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...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Do you know?

My sister asked me a good question the other day, and I wasn't sure how to answer her. She asked why? Why when I had 9 children, two with diabetes, did I want another child? I sure did have my plate full, and yet there I was insisting that there was another child to come to me. All I can say is that I knew. The day that we found out that Skyler was going to be a boy I sat in my car looking down at that cute little ultrasound of him and the only thing that went through my mind aside from "really?", was that I was going to have to do it again. Be pregnant, tell my friends and family, pick a name, be an older mom...all of it. To be honest, the worst thought was telling my friends and family. We do tend to come under some serious criticism about the size of our family. "You have so many already", "Why when you complain of being broke do you want to add more to your home?", or the not so nice response "Are you just crazy?"...we hear it all.

As I thought about what Lori was asking me I tried to explain it. I know how the economy is, I know that I have kids with high needs, I know....really! But as sure as I am sitting here writing this, I knew we were supposed to have another baby. A girl. During, during, my third miscarriage I was at Target and I found a cute little outfit and my first thought was, "This is what I want to bring her home in!" It made no sense since I was in the middle of my third miscarriage. But, somehow I knew.

There are many things right now that I pray about daily. How to handle the kids diabetes, where to send my kids to school, if we should take a job outside of Utah or not, but this one I did know! I knew there was a little girl waiting to come to our home. She is here now, and when I look at her it's as if she has always been here. She is an essential part of our family. Our family could not be complete without her.

So, with all the questions I just sort of shrug them off. I try to explain myself to people at times, and other times not. Our family is what it is. I am pretty sure that if anyone one of you, spiritual or not, were to think really hard about it you could come up with something that you just knew. Without doubt. With a sure knowledge. You just knew. I don't know a lot of things, but this one I did. I just did....

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What do we do all day?

I am a mom. I have ten children. My life is not, nor has it been my own in many, many years. In my years as a mom to many I have had many questions from friends and family, and even strangers as to my life. Some more insulting than anything else. Questions like "Do you know how babies are made?", "Are you crazy?" and "Are you a Mormon? Cause only a Mormon would have that many kids!". I would have to say though that the two most common questions are "What do you do all day?" and the most common "How do you do it?". I think I will try to answer those two questions, or at least attempt to....

To do this I only have to go through a common 24 hour period. By doing so I can answer those two questions and countless others. Let's start at midnight shall we?

Midnight: God willing I am asleep, because heaven knows that won't last long.
2am: Brynlee's first time up. She happily eats and falls back to sleep pretty quickly now a days, thank goodness. I go back to bed by 3 or so.
4am: Skyler drags all his blankets and his wet self into my bed. I get up, change him, get him something to drink and settle him back into bed... my bed, right in between me and Jon.
5am: Brynlee's second time up. By this time I am thinking it's time to get her some cereal before bedtime so that she will learn to sleep a little longer in a stretch.
6am: Jon's alarm goes off and he is up and about.
6:30am: The shower has woken Jessi up and she is standing beside the bed staring at me, almost in a creepy way. Our conversations are almost comical at this early hour.
"Ugh Jessi, what?"
"Is it time to get up?"
"Well, does it matter? Looks like your up no matter, huh?"
"Can I watch TV?"
"Sure, please, go watch TV!"
"What?" (in almost a growl)
"Can I play on your iPad instead?"
"Whatever Jessi, just go out please!"
After all of that I might as well get up. I mean, why not?
7am: All the other kids are woken up and told to get ready. They will then be told to get ready about half a dozen times, per kid during the next hour.
7:20: We have a family prayer so that Jon and Megan can leave. She is late for Seminary again.
8am: I am rushing around trying to get clothes on the little kids so we can take the big kids to school. Abby is usually yelling at Joe cause he is still in his p.j.'s, Lacie is following me around with a brush and pretties in her hand wanting me to do her hair and Brynlee is full on screaming at this point, as we are all ignoring her.
8:15am: I walk in the door from taking the kids to school and look around my home, which at this point looks as though a tornado hit it, literally. As a matter of fact one did hit, or more like 6 or 7 actually. I now have 7 hours to get it cleaned up before the tornadoes come back and start the havoc all over again. But first I sit in my chair and love on my baby for a few minutes. Maybe I can get her to sleep so I can clean.
9:00am: Phone calls, while I get some chores done. My mom, my sister, my friend. We catch up, talk and gossip while I do the dishes, feed the baby, change Skyler and take care of all his diabetes needs. This can go on for an hour or more. Sometimes two. Sadly enough I have to admit, that after attending to the entry way, where the older kids scattered several shoes, coats and old papers out of backpacks, the living room where the kids played the night before, the kitchen where we all ate and my bedroom it's almost noon and I can't believe it is.
12:00pm: I barely get the kids ready in time to get out the door again. It's time for Colby to go to school. My neighbor Bethany is pregnant with twins and I have gladly taken on the task of taking her little kiddo to school with Colby, to try help her out.
12:15pm: I know at this point what I want to do, which is go home, put the kids down for a nap and grab a little sleep myself, but alas it's not to be most days. This is the only time when I am down to two kids, two easy kids and I know I need to run my errands then. I run to the store, the bank, post office and to my mom's to drop this and that off, or pick things up. It's easy with just Skyler and Brynlee, but depressing that I have to use this golden time to run errands. Some days I get to go home and take it easy. And by easy I mean I get to feed and change Skyler and Brynlee. Play with them for a while, make a few more phone calls and once the baby is asleep I get some canned soup out of the cupboard, heat it up and plop down in front of the tv for a few minutes. I might even pass out briefly. However, if I do, I often wake up to find that Skyler has poured Lucky Charms out all over the floor to eat the marshmallows, drunk all of my soda, colored on the tv with his new crayons and gotten my iPad all sticky while trying to watch Plants vs Zombies on Youtube. There is a price to be paid for falling asleep!
2:45pm: The first of the big kids start coming home. From here it's back to tornado mode. Kids, backpacks, homework, friends, snacks, music, tv, computer games and so so much more! The chaos cannot be described by words in any language. It's just wow, ugh, sigh, scream, laugh, run, run some more and fall apart.
6:00pm: Dinner. This brings on a whole new chaos.
"What's for dinner mom?"
"Ugh...I don't like that!"
"We had that two nights ago!"
"Why can't we have dinners like the Green's? They have good food!"
"How soon is dinner? I am STARVING!"
8:00pm: Bedtime starts. First it's Jessi, Colby and Skyler. It's take more than half an hour to chase kids around with diapers, pajamas and toothbrushes. Once they are down it's Joe. He likes to run from one room to another trying to resurrect Houdini in his attempts to be like him in avoiding bedtime. Once he is down, it's on to Abby and Lacie. They complain, moan, groan and love to give lots of hugs and kisses. I would like to think its because they love me, but I think it's more of another excuse to get out of bed.
9:30pm: I start to chase Megan and Isaac off to bed. Start. It takes nearly an hour to get those two to finally go to bed. Oh my and good grief and throw me out a window to put me out of my misery! By this point I am beyond exhausted!
10:30pm: Jon gets home from work. If I am still awake I try to recap the day without crying, screaming or falling asleep. All three are real possibilities.
Midnight: I fall into bed to start it all over again in about 2 hours!

Well, does that sum it up? I mean, we didn't even touch on the fine details. The fights, trips to the store after kids are in bed, the constant fighting that leaves me voiceless and all the items I step on...That's just the big stuff. How do I do it? To be honest, I just do. I do it by not thinking about it. I just go. Run. Talk. Listen. Lecture. Smile. Frown. Laugh. Cry. I just do it. Don't we all?

Friday, November 18, 2011


Why is it I have such a hard time this time of year? Every year I get somber, I start to hermit and I can't talk much about this time without getting choked up or worse yet, upset. I know it seems shallow to have such a hard time, but I do. My friends and family are constantly telling me how I get too caught up in the "money" of Christmas and I need more of the "Christ" in Christmas, but let's be honest shall we...is this coming from people that have enough and don't have to worry constantly about money, their kids, and so many other people? Maybe those people have come to a place in their lives that I haven't reached yet. Maybe I am just too shallow and they aren't. Maybe...

This time of year poses lots of challenges for my household. School starts, clothes and supplies are needed, adjustments are being made and that's just to start off the fall season. From there we have Kenna's birthday, Skyler's birthday, Halloween, Joe's birthday, Thanksgiving, Jessi's birthday, Christmas and to end it all, Abby's birthday. All of that happens between October 20th and January 5th. That's two and a half months of chaos, money, stress and who knows what else. And trust me, there is always something else! Last year I lost our baby Oct 5th. This year it was surgery for Skyler, twice! Once the end of August and then again November 8th.

