You’re ON babe!

So apparently my husband (some of you may remember him?) he actually started this blog before we got married 12 years ago, and um well, I think he hasn't posted on this blog for nearly ages. But that's okay, I still love him (pretty amazing of me right?) Apparently he's going to start making regular posts on this here blog in the very near future. Here's the deal. I don't know about the rest of the world, but we have an issue with going to bed on time, and a few other daily disciplines that you should already have "down" when you reach adulthood. So Chris turned 40 this year (I'm still a mere 35) and we still don't know how to go to bed before 11 or 12pm, which doesn't really work for a guy who has to wake up at 4:00am! We've tried lots of challenges to get us motivated to stay on track, we've tried writing out goals every night (lasted a few weeks), tried shared To-Do lists, and several ways of staying disciplined. Turns out that money is pretty much the only thing that actually motivates us (what does that say about our character?) I'm not even talking about a lot of money, a $10 reward for the person who accumulates the most points in a two week period. We each have 8 points we can earn each day, his goals are slightly different than mine. They include things like waking with alarm, no media before breakfast, eating a green smoothie, blogging, Bible reading, exercise, to bed on time, and so on. Things like eating off plan actually take points you've earned away (which caused me to spit out the bite of bread I took from an extra piece of toast, into the pig bucket). It's only been a week. But I have a good feeling that this is going to be a system that works for us. Both of us have put back on a few pounds we had lost, and we both have more to lose, so here is to meeting goals in 2014, getting fit, getting more sleep, staying on track with our budget, and getting more out of life. I'm really excited for the coming year, really excited! Oh, and I'm really excited about hearing what Mr. Burns has to say on this blog and on his personal blog as well! I think I'm going to win this week though babe, but keep trying. ;)
Posted in Dreaming, Health, Marriage | 1 Comment

What kind of mommy are you?

Last night I was working with Guenna helping her learn how to use her new mini sewing machine she got for Christmas from someone special :) She had almost finished her mini pillow she made for her baby doll "Jack" and she said warmly, "I'm glad you're this kind of mommy." Awww, what a sweet girl. I'm glad you like me! I said, "Thank you Guenna! There are all kinds of mommies. We all have different talents." But the more that I thought about that conversation I was thinking about all the mommies who might take a bit of offense or feel a tinge of pain when they read that, thinking, "I can't sew, don't do crafts, and Betty Crocker doesn't live anywhere near this house!" God made all of us different. We can't all have everybody's talents. As much as I would love to be a photographer, a painter, a pianist, a mountain climber, a refined city girl, a coupon shopper, the list goes on and on. I can't be all those things, there are a few things I'm getting good at, and I'm doing my best to share those few things with my children, both boys and girls. But I think it's more than that, what she likes is my time, my attention, the investment into her that says, "I want you to grow and mature and get good at something, you're not just a kid but you are a capable member of society who has something to offer." We need to spend more time with our children, teaching them, teaching them anything! Reading to them instead of getting on facebook and putting a movie on for them (I'm preaching to myself as well here!) Create memories, learn WITH them, play games with them, build with them, color, draw, find out what they are interested and help them learn how to do that thing. That can be challenging at times! I think all of us moms were made just perfectly for our beautiful little flocks. It's easy to look at what all the other moms are pinning on Pinterest and think, "I wish I was like her." She probably wishes she was like the person she got the pins from! ;) Maybe your child(ren) have never told you this, but they are glad You are THAT kind of mommy! As a mom it is so easy to be jealous of how clean Suzy's house always seems to be and I get to feeling a bit down about that at times. But I know that God wants me to love being the daughter and mother HE has created just me to be instead of looking at all the other moms and wishing I was like somebody else. Be her, be you! Your children love you just the way you are! I'd love to hear from you, what are some ways you've connected with your children, practical and inexpensive ways? It's always great to hear ideas from other moms, we are all in this together. Bless you today moms, you are all amazing!
Posted in Guenevere, Mothering | 4 Comments

Dishes? What dishes?!

