Monday, June 25, 2007

Appointments and Check Ups

Last week the oldest three boys met with their evaluator to review their portfolios for school and discuss how the school year went. One more hurdle the education system puts up for us to jump, but we did it. The boys did great; this year she didn't have anything negative to say. She gave me the names of some art teachers for Troyer, and recommended a recent high school graduate who is giving guitar lessons. I had explained that I didn't want to fork over a lot of money for lessons when it is obvious my kids don't have a huge aptitude for music, at least performing it. She suggested that this young guy probably wouldn't be charging what a professional teacher would. She also gave me links to some great websites which I will be trying to use for next year.

Today Troyer and Noah had doctor's appointments, so I could get forms signed for camp. Noah and Samuel leave for their week next Sunday. Whew, where did June go? We saw a new doctor today, which always makes me nervous, since I have to wonder how well a new person will handle a room full of kids. And I did have them ALL with me today. Normally I would leave some of them home or else leave some of the younger ones out in the waiting room with an older brother; but since today's visit was for the oldest two, I couldn't do that. The doctor was an older man, but he was very nice, and kept telling me how well behaved the boys were. I'm wondering what room he was in, because while he was saying this, two of them were playing with the blood pressure cuffs, one was trying to climb into the baby scale, and another was standing on the desk. Not long after that, the 7 yo had to go out into the hall to use the bathroom, so of course the 5 yo decided he did too, and then the 2 yo decided he was just leaving. Ack, lol. In spite of this, there was minmal fighting and yelling, so I guess that makes me a good mom ;-) Troyer and Noah both had to get booster shots of the chicken pox vaccine, so after the appt, we went over to the grocery store and I let them pick out some candy. They are growing well and are disgustingly healthy Woohoo! Samuel and Jacob have appointments on Friday.

This past weekend Troyer and Noah went over to MIL's for a long weekend. They got spoiled rotten! They went out to eat more often than they ate at home, she took them to a museum and to a movie. Grandpa put them to work out in the yard, but I'd say the compensation was worth it ;-)

Meanwhile Chris and I took the younger boys out on Saturday and drove around. We did more graveyard visiting and also looked for house-for-sale signs. There was one house that we really liked, but the sign was gone from the last time we drove past it, so I think it sold. It cost more than we could really afford, but we spent part of the afternoon dreaming about it anyway. Chris really wants to get the kids out into the country where they can run and yell to their hearts' content without annoying any neighbors lol.

I have more pictures, still in the camera. Hopefully things will calm down here and I can post some.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lots of Firsts

Jacob will be 4 months old on Friday, and he's already hit a few milestones! Last week he started rolling over from back to front. He'd been trying for a while, but would catch himself on his elbow and flip back before getting all the way over. We joked that it was because he doesn't like to be on his tummy. He still complains once he gets there, and hasn't figured out how to get his arms out of the way to get back over again. He even rolls over in his carseat! If I lay him down in it for a nap, he'll roll onto his side. As he's waking up, he'll push with his feet and go up and over the top! He does this a lot so I think he enjoys it.

Another first: we brought the exersaucer down from the attic and cleaned it out. Chris put him in it while I was in the shower, and he loved it! We usually bring it out just after 4 months, so this is a little early. He can even spin himself around by kicking his feet already. He also loves to suck on the cover of the seat in front of him, LOL.

He is now regularly playing with rattles and toys. He's been having fun with his feet for a while now, and also likes to suck on blankets or whatever part of his clothes he can get to his mouth, so we figured he could suck on a teether instead, lol. He must have some teeth on the move, because he is starting to drool a lot too. We've never had a baby that needed a drool bib before, but I think they might be a good investment this time.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Great Weekend

On Sunday Chris' friends invited us to meet them at the state park for a picnic. We haven't gotten together since last year, so we were excited to go. The weather looked great and we had already been hoping for a chance to get the kids out for a day.

