Category Archives: Silly Kids

My kids just being themselves – playing, being silly

Mountain Time

We are the first to admit how lucky we are to have access to some pretty incredible vacation homes. To have in laws who are always encouraging us to spend time at their summer and winter getaways is pretty amazing, we know.

One of our favorite places to go is McCall. Until recently, it’s only been Dan’s favorite place to go. I’ve made some choices in my life that make my free time less free. Having kids affects both Dan and I, but it was (and is) my choice to nurse my kids as long as they want it…which means that I miss out on lots of fun adventures because I can’t be away from the kittens for too long. I don’t regret my choice at all, but I do know that I miss out. Winter is hardest, I think, because while Danny LOVES to snowboard, it’s just not as fun for me to go and join him when I’m stuck in the cabin with 6 kids. Or stuck alone taking on and off winter gear for 5 of them over and over and over while they play in the snow. Dan’s up on the hill which isn’t just a couple minutes away, so he’s gone most of the day while we wait for him.

But summer is a different story.

This is the first year we’ve decided to go to McCall a little more often and the reason is mostly this:

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We have a pretty ace group of friends from Boise who go to McCall quite often. So when we hear they are spending the weekend there, we cross our fingers we are free, too.

They are the type of people who will scoop up your kids just because.

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Every get together is kid-friendly.

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The attitudes are always (always) easy going and light hearted.

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(he’s pretending to call the fire marshall to come and help get the girls’ tongues un-stuck from their frozen treats — they think he’s the most hilarious ever.)

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(just a game of jump rope, nbd)

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(Alice II is telling a story — she’s the best)

The kids feel welcomed and wanted and appreciated and that’s something these guys do that I’m learning and hoping it rubs off on me. I have a tendency to get with friends and want the kids to leave me alone. These friends are so nice.

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(the kids created clubs…the girls had several while Jamie had one: Ancient Greece and History Club. I think he was the only member…)

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I think they laughed the whole night.

We come away from every single get-together saying, “They are the nicest. They are so much fun.” And it’s all true. They are the nicest. We rolled in on Friday night around 8:30 I think. Audrey and Jared had family and friends over, but when they saw us, what did they do? They came right up, gave us all hugs, greeted all of us (yeah, even all the kids) by name and introduced us to everyone. They made sure we had drinks and were comfortable and that the kids were introduced to the other kids and were on their way to having fun. If one of my kids ever needs anything, ANY ONE of these people jumps in, without hesitation. We have the best friends, both home and away.

Do you all know how rare it is to find a group of people, not just 1 or 2, who treat you like family. TRULY like family? It’s rare.

My kids adore them. Which, duh, they should, they are spoiled rotten around them. Aubrey and Alice II are the other kids in the group of friends and they could not be sweeter. Aubrey is Jamie’s age and Maria thinks she is the best thing since pointe shoes (and we all know how much she loves those pointe shoes). Alice II is between Ollie and Charlotte and is so freaking hilarious and cute…I think Danny would sneak her home if he could.

Weekends like this remind you of how life should be. It should be fun and spent with people. It should be full of get togethers and everyone contributing and treating everyone around you like you’ve known them your whole life. It should definitely be full of more laughing, less arguing. More bike rides, less TV. More s’mores, less take out. More trips, less boredom.

I mean, we like these peeps. It’s like taking the Boulevard to Mountain Time. Minus 1/2 the Boulevard…. (sometimes people break elbows and can’t feed themselves, much less vacation…thanks for ruining Dan’s summer, Christian.)

But Sunday came too soon and we had to head home. Lucky for us, the trip home is along a river and Danny happens to be an expert in secret spots. We shimmied down a hill and hit up a beach.

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The kids were in heaven.

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And now, back at home, school’s out.

We’ve got dentist’s appointments and ballet camps and doctor’s visits and playdates and lots of NOTHING lined up. Happy summer!

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Easter Prep and Surprises

One of my girls’ favorite things in the world is having friends over for an activity. Yes, an activity. Yeah, over to play is fun and great, but when there’s an activity involved, it’s even better.

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I made some Easter cookies (egg and rabbit shaped of course) and some frosting and thought maybe some friends would like to come and decorate with us. I was right, they did.

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Have you guys checked out Alison’s Cookie Party? Alison is great. She’s so fun and creative and doesn’t care if she looks silly — she does what she wants and I love that. She also is good at making and decorating cookies and her instruction booklet (in pdf format) is awesome. Easy, quick, and delicious.

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Of course we invited our girls next door

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And obviously our kindred spirit family (Liz and the kids) and we went to town.

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It’s easier not to do these types of things. To just sit and watch tv or make the kids play outside or let them have video games on. But it’s so much more fun to watch them with their friends and see how happy they are. And I like my grown up friend time, too.

Jamie decorated and ate his “abstract art” cookie, but then quickly switched gears to snap circuit building.

