For those that like to dream, come in. For those that like to laugh, come in. For those that like to cry and be inspired...please come in. Our family is like any other, but is extraordinary in it's own right. Come and join us at our campfire and laugh a little, cry a little and leave us, but please come back. We love company...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A night off

I finally got it. A night off. I will say that I guess I have needed one more than I thought. Day before yesterday Polly came over and after spending 20 min here she looked at me and said "Boy you could use a night off". Really? What was your first clue? The constant twitching? Yelling at Jessi cause she wanted to know where her clothes were? Oh, maybe it was when Skyler got hurt and I didn't seem to much care. That must have been it! Yes...I needed a night off.

Now, this was not an easy task to accomplish. First we had to get the kitchen sink hooked up. And when I say we I meant Jon. Our countertops are in and we needed to get the sink hooked up so that we could use it. Once that was done I had to get Jon, Isaac and Joe off to the Father Son campout. There was another hour at least. Got Jon off ok and then it was on to myself. I made a trip to Ikea first to get some barstools...no luck. They didn't have what I wanted. So I gave up on that and moved on to my outing.

Now, you might think this is the easy part....just leaving. But noooo....first I get myself ready. I really don't think I should go out to The Commons to see a movie in my jammie pants, with Skylers cherrios stuck in my hair and I surely need some deoderant by now. So, I get all that done, put on decent clean clothes and spend ten minutes finding my purse. I give 10 suggestions to the three baby sitters on what they can feed the other three kids for dinner. A quick rundown on who they should let in and who they shouldn't.
"Don't let anyone in"
"What if grandma comes over?"
"Well, that's ok, but noone else"
"What if it's Brother Palmer?"
"Ok, well that's ok too.."
"Well, what if it's Angie?"
"Guys! You let in the people you know you are safe with ok?"
"What if you left your keys at home? Should we let you in?"
Hahaha, very funny guys....Five more minutes on what to tell people when they call, five minutes to go over the fact that if they take the kids outside they have to watch Skyler so he doesn't wander into the road, I have to go over at least ten rules...like NOONE is allowed on the roof, you have to turn off the burner if you cook something and you can only order one movie On Demand. Then there's the basic intructions on who goes to bed when and where, what time I'm going to be home, where I am going to be and what my cell phone number is (like they ever forget!)

Now, after going through all of this and more I finally get off to see that movie and get that precious time off....but it's no wonder that once that movie starts and the lights go down that I just simply pass out...my life is exhausting!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The bottomless pits

What is it about hot weather, swimming pools and sunshine that brings out the food monsters in children? I go an entire winter and think "Wow, they ate a lot of food today", and then get to summer and think I have 20 kids instead of 9. They never stop eating...never! They eat twice as much in the summer as they do in the winter. I probably spend $300.00 a week on food in the summertime. They will eat their meals, they will eat snacks and I will wake at 2 in the morning to a random noise that ends up being one of the kids digging through cupboards stating they are "starving to death".

Now, in all fairness I will say that they are more active in the summertime. They do swim, ride bikes, hike, play ball and run from inside to outside back to inside again, just because. But active enough to rationalize twice as much food? Maybe...maybe not.

There are times when they are just bored. When kids get bored one of three things happens...they get naughty, they complain and whine to mom constantly or they eat. I wonder, do I do that when I get bored? Hhmmm...thats a topic we can explore another time. Naughty...yes! My kids are pros at this. There are so many things that I don't even want to know they have done. Things that should warrant a tattle tale phone call from a neighbor. Why don't we avoid that subject? Whiney and complaining...I try to block these moments out when they happen so let's not drudge that up. Food. There are so many reasons to eat. Stress, happiness, celebration, sadness, every special event possible involves food...and of course boredom.

