We’re Home

We are home from vacation.
What a lovely word.

The laundry was lined up in front of the washer, for 2 full days the washer was the most used item in the house.

The laundry from vacation is finished.

The smell of vacation is gone.

The laundry from the week is in a pile in front of the washer.  {I am climbing Mt Laundry to get it done}

The refrigerator is filled again, the freezer is stocked with frozen treats.

The menu has been planned.

The Library books returned. {most of them…}

The calendar is filling up.

The suit cases are put away.

Life is settling back into routine.

Vacation is over.
{at least for a few weeks}

Why does the road home take longer than the road away from home?

I love my bed.

Go hug your kids and sort out some vacation stories to share with your kids.


A Little Visitor

We had a little visitor while we were up at the resort.

Here are a few pictures…

DSCN4010Here is our visitor out our kitchen window.DSCN4011A little closer.DSCN4013J and our visitor.DSCN4021She is a brave little girl.DSCN4015Who knew that deer would not be friends with O.DSCN4024A little reading, the deer likes H.P. book 5 as much as R.DSCN4028Finally E was brave enough to offer the deer a banana.DSCN4020C and the deer were fast friends.

Only 1 day left in the mountains for us.  We are cold, had 2 days of rains and the kids took long hikes.  Today all the kids but little A {we stayed back to take a nap, it was nice.}  But Keith, my sister and 5 of the kids hiked for 6.5 miles.  They were very tired when they got home.  We have laughed until we are gasping for air, we have hiked until our feet hurt {We as in the family NOT me}.  We had s’mores 2 times, We stayed up way too late playing games, and enjoying each other.  The little kids have gone to their grandparents for a second breakfast, we have had a great time.  I won’t talk about the spiders or mouse poop.

Go hug your kids and make a memory today.

P.S.  the deer was a wall hanging.  We had too much free time and decided to do a photo-op with the poor deer.  We were busy putting it in the window while my sister was in the bathroom.  When she walked out of the bathroom she jumped back with a yelp and was quite startled at the deer in the window.  Until she realized it was fake and we had a good laugh at her.

More Christian Phrases that Bug Me

Here are another “Christian” Phrases that bug me.
God is good.

Now in fact HE is good.
He is great.
He is GOD
His nature is perfection, all things good and all things Holy.

But the reply, that is what bugs me.
The pat great news answer.
The Sunday School Answer.

The answer that people give when someone receives favorable news.    I heard this several times when after the MRI and the 2nd set of mammogram both with  favorable outcomes,” God is good”
I know that GOD is GOOD.
But would they remind me that God was just as good if I had not received the same diagnosis.  If the outcome was more testing, medication, breast or brain surgery or even breast removal?  Would they think that GOD is good?  Would they remind me GOD is good?


Would they remind me?

Would they think that GOD messed up, that He forgot to “show up and show off?”
I was visiting with a friend, who hates how people use that phrase as much as I do, and I know others hate it too.  Here is why…

statement “my child’s team won the cheer competition”
response “God is good”
rebuttal so is God not good to the other little girls at cheer?  They did not win, so God must not “like” them.

statement “he got into the college he wanted”
response “God is good”
rebuttal so is God not good to the other students who tried out?  They wanted in that program, why was God not good to them?

statement “they raised the money to go to the mission field so fast”
reply “God is good”
rebuttal {ahhh tricky one}  so the other missionaries who took years to raise the funds, was God not good to them?

statement “we avoided the accident by minutes, we were not injured and not stuck in traffic”
response “God is good”
rebuttal so the family whose lives are changed forever, what about them?  Was God not good?

statement “he got the job”
response “God is good”
rebuttal so the man who did not get the job, whose family desperately needs that pay check, is God not good to them?

