorite thing other than playing with her grandkids though she was set while they were at school each day.

More planting to do...

And Kenzie got to have granny come to school for a major science project that she completed. Her teacher was extremely impressed over her project, knowledge and effort she put into the project and that is saying something because Mrs. Strand is not easy to please.

Granny leaves the middle of June but the kids will enjoy having her around until then. We really need to get the bathroom finished outside in the small room so that it will be more convient when people come to stay.  It worked out great her being able to stay out there though and she loved having her own space when the kids became too much.


Yard Work, Flowers, and Summer is on the Way!

April brings better weather that allows us to work in the yard. We rented another machine to be able to clear the front yard. The kids enjoyed getting to drive the tractor and dragging the ground to rid it of blackberries. Darrel hopes to plant grass in the front and hopefully it will fill in and we can get a playground up the next summer.  There is so much that we want to do and it seems like not enough time to do it all in. 
My tulips are coming up already and they are looking beautiful. Hopefully I will get to enjoy them all summer long. I am still amazed at how beautiful they look open and that each night they close up.  My favorite smelling flower would have to be the hyacinthia's though.  They remind me of the flowers in the leis that we got from Hawaii on our honeymoon. The blue flowers are the hyacinthia. 

Jake's 4!
Jake turned 4 this year. He is getting so big. He is always so easy to please. It takes just the smallest things. He is allergic to so much but doesn't see anything wrong with not having things. He will tell anyone "I can't have that but I can have...".  He is so smart. His little quirks have gotten so much better. He has also learned that his tantrums do not get him everything he wants. However, he still has times when nothing you say can help. He is usually so happy go lucky though. Pajamas have become a staple in his wardrobe and the silky long sleeve shirts with jeans. I think he still preferrs his pajamas though.  His mind is very analytical and he still takes things so literal.  It is funny to listen to his talk.  I'm sure with four siblings it won't take long and the humor will start showing through. He is really looking forward to starting school soon. He can't wait. A year and a half. Maybe then I can go back to work. Hopefully I will be able to find a job. I'm ready, that's for sure!


Amanda is 6!

On Amanda's birthday the school was doing a fundraiser at Wendy's so we decided to call the friends and invite them to meet us there and we would pay for dinner for everyone. She got to see her teacher at her birthday party and she got to see most of her friends at school. They brought out Wendy and Amanda got to have pictures with her.  She was truly in her element at this party! Kindergarten has become her favorite place to be. It has been nicknamed "Social Hour". Her teacher has nothing but praises to sing about Amanda.  She is struggle with remembering her letters, numbers, and sounds. I hope that she does not struggle with memorizing like her mother. She is so innocent but I am sure going to school she will learn more than she needs and will become enlightened soon enough.  

During Amanda's conference with her teacher she had two stories to tell me about Amanda and her innocence.  The first was from the beginning of school.  The teacher was trying to curb the girls "talking" and so she started a month after school started talking to the class about "work now and play later".  Now being a school teacher in the past I understood where this story was going when she started explaining it but I never expected the outcome that it came to.  It is often easier for younger children to remember lessons when they are shocked and so she said that when the talking was starting to impact the work getting done she spent the whole morning walking behind the girls at Amanda's desk and would say as she walked by "work now and play later or play now and work later". She said that Amanda would just laugh and chant it with the teacher each time. The rest of the class would drop their heads, quiet down, and get to work. Amanda continued to try to talk to her playmates or sing the chant. When it came time for recess all the kids lined up and got ready for recess. When they went to leave the teacher told Amanda that she needed to set back down at her desk. Amanda was very confused but did as her teacher said. When everyone left she asked Amanda what it was that she had chanted to her all morning. Amanda was able to recite the rhyme immediately. Mrs. Bartlett said, this is why she would be loosing her recess. Amanda had a very confused look on her face as if she did not understand.  She did not understand. Mrs. Bartlett asked her what the rhyme meant and Amanda said "I don't know but it sounds great doesn't it?" with the biggest smile on her face.  The teacher realized she really didn't understand and repeated in very slow words and said "if you chose to play first then you had to work when others got to play. If you worked first, then you got to go to recess". All of a sudden she said that she saw the light bulb click in Amanda's head and saw two big fat tears run down her face. She said that Amanda did not say a single  word but just  sat there and cried silently.  Mrs. Bartlett said that she felt so bad that Amanda had not understood all morning what she had said that she almost let her go out.  The next day Amanda was talking again and Mrs. Bartlett said the same rhyme and Amanda once again sang it and acted like she had never heard it before. Mrs. Bartlett then pulled Amanda aside and asked her if she understood what she was saying and reminded her of yesterday and what had happened when she talked during class time. She said suddenly Amanda went quiet and realized what it was that the teacher was saying.  The teacher said that it took many more times of reminding her but that Amanda had the best attitude that it was very hard to squash her excitement about everything that they did.   The other story was about how the teacher felt that Amanda had a heart of pure gold.  The teacher explained that she had a girl in the class that was a little "snobby" to the other girls in the class. It had created lots of heartache all year long. The girl showed no remorse for any of the things she had done wrong in the classroom all year long. In March the teacher was finally tired of it and had ridden the student  for two whole months and finally worked her down to where she was crying. The teacher was finally to a point that she thought she might be able to make a breakthrough. Hoping that she might be able to talk to the girl about her behavior and how it made others feel.  Amanda saw how upset the girl had gotten and walked over to her before the teacher was able to pull the girl aside. She said instantly she was in shock when she saw Amanda wrap her arms around the girls back and said, "don't worry, no one should ever talk mean to you or anyone". Mrs. Bartlett said the girl immediately looked at Amanda and got a big smile on her face and cried no more. The teacher said she couldn't believe it "two months of work down the drain with just one sentence from Amanda".  Needless to say the girl did not change her ways. No lesson was learned and Amanda had no idea what she had done.  At 6 Amanda can't decide if she wants to be tomboy or girly girl.  One day she will have dresses on and be playing house and fixing her hair, makeup, nails and an hour later I will find her outside in the middle of the dirt with the water hose on to make mud pies with her brother.  She is so good to Jake and tries hard to take care of him. I think she babies him more than the older girls do. I hope that as she grows older she is able to learn from her mistakes, become knowledgeable, but keep that innocence that she has.