My kids are really bad about eating when bored. They don't know what else to do, so they eat. They don't want to go outside cause it's too hot...so they eat. They are watching tv and need so be using their mouths...so they eat. They are hurt and need comfort...they eat. Friends come over and you guessed it....they eat. Good grief folks we could have fed a small third world country with everything they ate today. I need to either become a psychologist and drive them into the ground with therapy to solve this, become a tyrant and not let them near the kitchen or become Martha Stewart and get super creative about summertime so they are too busy to eat.

But before I do all of that I am going to sit here, finish writing this, pull out my journal, grab my bag of peanut m&m's and veg. I mean it is afterall summer...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Plans coming together...

I had a friend recently post of facebook that he loved it when a plan comes together. Don't we all love it when that happens? I know I do...so must you. But unfortunately they don't always do that...or do they?

Last Friday morning I was talking to my sister on facebook and she was telling me how one of her daughters was on a plane headed to Salt Lake to spend some time with her friend here. I said "why didn't we think to send Maddie with Taylor and she could have stayed here at my house for the weekend? She could have flown home with Tay on Tuesday..." Well...I guess it wasn't too late for that so Lisa got on the Internet, got Maddie a ticket and threw her on a plane that afternoon. It came together so nicely and we got to have her all weekend, and Lisa had some precious time alone. Plans that came together...nicely.

The going home plans. I was supposed to pick up Taylor Tuesday morning and take her and Maddie to the airport. Now sounds easy enough...truly. Not! I spent a half hour trying to get directions to get Taylor...and ended up with Lisa getting directions for us. When I heard how far out west Taylor was I had to go into overdrive, or we were gonna be really late. So Maddie and I rushed. We got on the road and let me tell you...every single road in Salt Lake is under construction right now. I wish I were exaggerating, but I am not. Every single stinkin road! So it took me far longer to get all the way out west to get Tay than I had originally planned. We got to her friends house, hugged, got her stuff in the car and headed out. Now, since I had not planned such a long trip to get her in the first place I had to keep spying nervously at the gas gauge as it was dangerously low, and at this point in the trip there was no easy place to stop for gas. We were already late, remember? So, we get all the way to the airport, pull into the parking garage and Taylor gets a phone call from Lisa.
This is all I heard...
"Hi mom...we just got to the airport."
Small pause,
"What? The flight was cancelled? Are you kidding?"
It only took a minute or two to figure out that no one was kidding. So, we knew it was going to be a while at least, so we headed home. I was very nervous that all three of us were going to end up on the side of the freeway waiting for a ride. Somehow we got off the freeway and to a gas station without any more problems and that's when it was decided that they would stay another day and take the flight out the next day, same time.

I was actually ok with that. That meant I got one more day with Maddie and at least one day with Taylor. Both the girls were happy to stay one more day and my kids were on cloud nine when I drove up with both girls in the car instead of just myself. So although it was a major pain in my backside, it all turned out great. Today when I loaded them up, things went much more smoothly. We had gas in the car, I had both girls with me and we made it to the airport in time to stop and get lunch together before they had to board their plane. Smooth as silk, no hiccups and off they went.

Just this morning Polly said "I love it when a plan comes together". Of course we all do. But what I ask is this, even when we think plans aren't going as we want them to, is it always a bad thing? Sometimes it is...surely. But then again, every now and again they don't turn out right, and we are glad they didn't. I have a friend who has a saying that I like..."If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans..."

I like it... :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

What did you say?

I have 9 kids. Everyone knows that....everyone. For some reason it seems to be a conversation starter. I just don't know why... ;)

Now through the years I have sat and listened to nine children learn how to speak. Acutally it's been more like 60 kids or so if you include the 45 I have had during my daycare years and all of the extras from my previous posts. I have heard some funny things in my time and it just keeps on coming.

Skyler is just learning a few new words. Truck comes out like "guck" and when he says down it's more like "dowwwwwwwwn". I love to hear their first words. Some I can tell right away what they are saying and for some it's not quite so clear.

When Mckenna was a baby she would do a "thumbs up" and say look at my fung. She also had a hard time with the letter p so when getting her out of the tub I would say "pull the plug Kenna" and she would repeat me with "full the fug". I cannot tell you how many laughs I had over that one. Jon and I would try to get her to say that over and over again just because it sounded so wrong.

