Monday, November 3, 2008

Our Halloween

The kids all had a fun Halloween, I decided to ditch the idea of an expensive holiday and see what we could come up with for less money. So we scavenged the thrift store and this is what we came up with.



A basketball player.



A fairy.



A cowgirl.



A bunny.



A lion.



A karate kid.



And Ray Ray the builder!

Here are all of them together.





This year our pumpkin was patriotic!





Hope yours was fun too!

Love and Hugs,

Mary

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Apparently I thrive on chaos!

Well since it's been forever since I actually posted anything worthwhile, I thought I would try to catch you all up. Things around here are never quiet!

We celebrated another birthday, last week! Raven is now six years old and fully prepared to correct anyone that makes te mistake of calling him a baby! He picked breakfast for dinner for his special meal and got to go on a special shopping trip with Dad.





Kids are all doing great in their studies. A's and B's across the board! We sort of have a working schedule, right now it's more of a suggestion than a schedule as appointments and field trips keep shifting everything around, but that's ok.

Chad had minor surgery on his knee at the beginning of the month. I am happy to say this one went way more smoothly than the last surgery. He was back up and about by the end of the day. He ended up taking a position at work that was less wear and tear on his body. The pay is a little less but there is more room for promotion there so I think it was a good move for him. It's nice not having him come home physically exhausted and in pain every night too!

The cut in pay was some incentive for me to get even more serious about saving money. Slowly but surely I am becoming the coupon queen! It's become a new challenge for me to see how much I can save every month. I faithfully read the blogs of large family moms and get great tips on ways to save. Our newest thing is prepaid electric. It's kinda cool keeping the kids involved in checking to see how much we are spending and finding ways to lower the costs. Tristan now hand dries the stuff from the dishwasher and they all help hanign laundry to dry. Luckily the weather had changed so we enjoy the breeze going through the house with the doors and windows open.

We all went to the fair last Wednesday. Our homeschool group went and it was really the most economical way for us. We paid for just the adults them the kids got in free. We took our own food and the kids got free rides for book reports. Ithink next year I might encourage the older kids to make something to exhibit. They are learning granny squares and can make something to enter. I will be posting pics in a few days from the fair.

Well, it's getting late and the kids are waiting for school to begin so I will end this novel for now.

Love and Hugs,
Mary

Monday, October 13, 2008

PROOF TO MY KIDS THAT I AM A SPELLING FREAK!

Your result for Could You Win The National Spelling Bee Test...

National Spelling Bee Champion

(Spelling)% Spelling!


CONGRATULATIONS!


Wow! You got all answers correct, making you The National Spelling Bee Champion! Brilliant Job!!




Take Could You Win The National Spelling Bee Test at HelloQuizzy

Monday, September 22, 2008

happy birthday AJ!

I am still around, just trying to tweak my schedule here and there to accomodate the million and two things on my "to do" list. Just when it feels as if I have all my ducks in a row, something new pops up and I have to fix it again!

So far my little "one room schoolhouse" works pretty well. The kids all have their own work areas now. Tristan works at the bar (a.k.a. the kitchen counter) with my laptop. Heaven is in the corner on the credenza with one of the school-loaned computers, and the second graders share the other school computer at the table across from me. My three wiggly kindergarteners, share a bench at my desk. A place of for everyone and everyone in their place!
Chad began a new position at the same company. Kind of a Sales/Admin position in the office. It's a bit of a pay cut but there is more room to promote, guaranteed forty hours a week, and behind a desk so not very rough on him physically. Which is good news because he injured his knee and will be going in for minor surgery in October.

As for me, I am hanging in there. I work my butt off teaching the kids and then try to find a little peace working on my afghan in the evenings. Since I made them for everyone else I decided it was time I had one for my bed. I am a little over halfway finished with it. When I am done I will be making some ornaments to sell for Christmas.
Last but not least, AJ had a birthday! My baby is six!!!! waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Here are some pics from our quiet littl celebration and our Diamondbacks adventure. We made it though six innings on an evening game before the kiddos got really cranky, but for the most part we all had fun.
Aidan's car cupcakes. Dad forgot to buy decorations so mom had to improvise. Chad did bake the cupcakes though!





Love and hugs,

Mary

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Still here just insanely busy!

I have survived a few weeks of school with the kiddos. We decided that the room we were using as the office was far too small for all of them so we switched with the dining room. It was a pain but now we are much more organized!




















There are a few pics of my monsters hard at work!