Shall we put the cherry on top of the entire thing? Summer is over and the cold sets in. I am sure I don't need to say anymore on that. We all know how I feel about that. So, when I am pulling faces, telling tales and singing woes to people when they say "how are you?" with an unsuspecting smile on their face, please don't be offended. It's not you. It's not the world. It's not that I don't want to think about baby Jesus this time of year. It's me. All me! I know it, I accept it and I own it. I do not like this time of year. Sorry. The good news is that my kids are somewhat oblivious to this small fact. I smile and hug them warmly when it's their birthday. I take a ton of pictures on Halloween. I laugh, cry and have fun opening presents with the best of them on Christmas.I have most of them snowed. A few of the olders have caught on to my distaste, but for the most part the little ones are too caught up in the season to notice that I cry more often this time of year. I don't have Christmas music playing constantly. I cringe when getting online to view my bank statements. I just don't have the same kind of joy in my face as I do at other times of the year.

I wish it was different, I really do. I want to be one of those people that can see past everything commercial and see The Reason for the Season. My heart yearns to be happy this time of year, but my heart always loses and I find myself counting the days until the beginning of the year when I can then count the days until spring and summer. I guess I am sounding very pessimistic right now, but hey...let me have it. Everyone has down days, or times and I am no different. That usual "roll off your back" moment has gone and I am feeling the stress of it all. Oh well, it is what it is and I am sadly getting used to it. Feeling this way I mean. I told Polly a few months ago that the cold was coming, Christmas was coming and my depression was coming with it. Her response? "Please get medicated now so it won't surprise you later!" I guess I need to put a call into the doc! Right?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It isn't fair!

Just when I have some hot food and I sit down, the baby starts to cry. My food gets cold while the baby is eating yummy warm milk. Cute little Skyler waits 364 days for his birthday to roll around, and today...the day we chose to celebrate it, he is sick and down with a fever. Poor kid. The other kids are happily enjoying his birthday presents while Skyler feels yucky. It isn't fair. I spend most of the Spring sick with a cough. I get better around the end of May only to get it all over again come June. Not fair!!

My folks always told me that life isn't fair. I thought they told me these things to try to rationalize some kind of disappointment I was feeling, or a new rule. I thought my parents "made up" all kinds of things. Surely life wasn't that unfair...right? Wrong!!! Life is that unfair!

There are lots of people that have a lot more money than I do, yet I have three times as many kids as they do, not fair! I have 10 kids, while some people struggle to have just one, no fair! Some people starve while others have more than they need and they waste, not fair! I guess I could really depress us all about the unfairness of life, but truly, let's try to stay on a positive note here.

For a bunch of kids being raised in a family of 12 it usually means that life is rarely, if not always unfair. That's just the way it is. Someone will have to share a room with another kid that grinds their teeth in their sleep, is a hoarder, borrows underwear, takes money without asking and farts without warning. But then again I have kids that don't share rooms, but their rooms are the size of shoe boxes. Either way it's not fair. We can never get shoes for everyone the same day, some kids have to wait for another payday. Road trips mean sharing a bench with your mortal enemy. Meal times are a free for all, where someone always loses. Then there's chore day...don't even get me started on the "unfairness" of that day. "His chores are easy!" "That room is such a mess, and I didn't do any of it!" "Why doesn't Skyler have to do three chores?" "Why do I have to clean the toilet after Colby used it?" "IT ISN'T FAIR!!!!"

I know it isn't fair kiddos, I know! I try to make it fair. Buy the kids the same thing so no one is left without. Usually someone doesn't like what they get. I try to get the same amount of cuddle time in with whoever wants it, but alas, someone goes to bed crying about how unfair it was because they didn't get my attention today. After hearing an argument I get mad at who I think deserves it, but it's always unfair to the kid getting yelled at, at least that's what they think. You know what isn't fair kids???? When mom gives up the cake to make sure you all got a piece...that's not fair! :)

Life isn't fair. I am still trying to get used to this concept, and maybe I never will. Some days are better than others, some I think I definitely have more than some, and some I think I got short changed in a lot of areas. Either way, I may die with the words "This isn't fair" seeping from my lips. But, in a all fairness to myself, am I really that different from everyone else?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

You don't want to be in love, you want to be in love in a movie!

Sleepless in Seattle. That movie has some of the greatest lines I have ever heard in a movie. It says it all and I often find myself quoting it. The last week or so I have been deep in thought about a lot of things. My life, my marriage, where we are going and what the course of our family should be. There's many reasons why these thoughts weigh so heavily on my mind, but I won't bore you all with the details. I will say though that as I sit here and think my mind can't help but laugh at itself. Women are passionate. My husband would prefer the term dramatic, as most men would, but I like to say passionate.

We, as a gender, feel deeply, cry tenderly, laugh loudly, dream heartily and love fiercely. We live life with passion, we seek it out and wrap our arms around it tightly and live by it. Rosie O'Donnel said to Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle "You don't want to be in love, you want to be in love in a movie". Isn't that the truth? In the movies love triumphs over all, it is never ending and people often die for it. It doesn't seem that passionate in real life. Maybe it's reality, bills, fights over the toilet seat and toothpaste that douse that passion, but it somehow does. My heart is often full, full of love, hate, hope, fear and a range of other emotions. When I sit down and have a heart to heart with the women in my life I find that they are the same way. My daughters, my mom, my sisters, we all tend to feel and think the same way. I am sure it drives the men in our lives nuts. Sometimes I drive myself nuts.

That passion though is what drove me to get that last baby here despite the trials I went through to get her. I knew she was waiting to come and I did what I had to do to get her here. That passion is what has led me through long dark lonely nights in the hospital with sick kids, knowing forever our lives were changed. That passion is what drives me when I am faced with hardships, even when the odds are stacked against me. I keep moving forward, because I know I have to. The fierce love comes when I want to give up. The tender crying comes when my kids hurt and I can't fix it. The hearty dreams come when I need to look forward to something, to give me hope. The laughter comes all the time, if I allow it. Laughter at myself, my life, my beautiful children, even my marriage. There can be joy found in all things if we just look for it.

My passion drives me forward. I have 10 children. Several of them have medical and emotional needs that I never dreamt would be a part of my life. I could sit back and do nothing, pretending these things don't exist, but they do and I only give my kids a better chance at a happy life by going forward with them, showing them how to live their own lives with the same passion I have.

I love the movies, because it's a visual of what I feel all the time. Passion. I love music. It also is driven by passion. Hatred, love, joy and fear...all in music.

"And I love it when you read to me, and you can read me anything. The book of love has music in it, in fact that's where music comes from. But I love it when you sing to me, and you can sing me anything." Peter Gabriel

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not gonna happen dear, sorry....

Facebook is a barrage of posts from friends and family about their lives, their days, their ups, downs and everything in between. Most days I can relate to one or most of them. People talking about their moves, their children's lives, jobs, dates, sicknesses...just about anything and everything you can imagine. I often feel like I am in the heads of all of my friends. Most times it's fun, at times it's not necessary and then there are times when I just wish I had not read what I read! The posts though that baffle me the most are the ones where cute mom's regal stories of "fun field trips" with the kids. Really? Fun? Let's explore this...

Your kids bug you for about a month in advance to try to get you to go.
"Mom, were going to the Wetlands on Sept 25th. Can you come with my class?"
My mind races with speed I didn't know existed to find an excuse not to go...
"I'm not sure honey, I will have to look at my calendar"
"Can you do that now mom, I reaaaaaally want you to go!"
I spend the next several weeks playing ping pong with my kiddo about the field trip. Honestly folks...I don't like them.

First you get a million kids together and pile them on the bus. Ok, I know it's not a million, but it sure feels that way when you get 100 or so 3rd graders together to get on a bus and head to the zoo. They are hyper and excited and I just keep wondering how many are going to get lost and how long it will take before the National Guard is called out. That many little people in one space is insane. Only to take them to a much bigger space and hope they don't go in twelve different directions. As a chaperon you chase, scramble, count heads and scream while trying desperately to sound like your being "nice"!

Once at the zoo you go from animal to animal, keeping kids off fences, out of trees and off the golf carts the zoo employees left unattended. By the time you get to lunch time it's that 4 and half minutes of everyone sitted in one place eating as fast as they can so they can get on their way. Kids don't like to be told to sit and hold still for any amount of time while on a field trip. After all, a field trip is a license to get out of school and do the things they can't while at school. Run around, touch everything and learn nothing.