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Alice was very busy — going between cookie making and roller blading and Stampy Cat watching and baby playing. She’s hard to catch.

After everyone went home, I cleaned up. You guys, disposable table cloths are the best things everrrrrr.

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And then Suzanne came by.

I cried today.

She had this made for me:

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That’s us. It’s my clan. Here’s some close ups:

You guys…I’m holding a camera, my hair is green, I’m wearing skinnies and flats, and I’m drinking a Starbucks. Franci is wearing moccasins, Danny is drinking a Pepsi, there are snowboards in the background and look…he’s wearing a Gorilla Skate shirt!!

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Maria is eating an ice cream cone (newsflash, she loves ice cream), has ballet slippers draped over her arm, is on roller blades, and there are chickens at her feet. And Jamie!! Wearing my favorite shirt (from Passive Juice Motel), reading books about Greek Myths, and his hair is perfection. And little Ollie…holding on to a big pink balloon, wearing Hello Apparel shirt, and 2 perfect piggies.

And a pumpkin for Clay.

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Look at Charlotte’s Belle dress!!! And that tiara. And holy  heck, her deedee. And Miss Alice. Fairy wings, that backpack (she packs EVERYTHING AROUND), and a little skateboard. easterprep-110

This gift took a crazy amount of time. Suzanne had to send this artist my instagram feeds, my blog, and then answer a ton of questions to get us looking like this. And like this, I mean perfect.

I CRIED!!! Effort and thoughtfulness and friendship always gets me. *sigh* what beautiful friends I have.

A Day in the Life

I love “A Day in the Life” posts from other bloggers. Just like posts about what people have in their purses, their fridges, or home tours. I’m nosey. I like seeing how other people live and what their every day is like. One thing about social media: it’s SO easy to make your life look beautiful and wonderful and easy and flush.

So here’s a look into our Thursdays.

I start the morning off at 4:30am with a green machine smoothie. I slip into my Lululemon leggings and my Albion Fit top and put my Nikes on and head out for my 5 mile run. Just a short one on Thursdays.

You guys, I’m kidding. I wake up at 7:00am and don’t shower because I shower the night before.

Then I start the process of waking everyone else up. This girl is always already awake and is always sitting on her bed like an angel reading.

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The others have a harder time. It usually involves crabby talk and then migrating out to the TV room where they find blankets and sneak in a few extra minutes of shut-eye.

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They always have 3 options for breakfast: scrambled eggs, Eggo waffles, or oatmeal.

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Yes, I’m very gourmet and healthy. I don’t need more people to tell me, this I already know.

Kids get dressed, brush teeth, and then I feed and clothe the tiniest.

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With help.

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Olive does NOT leave her side. “Mama!!! Baby!!  CRYING!!” Yep, I can hear her. And now I hear you. Move along, now.

There is also lots of hair to brush and fix.

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And this:

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Let me tell you what a chore it is to fix Alice’s hair. It’s like giving a cat a bath, trying to brush the fur of a young rabbit and dodging Nerf bullets all at the same time. It’s that annoying and difficult. And it’s usually why we are late to school. So after everyone is dressed and ready, I yell a little bit and we are out the door.

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But, for the love of all that is holy, we CANNOT forget DeeDee.

We drop some kids off at school, then get my Starbucks. There’s one thing I’m not willing to give up on this god-awful diet of mine. Starbucks.

I feed the baby again, change some more diapers, then decide to tackle the dishes in the sink while getting Maria set up with her school work.

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The dishes, like laundry, never end. I once thought I was genius by buying throwaway cups for my kids to use during the day until I figured out that I was spending so much freaking money on cups. WHY do they get a new cup every time they get water? They get water every 10 minutes! I don’t want to do the math on that right now, but I’m here to tell you that it wasn’t cost effective. So now we just do a lot of dishes.

Sometime between school drop off and another school drop off (yes, multiple drop offs), Ollie decides to do something really naughty. Today, it was this:

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Oh, that’s just my blood-red lipstick. All over her lips. It stains really well, you guys. It also is pretty thick and you learn this quickly when you try and clean it up off the bathroom cupboard doors and floors. So, naturally, I gave her a stern “No,” which resulted in the saddest tears you’ve ever seen. So I gave her a peace offering of cheese.

Cheese is her love language.

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I also happened to have a doctor’s appointment (6 week post partum checkup…how is that possible?!) so I quickly curled some (more) hair and got little bodies out the door after also making lunch for Alice to take to school. This outing required a kid-transfer at the doctor’s office since Alice needed to be at school (and Charlotte picked up) right in the middle of my appointment.

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(that is a picture of the doctor’s office.)

I get home, after Dan has done the school stuff, and feed the monsters lunch. I also see that Charlotte has thrown off her school clothes and very quickly changed into a princess dress. Standard.