I actually have a schedule now that I do my best to follow. I have failed miserbaly the last couple of days but hope to get back on the ball tomorrow. I think that the holiday weekend followed by park day and the first speech therapy all in one week threw me off. Oh well, tomorrow is another day!






This is going to be a pretty full month for us, we seem to have something planned every weekend (don't ask me how it happened!) and one of those is Aidan's birthday! We have free tickets for all the kids for a Diamondbacks game that day so I think that is what we are doing. We got them by doing the reading contest for the library over the summer. fun fun fun!






The park day was a lot of fun. AJ was mesmerized when the fire truck showed up and sprayed the kids and then he got to check out the truck up close and ask the fireman questions. He told him that he wanted to be one we he grows up. Out of all my kids, AJ is definitely the one who could be running into burning buildings (down the road of course) he has no fear!






Today Ash met her speech teacher, a very nice lady who Ashleigh seems to really like. She even comes to the house so I don't have to tow all the kids with me for therapy, YAY!


Here's proof that some of my kids can at least act like they like each other.....I couldn't resist!




Love and hugs to all,

Mary

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Catching up!

Well we spent a better part of the weekend dealing with the tree. I am happy to say It didn't harm the house or the block fence, just raised our blood pressure a bit and made us work a lot in the crazy heat. We have most of it down except for the trunk, which is still crooked. Chad is looking for a way to knock it down without taking out any walls but I think it would look great as a totem pole, if only I could find someone to carve our faces in it, yeah it's crooked and imperfect, but it totally fits my nutty family!

In all the lumberjack fun we thought it was a great time to buy a fire pit (we have all this wood now!) Well, we have fired it up twice and had the police called on us twice. Apparently our neighbors don't want us out making smores! Each time the police were very nice, even cracking jokes about all the wood we have on hand and how much better the neighbors satellite reception must be! They saw that our little fire was contained and attended and went on their merry way. I have to say though, karma is probably gonna bite our grouchy neighbor in the rear!

I survived the first day of school with all seven!!!! It was a little rocky at first (mass chaos is a better word!) but by lunchtime, Chad was home and having all kinds of kindergarten fun with the three little ones! I did get a little sad when I realized I have no babies anymore, all my monsters are school aged:( but we had fun and got quite a bit accomplished!

Love and Hugs,

Mary

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A very awkward way to introduce yourself to your new neighbor.



On the day after a particularly rough monsoon thunderstorm; "Hi we are your neighbors and that's our tree on your roof!"

Mother nature has a cruel sense of humor sometimes!
Mary

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Here is Heaven's Birthday cake. This year she wanted to make and decorate it herself. She did a great job and had almost as much fun making it as eating it! She turned ten and is growing up way too fast!

And here is five months of my life! Chad's friend found out I could crochet and asked if I could make an afghan for his bed with his college logo on it. It was quite an endeavor as I have never used more than one skein of yarn at a time and I can't count how many times I frogged, but it's finished, it's huge, and I am really proud of it! He was really happy with it when he got it!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

In light of our economy

Well I have been thinking a lot about the state of our economy and the affect it has had directly on my family. I have been brainstorming ways of saving money and eliminating waste (trying hard to be ecology friendly too!) So here is what I have some up with so far!

1. Our electricity: living in Arizona, I find myself dreading the monthly bill! This month we topped out at over $400 for energy use! In all fairness we did get hit with a stomach bug last month so I was doing laundry around the clock and trying to keep the temps extremely comfortable but here's the new plan.

a. We are gonna keep the thermostat at 80 and run fans in the rooms that we are in.

b.We are gonna unplug our cell phone chargers and anything electric that draws power when not in use (this will be especially hard for dh as he is so used to the convenince of not having to bend over and plug something in! tee hee).

c. I am gonna line dry everything except towels and big bedding during the warm weather. In all honesty I could line dry everything but I love the feel of a fluffy towel warm from the dryer! But for everything else, it seems a little crazy to me to ignore the fact that the 100+ degree temps outside could dry the clothing (and even make it last a bit longer) just as efficiently as my dryer can. This should cut down on the dryer by about 3/4. (just a heads up, i actually dry it all on a rackin my garage, just as hot but doesn't sunbleach or bake your clothes and give them the "crunchy" feeling!

d. Am phasing out incandescent bulbs in the house and replacing them with cfl's!

e. Turning of lights when they aren't in use (the kids thing the closet monsters need light even when the kids are somewhere else....this MUST be remedied!