We fall into using that phrase when it is all unicorns and rainbows but we quietly wonder when the outcome is negative.  What do we say, I mean we are supposed to have a reply a pat answer.  Why not use the answer God is good, when the outcome is grim.  Guess what?  We don’t have to have all the answers!  We can be sad and cry and comfort them with out giving an answer.  Job, you remember him?  You know the guy who lost EVERYTHING.  Well everything except his wife and his best buddies.  The buddies who came to comfort him when he was so very sad.  What did they do?  They sat with him, the morned with him, the were there for him.  In the end they offered advice to him.  But they did not give the Sunday School Answer, they did not shy away from tragedy.  They were there.  In the middle and in the end through it all Job knew that God was good.

GOD is good All the time
All the time GOD is good

I go in again soon for another MRI and more mammograms on the girls.  I know God is good.  Regardless of the outcome God is good.

God is good,
All the time
All the time
God is GOOD.

This does not mean we cannot be sad, we cannot cry, we cannot morn, or question.  It simply means that God is good.

What about you what is another Christian phrase that bugs you?

Go hug your kids and make a memory today.  Life is just too very short, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to show the love.

Excuses Me but There is a Potty Chair on Your Roof.

101_1613Because we are on vacation I thought I’d share another story of our vacation mishaps.

One year we collected all our loose change then used that money to do something fun while in NC.  That was a total fail.  R wanted to go gem stone mining.  On our way up the mountains we passed many home-made wooden signs for GEM STONE MINING.  With all the signs it looked like a fun family activity.  It was not.  It was terrible.  We went to a place that offered horse rides as well as hiking routes and gem stone mining.  We pictured taking a shovel, scooping dirt into a bucket and running in along some long log flume to sort the dirt from the gems.  We were going to strike it rich.  We paid something like $5 for the bucket, it was large we could do the whole bucket with the 4 big kids (E was just a baby she had no interest in dirt except to eat it.)  The kids were so excited, they took us back to the back-end of a nice stable. and let us pick our bucket.  What?  The buckets were filled with dirt and our helper who gladly took our $ told us the buckets were “peppered” so the kids would get a treasure.  What?  Strange?  We each took a wooden screen and scoops of dirt from out bucket and shook it under the water like the guide showed us.  We had treasure alright.  There were shiny pieces of rocks and even a nice quartz cut and hung on a key ring.  Seriously it was cut polished and attached to a key ring.  The kids were so disappointed. We could not believe it!

The next year we decided to try again, but this time go to a “real mine”.  A friend of ours had been to a place that on the map was only 45 miles away.  We researched it, found directions and planned a day of mining.  Real Mining.  That summer my mom, my sister and Keith’s parents all went to NC with us.  My mom opted out of the day of mining.  {She was the only smart person that day.}  Because we filled our mini van Keith’s parents took a walkie-talkie and followed behind.  C deciding he had enough family time rode with the grand parents.  The rest of us rode together for bonding.  We had plenty of bonding.