Fun Fall harvest The last two nights the girls have been doing the dishes. It's another one of those chores that I've just felt it was easier to do myself, (what was I thinking?) Or to let my mom do, she's pretty good at loading the dishwasher after dinner, even if she does fall on her butt sometimes while doing them. I was making dinner last night and the girls were in the kitchen eyeballing the large pile of dishes in the sink, they exclaimed, "Wow, that's sure a lot of dishes! We can help you wash them!" I said, "well, you can unload the dishwasher." I knew they could do this task, so I was okay with letting them do it. I'm still making dinner, they said with excited glee, "WE can do THAT together!!!!" Silly giddy girls. One less thing to do tonight. They tore through that task with shining stars. Then wanted MORE. Long story short, I had them load the dishwasher. Then they wanted to clean the sink, and now can we wash these other dishes by hand? And can we dry and put these ones away? Can we wipe this counter and clean up that spot over here? They are cleaning machines! And I am LOVING it! They are constantly wanting to help in the kitchen and I'm always trying to find some way they can help. As you can see, they can do a bit of the prep work for cooking and they LOVE that. Guenna said tonight while she was washing dishes, "I can't wait until I'm a REAL mom." Because you know, right now she's just a "mommy-wannabe" and that makes me feel so proud. I had two boys first and was honestly a little freaked out about having a daughter, I got boys but I had reserves about raising daughters. But when I saw Guenna for the first time all those fears melted away I had this feeling so strongly, "she's like ME" I get to raise her to be kind of like me. It was such a profound moment and I had another one of those moments tonight while I was cooking, Guenna was loading the dishwasher, Victoria was handing her dirty dishes and Cait was cleaning the sink. Here we all were in "our" element, working together, sisters. It was like a little portal into the future. I know I have a lot of teaching to do to get this machine really cranking out, but this little moment in time was one of those that I want to treasure forever. I love my girls, and feel so very blessed to have three beautiful daughters, and look forward one day to having SEVEN, and my girls also look forward to meeting their four new sisters one day when their brothers marry! I leave you with this. Tonight the girls wanted to help with the dishes again. They looked like they were getting ready to scrub them and I instructed that they could just start loading the dishes now that the dishwasher was empty. Guenna has a way of speaking truth, she doesn't mean to sound rude but... she says with surprise, "Is that ALL you do?!!" Oh Guenna, you do have a way with words. I love all my dear daughters!
Posted in Caitriona, Guenevere, Mothering, Victoria | Leave a comment

Laundry, maybe I don’t loathe you quite so much?

Laundry Selfie Tonight I am thankful for my big boys, they are getting to be pretty capable young men (Aidan told Chris and I at the table tonight that he wants to get a job cleaning houses-isn't he precious, he only needs six dollars he said!:) I've been working on getting caught up on laundry this week, and we've been staying on top of it. But I started to get that feeling today that I've got too much on my plate and I felt that too familiar feeling of defeat coming on, like I was kidding myself, we can't do this. I need to sort and fold and put away these two baskets, usually that is my part of the laundry job, sorting, and they stay in the basket until I sort them onto the couch and then the kids help me put them away. Short story longer, the boys help me with random chores from 8-8:30 and then they get to play on the iPad from 8:30-9, it's a pretty good deal for all of us. Tonight they sorted all the laundry, put everybody's clothes, underwear, socks away, folded blankets and sheets and got us all caught up again. You know what this means? This means that the kids are capable of doing every stage of laundry with very little assistance from me. The older kids get the clothes from the rooms to the laundry room, Connor does the washing/drying part and gets the washed baskets of clothes into the Red Room and the older kids do the rest. I've put a lot of hours into training these guys to get to this point, there is hope! :) I have a lot on my plate, with the farm and homeschooling and cleaning house and cooking for a family of 9 or 10 (when mom comes for dinner). Aidan told me the other day, "I think a lot about the fact that you don't get very many breaks mom and that you work all day." It's sweet to know that he notices that I work hard. I want our children to grow to have empathy for others and to learn to lend a hand when they see a need (my kids aren't quite there yet, but they are getting there). But my feeling is I'm young and in a season of building, investing, laying a foundation. I work hard to lay a foundation with our children. The other day I had a chat with the kids about how difficult it can be to take them to the store, and how I know that they like to come with me but I have to deal with arguing and bickering in the car, and silly boys being rambunctious in the back seat, waking the sleeping baby, and not paying attention to where mom is at and staying in line behind me while we shop. After this chat with them you would not believe how many compliments we got in the store that day, several people stopped us and commented on how well behaved they were :) I was laughing to myself, and didn't tell any of the commenters about the threats I made to the children before we left. One lady in particular was so sweet, we were sitting and eating in the food court at Fred Meyer's, she got up to leave and put her hand on my shoulder and said, "you have LOVELY children, I think these are the most well-behaved children I've ever seen!" They were being especially sweet that lunch time and it was nice to hear such words about these kids that God has placed in my care. Wait, wasn't I talking about laundry? Well I guess I was just overwhelmed with a warm feeling of admiration for my growing boys. I went outside to milk and do my evening outdoor chores (and bring baby bunnies in the house more because they are cute and I like to hold them at night than because they really need to come in), and they were inside doing a chore that usually gets put off and overwhelms me. I'm excited about these days ahead, I'm really excited about their teen years. I know everybody says, "wait til they are teens!" and I say, bring it on! I know we've invested in these kids, and in those teen years we will reap a harvest of blessing as they grow into men. I can't wait! I've heard every word of caution so I'm sure some of you will feel the need to warn me how wrong I might be, but I choose to believe in faith that seeds of love, faithfulness, work ethic, obedience to God, discipline, etc., these seeds are just beginning to grow in them. When they are teens they will be little sproutlings (as the kids like to call them) and with God's grace and help will just continue to grow and flourish in their lives. Thank you once again, dear Lord for blessing us with these beautiful amazing, and often very challenging little people, I love them all with all my heart!
Posted in Aidan, Eamon, Mothering | 6 Comments

