Category Archives: Silly Kids

My kids just being themselves – playing, being silly

Christmas Cookies: a lesson in patience

I am not patient. I am a great teacher’s helper because I can cut things out like a mofo and I’m so good at making copies. I can even sit with kids for 10 minutes at a time and I’m pretty good. But put me in charge of teaching young children to do something or facilitating arts and crafts for a mess of them and I turn into a nightmare.

“Uhhhh, just let me do that.”

“Don’t touch that. Why’d you do that?! That’s not how you’re supposed to do that. Are trees really purple? Uhhh….why don’t you go wash your hands. Also…you have snot coming out of your nose.”

So making Christmas cookies with my children was a lesson in patience and I think I’d give myself a C.

I let them decorate four cookies each and they were the burned ones.

Man, theirs were just messes.

But let’s talk about mine because mine were freaking incredible.

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Yep, I did it. I spelled out JOY. That did not define the experience of decorating Christmas cookies with my children, but Joy to the World, man.

Okay, I’m just kidding. I’m 90% kidding. Okay, I’m 60% kidding.

Making cookies with the kids was not as awful as I thought it would be, even though I would still give myself a C grade because I have got to mellow out. Next time, I’ll earn a B. But I’m giving myself extra credit and raising my grade to a C+ because of this:

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Worth it.

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T-W-O

Franci. Francesca. Francipants. She’s two.

Remember when she was like this?:

Now she’s like this:

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That sums her up quite nicely.

Francesca is adorable. Her plump little cheeks and her grey-blue eyes along with those perfect lips and cute little nose make up the sweetest face.

She knows what she wants and if you don’t give her what she wants, she’ll scream. She’ll throw things. She might even swipe at you, so be careful. Or, better yet, just give her what she wants. On the flip side of that, she does actually know how to take turns. She knows the world isn’t just hers and that she has to share. She might not always like it, but she usually goes along with it. She is an eater, that’s for sure. She loves to eat and she loves bites of anything you might have. She loves the water and would stay in the shower for hours if we let her. She’s fearless and climbs ladders and rocks and steps like it ain’t no thing. She sleeps in a big girl bed, but would drink out of a bottle every time if you let her. She knows what a potty is for, but just doesn’t have time for that nonsense. She is the best traveler and doesn’t mind long car rides as long as she can scream your name (usually “dadaaaaaa!”) every 10 minutes or so just to make sure you’re there. She sits and listens to books and dances when we throw impromptu dance parties. She squeals when it’s time for Dawn’s and wants to watch Emma’s snapchats every night. She dances when she hears the doorbell because she knows it’s usually “Papalala.” She’s the funniest little kitten and we are just so glad she’s ours.

We celebrated her on Wednesday and it was a small, quiet, perfect little party for our number six.

Balloons make a gathering a party and party hats are essential.

And let’s talk about the Francesca banner that my friend Juey got her when she was born. Oh….melt my heart, I love it so much.

France loved it all.

Charlotte is teaching Franci everything she knows and it’s really quite frightening.

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“Play it cool, like you don’t give a rat’s tail…then give ’em just a taste of what they want.”

For her cake, we went with store bought cupcakes and cookies and it was perfectly what she wanted. She made lots of wishes that night, and I hope she wished for books and clothes, because that’s what Mama and Daddy got her. We’ll do better next year.

Happiest of days to our sweetest Francesca. We love you to the moon and back.

Out

We made it out again. Friday afternoon we said, “See ya later,” and packed up the kids, Scout, and some snacks for the road and left for McCall. It was exactly what we needed to reset. I think it’s really easy to forget how slow and non-urgent life can be when you’re away from the every day, even if that just means driving a few hours. We were away from laundry and away from house clutter. Work didn’t need us and all our other commitments were put on hold. We had the mountains and the lake and our McCall friends and it was perfect.

Huckleberries are out and we happen to have friends who don’t mind sharing their secret (not-so-secret now) spot.

If you’ve never been huckleberry picking, you won’t know that these gems…

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…take forever and a day to pick. The berries are soft and delicate so you have to be careful when you pick. They break apart easily and, just like the picture, they rarely pop up in huge clumps. They stand alone so you have to pick them each individually. We managed to pick for a couple hours and got a gallon bag full.

Some ate more than they picked.

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And some just hitched a ride.

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But it’s cool because being in the mountains and letting the kids roam and explore was perfect. And we scored, too.