We were going along just fine, me in the driver’s seat, my sister front passenger, the two bucket seats behind us held E in her car seat and R who gets car sick had his own window.  The back row held O, Keith, and J.  We were rolling along when E, newly potty trained had to potty.  If you often go on back mountain roads you know there is just no place to stop and there are no bathrooms.  Knowing this I took along the potty chair.  We radioed back to the car that we were pulling over to potty.  Pulled over and back on again with no problems.  The trip was taking much longer that anticipated the roads were literally wrapped around the mountain, one lane highway wrapped so close that with her window down my sister could actually touch the mountain.  I was going a fast speed of 15 miles per hour I did not care how many cars were backed up behind me.  As we wound along with windows down and car sick people getting plenty of air.  E started to cry that her tummy hurt.  She has serious tummy issues so I told Keith to put her back on the potty chair while I kept driving.  {Okay before you get too worked up we were seriously going less than 15 mph Keith says turtles were going faster}  She cried as she sat there that her tummy hurt.  After a while without producing anything Keith put her back in her seat.  She kept crying.  I told Keith “pull her out if we crash we are all going to die regardless of seat belts.”  There was no guard rail and the mountain was pretty steep.  He sat in the back row holding a whimpering little girl while I putz’ed along at snail pace.  When I heard the cough.  You know.  THE COUGH.  Yes I could do nothing to stop it.  I yelled back to Keith “she is going to puke” but it was too late.  She puked as he tipped her over her potty chair to catch the pukes there was more than her potty chair could hold, it spilled onto the floor rug, it splattered onto R who has a very easy gag reflex, it was down Keith’s legs, it was puddled on Keith’s shoes.  It was contained in a small area but it was there.  Thankfully, there was a large 4 family driveway I pulled in there with the grandparents pulling in behind me.  As soon as I slowed to a stop R yanked his door open jumped out, my sister dashed away from the van and I am unsure how O and J got out from the back row so quickly.  His parents and C had no idea what happened.  They just know that almost everyone jumped from the van as though a plane was going down.  It was funny for them to watch,  not so much for us to experience.  C was never more thankful that he rode without us.  Keith climbed out with puke on him still, I took the wet wipes and a plastic bag and began the clean up while listening to my family gag and laugh and try to console E who was still a little green.  I managed to clean the van while not using the entire box of wipes.  We rolled up the rug and put that with the potty chair in the back-end of the van.  Cleaned and changed because I AM that kind of mom, we set out to finish our trip to go mining minus the 3 big kids who all opted to ride in the grandparents car, smart kids.
????????With a sigh of relief finally arrived we put the rug and potty chair on the roof of the van so the sun could bleach out the germs and kill the stink.  We took a longer mile but faster route home from that trip and have never again gone gem stone mining.

By the way the mine was really a great experience it was a real mine, family operated.  They used a front end loader to scoop up huge piles of dirt from their mountain, and dump it into a lean too where we scooped our bucket full and worked the water over our sand.  We did end up with some ruby chips, some quartz chips, some other gems, I forget their names.  The mining was a lot of fun and exactly what we wanted to do.  Without the puke in the car of course.????????C and his Grandma????????R working his sand in the water.????????My sister and O looking for treasure.????????Grandpa and J working their sand.  This actually takes some time so if your child is very impatient this might not be an activity you want to try until they are a little older.????????No longer green she is happily working with Keith.????????Isn’t she a cutie pie in her clean non puke outfit with matching bows?  She does not even look green.

What about you?  Do you have people who get car sick or do you have a family with iron stomachs?  The final road to our resort is 6 miles one lane up the mountain used to be dirt now it is paved, thankfully this Saturday evening, we arrived at our destination just as the last car sick child sighed, in need of feet on the ground fresh air.

Go hug your kids, they need your love

The Bear Went Over the Mountain…

????????We vacation on some mountain top in NC.  It is beautiful up there.  The roads up, not so much.  But once you are there you can just breath.  Wonderful.  We LOVE it there, and look forward to going each year.

We are a large family so there are really only 2 cabins we fit in.  The one with 2 porch swings and a fire-place or the one with the extra-large kitchen and 2 bathrooms.  We love the swings but really love being able to fit in the kitchen or at the table together.  We have moved on.  ????????
The first night each week they have a meeting.  In the meeting they offer resources for activities on campus or around the town at the bottom of the mountain.  Each family is introduced and their location is discussed.  We have never come back the same week as others so each year we go we meet new people.
During the weekly meeting, they discuss trash disposal, they tell us that talk radio is on by the trash so bears don’t come to the garbage.  The unevenness of their voices and talking scares the bears away.  They tell us to stay on the path, and use care when hiking to slowly back away from a bear and be sure not to go between mama’s and cubs.  Watch for snakes, and not to eat unidentified vegetation..They give us the code to the internet, and they offer suggestions on good hiking trails with maps.  When the meeting is over people stand around and visit and check out the games and activities we can do on campus.  While walking around the room, one wall is covered in bear on campus pictures.  Clearly this is bear territory.  There are bears near cabins, near the pond, walking or climbing trees.  BIG bears, and little bears.  They are beautiful.  But they are wild and untamed and scary!