Going Deeper

Fun Fall harvest Aidan has always been a deep well. A thinking child, kind of an "old soul" as some say. He has deep convictions, and fears, he feels great empathy as well as hurt when he is wronged, he has a deep sense of injustice and wants so truly for everyone to be in line, with God and for things to be just the way God intended them to be. Not just everyone else, but for himself too. Tonight we had another one of those talks. Started by a conversation that he was having with daddy, I don't even remember about what (he would remember, he could probably recall all the details of our whole conversation, and the last one, and the one before that). He has a remarkable memory, one that I think haunts him at times. He remembers the looks people made at him, or the way he felt when someone said something unkind, four years ago. We talked about these things tonight, and he told me some things he'd been wanting to share with me, like about how sometimes I don't discipline Victoria when she is being unkind and how that makes him feel. So we got to talk about it. I shared with him how in life there are going to be so many people fail you, fail him. But in those times we have to fix our eyes on the only thing that is constant, Our Christ, the Great Redeemer, the Steadfast One. He will never change, He is always faithful. And one day He will make all things right in the world. We talked for quite some time and when I told him I needed to go wash the girls hair he said, "thanks mom, I love it when we talk like this." I could see the peace coming over him and it warmed my heart. I told him that I look forward to many many more talks like this as he grows into a man." He said with a smile, "Me too." I love this young man. I don't always know how to be the best and most constant mom for him. I sadly fall short, daily. But I am so thankful that I can lean on the everlasting arms of my Heavenly Father who gives me strength each day to do this job. I put my children in His hands, He is faithful.
Posted in Aidan, Family | 2 Comments

Daddy is such a party pooper!

I can't understand why daddy doesn't want to keep markers in the house, I actually really like them! Untitled He just doesn't understand how fun they are... Untitled Not to mention how yummy they taste! Untitled Plus I think I look pretty cool with all this marker on my face and hands, don't you think? Untitled Really daddy? It's not that big of a deal! Untitled And I just happen to have my mommy wrapped around my (marker stained) finger. Shhhh! Don't tell her ;) Untitled It's okay Jack, she already knows. She thought cutting off your curls would help, but no such luck. You're just too adorable!
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A little bookshelf I built for the girls today

The girls like to keep books in their room, they seem to have accumulated quite a few books that have been scattered all over their room. Today while I was helping them clean I decided to take some of the wood that was left over free wood from our barn (we got some really nice scrap wood given to us). I like how it turned out, I think they girls are going to paint it to match their room. Girls New Book Shelf Girls New Book Shelf Girls New Book Shelf Girls New Book Shelf Girls New Book Shelf This is the bottom Girls New Book Shelf I built the bottom first, then added a couple pieces on the sides (the ends) then the back tacked on, then finished adding the side pieces, then I put the top on. It was really easy :) Fun :) The girls love it and it's nice for Victoria to have a "table" that is just her size!
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At least now we know he’s not allergic to peanuts?!

The other morning I was distracted in the living room, enjoying a little peace and quiet before the rest of the kids woke up, I was proud of myself for getting up before all the kids and getting the milking done even before Jack woke up. When I got back to the house I heard him cheerful jabbering in his bedroom. I leisurely got him up, had a few snuggles with him and he was off to play while I peacefully checked my email. I had this feeling that he was doing something naughty because he was awfully contentedly playing by himself (which is usually a clue that he's into something). I finally pulled myself away from the computer to go check on him, and as I neared the kitchen my nose started to alarm, what is that I smell? Peanut butter? Why would I be smelling peanut butter so strongly?...Oh. Jack likes to paint! His masterpiece was just too good to not take a picture. Jack likes to paint! He loves putting lids on things, but a container full of peanut butter, that is just so much better! Jack likes to paint! So proud! Jack likes to paint! It's hard work but somebody's got to do it. Jack likes to paint! Hmmm, I wonder if that handle needs just a little more paint? Jack likes to paint! Hey mom, yeah I'm just working here. Jack likes to paint! No problem mom, I painted the tea pot for you! You're welcome :) Jack likes to paint!
Posted in Humor, Jack | Leave a comment

