Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A busy Wednesday

A busy day! The day started with Tennis, Mark plays at 8 , Nate and Mickey play at 9, Annie and John at 10 and James at 11. Then we eat lunch at the park. We do our program with our friends the Cornieas which makes it much more fun. A couple of them came back with us and I thought quiet time would last longer than it did. I fed the baby tidied up the kitchen and it was time to get ready for the BEACH. We all ran around getting swim suits on and the bags packed and loaded back into the van. The beach was hot, splashy and perfect. Mark worked on making his moat he had talked about all day, James searched for stones to bring home to his rock polisher and the middle boys all dove head first into the water. Daisy was tired and kept trying to acquire anyone's bucket but her own. This proved problematic.

Eventually Daisy cozied upon a beach towel to watch the action and moat building. Lucy sat sweetly in the stroller watching the sun and waves. Annie ran back and forth between brothers. After the beach was when the too much hit. We had to make it home, get showered off, eat dinner and get to Mickey and Johns baseball game.

We made it home and everyone did a relay race in the showers. I had the first clean one out entertain Lucy whle I washed hair in the tub with the youngest. I had a bean soup in the crockpot thankfully, so I served that withcheese quesadillas. Then everyone piled back into the car, new water bottles, sand toys out, clean clothes on and we drove to the game. We got there 2 minutes to game time, not the best not the worst. The children did a nice job playing games in the shade to pass the time, I spent minimal money as Freezies were 2 for .25c, best deal in town!
Daisy & Mom at the Beach

John & Annie enjoy a summer treat
After the game ( well played by Mick and John) we were finally home. We had cereal for snacks and people did chores. It was Annie's night for kitchen and she got everything unloaded and loaded quickly.

Daddy made it home after 10 pm, they will all be excited tntell him about our busy day in the morning. I think 2 activities in a day is best, but I do love all the fun mini adventures, like the shower relays and fun stories in the car, that happen in the middle of a busy day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Under construction!

Today we started Urban Tennis. The kids did really well and are excited to learn a new sport. Sheff is excited because this is a sport they can use for life and he loves the idea of future doubles matches with his own kids.

The biggest challenge is that our street is under massive construction. This means we have to park about a block away and carry all our things from the house to the car over lawns and mud ruts. A stroller doesn't work so I need to carry Lucy and have the kids all carry other things we need. Groceries are a trick, light bags and everyone pitching in. One blessing, I am going to be creative and work through the pantry. I see rice and beans in our future:)

The children all picked cherries off our cherry tree. I don't know the type but they are very sour and make wonderful jam. The kids have decided they want to do a jam stand and sell jam. I am hoping we can make jam for Christmas gifts this year, it would be such a sweet treat come the cold months of winter.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Daisy Eleanor turns 4!

Donut cake!
Our little Daisy turned 4 on June 25, 2011. She requested a donut cake, what an easy way to serve a treat. Sheff and I had a bran/rye carmel concoction instead, he was game:) She received canvas bag for all her treasures that zips and color it yourself stickers, she was thrilled.

The day Daisy was born 4 years ago was very hot. We had gone for a walk that morning and picked daisies talking as a family about where mom would be going and who our new little sibling would be, wondering about personality and size! Turns out our gift of a girl is a tiny spitfire with great balance and a love for song. She has always been calm in Church (the only Otis other than Lucy I can say that for, oh hmm maybe Annie and Nate to, oh well, she is calm in church!) She loves the music and often can be seen holding up her arms following the choir direction.
On her 2nd birthday with her daisies that bloomed that morning

When I was in the hospital Sheff ran home and managed to plant 3 daisy plants by our front mailbox. They bloom each year with in days of her birthday. They remind me of both Sheff's amazing generosity of spirit when it comes to being a husband and father, and how each year Daisy seems to bloom.

Happy Birthday Daisy Ella, what a joy you are to all of us (even when you are spicy:)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Today's mom thought

Whenever I am awake, and maybe asleep too! I need to be teaching by example. I need to use integrity, patience, truthfulness and respect. Even when I am breaking up a physical fight or cleaning up a purposefully broken toy. I need to drink water, breathe deeply and take time to pray. Thank you God for the challenges that force me to be creative, thank you for the fights that give me a chance to teach conflict resolution, thank you for the messes so I can excel in teaching how to keep a clean home and thank you for a nursing baby who gives me time to sit and write.

