Friday, November 7, 2008

What else could happen?

Have you ever asked yourself "What else could go wrong"?

Well, this is what happens while you are packing up to move across the country....

That's right, Lord Humble broke the growth plate in his wrist while practicing on the pommel horse.
For more Phun Fotos, head over to Candid Carries.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

To soup or not to soup?

One of the best things about our cross country move is the weather. It is much cooler here in the Pacific Northwest. It is cool enough for soup and I love soup! So after finding the box with my cook books in it, I had to make some Creamy Potato Broccoli soup. Since all of the kids like potatoes and broccoli, I felt pretty safe that it would be well liked.

Boy was I wrong!

Mini Man didn't like the color, so he ate his with his eyes shut!

Girly Wirly didn't like them mixed together. She wanted me to separate the broccoli from the potatoes and melted down crying because I couldn't do that! It would have been very funny except I kept thinking "is this how she will be once she PMS's?"

I wonder if she would have eaten it better if I had melted velveeta on it?
For more velveeta stories and a chance to win some visit Candid Carries.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Foto Memories of Ruthie

My SIL, Ruthie, just passed away a few days ago. This is a photo of her from my wedding.

You were so important to me. You were the first friend that I made when I moved to Florida and married Tom. You always made me feel like a part of the family. We would work out at the gym together. Go out for lunch or brunch. You would always help me with the other kids when I needed to focus on Lord Humbles medical stuff. I loved the way you would pop by the house to talk politics. You loved talking politics. Even though we agreed politically, I was always impressed and awed by your passion for it. You weren't afraid of sharing your opinions with anyone. Do you remember how you would call and tell me you just said something you shouldn't have? You would laugh and tell me how your shot your mouth off again! Your mouth got you into a lot trouble, but it also produced a laugh that was infectious, and kind words to your friends and patients. Your tenacious spirit amazed and inspired me. You never gave up! I will miss you!

For more Friday Foto Memories, head over to Candid Carrie.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Taking Over

There is an absolute craziness that has taken over the madhouse. One could argue that a house with 5 kids is always crazy, but we have went and added even more.
YUP, Girly Wirly starting kindergarten, homeschooling Lord Humble(9/10th grade) and Red (7/8th grade), fundraising for our upcoming gymnastics season, Little Bit trying to crawl, and Mini Man longing to be in school with everyone else, just wasn't enough. So,we decided to move across the country to the Seattle area and gave ourselves just a few months to make it happen.
I am looking forward to the seasons, and trees--BIG trees (not palm trees). And the thought of being hurricane free just makes us all do the happy dance. No more boarding up and evacuating. Woo Hoo!!!!
But in all of the excitement, there is also some sadness. We are leaving our friends some of whom I consider family. We have shared so much; births, weddings, illness, gymnastics practice.
It would be easy to get lost in the sadness. BUT, the movers will be here in 14 days. So back to the craziness I go!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tropical Storm Phun

After being trapped in the house for several days due to a tropical storm, the kids were desperately needing to burn off some energy. So, Tom took them outside to splash in the puddles. The cold hard rain did not stop them from doing the puddle dance of joy or from racing through the natural slip and slide!

For more Phriday Phun, head over to Candid Carrie and play along with her phabulous foto fiesta !

Monday, August 11, 2008

Stew anyone?