We left early, about 9 am, and didn't get home until almost 7 pm. The weather was great, cloudy in the morning but clearing up nicely for the afternoon. We had plenty of food and the boys got to swim in the pool for hours. Chris got to go on a 2 hour hike with just his buddies, no kids, which was great for him. While the kids were in the pool I had Jacob to myself at the picnic tables, so some quiet time for me. I also enjoyed talking with the other moms. There was a mom with a 6 mo baby, she had been pg when we got together last year. She had a little girl, I just loved seeing all the pink stuff! At one point we put the babies down together on a blanket in the shade and the 6 mo rolled over to Jacob and had her hand in his, so it looked like they were holding hands. It was so cute! I wish I had remembered my camera, but of course, left it at home.

One regret I had about the day is that it was on the same day as my cousin's baby shower. I would have really liked to go to that, but it was out of state and Chris' car is starting to really deteriorate. Since I don't have a cell phone and I would have been alone with Jacob for the trip, I just didn't feel safe driving so far. I would have hitched a ride with my sister, but she opted to make it a weekend visiting with my aunt, and we agreed that it wouldn't really be a good idea to try an overnight trip with the baby. I am sad to have missed seeing my aunt and all my cousins; it's been a long time since we've seen each other. (I think it was the summer before Micah was born) Maybe I'll get a chance to go out and visit in August, after the baby is born. It's going to be another girl, so I get to buy more pink!

How Not to Answer an Email

Remember that cool table that my aunt sent for the boys? The one I posted about before with the picture? I sent that picture to her with an additional thank you (in addition to the hard copy snail mail thanks I sent weeks ago) last week. I just thought she'd like to see the kids enjoying it. Here is the email she sent to me in response:

"I loved the pictures of the boys around the table. They really looked like they were having fun. Jake is a beautiful baby and he even looks easy going. I don't know how you do it with seven boys but you need to read "The Color of Water" as it is about a woman who raised a bunch of kids too.

I worry about you, where is your life outside the house and in the world? You can't just be a Mommy forever, you need to let Gretchen grow as adults need to do. You are a great mother and you chose to have a bunch of kids but you need to have your own time too. You need to show the boys that woman are not just Mommies. I realize Chris doesn't want your kids in school but at a certain point you need to put your foot down and let the boys learn about the real world instead of keeping them in the house for their lifetime. Even if you don't like the schools you need to be their advocate and then any school will work. They need to know how to pick friends and how to get along in the real world. It is a necessary skill set for life. I am sorry to preach but you must realize someday that you are not doing them a favor especially as they get older. Life is not as scary as you think, it all depends on who you are and what skills you learn to cope with events in life.

I do love you and I do worry about you and I am sure you are happy but I do think you could be happier. At your age you get second chances at mine you don't. You need to get unstuck which takes courage.Life takes a lot of courage but how do we learn courage if we don't take chances? Think about this stuff, don't be mad at me for speaking out.

Can you say UGH? I was up most of the night after reading it, writing responses to her in my head. I will not send any, because she will never understand me and my choices, and she will never hear me. The most I can do is make her feel bad, and I don't want to do that. Better to just not drag it out. But sheesh, can't she just reply with "Cute kids, glad they like it!"? I hate it when she does this.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Quick Rundown

Ok, I said I'd review some more books and movies, so here they are quickly:

We watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It was cute, meaning it was lightly entertaining, not offensive, not horrible.
We watched Sahara, which we liked. Kind of a cross between Indiana Jones and The Mummy. It is based on a book, so I think the book would be good to read.
We rented Logan's Run, which I thought was going to be the TV show, but it turned out to be the movie which, while rated PG was not, so we returned it without letting the boys see it. That was disappointing.
We watched RV last weekend, and it was funny. I usually will like a Robin Williams movie, and this one was ok. It definitely didn't convince Chris that he wanted to take a vacation travelling across the U.S. LOL
The boys rented Thundercats, which is a cartoon from the 90s (I think). Troyer liked it, but he likes ALL cartoons; the other boys thought it was wierd. I did too LOL.
We also rented Stranger Than Fiction, and enjoyed that. I think Will Farrell is finding some better movies to do lately; I really didn't like him in his older movies.