Joe was another funny one. Now I am pretty sure that what he was saying he was actually saying. And I promise on this one I did not ever say this. I honestly do not know where he got this one. One day while Polly and I were hanging out I looked at her and this is how the conversation went...
"Did you hear that?"
"Joey...did you hear what he just said?"
"No, but I will listen this time"
After a moment or two she looked at me with quite a bit of surprise because she could not believe that my 18 month old boy was saying what he was saying.
"Did he just say eat shit?"
"I swear that's what it sounds like, and I have no idea where he heard it!"
What was worse was that he would draw out the shit...like shiiiiiiit.....Now, I don't know where he heard it to this day, but it was the funniest thing in the world and I will admit there was more than once where he happened to say it during church. Polly and I decided to check ourselves one day with this one. Joey was sitting there ranting on and on quietly and Polly grabbed her daughter Rebeka. She was only 9 at the time.
"Honey, what is Joey saying?"
She listened and then her eyes got real wide and she said she would not repeat what he was saying. So I am pretty sure we were not wrong on this one...too funny!

I am in love with the baby. Any baby, all babies. They are simply wonderful. I so enjoy watching them learn to crawl, walk and run. Their little bodies are just not built for that kind of stuff and yet they manage anyway. But I think my favorite milestone has to be the spoken word. I recently told Tracy that I want her to try to get Carson on video with some of his new words...I so love hearing those little people trying to talk. I will be sad when Skyler can speak circles around me and there is no more baby talk in my home.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The extra

Erma Bombeck wrote a column about the extra. The extra kid at the dinner table that appears to fit in , is always there and seems to belong. The neighbor kid that just seems to live there. My extras change from time to time, but we always seem to have one.

I love having extras. Years ago it was Kenna's friend Kambri. She is just wonderful and they would hang out here for hours, making videos and singing and dancing the day away. I cannot tell you how much I missed this kid after she moved to a different city. I still miss her.

We also have Ian. He has pretty much been an extra since he was old enough to open his front door himself, and there are days where he doesn't show up and I am totally flabbergasted. I will call Polly and see if he is sick or missing, simply because we didn't get him that day. I don't think I would know what to do without him showing up everyday. It's like the universe would be out of whack without Ian trying to let himself in bright and early everyday in the summertime.

This weekend it's my niece Maddie. We wanted her, I told Lisa and she put her on a plane the same day. We got her. She fits right in, isn't fazed at all by the arguments and has found her favorite spot to be the swing out front. We sure do love having her around.

Truth be told we love having all extras around. Just because we have a big family and my kids have each other to play with doesn't mean we don't love friends. The Greens are here all the time, we sometimes get Tenley and Aspen and next month when my brothers kids are in town we plan to have them for a weekend too. We want extras, we like extras and thankfully we have lots of kids around so that we often get extras.

Point is? Send em on over folks. We love having them and would feel a definite void without them. The more the merrier I always say....

Friday, June 18, 2010


Are we born with it? That ability to love someone without hesitation, without judgment, without end...that ability to love someone who hurt us so badly that we cried ourselves to sleep and yet the next day we found ourselves wanting to be with that person. I think we are born with it.

That kind of love knows no bounds. It has no beginning and no end. I have learned so much about love in my lifetime. I have a family, I have children and of course my cute hubby. I have added more love to that over the years. Added more family, added more people and yet it never seems to find a limit. My mom and dad have always been here. They are one of the constants in my life. I thank the Lord for them...they have always been here for me and always will be. I have Jon now, and my nine kids. Now that they are here it's as if they have always been here. I can't imagine my life without them and I don't even like to try.

