Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuckered Out

Robert went from this. . .

to this rather quickly.

Gingerbread Houses

I had intended to build these houses with the kids sometime this year but never got around to it.  Then a friend called and asked if she could come over to build gingerbread houses with the kids.  Needless to say we were thrilled with the offer.  She showed up with 3 homemade houses, lots of candy,  frosting and her daughter to help.

Lots of actions, lots of help, the kids did a great job.  I think I may try to do these ourselves in the future.

We Teach Them Young

Yes, that is a real screw driver and he is using it properly.  Seriously, why do toys come screwed into boxes now?

Robert got his hands on the laptop.  He was quite proud of himself until he managed to shut it on his hand. Then he was not so happy.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday Musings

I think it is time to fold laundry tonight.  I put it off last night to talk to Alan instead.  Today one of the children got locked in the laundry room because the clean clothes were piled so high that they could not get the door open.  One, this means we likely have too many clothes out for the children and should do a sort/purge. Then again, a weeks worth of laundry for 9 people does add up. Especially when you add in diapers and kitchen towels and such.  Two, it means I have put off folding for too long. I guess none of the kids need any money since they know they can earn money for folding laundry.  But at least it is all clean.

And on a side note, I heard a phrase on Sunday that I can totally relate to while dealing with all the kids.  See, they know we are outnumbered. They figure if they stick together they will win. They are wrong but that is beside the point.  The wonderful saying was "One lies and the rest swear to it."  Yup, I can totally relate to that one.  Likely why it was said by a father of 10.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's Been a Day

I'm not quite sure where to file a day like today. Do you say that you are super thankful for days like this because they force you to learn new things?  Or do you say a day like today makes you more grateful for the things your husband normally does when he's home?  It's a toss up I think.

The first run to the hardware store today led to a successful attempt to repair the rear-view mirror that had been ripped of the van.  Don't ask, I still don't know what the child was thinking.  Maybe they just wanted to see what would happen. 

Later in the morning I made a trip to the store to replace the microwave which suffered a sudden electrical failure of some sort on Christmas.  Given that it is only 8 weeks old, it should not have died. I will be taking the matter up with the credit card company to see if there is any hope of getting my money back for a faulty device.  Not happy about that.

I think I was only home for about half an hour before the girls ran upstairs frantically saying they saw something with a tail in the basement. Further inspection discovered a rat in the basement. Yes, a rat.  I am not a happy camper. This caused another trip to the hardware store to purchase a rather large trap.  I'm not sure if I want to trap the thing quickly and get it over with or in a few weeks so Alan can deal with the disposal.  This also led to an in depth cleaning of the playroom and pantry downstairs to clean up all the dog food and food wrappers of various sorts that have been scattered downstairs my "it wasn't me."  Tomorrow the same task must be done to the basement bedroom. 

Along the way the upstairs toilet got clogged by someone again.  Dishwasher was run a few times. Laundry is going.  The trash mountain from Christmas has been mostly cleaned up.  A billing issue has been dealt with and the kids and dog have all been fed.  Mostly honestly a fairly easy and not so busy day for us but it would have been easier with a second set of hands around.  Now to go fold the laundry.  But the countdown has begun. Tomorrow I need to get out the coffee maker and clean it up and actually make sure we have coffee in the house.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Busy Night

Christmas Eve at home means decorating the tree, opening Christmas pj's and watching The Muppet Christmas Carol. 

This is the mess after each child opens just the one present containing their new pj's.  And I do believe that only half the mess fit into the picture.  And here is Robert hanging out. 

Gabe decided that the tree decorations were really fun to play with rather than put on the tree.  There are lots more pictures but I think it is time to put the younger ones to bed.  Hope everyone is having a wonderful night.

Christmas Eve Mass

Sean sang in the choir this evening at Mass. Doesn't he look perfectly well-behaved here?   The pictures of the kids singing turned out rather, um, freakish looking so this is the best I can do for now.  The kids did a great job singing and providing a bit of entertainment.  

Bryan served tonight which meant he processed in with Father. This resulted in Gabe announcing to everyone who was coming.  It started with "Bryan" at the top of his lungs even before the music started because he could see his brother in the back of church.  Bryan, Bryan, Bryan very loudly until you could hear a chorus of laughter.  Then the singing starts and people start walking. Then we hear Bryan! followed by a bit of silence because he does not know the other server or the lector.  Then we hear Deacon!  Then Father! Now roll call is over and hopefully the little dude will be quiet for a bit.  Um, nope.  But we tried right?