By the end of the day when the kids are getting back on the bus I am ready to drop dead. I get off the bus desperately eyeing where I left my car, counting the seconds till I can get in it and run far far away. I love the kids, I love the zoo, I just don't love all the kids at the zoo being my responsibility. My own children are hard enough...half of the schools kids is just too much. When I finally get home and sit down, plug myself into Facebook via the ipad I am surprised to read what the other mommas have said about the same event. "It was fun!", "an adventure" and "great!". Really? I beg to differ. I leave those events tired, brain dead and swearing to be in Tonga the next time a field trip comes around. So when my kiddo asks with enthusiasm if I can make the next field trip it's no wonder the skin on my neck goes up, my eye starts to twitch and my stomach does flip flops. I don't like those. Kuddos to those moms that love those events, I however do not! Sorry kids....

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Seasons come, seasons go

It's officially fall. I love it and at the same time I am dreading it. Summer is my favorite time of year and everyone knows it. The coming of fall means that summer has come to an end and I have to wait another 9 months for it to come around again. Fall is a fun time of year, don't get me wrong. I love Halloween. My mom instilled that love in me and I have gladly carried that on and given that love to my kids. The decorations, the fun old horror movies and even the costumes. I love to see the creativity of the kids when it comes to costumes, and each and every year they get more and more creative. I love the fact that I had two kids in October, and Skylers birthday is even on Halloween. Needless to say, it's a good time of year for me. I truly don't mind it. It's not my favorite, but I sure do like it.

Today also marks the one year anniversary of the day we lost our last baby. 10/1/10 will always hold a sad significance for me. David Malachi is what we chose to call him and someday we will meet again. Four seasons have come and gone since that day. And swiftly I might add. Four seasons, a new baby, a kid gone to college and more countless little things along the way. Christmas came with the knowledge that we were once again pregnant and hoping things turned out better this time. Winter came with some serious struggles for us financially. Spring came with a bit of new hope, a trip to the beach with my parents and the promise of a fun summer. Summer was the highlight for me this last year. I was riddled with heartburn, anemia, a speeding heart, aching legs and feet, weight loss and constant fear...that all lent way to a beautiful new baby! Every bit was worth it...every bit and on Aug 17th we welcomed our last child into the world. Everyday since then has been filled with love, joy, contentment and happiness. A year of highs and lows.

The seasons come and the seasons go. Whether or not we want them to, they just do. I don't regret anything that's happened this last year, despite the hardship, and I am looking forward to new and better things. I have my plans. I can't wait to see where I am, we are, in four more seasons. Time marches on, and I find that I love marching with it. That way when the bad comes around, I know it will march right on past and there is good around the corner. Four seasons ago I couldn't have imagined that I would be where I am now, so who knows what four more seasons has in store for us? I guess we will just have to wait and see...

Friday, September 23, 2011

The good, the bad and the ugly

Well, some days are up and some are down. Today I feel down. Call it post par tum hormones, call it stress from a new little person and the lack of sleep that goes with it or call it financial exhaustion. Call it whatever you want, but there it is. I am just down today.

Sometimes I don't give myself enough credit. I have 10 kids....10! I work my butt off everyday of my life, never stopping for minor inconveniences...like a headache, cramps, fatigue or pain. I just keep going because I have to. My kids are my world and I work really hard to keep them up and going. Bathing, cooking, cleaning, driving, shopping, nursing, changing bums, are just a few of the things that my day entails. The stress of the day doesn't stop the day from happening and my kids have their needs. I keep it up. Schedules are maintained, lives are kept happy and the kids go to bed each night with most of their needs met. To give myself credit, I am the one who meets most of those needs. Not that Jon doesn't help, he does, but I am number one, the go to guy, mom on the run, the kids ace in the hole. It all falls on me.

Today I am feeling it. Most days I get through all of that with style and grace, never looking back. But today I am tired. I am beat and I am feeling it. Today I need a day spa, peace and quiet, a long nap and some much needed aroma therapy. Bring my your tired...I think I qualify!

Maybe tomorrow you can call me and ask me to help you out, ask me to babysit or ask for some help with carpool, but today I am nothing more than useless. Sorry friends and family, but this is it today. As my sister Lisa would say..."Go sell crazy somewhere else, we are all stocked up here!". That pretty much sums it up for me today!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The dreaded question

I bet with that title a lot of different things came to a lot of your minds. Questions like "Are you going to have any more kids?", "Are you really moving?" and "Is life back to normal?"...but this time I will touch on the question that's only asked by the folks here in my own home...

"What's for dinner?"

I gotta be honest with you all, I hate that question. Hate it! There's only a few other questions that invoke a similar response. When the kids ask me for money, when they ask to sleep with me in the middle of the night, or even when they ask to be taken somewhere. But the dreaded "Whats for dinner" question is the worst.

I guess I have to explain myself here. I am not a cook. I don't like it. Never have and never will. During my senior year in high school I took some pretty easy classes. I tried hard in Spanish and really enjoyed it. AP Biology was one of my favorites, despite the difficulty of it. My fifth period class was a cooking class. I was very adept at writing down the recipes, I followed directions well and was even pretty good at the math for expanding or decreasing the food amount. But somehow my food always came out looking slightly "off". But to be honest, it looked better than it tasted. I am not a cook!

My husband is skinny. My kids are pretty thin. I am not thin (that's more to do with my sugar intake than anything else!). They will never get fat on my cooking. Maybe on IHOP's cooking, or TGI Fridays, but not mine. So, I don't like to cook. You might think with 10 kids I would at least figure it out...but no...never have. My husband puts up with my cooking just to have something to eat that he didn't have to make himself. But the poor guy has gone without for too long and I can't say I blame him when we go to his mom's house and the look on his face is that of a child on Christmas morning when he sees the array of food placed before him. She is a great cook and loves to cook for her family. He begins to drool about the time we turn onto their street and doesn't stop until we get home and his food has had a chance to digest.

So, you can see why I hate the question "What's for dinner". I have other reasons as well. On the days I do cook (which in all fairness to myself is about 4 or 5 days a week), I cook what I can afford, but I hear too often..."Ugh...I hate that!"

"Mom, what's for dinner?"
"Ugh...I hate that. I am just going to make myself some Ramen"

"Mom, what's for dinner?"
"Noodles and sauce"
"Yuck mom, you know I don't like that! I guess I have to eat mac and cheese again!"

It's a nightly occurrence. The dreaded question followed by the dreaded response. Can you see why even if I did cook well it would be a dreaded question? Someday when the kids are gone I will sit and relish in the fact that they are gone. Not because my house will be quiet, or because it will be clean, but because I won't have to cook for anymore than just Jon and I. He likes to cook, so I might even be able to talk him into doing it for us by then.

I guess in all fairness to my kids and myself I will name three items I cook, cook well and are loved by my kids. Creamy chicken soup, Enchiladas and Hawaiian haystacks. If you ever come over for food I will fix one of these three items and you will be fed well amidst several happy children. Otherwise, you will starve while listening to several loud, cranky people complain about my culinary skills!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How much is too much?

I know it's like beating a dead horse to keep going on and on about a miracle in your life, but may I keep going? Our entire family has embraced Brynlee as the miracle that she is. Maybe as time goes on we will all cool down a bit, but for now we are soaking in the sunshine that she is. It's been a long road here and we are loving it. Just a year ago we lost our little boy at only 13 weeks and I can still remember how much my heart broke when Joe, after hearing the news, curled up in a ball on the bed beside me and sobbed. It was so heartbreaking. Not just losing the baby, but watching the heartbreak of my children. Now I know that in time the kids will get bugged when Brynlee breaks their things, gets into their treasures and eats their treats. They may not be so loving then, but for now we are all having just too much fun with this beautiful baby. I usually suffer from some post partum depression, but so far I am doing ok. Life is hard, it's crazy, it's even crazy hard, but it's good right now. Let's just leave it at that!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The big vs the little

"Because I'm big, and your little,
I'm smart and your dumb,
I'm right and your wrong....and there's nothing you can do about it!"
This has to be one of my favorite sayings ever! It's from the movie Matilda and it just about says it all. My older kids think and feel this way almost all of the time, and yet I truly believe that it's the little kids who have it right most of the time!

I have it all. An adult child who has gone away to college all the way down to a newborn with just about everything in between. Any woman who is a mom has to learn a bit about almost every trade there is. Nursing, teaching, carpentry, cleaning, cooking, shopping, spy business, refereeing, and so on. Now, through all of that my favorite thing to do is to watch how the kids interact with each other. They are so obnoxious and think they know just about everything....hahaha!

