Thursday, December 9, 2010

Answers to 5 Questions

My lovely friend, Michelle, tagged me in her blog to answer 5 questions....for which I am very grateful! :) I was just thinking this morning, before reading her blog and finding out I was tagged, about how lame I have been about keeping my blog updated. Life has been CRAZY for the last few months since I have devoted so much time and energy to getting healthy plus life with 7 kids is just CRAZY all by itself! :) I haven't felt motivated to blog about stuff we're doing because it didn't seem fair to post about one day and not another, if that makes any sense...which I'm sure it really only does in my busy, unorganized mind! :) So, point being: thanks Michelle, I needed a good reason to blog today! :)

1. If you had one super power to wish for (x-ray vision, invisibility, etc) what would it be and why?

This is actually a hard question...there is tons of cool, useful stuff I would love to have as my super power! It would totally rock to be able to fly places I needed to go and be SUPER handy to have super sonic hearing or something. There was a time when I actually did pin down the super power I thought would be the awesomest to have....but now I can't remember what it was. :( I think I would want to be like Mary Poppins...I'm not totally sure what her super power or powers would be called...but instantly befriending and helping kids, cleaning up with the snap of a finger, fitting tons of stuff into a small bag, floating, going into neat drawings/paintings and singing really well all fit in with would I would like! :)

2. What is your favorite book of all time?

I would have to say the Little House on the Prairie series are my favorite books. I just love that era in general...and I love the story telling and descriptive way Laura tells of her family's life. I also love Pride and Prejudice. I could read all of these books over and over and be happy. :)

3. What is your idea of the perfect day?

My perfect day starts with a good nights rest, waking up to a spotlessly clean home and happy children all busy doing productive things (whether that's playing or something else.) Then we'd all go do something fun together (the zoo, a museum, the mountains, etc) and eat yummy snacks and homemade lunches (that included full-fat Doritos!) I would get to take lots of really awesome, good, meaningful photos on our fun excursion. Then we'd go home and Dave and I would get to go out on a date and eat yummy food and have a good time laughing and talking while our kids were at home with a super fun babysitter. I would also want all calories on this day to not count. :) My evening would have to include a lovely, hot bath and a good book to read. :)

4. If you had the chance, what one famous person would you meet and why?

I think I would like to meet the prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. :) Or really, any of the apostles. :)

5. If you could possess one talent and be truly proficient at it, what would it be?

I would love to be able to just in sing and just belt it out and have it sound super awesome and feel really great. :) And play the guitar while I was doing it! :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Please let this be a trend! Please let this be a trend!

Duncan has never been a very good sleeper. Coming right after Brighton, a.k.a. The World's Best Napper, this has been tough. For the first few months of his life, he needed to be rocked to sleep and then held to stay asleep. We then tried a swing (which worked so awesomely for Brighton and Scarlett) but he would only stay asleep in it for about 15-30 minutes. These are magic nap numbers for Duncan: basically all of his naps, unless he's being held, last for about 15-30 minutes...which makes for a baby who is always on the verge of a meltdown from being overly tired and also makes it very hard to get things done around the house. Yesterday and today, though, things have been a little bit different. Happily, Duncan slept for over an hour and a half at the gym childcare and then he stayed asleep in his car seat in the bathroom after my shower for 2 whole entire hours!! So today during my shower, he fell asleep (as he usually does) under the little heat light with the fan going and has, so far, stayed asleep for 45 minutes!!! I REALLY hope this whole napping thing, as in actually napping, is a new trend!! :) Hurray for napping babies!! (As I write this, I can hear Brighton, who is supposed to be napping in his room, playing with blocks instead of sleeping. But, he usually lays down in his bed after an hour or so of playing and goes to sleep.)
Duncan, who usually wakes up for good before 7am, even slept in this morning! (See above photo of His Cuteness right after I had to wake him up.)
Night time sleeping is never really a big deal to me. Our babies sleep snuggled up in the crook of my arm, which I love and feel is the best and safest place for them. (See sidebar for more information on co-sleeping and how to do it safely, etc) Even if I have a baby who wakes up every couple of hours to nurse, like Duncan does, it doesn't really bother me too much. I wake up as the baby is making little "I want to nurse" noises and hook the baby up. The baby quickly nurses and within 5 minutes or so, we are all back to sleep.
Naps and babies taking them, however, are important to me...and to the happiness level of the baby. So I really, REALLY hope Duncan is finally going to start napping! :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another One Bites The Dust

