A place to be real about a life of chaos, with eight beautiful children, homeschooling, special needs, adoption, sanity or the lack thereof.........a rubber hits the road sort of journey that I thankfully do NOT walk alone!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


It used to take Chief and I hours to decorate the tree. I was completely obsessed with light placement. Every light had to be just right and from the trunk of the tree out to the tips of every branch and back.....it took forever! Over time and seven children I have come to realize that the joy of the decorating comes in sitting back and watching the children put their own little touches on the final project. Karate Kid politely reminded me we couldn't pare back on the tree decorations because "Mom, if we don't put on all the tacky decorations we made then we are throwing out memories!" Might as well have slapped me....what was I thinking? We did however replace the half broken extremely old glass balls that inevitably get dropped and smashed further with every year. Now they are larger and moulded plastic green, white and red.

Stable Chick placed the lights and then after careful consideration we made use of our blue recycling box to lift the tree that seemed a tad "shrimpy" this year!

It's amazing how much quicker seven children can decorate a tree than two adults!!!

And before I could say "decorated Christmas tree"......it was!! I think they did a fine job and I am especially thankful for all the "tacky" decorations that hang carefully placed by little hands this year!

Chopping our Tree

Once again...I apologize for the delay in getting these posts up. I know Christmas has come and gone but I wanted to share the fun we had!

We found a new tree farm this year. For years we have been going to the same one 20 minutes away with a rather primitive and lengthy driveway that this year with all the rain we would surely get stuck in. Our twelve seater van is not very driver friendly in the mud or snow. It weighs so stinkin much that when other cars and vans are having no problem we are "STUCK!"

So..... in an effort to maintain the Christmas spirit and all appropriate attitudes we tried a farm a fellow homeschooler had suggested just five minutes away. (She too has been stuck in her 12 seater at the Christmas tree farm in her "BUS")

It was AWESOME!!!

The owners had made these cool "tree carts" on cross country skis. These of course doubled as excellent toboggans for the kids. They soon discovered this farm was entirely hills and had a blast riding up and down between the trees....screaming the whole way!!

You can see in this picture the narrow path they had to negotiate between the trees. As long as the "driver" knew how to steer.....no one got wrapped around a Christmas tree!!

Soon we found what the kids thought was the best one so Stable Chick went to work and in short order with Skishee overseeing the operation we had it chopped down and on the cart ready to be bound and stuffed in the van.

It was nearly dark as we trekked out of the bush and man was it cold, but everyone was in great spirits and after a little time in the children's play area and some hot apple cider we were on our way.

Hey.....Are you lookin' at me???

A Must See!


Saturday, December 27, 2008

BAKE?........Did we ever!!!!

I'm braver than most and I've been told by most I'm a little crazy for some of the things I undertake with my tribe, but this year I wanted desperately to have a full day of baking and include my Mom and Dad!

Mom and I met to decide which recipes we would tackle and we pulled together about 15.....far more than we could complete but it left us tons of options. We set a date and the anticipation took over. The kids were so excited!

The morning of....like a "crazy woman", I loaded them up and off to the grocery store we went. We hit the bulk section and "stocked up"! The kids were helpful in their own way, translation......"Skishee.....close those bulk lids.....No....Squirtman....you may not sample all the decorations before we choose!......Karate Kid....this is not a gymnasium...could we save the acrobatics for later.....walking.....no don't run.....watch out for the elderly lady.....oh my gosh......"

This may have been one of those moments where I briefly became insane and used that excuse for losing all control of my overexcited lot! In retrospect ....yes taking all of the children to buy the baking supplies was....CRAZY!!!!

Lobsters to the rescue!.....before I knew it my adorable clan had batted their eyelashes at the woman behind the seafood counter and were all taking turns at holding the poor critter and on their hands and knees examining the lobster on the floor. This lovely employee had graciously layered some packing material on the floor so the children could get a little closer and check it out. They all took turns at allowing it to grab their little fingers with the tiny pincers....not the elasticized ones that would have elicited blood curdling screams.....

Soon the older children were teaching the younger ones all about the lobster in true homeschool fashion, where it came from, what it ate, what those funny looking things were attached to the shells, what you can eat and how to cook it......OK so we got off on a little tangent but once the science lesson was over we were allowed to return it to the tank, (after every child had one last hold!) and off to the check out.

Before I knew it fourteen hands unloaded the supplies onto the belt and soon a very full bag of white sugar had hastily been dragged over a sharp box corner and subsequently began spewing all over.... "Oh Mommy, I'm so sorry I should slow down"... The check out lady looked at me in horror and I quickly picked up the bag and turned it over to stop the "gushing" and quietly asked Songbird to just grab another bag so we might double bag it. The employee leaned over as I checked out and quietly stated how much she admired my patience and that my children were all so well behaved. Even in the midst of minor crises I was so proud!

Right on schedule we arrived at Mom and Dad's and what a day we had!!!

Everyone helped and what a day of sweet memories we made!!

Just checking to see if they taste OK Mom!!

This by the way is the last time these cookies looked like this.....the tin was dropped and now we have four times as many chocolate candy cane "pieces". Ah well......more to share!!!

Two things I learned this day.....
#1 Seven children mixing one recipe simultaneously is challenging....

#2 Making memories that last a lifetime......PRICELESS!!!!!

Gingerbread Mania!

This year one just wasn't enough......so we still had a gingerbread train from last year that we didn't get to......Skishee renamed it the "poisonous one". You see he eats as fast as he decorates and since the box suggested it expired late summer of this year I emphasized the importance of making the train to look at and the house for eating!!! He surmised that meant the train was poison.....good grief....a little dramatic!

The icing was a tad difficult to work with so after a little microwaving and much squeezing the meticulous build began....