???????????????????????????????????????Last time we went up we had the larger cabin which is farther away from the meeting hall.  Ellen and I were both working on our laptops, at the meeting hall where the internet signal is located.  O went along for female company, and I think to get out of helping the little ones go to bed.  We were working away and realized just how dark it was outside, and just how late it really was.  We had only a few minutes left before the internet would shut off so we closed up shop.  By this time most of the guests were sleeping, their cabins were all dark.  It was dark, so dark you could not see your hand in your face dark.  I am not a fan of the dark.  I am even less of a fan of uncaged bears roaming their mountain in the dark.  We left the meeting hall to walk down a lovely {in the daylight} stone path to the pond.  The pond that has the most bear pictures, the pictures of bears climbing the trees, roaming around on all 4’s trying to catch fish, the bears that can eat people if hungry enough.  I am more and more aware how dark it is, how I need to get back to our cabin and how I need to be sure that nothing happens to O.???????????????????????????????????????

I say “I’m scared”  or actually I kind of sing “I’m scared”  which goes from only “I’m scared”, to full on laughter, remember, I laugh when I get nervous, well the nervous laughter gets loud and the louder I get the more scared I get.  This does not help that my sister is nervous and O is laughing for real at me.  I am so scared I am so loud sing laughing “I’m scared a bear will get us!”  I am almost running with my computer bag laugh talk singing “oh bears can smell fear, shoot I am going to wet my pants I am so scared, oohhhh it is so dark, I am scared oohhhh I can’t run bears will chase us, bears can smell fear.  Do you think they can smell the fact that I am so scared I just wet my pants?”  To which Ellen and O started to laugh at me.  Really laugh!???????????????????????????????????????

Yes I was so scared I actually wet my pants in fear.  We arrived back at the cabin {the walk is normally about 4 minutes, it sure felt a lot longer as we ran/walked to the cabin}  We all burst in, I made a bee line for the bathroom to take a shower while Ellen and O were laughing so hard they could not talk to Keith and C who heard us the minute we left the meeting hall.  No one on campus mentioned the scared calling about being afraid of bears at the resort.  Well, no one, but my family.  We still relive that story from time to time, laughing about it when we do.  ???????????????????????????????????????

You can bet anything that this time when we go I will be firmly back IN my cabin when it gets dark out.  Not a fan of bears roaming wild in their own mountain.  You know, where they belong, in the wild…  I don’t want them caged up, please don’t send PETA my way… I just don’t want them around me. They can roam free before and after we are there.  Just not while we are there please.???????????????????????????????????????

What about you?  Ever so scared you wet your pants?  Do you know if bears like dogs can smell fear?

????????Go hug your kids they need your love, and if you have any bear stay away tips please pass them on.

How Do You Travel with a Crowd Part 2

How Do You Travel with a Crowd Part 2
The Van Ride

Oh boy!
The ride.

The long sit still in car seats, trapped until Dad decides we need gas ride.

When Keith and I were dating we went to college 4 plus hours from his family and 20 hours from mine.  Traveling up to his parents house was not too bad until that last hour.  Frequently Kim, his sister, my friend went along, we went a lot of places together.  We would visit, snooze and read while Keith drove, but that last hour.  I don’t know how he put up with us.  We were out of our minds tired of being in the car, tired of sitting still, tired of it all, Please let us out, Please stop, Please I want to go to the bathroom, Please let us walk around a bit.  I don’t know how he kept going.  But he did it every time.  Coming back was no better, we knew we were tired, we wanted out and we drove him nuts.  That my friends is Love.  He did not kick us out to keep driving, and he would do it all again the next time we decided we wanted to go up.  Or the next time we had dirty laundry, with gas the price it was back then in my tiny Ford Festiva, we could drive up do laundry and drive back for cheaper than the machines at school.  {Sigh, I miss cheap gas}

