Showing posts from October, 2012

Conferences & a mouse!

I made it through 7 conferences. Sheff couldn't leave work to join me, I stacked my papers, talked to wonderful teachers (true gems) and made my mental to do list. With a large family it is hard to get everything done, everyone's needs met, everyone's social studies homework corrected. At the same time I am amazed at how well the kids are doing overall. I have a list of goals, a list of things to congratulate each child and a list of challenges to tackle in the coming months. Part of team Otis! After a long day Sheff and I both had to be out for a couple hours when the kids were on their own. Converging at the end of our time away big drama had happened. A mouse in the house! We have not had one since we moved in and weatherized so not thrilled BUT the kids handled it. Annie, our animal lover, created a humanitarian mouse trap. They got a large zip lock bag and she put peanut butter in the bag. Then John-Luke crouched down and nudged the mouse in with a hanger. He

Here is the box, now get creative!

Trying to get kids set for Halloween can be expensive and frustrating. Early on we started the Halloween family party tradition. The weekend before Halloween we choose a night of the weekend for a party. Kids decorate, we choose Halloween themes for a charades game and bring up a big box of costumes and another of craft supplies. We light a fire, make spiced apple cider and let the creative juices flow. My rule is I never buy a costume, never have, hope I never will. After kids present their ideas we can see what is missing. We can run out during the week to add teeth to a vampire or white face paint to a geisha but only after the kids have created and presented their idea. After trying on costumes at a Halloween store this week I was amazed at how pre packaged this holiday as become. Find a plastic bag and inside will be the grossest or most inappropriate poorly made outfit. Where is the creative fun loving spirit in that? Now I am not saying I am a master costume maker, I am actu

Dating with 8 under foot

When I was out last week someone asked how we do it, assuming she meant parenting I responded with "Somehow it all happens, I use a lot of labels." She laughed but went on to ask about the relationship side of things. Ahhh, that side of things. The reality of busy parents at this phase in life is it is really, really hard to make time for being a couple. Before we had Lucy we met with a spiritual leader we respect. The mother of our babysitter has heard this story many times. Because after meeting with counsel we had a prescription to get out once a week and that required a babysitter! Part of seeking guidance when 8 was on the way was figuring out how to honestly prioritize time. There simply are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything so we had to make a game plan and do our best to follow it. Part of that plan was letting go of our worries both job and home and spending time as a couple. Sheff and I re charge in different ways. Perfect date night

Space Changing

Our basement is currently set up to workout and play space, soon it will serve as our interim kitchen & family room After deliberating this summer and early fall we have decided to start a home remodel. A tear down, bust through, re create space project. Sheff has promised kids can hold sledgehammers, color on walls and save pieces to make a stellar fort in the back yard. This is all very exciting but I get a bit woozy imagining running this family of 10 without an entry way (think jackets, hats, boots, back packs) or a kitchen (think, well life all revolves around the kitchen counter!) for months on end. I am sure it will work out beautifully. And having a kitchen twice the current size, a mud room and family room that work for our gang will be life changing. But I am predicting some highs and lows staging a kitchen in the basement  and a temporary mud room in the garage. I often have initiated changing how we use the current 6 bedrooms, shuffling kids, kicking some out