October 17, 2014

The Salem's

Long before I even thought about being a blogger I had a handful of blogs that I enjoyed reading. One of the blogs I fell in love with is 'No Greater Joy Mom' and in it Adeye shares her journey in life and her ever growing family.

Adeye and her husband, Anthony, have 3 sons of their own but their family did not stop there. They have been blessed with 6 more children through adoption; 2 special needs princesses from China, 2 adorable kiddos who have Down syndrome from Ukraine and 2 more blessings from Bulgaria who have profound special needs. They have now been called to adopt 4 frozen embryos who they will be transferring in December and giving them a chance at life.

Once reading about the next journey the Lord has called the Salem family to follow I couldn't remain the silent reader I have always been. I shared with Adeye our story of our 4 frozen embryos (2 of which we were told were non-viable) and she asked me to share our story with her readers today on 'No Greater Joy Mom'. 

You can follow Anthony & Adeye on their blog and I know they would appreciate an extra prayers for the right paths to be paved as they are called to add another blessing (or more!) to their amazing family. 

October 16, 2014

Not Wanting to Jinx It

You know those times when everything just seems to be going in the right direction? Well we are in that moment of life right now. By no means is life perfect because I really don't think there will ever be a perfect on this side of heaven but we have found our rhythm. School is 2 months in and we have adjusted after being home for the summer. Drew is no longer crying every morning before preschool telling me he doesn't want to go for the single reason of not wanting to take a nap. He also is no longer clinging with a death grip to my pant leg as I try and usher 4 two year olds out of preschool who only want to stay and play with all of the toys. The girls love doing their homework so they quickly complete their packets the minute they get home on Mondays which leaves us with only spelling words the rest of the week. So far preschool and first grade are working for us. 

Always amazes me how well they can get together when they know their only other option is taking a nap.
Hello swimsuits in October. I prefer jeans and a sweater in October but Mother Nature has different preferences. 

Work for Paul and I are busy but it is okay. Sad to say but often it is the only free time out of the house that we get. Who ever thought going to work was someday going to classify as 'me time'? Lately Paul and I have been day dreaming often, as in daily, about the days ahead when we can go on vacation again just the two of us. We didn't appreciate it before when we could just pack a bag, board a plane and enjoy time alone. Why? Probably because we didn't realize how important it was to have that time together. Now we find ourselves loving each other more than we ever have and we yearn for that time to reconnect. Not sure when it will happen so for now we will just continue to day dream together.

The first ramp which was quickly followed by a second ramp when the big kids could not get time on it due to 4 little ones riding their bikes and taking their baby strollers on it. Dad put a stop to building when they asked for a 3rd one.
Is it a reflection of my parenting when instead of telling them to get down a million times, my thought is at least it is a short fall onto the small landing before the stairs go into their full descent?
We have had our first fall cold and I definitely got hit the hardest. Talk about sinus pressure. Everyone else but Paul got it but it was short lived except for the cough that has decided to stick around. The kids sound like some kind of off tune orchestra at night but thankfully no one got super cranky, clingy or whiny with this round of colds. Hoping by continuing to use essential oils all of our colds will be short lived this winter. 

The biggest milestone this last month has been the fact that after almost 3 years we are back at the gym. As soon as we found out we were pregnant with 'triplets' Paul took away my gym rights. Then when we found out we were really expecting quads the doctor quickly told me there would be no going to the gym period for the rest of my pregnancy. After the babies were born workouts were the last thing on my mind. Sleep was far more important than getting back into shape. Follow that by two winters of being on lock down during the cold & flu season and before you know it 2.5 years have passed since we stepped foot inside a gym. Paul and I decided at the beginning of the school year that we were finally ready. The big kids were in school, the babies were down to one nap and their immune system is hopefully past the crucial preemie stage and to be honest Paul and I just need sometime to ourselves on the days that we have the kids alone. The first day I took just Drew and Rylan. The other 3 babies still had a barky cough and I wasn't going to be that mom who brings her kids to the gym sick and Natalie & Aubrey had lost gym privileges earlier in the morning for lack of listening skills. Rylan was all smiles and he was so proud of himself as we walked into the gym. I had a harder time than he did knowing he was without all his sidekicks but he proved to me that he is an individual and did just fine. The next day it was just me and the quads. I was nervous since they have never been without someone they know but as soon as we got inside the daycare they were off, even Ms. Isabella. I got in 90 minutes of working out without being called once. It felt like freedom. I need this time for me and to finally do something for myself besides laundry or cleaning up dishes. I expect many of our mornings spent at the gym this winter and the best part is I now have en excuse to eat a cookie every now and then!!