When we would drive down to my house, we would stop for gas, or food, but keep driving.  We were dating, we drove straight through.  For 20 hours.  THAT was torture!  I think Keith slipped me a little something I slept a lot on those rides.  I thought that after we were married we would stop and get a hotel for the summers we drove up to Ohio then Pa for basketball camps.  I was wrong.  I was so wrong.  We would drive until we arrived.  I joke that Keith would gas up and I had better be back in the car before he was done or he might drive off with out me.  I never gave him a chance to see if he would really leave me.  When we had kids his parents moved closer, only 12 hours from us.  We would drive up to see them at the children’s home where they worked, then after a week or so drive up for 4 weeks of camp, then back to the children’s home for a few more weeks.  {Keith helped his dad change dorms, fix plumbing, remodel or build things for those weeks of our summer off.}  Those years were not as terrible.  12 hours of driving with little kids was only small torture compared to the straight 19 hours.  We drove to his parents house and back home all night long, the kids slept in their seats and when we arrived grandparents up there or grandmother down here would gladly play with the kids while we napped.

Now, years and years after travel we do stop and break up those long trips.  I think we have tortured Keith enough.  He has given up.

So how do we travel in the van with 8 or 9 people for 12 hours with only bathroom/gas breaks.


Lots of Planning!

Even More Planning!

Travel trinkets
All year I keep my eye open for travel trinkets for the kids, the big kids don’t get them anymore, they just want to read or sleep or watch movies, they are easy now.  But with the little kids I will buy some out of season toys.  The stocking stuffer/Easter basket stuffer toys, when they are on clearance.  I wrap them in brown paper and label.  Then every few hours or as necessity requires I give a little something new to play with.  That helps break up the ride.  IKEA has lovely finger puppets, Hob’Lob has those cute little flat wooden paper dolls to color, tiny toys, mini bagged lego sets… You get the idea.  Something small and cheap.  Cheap being the biggest requirement.  This is not a gift giving event this is a $3 I can survive the next 4 hours event.

Car Bags
Each child can pack what they think they will need on the car ride in a small bag.  The night before we leave that bag goes on the dining room table.  When they go to bed I stick a new book, a pack of gum, some candy or treat into the bags.  Then when we leave in the morning the kids grab their bag and go.  The first hour or the ride is quiet as the little kids eat their candy, {maybe I should rethink giving them sugar and expecting they to stay seated and calm… humm} and everyone reads their book.

Car Games
We started this in the last 2 years and so far almost all of them like it.  And 2 of them even asked if we were going to bring it on this trip. Here are the directions to the Trivia Car Game they are talking about.  We also play a car scavenger hunt.  And of course the LOVE BUG GAME.  The thing with playing games in the car is to be flexible.  If you are not then the games are not fun.

Today we will make 2 trips to the library to get enough books for our trip.  It is actually difficult to get enough to keep them busy.  {R is having a contest with a former teacher, to see who can read the most his personal goal is 75, she wants to beat his book pile from last summer.  As of last night she was in the lead but I think he finished another book this morning.}

Yes we do watch movies in the car, we have a few portable dvd players and a few computers we plug them in and run the wires along the floor.  I let the kids bring what they want and the kids sit in the row the movie they want to watch is running in.  We switch seats when we want a different movie.

We eat our meals in the van while Keith is driving.  Years and years ago I would pack up lunch and we would stop at a rest stop to sit and eat.  But after a time or two I realized that the kids just wanted to run around.  So when we stopped we would run and jump, toss a ball or hop and skip.  When we got back in the van we had burned off some energy and could sit and eat while Keith drove.  This has worked out so much better for us then sitting still at a rest stop.

That is how we travel, when we arrive we burst out of the van like escaped convicts.

What about you any travel tips for the actual travel part?  Any thing that works amazingly or things that are a big flop?  Please share so we can have more ideas.

Go hug your kids and work on making vacation memories with your kids.

How Do You Travel with a Crowd? Part 1

I get asked all the time, How Do You________?
This week I will answer How Do You TRAVEL with such a crowd.  I will share some money-saving tips, and some fun travel tips along the way.