The world of Facebook is a strange one. One day I have 297 friends, the next I have 296 and I have no clue who's missing. Or why.

I was very reluctant to join Facebook. For years, friends were sending me e-mails saying they had joined and wanted me to too. I didn't. I fought it. I didn't really understand it. Then, one by one, most of my family (including my 99 year old Granddaddy) joined. So I did to. Then, I got it! Facebook is basically hanging out with family and friends whenever you want!! :) It is the main way my extended family communicates with one another. In fact, since joining Facebook, I interact with my extended family and friends more in a month than I did before in a year! I really like that. :)

Facebook is not just a meeting place for's also the place where you are now friends with people who knew you when you were only 3 1/2 feet tall and missing most of your teeth! Re-connecting with old friends has been so much fun!! :)

As a non-phone person, I also REALLY enjoy being able to arrange stuff with people via Facebook!!! Playdates, zoo trips, errands, visiting teaching's all made so pleasant and painless by sending them a message or posting to their wall!!! :) It actually makes me so happy to not have to arrange stuff by phone that I'd like to jump up and down and giggle with glee!!!!!!!!!!!! I will spare you that image, though, and remain in my seat...but still smiling. :)

It is a strange phenomenon, though...this missing friend thing. It happens a lot. I'm not sure why, but some times I have a few less friends than I used to, but I can't tell that anyone is missing. Of course, out of the almost 300 friends only about 30-40 post much at I guess whoever defriends me hasn't posted enough for me to miss that we aren't friends anymore.

I won't defriend you if you won't defriend me. :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Our laundry system

After posting here about our new family closet, I thought I should post about my dirty laundry management system.

After years of trial and error, I finally found a system of keeping and organizing dirty laundry! One of my main problems was having enough bins to keep a weeks worth of dirty clothes (because I don't always do laundry regularly) sorted and where they need to be....close to the washer. After going through big laundry hampers that took up too much space and over-flowed way too soon, I bought some heavy duty laundry sorters with 3 canvas bags each from Lowes. (I tried the cheaper version from Wal-Mart...NOT worth your money!)
Each bag can hold 2-4 whole loads of laundry! I made a handy little chart so that "helpers" can easily tell where each color goes. I sort them as follows (and pictured from the top left to the right): whites, browns+yellows+oranges+khakis, greens, blues, blacks+grays, pink+purple+red.
As you can see from the first picture, I keep towels and sheets in a pile in front of the washer, and blankets and pillows in a pile on the floor next to the sorting bins. In the future I will probably put a basket where each pile is. :)
There are hampers to collect dirty clothes in the master bathroom, the upstairs hall, the big boy's room, and next to the hanging clothes rack (in our family closet area) in the family room. Kids take turns having "sort the dirty laundry" as one of their monthly chores.
As I do loads of laundry, I sort the upstairs clothes (mine, hubby's, and the two little boy's in addition to the towels and other linens) into one big hamper and put the other kid's clothes away quickly and easily in the family closet.
This system (with the family closet) has been working better than anything else I have ever tried! I think it's a keeper! :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

By the way,

I've lost 20 pounds in the last 2 months or so!! :) You can read about how/why/etc HERE. :)

