Monthly Archives: December 2011

Happy New Years!

Happy New Years from our family to yours!  God bless your 2012 and all that it holds for you and your family!!


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9 Player XBox Game

Somehow all 9 kids (my 6, plus my friend’s 3) ended up on the “raft” for the XBox 360 Kinects Adventure rafting game.  Some were standing on the couch behind the other “players” and the one-and-a-half year old was in front of the scanner-box-thing (not the technical name) so really everything he did negated everyone else’s moves.  I’m pretty sure it’s not meant to be played by 9 people at one time but boy were they having fun!

We’re still hearing some rumblings from the negotiations that took place earlier in the week (“How come Lexi gets to play if she didn’t “chip in?”).  So I was pleased that they didn’t try to wrangle some sort of “players fee” out of the friends that came over to play.

9 kids is a lot to have in one spot.  My friend has three kids, girl 7, girl 5 and boy 1.  We have been friends since we were in the first grade and we swap babysitting every now and again but it’s been a few months since I’ve seen them.  Today when her oldest walked in I had to smile because she looks just like my friend did back in first grade!  It was so fun to watch her play and remember back to the days when we started out as friends.  Who would have thought we would end up with 9 kids between us.  It was fun watching her kids and having a little one around again (I forgot how to peel carrots with a baby on my hip!)



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IKEA: Table for 7 Please

So IKEA is offering free kids meals this week.  I love going to IKEA so I accept any excuse to go.  However, I framed it as a learning experience for the kids.  IKEA has several room layouts for very compact living.  They have apartments set up that are less than 600 sq ft with all the necessities often lofting the bed.  One extreme display had 3 bunk beds lined up, table and chairs, kitchen and storage for 6 roommates to live in a space less than 400 sq ft.  I looked around and told the kids, “Hey, there’s 6 of you, how about we turn the downstairs into this set up and Dad and I will live upstairs.  We could visit each other on the weekends!”  They didn’t seem to buy it.

Anyway the teacher in me had all the kids gather at the kitchen table before we left and had each kid draw their own floor plan on graph paper (I have the little templates for adding furniture to scale).  They each did one and I guided them with ideas of where to put the bathroom etc.  Their “homes” were 20 x 20 giving them each 400 sq ft of living space.  We’ve done stuff like this before (I’ve been an architect wannabe for a while) so they turned out pretty good.  Some things had to be rearranged and Johnny had a piano in the middle of the kitchen (he doesn’t even play piano but who knows) but overall I think it went well.

All 7 of us toodled around IKEA without upsetting too many people.  We got to see the floor plans and the kids got more ideas for their houses.   Their were workers there in the middle of building a replica of a house that was 588 sq ft that a family of four lived in, they must really like each other (the family of four, not the workers).  No one fell on the escalator, no tantrums were had, only one of us (me) got their heels ran into by the kid pushing the cart behind me AND they all got their free lunches.  Overall a productive outing.


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The Negotiations

The kids all got Christmas money from their Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt and Uncle.  I’m not sure who spearheaded it but someone suggested they pool their money and get a new XBox 360.  Some of the kids (the boys) were on board while others (Lexi) were not.  So for the last three days the negotiations have been going on.  Joey has been a walking commercial “The graphics are so much better than the Wii and the guys have arms!”

The main problem is they don’t have enough.  They want to get the Kinects too so the bundle is $299.  Joey shopped around on the internet and found a deal at Target that has the bundle for $299 plus you get a $75 gift card.

The boys have been trying to convince Lexi she should pool her money (Dad convinced her she should save her money for college).

“Lexi, you don’t need to save money for college that’s like 20 years from now!” one of the boys argued (Hooked on Math worked for me!).

“By the time you get to college you’ll have a million dollars so you won’t need to save now,” another chimed in (how exactly is that going to happen?)

Johnny, realizing the power that comes with someone wanting your money has threatened to pull his money and just buy Legos (several times).

Jerad offered the three boys to play double or nothing with a dice as a way to earn the difference.  Joey and Josh were like, “No way!”  Johnny raised his eyebrows and smiled and said, “Sure!”

 Cassie and Callie have hired an attorney (me, well I’m not technically an attorney but I’m watching out for their best interest which does not include purchasing an XBox.) 

Somehow we brokered a deal where I pay for the difference and then get to keep the Target gift card (which for me is essentially like cash).  So at 8:30 this morning before the crowds we all went to Target to get the XBox.  They were giddy.  I’m hoping to get 7 days of entertainment out of it and talking about negotiations, I’m guessing the power of controlling who gets to play and for how long has it’s benefits (hmm… the minivan could sure use a cleaning.)