Farm Drama

Sometimes having a farm is sweet and fun, like this cute little baby bunny... Benny at about 2 weeks, such a little cutie! Sometimes, those bunnies grow up and figure out how to get out of their cages... Pearl. Meet Willow. Sometimes, messing with "Mother Nature" doesn't work out how we want it to. Peter and Pearl, naughty little bunnies! Today was one of those days. It was time to breed our young white does. We have two bucks, one older proven buck and one young buck, a first timer. We have three does (first time for them too). I decided to put one in with Brutus (our older buck) and give Peter a try with one. Here is what happened. Peter's cage was too big and he couldn't catch his doe, I tried to "help" him by holding her, but even after trying both in the morning and in the evening he still couldn't figure it out. I thought, maybe we have a female here and not a "Peter", double check, yes male but only one testicle :) Oh well, shouldn't matter. Back to Brutus, he does great with his first doe, so I put the second doe in with him (a little too soon, I know for next time). This doe, I have no idea, is very aggressive and she rips open his testicle! I'm talking a large tear. This poor boy is such a sweetie. Guess where Pearl is headed, Pearly soup is on the menu in the next couple weeks. I think three does is too much for us right now while we are still trying to figure this whole thing out. Need smaller cages for our boys, and maybe get rid of the one with only one testicle, and let the one with the torn testicle heal before we try again, and butcher Pearl in the meantime! Whew! Sorry if you are queasy, but this is real life on a farm, it's definitely not all fuzzy angelic rainbows. :) The drama continues...
Posted in Farm Life | 4 Comments

Classic Cait

Do you have a child who is always pushing the boundaries? Someone who sees so much more to living than what they have in front of them? We do. I'll be honest, some days parenting one of these dear ones can be challenging at the least, hair-loosing even, and utterly rewarding other times. We knew we were "in trouble" when she was two and I was painting our house. I like to provide ample creative outlets for our children and the house can get a bit messy (every day, because they draw, color, paint, create, at our kitchen table), I'm okay with it because I know they can clean it up for the most part. But our dear Cait always seems to find a way to push beyond the monotony of the every day and finds new ways to be creative. Whether that be sharpy all over so many walls, or crayon or pencil (why did I feel the need to paint these walls anyway)? Or lotion? Sometimes you need to add a little texture to the walls right? Or maybe she was feeling empathy, those walls ARE dry. If it's not one thing it's another. And as much as I have tried to "train" it out of her I've come to realize it's just who she is. She's a creative, beautiful, thrill-seeking, beauty-finding, adventurous, emotional, tenderhearted, encouraging, little lady. She's curious, so very curious :) Today I came in from working on the barn and the house that was mostly clean before I went outside, was quite a disaster. The boys had been making "shields" out of paper plates, which involves cutting up and taping numerous paper plates and all their pieces end up on the floor.  Along with the toys and food, and whatever else seven kids can manage to put onto the floor in a period of three hours (it's a lot, trust me). So in my kindhearted way I decided to let the children pick their own chore. Aidan picked the table, simple. Eamon the dining room floor, safe. Connor the washer, normal. Guenna the counter, oh that's a new one. Then comes Cait, "I want to clean YOUR room mommy!" Hmmm, how much actual "cleaning" do you think an extremely distractable child would get done in my room? I told her, "No hon, that's mom's chore." She responds, "oh, until I'm an adult?" I said, "No, even when you're an adult it will still be my chore, but thanks though hon" :) Love her. Remind me to lock my door.
Posted in Caitriona | 1 Comment

Taking obedience to the next level

Last night I told the kids, "Okay, everybody. Whoever can get to bed quickly will get a nickle!" Connor and his big brothers all got a nickel and I told the boys, "If you boys don't whine and complain and ask for water and if you keep your heads on your pillows you will get to keep your nickel, if you get out of bed I'll take your nickel." They all got to keep their nickel. This morning when Connor woke up he came out of his room with his pillow(pet) stuck to his head, I was a bit confused. He said, "mommy, you said that you would take my nickel if I took my head off my pillow. Isn't he cleaver? ;)  
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Summer…is it over already?!