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We talk about school and she shows me her work from the day.

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After Maria eats, I crack the whip and put her back to work. So much work for a 9 year old. *sigh* Worst. Teacher. Ever.

She’s learning how to compose and properly write letters. So if you receive one in the mail (I’m talking to you, Rihanna), please reply. And also send free stuff. We like free stuff.

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Then I have her read the newest Time for Kids (homeschoolers…it’s SO worth it to subscribe to this!). If you know Maria, you know it was completely her idea to dress like her….

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Then after I set her up with the rest of her afternoon work, change some diapers, feed a baby, and put the 2 year old down for a nap, I do the following:

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Clean.

Play.

Read. (and plan)

That lasts all of an hour though before I have to go and get the kids from school.

We get home and I have Maria practice violin, Jamie snuggles up and does his own thing (read), and the girls play ponies.

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After I feed Francesca again and get an after school snack for the other kids, I put her down to play.

She LOVES PLAYING!!!

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oops.

Then I get dinner started. We bought 1/2 a cow from our good friends through the Boys and Girls Club Auction and it was the best decision everrrrrrr. We have beef coming out our ears. Tonight I went with this recipe and it was so good and easy, you guys.

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And corn muffins.

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And roasted cauliflower.

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With 6 kids you set everything up assembly line style.

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And then this guy gets home. My favorite part of the day. After Starbucks. Obviously.

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We get the kids set up and then eat together in peace. I know, this goes against my whole post a long while back about eating together as a family, but sometimes mom and dad need time alone.

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Then it’s a little more laundry, a little more cleaning.

The baby, who is good as gold, falls asleep.

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This carpet really, truly, is that color. And now it’s clean (even though it may not look it!).

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And then, thinking it might never arrive, it’s bath and jammie time!!!!

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I get the other ones settled and ready for bed and then make my way to my room.

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And every night, without fail, this little bug makes her way in.

Sneaky like a fox.

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And that’s our Thursday. Each day is different of course. On Tuesdays, there is violin and dance. On wednesday, there is First Communion prep. On Friday, more dance. There are play dates and dinners and birthday parties on any given day. Our life is busy, and so is yours.

What We Wore

Every once in a while, my kids all look really adorable — clothes matching, shoes appropriately chosen, freshly bathed, you get the point. On those days, I document it.

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C:

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Crazy 8 shirt | Crazy 8 jumper | Crazy 8 socks (i love knee highs) | Dansko shoes

M:

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Jcrew Crewcuts dress | Frye boots

A:

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Zulily dress | Tucker and Tate sweater | Jcrew Crewcuts shoes

J:

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Jcrew Crewcuts shirt | H&M shorts | Adidas shoes

O:

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Salt City Emporium romper | Zara kids boots

Mama:

www-20Ark and Co. dress (yeah, it used to be a dress) | Old Navy jeans | Dansko shoes | Baby Accessory

Winners and Besties

First and foremost, let me announce the winner of the Ice Dream Shoppe custom ice cream giveaway!

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I can’t wait for Jade to dream up something delicious.  And no, you’re not allowed to share it with your husband or your 5 little beauties — you worked hard to earn this!! 😉

 

Thanks so much, Lana, for helping us out with this fun giveaway.  I hope you all got a chance to use the discount at the farmer’s market (if you’re local).  At the next one, make sure you get there right when they open because she sells out FAST!

 

I feel like we’ve been super busy, but then I remember we’re busy doing stuff like riding our tiny battery-powered cars with our besties.

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And hitching a ride when we can.bffwednesday-15

We are so lucky that our best friends live next door to us. They put up with screaming kids, barking dogs, toys in our yard, bikes strewn about and probably more ruckus than they care to experience. And C usually drags her favorite little friend into it all.bffwednesday-20 bffwednesday-26

Happy Wednesday!

(PS: Olive’s ridiculously adorable crop top is from Czarina’s Project. She makes adorable leggings, bows, headbands, shirts. To die for. Her amber necklace is from my friend Rachael (@theculturedfamily on IG).  And if you have a little friend you need a tandem bike bestie shirt to share with, head over to Gap.)

Keeping Secrets and How No One Cares

Sometimes I think I’m a lot cooler than I am.  Certain Pinterest quotes that someone pins?  Dude, totally about me.  Did you just see that girl whisper 10 seconds after I walked by?  She was probably talking about my bold choice of shoes.  (read:  moccasins with yoga pants).

Newsflash, Ruthie:  no one really cares.  That was a really wonderful and enlightening realization, let me tell you.  People are so wrapped up in their own business, drama and lives that yours is merely a blip on their care radar.  Now, this is for MOST people.  I know that friends and family are genuinely interested and you all know exactly who those people are in your lives.  But the ones you are worried about gossiping and talking and snarking?  They will care for a tiny fraction of time and then move on.  And sometimes that little fraction of time is annoying and rude and can make you feel like %*#&…but it’ll pass very quickly.