 Aunt Jeanie sent lots of stuff from the Easter Bunny.  They loved it all.  After they got done with all the baskets they got to go outside and hunt Easter eggs. We used fake eggs for Jake to hunt and the others were for the bigger kids. Not being able to touch eggs for Jake is interesting.  He has learned to use gloves to color eggs and even to hunt if needed.  Jake preferred the fake eggs anyway, they had candy in them!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Mackenzie is 12!

My Chunky Monkey girl turned 12!  She still loves her Aerial though. She chose to have an ice cream cake this year from Cold Stone Creamery. Her favorite dessert place!  Next year she will be 13. A true teen.  My last year to enjoy her being young.  However, the attitude that comes with the teens I think she received early. Sometimes this year we have received some really surprising comments from her. Shockers that have made me freeze not knowing how to respond. I know it must be that red hair because it seems like you can't figure out what might have set her off. She is wearing my clothes from my senior year in high school and it already within 2 inches of my height so she will not be staying a little petite thing. Her shoe size has grown to a 9! I'll be lucky if any of my children don't out grow me. They must have all received Darrel's height. Her and Kaylin get along like true sisters and I hope that they stay close as they get older. They have both received unique situations. Mackenzie has always been the oldest and in the last couple years she has had to stand down and accept the fact that she is not the oldest kid anymore. I am sure part of her has been upset about this and we have had some fights over this the past year. I hope she realizes though how much she used to complain about being the oldest and getting the brunt of it all and lessons learned on her.  Now that has been handed over to Kaylin. Maybe she will see that she can step back and learn from someone else rather than having to learn by error on her own. Everything has positive and negative points. I only hope that she can see all the pluses and enjoy experiencing this unique opportunity to be in a different position.  Nothing in life is perfect and I hope that my kids can learn to always think on the positive of any situation and what they can gain from it or how they can learn from it rather then what was wrong with it or what they didn't like. I think it has taken a year but she is finally starting to see this. She is already talking about when Kaylin gets her license she will get the experience of watching Kaylin make mistakes that she won't when she gets to drive. She is also thinking about all the places Kaylin will be able to take her until she gets her license.

Kaylin - 15 years old

Kaylin's 15th Birthday was a family party. We celebrated with dinner at home and then she got to open her present before Darrel left for work. She got a PSP this year. She said she was wanting one and at Christmas Darrel and I found one on sale so we bought it and kept it for 2 months. She was so excited to get it. The little kids were also excited for her probably because she was. She has truely become one of the family and I am not sure the little ones even realize she is truely their cousin and not sister.  They look up to her and love spending time with her. They love her so much and are going to miss her when she does finally leave us. 3 years does not seem that far away! I can only hope she sticks around for a while trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. She has such a great future and I hope she sees this and takes advantage of it. We have talked this year with High School about some of the oportunities that she will be getting and hopefully she will take advantage of some of them. I really think that she has received a well rounded life and in lots of ways she is so much better off than most teens her age. She has experienced a lot of different things and extreems but she could use so many of these to her advantage. She has had the opportunity to be raised as an only child when she was younger and then she has had the opportunity to be raised in a big family now too. (I think 4 siblings is a pretty big family these days) So many kids get only one or the other and always want to experience the other not knowing what it is like. I think when she is older (20's) I would like to remember to go back and ask her which she preferred and why.  Darrel and I love her just like she was our own. We hope she knows this and understands how loved she is and that she is always welcome home. This will always be her home. She can get her permit this summer and I am already thinking about her driving. Part of me is excited and part of me is dreading it.  I guess we will wait to see how it plays out to see which feeling takes charge.