Family Closet

After struggling and struggling with laundry issues for years, I finally decided to make a family closet! I first saw the concept of a family closet from watching the TLC shows about the awesome Duggar family. I don't have a whole room I can dedicate to it, but I did figure out that it could fit nicely in our family room, located very conveniently next to the laundry! Our family closet consists of 2 dressers, a few bins and crates, and a hanging rack with bags underneath. I keep the five oldest kid's clothes in the family closet. Mine, Dave's and Duncan's are in our master bedroom (like normal people...) and Brighton's clothes are still kept in his room.
Everything is labeled. Each of the three girls have three drawers: one with undies, socks, swimsuits, jammies and undershirts, one with long and short-sleeved shirts, and one with pants and shorts. The boys each have a drawer with their undies and swimwear. Then I ran out of drawers. :) So the boys have two stacking bins, the bottom one with their socks (they wear the same size) and the top with their jammies (again, they basically wear the same jammies.) The sock bin is our cat, Owl's, favorite new napping place. :) I keep the boy's shirts in the two crates turned on their side: one stack of short-sleeved and one stack of long-sleeved.

All the kid's church clothes are hung on the hanging rack. Girl's skirts are kept folded on top. The hanging bags below come in very handy! One bag is for items that need to be mended and/or dyed, one bag is stuff that needs to be donated and the last bag is stuff that has been grown out of and needs to be sorted into the correct storage bin to await the next kid to grow into it!
I LOVE this new system!!! It has made laundry a joy to me! For years, I have gone from one method to another, mostly consisting of each person in the family having their own clean clothes basket....with the goal of putting their clean clothes away at least once a week. In reality, all 9 or 10 clean clothes baskets (gotta have a sock basket!) were lined up in my room where kids rifled through them each day to find clean clothes (and left their jammies strewn about) and each night to find jammies (and left their dirty clothes mixed in with the clean!) I only got around to putting clothes away every month or two. Our master bedroom always felt and looked like a disorganized laundry room. Now, my kids clothes are all put away for the first time in a looong time, and, better yet, I know that they will always be put away! No more clean clothes baskets (except for Dave and I, but putting away our clothes will be much easier now!) means that the kids clothes get put away as soon as they are washed and dried!! :) I hope in our next house, we will have a laundry room big enough to house our family closet...or even a small room close to it to devote to the cause!
Want to see our dirty laundry? Check out this post to find out how we manage it! :)
Need some more laundry room/laundry keeping ideas? check out this link and all the links here to see how other families do it!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Other good reasons to get healthy!

I changed my life a few months ago by embarking on a weight-loss/fitness journey! I thought I was just going to loose weight and get healthy...but so many more good things have happened! :) Did you notice my clean table??? :)
And my clean counter tops????

And my sink that is dirty dish free????? Isn't it lovely!?! :) I have found that the side effect of taking control of my health is that I naturally have started taking control in many other aspects of my life!! :) What a bonus! I still have a long weight-loss journey ahead of me, but now I have even more to look forward to than skinnier thighs! Making the choice to become healthier and following through with that choice 100% has empowered me to become more responsible in many other aspects of my life that I have been struggling with. I don't think my family has ever seen the bottom of the sink or not had their cereal bowl stick to the table on such a regular basis! :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

I don't have to be able to "hoot" like an owl to be one!

I really just don't know what it is. I have spent years fighting it. I have spent years trying to change it. I have felt guilty about it, irritated and even angry about it! Something I can't control just happens to me every night around 9pm: I get ideas, motivation, energy, excitement...I have to make things happen!

My husband Dave, on the other hand, has the opposite and more approved issue of feeling really great and productive in the mornings whilst I lay in bed sleeping. Everyone knows that "Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise," right? Then why is it that I get all my good ideas and tons of work done late at night and would rather not get out of bed before 9am?

I've experimented with going to bed early. Some nights it works; I fall blissfully asleep and don't feel completely wiped out when the kids wake up in the morning. Some nights, my brain just keeps working and working and working...unconcerned with the fact that my body is all snuggled up in bed and I awake groggily and dead tired in the morning. The difference for me, regardless of how I feel in the morning, is that if I go to bed early I miss out on getting lots of good stuff done!