About 14 years ago, my ex-husband was active duty Air Force. Every three day weekend, a group of us would head up to Yosemite National Park to hike and camp. Because I was a new SAHM, I was the one responsible for making the dinner for the first night. I always made a big delicious vegetarian stew.
That trip, we were all excited. It was October, snow had fallen to 9000ft. and we were going to make camp at 7000ft. It was perfect weather for stew and we were all looking forward to eating it.
Thursday, the night before we were to leave, I began the soup. I chopped all the vegetables, pressure cooked the beans, made the broth, measured out the spices, and started assembling the stew. Everything was going along so smoothly. The smells were so intoxicating that I could hardly wait to eat a bowl of it. But, I resisted.
Finally, Friday morning. I am checking everything twice: tent, stew, baby back pack, baby, cold weather gear, hiking boots, stew. Oh, the stew. We are all anticipating the stew.
We drive the 4 hours up to the campsite. We hiked in a little ways and set up our camp. Since, we made good time, we all decided that we would do a small day hike and eat the stew later.
Finally, STEW TIME! We heat it up on the fire, spoon it out for everyone, and sit down to eat.
The first spoonful enters my mouth and YUCK! Something is terribly wrong with the stew. Maybe it is just me! But NO! Everyone is sitting around the fire with a mouthful of yucky stew in their mouth and starring at me!
In unison they exclaim, "Michelle, something is wrong with the soup!"
Well, it ends up that I had put in 6 TBS of cayenne pepper instead of chili powder.
It was inedible. It was horrible! We all spit it out and poured out the entire batch! It was so bad that I don't think the bears would have eaten it.
Now, we are starving.
We had to hike back to our cars and drive down into the valley and hope that the market was still open. Nope, no such luck. So we had to leave Yosemite Park and drive to the nearest town. We finally found a pizzeria. It was $20 for a large cheese pizza, but we were hungry.
I was teased about the stew for many years after that. For Christmas that year, some of them gave me jars of chili powder!
If you would like to read more cooking horror stories or share one of your own, please visit Absolutely Bananas.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Snow Monster

Three years ago, we took the kids to Whislter, BC and played in snow. This was Girly Wirly's first time in snow. She fell in love. She wanted so badly to learn how to snowboard with the boys that she would wear their helmet anytime they weren't using it.
To this day, she still talks about the snow and informs us that "we can move if it is to snow!". OH, the monster that we created!
For more phun fotos, please visit Candid Carrie.

Updated For Moose:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cute & Cuddly?

The speed limit is 55. But everyone is doing 70 on a two lane road that cuts through a swamp. We have been driving this road for almost a year and everyone has warned us about gators crossing the road or feral pigs.
"Be vigilant" everyone says.
"You will total your car if you hit one!"
Well, I have been vigilant. All that I have ever seen is birds flying and the usual road kill (possums, raccoons,ie).
I was beginning to believe that people were making up stories about the gators. Until Monday.
The car in front of me slammed on their brakes. Forcing me to lock up mine and sling all of the kids forward in their seat belts. I'm cursing under my breath about what is this idiot doing! We are in the middle of the swamp with no other cars around.
Then I see it. A four foot gator is racing across the street. It was so adorable and fast. I could see why the Crocodile Hunter called them cute. Okay so not like a 'cuddly take it home with you' cute, but it was cute! And fast!
I couldn't believe how fast it was. I started screaming for the kids to look out the window, but they were still in shock from me hitting the brakes so they missed it.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Top 10

Here is my Top 10 list of things that I have learned from my kids:

1. Babies smell sweet and yummy.
2. Mommy kisses can heal any boo-boo.
3. Veggies taste better from my plate.
4. The only difference between my teen and my toddlers temper tantrums are their word choices (poopie head vs. BLEEP).
5. World of Warcraft is addicting.
6. They remind me to take baby steps and to get up when I fall.
7. They have taught me to be consistent.
8. I have learned that my post-pregnancy belly is their favorite and funniest squishy toy.
9. I have learned that when I am away, Dad lets them do things that I don't (like watch Sponge Bob).
10. The biggest thing that I have learned from them is to love unconditionally and laugh often!

To play along or to view more lists, please visit Absolutely Bananas.

Making a Stand for Summer

5 Minutes for Mom is having a photo contest. Come and play for your chance to win $500.

Here is my entry:

Here is what you get when you take gymnasts (and little sis) to the beach.

*Click on photo for a larger view*

Friday, August 1, 2008

Safe & Sound

This picture was taken after Dave (my BIL) returned from Afghanistan. I love this picture because it is nice to have him home alive. I can only guess how difficult the deployment was for Dave, but I know how difficult it was for my sister and niece and nephew. I am proud of them all.
For more great Fotos visit Candid Carrie.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Internal Fight: ME vs. ME?

Yesterday, we went to the beach with our friends and it was a blast. We played in the water, caught starfish, and laughed a lot. As I watched the kids, you could tell that they were in the moment. Not concerned with the time or chores. Their only focus was FUN!