Travel Tip #1

The List

I love a list.
Okay honestly I LOVE A LIST
{You should read that in a shout.}

There is something so satisfying about crossing off the list, something so complete about taking the list crumpling it up and throwing it in the recycling bin.  I feel such a sense of accomplishment!  I really do love lists.

We have a list on our chalk board wall, I have lists on my ipad and my phone, I have scraps of paper with lists, I have Publix, Target and Sam’s club lists.  I LOVE LISTS.  Daily to do lists, honey do lists, appointments to make lists…  I love lists.

Years after college I put on my wool coat and stuck my hand in my pocket to discover a list on an index card.  I had an exam to study for, a paper due, and a reminder to get stuff at the store.  {We walked, for real, down a mountain in the snow, not making that up…, to go to the grocery store and the drug store, stopping at the best pizza place ever before walking back up the mountain,in the snow.  I wish I was making that up.}  So a list was very important.  Who wants to walk that much only to realize that they forgot shampoo.  Trust me without a list I would forget the shampoo, or I would buy more conditioner.  Yeah I am that girl.

I started the vacation notebooks, the year we stopped going to 4 weeks of basketball camp.  I packed the same thing every year, we went to the same location every year, we ate in the cafeteria, visited with the same people, slept in the same dorms, had all the conveniences we needed, refrigerator, washer dryer and air conditioning.  We knew what to pack and how much.  But when our basketball camp coaching career ended we did not know how to pack for other locations.  That is the reason I started the LIST.

So my Number #1 travel tip for traveling with a large family is MAKE A LIST



We have a North Carolina notebook, we are on notebook number 2.  It is just a spiral bound 1 subject, cheap notebook.  The first one did not last as long as I added many things in the review pages, the things to bring and not to bring on the vacation.  The notebook is full of comments, lists and tips.  Directions and time to travel.

Here is how I divide my LIST Notebook

My LIST Notebook The Date

The basic things to bring along the trip. This page gets used most on the day before we leave.
This page is the quick jot it down before I forget we do NEED to bring our own toilet paper.
This page is the fullest “generic” page in the notebook  Or you can call it the “don’t forget” page.

My LIST Notebook MENU
I put 2 days to a page
Each day I list the meals, specific, so if pretzels are with lunch it says pretzels.  Nothing is eaten on the wrong day, there is enough snacks provided and no surprises.
This is nice for menu planning and no questions from kids who like to know what we are eating before we sit down to the table.
{Does anyone else’s kids do that?  Drives me NUTS every afternoon before we are even in the house “what’s for dinner?”  Does it really matter?  No I am not a short order cook I make it you choose to eat it or skip.  Yet they ask every day.}  This is also wonderful when traveling with another family.  Making our menu, my Mother In Law will compare, we will switch a few things around, they will have grilled steak for a meal, probably the night we eat stuffed shells.  They will grill out again the night we have bubble up pizza, they will join us on Burger and dogs night.  {We already met together, she already claimed a night of s’mores YUM}

I like to group my grocery shopping list by categories, but not for vacation.  The stores are not laid out like mine, and reading it over and over as I shop helps me not back track too much in their stores.

I give each family member a page with a detailed list of what they are to pack.  They may NOT go off the list until I can trust them.  The little kids list are very detailed, each item.
hair accessory {for the girl children}
That list is given each day we are gone.  So if we are gone 7 days I write that out 7 times. I should mention I am OCD with my lists.
It also includes how many towels they will need to bring, bathroom necessities, pillow, blanket, lovey, games, books, travel backpack and what is to go in the backpack. And Toys for the littlest ones.
The bigger kids list is much simpler
Adult lists are even simpler, they are given a day or number of days that they need clothing for.
** IF we are planning pictures of a special activity I will be specific.  {Our beach notebook will have the list of exact clothing items for our picture, happy happy joy joy!}**

These pages have a few activities listed and the cost.
We like to vague plan activities.  For example, white water rafting, museum, hike, so we know if the weather is rainy go to the museum that day, if it is hot go rafting.  No one likes to think that rain or shine on Thursday we are going canoeing during a monsoon outside.