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48 hour Christmas Bonanza

Well we survived the 48 hour Christmas bonanza.  Started Christmas Eve with a whirlwind cleaning of the house, some skating on the pond, Christmas Eve service at church, the in-laws came around 5:00, had dinner, opened gifts, ate pie, made sure everything was ready for Santa.  Christmas morning we opened gifts, played with gifts, messied up the house, cleaned up the house, my family came around noon, ate dinner, opened more gifts, played with gifts, shared time with family (this is the first year all the adults were able to sit around the table after dinner and talk), ate more pie, dealt with power outage, celebrated the power coming back on, ate supper, got in the middle of a Nerf War, played in the new Grocery Store, watched RIO the Wii game, read bedtime stories, collapsed into bed. (That might be a run-on sentence.)

It actually went pretty smooth this year, probably the best yet.  It was nice to get everyone together and the kids were so excited (some of my kids are  ADHD so you can imagine what ADHD + Christmas excitement looks like…and sounds like.)  It’s funny how the kids want to open and play with, make, build everything they got in the same day.  I’m trying to convince them to spread it out over the next week.

It was fun but it’s a good thing Easter is four months away!



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Merry Christmas!

The kids are all home today (day 1 of 11) and I think we’re ready for Christmas.  We will have the in-laws over Christmas Eve and my family on Christmas day.  It’s nice having it here because the kids are used to it and know the routine.  It’s less stress for them (and me).  The gifts are wrapped and ready to go and all the food is bought except the Christmas Ham. 

Today we made Christmas cookies.  I made the dough yesterday so they got to do the fun part of rolling out the dough, doing the cookie cutters and decorating (and of course eating).  Ran into a couple of problems:

1.  In preparing to make cookie cutter cookies forgot to inventory cookie cutters, we have none:

Resolution:  use the playdough cookie cutters, the Christmas alligator, seahorse and hamburger

2.  The last person child that used the rolling-pin used it on red CLAY.  Did you know red clay does not come off a wooden rolling-pin? 

Resolution:  put cling wrap over the cookie dough before rolling it out

3.  Half a batch of penguins and giraffes burned because they got rolled too thin

Resolution:  A special treat for the birds and squirrels.

I think the kids had fun which is the point.  Sure was a mess to clean up after but that’s the way it goes.  Tonight I think we will load up the kids and drive around  and look at Christmas lights.  Sounds like fun but many of my “I know what would be fun!” ideas backfire due to the realities of a family of 8.

I hope you all enjoy the weekend and find some joy this season.

Merry Christmas!

Look for these on the cover of "Martha Stewart" next year (yes, that is a shark)


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The Psycho Snowman

“Mom, what’s up with the psycho snowman?  He’s holding a knife?”  Joey said as he passed one of our Christmas decorations.

“What are you talking about?” (out loud) “teenagers” (to myself).  Then I looked around the corner to see our snowman with an indifferent look on his face holding a knife!  Then it occurred to me there was something missing.  Apparently one of the girls removed the cute little cardinal that was perched in the snowman’s mitten, leaving the once bird-loving snowman wielding a knife.




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What Every Kid Wants…A Stick of Butter!

The Christmas Joey was three we had some friends over for Christmas dessert and they got Joey a gift.  It was small, rectangular and neatly wrapped.  We enjoyed playing the game where you try to guess what is in the gift before you open it and so for this gift, based on his vast experience of three years of judging things by shape, size and weight, he smiled, raised his eyebrows and announced…”A stick of butter?”  It was not, in fact, a stick of butter but a harmonica!


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3-Year-Olds on Stage

  Today was the big Christmas Program at Preschool.  The girls did great!  There was some squirminess and some standing when sitting was recommended but overall they did great.  Lots of waves, lots of , “Hi Mom, Hi Dad!” most importantly lots of big smiles. My parents were able to join us and the girls were so pleased, waving to Nana and Papa in the audience as well.  The first preschool Christmas program we went to was 9 years ago!  It’s hard to believe we only have one more left next year.  This is such a precious age.  After that the next preschool program will be through my eyes as a grandma (many, many, years from now).  

There were a few kids that left the stage to chat with mom, a few that never sang a word and some that mingled in and out of their spot.  What I realized was that everyone is really glued on their own kid and enjoy, maybe even envy the spontaneity of this age. 


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Norman Rockwell Moment

This Sunday, after I put the girls down for their nap, I came into the kitchen and paused to notice it was really quiet (which usually means someone(s) is/are up to something).  I went downstairs to find the rest of the kids but they weren’t around.  I found my husband and he pointed out back.  There they were, the four older kids, skating on the pond in our backyard with the neighbor kids.  A year ago that wouldn’t have been possible.  I or my husband would have had to been out there to keep the peace but this year, or at least this 45 minute period of time, was different.  What an encouragement.


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