Friday, May 31, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Imagine

Imagine for once that you could stop the clock.  Just make it stop ticking so that you could sit down for a minute.  But is that what you would really do?  Would you really sit?  Would you really fold that laundry or clean that house or catch up on those e-mails?

I sometimes think that I would, but then, I realize that the reality is that I would do none of those things.

I would sit with my husband and love on my kids because the clock will have stopped to give me the time to do just that.

I would look at them...really look because I would know that when the clock started ticking again, they would be off and running again and off and growing up again.

The diapers would wait.  They would still be exactly the same after the clock started up again, but they wouldn't.

These precious little time bombs.  Exploding all over the house dumping the contents of closets and refusing the eat their dinner and snuggling for just one more story that we've read I think a thousand times.

Sometimes I can just imagine it.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


I have not written for a while because my computer is still broken.  It turns out that it needs a new screen.  And it's not that I can't use this computer, but it's not mine, so you know how that is.

Anyway, to catch you up on the happenings here, I am so glad to say that Elizabeth now has a tutor for Algebra 2.  She meets with someone once a week for an hour, and that has let her move so much more quickly through the lessons!  He is also into sciences, so he will be our go-to guy for her physics class which we plan to start in the fall, or whenever she finishes her Algebra.  Jo is reading pretty strongly now if she puts her mind to it, and she is really good with counting money and is getting the hang of the clock.  That's exciting to me since those can be difficult concepts.  Gabriel has been asking to do 'homework' too, so I have started him in an easy book that is just counting and sorting and pasting pictures in their places on a page.  He is getting bored with that, though, so I will have to move on to something more challenging soon!  He holds his pencil will and can trace lines, so he is definitely getting into the pre-reading/writing stuff.  I didn't plan to start with him til he was 5, but with his asking for it, how can I say no?  So, he is off and 'running' at 3!

Our gardens are coming along, too.  We are a bit behind with the tomatoes and peppers and squash, but we will still have enough time to get some good produce.  Our grapes and our raspberries are going crazy, and we have a bird's nest in the grapes.  I know that's not a very good place for her to be since it is close to the ground and also that means she will feast on our grapes, but I think she may have abandoned the nest anyway due to the kids playing in the yard all the time.  I haven't seen her for 2 days.  I was hoping to see some eggs, but I guess maybe it's not to be.  Our peas are also doing well although we got those in a a bit late, too, and I used Gabriel's old crib (which he tore to pieces by standing in it and shaking the sides so hard and then climbing over the edge and hanging there) as a trellis, so it's not too pretty, but it's functional.

Baby B is back with us after a vacation of 2 weeks, and it is fun to have him back to splash around in the wading pool with Jesse.  Jesse is so big now and walking very sturdily and still climbing everything just like his big brother.

The bad news is that Jo is sick again.  We started the round of appointments for her again today with blood work, and she has an appointment with a specialist soon.  It is frustrating to be starting to go through this again, you know?  It's not that she's ill it's just that something's not right in her body and hormones, and no one can tell us what is causing it.  She is being very patient with it all so far, though, even though she really does not look forward to the needles.

And that's pretty much what's been going on around here for the last little while.  I will try to be better at keeping up with things here, but it's just hard!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Family Tree

I want to finish the story of the trip to my brother's house, but I really have to diverge and put this up instead.

I mentioned before that Gabriel's Native American name is Little Acorn, and it still fits him well, although it seems that as his hair grows, he turns from and acorn into more of a squirrel.  So, I call him Mommy's Little Squirrel and tell him he is the cutest squirrel ever.  Sometimes, he tells me that no, he is not a squirrel, but rather a little boy, but sometimes he says, Look, Mom!  I'm your squirrel!

I don't's just something about the hair and the shape of the face and the fact that he climbs everything in sight that just reminds me of a squirrel.  A super cute one, but a squirrel, none-the-less.

Anyway, in MOPS on Tuesday morning, the teachers had the kids make pictures of their family by cutting people out of magazines that the kids thought represented their family.

