My Family

My Family

Monday, December 17, 2007

Saving Trees This Year

To view our Christmas Newsletter, click here:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sunday, Sunday!

On any given Sunday, we try to find meaningful ways to spend the hours before our 1pm church.
Here's what was happening this past Sunday morning:

P and Lucy prepping vegetables for a most delectable dinner in the crockpot.
Bug helped with that too! (Thanks so much guys...dinner was delicious!)
Miss M reading one of our Christmas books. We put them away at the end of every Christmas season so they are new every year. Tiny...with another of the Christmas books. Bam-bam, partially dressed and playing with Little People by the light of a little lighted Christmas tree. He played like this for about 45 minutes. Lucky swinging away in the swing the Bakers gave us when we were visiting over Thanksgiving! He loves it!Angel Face and I...just hanging out before the last hour before we leave. That's a self-portrait too...
Here's hoping your Sunday was a good one!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Making a list...

Checking it twice...
Anyone else doing the same thing?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sneak Peeks

We took family pictures on Friday...

Just for the record, it's a lot of work.
9 people, smiling at the same time and looking in the same direction...almost impossible to capture in picture form.

Even just the kids alone was hard...

But the most difficult of all was Bam-Bam...2 years old, and non-stop for the entire hour and a half.

35+ pictures later, I still don't have one of his smile that I can enlarge for our wall.





That last one was the best of all...but with a chain link fence in the background, it just isn't quite enlargement material.
I'll be working on my photoshop skills.
I think that may be the only way to get a good family picture in the future!

Christmas Gifts

It's a beautiful thing to turn on the radio and have Christmas music continually.
It's one of the "gifts of the season" that I love.
This morning, singing along to "The Little Drummer Boy", I started to cry.
Why?
It's simple really.
Christ accepts whatever we have to give...no matter how big or small it is.
We don't have to give large gifts in excess to try and please the Savior...in fact, just giving Him our heart and our best effort is enough.
Our Christmas this year is purposely small (a movie each, a sibling gift and a family gift)...we want to give our efforts to paying down our debt and not to overloading our home and children with more *things*.
I'm hoping the lack of *things* will be made up for in an abundance of the spirit of Christ.
After all, that spirit is what Christmas is all about!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Season of Thanks

It's easy this time of year to be thankful for all we have.
We are reminded daily that "Thanksgiving" is just around the corner and that we have much to be grateful for.
It's when this season passes that our level of gratitude is tested.
There are many times I think of how I should express my gratitude to someone, and yet I don't move forward past that thought.
I'm setting a goal this Thanksgiving though...
I will maintain the season of thanks throughout the next year.
Here is what I plan to do:
I will put a box of thank you cards in my van and at the computer desk.
When I have the thought that I need to tell someone thank you, I will take the time to put their name on a list and then write them a note.
I will mail those notes on a regular basis.
Also, I will add 3 things to be grateful for to my prayers, both in the morning and at night...thus turning my heart to look for things for which I am grateful.
Those are two small things I can do.

I want to be the one that takes the time to express my gratitude.
Remember that parable?

Luke 17:12-19
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Make your year ahead a season of thanks too.
The world will be a happier, better place if you take the time to show your thanks to others.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Coaster Project




I finished this project last week.
I used 3 4x4 coasters (2 were cut in half with my hobby blade).
I used my Crop-a-Dile to punch all of the holes...and love that tool even more now.


The only thing that I'm unsure of is the white ribbon.
It seems a little too feminine for the paper I chose.
I think there are too many patterns of papers on this project too...so I will narrow it down to just 2 if I make another one.
A good first attempt...now to cut the note paper to go inside!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tagged Twice (and Three Times)

I was tagged twice by Joanna (she has a very cute blog people...she's a Crafty Kid!)
I'm combining the two tags though...into one.

Tag #1.
A) List your middle name.
B) For each letter, name something unique about yourself (it does NOT have to start with the letter of your middle name it is near).
C) Tag as many people as there are letters in your name.

Tag #2:
A) Link to the person that tagged you
B) Post 7 random/weird facts about yourself on your blog (cause we all want to know how weird you are!)
C) Tag 7 people at the end and link to their blog
D) Leave comments on each blog that you tag so that they know!

(1) * I am a perfectionist by nature.
(2) M I love road trips by myself...but seldom get a chance to get away all alone.
(3) A I have been pregnant or breastfeeding for all but 22 mon. of my 14 year marriage.
(4) R I am a writer, looking for my story that needs to be written.
(5) I I am also a paper-crafter who loves to create things (cards, and more)
(6) E I used to teach school and still volunteer in my children's classrooms.
(7) * I love musicals and sing along to more than a few.