Although I had an amazing time with all of the kids and Bec, I kept watching the clock. Mentally making a list of all the chores/errands that would have to be finished once our fun was over. Why is it that instead having fun and being in the moment, I am lost in the land of lists and what-ifs?
After putting the kids to bed, I was still beating myself up for "not getting everything done". Then, Judy gently reminded that the kids won't remember the clean house, but they will remember the day at the beach. And that was all I needed to break up the internal fight in my head.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dear House,

Dear House,
I hear your whining. Your complaint has been logged. But I just needed a break yesterday.
I know that you were left behind full of dirt, toys thrown every where, dirty clothes on the floor, and dishes in the sink, BUT friends came over from out of town and we HAD to visit their hotel pool.
I know I promised to have you clean and straightened by today, BUT they are going to the beach. SOOOO, I just have to join them.
I promise to not be gone all day or to let the kids track to much sand in.
Thank you for understanding.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Heartbreak & Food

Over my life, I have experienced many different types of heartbreak. You know the ones: loss of a friendship, loss of a pet, loss of grandparents, miscarriage, divorce, even losing the big game. The list goes on and on. With all heartbreaks, you feel helpless and sometimes hopeless.
One of my worst heartbreaks was in 2002. It was supposed to be one of my happiest times. I turned 30, married Tom, and was expecting my first daughter (child #3). But it wasn't all a bed of roses. My oldest son, Lord Humble, was struggling. At first we said it was because there was so much change going on in his young life: moved to a new state, new school, step-dad, and there was going to be a new sibling.
But, we started seeing odd behavior at school. He would get frustrated and shredd his work, flip his desk over, break his pencils, and remember none of it later. He was suspended several times. The school refused to take him back unless we had him put on ADHD medication. So, to the doctor we went and came home with one medicine. But quickly, one turned into 3 and we were continously increasing the dosage. Things escalated. He was expelled from school. I was crushed. My nerdy gifted child was struggling and I didn't know what to do.
We petitioned the court and had to have him committed to a hospital for evaluation for 48 hours. Again I was crushed. Tom had to carry me away from the door to the car! I still remember him screaming and crying. I could hear him call, "MOM! MOM!! I WILL BE A BETTER BOY! I'M A GOOD BOY!! PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME!! MOM!"
I didn't know what else to do! Every bone in my body ached and I felt completely numb. I started having contractions and had to be monitored. Red was scared and worried. It was taxing.
After his release, he was on 3 different medications. Those didn't work and were changed quickly. They ran a battery of tests: bipolar--NO, temporal lobe seizures--NO, ADD/ADHD--NO. So, we were back to square one.
We brought in a behavorialist and 2 different counselors that visited us at home and at the new school. We tried different sports to give him a physical outlet.
Finally, we tried gymnastics. He fell in love with the sport and I met a mom who intoduced me to Sylvie (our DOM).
With the help of Sylvie and our new pediatrician, it took us several months to figure out what was causing such behavioral problems.
It was a severe food allergy!
We learned that Lord Humble is severely allergic to food coloring and sulfites. Both of which he was eating in his school lunch, packaged foods, and of course fast food. We also learned that he has liver damage. We will never know if it was caused by all of the different medications or if his ALT levels were high before the meds.
It has been a long hard road for our entire family. Lord Humble has been off all meds (both western and eastern herbs) for over 4 years. We maintain a very strict diet for him at home and he is thriving! Although I homeschool him, he is taking all honors classes and is already a full grade level ahead. He is also dreaming of being an Olympic gymnast and wants to help kids like him oneday.
I am proud of him and our family. We pushed through the storm and came out of it better informed.
There are times when I wish that it wouldn't have happened to my children, to my family. But, because of Lord Humble's allergies, we have been able to help other children who are having similar behavorial issues.
For more stories of heartbreak, please visit Absolutely Bananas.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bitter Sweet

A black sand beach in Hawaii

Whenever I see this picture it always brings back so many mixed emotions. How could such a beautiful place bring back both happy and sad memories?

The week prior to us leaving for the big island, we miscarried twins. We were devastated. My doctor preformed the D&C and ordered us to go on our trip.
So following Dr's orders, we went.

It ended up being exactly what we needed.

