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Super Busy

No, I haven’t ditched the blog, although I admit I do think about it at times.  I have been super busy as a mom of 7 probably should be.

The baby seems to be going through a growth spurt and I can’t put her down.  She wants to nurse all of the time and I can’t seem to put her down without her waking right back up…not a happy mom here with that.  I hope it is short-lived as I have so much to do and even more that I want to do.

I have been thinking about my goals and I am doing okay with them except the food waste and the canning.  The food waste had a bad week as we went up to see my parents.  We weren’t home to eat up the leftovers and also, lent began which really changed our eating patterns.  We are back on a regular schedule now and have adjusted to lent, so hopefully it will be good again.

I did use my pressure canner to cook 20# of bone in legs and thighs that I got for $0.39 per pound.

I have been doing pretty well following the menu plan and when I fell off the wagon I just whipped something that I had on hand.

I am finding that I really do like cooking and baking.  I have also found that I enjoy being in the kitchen much more if I have a plan and a mission that I am trying to accomplish.  I am learning that I can make delicious meals on a budget!  My kids have done pretty well with trying all of my creations and I have to say that they have all turned out pretty well.

J is doing mathletes in school.  It is a math competition.  He is doing very well in school and is thinking of majoring in Biomedical Engineering.  He is very busy with school and just signed up for the ACT.  Where has the time gone?

M is doing his science fair project.  He has transitioned very well to high school.  He is a great student.

R is almost Star rank in Boy Scouts.  He just turned in his 5 page research paper and is working on his science fair project.

T is just learning this year about research papers and is going through it step by step with his class.  T crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and went on his first campout this weekend.  He will be getting back shortly.  I can’t wait to see if he enjoyed it.

S is learning multiplication.  He loves math.  He has been missing T, but after a fun day out with A it helped the time to go a little faster.  He is an awesome reader and a great student.

A is reading up a storm.  She loves Garfield.  She can’t read all of the words of course, but with the pictures, she gets the gist of the cartoon.

L is growing like a weed.  She is in 6 month clothes.  She is pretty happy when she isn’t grumpy…if you know what I mean.  She travels well, which is wonderful when you are in the car as much as we are.  She has discovered her hands and is starting to reach out for the toys on her play mat above her.

I am in a very busy time right now, but I really enjoy blogging.  I hope with Spring coming shortly, that I will have some fun stuff to blog about.  I will try to focus on the goals I set and stay with the plan!

I’m feeling a little more energized, my kids…not so much!

I am feeling a little better.  I have been getting to bed earlier (because of my husband making me) and I believe it has made a slight difference in my energy levels throughout the day.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not ready for the Olympics or anything, but I am able to be up and productive more than when I was last pregnant.  Baby steps, right!

The change in weather has been hard on the kids.  J is tired, M, my usual allergy kid is doing fine (go figure), R is fine, T has lost his voice, has a sore throat, and tons of snot, S had a really sore throat, but it is finally better, and A has a runny nose, crazy voice, and sore throat.  So far hubby and myself are doing okay.

I am glad it is Friday so we can relax and take it a little bit easy and let everyone hopefully recover over the weekend.

A couple of weeks ago, we went to a local tractor show.   They had old tractors, a tractor pull, old-fashioned corn shucking, and old-fashioned wheat threshing.  My husband and I took all but J who had to work.  Most of the kids hated it, but my husband and I really enjoyed seeing the tractors and the old-fashioned machines.  My husband took my FIL in a wheelchair the next day because he thought he would like to see the older tractors and such.  He loved it!  They were there all afternoon.  My husband said that he couldn’t get him to leave!  That was great because he doesn’t get out much!  Here are a few pictures of our trip:

My husband, FIL and S in front of an old Farmall H tractor.

Watching the tractor pull.

T, S, and FIL in front of an Oliver crawler.

Most of the kids and me in front of another old tractor. Can you see their enthusiasm?!

My husband really wanted that truck! Thankfully it wasn’t for sale.

The two little kids couldn’t believe how big tractor tires can be!

Enjoying a snack while watching the wheat being threshed.