I tag: Jamie, Corki-Ann, Shanell, Candace, Kaitlyn, Perry, and Amy J. (from my hometown)...oh, and Karina...just for fun...('cause I think you need to start your own blog!)

Tagged Once

Six is the number
The rules:
A. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.
B. Each player lists 6 facts/habits about themselves.
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. I am a night owl. Staying up late is no problem for me...seriously, midnight is still early. I work very hard not only to be in bed, but also to stop reading (or poring over my Stampin' Up catalog for new ideas) around 10pm. (It usually ends up being closer to 11pm...see...it's 10:17pm as I am writing this).
2. Not surprisingly, it's hard for me to get out of bed in the morning. Even with a good night's rest (8 hours), I have to be prodded out of bed most mornings.
3. I love to send (and receive) real mail and am trying very hard to be the local poster girl for good mail. (Need to know more about good mail? Go here to read more about it!
4. I was actually hit by a car (as a pedestrian) in college. I was in a crosswalk, and suffered no broken bones and lost no blood. This incident made my husband fall (deeply, madly) in love with me.
5. I met, fell in love with, and then wrote my husband for the 2 years he served his mission (in Italy), but never officially told him "I will wait for you". We married 8 weeks after he got home from his mission (for our church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).
6. I finished my Master's degree in education 1 month before I delivered our 3rd child.

I tag Andrya, Jill, Kristi, Kari, Sally, and Julianne.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Overheard


Bam-bam: "I love you Lucky-pie".

Feet tucked under the bouncer on the table and all.

Precious.

November

Dear November,
Do you feel overlooked...unloved?
You are often sandwiched in the minds of many between Halloween and Christmas.

To me, however, you are beautiful.
True fall colors emerge during your hours,
the air chills enough that hot chocolate is *just right*,
and warms you inside and out.
Jackets are adequate, coats not quite necessary yet.
A sweater is the perfect wear on most of your days,
and if you listen closely, the crunch and crackle of the leaf-strewn earth indicates winter's upcoming grasp.

Do not despair November...
You are a month for which I give thanks.

Love your fall-loving friend,
Kristine

Monday, November 05, 2007

Crazy Running Start

It's true.
This Monday constitutes a crazy, running start to a very busy week.
I'm home for just a little longer before (yet another) visit to the doctor.
This is for an ultrasound on my thyroid...something is abnormal, so we're in search of exactly what the issue is.
I won't have any answers until next week...when I have my follow-up visit...so any prayers or positive thoughts would be appreciated.

P is out hunting until tomorrow.
I've got a SU party to prepare for on Thursday...(my first with a hostess!! YES!).
The rest of the week just has "normal" stuff, but I always feel like we run like crazy until Thursday evening.
Saturday we take Tiny to a low-vision clinic in Las Cruces.
Hopefully we will be given a little more guidance in regards to his low-vision.
Sunday, I'll be teaching in Relief Society...even though my calling is in Primary.
(I agreed right before the Primary Presidency was reorganized, and I thought I'd be "reorganized" too...but I wasn't.)

So that, in a nutshell, is what will go on outside of our "regular" things.
Laundry and housecleaning are a must, and hopefully I'll have a little time to put some finishing touches on some gifts and cards this week.
How's your week looking?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This is Halloween!

The boys... the girls...

the pirates(!)... and the non-costumed.
Hope your Halloween was safe and happy.

(I've got a really cute video of Lucky but it's not downloading properly. Any techno-wizards out there to help me get it here onto my blog??)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Birthday, A Nap and A Trip

Tiny turned 7 last week.
Lucky had a nap. His fingers caught in the blanket.
And we all got to see Grandma and Grandpa this weekend.




Monday, October 29, 2007

ANNOUNCING....

My own Stampin' Up demonstrator website!

Let me know if you want to be added to my customer e-mail list.
(If you already got an e-mail from me today, you're on my current list).

From now on, all of my business information will go there!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Intentions

They are good.
Especially when it comes to blogging.
Except that seems to be all they really ends up being, just intentions.
I must be paving my own road to...well, you know where.

I am SHOCKED an entire week has gone by.
Shocked.
The time has flown.

It was fall break last week, with no tight schedule in place at all.
Heavenly days, you would think I could have taken pictures or blogged even ONCE in that time.
(Oh, wait! The 17th was during that week...I did blog ONCE during that time!)

So although you have had to do without my words of wisdom for far longer than you would have liked, I have now come to your rescue, and will enlighten you today!