Cookbook Review

While I was wandering around the grocery store the other day waiting for Robert's prescription to be ready, I decided to browse the book section.  Normally I would avoid the book section of the grocery store on the principle that the books are guaranteed to be overpriced and who wants to add a book to their grocery budget.  But we'd already put everything we needed in the cart and still had time to kill.  I saw this book that I've had in my Amazon wish list for a while and decided to splurge on it.  Hey, I was under orders from my mother-in-law to buy something just for me so you can call her an enabler.  The Pioneer Woman Cooks is a great book for anyone who loves The Pioneer Woman blog which I do.  I love all the pictures. I love that it is real food. I love that the portions are not already set for 2 people.  And have I said I love all the pictures?  Seriously, all cookbooks should come with so many pictures so you can actually see what you are supposed to be doing.  I do wish there were a few more recipes in the book but you can find more on her website.  Just be smart and buy the book somewhere other than your local grocery store and save the difference.  "Buy used and save the difference."  Hm, I wonder if the Duggars apply that to books? But that would be yet another post. . .

Flour Anyone?

I need a creative place to store the large flour bin.  Gabe seems to think it is something to play in.  His siblings apparently got the idea that when you find Gabe in the flour bin, you can just pick the flour up and put it back in the flour bin.  So I had to throw away a bunch of flour this morning. And mop the floor.  I dumped out the top third of the flour bin today and if I find anymore dog hair, the rest of it will be dumped as well.  At least 10 lbs has been trashed already.  At least 3 children were covered from head to toe in flour.  I'm trying to remind myself that this is a small thing but seriously, not a good start to the day.  So in a kitchen designed for a family of 3 with very little large storage, where would you store the 30 lb bin of flour? 

Foxy Loxy

We saw a beautiful looking red fox in the backyard this morning.  I suppose this explains why the dog keeps going bonkers every night when you let her out.  She did seem to be barking a bit more urgently than she normally does for the deer.  I have a feeling the fox is living next door.  I guess this explains why we have lost a few chickens to unknown causes.  But then again, I imagine if the fox was taking out the chickens, we would not have many left.  I suppose it could just explain why the chickens never wander out of our yard unless they are hanging out on the road. (Why did the chicken cross the road?)  Sadly no pictures since the zoom on my camera is not that good but I'm hoping maybe we'll see the fox again.  This has so far been a wonderful year for animal sightings in the yard.  Bryan was out feeding the chickens a few weeks ago when he turned around to find a deer just a few feet away from him.  We've also seen the rabbit that lives in the front bushes quite often and lots of deer just wandering around.  Guess I need to get better at taking pictures.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gingerbread Men

Ok, I cheated again this year and bought one of those all-in-one kits at the store.  For about $8, I get a box with 8 cookies, frosting mix and decorations.  Which means all I have to do is open the box, hand out cookies and relax.  The kids had a blast.  Kieran supplied some comical relief by pretending to be his gingerbread man and exclaiming in horror at the loss of his limbs as the cookie was being eaten.  Bryan and Sean got very artistic this year and even put pockets on their cookies. Gabe's cookie was glued together with frosting because it got dropped on the floor and broke.  Poor cookie.  Poor Gabe. Turns out he is old enough this year to protest being given a broken cookie.  Darn kid growing up on me.  I guess next year I will either have to buy 2 kits or actually get my act in gear and make the cookies myself.  We'll have to see what the future holds.

Remember the magic is in the details.  And as for the messy kids, they made these right after dinner so no one stopped to clean up.  I say it was worth $8 for those smiles.  And look at Gabe wielding that knife with such determination.  Be afraid, very afraid.  After he was done sampling his cookie, he decided to drive his truck over it, complete with sound effects.  For a good 10 minutes.  The things that keep him still and happy quite amaze me.

Did You Know. . .

. . .that the secret to making perfect ornaments is using copious amounts of glitter?

This is just a small sampling of the ornaments the kids made today.  I think we may need to hang up the table and counters as well based on the amount of marker and glitter that ended up on those as well.

Was It You?

We got a package in the mail today from Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. No indication of who it is from, simply addressed to us.  If you sent us something, can you let me now please?  Trying to figure out where this came from.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Baking

The making of Christmas goodies has finally started.  I am so not in the mood at the moment but this snack is one the kids can make entirely on their own without help from me. And they love it.  We made these last night and there are none left. 

Just lay out a bunch of pretzel squares on a baking sheet, top with a Hershey's kiss, pop in the oven at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes. Pull them out and put an M&M on top. Let cool and devour.  I learned this year (or perhaps relearned) that it is best to do the plain kisses in one batch and the white chocolate hugs in a second batch because of the differing melting temps. The hugs were very soft while the kisses were still a bit hard after 5 minutes. But they were all yummy.

Happy Birthday Alan

This may be just a tad early but I just couldn't resist sharing. Happy birthday, Alan. We love you.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Robert Crawling

This one was taken in the morning with better light. We don't have many lights in the living areas of the house so things get a tad dark at night. Hopefully you can see this one better.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Baby's First Christmas

Yes, this is child number 8 and the first one to ever have a baby's first Christmas outfit. We were blessed with another box of hand-me-downs and this was in the pile.