2. Our groceries: as I am sure you can imagine nine people need a lot of things. Food, personal care items and pet essentials alone are enough to make anyone cry when they see the receipt!

a. COUPONS, COUPONS, COUPONS! I am gonna strive to work harder in this area. I have become a bit lax over the years with less time to dedicate to clipping and such. But it can easily become a good lesson to the children on good stewardship and being smart with your money. Am proposing a coupon club with a few of my friends where we all clip coupons and share with each other what we don't use.

b. Catching the sales! I use to have a shopping list and I bought what was on it no matter what it cost us. No more of that! Gonna shop the sales and just get creative with recipies (which can also be a good lesson to my kiddos, home ec, anyone?)

c. Garage sales. I know this doesn't fall under the heading of groceries but 7 kids can do a number on you clothing budget! So I am gonna hit garage sales to keep my kiddos in playclothes and then replenish undies, socks and dress clothing a couple times a year from department stores.

d. How does your garden grow???? With the price of groceries being what they are, I am learning how to turn my thumb green! Gonna spend fall and winter prepping our yard and in the spring a new garden is going in! I have done a lot of reading about urban homesteading and victory gardens and realize now how much freedom there is in being able to provide at least some of your own food!

3. Holidays: I have to admit it, I am addicted to holiday cheer! I have been known to get out of hand with my spending and that tends to make a very grinchy dh!

a. Start early! I already have a few things tucked away for the kids! I send away on line for freebies for things like lotions, lip balms, etc and those will be collected for stocking stuffers. I also double up on school supplies and keep some for those stockings later.

b. Nothing says love like hand made! I am a firm believer that there should be something handmade under the tree!

c. Read emails for gift cards! I belong to mypoints and get at least five points for every email I click through. When I earn enough points I send for a $25 gift card to a department store of my choice. The cards don't expire so I save them until the holidays and it's free money to christmas shop with, if you watch the sales you can save even more! An added bonus is to use the gift cards for online purchases and schedule to pick them up at the store so you beat the crowd, spend the time at home shopping, don't have to pay for shipping, and earn even more points for shopping through the mypoints site! If you are interested in this let me know and I'll refer you!

That is all I can think of for now, I will keep you all posted on how all of it works!

Love and Hugs,
Mary

Friday, June 20, 2008

Doctor Visits and beating the heat!

Yesterday Chad took our three youngest to get a checkup. We were kind of fed up with the pediatrician we had been using, they kept me waiting for hours and ignored my concerns! So we decided to try the GP that Chad and I have been seeing for the last year or so. Apparently, Nathan is far behind on development and Speech (HELLO! I have been saying that forever, the doctor just kept passing it off as a phase!) and Raven is a little behind on speech. So we are waiting for our referral for a speech eval for both, next year should prove to be a very interesting school year. I am starting to feel intimidated, just a bit!





So today we decided to go out and get our minds off of all of it. Took the kids back to the splash pad at the park and even dig out the supersoakers and we all chased each other around with them. It was fun and a nice chance to cool off in the 112 degree heat! Tomorrow is supposed to be 114 so I think we are staying in!!!!





I am in the process of getting court stuff mailed off (gotta update the court once a year per the guardianship agreement) and getting my three youngest enrolled in the virtual academy. I am hoping this new doctor's concern will get the school to pay attention when I ask for him to be evaluated. I don't want Nathan to have to deal with the frustration that Ashleigh did!





Totally off topic, the mom that hosted the slumber party last week that the girls attended, sent me some pics. Here is one of me picking up the kids, wouldn't you know it, Mack was closing her eyes!!!!

Love and Hugs,

Mary

Monday, June 16, 2008

Our Busy Weekend!

Well, the girls attended their first official sleepover!!! I can't tell you how excited they were! They did call a few times (especially Mack!) and Mack did get scared and refuse to sleep for a while (next time she will be taking her nightlight!) but all in all they had a great time!

On Father's Day we all spoiled Chad! We let him sleep until 10:30 and then woke him up with breakfast and a card. Then we washed and detailed his truck while he vegged out watching golf. It was a good day.

The kids all got awards in the mail from school and I thought I would post some pics. Ashleigh and Mack made the Honor Roll!









Love and Hugs!

Mary

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Pool Party!!!!

Yesterday we went to our homeschool group's end of year pool party. A good time was had by evryone. We were all exhausted when we got home!!!!