For example...as I write this Abby, my 11 yr old, is standing in the kitchen grilling Lacie, my 10 yr old, on what is was she was doing earlier.
"Lac, I heard you banging things around in your room a while ago and I want to know what you were doing!"
Lacie starts to laugh, along with most of the kids standing next to her. Abby at this point thinks she must have been doing something really naughty to warrant such laughter. What Abby didn't see was Isaac standing behind her mimicking her every move and being somewhat dramatic about it. This didn't start a fight today, but it would have most days. But somehow, it's these bigger supposedly more "mature" kids that think they know everything. I beg to differ...

The little kids have it pegged I tell ya. They play because that's what comes natural. I hear a lot less "I'm bored!"s out of them. They find the most ridiculous things and somehow make a game of it. Jessi's latest find was a bunch of tiny fish. She has bathed with them, slept with them and eaten with them. She is one of my best kids at finding things to do and it shows in how often she complains...almost never. Isaac on the other hand stood toe to toe with me today and complained about how bored he was. He feels like the world was somehow built on the principles of "Lets see how we can keep Isaac busy today!" and when the world fails, he lets you know it!

Now, second to that is what the little kids say. Not just what they do. Big kids are wonderful..they truly are. They are smart, can be kind and are sharp on their feet when it comes to sarcasm (that's an inherited quality!). But they often choose not to say the right thing, for whatever their reasons. My little kids just speak, speak honestly and speak quickly. Sometimes this isn't such a good thing. They tend to embarrass us in stores with comments on how others look or walk. They talk about their bowels at family dinners and their mouth "filters" are sorely underdeveloped. But at times this is a wonderful quality. Colby and I have a new routine every night as I tuck him in.

"Good night Colby"
"Good night mom!"
"I love you Colby"
"Mom, can I have a glass of water?"
"Ugh Colby...why didn't you get one before you got into bed?"
"Sorry mom..."
After the water has been drunk we start the process over again.
"Night Colby...love you!"
"Night beautiful!"
Boy...I tell ya what, nothing melts my heart like hearing my sweet 5 yr old son call me beautiful. He is going to make some woman very happy someday.

He has it figured out. Simple, honest (at least I like to think he is being honest when he calls me beautiful!) and all around pleasant. He cries when he is hurt or upset. He plays most the day and sleeps when he is tired. The older kids? Well, they cry when they don't get their way, they yell and get stressed over things that don't need tears and they refuse to sleep even when their bodies desperately need it. I am pretty sure that the little kids are the ones who know what they're doing and the older kids could take a few lessons.

Take a look at the baby....seriously. She is awake only to eat. I think that sounds like a marvelous plan and would love to try it out one day...or week! So think about it...who is smart and who is dumb? Who is right and who is wrong? I think the only part the older kids have right is who is big and who is little!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Thought I would put up some new pics. I forget that not everyone likes Facebook, and I have some family and friends that might only check here....so here ya go...our sweetest little itty bitty baby girl! We are all head over heels for this little blessing...but who wouldnt be? :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Well. I did it. I sent my oldest off to college. To be honest I am pretty sure I looked like a parent who had just sent their baby into an OR to have some kind of major surgery to save their life. After hugging McKenna goodbye in her dorm I walked into the hallway only to run into two RA's. They are the resident students who are sort of "parents" to the kids in the dorm. Both RA's looked at me with a pathetic look and one said, "Your oldest and she's a girl? Ouch, that's a double whammy!". Yes, I cried like a baby. As I walked to the car with my new baby in my arms my mind and heart were filled with all kinds of nostalgia about Kenna. I remember when she was small enough to fit into the crook of my arm. She was my first, I was a fledgling. Every step of her life has been trial and error for me and there have been times when I have had it all together and there have been times when I have felt very sorry for her. I can be a screw up too! I still remember the first time I nursed her. The first time I left her with someone else. The first time she cried and I couldn't fix it. Just the other day when we dropped off a kiddo at the Elementary school together she said,

"Man, I have the worst memories of this place!"
"What are you talking about Kenna? Weren't you happy here?"
"Mom, I was tortured and teased everyday I was here...it was miserable!"
"Kenna, why didn't I know this? Didn't you have any friends?"
"There were these two other girls that were also outcasts and we used to sit under the big tree together at recess..."
"Kenna, I am so sorry, I don't know why I didn't know this. Did I ever try to help you? I don't even remember this happening!"
"I don't know mom, I just know how much I hated being here!"

My heart broke when I heard this, I almost cried. I thought I was such an "on top of things" kind of parent. How did I miss the fact that my baby was so miserable for more than 3 years of her life? ( We moved into this school when she was in the 3rd grade). Was I not listening? Did I miss the signs of misery? Was I too engrossed in my own life to notice how my child felt?

After that conversation and dropping her off in a flood of tears I looked down at my new baby and wondered how much I was going to miss with her, and the other eight above her? I know I am not perfect, but I really think I try my best. At least most days I do. I am glad that this time has come for McKenna. She deserves to go out into the world and find her own kind of happiness. That is the sweet part of my post. I am excited for her, happy for her and almost envious of her. The bitter part is knowing that she is on her own now. She is no longer drinking soda with me and watching The Adams Family late at night with me. It's also bitter knowing how much I may have screwed up, and knowing that most likely I am missing with the others as well. I know I am only human and I can only do what I can do, but I wish I was more than that. I wish I could see every need and fulfill it. See every dream and help it come true. See every bit of heartache and make it better. I can't though, but I hope that through all of this they someday come back to me with some understanding and love knowing I did my best.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My own private miracle

Nights are best. I know most moms count the days from the time their newborn comes into the world until the day they sleep through the night, but not me. Maybe it's all the chaos around my home during the day, maybe it's the quiet, the dark, I don't know. All I know is I love my nights with my babies and this one is no different.

She only gets up once a night these days. That's nice I will admit. Last night she got up around 2 or so and I dragged my sleepy hind end out to the couch. I grabbed a few snacks and my water bottle on the way and made sure I had all my "nighttime supplies" ready to go. Diapers, wipes, boppy pillow, remote control...you know, all the essentials. Usually I nurse the baby on one side, change them and let them nurse on the other side till they are sound asleep. After going through this entire routine last night I let the light from the tv flicker while I examined every inch of my new miracle. She has really long feet and toes, although so very tiny. Her fingers are long and skinny too, but I love those soft fingers on my face when I bring her up to me. Her sweet eyes that see so much, so much more than I can even imagine. I believe the veil between this life and the other side is so thin at this age. I often wonder who she sees in the room with us. Her guardian angel? Grandparents who have gone before us? Her own future family? I can only imagine and that alone makes her a miracle. The back of my babies neck is one of my favorite spots to smell and kiss. So so soft! Every little feature is perfectly formed down to the curvatures of her ears to the wrinkles on the bottom of her feet. How can we call her anything but a miracle?

I now believe, have always believed and will always believe in a higher power. There is a God and he loves us. He doesn't make our choices for us, or those around us, and this is where some of our heartache and pain comes from. Sometimes it's just life that knocks us down, but these can be chances for growth. But through it all if we will take the time to slow down, look around us and soak it in we will find our miracles. We are all blessed with them. I think I may name a few just for the sake of it.

My parents, and Jon's parents. Our children are blessed to be able to have both sets of grandparents alive, well and living life to the fullest. How many kids grow up with that? When we have a birthday party we often have all four of them here and it's a miracle.

McKenna being able to go off to college. This is no easy task for us. She needs grants, loans, her own savings and some help from us to make it happen, but she gets the opportunity to go. She will someday see this for what it is, a miracle. To be able to have these experiences and grow and learn is truly a miracle.

My family. I have the best family around. I speak of all my family. My brothers, sisters, mom and dad....they are all the best. Having Kara and Sid come over to make sure to say hi and goodbye to Kenna. Karlee and all her love and sweetness. She has to be one of my favorite people on earth! My sisters in Vegas who are cheering Kenna on from afar! They are all the best and I love them all with all my heart. I have been truly blessed with the family that I have, I have been blessed with my biological family and how close we have become over the years and I will never see any of them as less than a miracle.

This is one of the biggest miracles for me. We have ten children. That alone is a miracle, but what I speak of here is the miracle it is for me to be able to be home with them all these years. Raising children in today's day and age is hard. Really hard. A lot of women have to work outside their homes to make ends meat and I am not one of them. I have been blessed with a husband that works himself to the bone to make a living so that we don't have to put our children into daycare. Don't get me wrong, it has been hard. Money is always short, we often go without the luxuries, like new school clothes for kids, but we always somehow make it and that's what matters. Are we rich? No! Do we go two weeks without worrying about where the money is going to go? No! But do we have the means to make it? Yes! Do we have to best support system around? Yes! This is a miracle to me!