Robert on the Move

Ok, the lighting is a bit poor on this but hopefully you can see it.

Christmas is Coming

Can someone ship me some Christmas spirit or something please? I am so not into things this year.  I suppose I need to actually start making cookies or getting the rest of the gifts wrapped but I'm just not feeling too excited about things this year.  I guess I am just getting a tad burned out and ready for a bit of a break.  Or for the baby to start really sleeping better. One night at a time is just messing with my head.  Yup, I'm sure I will snap out of it and fake some excitement for the kids but I am just not feeling it at the moment. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Tree is Up

Ok, I admit that I was more than willing to just forget to put the tree up this year.  It was stored somewhere very hard to get to, I was going to have to rearrange the furniture to find a place to put it and the prospect of keeping Gabe and Robert out of the tree was not an exciting one. But the children did not agree with me  on this one.

So when Dave came by last night to drop off dinner and try to fix the snow blower, we asked him if he could try to get the tree down for us. After the kids went to bed I rearranged furniture and set the tree up.  Yes, it is hidden somewhat in a corner.  I am hoping this will help keep the younger two away from it a bit.  No ornaments will go on until Christmas Eve so this is it for now.  This kids are happy, the snow blower is now working and I was able to enjoy a nice warm dinner made by someone else last night. Things are going rather well.

New Poncho

I had been using Gabe's poncho on Robert last week and Gabe let me know he was quite upset to have to see his brother in his poncho.  So I made a new poncho for Robert the other night.  The child has a rather large head so it took two tries to get the hood large enough to fit over his head properly but we now have 2 happy children.  Robert is happy with his new carseat poncho and Gabe is happy to have his poncho back.

Quick edit: here's a link to the pattern

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I Want to Play, Too

The little guy went out to play in the snow with Bryan today. This was taken before the boots went on. It's amazing Gabe was able to walk.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pictures From Our Week

Skiing in the Yard

This is how Bryan and Katie have been spending the past few days.  Yes, we got snow and I think it will be staying around for a bit.  Earlier this year I spent some time browsing craigslist looking for inexpensive sets of cross country skis.  We already had 2 pairs plus 3 pairs of snow shoes for the kids.  I added 3 more pairs of cross country skis and now the kids have a way to keep busy outside in the winter. A definite benefit of having more than just a regular city lot to play on.  The kids can ski right outside their front door.  Sorry the picture is not the greatest. I was not wearing shoes and was not going to step outside.  Yes, I'm a wimp like that.

Why You Should Take Your Kids To Mass

I needed to read this article today.  Yes, we are lucky to have a very understanding priest who has said he doesn't mind the noise of the small children (or should I just say Gabe) in church.  We go to a small parish so there is no cry room or nursery or option at all for when the little ones get a bit loud.  With Alan gone right now, there have been plenty of days when I've left Mass wondering why I bothered to go since I spent most of the time outside with a toddler.  But then I see the other folks in church who get up and sit with the kids when I leave, see the older kids who are getting something out of it and remind myself that I am not going for me.  One day all too soon I'll be able to sit through Mass every single week and hear everything.  It just won't happen anytime soon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I picked up 255 lbs of hormone-free, antibiotic-free, grass fed beef yesterday.  Let me just say that fills the freezers. I actually had to plug the 3rd fridge back in.  Granted I also have 3 turkeys in the freezers as well. It's one of those things where the up-front investment is sizable but it will pay off in the end. And we now have meat that is much healthier for the kids.  And steak in the house.  Lots of it.  Alan will be thrilled.  Now I just need to come up with some yummy ways to use the cuts of meat that I never buy and am slightly unsure of how to use.  Should be an interesting experiment.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Art Project

I left Bryan in charge while I took Kieran birthday shopping.  This is what the kids did while I was gone (along with making a mess, eating popcorn, having hot chocolate, destroying the house, deciding no one can smell the diaper that needs to be changed).

St. Nicholas Day

I have to say my favorite feast days are the ones you can celebrate with candy involved.  St. Nicholas came to visit and left the kids some treats. This is the best picture I managed to get because I was asleep. :)  I do have to say that the next time St. Nicholas day falls on a Sunday, the chocolate will be hidden until after Mass.  Or maybe I'll eat it all after Mass.

Happy Birthday Kieran

Kieran turned 8 on Saturday.  He had a wonderful day I think.  We went out to lunch at Red Robin then went to the spaghetti dinner at church where Father Mickey had everyone sing to Kieran.

Then we came home for cake.  He'd requested a blue cake but someone raided the pantry and it was too late to make frosting so Kieran settled for chocolate frosting.

We had a very happy 8-year-old. Congrats Kieran.