Skishee was not keen on the "just wait a second till I get the walls together"...patience isn't his forte! After all, "anything you can do, I can absolutely do better!".

Soon the waiting was over and the eating....I mean decorating could begin!!

On the whole the Christmas traditions bring out the best in my children and it makes me so proud. A task like building one gingerbread structure at a time for seven children could, under other circumstances at a different time of the year, spell disaster and most certainly result in some mortal wounds....however they always pull it off without much ado.

They turned out great and since I'm really behind on my blogging....the house....that is the one that isn't poison!...no longer looks like this....

The poisonous train will undoubtedly look the same when it goes to the trash.....

Friday, December 19, 2008

Skishee is Four!!!!

No longer a baby but ALWAYS my baby!!!

As spirited as ever he greeted HIS day! It always starts with a call from Grandma and Grandpa singing their very best rendition of Happy Birthday to You! Followed by the much awaited gift giving!

I think he likes it!!! Nothing like an adventure with the Veggie Tales Pirate Ship!

December 9, 2004 was a very exciting day.....we knew Skishee was going to be born any day but had only to wait for the call. We didn't get word until the morning of the 10th as he had been born late the night before. I can't even begin to share the emotion we felt as we drove to the hospital to pick up our newborn son! Today as I sit here I cannot believe that was four years ago!! So much has changed and his arrival led to the arrival of his two siblings......our family was exploding!!

I'm not sure looking back at pictures of Skishee as a baby is a good idea. I Suddenly have those "maternal feelings" that override all the stressful, I'm totally outnumbered feelings that creep in after any day around here!!!! Is he my last??? SSSHHHHH between you and me I'd happily have another!!!


Christmas is surely coming!!! The excitement is mounting and everyone is spending most of their days looking like this!!!

The Holiday Train.....Speeding by!

Please forgive me....I'm way behind on my blogging.

This is about how fast the darn train, or at least the decorated part of it, went past on December 2, 2008. We had never been before and I had heard that it was really something to see so off we went!

It arrived right on time I'll give it that and the first eight or ten cars were lit up, but it came into the station pretty quick and almost simultaneously I had seven children turn to me with the "Is that it????" look on their face. I emphasized how beautiful it was and the fact that there was going to be some musical entertainment so they settled in. After half an hour many people had left seemingly disappointed and it was darn cold so I was just about to suggest we head out too when they opened the side doors of one of the cars and the band started. There might have been a little "toe tapping" but all in all they didn't seem all that impressed.

Suddenly there was some excitement down the line of children and I peered down to see what was up....

HO HO HO!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! The younger ones perked up at the unexpected arrival of the merry dude! A quick candy cane and some frozen toes signalled the end of our adventure!

The children all dropped their cans of food in the bin for the food bank and we took the long way around as the train was blocking the walkway. It turns out we had a better view of the train...well....maybe a little!

We'll give this adventure one more try next year ........

Sunday, December 14, 2008



Monday last was a very "eventful" day.....but for now my only musings are based on a "routine" annual check up at the orthodontist for Stable Chick and Songbird. Stable Chick was just getting her permanent wire checked behind her front teeth that has been doing a great job of maintaining the $1300 worth of work that was done to them just over a year ago. All is well and we'll be back for a check next year.

Songbird had a lengthier appointment as she is about to turn 13 and her twelve year old molars are in and all should be well situated. Last year at this time the annual review went something like this....."Everything looks great!", "Her jaw is growing as I would expect", "She's not experiencing any discomfort", "We would expect her twelve year old molars to finish erupting in the next few months"...etc. etc. We left feeling comfortable that it didn't appear there would be any more dental issues in the foreseeable future! Yah...well....that's where the hindsight starts to kick me in the proverbial B-U-double T!!!

You see Chief's benefit plan runs June to June so in the spring we review if we want to make any changes and do so before the new benefit year begins. We are blessed with amazing medical and dental coverage but could opt to improve orthodontic treatment from 50% coverage to 75% with a bigger price tag of course. So since everything was "OK" we chose to hold at the 50% since Cat Lover is still a couple of years away from the "major" fixer upper job we have been told to anticipate.

OK....fast forward to post x-ray and exam and here is the "new" info......"Her twelve year molars are fully in and the wisdom teeth can be seen", "She has moderate clicking in her jaw, has she had an injury to her lower jaw?"......well that could probably be explained by the wipe out over the handlebars of her scooter that not only chipped her bottom tooth but required stitches to her chin!!!

Here it comes......."Does your jaw hurt?", "Yes, quite often especially when I'm eating". This you must understand comes as news to me!

My much respected and extremely well compensated orthodontist went on to advise that she has a 95% overbite which we knew and that coupled with the clicking in her jaw meant that without question we would be looking at two years with top and bottom braces to realign her jaw and correct both the overbite and the cross bite! Did I have any questions......I sat in stunned silence knowing that this would be a hit in the creative financing I already do to buy the quantity of milk and other groceries it takes to feed my growing tribe!

I braced myself as his assistant retrieved the papers from the printer and slowly slid them across the table with practiced finesse as she rambled on about how payments were to be made and when the first available appointments for initial molds and applying the upper braces were........ $4800!!!!!!!!

Stable Chick let out a quiet but audible gasp and Songbird chimed in....."Oh mom can I get them on before Christmas"!! Let me see I thought sarcastically.......Sure this is a perfect time of year to get right on that!! I quietly leaned over to interrupt her insistent questioning of how soon that could happen and said.... "Sweetheart.....that will be financially prohibitive!" She looked at me like a deer in the headlights and then the light bulb went on and she said...."Oh sure Mom, whenever that works better for you is fine!" We quietly booked an appointment for the middle of January and that has been the last mention of it for now.

I guess come the late spring when benefit packages are up for renewal we might consider increasing our coverage to 75%!!