But there are others. People that have come and gone in my life that I love dearly. I have friends, people that touched me for a moment, but forever. Polly and her family are this to me. We are not related in blood, but in heart they are there forever. I want to be mad at her or her kids at times, but I have found that I just love em so darn much that it never lasts. Yesterday as I was at her home eating and laughing, her two oldest daughters came into the room and were goofing off and being silly. I look up, literally, to these kids now. They are both taller than me and they both have become such beautiful women. I feel very protective of them at times. I want to wrap my arms around them and love them and knock em up side the head at the same time. They mean the world to me. I am so glad they are in my life.

As I have lived though I have added even more. Some that I didn't expect. Years ago when they found me, my life would change forever. It did and continues to. My sisters, my biological ones, came into my life 14 years ago, and ever since then it's been something that has grown. These last couple of years I have come to appreciate them so much for who they are. They are amazing, they love me (I don't always know why), and I have found that I am protective of them like I am my kids. That's the amazing thing about love..it truly does grow. Each and everyday it becomes more. Now, you do have to work at it, you do have to let it in, and give it back. Then it can become something larger than life itself. When Lori, Lisa and Tracy came into my life they brought Susie with them. No more needs to be said on that one. We all know what she means to me.

Here we are just a few days away from Fathers Day. My dad is my dad. He is quiet and conservative, but he is mine. I love him for the man he is, for the dad that he has always been for me. I have a new emotion this year too though. While in Vegas this last time I got to see a picture of my biological dad. When I saw it, I saw myself in him. Only in looks, but there I was, there he was. I am forty and I am just getting a glimpse of him for the first time. From what I hear he is not someone that even has interest in me, or any of his other children for that matter...but that doesn't change the fact that he is my father. I looked at that picture and even at a table with eight other people at it I was completely alone. The noises around me faded away, and for one brief moment it was just the two of us. He and I. I started to cry, although I don't know why. One more piece to the puzzle. One more answer to an endless array of questions. I hope you have a good fathers day...whoever you are. I think I might just love you, although I don't know why.

Unconditional love knows no bounds. I know it, I believe it and I try to live it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"I don't know..."

They told me they did. With each and every child the techs at the ultrasounds told me their brains were developing normally in utero. They say that you can't live without a brain, but I swear my kids prove that theory wrong each and every day. It's like Bill Cosby says...they all have brain damage. Cosby describes this experience where he tells the child not to drink his drink. He looks away...child quickly picks up the drink and proceeds to guzzle..."Why did you do that?" child's response..."I don't know"

Jon and I have rules...basic things that are there just for safety reasons. Yesterday while Jon and I went to take dinner to a friend of his from work whose wife had had a baby, we get a phone call from home. It's Lacie...

"Dad....when are you coming home?"
"Well, we aren't even there yet, he lives a ways out here. Why?"
"Cause Colby fell off the swing and now he has a black hole in his knee..."
"A black hole?"
"Yes, a black hole, but we put a band aid on it and he's watching tv...he wants to talk to you"
"Hi daddy, I got an owie"
"I'm sorry buddy...you going to be ok?"
"Yes, but Isaac is jumping out the window..."
"What? Let me talk to him!"
Brief silence while Isaac is beckoned...
"Hi Isaac, this is dad..."
"Hi dad!"
"Are you jumping out the window?"
"Which window?"
"The one in the dining room"
"Isaac, when has it ever been ok for you guys to jump out the window?"
"Then why are you doing it?"
"I don't know....."

This was just yesterday. There are so many more that I could relay, but really, that would be a world breaking marathon blog if I tried to write about them all. Now, after Jon hung up the phone we laughed a little, and then went on the tell each other about the times when we did dumb things when we were young. I used to tie bedsheets together and shimmy down them out of my window. Jon used to jump down his laundry shoot until the laundry baskets would split out the back and his mom was stupefied as to why the baskets never lasted. Or maybe it's that they only chose to engage said item once in a while. That is probably the most likely answer, but I wish they would use it more often. Like when riding bikes in the road. Helmut please? Or when they decide to play kickball in the house...how about not in the house guys? I have too many broken picture frames from such games.