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions,
perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
Let him step to the music he hears,
however measured or far away.
--Henry David Thoreau

Although they are not my words, they are words I think of often as I deal with people, and especially as I deal with my own children.
It also makes a big difference in my attitude toward myself when I start comparing myself to the women around me in whom I find reasons to be amazed.

Have a super day...
I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Creative Outlets

I've been making cards,

altering tins and jars,

and even tried my hand at altering a notebook for a friend of Miss M's.





Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pssst....Wanna Know a Secret?

Come closer, and I'll tell you.



Ready?






Are you sure??












It's a doozy...one that's guaranteed to....
Wait, I won't guarantee much of anything...
But it's worth reading.




Deep breath...
(No, I'm not pregnant.)
Here goes....




My kids wear second-hand clothes.
In fact, they've been doing it their whole lives.



Can you believe it?
I have bucked the system.
Given up on buying clothing at full price for my children, and tried to corner the market on organizing and "saving" clothing for the next child who may or may not fit into it as their size varies as quickly as (and sometimes quicker than) the seasons change.

Wait, I do have one retail place that I still shop...The Children's Place...and only when they have their clearance sales...and even then I have my limits.
Pants have to be under $10, unless we've had multiple knee and seat injuries to a high number of the owners current pants...and only then can I be FORCED to order something in the $12-15 range.
Shirts are generally $2 or 3, although I will go up to $5 if necessary.
You can almost always find a current coupon for 15% off (try CouponCabin), and if you sign up for Children's Place birthday club, you get a coupon for 20% off the month of your child's birthday. (That works well for us...although we now have 3 July birthdays...and I think you can only sign up 5 kids...(so not a whine there!) ).

Our family has been incredibly blessed by my mother who sends boxes of clothing from her local DI on a periodic basis.
It more than meets our clothing needs, and often we are able to bless others with the bounty that she sends.
In fact most of it is high quality...name-brand items that last kid after kid after kid.
If for some reason we need something more, I try Childrens Place (great quality!) and then will make a stop at a second-hand store in Mesa (when or if I am in that area).
It truly has worked for us for the past 12 years.

Up until about 1 year ago, I had no limit on the clothing in my children's drawers.
It was insane trying to keep up with the laundry, let alone put everything away.
Now I have general limits that I try to stay in (give or take one or two).
No more than 7 pairs of pants or shorts.
No more than 7 short or long-sleeved shirts (dependent on the season).
Think about even that...14 x 9 = 126 major laundry items per week...and that's not counting pj's, underwear, socks, towels or sheets.
That's a LOT of laundry.

So, I throw down a challenge.
Clear out your drawers of the "extra" clothing that your children never quite get to, and pass it on.
Find a family that has children near your children's ages, and pass them on, or find a store or mission that takes donations.
Lighten your (literal) load, and clear the space for other things in your home.
See how much you can save by changing how and where you shop.
(Trust me, there is nothing much around here (kids clothing-wise), and if I can find ways to do it, I'd be willing to bet you can do it too!)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Still here

Just distracted still.
I'm working on trying to get a regular schedule established....if it weren't for all of the standard doctor visits for Lucky, combined with the follow-ups for me (and my gall-bladder) and Bam-bam (for his asthma), coupled with Tiny's IEP meetings to make sure they are making accommodations for his low-vision, I might actually have some hope of having a "normal" schedule.
If you add to those the regular weekly (or so) visit to Wal-Mart to stock up on basics, and my seeming addiction to card-making, there is a lot to fit into every day.
Just homework alone is enough to make me want to hide my head from 3:30-5pm every day...plus piano and dance and scouts and achievement days...WHEW!
I decided a long time ago that I would not over schedule my children...and I work really hard not to...but we've decided all of the kids need to have a musical base to jump off of (or stay on) when they get older (hence the piano lessons), and Lucy has a talent that needs to be developed when it comes to dance (and both P and I felt very strongly prompted about that), so there's the scoop on what is occupying my time.
I'll find a balance again at some point.
Until then, keep up with my teetering attempts to fill you in.

Still Pink...Just Cuter!

A big thanks to Candace who sent me this link: MatieKay Creations
I am excited to put up a new template in November.
Check it out...the templates are super cute and MatieKay's instructions are super easy to follow.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Links

It looks like I'll be redoing my links on the sidebar.
Do you want to be linked?
Let me know.

Pink!