So as I sit and cuddle and cradle my latest miracle my heart is full with the things and people around me. This sweet baby has reminded me of some of the simpler more important things in life. The loss and heartache I had to go through to get her here have started to fade away and her spirit has taught mine to be right again.
She is the most amazing miracle wrapped up in a teeny tiny body, and I get to be the one to love her, hold her and help her find her place in this family and in this world. I am truly the lucky one! Or rather the blessed one!

Friday, August 26, 2011

She's here! She's here!

Brynlee Sue Loutensock came into the world on August 17th and 5:46 pm. She weighed in at 8 pounds and 8 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long. Big baby! :) She is the sure light of our lives. After what has been two of the longest years of my life, I hold her and soak in her spirit. She has made all the pain and heartbreak worth it. I will forever miss my four angels and will never forget their souls in Heaven. They helped bring me to where I am today and I have a much greater appreciation for my children that are living, for my body's ability to bring this last baby into the world and for all things spiritual. I will see them again someday and what a sweet homecoming that will be. Our family will be reunited and we will rejoice. In the meantime we will enjoy each other here, and let me tell ya, as long as my kids don't kill each other trying to get turns with Brynlee we will be good!

I will write more about my feelings later, but today I wanted to get some pics up of my newest addition and let her strong spirit fill the world around us!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just a few more days

That title can mean a lot of things. There's only a few more days of summer. This statement truly depresses me. I love summer. Warmth, swimming pools, beautiful evenings sitting in a lawn chair watching the kids play, no car pool, no homework....I could go on and on. I won't though for two reasons. Number one, summer is going to end and school is going to start no matter how much I complain. Make the best of it is what my mom would say. Second, there are a few perks to school being in. The kids are not only gone, but occupied all day long. They work hard, play hard and socialize intensely all day long so that when they do get home I rarely hear "I'm bored!". I have quiet days with just a few tiny kids and this year my 8th kiddo starts kindergarten. So really, my afternoons this year are going to be nice and quiet. Just me, Skyler and the baby girl. That will be very nice. Of course it will get really chaotic after school when everyone else gets home, but I guess it can't be perfect all the time...right? :) Plus this year I won't have a high school er. That is going to be weird. No school dances, no asking for the car, none of her friends coming over after school. I am actually kind of sad about this one. I really liked Kenna's friends and will miss them. But, she gets to start her own adventure and for that I am happy for her.

Just a few more days also applies to this pregnancy. Six more days to be exact, unless she decides to make an early debut. I have to say on that though it has never happened with any of my other nine kids, so I have little to no hope it would happen this time, but one can dream, right? In fact, it's kind of what keeps me plugging along at this point. If I am in constant dream mode it takes away for the nagging reality before me. Six more days of swollen feet, sleepless nights, pain in my pelvis, horrible heartburn, shortness of breath, people staring at my belly, not one comfy position to sit or lay, hard contractions that lead no where, people asking "is she here yet?" or "are you in labor?" every time I call them, and just so much more. But, on the up side, only six more days. It's less than a week. By the end of next week I will have my baby in my arms instead of in my tummy. By the end of next week I will have the cute little clothes on her instead of hanging in the closet. She will be here and the time will go by so fast at that point that I am sure I will be posting about her first birthday shocked that it went by that fast.

Thank you family and friends for being patient with the emotional pregnant woman. The next few days might be worse, so go ahead and just ignore me if you want, I won't be offended. I will understand. Just a few more days and I get to be Julie again, not pregnant Julie. I always feel better once the baby is on the outside and I am all that's left on the inside!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A little sad

Today is Saturday July 16th. We have had our Maddie for a week now. I can't believe the week is over already. It went by really fast. Maddie is my sisters daughter. She is about Megan's age and she is the highlight of our lives when we are near her. Either here or in Vegas, we just love her. We have gone to movies, the mall, Lagoon and the pool. We have kept busy and when we weren't busy, the kids were busy playing, telling each other jokes and swinging in the big tree swing. Maddie seems to really love that one.

When I have extra kids around I notice. I watch them, I notice them, I sometimes look forward to them going home. But not Maddie. She blends right in, she meshes with our family and I hardly notice her even being here. I mean that in a good way. When you can blend in with this family, you just fit.

After 8 days of paryting she is going home. We are all a bit sad about it. The little kids love having her around to play with and Megan loves having her around to get into trouble with. Megan has such a hard time socially. She struggles so much. Her anxiety is through the roof on a good day and even though she loves her friends, she doesn't know how to approach them to hang out. She spends everyday of her summer locked up in the house saying no one likes her. It's truly sad. But when she is around Maddie it's like an extension of herself. She is comfy with Maddie and loves every moment with her. Megan not having that friend around will be really hard on Megan and she will be out of sorts the rest of the next week.

There's a million reasons why we will miss our Maddie. For me it's just that darling girl that I love so much and love having around. We will miss you Maddie. Please don't wait as long to come back this time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Soon, oh so soon

I really think it's starting to hit me. After nearly eight months of near denial, I think we are going to have a baby. I have spent so many months waiting for the "inevitable", but I can't deny it anymore. I am huge, as so many cute little neighbor girls have pointed out, this little kiddo loves to dance on my bladder, and I can actually say "next month". It's all real now.

Sadly enough I can't say I have enjoyed this pregnancy, which is a first. Its been fraught with stress and worry. But one thing I will enjoy is being able to share these late nights, up with insomnia, with a warm, sweet, soft little person. Nursing, watching tv, cuddling. It's always been my favorite time with my newborns because with such a crazy household it's the only time I get with them alone. Just the two of us. Other women can't wait for that time to end. I don't. I love those late nights, at least the first three or four months anyway. :)

"I have loved you forever sweet baby girl. I believed in you long before anyone else did and I have waited a long time for you. I have lost several while waiting for you, I have taken criticism for getting pregnant with you and I get weird looks all the time from strangers who think I am foolish for having you with all I have already. But non of that matters because I knew you were there, patiently waiting. I am ready now, I want to love you in my arms. Cuddle with you and shed a tear or two over you. You will make our family complete and we all can't wait to meet you. There's just one thing, can you please help with what to name you? We are a little stumped on that one!" :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Coming home

What a long week. Me with my cold, Skyler with his cast, lots of kids and no dad. If a person ever wants to know how their presence affects a family, they just need to disappear for a while. They will know. I hope Jon knows how his presence affects our family. He thinks he's gone a lot with the second job, and let me tell you, he is. However, him being home at night, or at least a few nights a week, and on saturdays makes a difference. He may not think so, but it does. I read a quote a while back that goes like this;

When your absence does not alter someone's life, then your presence has no meaning in their life.

Simple words that make a profound statement. I know when certain people are missing from my life, and then there's others that I can go long periods of time without seeing or hearing from and it doesnt seem to make a huge difference. This week I have seen my kids struggle without Jon here. They miss him and so do I. My oldest boy is especially out of sorts without his dad around. Being a boy born right in the middle of four sisters you can imagine how this kid feels most of the time. His dad is his comrade in arms, his soul mate and his best friend. Isaac has missed his dad. But so have all my kids. We have managed ok with all the day to day things. I am a pretty strong person and I can do as much if not more than most with what I have. Sick, pregnant and chasing nine kids I have managed just fine. But it's been somewhat lonely. The kids feel the same about him. It's time to come home.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Mother's Day has come and gone. My birthday, our vacation and Father's Day. All gone. We are now on to the beautiful but short summer. Goodness, we are now 1/3 of the way through summer. That makes me so sad. Everything that inspires me, lifts me up and keeps me strong has to do with this time of year. I walk along those quiet paths with my kids on a hot summer day and I smell the beauty around me. I see the green, splashed with color. While in Las Vegas with my family I love to be up before anyone else so that I can see the sunrise. A desert sunrise is better than any other. If there ever was a time when the sky looked to be aglow with fire it's then. When we are in Capistrano I stay up just a bit later than the kids to make sure I see the sunset over the Dana Point Pier. The earth, sky and ocean seem to melt together as the world goes to sleep. Simplicity. There is so much to do, see, be busy with and keep occupied with in today's world that I am with so many when I say we need to go back to basics. Simplicity. One of my favorite times during summer is also one of the simplest times....sitting on the front lawn, kids all around me, sipping a cool drink while they play. Happy noises, cool grass, water play, swinging in the tree, these are things that I love. That's what I miss so much when driving around in the cold winter unable to sit outside and enjoy what I love most.