My husband totally understands this. He no longer worries when he wakes at midnight to find my place in the bed empty...he just knows when he gets up in the morning he'll find a room rearranged or a cabinet organized or my blog updated. :)

Dave's acceptance of my night-owlishness has helped me to fully embrace my way of getting stuff done. When most people are seeping drool onto their favorite pillow case, I am being productive! :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hiking, Camping and Laughing: OH MY!

Over 4th of July weekend, we had our first house guests! Well, our first house guests that weren't family members! :) Our friend, Chuck, came out to visit Colorado with his two oldest boys and we all went camping to enjoy the mountains!
The campground was gorgeous and we got two camping spots right next to each other. Here is Sebastian reading while the dad's are setting up tents.

Brighton was SO happy to be out in nature and to be free to walk around and explore! He busily went from one rock to a pile of sticks to a tree and back again! Fiona helped me keep track of him when she wasn't busy playing with the other kids.

Here is Dave and Chuck (and one of Chuck's sweet sons) setting up the tent that Chuck and his boys slept in.

Brighton found this cool piece of bark and used it like a gun!?! He's only 20 months old! He made the cutest little shooting sound effects for it, too! Such a sweet, busy boy!
Scarlett is a hair twirler! :) Here she is taking a little break to twirl her hair. :)

The kids all had tons of fun exploring the woods and chatting with one another!

Our little tree-hugger!! :) Literally: Brighton hugs trees. They are pretty great and easy to love....

Food always tastes better in the mountains! Here is everyone eating a yummy lunch before our hike!
Elijah and Charlie had a lot of fun while the dad's were setting up camp.

While I was following busy Brighton around camp, Duncan was taking a nice, cozy nap in the sling. I thought we were mostly in the shade, but after a few hours it became clear to me that we had been in the sun a enough for this to happen:
The half of poor baby Duncan's face that was exposed in the sling got FRIED! I felt terrible! You can see how swollen his eye was and he even got little blisters on his cheek the next day! I have never sun burned a baby before...I guess at 10,000 feet above sea level you HAVE to wear sunscreen, even if you are mostly in the shade!

The kids all had a lot of fun hanging out and joking around the campfire. :) I think campfires and hanging out around them are one of the very best things about camping!

Just on the edge of our campground was a meadow where elk come down to graze in every evening like clockwork! We enjoyed seeing these amazingly gorgeous animals!

My dream property would look like this!! I love the combination of pine trees and open meadow. Can't you just picture a lovely house with a wrap-around porch and large decks there on the hill?

We went on a very fast paced hike to the reservoir. (Chuck is apparently a very fast hiker!) :) Here is a cool rock on the reservoir the kids all scrambled on...they are the small dots on top!

Chuck pushed the double jogger with Brighton in it most of the entire hike! :)

It was a long hike to the reservoir and Scarlett started dragging right before we got there. Luckily, I had brought several different baby carriers and Scarlett got to ride on her Daddy's back for a bit!
I had been carrying Duncan in various slings for most of the hike and we were both getting sweaty! Here is Dave holding Duncan and giving me a bit of a break from the sweat! :)

Brighton really enjoyed getting out of the stroller and climbing rocks!! He didn't seem to mind he was missing a shoe...

There were TONS of cool, gorgeous rock formations on our hike! We stopped at this one to let everyone have a bit of a break and climb on cool rocks. Why is it so hard to get boys to smile for pictures?? :)
Our friend, Chuck, was very happy (dare I say "obsessed?") with the gorgeous mountain views...we stopped at the above spot several times on our excursions so he could inhale it all and take pictures. :) Fiona and I thought it was a gorgeous view too. :)

Driving back down the mountain, we took a back road that was supposed to be more scenic than the highway. It totally was a gorgeous drive (see above view!) but ended up taking almost 2 hours while the highway takes about 30 minutes! It was worth it, though.