Hawaii allowed me to mourn & grieve and forced me to get out of bed every day. If I had been home, it would have to easy to never get out of bed and fall into a depression pity party. Experiencing the beauty and the people of Hawaii helped me to see it in myself again. It helped me to laugh and smile.

I am grateful to Hawaii. I am grateful to my doctor who recognized my needs before I did. I am grateful to God for putting the right people and places there when I needed them.

For more Friday Fotos, please visit Candid Carrie.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A little more logic

Okay, so I thought that it was just my younger kids who said or did crazy stuff. BUT, Nooooo!!

After picking the preteen/teen boys up from a friends house this afternoon they were both telling me about their day!

Me: How was you day?
Red: They broke K's bed wrestling.
Me: Were you wrestling with them?
Red: Nope, but I fixed it.
Me: How?
Red: The redneck way--with a sock and duct tape! (Proudly puffing out his chest and smiling)

Me: And your day Lord Humble?
LH: Their cousin was over.
Me: Yes, is he nice?
LH: I told him he looks like a gecko.
Me: Why?
LH: Because he has big eyes.

There must be some reason for all of the distorted logic? Maybe our new homeschool course should be TACT 101. Or maybe, I will just continue to say that they take after their dad!

Toddler Logic

My kids always amaze me with their logic.
For example on Monday, we were picking up my husbands dry cleaning. I hand the lady my visa card.

Lady: Is this debit or credit?
Me: Credit
Lady: Credit, okay.
Girly Wirly (in back seat of van) yells: Her name is not CREDIT! It is MOM. You spell it M-O-M! Smiling all proud of herself.

Neither the lady or myself could stop laughing. Yup, she is ready for kindegarten.

Or yesterday, Little Man has been very interested in making "soup". He had a plasic cup and a spoon outside. He runs into the house and gets a brand new bottle of garlic powder.

Me: What are you doing with that?
Little Man: Making soup!
Me: Go put that up!

He slumps his shoulders and returns it to kitchen. I go in to change the baby's diaper. As I am heading back outside, I see that he is in the pool with an empty bottle of garlic powder.

Me: Didn't I tell you to put that away?
Little Man: Yes, but I was making soup!
Me: Why is it in the pool then?
Little Man: Because I was hungry, and I wanted to swim. So I made a big soup.

Yes, he poured all of the powder into the pool stirred it with his spoon so that he could eat and swim at the same time. How can I compete with that logic?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Uber-nerd Summer Tip

I am a self professed nerd! The song White & Nerdy could be my theme song. Even my kids think that it should be the ringtone on my phone. Although, I would much rather have the chirping sound like the Star Trek communicators!

It is my mission to mold all of my kids into fine upstanding nerds! Yes, I know, most nerds are not athletic. But, we are boldly going where no Nerd has gone before!

So to encourage the growth of their nerdiness, our tip and trip for today will be to the library.

For more Summer Tips please visit Bottles Barbies & Boys

Monday, July 21, 2008

Travel Horror

It was December 2006, the boys would compete in their first gymnastics meet of the season AND we were going to take the entire family to Whistler BC for a mix of business and pleasure. We had traveled a lot with the kids and felt that we could handle anything. The gymnastics competition and business meeting immediately followed on another. No Problem, I am a list making problem solver. I'm up for the challenge. So I start my list:

PROBLEM #1: How to make the meet and have Tom to Canada by Sunday?
The boys are different levels and compete on different days. So Tom will fly out with one boy and Girly Wirly Saturday evening and I will fly out with the other boy and Little Man Sunday afternoon. I will be there in time for Tom to make his meeting. Problem solved!

PROBLEM #2: The meet is across the state. Which airport do we fly from?
The meet is in Tampa, so we will fly from there instead of driving back home and flying from our local airport. We will just have to drive home once we return to Florida. Problem solved!

PROBLEM #3: The weather is balmy warm in Florida and freezing in Canada. How do we pack?
Me being the genius that I am decided that the boys would fly in the team warm-ups (thin jogging suit). I would take pants in a back pack for the rest of us. We would pack our snow gear into two suitcases (one for Tom to take and one for me). Once in Canada (inside warm airport) we would pull coats from luggage and be warm. Problem solved!

