Monday, April 27, 2015


I am out of touch with a lot of things this year.  
Our kids' progress in piano lessons is one of them, because I no longer see the teacher each week. Dean does the pick-up (and forgets to relay her comments to me).

Last fall, we questioned whether or not we would do piano lessons this year (they run on the same schedule as the school year).  We started with a "we'll see how it goes and quit if it's too much" thought.  Many times I said it was time to quit, but here we are with one month of lessons left!

Our oldest three are in lessons.  They have two recitals a year.  Last week was one of them.

Two days before the recital, the kids told me that they were playing a trio.  
"What?! But you haven't been practicing!!" I said. At least not at home.

I heard them practice twice.

But they pretty much nailed it!

And so we continue to fly by the seats of our pants around here.
Somehow, it all works out in the end.

But's still a good idea to practice and prepare before you perform!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Oh Babies!

I want the twins to stay 9 months old forever.  They have the sweetest, fullest cheeks, the most adorable little giggles, and the cutest babble.  They both have this thing with fake laughing.  If you get them going, pretty soon it turns into real laughter. Cutest thing ever!

I think all moms feel this way at some point. Or three.
I, for one, feel like I'm a little less sleep deprived now (it only took 9 months!) and able to really enjoy them.
It's not that I don't want them to ever grow up, it's just that I want to freeze time and savor this moment because I know how fleeting it is.

With five other children, I especially appreciate the babies.  They have an innocence that is so refreshing.  It's not that I have naughty or terrible older children. On the contrary, I think they're pretty great kids. It's just that raising children involves all kinds of tough decisions and hard moments.  But the babies? Oh, the babies! They smile and hold out their arms for you and love you no matter how often you mess up.  They look up to you for every single need they have, yes, but their sweetness pays for it tenfold.  It's an incredibly fulfilling job.

With babies, every day is fresh and full of potential for learning and exploring.
They don't remember yesterday and it's hardships.  They simply enjoy the present.

They teach me what unconditional love is.  They teach me how to live for the moment.
Every toothless grin and each little cuddle and every single giggle they give makes my heart sing.
I get to be their mama!  I'm so lucky and so blessed to be their mom!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Kitchen news and a mini vacay

I just got off the phone with the dude who ordered my flooring.  It turns out the company is closing, and we may not get that flooring that I already paid (an arm and a leg) for, which happens to be a match to the rest of the flooring in the house, which is no longer printed. Drat! Do these things always happen on Mondays?

Let me back up though.
I'm getting a new kitchen!!
I am beyond excited.

We ahem, yes we (hey, I tore out one 12 inch wall cabinet!) are doing it ourselves, so its really slow going. I'm tired of having no sink, but I've waited 3 years for this renovation so it will be worth it in the end!

Dean took a couple days off work to have a solid 3 days to tackle the cabinets.  He didn't get as far as he thought he would (typical remodel story, right?!).  To be fair, I waited until he had already started ripping out old cabinets to say "oh, and I want these outlets and outlet covers to be white (not to mention GFCI and up to code)".  That ended up taking half a day. So I'll take the blame there!

Life got busy after that work weekend and we've been living with it like this for a past few weeks.  We were waiting for our trip down to Mesa for a cousin's wedding so we could run to nearby IKEA for the countertops and the island cabinets.

My five fish. They take after their Dad.

How I keep Loretta quiet at 7am in a hotel room so the other kids can sleep in.

We had a fun and relaxing quick weekend down in the valley of the sun.  The wedding was lovely, the kids swam for hours in the hotel pool both Saturday night and Sunday morning, AND I got Ikea drawer bases in the finish I wanted despite them being out of stock in every other cabinet base and every other configuration.

Now that we have the 3.4 hundred IKEA boxes in our garage, we can move forward!
Seriously, guys, does date night get any better than pulling out the screw drivers and umpteen flat boxes and saying "lets do this"!  Assembly is the biggest pain, but I like their prices and product, so I'll take it!

If you are looking for me this coming week, I'll be sitting on the living room floor surrounded by boxes.
Wish us speedy luck; I can't wait to have a sink again AND I can't wait to show you the final result!

Monday, April 6, 2015

No, I don't really think I'm lucky.

Last week, I took Aubrey out of school early to come get her hair cut with me.  I thought it would be a fun mom-and-daughter date, and I was right.  I was able to soak her in and give her my undivided attention the whole time we were out and about, which she loved.

While I was sitting in the salon, wrapped in a black cape and answering the usual questions of 'how many kids do you have', 'are you going to have any more', and 'do you stay home', I got a comment that I've heard a couple times before: "you are so lucky to get to stay home with your kids!"

I've been thinking about that.  
Yes, I am 'lucky' if you like that term.  I feel very fortunate and blessed to have a hard working husband who can provide for us, as well as a partner that fully supports me as a stay-at-home mom. I saw a sign in a friend's house recently that read "Begin each day with a grateful heart".  I love that! So yes, I am very grateful I get to be the one to raise my kids.  With seven beautiful children, I have so much to be thankful for each and every day.

But... At the same time, I am not 'lucky' to be a stay-at-home mom. It takes work. It was our (Dean's and my) choice; a choice that took, and still takes, sacrifices on our part to make happen. 
We make our kids our priority. 

That means we don't have as much money to spend on holidays, birthday parties, and vacations.  It means that we live in a modest small home and drive older cars.  It means that our kids wear hand-me-downs and that our scarred furniture continues to serve us well.  It means that I wear old and faded jeans rather than the latest fashions. It means my days are filled with oft mundane tasks of laundry, sweeping, and mopping.

But more importantly, it means that I get to be the one to kiss owies and welcome the kids home from school!  I get to watch the baby take his first steps and I get to read stories to the kids!  I get to choose how to discipline and I get to instill the values we find important.  I get to reap the rewards of raising our children!

And I love it!  Like I told the hairstylist, it's exactly what I want to be doing.
Lucky or not, I made a choice, and it continues to be a choice that I find worth the sacrifices

Because I have to include a picture. 
And because I photograph these kids the least 
since it's their teachers and not me that gets to enjoy them during the week day.