On the bookshelf, I finished reading Simply Love, by Mary Balogh. I've been waiting for Aimee to finish it so she could pass it on to me. It's been on reserve at the library since it came out, and I was tired of waiting for it. I have to say, it was such a pleasure to read a good author again. Some of the other books I've been reading were mildly entertaining, but the writing bugged me. I found myself rewriting bits of them as I read them, thinking how the phrasing or grammar could be improved. Mary Balogh, on the other hand, writes well, so I could just enjoy the story. This book was the second in a quartet of books that are a side story to her Bedwyn series. It is fun to see her other characters popping up in these books.
Right now I'm reading When I Fall in Love, by Lynn Kurland. It's another book in a series, this one about a family whose ancestors are from Scotland. There is a lot of time travelling in the books, so they are a good read. Kurland is another good writer, which means her books don't need a lot of trashy filler and can concentrate on carrying the plot.

Finally, one more picture to share:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

My aunt sent a cool art table for the boys as her gift when Jacob was born. It has a roll of paper under one end, so you pull up a big sheet, draw on it, then tear it off when the masterpiece is complete. The boys love it!

Monday, June 04, 2007


I haven't been here to post in a while, because it's been HOT. Much too hot to sit at my computer and edit pictures and wait while they upload and compose posts. Blech. I had a nice mother's day, got candy and flowers and a card, plus Chris got me a few presents. It took a while to train him, but he did well ;-) Now to get the boys on board, LOL.

Caleb had his birthday, and while his behavior has been not-so-great on occasion, he was good enough to get his cake and presents on time. I think he learned from Micah's mistake!

Caleb turns 7!

Jacob also turned 3 months old the same week. Wow the time went fast!

You are going to get me out of here, aren't you?

Troyer and Jacob

Micah and Caleb both had their check ups on the same day. There is a new chicken pox vaccine booster, so they both had to get a shot, and neither was happy about it, but it turned out fine. They didn't cry at all, and the doctor told them he was impressed, that boys older than them made more fuss. I took them out and got them candy bars to reward them for their bravery.

The next week Caleb went back to the dentist to have his molars sealed. It was a quick in-and-out visit. I wish they had sealants back when I was a kid!

This past weekend, after an awful hot week, during which I would NOT turn on the air conditioning, out of principle that you should just not have to turn it on in May, Chris decided that rather than sit in church and sweat on Saturday, we'd take the boys out and explore. We loaded up the van with water and snacks and drove around looking for fun spots. First we drove over to where Chris' grandparents are buried. It's on a hillside and has a beautiful view.

Cemetery view

It took us a while to remember where his grandparents were buried, but after searching for a while, it turned out that we had parked right near the spot!


I had been thining for a number of years that it was Samuel who was a baby at his grandmother's funeral, but when we read the dates on the headstone, we realized that it was Noah! Oops. We had fun looking for old headstones and competing to find the oldest date. We found one stone that said 1822!

After getting hot and sweaty running through the cemetery, we went back down the hill to a little park with a stream running through it. We broke out the snacks and the blankets,

Jacob finds his toes!

and the boys took off their socks and shoes and went wading.

Looking for fish

Exploring his world

They found and caught a crayfish, but they let it go. Noah found an old claw left behind by a now-gone crayfish.

The Claw

Next we drove to another cemetery, this one a tiny spot on the side of the road near where Chris grew up. There is no church there any longer, but someone built a miniature church as a memorial.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

We managed to get home in the evening before it started to rain. It rained most of Sunday, but that's ok, because it cooled things off a lot! We spent most of the day helping Noah and Troyer clean out their room. Ugh it was nasty. It looks good now, let's hope they can keep it that way for a while!

Oh, I have more books and movies to review, but I'll save that for another post.