PROBLEM #4: Tom will rent a van once in Vancouver, but how will I get to hotel?
The hotel has a shuttle. I scheduled it for myself and 2 kids (remember Tom will have the other 2). Once at hotel, I will have use of rental car. Problem solved!

PROBLEM #5: The gym meet changed its schedule. Instead of the boys competing on different days, the will compete same day different times.
I call the airline and change Tom's and kids to fly out on Sunday with the rest of us. The airline couldn't get all of us together. So Tom will fly out Sunday morning and the kids (all 4) and I will fly out an hour later. We will meet in Atlanta and continue to Vancouver together. Problem sort of solved, what can go wrong?

I have everything planned and packed! So off we go. The meet went extremely well and both boys won lots of medals. We relax Saturday night and make it to airport Sunday. Everything is going according to plan! Tom boards his flight and takes off. The kids and I are waiting for ours. Ours is delayed. Still not a problem, we had a long layover planned in Atlanta so that we could rendezvous, let the kids play, and eat lunch. Instead of playing and eating in Atlanta, I'll have Tom pick up lunch for us and we will eat on plane. Problem solved!

PROBLEM NOT SOLVED!!!! Our flight is now canceled and the next flight is not going to leave until 5am Monday morning. Great! Call Tom. He has to fly on without us because of his meeting. They do put us up in a hotel and give us vouchers for dinner and breakfast, but all of our luggage is checked already. All I have with me is a diaper bag, a carry on bag with some toys, diapers, and a change of clothes for Girly Wirly and Little Man. The boys have their back packs, but they are filled with books and games.

We finally make it to the airport. None of the restaurants are open for us to use our vouchers for breakfast. Not a problem, I used some of my travelers checks (at the time, I didn't carry a credit card with me) and get muffins. The airline says that I can use them for lunch in Salt Lake City. Finally, we are in the air. Could things finally be going in our favor?
NO! During our flight, we encounter a thunderstorm and are rerouted several times and delayed several hours. Because of the weather, we will miss our connecting flight.

Finally, we are land in Utah. We would have to run, but we can make the next flight. No time for lunch! The stewardess was amazing and had phoned ahead to the gate in Utah asking them to get the kids some lunch. We exit the plan they hand me McDonald's bags for the kids and run us to the next plane. Finally, we will be in Canada in a few hours and this will all be over. They tell me that our luggage (from yesterday will already be there and just to pick it up at the lost luggage counter) so don't worry!

Although it was very thoughtful for them to get us lunch, we are vegetarian and my kids would not eat the burgers just the fries! We hit more bad weather, are rerouted, and delayed by hours.

Finally, we are in Canada! We arrived so late that all of the restaurants our closed! At least I have the shuttle scheduled! Wrong! Because we were delayed and missed the one that I had scheduled, I had to reschedule. It would take him an hour to get there! Our luggage was lost, it never made it to Canada. Only one suitcase and the car seats had made it through with Tom. We had no coats or even extra clothes to layer on ourselves. WE ARE TIRED, HUNGRY, AND FREEZING!

The shuttle arrives. Originally, I had made reservations for myself and 2 kids (not all 4). There were only 3 seats for me, so we had to cram all 5 of us into the seats. At least we could keep each other warm! Some of the passengers felt sorry for us and gave us some of their donuts to eat. We finally arrived to the hotel at 11pm (PST). We had left FL at 5am (EST). YUP, it took us 20 hours to reach our destination! Tom had pizza at the hotel waiting for us. It took our clothes another 24 hours to arrive. In the end, it was worth it to see the kids experience snow for the first time.

So, because of this travel experience, I learned several ways to have a more enjoyable flight:
1. Everyone now has their own carry on luggage. If we have to check bags, everyone has an outfit in each bag.
2. Everyone carries their own food in their backpack along with their toys.
3. We fly very early in the morning so that if something does happen, we have all day to fix it!

For more travel horrors, please visit Absolutely Bananas

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Fotos & a letter for my dad

This is me with my dad. I was 2 years old.

You are very ill right now. You are battling skin cancer, prostate issues, asbestos in lungs, you smoke, you have lost a lot of weight (I weigh more than you and you are a foot taller), not to mention the agent orange damage to your leg. Whenever this picture was taken, things were different. You were different. We were different. We still played together. We still spoke. It was before the alcohol took over you.