We actually got Ashleigh and Nathan to join in the swimming fun! For those of you who don't know these two, this is huge!!!!! I could hardly get them in past their ankles last year, and to have them ask to get in with me let alone float on their own is a big milestone for them!
These two are just like Chad, FISH!
Neither Ash or Nay Nay would dunk their heads but frequently asked me to get their hair wet!



Is that a shark sneaking up on Nay Nay? No it's just Mack!


Fearless AJ jumping off the diving board BACKWARDS!!! That boy scares me sometimes!



Ray Ray just being his cute self!

My little diva lounging!

Hope you enjoyed!

Love and Hugs,

Mary

Thursday, May 29, 2008

SCHOOLS OUT, SCHOOLS OUT, TEACHER'S EATING SAUERKRAUT!!!!

Today is the last official day of school for the year~ Yesterday we went to the last park day. Want to see what really happy kids look like????







































Just wanted to share!
Love and hugs,
Mary













Monday, May 12, 2008

Are blogs the 21st century therapy?

Ok, folks, confession time. I am a blog adict! I love reading about other people's lives. It's like permissive voyeurism. It feels like a peek in their window even though they put it there!

I was in the midle of my little pity party about all the kids being sick and how it kinda cast a shadow over mother's day (it was good, but being sleep deprived and leary of any kid that looked like they might be feeling icky, it was a bit wierd!). When I happened to surf through some of my favorite blogs. One in particular got my attention. Another mom with far more children than I have is going through a particularly hard time. She opens her heart to the kids that have been somewhat forgotten and in the process of showing her love and giving them the life and family they most certainly deserve, they don't always know how to trust it and sadly she gets her heart broken.

WOW!!! What in the world am I complaining about????????

So I am gonna wear my newfound perspective like armor! When my daughter wakes up sick and asks me to scratch her back, I am not gonna focus on the sleep that I am losing, but be thankful that in a world where a child can't bring herself to reach out to her mother, mine is able to look to me for comfort. I am gonna be thankful for the six year old who shoots into my room at night because he is afraid of the lightning because there are children out there who have been so hurt and tossed aside that they don't feel like they have any champions to brave the scary weather for them.

And I am gonna fall to my knees and thank GOD every night that he blessed me with these seven souls to love and learn from!

So I ask you, am I the only one who finds solace and lessons in the ramblings of a blog? I really think it's therapeutic, like stepping into another person's mind for a second and imagining how life could be given different variables. I am grateful to my internet therapists, who unknowingly brought me peace at a time when I thought was so trying and showed me that this too shall pass! I only wish I could do the same for them!

Hugs!

Mary

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I am sick of sick babies!!!!

Time for a rant! I haven't slept eight hours in a row in over two weeks! I am lucky if I get two hours in a row! Over the course of the last few weeks a plague has hit our house and won't let up on my kids!

We are dealing with the stomach flu. I currently have one recovering, one "sort of recovering" and two down with it. The kids don't want to lay down and I am a walking zombie! Thinking of spending the few hours I have of coherent time today scrubbing the house and getting the germs out.

So any prayers you can send my way are appreciated. I am seriously hoping the sickies end soon!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The End of The School Year is Six Weeks Away!

Here is a virtual yearbook I created for the kids!

Enjoy!


video

Monday, March 31, 2008

ok one more movie!

video

Well it's been a while since I have posted so......

I thought I would fill you all in! Things have been crazy busy around here. Chad's surgery went well. He's still on light duty and probably will be for around three more months. We are so happy with his doctors! If you live in the Phoeninx area and need any kind of bone doctor, head over to The Core Institute!!!!!

We have had two kid birthdays since I last posted. We decided last year we were going to cut back on the presents for the kids so at their birthdays they get one thing they want and one thing they need. Chad made a new tradition last year that one of us takes them shopping with their "grandma money" so they got the option of getting money from us too instead of their "want" gift. It went over well, they get to decide what is most important to themand buy as much or as little as they want. and then we have cake at home and a special dinner.




Here are Tristan and Mack blowing out their candles. We didn't realize Nathan was trying to help!




Our Easter was pretty quiet too. The bunny brought baskets for everyone and we spent the day hunting for eggs, then we bbq'd steaks. It was really nice to sit out in the backyard and just play and relax with the kids. And while they weren't looking we could sneak some of their candy :)

video

Now we are gearing up for the end of the year. the kids are all excited (as am I) to not have to do homework every day and hopefully relax and do some fun stuff. If I don't get the chance to post to a while that is why.
Hope all is well!
Love and Hugs,
Mary

Monday, January 21, 2008

30 lashes for a bad blogger!