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And of course no trip (to any location) would be complete without a trip to the skatepark.

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Our McCall friends are skaters, too.

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We’re so lucky that our kids get along so well with their kids. We’re missing Little Alice and Jamie in this picture, unfortunately, but you get the idea. They laugh and play the whole time they’re together and it’s perfect.

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We managed to get out Saturday night and have dinner with Josh and Alexa while the big girls babysat. We enjoyed (t00 many) beverages and popped over to Jared and Audrey’s and hung for a bit before going back to the little monsters. The next day we scoped out some potential property options then headed to the river.

This spot was incredible and is now our new favorite.

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The water was shallow the entire width of the river with virtually no current so the kids could walk across and back over and over and over without any worry.

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We found frogs and tadpoles and baby fish.

We even found a snake.

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We were surrounded by wild and the kids could feel the magic.

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But today we’re back to our every day, which is okay. It’s hard to appreciate the wild when you don’t know the calm and mundane.

Maria has ballet intensive this week and we have a couple work things and kid’s camp. I should probably do some laundry and clean. I might con my neighbor into some drinks. Busy, busy week.

Happy Monday!

seven

Alice Maureen. I’m not sure the name could fit her any more perfectly.

Today she’s seven.

My second girl and I had no idea what I was in for.

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I had no idea two girls from the same family could be SO DIFFERENT from one another. But Alice is her own soul and she doesn’t try to be anything she’s not.

She came at night, awfully quickly from what I remember. Like all of them, I was instantly in love.

But how could I not be? She had so much hair and the sweetest little face. I think she weighed 7lbs 4oz and she fit perfectly in my arms. She was an easy baby and an easy toddler and she’s a pretty great kid.

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She’s not a big talker, but when she talks, you should listen: she has a lot to say. Most of the time, it’s hilarious. A lot of the time, it’s incredibly sweet and thoughtful.

She doesn’t say anything unless she’s thought a lot about it.

She lacks confidence and is unsure a lot. She’s shy and uncomfortable. But oh my, she’s a beautiful friend. She’s an incredible sister and one of the best playmates ever. She plays pretend better than anyone I know. She’s also pretty good at video games and would challenge you in a second.

She has the most beautiful eyes in a really incredible shade of green. Her lips are perfect and that hair — the hair she refuses to let me do anything with is just the best. She still sucks her thumb and she still sleeps in our bed. She’s soft and gets her feelings hurt easily and seeing her big puppy eyes when she’s sad can break you. She’s curious and inventive. She’s fun and she’s hilarious. She’s smart and silly.

She has taught me that even if something looks a certain way, what lives inside might look a lot different. She’s taught me to listen closely when children speak, because even if it’s hard to hear or understand, it’s worth knowing.

Without our Alice, our lives wouldn’t be quite as exciting. We wouldn’t laugh quite as much and we probably wouldn’t think of sweet treats as often, either. We are so happy Alice is ours.

 

Happy Happy Day, sweetest girl.

FIVE

Charlotte Clayton. A beautiful name for a beautiful girl.

Charlotte is five.

005. 5. five.

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I thought she was going to come quickly, but she took her time.

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She weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces and we all fell in love instantly.

 

This girl is sassy. Ohhhhhhhh is she sassy!

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She is also beautiful.

She has the most beautiful complexion – her skin is the perfect shade of brown and her eyes are like chocolate pudding. Her one eyebrow can’t be beat and her lashes go on for days.

She loves her sisters more than anything and without being asked will hold the little ones’ hands or help them reach something they need.

She is such a good friend. B has her heart, but her other friends come in a close second: Wyatt, Hayden, Leighton, Mackenzie, Zephryn, Timothy…so many more. She speaks so nicely about all of them and is always so thoughtful in her words.

She’s a smart little thing. She knows what’s going on around her and it’s hard to get anything past her. She’s intelligent but quietly.

She is full of emotion. When she’s mad, she is MAD. When she’s excited, her whole body moves. When she’s happy, her face lights up. When she’s sad, those chocolate eyes fill with tears. She’s never boring.

Her favorite people in the universe start with: her siblings, Dawn, B, Mama and Daddy and then the rest of the family…then everyone else. And she’s not afraid to let that be known.

We are so happy she is ours. We are so lucky to have this thumb-sucking, Deedee loving, bed-stealing, backtalking, hugging, sweet girl.

Charlotte Clayton, you are a gem.