I feel like I am lucky to have pictures and memories of better times. T & T were not as lucky. You left when they were both young. They try to reach out and have a relationship now and there is nothing there for them. We don't speak like we used to. It saddens me how our relationship has detoriated. It saddens me to think that you have never seen your youngest grandkids in person. The last time you saw the oldest two was 10 years ago. Why? Is the past that painful for you too? Is it better just to live with old memories instead of making new ones?

Now that your sick, I have struggled with taking the kids home to see you. Is it fair to let me meet you and only have a memory of a sick man? Or is it better to shield them? I am still undecided as to what to do. Hopefully, I have some time to decide. I love you dad!

For Friday Fotos please visit Candid Carrie.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jacks anyone?

Today it is raining so no swimming! With Lord Humble and Red staying at a friends house, it is just the mini monkeys and myself. So to break up the boredom, I decided to teach them how to play the game of jacks. How dangerous can a game of jacks be?

Girly Wirly is getting the hang of it as long as she can bounce the ball WAAAAY above her head.

Mini Man has a totally different approach. He ignores the jacks and throws the ball at someones head laughing harder if he actually hits you.

So maybe jacks wasn't the best choice for a quiet indoor game. Maybe we will just stick to making fruit salad.

For more great summer ideas & tips that won't hurt or break anything, please Bottles Barbies & Boys.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dad and Gang

Yesterday, Debi had a great idea for a post. I searched high and low for pictures. It was very easy to find pictures of Tom with the younger kids, but it was a lot tougher finding pictures of him with Red and Lord Humble.(note to self--take more pics of older kids) Anyway, it was a great walk down memory lane!

Mothers Day 2007 Tom & Gang

Sept. 2005, Tom & Girly Wirly in loft of hotel room (Port Townsend, WA)

Dec. 2005, Tom & Mini Man (10 months) sledding in Whistler, BC

Oct. 2006, Tom, Red, & Girly Wirly at Carnival

February 2008, Tom & Little Bit a few hours old

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Oohs & Aahs

Aaaaaaahhhhh, the 4th of July, fireworks, picnics, watermelon, and fun. A day of spending time with family and friends. So this is how our madhouse spent it.

The kids played in the pool most of the day. Tom finally was able to see how well Mini Man is swimming and Girly Wirly was able to show Dad how well she could do sommersaults under water. There were a lot of oohs & aahs and tadas!!! Dad couldn't have been prouder. He may finally have a swimmer instead of another gymnast. It is fun and crazy watching them grow and express their interest and new found control of their little bodies.

Lord Humble and Red could not be left out, so they had to show Tom their newly learned flipping skills. I watch their focus and dedication and couldn't be prouder of the men that they are becoming.

Little Bit had everybody oohing at her because she decided that she needed food instead of nursing and grabbed a piece of corn from my plate. I am not ready for her to start solids. She is only 4 months old. Why is it easier for me to ooh & aah over the growth of the other kids than with her? Why am I longing for her to stay my baby?

Finally, we met friends at the Village for the fireworks show. It is really precious listening to the kids ooh & aah at the fireworks. Even Little Bit was mesmerized and could not stop staring up at the sky. I was so engrossed in watching the kids and seeing it through their eyes that I didn't even notice I had lost my cell phone! (Thank-you to Jim for graciously finding and returning it to us this morning)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Homework & Helping

Lord Humble is our guest blogger today for a homework assignment. Here is his post:

Recently I learned that billions of people go to bed hungry every night. Most of them are children and women who are extremely malnourished and are barely surviving. One thing that we can all do is cut back on the amount of meat we eat. A 10-acre farm can feed 60 people when used to grow soybeans, 24 people growing wheat, 10 people growing corn and only two people producing cattle This is according to the British group Vegfam. The land that it takes to raise cattle for food is a huge waste of resources that could be used to help feed more people then are being fed right now.