After our weekend of camping, we went on a hike with our friends through Garden of the Gods. It was hot and dry, but we had great company and got plenty of good exercise! Here is Fiona, the consummate scrambler, with a gorgeous view of Pikes Peak in the background.

All the kids LOVE this cool rock formation! It's fun to wedge yourself between these two rocks and there are lots of little perches to hang out on!

Here is most of the group!
After our hike through Garden of the Gods, we headed over to Helen Hunt Falls. The kids had fun playing in the creek to cool off while I nursed Duncan before our hike up the falls.

After hiking several miles through Garden of the Gods, we drove this cool back road to Helen Hunt Falls (not named after the actress.) You hike up about a billion stairs made in the dirt to get to the falls. It was a GREAT work-out! And a pretty view. :)
It was a busy, whirl-wind weekend with lots of activity, good exercise, great company and lots of smiles! :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Magnificent Seven!

The first picture of all 7 kiddos! What a good look'n, sweet bunch of kids! :)
I came from a family of 7 kids. I remember always feeling like 7 just was not enough kids in our family. Maybe it was because I was toward the end of the family and my siblings were mostly all older...but probably it was just because I loved my family so much and felt like there weren't enough of them!

7 kids has always been the number I knew would be at least our minimum (if not our maximum) number of kids we would have. I have always wanted a lot of kids. When I was a little girl, I would tell people I wanted 23 the time I met and fell in love with Dave, that number was down to a more realistic 13. Kids are just amazing and fun and wonderful and bring so much joy to the planet!
Other people look at our family and sort of freak a bit at the amount of children we have, but looking at them all and knowing them all....7 feels like a very small number. They each bring such a unique light and love to our family....which light could we have done without? Which sweet smile and which bright laugh would we not miss? Wow, makes me depressed just thinking about living my life and trying to learn all I need to learn without every single one of my children. I am so blessed and my life has been made so much richer from having the extreme privilege and honor of being the mother to each of my 7 children!! Is it more work, more noise, more mess, more busyness than if we just had a few? Of course it is....but it's all worth it...and then some!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Spring finally starting springing, Duncan started giving us lots of smiles and Dave went to China!

After a VERY long winter that began way back at the first of October and lasted until the middle of May, Spring finally arrived!
Our two apple trees (from which we never get any edible apples thanks to the bugs and birds) burst into full bloom all in one glorious weekend!
Apple blossoms are so cheery; so bright; so happy; so SPRING!

Duncan has always responded to our happy faces by giving us a little smile here and there...even from the day he was born. But around the middle of May, he started smiling even more!

We started being able to count on him smiling pretty much every time we smiled at him (and he was not crying...)

Suddenly, he became much more interactive and sociable!

At 4 1/2 weeks old, he was giving his Daddy regular smiles....just in time for his Daddy to leave us for 5 weeks to go to China!
The day before Dave left, we met him so we could release a few "pets" that really belonged in the wild. While we waited for him to arrive, the kids enjoyed climbing a big tree...

.....playing with some big sticks....

....walking around, enjoying the nice weather and sunshine....

....looking for bugs....playing with more big sticks....

.....delighting at the discovery of "wishing flowers".....

.....climbing very high in the big tree.....

.....nursing the baby (well, I did that, not the kids)........

......being silly........

......hanging out in the car............

......wrangling REALLY big sticks.....
....and then Daddy arrived and took the kids down to the creek to release the critters.

Yes, we use our food storage containers for critters sometimes.....What? It's safe...we're not dead yet....
There goes Charmander, the tiger salamander off to enjoy his new life of freedom! The kids also released a garter snake, whom I'm sure was also very glad to be glad, in fact, that he slithered off too fast to get a picture of!

The next day, early in the morning, Dave left a very emotional post-partum wife and their 7 children to spend 5 weeks in China.

Very happily, my generous and kind Mother came to stay with us for the majority of the time Dave was gone. As you can tell by Duncan's very happy face, we were all over-joyed she came! :)