This is what Gabriel came up with:



Yep...that's Gabriel...the fuzzy one in the top right corner of the back side of his picture.  He couldn't remember who was who for the rest of the pictures, but he was quick to point out the picture of himself that he glued on there.

Heehee...that's my boy squirrel!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day at Uncle Aaron's

Well, Sunday actually came and went and it was a good time!  It was a packed day, but I do believe that fun was had by all, so that makes it all OK.

We started the morning by going to church to worship and we took some really nice pictures on our way out.

First, one of just me and kids...

Then one of all of us!

Then we headed home for lunch and nap, where I promptly broke down in my realization that I am nowhere near what a Proverbs 31 woman looks like.  My breakdown helped no one, and the time would have probably been better spent had I taken a nap myself.

Then, we hurried to get to Uncle Aaron's house on time.  We are always the ones that set the times that things happen since we are the only ones with kids, so I always feel kind of bad when we set a time and then are late anyway, but my rule is pretty much to not wake a sleeping child...ever.  So, that means that we are sometimes late for things in the afternoons because their naps can sometimes run long.  But I think that everyone, if they knew the alternative, would be happier that we were late than deal with the consequences of waking a sleeping child.

So, we arrived just fashionably late and the kids hopped out of the car, and ran off to say 'hey' to everyone.

Uncle Aaron gave them the tour of the yard, and because I am uberly proud of my brother and his ability to build things, I will post far more pictures than anyone else probably really wants to see!

First, there is his hammock in the back yard...

Then the fountain in the side yard...You can see the very edge of the screened in porch that he added to his house in this picture...

 Then there's the boat that he built!  Pretty neat, if I do say so myself! (Above his head you can see the master bedroom he added to the house above the garage.  It is beautiful with a gas fireplace, 2 walk in closets, and a full bathroom tiled in stone.  And behind him, to the left of the picture, you can see the workshop that he built to house all his tools and projects.)

But, of course, the neatest part was that he let the kids get in it and 'drive' it.  They loved it!

Isn't he handsome?  I always wondered why it took him so long to get married!  I guess he was just holding out for the right one.

We found Elizabeth in the basement playing on the piano that my brother built, (he also made the cabinet that's hanging on the wall)

and my mom admiring the bar he put in.

But I personally think that this is one of the most awesome aspects of the house...

He built his own cupola on the top of the house!  He took one of the bedrooms and cut open the roof and added stairs and put a little room up there!  Each step has a built in drawer where (yes, I peeked!) he keeps his wood working magazines.  I also like the built in bookshelf that can be accessed from the stairs.

These are the stairs going up...

Baby Jesse enjoyed exploring, too.

This is the view from the stairs looking into the room...

And this is from the room looking down the stairs.

My brother is just so talented.  I am constantly amazed by him.  He will see something he likes somewhere or on TV of something, and then just make it himself!

But this is my personal pride and joy:

This is the VW bug that I bought when we lived in Hawaii, and then my brother shipped it back here when we moved back.  Then, as our family grew, we traded the bug for some work that he did in our yard.  Aaron has now completely restored the bug and it is beautiful!

But now Jesse is awake, so I will have to write more in another post...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Spanish Food

I called my brother today just to confirm plans for Mother's Day and to ask him if he and his new wife planned to serve dinner or if we needed to be prepared to feed the kids dinner after leaving his house and before going to the church for the musical that Jo is singing in.

His response?

"Uh...yeah...I think so.  Eloisa is planning everything.  I think she's cooking food.  She said she is going to make some kind of Spanish food, so that means your kids will like it because they are half Spanish, right?"

Um....yeah, Aaron.  We're good.  We'll be fine.  Can't wait.  See you tomorrow.

Note to self...pack snacks....

Friday, May 10, 2013

This Weekend...

Well, it turns out that my brother got married last Friday.  We all knew the girl, but we didn't know that he was going to get married!  In fact, we had kind of given up hope that he would ever settle down and marry, but lo and behold,  he did.  Our family here is very small.  I have one brother and one sister, and my sister and her husband do not have any children, and my mother was an only child.  My father's family is in Georgia and only one of his 2 siblings has any children, and they only had 2 of which married and now has triplets (!) and the other has 2 children, but they all live far away, and the most that we get down to visit them is once every few years, if that.