The LIST Notebook REVIEW
The last page or 2 are dedicated to what to do/what not to do NEXT TIME
The first year we went to our NC vacation spot we took a lot of outdoor activities, which was fine, EXCEPT it is on a mountain, what new bike rider wants to try riding bikes on a dirt mountain road?  We brought a basketball, no hoop, we got a lot muddier than I expected, no laundry soap.  SO We put those things all on the last few pages.  Each year I glance back as I am making the list to eliminate what we don’t need but not to forget the things we do need.  Our first year we left home it was 96 degrees, we arrived in the mountains and it was so cold we had to use the fireplace.  Not a single long sleeve or jacket was on the list.  Now we know the earlier in the summer we go, the more we balance warm/cool weather clothing, the later we go the less cool weather clothing we bring.  I don’t like to eat marshmallows off sticks, after the first year I buy marshmallow sticks at Wal-Mart the day before we leave,  I leave them in the cabin when we leave so the next guests can use them if they want.  Little things that will make our lives easier.

Here is a review of MY LIST NOTEBOOK

The Year
The Generic page
The Menu pages
The Grocery pages
The Packing pages
The Review pages.

I have the notebooks for the beach and for NC.  Today O sat next to me while I made up this years Lists, reading the old notebook and commenting.

What about you?  Are you a LIST maker, or do you just grab and shove.  Do you think and plan a little or a lot?

Go hug your kids and make a memory with someone today!

I Am A Genius Update!

DSCN3761Okay so onto day 2 of my evil plan
{now you must laugh like Joey and Phoebe did during their plan to get Ross and Rachel back together}

Genius Plan Day 2

I feel like a great explorer watching a native nation.  Day 1 was a huge HUGE success.  Seriously they worked their little tales off, they each earned 3 hours of TV.  Did I care?  Not a whole bunch.  It was still raining all day, they could not go out, would I rather they do something different?  Sure.  But a deal is a deal.

I put the list up on the wall above the TV.  It looks so classy!  I told the kids they get 1 whole hour of free TV each day.  If they wanted more TV they needed to earn it.  The biggest kid huffed and left the room.  The other kids were ready to grab a job.

Yesterday I got a ceiling fan cleaned, some windows washed, my dining room chairs washed, a few kids played games with out fighting and happily played together, I even had 2 kids do book reports.  It was amazing.  They worked hard to rot their little minds.

Today, day 2, is also successful.  The TV was off most of the day.  The little bit of TV viewing, was shut off when their time ended with out comment from me.  Two of the boys sat in silence drawing and coloring happily absorbed in their own creative thoughts.

So thankful that I stumbled upon this plan.  Now as long as I am consistent this will make for a lovely summer.

What about you?  Do you have a plan?  Are you doing something similar?  What things are on your list?  I’d love to know since it is obvious that I will be needing to add to my list.

Go hug your kids, and make a summer memory today!

I Am a Genius


I think I even spelled it correctly.  I am a genius, not a speller. {Honestly the only reason that the blog is mostly spelled right is my computer underlines the wrong spellings, sometimes it gives me the wrong word.  At least the wrong word is spelled correctly.}

As I was saying I am a GENIUS .
I am a give me a kiss Keith, seriously smart mama!

{Or I will be if my plan works}

Yesterday did not go over as well as I had planned, the little kids needed guidance, I did laundry, it rained most of the day, so, they ended up watching TV more than I wanted.  R and C were in C’s room watching Psych on Netflix.  All. Day. Long.  {that was for you coop}  After a day of television on, I needed a TV plan.

Here it is, here is my plan.  They may watch as much TV as they want during the day, but they must purchase the TV time.  Sounds reasonable.  Every child gets 1 free hour of TV during the day.To purchase an additional hour, they must complete a task.  Not just any task, but a task I have picked.  Or actually they have picked.  It is up to them.  Here is my list, it may change as summer goes along.