In other words, we all have brain damage, or maybe non of us is born with a brain. Question of the year is though, when do they "grow in"? I sometimes think I have a brain, but do I? I have to wonder...and I am always wondering if the kids have brains. Always....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I absolutely love summer. This has to be and has always been my very favorite time of year. When I was a kid I liked the snow, I like the leaves in the fall and the flowers in the spring...but above all I loved summer. Where I grew up they have a community pool and I was there everyday. I would go alone all the time without complaint. I preferred to go with friends, but with or without I was there. My skin was always brown and my feet were tough as nails from walking everywhere without shoes. I am still this way. If I can find a pool to take the kids to, I am there. I rarely if ever wear shoes and my skin is currently a nice shade of brown.

Polly and I sat outside yesterday with the kids for it was the first day in a long time where it was actually nice enough to do that. I had Kenna get a baby pool, I turned on the sprinklers, pulled out lawn chairs and sodas and there we were. That's where I plan on being most of the next 2 and half months. It's where I am the happiest.

I am not sure what it is about summer that I love so much. It gets hot, the kids are home 24/7, my house is a mess and I spend a lot more money on food than during the school year. I must spend $220 just on popsicles each summer. But I love it. I have this long laundry list of things that are wonderful to me about summer...

No homework
No car pools
Lemonade stands
Swimming pools
Lawn chairs and friends to go in them
Fire pits with friends
Evening walks
Soft green grass that's been freshly mowed
Chalk drawings on the driveway
Canyon drives
Day trips to the lakes to swim and picnic

I could go on and on. I think this is why I struggle so much during the cold months of the year. I want so desperately to be out of the house and doing some of these things that it's hard not to be able to so much of the year. I am about the warm months, always have been.

Posts from me for the next three months will be happy, carefree and content. It's summertime....

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I am exhausted today. I have to admit that's actually putting it mildly. I stayed up until 2:30 am talking to my sister Lori on the phone. It was fun, it was confrontational, it was wonderful. I loved every moment of keeping in touch with her. She and I had lots of questions for each other and lots to tell each other about what's been going on in our lives this past week or so. We could have gone on longer but we knew we had to stop, we knew we had to go to bed.

I often have people marvel that I am up at unholy hours of the night on facebook, writing or just catching up on my favorite tv shows. Buy people, let's think about this. I have 9 children. I have a husband. The demands for my time and attention are astronomical. I literally never have time for myself, at least time that isn't interrupted several times every moment with requests for food, juice, tv remotes, phone calls, item finding and all manner of all other things. It's truly amazing how many times in an hour I am beckoned. As we speak I had to stop writing long enough to check the baby's blood sugar, give him some juice and clean up a little glass salt shaker that Jessi broke.

So there is one sure fire time when I can get alone time. The middle of the night. I can watch my tv shows. I can write uninterrupted. I can listen to the music I like and talk on the phone or on facebook without having to get up and say "hang on". I like it. Yes, I do pay a price for it the next day when I am super tired and want nothing more than to lay down and go to sleep, but it's still worth it.

When evening comes I just have to judge how tired I am and how desperate I am for that time...by 10 or so I have my answer. Tonight is going to be an early to bed night. But that's because Lori and and I were up late last night. And it was worth every moment of it. :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Come in...

I have a favorite book. Just one. Shel Silverstien. I loved his poetry from the very first line I ever read it. My grandma Flagg gave me one of his books for my birthday when I was only 10 and I have loved him ever since.

I love to share his poetry with my kids. I have two in particular...Megan and Abby. They both love to read his books and they share the one with my grandma's signature in it. When I was in high school and college I used to write poetry a lot. It was something I was always fond of and some of my work resembles his. Maybe it's because I loved his work so much. I was going through some of it today and I found a few gems that I need to print off and put in a book. Fun fun fun.