I have been looking at the world around me as of late. I have been almost seeking inspiration. As much as we pull inspiration from those around us, it ultimately comes from within. There can be the most amazing people around us, but if we aren't open to moving upward and onward it's all but lost. I try to surround myself with people that lift me up. Not just people that I can have fun with, but those that make me want to be a better person. My children are this to me, my husband is this to me, my family. There are so many people that are this to me that I couldn't sit here and list them all, but they are there. I am also inspired greatly by the world around me. I always have been. Nature. The grandeur, the awesomeness, the beauty. I have always given credit for these feelings to my Native American Heritage. I don't think that just because I didn't grow up on a reservation, or learn the customs that I don't have it in me. I do. Always have. This world is a gift, and I have always loved it.

Find what inspires you. What lifts you up and makes you want to be a better you. This has been a very long week. Jon left town last Sunday and has been gone now a whole week. But it seems longer than that just because before he left he worked several days in a row to make up for time he would lose this week. But the inspiration I felt yesterday was to see the look on Skyler's face as he heard his dad's voice on the phone. It was the sweetest thing. I think as parents we sometimes put high expectations on ourselves. We don't need to. What our kids need most from us is our love. Everything else is just icing. Love. Simplicity. Inspirational. After a long week of helping Skyler with his broken leg, sad kids missing their dad, a bad cough again on my part and to top it off a very quiet baby girl in utero (which scares me to death....come on baby, move around for me!) I look for the quiet, soft simple things to keep me calm, soothe the soul.

In a complicated, busy, loud world I think if we stop for a bit, soak in what inspires us and just listen quietly we can keep our souls at peace. Listen, pray, whisper and inspire. Be heard, but listen too. Simplicity. Pull the strength from within, by seeing what's around us and letting it in.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A day in paradise

I have decided that paradise is anywhere where you feel at peace, surrounded by love and you have that sense of calm and happy you don't normally feel in everyday life. A week at the beach is that for me. My kids are so happy there. I am so happy there and I sleep so much better when I can sleep to the sounds of the ocean. My kids rarely fight, as opposed to daily, and they are just as content to walk the beach, looking for seashells and dodging waves as they ever are. It's only once a year we get to do this, and mostly due to the generosity of my dad, but I always lap up every single moment of it all. I love it! Palm trees, green lush landscape, shoreline as far as the eye can see and the most colorful flowers. It's wonderful and it's always hard to come home. We had a wonderful time this year and look forward to next year!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A day in the life

A day in the life. I love pictures. I always have. When I am at someones home and photo albums come out I am instantly glued to the book. I love to look at those little moments in time when our memories are faded, but the pictures are crystal clear. I thought it would be nice to be able to share some of my favorites from over the years....

Thursday, May 5, 2011


It's official...today I am 24 weeks which means the baby is viable outside the womb. I have to admit I never truly believed I would get this far and now that I am I think I am starting to believe that this baby is going to get here just fine in August as planned! But at least now I know that if baby were to come she would stand a chance at survival. Everyday inside the womb is two less days in the nicu! Hang in there baby girl...we are going to get through this together!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

He started it!

The fights. This might just be the number one thing I will not miss when my kids are grown and gone. Now please do not assume I am stupid or naive and do not believe that my children will be capable of fighting as adults. I am sure I will hear from them in future days unloading to me about how so and so did this and that...I know I will hear it. But, the wonderful thing about that is that I can hang up the phone the them and sit in my perfectly silent home and smile sweetly at the calm around me.

For some reason it starts when I am on the phone. The worst seems to be when I am on the phone with one of my sisters from out of town, so that means long distance and me actually paying money to sit with a phone to my ear while listening to the kids fight around me.

"Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom..."
I finally cannot ignore them anymore.
"Hold on Lori....WHAT?"
"Mom, Isaac just called me stupid!"
"Well, she called me a jerk so I called her stupid...I mean she is isn't she?"
After putting the phone to my stomach and having to place my whole person between the two children I try to disarm them quickly so Lori doesn't have to pay money to listen to me parent.
"Ok ok ok, I have no idea who started it..."
"He did...he tripped me and then I called him a jerk, but he had it coming!"
"I did not have it coming she is just mean...she is always mean!"
This goes on for several more rounds before I can just get in the words "EVERYone be nice or you can all go to your rooms! GOT IT?"
One minor scrape taken care of, but be rest assured there will be more.

I am not sure if it's an inherited trait, a learned trait or that kids are just much more free with their minds and mouths these days, but if I fought with my siblings the way my kids fight my parents would have put me back on the market.
"Free kid to good home....will send food with her!"
My kids will kick, scream, slap, pinch and even bite when the need arises. Most of them are not afraid of a confrontation and will go head to head with each other, some being much smaller than their competitor, but not caring one bit. They will stand their ground. I have seen Colby take on Megan, Jessi take on Isaac and even Joe take on McKenna. And that brings me to another point, not any two of them are good enough friends that they don't occasionally fight. Even Kenna, who loves and adores Skyler with all she is, will get to the point once in a while where she is using sharp words and is impatient with him. It happens with any and all combos of kids.

I do understand that I have 11 people (soon to be 12) in one little home and there is bound to be contention. I think I have more than most, but maybe that is just my perception. There are some combos of kids that are almost always volatile. Joe and Isaac are a perfect example. Those two cannot be in the same room more one minute without trying to kill each other...with bare hands if necessary. Some of them run hot and cold. Abby and Megan can be best friends one minute and the worst of enemies the next.

One of my favorite times as a parent is to hear the yelling, followed by the crying, sometimes even followed by some blood and have the bigger, non crying child come out of the room saying "I don't know what happened....they just started crying!"
Yeah...right....uh huh....makes me think of Polly telling me the story of two of her kids. One was crying profusely with a huge red hand print on his face while his older sister stood there and innocently said "He fell on my hand!". Really folks? You want me to believe that?

Well, for all the things I imagined would be said in my home once my kids gained verbal ability I never thought "SHUT UP", "You jerk", "I hate you" and "I wanna kill you" would be some of the daily staples. But they are. I love my kids, I think they love each other, but I do not love some of the things they say to each other and to me and Jon and I am sure I will not miss hearing them everyday when they are gone!

Bye bye now, don't let the door hit ya on the way out!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Just for tonight?

I know there's lots of parents that have banned the sleepovers. They are too nervous about what might or could happen to their kids while they are gone. I get this, I have to admit I try to be pretty cautious about who my kids are with and where they are.

When I was growing up sleepovers were a key element to weekends, but even more so our summers. We had sleepovers planned every week, and as we got older we slept a lot less and toilet papered a lot more. After having children I decided that I didn't want to completely take away my kids opportunity for this one. Sleep overs are fun, they help kids develop better social skills, teaches them to live without mom and dad for a few hours without panicking and just provides me with a much needed night off once in a while. Having said all that though I have to now step into the down side of it all.

In my time sleepovers were just fun. Now, as parents we have to be so much more cautious. We have to not only meet the parents, but know them somewhat, be in their home and know who the child's siblings are. Are there teenage boys in the house? Does an uncle live with them? Is their home in a safe part of town? Then there's when kids sleep here. Do they have special allergies? Is it a child we know well? And of course Jon can't be here alone with the kids sleeping over, I have to make sure I am here as well. After all of that has been established and ok'ed, then we move on to the actual sleepover.

With nine kids I always hear "Abby is having Nana over? Can I have Amelia over too?" I mean, when you have that many kids if each child had a friend over once a week it would take six months before the first kid got a turn again. So I often have more than one kid sleeping over at a time. That then turns to the debate about who is sleeping where. We don't have a large home per say, and we really only have one family room downstairs that's conducive for sleepovers. Most my kids share rooms with siblings, so sleeping in their bedrooms doesn't really work either. Its really tricky. So after assessing who is coming over, if it's safe, where to sleep then we begin with the activities of the night. Outside play, inside play, night games, wii, tons of popcorn all over the house, soda cans left in weird places, hide and seek in my laundry room (which I HATE), little kids upset because big kids get to stay up late and so on. It's like hosting a birthday party every week. It's exhausting, truly.

After a long nights activities and all the food in my home having been devoured, we move on to the sleeping part. Usually this works out just fine. Sometimes it doesn't. We have hurt feelings, kids sick and then there's the "failed" sleepover. A poor kiddo that thought he/she was ready to be away from mom and dad overnight, but it turns out their not. I have also had to wander the valley in the middle of the night picking my kids up from the failed sleepover. This part is particularly irritating, but I feel bad for the poor kid at the same time. Traipsing around at 2am with a frightened child isn't my definition of a good nights sleep.