Okay, I’ll get on with it.

I have a secret.  When I first became aware of this secret I said, “I’m not telling ANYONE.  Only family and friends.  I don’t wanna hear about it and people can just find out later on their own.” I was dead set on this for weeks and weeks.  I thought I was so clever and funny and boy was I going to show all of them.

(who is “all of them!?”)

But time slowly passed and I became really excited about my secret.  And it made me happier and happier and I remember having the same secret 5 other times and being able to write about it on my blog and share pictures and laugh about the awkwardness of it at times and share more pictures and share the really sweet moments about it, too.

I’m pregnant.  11 weeks (give or take a few days).  Still in the first trimester, but we’ve seen the little bug and its heartbeat and everything looks fantastic at this point.  I’m sick as hell, but maybe that just means it’s a boy (fingers crossed).

This will make it an even 1/2 dozen for us.  6 kids.  SIX.  That’s so many.  And believe me, I will hear about it from a lot of people.  But remember, Ruthie, it’ll pass.

So I want to share this sweet baby just like I did A and C and O (the other 2 were before blogdom).  My growing belly and my horrible maternity clothing choices on select days.  Doctors appointments and kids’ opinions and thoughts on things like name and gender.  And it’s a silly secret to keep and thank God I woke myself up to the fact that it doesn’t matter what other people think.

This is my announcement and it’s as big as it’s gonna get (i.e.: there will be no clever photo of a bun inside an oven or a jar of Prego spaghetti sauce on Facebook)

So get ready.  #6 is due to arrive late November/early December and we’re 100% ready to take this ride.

Our Electronics Detox

Do I think my children are perfect?

They are beautiful.  They are curious and intelligent and hysterical.  They are fun and sweet and compassionate.  Their eyes are mesmerizing and their voices make my ears happy.

But let me tell you something.  They are not perfect.

And it’s all because we aren’t perfect as parents.

Dan and I fell into the electronic trap. You know, that really appealing alone time. The 30 minutes you have alone to just sit. No kids asking for a snack or asking for a hot pink marker not the small kind the big kind and not too pink but just a little pink.  questions like that. Little by little, we gave our kids electronic privileges.  At first, it was that 30 minutes I was talking about.

“Okay, you guys can watch 1 episode of “Phineus and Ferb,” that’s it.”  That time was gold.

But we got a little greedy and 30 minutes after that statement, those kids were running upstairs and wanting more.

It takes a lot of effort to stand your ground.  We all know I’m lazy. After that 1 episode came 30 minutes of video games.  “But that’s it!”

It wasn’t it.

They’d extend it themselves and even though I knew, I wouldn’t do anything because it was so freaking quiet.  Oh, right…because they weren’t playing.  They weren’t laughing and pretending and squealing with delight as they chased and chased and chased.  The bikes were parked and the crayons were put away and I hadn’t seen a home made book for days.

Jamie started having issues in school.  I know it wasn’t solely from electronics, but I do think that because he would close himself off every day after school and play Mine Craft and watch Legos, he wasn’t getting practice in how to be respectful and how to interact with other kids politely and how to respond when asked a question or being told what to do.  Of all my children, Jamie is the one who needs the most practice with this. For him, it doesn’t come naturally to think about a thoughtful response and change his voice to reflect his emotions.  He’s monotone and many times it comes across as very rude and disrespectful.  He asks, “Why?!” without even thinking and that’s not appropriate when your teacher asks you to do a task and that’s your response.

So….we implemented the Electronic Detox.  Oooooh Jamie hated us.  His first few days were “the worst days ever!”  He was “sooooo bored and nothing is fun!”  But ya know what?  He got on his bike and spent hours outside with his sisters.  He explored the backyard and found sticks that turned into swords and he and Alice had some friendly battles. He wrote some comics and illustrated some hilarious stories.  He read and read and read and it was easier for him to fall asleep. We are on day 9 and he hasn’t asked to watch tv or play the computer for days.

It’s been work for me.  My house is less clean because the kids are always playing and messing it up.  But, uhh…..duh, right?  That’s what kids do. I’ve remembered the mom I want to be and the type of humans I want to raise and we’re coming back around to it. That’s the best feeling in the world, especially when you start out as a parent with incredibly big goals for your kittens. When you start out as strict and deliberate, it’s an awful feeling to slowly drop that. But to get that feeling back and feel like you’re back on track with your intentions means you’re doing things right again.

My kids no longer watch tv after school and on weekends, they watch 1 movie at night.  There are no video games at the moment (the consoles are literally in our room in a drawer) and the computers are password protected. Eventually, maybe they’ll go back to having privileges here and there, but for now?  It’s good for us. And it’s been amazing for Jamie.

Happy Friday!