This month, I've gone pink!
October in Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Breast cancer is something that touches all of us in some way.
About 4 years ago, I had a cyst that was only visible by ultrasound.
I had gone in for a mammogram due to abnormal bleeding (from the breast), and was then scheduled for an ultrasound because they could not pinpoint the problem.
It was a scary period in my life...considering whether or not I would be facing a battle with cancer.

I also have a dear friend who has battled breast cancer.
I admire her great strength and continual optimism.
I am so grateful that she is still here...and such a positive influence on me and my family!
I love you, Susan!

So, I'm PINK this month...to remind you...
-Do your monthly self exam
-Know the "red flags" for early breast cancer detection
*A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area.
*A change in the size or shape of the breast.
*A discharge from the nipple.
*A change in the color or feel of the skin of the breast, areola, or nipple (dimpled, puckered, or scaly).
-Get a mammogram yearly
-Be aware there is a breast cancer called "Inflammatory Breast Cancer" that does not follow these symptoms. Click the link above to read more about it!

If you have any questions, call your doctor...and don't delay it due to fear.
Early detection and treatment are very effective in eradicating breast cancer.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Haircut

At the beginning of September, Bam-bam ended up with a stylin' hairdo thanks to Dad.
P said he just wanted one of his kids to look like him.
Do you think it worked?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Date

P and I have been married for 14 years, and I must confess, we've only been consistently dating for half of those years.
It wasn't until Tiny was about a year old that I expressed how neglected I felt in our marriage.

It wasn't purposeful neglect, and I knew that, but it just so happened that if a child had needs that conflicted with our date, or if the budget was tight, or if we couldn't find a sitter, we would cancel the date without any apology to each other.
Worst of all, we wouldn't reschedule the date for another day.

Essentially, there were many months that passed where we never had many opportunities to really talk with each other as friends and sweethearts.
(Keep in mind that these were the years when we had 4 children 5 and under and then 5 children 6 and under.)

It was after that conversation (wherein I made known my need to have adult conversation and be treated as a peer for a period of time was crucial to my mental well-being) that we started going on regular dates.

There have been periods of time in the last 7 years where we have gone out on an almost weekly basis, and other times when we have felt the need to only go out once a month.
No matter how frequent the dates are, they always fill a need for me, and I am reminded why I chose my sweetheart as my partner for life.
It's amazing what just 3 hours can do for your relationship.
I'd suggest you try it soon, and be consistent about it.
I've been more than happy with the results.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Weekend Ahead!

P and Bug are headed on the Scout campout...I am grateful for a husband that wants to fulfill his calling (as Scoutmaster), although I will miss him for the next 24 hours. Many times when Daddy is gone, we get a good kids movie, pop up some popcorn and kick back for the evening. Tonight, we'll be watching the newly released Barbie movie...The Island Princess.
I know my girls will love it...and we'll see what the 2 older boys think.
I also grabbed a Backyardigans movie as I was at the video store (should be call it the DVD store now?), so that should appease them if they really dislike the "girls" movie.
I'm looking forward to a date with my husband tomorrow night...and church on Sunday has no major responsibilities for us this week...
All told, it should be a very good weekend.

I hope to be back to my thoughtful, engaging blogging soon rather than just the ever so interesting(?) going-ons of my family.
It seems that pregnancy and the postpartum period has sucked much of the lively witticisms out of me...
Here's hoping I can discover some wit somewhere soon.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Grocery Shopping Discovery

I've posted in the past about how unexciting and difficult it is for me to go grocery shopping.
I try to do the majority of my shopping for 2 weeks at one time, and that means an overflowing shopping cart and at least 2 solid hours for me at the store.
With 8 of us eating and drinking solid food, it takes careful planning to make sure that we have what we need and I am not making "emergency" trips to the store.

A little while ago, I saw an acquaintance with her 2 children at the store, each with a basket in front of them.
I commented, somewhat jokingly about them needing 3 carts, and she said, "We spilt the shopping list up."
We chatted just a couple more minutes, but that part of the conversation left enough of an impression on me that I mentioned it to my husband that night as we talked.
His reply?
"That's exactly what my mom had us do when I was growing up!"

I hadn't committed to trying it yet, but yesterday P pulled our grocery list up on the computer and split it into 3 parts.
Bug, Miss M, and Angel Face headed off in the local Valdemart armed with their list...they each had chosen a job (their idea)...Bug checked off what they put in the cart, Miss M pushed the cart, and Angel Face got the items from the shelves.
P had a list and I had a list as well.
Tiny and Lucky went with P and Tiny read the grocery list to him, and Lucy and Bam-bam went with me and Lucy helped pull things off of the shelves.