Daily Life

This summer we are keeping our schedule as simple and efficient as possible. Having looked at what worked well each summer seems to be even more fun:) We need a schedule, kids thrive with structure and things to look forward to in their day.

Next week we are starting 5 weeks of daily tennis and then leaving for Maine for 10 days, car trip!! So that will create a new rhythm, but for an average summer day this is what we do:)

Kids feet don't touch the first step down stairs until
1. Teeth have been brushed
2. Nighttime pull-ups are in the cloth diaper pail (for the little ones)
3. A "sweep" has been done to check for dirty clothes on the floor or papers that need to be recycled.

Downstairs during the summer toons can go on , PBS and a few selected channels, we do not allow any "people" shows on kids channels such as i Carley and so on. Some content may be fine, but overall the tone with parents we don't approve of. During the school year there is zero TV Monday through Thursday and honestly it is easier!  Sheff often gets breakfast going. During the winter I try to put in slow-cooker Irish cut Oats overnight or do eggs. The summer cold cereal and bagels are more common. We have milk and eggs delivered fresh from a local farm, I really think non homogenized milk helps immunity.

After breakfast we do workbooks, math 3 pages and a humanities 3 pages. I can answer questions and pop around the table while I have my coffee. Baby Lucy is usually on me in a carrier or wrap. She is liking to be on a blanket or bouncy chair as well.

Then activity time, library, a walk to the park or group Costco trip. I usually go with all 8 because James is not ready to watch them at home alone, he will be soon and is looking forward to taking the CPR babysitting class now that he is 11.  They are usually good on outings, mom can be a bit worn out:)

Afternoons we play outside, have quiet time (books, books and books!) and get out art projects. They have all gotten interested in making camp bracelets and bead projects. Mark could do art all day long.

Chores fall into the after school time frame regardless of season. Kids take turns with the kitchen age 7 and up rotate days. Unload and  load the dishwasher, sweep, ionize (water with a chemical change very cool) the table and counters. Others have set chores as well and we try to get things tidy before dinner.

After dinner it is BASEBALL time, with 6 kids playing on teams and Daisy starting dance we are busy. Busy but it is oodles of fun to watch. We have moved up to a 12 pass GMC Savanna, it is wonderful to have. We do at least part of the Rosary each time we are in the car together. Often it is a Hail Mary or Our Father with everyone adding an individual prayer. It has made the running around meaningful.

Not the most poetic, but that is our basic daily rundown. And for me I am helping everyone with their work, chores and reading. The highlights of my days are hearing Sheff's voice if he calls to check in, cuddling the baby, seeing kids work something out together, watching them have fun together and the small moments of Grace that seem to sneak into each day.
It feels good to be thinking about blog posts again. After Daisy was born I felt swamped for a bit, we switched to cloth diapers, had more children join the ranks of sports players and had kids who needed help learning to read. I don't think I ever stopped and decided to not chronicle life, but a year or two passed and facebook replaced blogging for me, and Sheff starting his own company took all his computer time. Sheff and his partner Jay, co own Urban Rebuilders, a green remodeling company. He had to stop doing as much with Dadiator in order to get Urban up and running. He has found he needs to workout daily to maintain good equilibrium, but how and where he does can change. I encouraging him to journal, his commitment to working out and being available to his kids is admirable. I think America needs a bit more of a take back the family, Dads working out at home or with their kids. Going to the gym for hours at a time after a long work day builds distance from kids over time. It's not easy to stay fit and workout with kids but he is showing it is possible.

We finished a week of VBS, that the kids loved. I was able to volunteer and be part of the camp which made it more meaningful as a family. I loved hearing their take on what they were learning and how we could incorporate the weeks enthusiasm into the start of our summer.

Today Sheff has taken on baseball game driving and I am trying to catch up on the house. Getting the diapers in the wash, clean clothes put away, bills sorted and filed and a menu drafted for the week. Did a wonderful white fish and green bean dish with Ginger and garlic I will post sometime it was fresh and yummy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

We ran into a woman who told us she always used to read 7 Sidekicks and it motivated us to get writing again. So here is our new venue. We are excited to be back in action! We have added lovely Lucy Claire born in January 2011.