Jimmy has a large extended family, but only his mom and dad are here.  He has one sister who is still living and she has 3 kids, but they are all in El Salvador.  His brother, who passed away a few years ago, didn't have any children.

So to me, it is kind of exciting that my brother finally got married.  Maybe they will have children and my kids can have some cousins t play with.

Ok, let's be honest.  Maybe they will have kids so that when something gets broken at my parents' house during a family get-together, it won't always be our fault.

No, but seriously, I think that the more family and extended family you have, the better.  That way, if you have a falling out with one person, you have a lot more to still talk to and maybe one of them can help you fix the issue you have with the one that's mad at you.

We don't really have that right now, but maybe soon...

Anyway, for all of our family gatherings, we always get together at my parents' house since their house is the biggest and that way my parents don't have to travel.

But this year, Mother's Day is going to be something different.  My brother's new wife has invited us all to their house for Mother's Day!

I am pretty excited about this.  It has been forever since I have been to my brother's house even though he only lives about 20 minutes away since he is always out or working.

So, my first thought was 'wow!  This is going to be so fun!'

Then my next thought was 'wow!  He has no kids and has no idea about child-proofing a home!'

Not that I am expecting him to puts plugs in all the outlets and baby gates on the stairs or anything, but I mean more like fragile stuff on end tables and valuables at eye level.

So, I called him back after he invited us and I said, 'Ummmm...Aaron?  I don't know if you knew this or not, but baby Jesse's walking now, so that means that he kind of gets into everything.'

His response?  'That's ok.  We don't really have anything for him to get into.'


Well, I guess we'll find out on Sunday!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

To Fold or Not to Fold...That is the Question...

I feel kinda like I have been just treading water around here...or, in our case, treading laundry since that seems to be what we are drowning in.

When my in-laws moved out, we decided to make their old room into a huge walk-in closet.  (Have I told this before?  Sorry if I have...)

Anyway, although it may seem like a huge waste of space in our little house, it actually works out quite well.  The kids never do anything in their rooms but sleep, so it seemed like a waste to put one of them in the second biggest bedroom in the house. (Jimmy's and mine is the biggest, although not by much, and it is a lot hotter in the summer and the ceilings are slanted, so there is something to be argued about if someone says we took the best room in the house.  We also have 4 people in our room, so I figure it's warranted.)  So, we put all of the dressers in the bedroom as well as a special bookshelf just for library books and a few drawers and cabinets for our homeschool and craft supplies.  The thing is that there are only 3 dressers, and we have 6 people.  It works out ok, though, because I have a basket on a table for my socks and stuff, and the Jesse and Gabriel share a dresser and Jimmy has one drawer in Elizabeth's dresser and one in Jo's dresser.  I do think that I am going to move the rest of my stuff back into our room, though, since right now all my stuff is just folded in a laundry basket and that makes it really hard to find anything.

But here's the catch:

One of the big reasons we decided to do this was because the kids always seem to be needing to change their clothes when they are downstairs.  They come downstairs to eat in the morning, then they change.  They take their showers in the bathroom, which is downstairs, and then they change.  So we figured that since all the clothes somehow ended up on the floor or shoved in drawers never to be seen again when the dressers were upstairs, if the dressers were DOWNSTAIRS, then Jimmy and I could keep a better eye on things.

Ok, let's be serious.  I could keep a better eye on things.  Jimmy's socks often don't make it where they belong, either.

But it seems that no matter how close of an eye I keep on things, that room seems to be constantly in some state of explosion!

I can wash and dry all the laundry and put it in the room, but if I don't fold and put it away immediately, then someone sits in the basket and dumps it or looks for that elusive t-shirt and tosses half of it on the floor, or someone 'forgets' that the dirty laundry goes in the bathroom and tosses their stinky socks on top.