DSCN3761To earn an additional hour of TV, you may choose from the list below
wash a floor
wash/dry/fold a load of laundry
fold 3 loads of laundry {J and E may fold the towels
vacuum the pool
wash windows {10 of them}
wash/dry/put away a load of dishes
ride bikes/play outside/jump on the trampoline
clean the van
play a game or 2 with a sibling
write an actual letter to a family member
clean pantry or refrigerator
organize your dresser drawers
write a book report
dust ceiling fans in the dining room and family room
draw or color for 30 minutes
wash dining room chairs
your idea

To earn an additional 2 hours of TV you may choose from this list
work a 4 hour shift
clean/vacuum/wash the van
mow the lawn
clean out the shed.

So there you have it.  We can watch as much TV as we want, but we must earn that time.  Sounds simple enough.  We’ll see if this sinks or floats.  I’ll keep you posted.

Go hug your kids, they need your love, and spend some time snuggled up breathing in their stinky kid smell.

p.s. what about you, unlimited viewing all summer, or do they have to earn the privilege?

77 days of summer vacation

Ok I know you know the song… “There’s a hundred and four days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it… ” {you are welcome!  I know you are singing that song right now, and if you don’t know it, be thankful}  But we discussed it and counted them and realized that we only get 77 days of vacation.  Seems short and not nearly long enough.  I mentioned the number to my sister who yelled at me to stop counting.  I should be sad I should be crying that gives me 77 days left with C before his SENIOR year.
SENIOR how did that happen?
When did that happen???



Not going to cry
Not going to cry
*fanning my face*
Not going to cry

So as I was saying we only have s short number of days to our vacation, I want us to make the most of it, fill it with playing, reading, laughing, games, beaches, and, swimming.


I loved vacation.  We went lots of places from Mackinaw Island, to Jackson Hole Wyoming, down to Disney when we were little and then up to Michigan when we were older.  We had some fun, my mom used my head to teach a group of mom’s on Mackinaw Island, how to french braid, we laid in the back window while she drove, with the windows open and wind whipping our hair. we stopped at Stuckey’s and I got a cedar treasure bank.  Remember the magic tablets you wrote on them with the magic pen and the words were revealed?  We traveled one year when McDonald’s offered their rubix cube.  We cheated pulled off all the stickers to arrange them back in order, and then popped it apart to fix it again.

Anyway I wanted to be sure we crammed our summer with memories.  Today is Laundry day.  I had to do laundry so I figured letting the kids sleep the end of the year off would be nice.  Nope they started waking up at 7:30 and by dinner time I think I said “go play” at least 27 different times.  I forget they need direction, the need leadership and they need a referee.  Those first days of summer, they don’t actually need freedom, they have spent the last 36 weeks of their life being told when to go to the bathroom, when to eat, when to pull out books, and what to do.  Tomorrow, children I have a plan.

We did make a memory tonight.  Aunt Kim came for dinner, and for dessert J made home-made peanut butter ice cream.  It was a delightful and noisy meal.  She said we were just preparing her for camp.  She works at Word of Life Ranch in NY.  If you are going there this summer tell her Hey for us.  She is the adult who is having too much fun at camp!  She loves it!

Anyway J made ice cream.  Which made E jealous because she wanted to make some.
Rich, creamy, smooth, the ice cream was delicious!

E went to cheer camp today.  The cheer camp I co-started years and years ago when I coached.  I feel old.  The cheer coach was a cheerleader when I coached.  I feel old.  E had a great time.

So what fabulous memory making plans do you have?  What goals have you or your children made for this summer?  O and J are to run 500 miles for cross country, and R has decided to read 75 books.  I have no doubt he will make it or come very close.  They are already asking for a trip to the library.  Which sounds necessary since the forecast is showing a tropical storm coming soon to a yard near us.   Hide and seek can only last for so long before the “seeker” quits seeking because she is 3 and decided to play with her doll house.   Sorry J who was hiding under the quilt in the laundry basket and had a sweaty head when R finally found him.

Go hug your kids, time is short and they need your love