Yes you may see a theme here of Tate wearing his sisters' pj's. Some days it just doesn't matter what one wears to bed.
Kenzie is in love with her big brother. I love seeing how 7 sibling split off; Natalie & Aubrey, Drew & Kenzie, Isabella & Rylan, Tate &...currently he just plays with  anyone who will let him in their group. He also happens to be the loudest and the biggest rough houser. Have a feeling there is a reason he is the odd man our right now.
I am nervous to say that we are in a good place because the moment that I do something is going to throw it all off balance. Yes some days we are scrambling and trying to be in 6 places all at once. And there are days Paul and I are ecstatic when 7pm rolls around but for the most part life is good. So I am knocking on wood and trying not to jinx it but if life can just keep rolling on like it is I would be very content.

September 30, 2014

September In Bullets

I have to get this post done before it hits midnight because there is no way that I can only have one blog post for an entire month. How did that happen? My guesses is that it is one of the following: we have nothing exciting going on, we have been busy with school and home projects, I was gone for 5 days, or my mood/emotions have been good so I have not needed any blog therapy. Or it could be all of the above... So moving on before the calendar says October (mine in the kitchen already does because for a minute this morning I already thought September had passed) I thought it would be best to just sum up September in one post and hope for a more active blog during the next 31 days. Watch out for November because I am going to try really hard to do 30 days of being Thankful. I am too lazy to go see how many days really are in November so if there are 31 I will try my best to make sure I cover that extra day. I will be working on these days of Thankfullness over the next two months and scheduling their posting days so y'all can stop thinking I am actually going to remember each day to post. Okay mind is wondering so let's just get to it:

  • We were barely into September but with three older kids in school and babies who still take a 3-3.5 hour nap each day I actually have free time in the afternoons. Most days I have to talk myself out of laying down for a three hour quick snooze while the house is quiet but in the end am amazed at how much I can get done. Decorating for fall happened the first week in September instead of the night before Halloween like it did last year. Almost all of my decorations are kept in the one room the babies for the most part stay out of because otherwise I would be left with nothing at the end of the season. If they can get their hands on my things they some how become theirs or broken. Someday I will get to decorate an entire house.

I love putting out pictures from the Halloween's past.
When we moved in there was a hideous fireplace mantel and it was quickly ripped down. Unfortunately a new stone fireplace has not been as quick to find its place. Again someday... 

  • We decided to hit Apple Hill on a weekend this year but super early in the season. It was awesome and hardly anyone was there but since it was the weekend everything was up and running. We will be going early from now on. Paul will go back in a couple of weeks to get our apples/pears for his canning of sauces and slices.

Poor Natalie could not even enjoy the pond because she was so worried about the babies. Even with being told multiple times that mom and dad were watching them she was literally in tears because of the anxiety she felt due to having the combination of 4 two year olds and water. She unfortunately inherited this anxiety from her momma.

A yearly tradition - we enjoy trying many different kinds of fudge at a particular orchard. The pumpkin fudge won unanimously and it was all I could think about that night when the kids went to bed.
On the way home the kids were all very thirsty so we stopped for water. While Paul ran into a grocery store I got the cups all lined up and ready. Most days I don't think having 7 kids is really that many but then other days little things such as seeing all their cups lined up makes me realize how many kids we really do have and oh my.
  • Our kids love water. Doesn't matter if it is the big pool, a kiddy pool or the bathtub if there is water in it you will find someone enjoying it.