Kings Island Pictures

Last weekend was my husband’s company fun day at Kings Island.  My older 4 have season passes that they got at Christmas so they have been there several times this year. My youngest two kids ages 7 and 5 were super excited to go as this is their only trip this year.  They had it all planned out….get there when it opens and stay until it closes.

My plan was a little different.  At 28 weeks pregnant I was hoping to survive and with any luck get out of there before closing.

We arrived shortly after opening and we split up into big kids and little kids.  The big kids went on a couple of rides together, but when we met back up, we found out that kid #3 and kid #4 weren’t getting along.  We then split up with Dad and the boys on one team and Mom and the girl on the other.

A and I went around Kiddy Land for hours.  She wanted to do all of the rides.  There aren’t many places to sit down, and the lines were fairly long in the afternoon.  My legs and back were getting pretty sore and tired.

We met back up with my husband and boys and my older son R took my daughter A into Dinosaurs Alive.  It was a Godsend.  I was able to sit and rest and stretch my back and legs for the 45 minutes that they were in there.  My husband and I talked and S, our 7-year-old  rode every single ride that he was tall enough to ride.  He rode the Drop Zone,  the Beast, the Vortex and the Windseeker.  He is most proud of doing is the Drop Zone!

After the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit we split back up and back to Kiddy Land we went.  A rode all of the rides that she was tall enough to ride.  We started to see all kinds of people with face painting.  I heard earlier that it was free all day, but the lines were long.  Anyway my daughter decided that she wanted to get her face painted.  We waited in line for an hour and she didn’t complain once.  She really wanted to get it done.

Anyway I sort of got my wish because we did get out of there 15 minutes before closing!  It was a great day, everyone had a lot of fun.

Here are some pictures from our day.

A, the pink kitty, with glitter of course!

S relaxing in the wagon.

M, S, and T on Congo Falls.

Here I am sitting while the kids were in Dinosaurs Alive.  I feel like my belly is bigger than that!  It certainly feels bigger than it looks.

S and A riding the Great Pumpkin Coaster.

Revamping The Living Room

I have been in a nesting kind of mood this summer.  I think it is because I know (since I have 6 children now) what it will be like once number 7 gets here.  There will be no chance of getting anything of substance done for at least 18 months to 2 years.  I am lucky that my youngest is 5, and not very needy that I can make some headway on the things that I have wanted to do for a long time, but just didn’t have the energy

It is kind of funny, in a way, that you think you don’t have any energy…and then when you really don’t have any energy…you get it out of the blue!  This pregnancy has done that for me!

We have a lot of people in a very normal sized house.  Once this baby gets here, we will have 9 people in here.  That is a lot of people in not a lot of space.  We keep going back and forth with how to maximize our space, but adding on an addition takes a lot of time and money.  Time is something that is always in short supply when you have a large family.  Also, my husband is working on his Ph.D. which takes up what time he has available after the kids are asleep.  I can’t do big projects by myself, or even little ones usually….because I am really indecisive.

So, a long story to say, that we are trying to clean things up a little, and use our space to the best of our ability.  We have too much stuff in too little of a space.  We are trying to use the height of the rooms to our advantage (tall bookshelves etc.) and keep things off of the floor to try to make the rooms feel larger.

I am no interior decorator…not at all.  I am really challenged in this area, but as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

Our living room makeover was free!  We had extra furniture in the basement that was given to us by my parents.  Thanks Mom and Dad.  It has been down there for years.  The basement was never finished, but we did have a seating area with a TV and a couple of video games for the kids to play.  We had a gazillion toys and 3 toy boxes down there, a ping-pong table, etc.  Needless to say it was constantly trashed.  Couch cushions and pillows were everywhere.  Toys were never in the toy boxes.  You couldn’t walk through there without killing yourself…please tell me I am not alone….It was a constant mess.

This summer we went through all of the toys and gave all of the better stuff to Goodwill and got rid of a lot of broken stuff, and happy meal toys.  It was wonderful.  My youngest son is 7 and he and my 10-year-old really only play with a few things over and over.  They play with Lego’s, Bionicles, BeyBlades, Tech Decks, and a few video games.  My 5-year-old daughter is the only one with her own room and the only girl, so all of her stuff is in there and not in the basement, so why did we keep all of this stuff?  Well, no more!