I was shocked when I read about the mistreatment that animals receive to make more meat. They are placed into inhumane conditions such as extremely small and cramped living space. Often on the way to slaughterhouse, some animals will collapse at the door unable to walk any further. These dying animals are called “downers” and are thrown into a pile. These animals may suffer for days, they are finally killed. All male chicks born at chicken factories are thrown away because they are useless when making money. They total about 280 million a year.

Just by cutting down on what we all eat we can make a difference, though this is not the only way. You can also do fundraisers to raise money and food to help the needy. You can donate what you make to one of the many organizations that work to feed everybody. There is the Heifer International Organization at which works to teach people how to make food for themselves. They give people cows and teach them to raise the cows to start producing milk for example. There is also the United Nations World Food Program at They basically do the same thing as Heifer International.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Just Yesterday....

Boy does time fly! It just seems like yesterday that Lord Humble was born. Now, he has his first pair of contacts. This should make gymnastics a little cheaper (less broken glasses). Although it was extremely funny watching his glasses fly across the room during a back handspring because he forgot his eyeglass band.

Just yesterday, Red was born. Today he is shaking his grove thing to Alvin and the Chipmunks version of "Funky Town". Where is the camera when I need it?

Just yesterday, Girly Wirly was born. Now, she is the teen in the making with her hand on her hip and blaming her brothers. Boy can she whip her hair around! Saaaassssyyyyyy!

Just yesterday, Mini man was born. Now, he is informing me how is poop looks like chocolate and that was why he was playing with it. HUH???? Makes perfect sense to a 3 year old!

Just yesterday, Little Bit was born. Now, she just rolled over for the first time and grabbed a rattle. I don't know who was more freaked out.. her or Red. He went running through the house screaming "she rolled over".

All I can do is laugh and enjoy the quiet memories of yesterday because today it is noisy madhouse!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Human Whisperer

A few weeks ago, I watched my first episode of the Dog Whisperer. I really wasn't sure what to expect or if I would like the show. How interesting can a show be that is about misbehaving dogs? Being more of a cat person, I thought "well at least the show will give me a few more reasons why our family should not add a dog to the already existing madness" and more importantly I lost the remote.
Fast forwad to today, I am hooked on the show. It amazes me to see how inconsistent undisciplined enabling humans can produce such neurotic dogs. Could this be the true for parents and kids as well as the dog world?
My question was definitely answered last night at the playground! Sitting there watching Girly Whirly and Mini Man play, I witnessed both the neurotic and the balanced.
As I watched a balanced pack leader, it amazed me at how relaxed she was. If her son was playing a little to rough, she would calmly redirect him. If he didn't listen to her when corrected, she removed him for a short time-out. She was consistent every time.
By contrast the other mom was all over the map. Her son whined, screamed, and would throw himself on the ground/bench about everything. Whenever he tore the arm on his stuffed animal she went and got him a new one from the stroller. Whenever he pushed other kids, she would threaten to not buy him ice cream but backed down everytime he yelled or slapped her.

After watching this eposide of the "Human Whisperer", it made me wonder if I am a balanced "pack leader" OR am I creating a bunch of nuts who will need intense therapy once grown?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gold Medal Sacrifice

Tom (husband/dad) and I are totally supportive of all of the kids goals and activities. We are at all of Girly Wirly's (she's 5) soccer games, dance recitals, swim lessons. Little Man (he's 3) is just now showing interest in activities other than Thomas the Tank Engine, Lightning McQueen, and Nemo. Little Bit (she's 2 months) is only interested in nursing. Then there are the boys' interests....GYMNASTICS!!
My two oldest sons are competitive gymnasts. Lord Humble (he's 14) has been competing for 4 years and Red (he's 12) has been competing for 3 years. Red wants to continue competing through college. Lord Humble wants to be an Olympic gold medal winner. Not just one Olympics either, he wants to go and win in several.

WOW! The Olympics! We talk to him seriously about the sacrifices that he will have to make in order for his dream to become reality.

1. No other sport activities. "Not a problem, don't really like other sports", he says.
2. Lots of time in the gym (up to 24 hours per week). "The more the better", he says.
3. Not alot of extra "hanging with your buds" time. "Most of my friends are gymnasts", he says.
4.Homework and meals in car. "Okay", he says.