Love this picture Paul sent me while I was at work. It shows each of their personalities so well; Kenzie my princess, Isabella the one that takes everything in before saying it is okay, Tate aka Mr Personality, Rylan the engineer.
  • We have now become a family who has fallen in love with Young Living essential oils. Oh my gosh this stuff is amazing. We use it daily for so many things. Anxiety for the big kids and I, focus for the kids before school, calming effects for the babies, mood lifter, headaches, tummy aches, relaxation and the list just goes on and on. It took Paul a little bit for him to allow me to spend the initial $170 but he was hardly phased when I told him I placed another $120 order to prepare for the cold/flu season. I will be writing more soon about oils for our family so if you have particular questions please leave them in the comments and I will happily answer them. 

Aubrey asked me the other day why I carry the diffuser with me wherever I am at in the house and I it is simply because I  love this thing. I love doing lemon in the mornings for energy and lavender at night in mine and Paul's room. I am currently out of lavender and it makes me really sad each night when I crawl into bed. I also daily diffuse Peace & Calming because no lie our house has less whining and bickering when that particular oil is running. My next mission it to purchase about 3 more of these for the kids room and another for the kitchen so that I don't have to carry it with me each day to the room we are in.
Hoping this was the last time I need to use a nebulizer  for Taters now that we use Breathe Again and Raven in our oil collection 
  • We have been spending so much time outside because the temperatures are just perfect. Not too hot and not too cold. And there is nothing better than having to close the windows at night because of the chill that is in the air. Haven't gotten to the point of lighting the fireplace but it probably won't be long.

This was today on the last day of September and it had me laughing. We had a picnic lunch on the grass in our front yard along with clipping of 80 fingernails (don't worry no clippings landed on our picnic). As the kids finished they went exploring and Tate was so proud of himself for climbing the rock and poor Rylan wanted to do it too but his pants kept falling down!

After school snacks
  • I have no artistic abilities, like can not even draw a stick person, but we have a painting place in the area that is basically a paint-by-number for adults. I was excited when my moms group posted this event and couldn't wait to go. In the end only one other mom was able to go and so my sister joined us and we had so much fun. At first it was super scary and at times you had to just put the brush down before you ruined it more but in the end I was really happy with my painting. It even found a place to hang in my laundry room. I will be going back in November to paint a winter scene. 

We started with a white canvas and a pencil sketch of the Sacramento skyline.
27 weeks pregnant and Auntie can't wait to meet him or her.

Masterpiece by Me and will happily sell for a couple thousand if anyone is interested.
  • Last Tuesday after dropping the girls off at school I had a lady hit me as I was coming up to a stop light. The other five kids were with me and we were all fine but the van was not. Happy we were all okay but the pain in the butt factor of not being able to fit our whole family in a normal mini van or other large SUV while our van was repaired quickly became evident. We had a huge wildfire in our area so all the larger vans were being rented by out of town fire crews so we were struggling to find something to fit us. On Thursday they had found us a 15 passenger van but the lady who hit us was not returning calls to her car insurance so they could accept liability. I did not think this would be an issue because the lady was so kind and apologetic at the scene of the accident. I tried calling her and her mailbox was full. I was frustrated because I did not want to have to fork out $70 a day to cover the rental charge that my insurance would not cover if we filed with our insurance. I decided to google her husband because I had his name and after a little research I realized that the lady who hit me had just laid her husband to rest 3 days before the accident. I was sick to my stomach and could not believe that 10 days prior this mom said goodbye to her husband as he lost his battle to cancer. He also left behind 3 young daughters. After I found this out my beat up car no longer mattered. I was able to kiss my husband good night and watch my kids as they interact with their daddy each day. Sometimes God gives us lessons and reminders in life when we least expect it. I keep hoping I will see Julie again so that I can wrap my arms around her. My husband won the battle against cancer 10 years ago this month while her husband was taken far too soon because of the awful C word. 