Happiest of days.

Easter and Birthdays and Hot Springs

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but a bit of time has passed since my last post. It’s not my fault.

No, it definitely is, 100%. My camera cord decided not to work and then I get cranky when I don’t have pictures and then the kids were on Spring Break and I worked a lot and then I had surgery (no, that’s a lie, but it usually gets me some sympathy) and then I finally went to Staples and got a card reader.

Let’s start with Easter. The kids got roller blades and roller skates and candy. Easter egg hunting was dangerous.

But they managed.

Naturally, Franci Pants’ basket was my favorite.

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Those books. HEART EYES (I need an emoji keyboard).

But Franci Pants the baby? She was as quiet and sneaky as a fox…

While we were busy finding all the eggs (because finding all the real dyed eggs is extremely important) she didn’t make a peep and devoured approximately 5 mini reese’s cups, 1/2 a full size Hershey’s, 15 mini M&Ms and 1/3 giant bunny ears. It was a mess and a disaster. But I quickly forgot about it when I got this shot of the kittens:

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Just look at all of them. *sigh*

The rest of our Easter was lovely. We went to church (all of us…a miracle), went to hunt eggs at Grandma and Grandpa’s, ate breakfast, came home, hunted some more, then went to some of our very favorites — the Sanchirico’s. The kids ran wild with their best friends, we ate some really delicious food, we laughed and we drank and we just had a really solid time.

Then it was spring break.

I survived.

And yesterday it was my birthday. HOLLLLAAAAAAA 31. We didn’t do anything crazy, no huge parties. We had breakfast with my parents and then we drove up to Weir hot springs. It was pretty incredible. The hike wasn’t too bad – flat in some parts, really steep in others, but doable. The weather was perfect: 69 degrees. The kids were stoked and so were we. We thrive off of adventures like this.

We were there all afternoon and Danny and I were in heaven — watching the kids have such a blast and not having them glued to a screen was perfect. The Lochsa river is one of the most beautiful and little creeks and waterfalls along the way make it even better.

This week I’m awfully busy, too. I have Willow Center and I’m teaching a blogging class and co-hosting a baby shower and work and school volunteering and my besties Cleo and Stella are on vacation so I don’t even get to hang with them. But I’m lucky to be so busy.

Party of 17, Please.

We are a large family. With six kids, we get comments/questions/looks just about everywhere we go. I know, it sounds like I’m just saying that, but it’s true. 90% of the time we are out with our kids, someone says something about our family size. It’s rarely rude or mean, most often it’s just a comment on how many kids we have or how busy we must be or how full our hands are.

(so full)

It helps to be able so say, “Oh, I know, but my friends Liz and Paul have seven kids.”

By the time I say this, people have usually moved on and don’t really care to hear what I have to say. They’re more worried about getting that next sample at Costco or making sure their veggies are correctly bagged. Which is fine by me, we all know how much I love talking to people.

But let’s get back to that family with seven kids.

They joined us for a weekend up at Dan’s parent’s cabin in Sandpoint. Yes, that’d make 17 people…13 of them children. Even I have to admit how ridiculous that is.

RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME.

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We had so much fun. We pretty much stayed close to home (with the exception of a trip to a museum and a quick trip back towards home for a couple hours one day). We had dinners at the cabin which I think is really fun because it’s really laid back and the kids can come and go and run around and no one it too concerned with strict rules. Because it’s the cabin. And it’s Liz and Paul. Parents who are laid back are my favorite type. (Dan happens to be the most laid back of the laid back parents. I kinda like him.)

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[chatting over some beer]

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[Liz made salsa}

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The kids were all so good.

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They slept in, they ate, they played, they were fun and polite and easy to wrangle. The big kids took care of the little kids and they were pretty great.

They even played with the adults.

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(for 2 years, I’ve tried to lure this kid into a friendship with me. he’s tough. I’ve tried buying his friendship with frappuccinos, brownies, and Nerf guns. I think I may have won him over when I brought Danny into it.)

We swam and we boated and we jet skied and we ate and we drank and we played poker and we talked and we laughed and we cried. Just kidding, we didn’t cry. But we did laugh.

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We spent a pretty great weekend in a pretty amazing place.

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Dan took a whole week off of work, and that doesn’t happen very often. Usually it’s a day here, a day there…so we are taking full advantage. Mostly because school starts next week and we’re cranky about it.

Happy End of Summer!