Anyway, back to the living room.  I am a matching queen.  I really like my stuff to match.  In  the living room we had a red-flowered couch, a pinkish loveseat, 2 huge beige recliners, one of which was broken and the leg rest wouldn’t go down and lock.  It was a disaster, but sometimes it is just easier to ignore, than to DO something.  Well, I had enough and decided that we were going to bring the furniture from the basement upstairs (it matches by the way), and get rid of the flowered couch that was stained and worn out.  We put the coffee table (a very nice cedar chest from my MIL) in the basement for now until I can figure out where to put it.  We got rid of the recliners.  My husband hated them from the beginning because they were too big for our smaller room.

Anyway, I am soooo not visual, but my 2 oldest boys helped carry the furniture up and helped me place it.  The transformation is amazing to me!  We actually feel like there is some room in there.  The coffee table is out and it really opens up the room.  Also, this furniture is a lot lighter in color than the other furniture.  I think that helps somehow.

The funny thing is that once we got started, I wanted to keep going.  I worked the big boys pretty hard, but it was so great to get it done.  I dusted everything, we cleaned out the globe on the ceiling fan, we got rid of little stuff here and there.  Fun!

I should have taken before pictures, but I didn’t really know that we were going to do all of that work yesterday, it just happened.  Anyway, here are the after pictures.

Picture from the middle of the living room.

Picture taken from the entry of our living room.

From the far corner looking at the entrance of the living room.  Don’t mind the mess in the foyer, it’s next!

Front corner to opposite corner.

We Are All Back Under One Roof

Yesterday at about noon, I picked my 3 big boys up from their week away at Boy Scout summer camp!  I hadn’t seen them for 10 days.  My sewing retreat was the Thursday through Sunday before.  They left on Sunday morning.  I got home Sunday about noon.

They are so worn out.  They came home dirty and hungry, so it must have been a fun trip!  I forgot to take pictures, but they looked like they had not slept and were filthy!   They said that there was plenty of food.  That is good, some years they complain that they just couldn’t get enough to eat.  They do have an outpost where you can buy junk food, but they said it wasn’t enough.  This year, it was the last week at this camp, so it was no-holds barred on the food.  All three boys said that they got their merit badges that they intended to get, but we won’t officially find out until our September meeting.  Our troop takes the month of August off!  I am so happy.  We can get school started for a couple of weeks without Scouts as a distraction.

When they got home, each went through their scout stuff and the washing machine began.  All showered and ate, and it was just like they never left.  The bickering started, the chaos resumed, the rude comments were free-flowing.  They of course were TIRED…no patience for the little ones who missed them for the past week and no appreciation for the $900 or so that their hardworking Dad paid for this trip.

Sometimes, I wonder if we get anywhere in this journey of parenting.  I often think that here we are 16 years into this parenting thing and this is all the farther that we have gotten!  Sad at times.

My oldest wasn’t the problem yesterday, so there is hope.  It was mostly M, the 14-year-old and R, the 13-year-old, so hopefully this is something they will outgrow.  I remember J, my 16-year-old being so very tired and grumpy too.

On the bright side, they told me that they love my cooking and camp food is nothing like eating at home!

All three of the older ones are still sleeping at 9:17 this morning, so maybe they will wake up in a better mood.  Let’s hope!

2012 4H Judging And Results

S getting judged on his Cloverbud project for 4H. He did tornadoes.

It is that time of year again, when the kids scramble to put the final touches on their 4H projects.  Some do better than others.  Some are pretty much ready to go…some still need a kick in the pants to get theirs finished before the “show and tell” that our 4H club does the week before fair.

S pictured above was the most prepared this year.  Granted he is a Cloverbud.  But he knew from the beginning of the year that he wanted to do tornadoes and he didn’t waver.  He did his poster board without complaining and he loved the 2-2 liter bottle tornado that he made.  My husband would tell all of the kids to work on their projects and S would dutifully go and swirl the tornado over and over, never tiring of watching the tornado water transferring from one bottle to the other!