The end result?
2 weeks of shopping done in 50 minutes.
A mom that was NOT exhausted and frustrated after a LENGTHY shopping trip, and a sense of empowerment on the kids part that made them feel that they are an important part of our family.
It was wonderful.


Thanks to a husband who makes things work, and to his parents for showing him a wonderful example of raising a large family.
Granted, I'm sure I missed some "bargains" and the ounce per ounce cost may have been a little more on some items as others chose what went in the cart, but I think those few dollars were well spent in saving mom a little sanity.
We'll definitely be doing that again.

Out and About

A couple of weekends ago we headed out for a Labor Day weekend outing.
We enjoyed spending the day together, and found great joy in the drive home.
We came home a new way...P allowed me to drive due to the severity of the curves and my propensity to motion sickness.
There was just a slight drizzle for most of the drive, and it resulted in many beautiful sights along the way.

We counted 8 different ranges of mountains from this viewpoint. It was beautiful!

We could have stayed at this picnic spot for another hour, just playing and having a good time. It was here that the light drizzle changed into a steady rain. We actually timed how long it took to get from this spot to our home so that we could return for a picnic sometime. Bam-bam entertained himself by throwing rocks into every puddle that was in the vicinity.

One of the prettiest sights along the way. We live in a world that is full of beauty if we will just look for it. I was amazed that we have lived here for 4 years, and I was seeing this for the first time. It made me commit to getting out to discover the area around me!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Distracted






Can you see why?






When you also factor into the mix THIS book




and a trip to the doctor following a gall bladder attack (ouch!), and all of the subsequent tests he wanted to run to eliminate any possibility that what I was dealing with was a lung clot, it's been a fairly fun (see above) and crazy week and a half.

I'm also preparing for a Stampin' Up party on Saturday...my first since Lucky was born..., have my 6 week postpartum check today and I have parent teacher conferences for all 5 school kids tomorrow and Friday.
No school for the older kids due to said conferences, so that makes it easier schedule wise. (No working to get all five children ready and out the door on time for 3 days!)
By Saturday night, I'll be ready for that Sunday "day of rest".

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rejoicing

Lucky is changing so quickly!
It's hard to believe a whole month has gone by since his arrival.

His hands are beautiful.
And the family loves him.

We are so blessed.

Transitions

I'm now into my second week with Lucy being gone all day.
It's amazing to see how much one child fills up so much of your day...especially when you feel their absence so acutely.
Lucy is a talker, and a rejoicer in life and little things.
She's very social, and enjoys people and DOING things.
There was rarely any down time with her home...although she did nap up until mid-summer.
Is it any wonder?
She lives life to the fullest, and therefore needs the rest more so than most other children I know.
It truly has been a transition for me.
Yesterday in fact, both Lucky and Bam-Bam napped at the same time for about an hour and a half.
I felt like I had snuck away from my mothering responsibilities, and actually had to convince myself that there was to be no guilt attached to such a nice occurance.
In fact, I made a mental note that now that I am not napping (of necessity due to a pregnancy-tired body), that I needed to work to get Lucky napping on a schedule.
It's heavenly to have a few minutes to myself...and actually get things I want to do done.
That part may help this not be too difficult of a transition to make.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kindergarten Cutie

Lucy had homework even before school began.
She had to draw her family in a house...(I always feel a bit sorry for my kids trying to fit their *large* family into the space given)...and did a very nice job of it.

Here she is outside of her classroom. Her two brothers just older than her had the same teacher (*Hi Mrs. Door!!*), and so she was sooo excited to start school, with no nervousness at all.
She sat down within just a few minutes and got right to work on a puzzle...and then saw I was taking a picture of her...
...and struck this pose just for me.

I will miss my little girly girl. She is a ray of sunshine...and will brighten that classroom well.

Double Whammy

There are just over 12 years that separate my oldest boy from my youngest boy.
It made this last Sunday quite eventful in our home.
Bug was ordained a deacon ( in our church, that's a priesthood office for boys....ahem, I mean young men, who are between the ages of 12 and 14).
As the eldest of our boys, he's the first of our children to reach this milestone.
Grandma and Grandpa John had made the suggestion that we bless little Lucky on the same day if at all possible...making it a more eventful day all the way around.
Really, as Sundays go, it was very low key, and went off without a hitch.
Nice to know that can happen every once in a while.

The only drama of the day was when we attempted to get a family picture...and we knew to try it BEFORE the 3 hours of church, but still, it didn't turn out quite the way we would have liked. This is the best of the 3 we got...and not that bad overall!