I have found I like to write. I like to write and share it. It just isn't the same to write without anyone ever being able to share it with you. My family is crazy, our lives are crazy. But it's so fun to tell the stories of my family to others. I find that people laugh, cry and are amazed. I want to be able to do that more, to share with not only those that are close to me, but those that aren't. When I was in Vegas this last time I surprised Lisa at the Gin Mill. She was excited to see me and every time she introduced me to someone it went like this..."This is my sister Julie...she has nine kids!" I think I am the lady with nine kids before I am Julie...but that's ok. I do have nine kids and my life is crazy..but always fun. I have stories daily about my life, my kids lives and our adventures as a family this size in today's world.

My favorite author now, as an adult has to be Erma Bombeck. Her stories make me laugh, and cry. She knows how to take life's experiences and make them fun to read, and they make us all feel a little more human because we all have the same life's experiences. We can relate. We understand. We can laugh together.

My life is crazy. I have nine kids. I laugh and cry every single day. Come in and join us...you might find that you feel a whole lot better when you leave...for a number of reasons!

It's all about location...

We have been home now for 5 days. It's been good to be home. I missed my friends. I missed my bed and the space for my kids to spread out. We were cramped for 11 days...and I have to say they did a great job being so close to each other for so long, but it was good to be home.

Having said that I will now say that I had no idea how much I missed it. The ocean I mean. The vacation was a surprise vacation my dad set up. When we were young my dad would rent a beach house every summer for a week. It's always been in the same spot...beach road in San Juan Capistrano, California. It's more or less been different houses each year, but the same beach. The same view, the same shops, the same restaurants....and I love it. The sounds and smells are so comforting to me. When you stand on the beach looking out at the ocean you can gaze to the left and see San Clemente Pier, and to the right is Dana Point. Out in front of you is blue, as far as the eye can see. It's awesome. I don't mean awesome like "it's so awesome that he talked to me today" awesome, I mean "God's creations are awesome" awesome.

The entire time we were there my kids were content. They didn't fight, they loved where they were, they played in the sand, they ran in the waves, they searched the rocks for treasures. I am so grateful that they could experience some of what I call paradise with me. They slept well, they played hard and they learned to love a bit of what I have spent a lifetime loving. Jon and I got to sit back and read and snooze. It's been so long since we were able to do that with all the kids around. Even Skyler would just sit nearby digging his tiny hands into the sand, and eating a bit of it.

I have come to depend a lot on my ipod to keep my mind happy and occupied. My nights in Capistrano were spent with no ipod. I didn't want to have it in my ears while there. I wanted to be able to hear every wave. Every sound that I have missed so much.

Now, I know I am not the only one who feels this way. They make cd's of ocean sounds that people use to sleep to, or to meditate to. You have to be a millionaire to own beachfront property now a days. People will save up, and take one big vacation a year...to the beach. Lot's of people love to be there. It's all about location.

Since we got home it's been cloudy and rainy. My best friend and I have spent a considerable amount of time on the phone and a bit of time hanging out and yesterday while getting some hot chocolate at Maverick (yes...it is that cold here right now!), she told me that I have gotten whiny about the weather. "You whine about it all the time...all the time!" She's not wrong. I hate the constant cloud cover. I hate temps that drop below 80. I hate the fact that we are half way into June and I have not even been able to toy with the idea of buying the kids a kiddie pool to play in. It's horribly depressing to me. The funny thing is though that Capistrano was cool this year. We had to run the heaters at night. We had to wear jackets in the evening to keep warm. There were clouds for 3 days straight while we were there and I don't recall whining even once. I didn't care that it was cloudy and cool...I was on the beach. Not even the clouds could dampen my spirit while there.

We will go back someday. I love it too much not to. We will never live there. We will never be able to afford it. But we will go back. Maybe with my folks? Maybe not. We can take the kids and stay in a hotel and just go to the beach everyday. It won't be as nice, but it will still be worth it. Maybe hit Disneyland or Sea world. When you find something that is that good for you, you have to grab it and run with it. My kids may grow up to feel differently. They might love the mountains, lakes or who knows what? I respect the fact that it's different for everyone. I know what it is for me. I know where it is for me.