By the next morning the kids are all awake at 7am (I am sure from residual sugar still in their systems from the night before), they finish off whats left to eat in the house and proceed to play till their parents come to get them. At that point we begin with the fighting matches over the bedding, food, dishes and toys that were left from the event that my children have to help pick up. This is not a pretty sight.
"Hey, Lacie, you need to go clean up the family room from your sleepover"
"Moooom, I don't want to"
"Umm, Lacie? I don't recall asking if you wanted to...just do it"
"Well mom, Amelia made this mess over here"
"Lacie? Do you see Amelia here? I don't, get on it please!"

It usually escalates from there. By the end of the discussion Lacie is yelling at me while I am threatening her and this is the fun we had with the sleepover. I have to admit that it's not any better with any of the other kids.

The sleepover. I know it's fun in the moment for my kids but I won't miss it a bit after they are grown and gone.
"Bye bye sleepovers, don't let the door hit ya on the way out!"

Saturday, April 9, 2011

For my baby

Baby small and dear to me,
Oh how wondrous you must be,
Up in Heaven near or far,
On this earth we had to part.

All the love I have for you,
I have shed tears and sometimes still do.
Your always in my heart, my soul,
to be with you again is always my goal.

Six months ago I said goodbye to my baby boy who lived inside of me for only 13 short weeks. Today is his due date. By today I would have a baby in my arms instead of only in my heart, but then again I wouldn't have the baby girl that is now inside me. It's a double edged sword.

I love you sweet baby boy and I know you were on this earth for whatever time you were supposed to be. Our family loves you as much today as we did the last time we heard your heartbeat. Someday we will meet again, but not today. I hope you look down on us and smile (despite all the fighting and stress) and wait anxiously to meet us.

Till we meet again my sweet boy, till we meet again.

David Malachi, my Beloved Angel. 10/1/2010

Monday, April 4, 2011

Don't let the door hit ya on the way out!

Ok, this entry might be long. Just as I walk from one room to the other I have found five things that I will look forward to being gone with the kids someday. I have spent a year and half talking about how wonderful my kids are, how much I have enjoyed being a stay at home mom, etc etc etc. But this entry is going to begin a string of blogs dedicated to those little annoyances a mom has to put up with day in and day out. Here we go...

1. Kids fighting. I am pretty sure I don't need to elaborate on this one. Even those of you without kids know exactly what I am talking about. My kids do it every minute of everyday....

2. Dirty dishes. Dirty dishes in the sink, bathroom, bedrooms, under the couch, in the yard and so on. More to come on that later.

3. Shoes...I have already blogged on that one. Still my nemesis.

4. Wrappers of all kinds stuffed into the cushions of the couch. I have to blog on this one just because as a kiddo I was completely guilty of this one.

5. Dirty clothes. This one is ten times worse than the dishes. When I am older and my kids are gone I will hire someone to do my laundry. I know it would be more useful now, but I am too broke right now.

6. Attitude. The sharp nastiness you get when you say "have you done your chores" "stop bugging your sister" "No we are not going to walmart to buy you pencils right this very minute" and of course the all time classic "I can't do that today because I don't have the money". You can imagine the responses I get on those. That will be a fun blog.

7. Spongebob, House of Anubis, Curious George, Phineas and Ferb, Wipeout, Americas Funniest Home Videos and so many other kids programing choices. I can't wait until I am the old fuddy duddy that doesn't know who the latest Disney star is.

8. Pee in, on, around, and under the toilet, in the toy bins and yes...even all over the floor in the laundry room right in front of the clean laundry bins. And yes...I have found pee in every one of those places...plus more! Another fun blog!

9. Empty boxes in the fridge and pantry. Why in the world do the kids put the boxes away empty? My own disappointment is clear when I reach for the ding-dong box and there's nothing in it. With this I might have to add that I rarely get some of the yummy treats I buy...my hands and mouth aren't fast enough. And let me tell ya...they are pretty fast when it comes to sugar...but my kids are faster...

10. Carpool. I never imagined way back when that I would spend so much time and money on this venture. When I was nursing that first, and even the second and third children I never thought "I can't wait to spend hours of my week and hundreds of dollars on gas to drive my kids to and from free public schooling every week."

11. Before I had children I fondly imagined my fridge littered with darling drawings the kids did for me in school and primary. I just never imagined the artwork would hardly be on paper, but more on the walls, the underside of the kitchen table, the bathroom mirrors, the brick on the outside of the house and even on their clothes. I must add here that not all artwork is done with crayons, pencils and markers. Those are the more pleasant things to wipe off walls...

12. Trash. Seriously, how much trash can one family accumulate? I will add to this one the D.I. runs (nearly weekly)...it's like my mom used to say..."You kill one fly and three come to his funeral". I think the same applies to clothes...I throw out one bag and somehow there are three to replace it.

13. Bedtime. My favorite time of day, my kids least favorite time of day....and all the fighting that comes with it. I have previously blogged about this time of day, but it's time for an update.

14. The ice cream truck. What parent really loves that? I hear that noise and my heart speeds up, I start to sweat and I run to turn the tv all the way up to try to mask the sound. It never works.

15. Kids homework. I specify kids because a lot of parents are going back to school to further their education. That kind of homework is ok. But the kids homework? I have to say that every time I have to help with math, research a report, draw a stick figure and label his body parts or make a science project I sit and stew with the words "I already went to school...I am done with all this!" going through my head. I will admit it's worse with nine kids....so much homework!!!

16. The all mighty tattle-tale. I really hate hearing "Moooooommmm.....Joe just ...." it gets so dang old. I need to come up with some anti tattle-tale tactics. Geez people...learn to problem solve already!

17. The sleepover. I have much to say on this matter. There's friend sleepovers, cousin sleepovers and then there's the failed sleepovers. I think I am going to go on a march on Washington to ban sleepovers forever!

18. "Well, Savanah has one and if she has one why can't I have one?" You know...this would not be a problem if we lived in a third world country and my kids had nothing! Maybe a move is in the cards for us....

19. No dang batteries in the house...and the items that they go in seem to disappear constantly too. Flashlights are the worst. Heaven forbid we have an earthquake in the middle of the night. What a joke that would be. I can hear Jon now..."I know I put a flashlight right here in my closet and now it's GONE! Those dang kids!"

20. Socks. This will be a shorter blog, but anyone who has ever come to my home has seen the infamous "sock bin". If laundry is my nemesis than the socks that do come out of the dryer and aren't lost are the fires burning in the Hell that I live...

Well, I am sure I can think of more...but for now this is good. We can have some fun with those starting tomorrow! Bring it on folks...this is gonna create some smiles and make us all laugh. Maybe out of empathy...and maybe out of "boy am I glad I am not you!" thing. Either way this is going to be good therapy for me.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Don't water them, they might mulitiply

If there is one thing in my home that I am always tripping over, pushing out of my way, picking up and cursing at it's the shoes. I am to the point where I hate them. I want to live on a tropical island somewhere and give each one of my children one pair of flip flops and just replace them as they wear out. As it is right now in my home I have slippers, boots, tennis shoes, sunday shoes, flats, vans, high heels, Jons basketball shoes, his work shoes, his outdoor work shoes and his everyday shoes and then there's my shoes...all cluttering up my home. Don't forget that I named what each person has and then times that by 11. I am not sure I can even multiply that high. Shoes are my nemesis.

I have decided that if we ever move I need a large walk in closet in the entryway entirely devoted to shoes. That would be one stinky closet, but at least all those stinky shoes would no longer be under my dining room table, stashed next to the toilet, under the cushions of the couch and in every one's beds. Out of sight out of mind. With some of these things it's the best solution. I would love to be able to walk around my home and not see one pair of shoes.

I will admit that one day when the kids are all gone there are a few things I will NOT miss, and never would. The bickering will be one thing I will happily wave goodbye to, pee under, over and around the toilet (at least my toilet, and be assured I will have my OWN by then), crayons in my dryer and last but not least, all the darn shoes. Those are things I won't miss one darn bit. Maybe I should start a string of blog entry's on the things I will not miss when they are all gone. I often talk about the things I will miss, but what about the things I will not miss? I think in the next few days I will start this project by making a list of things I won't miss and then blogging about each and every one of them. I think I will name my list "Don't let the door hit ya on the way out"...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sweet baby girl!

We are not going to lie. We all are getting pretty attached already and even the boys who weren't too happy with another sister are starting to chomp a the bit to get her here. I personally will feel so much better when she is in my arms...