The handy part of having everything together is that I can just fold and put away just standing there right in the middle of the room.  It's great.  The BAD part of having everything together is that there is usually one huge mess in there unless I REALLY stay on top of things.  And let's just say I haven't.  Really.

But then I realized that I would rather have one huge mess that I can see and tackle in one sitting than to have several smaller messes in separate rooms where I have to actually enter the room to find the mess and then sort out what is clothing mess and what is paper and toy mess and then tackle it.  (Elizabeth and Jo's room is so small I avoid entering it at almost all costs.  All they have in there is their 2 beds and a desk and a dresser full of Elizabeth's books, but somehow it is always a disaster and I can't enter without risking stepping on someone's something important and breaking it.)

So now, it seems that our roomer, Charlie, has also moved out, so we are quite giddy with thinking about what to do with his empty room.  Well, it's not actually empty since he let us use it even when he was living there, but it's more empty than it needs to be so we keep tossing ideas around about what to do with it.  The problem with it is that it is very very small, and it is also on the first floor.  The bedroom where Jimmy and I sleep is on the second floor.  So, to put a kid down there means that they would be all alone down on the main floor of the house.

Anyway, I'm not really sure what the point of this posting is, but if I wasn't here typing, I would probably be feeling guilty about not folding laundry.

So maybe that's the point of the post.  To assuage my guilt by pretending that I am doing something worthwhile instead of rolling socks!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


The acronym AWANA stands for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed, and it is an awesome program that teaches children Bible memory verses and Bible truths in an easy to understand format that builds on itself as the children grow and move through the program.  

This past Wednesday was the last day of AWANA classes for this school year, and I am so proud of Jo!  She finished her whole book this year!  That means that she memorized a great many Bible verses, all the books of the New Testament as well as learned many Bible truths and rose to the challenges that were placed before her in her studies.  All of the children did a wonderful job, and I am so proud of them all!  

Way to go!

And I can't wait til next year when Gabriel will be old enough to join in, too!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sweet Fifteen

My husband is from El Salvador, and in the latino culture, the 15th birthday is the one that is really celebrated.  It is usually celebrated with a huge party that rivals a wedding.  So, this being Elizabeth's 15th birthday, Elizabeth asked if she was going to have one of these big parties.

We compromised.

Our usual birthday festivities consist of a cake and a present or two, and that's pretty much it.  But this year, since it is her 15th, and since she has been working so hard, Jimmy and I decided to go all out and actually throw a party of sorts for her.

It was a blast!

She was allowed to invite 3 guests, so Fifth Child Annie was there, as were Maggie and Frances.  

The shindig started at 5:30 at our house with pizza, then we piled into the truck and headed out to Commonwealth Ave for a pedicure at Sugar Scrub.  I definitely recommend this place!  It wasn't cheap, but they treated us like queens!  Maggie's mom and dad met us there, and although Tommy didn't get a pedicure, I got the pleasure of getting a chair next to Christina  (yes, we are Christina and Christina.  On more than one occasion we have been asked if we are joking when we introduce ourselves to people when we are together!)  It was so relaxing, and the results were so fun!

Then, it was off to Old Town for some Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

Then it was down to the docks to wait for the water taxi to take us to National Harbor.  The girls waited very patiently...

Then we were finally on the taxi!  One of our friends from church works for the boat tour company that runs the taxi, so he got us passes which made it all the more fun.

Once in National Harbor, we had to stop in the Gaylord hotel and play a card game or two,

but then it was out into the chilly weather to see the sights.

The Awakening is neat to see, but both Christina and I agree that it had a much better placement and design when it was on Haynes Point.  It's not put in the ground right anymore.  Or maybe it was the beach chairs around it in the sand that detracted....I don't know, but it just wasn't as impressive here.

The Peeps store was neat, but it was closed and so we couldn't get in and anyway, it said there was a storewide sale that didn't include the candy, so what's the point if you can't get cheap peeps?

Then there was just a bunch of running around and random pictures, but it was fun and a good way to spend the time before the taxi came to take us back.

By the time we got home, everyone was pooped, and went to sleep directly, but fun was had by all, and I guess that's what makes for a happy birthday!