  • I got to spend 5 days in Minnesota to celebrate my Grandpa & Grandma Maier's 60th wedding anniversary. When I asked my grandma her secret to a long marriage her response was, "Darn if I know!" It was great to spend so much time with both sides of my family and it felt as if I had never left. We did have to laugh on the last night I was there when we realized the only people left playing cards where all from California. Good thing we go thousands of miles away to play a round of Liverpool Rummy. 

60 years of wedded bliss

So there is September in bullets and after going though our pictures I decided we had a really fun month. Sometimes I don't realize how much we do until I look back on all the pictures and videos I take each month. Thank goodness for cameras to capture life for us. Now that it is 9:53 I can be happy that I was able to get 2 blog posts in for the 9th month of 2014. And now to leave you with the reason my kids will not be driving for many, many years...

September 03, 2014

My Sidekick Is Growing uP

I knew this day would eventually come and even though I am totally okay with it, I can not believe my little man has started preschool. He is my only child that has been a singleton. To most, that word is not part of their everyday language but to a house with more multiple births than single births we all know what it means. The girls even introduce Drew as the singleton when introductions are made.

Drew is the only one who had my whole tummy to himself and I knew without a doubt that every kick I felt during my pregnancy was his. I only needed one boy name and one girl name when he was born and thankfully he was a boy because even one girl's name was too much for us to figure out in 2010. He never had to tandem nurse as a singleton. The time I spent with him every three hours is some of my most cherished time with him. He was also the only baby that slept in my bed when he woke at 5am every single day until he was a year old. I could have easily broken this routine he was in but I think I needed it more than he did. When he became a big brother at the age of 2 his world was rocked but he never once let on that it had been. Instead he joined the big kid club. In a way he became a triplet instead of a singleton because whatever the girls did he was right beside them doing the exact same thing. But when they were gone at school he quickly became my little sidekick. His favorite time was when the babies were down for nap and it was just he and I. Just like it use to be at 2 o'clock in the morning when the world was asleep and he and I sat in the living room together nursing; a mom and her little boy.

But as Drew turned 4 his mom was no longer enough for him. He longed to be going to school with the girls. He wanted to wear a backpack proudly and kiss me good bye knowing I would pick him up when the day was done. He needed other kids to play with other than his little brothers and sisters. He needs this and I get it. I am excited for him because he is so excited. When the girls went off to preschool I had a hard time knowing someone else was spending the day with them but when I waved and walked out the preschool door today I couldn't help but smile because someone gets to spend the whole day with my little man. He is an example of someone who loves life, who goes with the flow, who has no enemies, and who has no idea the difference between purple, orange, black or any other color.

It is weird for me to know that Drew is by himself without a single family member within eye sight. I have never dropped a kid off without a sibling being with them. I know of any of my kids Drew is the best kid to be a singleton but it is still slightly nerve racking. Last night when I woke Drew up to go potty at 10pm, I asked him if he was excited and he smiled and nodded his head 'yes'. I asked him if he would stay home tomorrow because I was going to be sad when he was gone and he told me I could stay home with daddy. I asked him if he would stay home if I promised him a bowl of ice cream and he told me no. So then I upped the anti and asked him if he would stay home if I bought him a Dutch Bros and he said maybe!

Rylan freaked out when we walked into the preschool. I think he thought it was a doctors office! Tate would not move from where he was sitting. I think he would have been just fine following his brother around all day even without his parents there. Two more years buddy and mom & dad will be waving you goodbye. 
In one hour I will find out how my sidekick's day was and I am expecting to see nothing but smiles and hear how awesome it was. It will take me a couple of days to get use to not having him around when the babies go down for their naps but I know he is growing up and I could not be prouder of the little boy that his dad and I sent off to school this morning.

And not to be fooled, even with three kids away at school we still  have 4 at home! Life continues on at home just minus one kid. 
Rylan again in one of his fake cry moments because he wanted the plastic water bottle. Boy oh boy life is hard when one is 2.
Daddy working in the office. Amazing how much he can tune out when he is working. 

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