J my oldest did Teen on the Road to Financial Success. He got 1st place.

J also did Grill Masters. He got 3rd.

J did a pretty good job of getting ready for the judging for Grill Masters.  He grilled a lot this summer.  I think he learned a lot about charcoal grilling.  It wasn’t always easy.  Charcoal can take a while to master.  Timing was his biggest issue.  He of course got better with each grilling session.

Teens on the Road to Financial Success was good for him.  There was a really thick book to fill out.  The judge commented that they were surprised that the entire book was completed.  I guess a lot of kids get bored with it and never finish the book.  He also had to make a poster to put on display at our fair.  He got 1st place and qualified for State Fair!

T (in the red shirt) getting judged on Collections.

T collected “GoGo’s” little plastic figures that all of his friends trade back and forth.

T did Collections this year.   He was one of the last to get his work completed.  We were sticking those GoGo’s on 2 days before judging.  He really enjoyed going to the judging as adults and kids were asking about his project.  He got to feel what it is like to have a good project.  I think that good “feeling” will stick with him for some time.  He got second place!

R finishing up with the Welding judge. He got 7th in Welding.  He made the black stand in the picture above.  It is a stand to hold a forge that he is working on.

R did Welding and Creative Writing.  I didn’t get a picture of him with his paper.  It was a short story.  He was in the Jr. category because he is under 14.  He finished 4th in his category!  R had some problems with his welding project.  He chose some thin welding material for his stand and then he didn’t practice enough with his “beads” on this material.  He burned through the metal on some of the welds on his project.  He also had some ugly “beads” from not practicing enough.  He was ticked that he got 7th, but my husband and I were surprised that he even placed.  He rushed through the entire welding process and doesn’t strive for perfection.  He is in a hurry to get it done, without care for how it turns out.  These are things to work on for next year!

M getting judged in Creative Writing.

M really enjoyed the Creative Writing category.  His paper was just below the 2,000 word limit.  He worked diligently at it until it was completed.  He thought he did an awesome job.  The judge said it was one of the best that she read this year, and…he didn’t place.  He was pretty upset.  He was in the Sr. category which is 14-18 year-olds.  He is 14, so one of the younger in the category which is a disadvantage.  We talked with him about how to improve for next year because he said he wants to do it again next year.  For example, he didn’t have us proof-read for errors.  He didn’t have us read his paper and give suggestions, etc.  I think not placing when you think you will is a good, but hard, life lesson.  There is competition out there and you have to work really hard to get what you are going after in this world.

M getting judged in Getting Started in Art. He got 5th place!

M also did Getting Started in Art.  He worked on a Pointillism picture.  This is a work that you do all in dots.  Up close it looks like dots, but as you back away it looks like a picture that was colored with colored pencils.  He got 5th place.  He was a little disappointed, but thankful to place after not placing in the Creative Writing category.

A wasn’t old enough for Cloverbuds yet, but she is talking already about what she will do next year!  Girls are so different than boys.

Bad Storm Cleanup

T and S using a hatchet to chop off the small branches.  M and R using axes to chop through the fallen tree.

M and R chopping and chopping!

One of the fallen trees in our back woods.

The wind blew the lid off of our garden yard shed.

Part of the tree from the back woods fell onto our red trailer.

The wind blew over our Composter.

On our last day of vacation, there was a bad storm.  My husband and son, R came home early to get the generator fired up to save our freezer and fridge food.  We lost power for about 20 hours all total.

The next day the rest of us came home to assess the damage.  We had three trees down at the half-way point.  The garden had some damage to the peppers and tomatoes.   I had to re-stake the tomatoes.  I had to stake the green peppers.  They wouldn’t stand up no matter how much dirt I packed around them.

Our composter was blown over, but no real problem.

We have millions of branches all over the place.  They have to be picked up so that we can mow.

We have plenty of things to be thankful for.  Our house was not damaged, our animals were fine.  Our food was safe.