Hello all! Hope all is well. I know I have been quiet for a while so I thought I would catch everyone up on mi vida loca.


We have all fallen back into a routine. The kids are doing great with school, I can't believe the school year is half over already! Still doing park days on Wednesdays (when we can). so in that respect things are pretty normal.


For those who don't already know, Chad has been dealing with a shoulder injury since sometime around November. We originally thought it was another bout of bursitis (he had that in the other shoulder a few years ago), but recently found out that it is far more serious. He has two tears in his tendons in his shoulder and a bone spur. Long story short, he's going in thursday for surgery to repair it. After which he will be off for a week and on extremely light duty for several months. Needless to say this is going to be a challenge on our finances, patience and faith. But I know that GOD will get us through it, just like he always does!


I am reading a wonderful book called "SIMPLE ABUNDANCE: A DAYBOOK OF COMFORT AND JOY" by Sarah Ban Breathnach. It's all about realizing the blessings already present in your life and finding joy from within rather than focussing only on what you think is missing. I can't get over how something so simple can have such a huge impact on us and the people around us! In the book it says to keep a gratitude journal every day and list at least five things we are grateful for, so here are five of mine for today:


1. A husband who gets up early in the morning with the kiddos when he isn't working, so I can snooze.


2. Children who like to help and do their chores with minimal nagging from me.


3. Raven's laugh


4. Nathan's hugs


5. How cute AJ is when he talks now (He lost his first tooth last week)





That's it for now. Until next time,
Love and hugs,

Mary

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Confessions of a blog neglector!!! very long folks, you might want to get a drink and use the bathroom!

I have neglected my blog! :( I know it, I am a bad blog lady! I didn't initially mean to, I guess I just ran into the all too common problem (at least for me anyway) of, "what do you say when you have TOO MUCH to say?!?"

Christmas was nice, a little stressful at first as I had to wait until the paycheck moon fell into my orbit so I could shop. So I was the insane woman at Wal Mart three days before Christmas trying to find the perfect gifts for everyone! I HATE THAT! I love Christmas and actually the whole month of December is my favorite month, but being that stressed out takes the joy out of it and makes it feel like a chore!

My attitude of being stressed and annoyed carried over until the afternoon of Christmas Eve, but magically went away by dinner time. We had a really quiet dinner and just enjoyed being together! After we ate I made hot chocolate and we all played card games. The kids opened one gift each (BIG SURPRISE.....pajamas! ;) ) and then went off to bed. I had the kitchen cleaned up and the cookie candy platters all assembled and ready to hand out by midnight.

Phyllis, Jerry, Charlie and Tasha were coming sometime after eight. That did not stop my eager little monsters from waking us up at 5 AM! We held em off until 6:30 but then realized our efforts for more sleep were a lost cause and rolled out of bed to start coffee. Everyone unwrapped and ooh'd and ahh'd over their gifts (there's five hours of careful and thoughtful shopping for ya!) and then the family showed up with biscuits and gravy (could EASILY become one of my favorite traditions!) We all ate, talked on the phone to family that was far away, put together kids toys, and then the adults all piled into the living room to test drive the NINTENDO WII that Charlie was "babysitting" for a friend, tee hee. VERY ADDICTIVE GAME!!!

I don't think I mentioned that Chad had arranged his vacation to coincide with the kids' winter break. It took him and I both a couple of days to decompress from our nutty schedules and relax but after that we all had some very nice family time. We picked up some board games and the Haryy Potter Scene It, and I realize now that my son is some sort of freaky Harry Potter genius!!!!

Our New Year was quiet, we had just sold the explorer (bittersweet to see it go, it was our first big purchase as a couple- how sentimental am I???) so we ended the year with a little cash in our pockets (hope that is a good sign!). Even so, we laid low on NYE and played games and watched movies till midnight. All but AJ and Nathan were awake to ring in the new year.

Spent the rest of the break the same way, peaceful and relaxed. Did one major shopping trip together to restock the cabinets and went to park day. I know it sounds mundane but I loved it and I honestly think we all needed to just tune out from the everyday grind together. I hope to make it all a tradition!

Money is usually tight and things are far from perfect. But it's nice to remember we are a family and we will always have each other!

Hope 2008 finds everyone surrounded in peace, love and happiness!

love and Hugs
Mary