Mike I think this last year had a lot of fun at his birthday. It was number 10 and Darrel went all out and let him invite 10 boys to spend the night. I think 8 ended up staying and we definately had our hands full but everyone had lots of fun. We pulled out the X Box, Wii, and set them up in different rooms with the TVs and then put legos all over the kitchen table and everyone just kind of bounced all over. The hardest part was getting them all to got to bed. We probably should have just let them stay up as late as they wanted but since school was still in I was scared to have them too tired. I think #12 we will probably do that. They will be 2 years older anyway. He got lots of legos for his birthday and seemed very happy with it. Indiana Jones and Star Wars was the kits this year. Boy has he gotten bigger this year. I remember when he was just 1 and slept all day and night. He slept more than anyone I know. I guess he was just preparing for when he got older and would not be needing as much sleep then. It has been a busy but fast 9 years. I am sure then next 8 will be just as fast if not faster. He has been doing great in Cub Scouts and I hope he continues it when he goes onto Boy Scouts. I think it is something that he will enjoy and it will help him to continue to think about things and make good choices. Right now it seems like it is about 60% of the time. I would like to see this move to 90% and I think Scouts would help with this. He has matured more this last year than he has in the last 3 years. With his kind heart this is sure to work to his advantage. There must be something going in the right direction. Mike, I hope you know how much we love you and I am already looking forward to seeing what a great young man you turn into.
Well, we got Christmas put away and the new year rang in. Seems like this month has been very peaceful because of the holidays being over. I felt like this year they went really fast. It seemed like once Halloween came it all ran together and was nothing but caious from October to December. I didn't get christmas cards out this year even though I did do the family pictures. That was actually the point of it all but some of my best intensions fall short. The pictures did turn out great though and hopefully next year I will be able to get them out to everyone. My biggest problem seems to be tracking down all the addresses. Maybe next year I will start checking into sending electronic cards. It seems like I always have everyone's email addresses. Maybe that is the way to go for me. We will just see. Two birthdays coming up and then one each of the following months. We have birthday's in December, February, March and April. Then we break until the summer for me and Darrel. I love having a big family but boy does it keep you busy. I can't even imagine what it will be like when 4 of them are teens.

Christmas 2010

Christmas morning, Jake woke to a new bed from Santa. We enjoyed our Christmas breakfast and then the kids got to break into their presents.

Amanda received her Princesses Barbies and thought this was great. Darrel was so excited to get these for her. I thought she already had too many Barbies but Darrel has always wanted to get this girl Barbies. One of these days I will have to figure out what his fascination with them for Amanda is.

Mike got a DSIXL for his present. We are going to try another electronic. His sister got a DSIXL and it is really nicer than the DS that he currently has. I think we will hand that one down to Amanda. She will think it is great!

Mackenzie this year received a new camera. She always loves to take pictures and granny and papa got her one last year when she lived with them but the MP has gotten so much better we were able to get her one pretty cheap that is really nice.

Kaylin wanted an American Girl Doll since it was retiring this year and she would not be able to get this doll ever again. I think she wanted it just so she could keep it. She really is a little old for it but she does love dolls and stuffed animals. She has more than all of my other children put together. That has always been her thing.

Grandpa was with us this year and everyone enjoyed having him here. It was nice for him to be here this year. Hopefully he will be able to do it every few years.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Okay everyone, here is the most awesome site for santa email. It is very easy to use and very cool. You can upload pictures and make it very specific for each child.

I believe that mom has sent everyone access to Benjamins. You can buy it after you do it but it costs $5. We won't be buying them since I have five kids but one or two might be worth it. Hope all the kids enjoy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rainy day... baking day...

Jake and I baked all day today. We made loaves of bread, rolls, and homemade chicken noodle soup. For dessert we made cinnamon rolls. Boy, was it all good but I sure am full. It was a good day to cook since it was so cold today. It kept the house nice and warm...

Hi-Jinks at school...

Here the district is so small the carnival is held at the high school and everyone K-12 goes to it. The kids had lots of fun and every one had their costumes pleanty early this year so we were able to go dressed up.

Amanda is half angel, half devil
Kayin is a pirate wench
Mike is a black ninja
Kenzie is Snow (a character from the Vladimer Todd series)
Jake is a firefighter

They all had lots of fun and this finished off the busy weekend of Scouts.