We had our official anatomy scan today and all went well. Baby is still a girl, was all over the place while the poor tech was trying to get a good pic of all her parts and pieces, and she was just looking so cute. The tech was thorough and took an hour to look at everything. Her little heart, brain and kidneys (yay!) looked good. I am getting so attached already. She is worming her way into my heart while growing under it. Now we just need to hit a few more milestones and pick out a name (and do a bit of shopping) and baby will be here before we know it! I can't wait!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Popsicles and Elmo

My brain might just be made of mush by now. I have spent almost 19 years with kids at home, me at home with them and doing the most mindless things. Don't get me wrong, I have loved most of those moments with my kids, but non the less as I think to my own future (which is quickly passing me by) I wonder if I will even be able to go back to school. I wonder if my mind is even capable of it that is.

When McKenna was a baby it was Barney the Dinosaur, fish crackers (which were brand new on the market then) and lots of kids to play with everyday (I had an in home daycare to pay for my and Kenna's expenses). Today it's gushers, spongbob and still tons of kids everyday, only their all mine now. I spend my days bathing cute little dirty bodies, listening to Scooby Doo (that one has never gone out of style) and Diary of a Whimpy Kid, trying to keep track of the electronics as Colby likes to wander around the house with them and of course changing the occasional poopy diaper. 19 years folks, I have been in my home, with my children for 19 years. How many of you can say that you have been doing the same job for that long? My office space has changed a few times (four moves in 15 years), my employees have changed (new kids in, new kids out...or at least out to school) and of course I have changed, but nothing else has.

My days can be long, monotonous and when the once in a while trip to Walmart seems like a treat you know you have been locked up in the house far too long. I think that's why the idea of living in a climate where it can be nice more often than not during the year sounds perfect. I am not an agoraphobic....I LOVE being outside. I will sit for hours in a lawn chair on the front lawn watching the kids play. I will read on a blanket while at the park. Last year alone I spent many many hours looking for new places to take the kids on hikes. Anyone who lives north of St George in Utah knows that those things really only happen from about the middle of May until maybe the end of September, unless of course your a winter person, which I am not. So is it so terrible after raising kids in Salt Lake for 18 years that I want a change of scenery and a change of climate? I mean, seriously...I may have another 18 years to go here folks....quite a while.

But, with all of that I still have to say that I am not unhappy with my chosen profession. I love to watch Skyler do the cutest things, and love to hear him learn new words and speak them so softly with that cute tiny high voice. I love to experience these things with him the way I loved it with Kenna so many years ago, and with every kid in between. I am happy being a stay at home mom. It isn't glamorous, I will never win an award for what I do, or earn kudos from thousands of adoring fans, but I am ok with all of that because their love and hugs is award enough. I find that as my pregnancy goes on I get more and more excited to welcome a new baby into my home. This little girl is slowly but surely wedging her way into my heart and I can't wait to dress her up in cute little warm potato sacks and soft fuzzy socks. I can't wait to smell that wonderful smell of a newborns neck and play with those tiny little hands. She will be my last and I intend to enjoy every moment of it.

My life is all popsicles, Elmo and tripping over match box cars. My brain has gone soft right along with my heart over the years and I wouldn't have it any other way. My life may be stressful, hard and downright depressing at times, but it's been worth it in ways I never imagined. Someday I will sit and read a book, cover to cover without having to get up to break up a fight, or having to chase a child down the street and in some ways I really look forward to that day. In some ways I dread it. There's that perfect dichotomy again. Life is full of those. Of course, I will always be happy because I have 10 kids....surely some of them will have kids of their own and when I get too lonely and depressed I will just show up at their homes and take those tiny babies into my arms and remember why I did it all in the first place. I can only imagine what it will feel like then and it brings tears to my eyes right now just thinking about it. It will all be worth it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I secretly like it

I will admit that for a while I secretly like it when my babies are sick. We all know that when any of the kids get genuinely ill they want to be cuddled, loved, catered to and given soda till they drop. But the babies, they are so darn sweet. When I want to cuddle one my little tiny kids they are usually running around, making noise, making messes and making me crazy. They might sit with me for 30 seconds or so. But that is it. Not the case when they are ill.

All my kids are sick right now, almost every last one of them. Only the few oldest have escaped it, which means my house is crazy, with me at the head of it cleaning like crazy, lysoling everything in sight and not stopping until I drop at the end of the day. However, I will stop for my little tiny boys that want to be held and loved while feeling not so good. They have both had fevers, which is the best time to cuddle them. Fevers are what usually leave them in a heap on the couch not wanting to even run around. Colby wants me stroke his hair and tickle his back. He keeps saying to me "Mom, will you go like this?" while brushing his bangs to the side. He wants to be close to me, his body still and calm while I play with his hair. I absolutely love that.

Then there's Skyler. Last night and this morning he has been running a fever of 103 and he just doesn't even want to get up. He is on the couch and he if I walk away he cries, in his tiny sick voice, "mommy....mommy....". Its the sweetest and the saddest sound all wrapped up into one. This afternoon I sat with him on the couch and then after a few minutes he was sort of leaning over on my arm. I scooped him up and held him tight to me. He snuggled into my chest and fell fast asleep. For once it was the only place he wanted to be. I held him, let him sweat on my chest for several minutes before laying him in his bed. I even had Joe take a pic with my phone and sent it to my sister Tracy. I knew she could relate because her little Carson has spent most of his winter sick. We can relate to each other with our sick babies.

I happen to love those moments with my kids. They always are on the go, never wanting to be held down to a momma's touch. They just have too much to do, see, destroy and take apart. I love this about my kids, but I have to admit, when they are sick I take those few days and get in as much cuddle time as I can. It's the only time they actually let me do it....

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I can finally say it! I am pregnant! I have had to hold back on that one for 15 weeks now...15 weeks!!!! I am so glad I don't have to hide it anymore...I have so wanted to tell for about 2 weeks now. We have had to be so careful because of what has happened the last several babies. Well, after today I am officially attached to my sweet baby and I hope and pray with all I am worth that she hangs in there. Yes...she....we went to fetal fotos today and got to find out what she is. She was bouncing around in there and seemed very happy.

Yay for healthy babies!!!
Here is the newest and yes...the last Loutensock!

Friday, March 4, 2011

My little buddy

My days are loud. They truly are. But I am guessing I don't need to tell any of you that. This morning it was sincerely loud by 7:40 am. Jessi and Skyler were pounding around in the bathroom and making so much noise that Colby came out of his room, rubbing his eyes complaining that the other kids had woken him up. So to say what I want to we need to rewind an hour earlier in my day.

6 am. I hear the softest little voice from the room next to mine.
I know who it is and what they want. Not more than a minute later...
I get up, tired and aching, and walk into Megan and Skyler's room. I was thinking it was good that Megan is such a deep sleeper, once she gets to sleep. There is my baby sitting in his bed, completely wet from head to toes.
"Juicy momma?"
"You want some juice?"
"Wet momma...I wet..."
Yes he was. I got his juice, then stripped off the wet blankets, put dry ones down, took off his wet clothes and changed his diaper. After settling him back in I gave him some juice and quietly went back to bed knowing I would not be sleeping anymore.

He was quiet for a while, every now and again he would make some cute little noise, or some little sound and I would know he was just gearing up for his day. After a while he started in with the loud "MOM!" and I knew his bed was no longer good enough. I went and picked him up, got the toy dinosaur he wanted and took him to my bed. I knew this would only gain me maybe 5 more minutes, but those 5 minutes can be the best ever. I have done this almost everyone of my kids. If the house is quiet, they wake before anyone else then I know I can get my golden 5 minutes of cuddle time in. He happily crawled into bed with me, got under the covers and acted as though he was a bear settling in for a long winter hibernation. He was comfy, he was darling. We sat there under the covers of my warm bed staring at each other for a few minutes, and he even let me stroke his hair. He would wriggle here and there, and then rearrange himself a bit and settle again. When the appeal of the house, the toys and the constant adventure that is in a toddlers mind became too much for him to bear he quietly slid off my bed and was gone. As he slid away I could see the look on his face. It's as though he knew what I wanted and he didn't want to hurt my feelings by leaving me there, but he just couldn't stand it anymore. He had to play, climb, flush things down toilets and run until he dropped around naptime.

I cherish those 5 minutes I get with my babies. By the time they're a little older those 5 minutes are replaced with other things, or I am up long before they are. Not that they ever stop wanting cuddle time, because even my teenager will sit close to me on a quiet night and watch a favorite movie with me. But this time when they are so small, so innocent still is so sweet, so special and so fleeting. I want to take those 5 minutes and bottle it so that when I am lonely, old and wanting it so much I can have it...if I could do that I could market it and make a fortune!