For the past 4 years, he has made the sacrifices and more. He has cried, ripped the skin on his hands repeatedly, fallen on his face and has always gotten back up ready for more. He's in love. It is his bliss, his passion. It is a gift that we get to watch.

It has never felt like a sacrifice on my part until this past week. We moved to a new gym. It is a lot farther away (1.5 hours each direction). Because of Little Bit, I can't get them there every day. So in order for the boys to practice more days a week, they are staying with another gym family a few nights a week.
I didn't think that it would be this hard for me or the other kids! I didn't think that I would be the one having to make sacrifices so that their dreams can be fulfilled. I knew that eventually they would leave the nest, but I wasn't ready for it now! I keep telling myself that it is only for a night here, a few nights there. Is it really any different than them staying the night at a friends house? But somehow it feels different. I'm invested in their progress. I feel out of the loop? How are your giants? Kip? Working rings?
The Madhouse isn't quite as mad without all of the kids being here. I guess instead of the madness being in the house, it is all in my head.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

1.) Mom and Mimi, thank you for all of the support, guidance, and love that you have sent in my direction! It has been a huge comfort to know that both of you are in my corner.

2.) To my wonderful kids, you are what makes our madhouse so much fun. I am amazed and inspired by all of you!

3.) To Tammy, I have learned so much from watching you with my neice and nephew. You are always giving me ideas of stuff do with my own kids. Your strength is amazing. Thanks!

4.) To Steph, I am so lucky to have you in my life. You have always been there for me and I know that if one of my daughters is "girly" that you will be there to help with hair and make up.

5.) To all of the women in my life who have played the "mom" role whenever I needed the extra support and nurturing; THANKS! It is comforting to know that there is always a warm shoulder to lean on.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Swimming Bliss & Fish

Saturday, we set up an above ground pool for our kids. It wasn't the simpliest thing to set up and it took my husband and the two oldest boys half a day to do it.
So, yesterday, it was finally filled and ready to be used. It was amazing! We had to drag all of the rosie cheeked monkeys out of it at the end of the day. They were in BLISS! I sat back and marveled at how a simple liner filled with water could bing such happiness.
I have read numerous books, listened to numerous lectures, participated in workshops all on finding my bliss. I am always left with more questions like: How do you find it? Does it find you? Is bliss fleeting or can it last forever?
Well yesterday I finally had all of those questions answered. The answer is 'YES'. Bliss finds you, you find it, and it can be both fleeting and forever.
As I sat watching the kids evolve from monkeys to fish, I experienced their bliss. It was so simple. It was fun. It was an ear to ear, full face grin. It was the squeal of delight and unending laughter.
So now, I am left with only one question: AM I HAVING FUN?
If I am, then I am bliss.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Push up taught me what?

Starting a new business--check
Just had a baby--check
Can't eat chocolate because it bothers nursing baby--check
Still have other kids to look after/school--check

All of this is enough to make my knees buckle, leave me on the floor crying uncontrollably, and make me wonder how I am going to get it all taken care of.
Whenever I am feeling this overwhelmed, I think of my boys at their gymnastics practices. I have seen them on an event for hours struggling to learn a new skill or perfect an old one. They fall and get back up dozens of times. If they don't get it, their coach has them on the floor doing push ups for another hour. There are tears and snot running down their faces. Their arms are shaking and they are barely able continue going. Once they have been released from "conditioning hell", they get up thank their coach and look forward to the next practice.
It is watching them do their push ups that I learn the most. Instead of questioning 'why', they just do it. They push through the pain and do another push up. I think of the strength (both physical and mental) that it takes for them to continue.
So, if my 12 and 14 year old sons can do thousands of push ups in an hour and still get up, then I can keep pushing through. I can get up, thank life for its coaching, and do another push up.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What, Why?

The what and why of this blog is to write about The Madhouse of Fun that I live in, to be able to share with friends and family, and to documeny our crazy journey. With 5 children (boy 14, boy 12, girl 5, boy 3, girl newborn), we are a non-stop whirlwind. We laugh a lot, cry some, and eat tons of chocolate. We homeschool the older two because they are competitive gymnasts. Our girly whirly will start kindegarten this fall, and we are torn between homeschooling or putting her in public school. At least we have a few more months to decide.