We've had a lovely summer, with very little drama. Victoria is still going through nearly daily counseling over the loss of her princess shoe over the cliff when we went on a little hike at New Halem, but other than that we've been good. In fact the other day I was snuggling with Victoria and she said something silly, I laughed "oh Victoria, what am I going to do with you?!" She quickly made up her mind, "Um, don't drop me over the cliff." Post traumatic stress syndrome. IMG_1091 Chris and I discuss daily what a precious girl she is, and in the midst of the same thought are reminded of how very three she is. We are on our vacation right now at Birch Bay (pictures and blog to follow), and she is back to her old ways of wanting daddy to do everything. I want daddy to change me, daddy to dress me, daddy to put my lid on, daddy to buckle me, daddy to tuck me in and put my bandaide on, etc. etc. etc. She's had her daddy around all week and I think she'd like to keep it that way, thank you very much. I'm getting ahead of myself...summer! Evening gardening We've had so much fun this summer. It's been a LOT of work, but we've had so much fun as well. These little people have been such great helpers in the garden! Victoria will often be found in the garden, first thing in the morning, with two shoes that don't belong to her (or each other), in her pj's wandering around the beds, watering and sniffing and admiring. She's really coming into herself, such a joy to watch! 4th of July parade 2013 The girls all got a haircut this summer, I knew I was going to be really busy with all the projects and as much as I didn't want to I cut all their hair short. But I'm glad I did, it looks cute on all of them but they are all ready to grow it out again :) Wildwood chapel We made another trip down Hwy 20 to Marblemount, and stopped at Wildwood Chapel on the way home. The kids so enjoy all these little experiences, it's fun to watch them and seeing their creativity and imaginations go wild. Wildwood chapel The adventures never end! In the trees These are some of the cutest kids :) All the Burns kids at the Wildwood chaple Another fun little spot by the river. It's funny because everyone is happy here but in just a few minutes Victoria falls down a little hill and gets hurt and all the fun is over, so quickly. It's our life, constantly on the brink of a melt down. We wont always be there but that's been our life for the past 10 years. Such a fun little place to play by the river Another little part of our summer. All three big kids have the same top tooth missing. Aidan has to have surgery to get his, so who's going to get their permanent tooth first?! All three big kids with the same missing top left tooth :) These three are pretty good buds, they do a lot together and in spite of the boys being closer in age they include Guenna in a lot of their play. Sweet brothers, love them! Buddies So silly! Silly Garden pics! Okay mom! Pretty pink Tigridia, pretty girl too! White Tigridia, sweet Caitee girl! Victoria's little bed, just getting goin! Cute little gardeners :) Connor showing off his garden to nana Judi Growing veggies! Aidan and Eamon inspecting our garden, they are quite the little gardeners! And a whole bunch more on our flickr account, just click on any of the pictures to see the rest. Our biggest project this year has been our barn project. We've made great progress so far but we are still not done yet. This coming week we'll be taking the week to finish it, unfortunately it's supposed to rain, we were really hoping to beat the rain. But rain or shine, it has to get done! Chris has been amazing and inventive and we've both really enjoyed creating it. Barn building Jack has been Chris' biggest helper! Little helpers I'll have to dedicate a post just to the barn when we get it finished. It has inspired us both to dream bigger and create! The structure of the barn finished, now to put on the roof I don't have any current pics of the barn uploaded yet, but I will soon! No summer is complete without a big summer birthday party! Eian turned 5 this year and all the cousins had a blast playing together :) Eian's 5th birthday party, look at all the cousins! The kids have had fun creating this summer too. Their latest fun thing to create has been clay creatures. They made some really neat "angry birds" and "turbo snails" and then made a Lego house for all their small creatures. I love their creativity and the way they work together, one will get an idea and they will all run with it. It makes me so happy when the one with the idea (usually Aidan) doesn't get offended when his siblings want to create similarly, and then they all play with their new creations together. Most of the time. :) They are HUMAN children! Angry Bird's the kids made out of clay Turbo snails Lego Angry Bird house Lego Angry Bird house Lego Angry Bird house Lego Angry Bird house Lego Angry Bird house Lego Angry Bird house Lego Angry Bird house Lego Angry Bird house Well, I was hoping to do my whole summer update in one post but I think this post is long enough and I need to get back to my vacation. We head back home tomorrow and we are all ready to go home. We've had such a great time hanging out with each other and having some time away from our little farm but honestly most of us just want to get home. And we are pretty sure our goats missed us, they've been getting out all week :( Our poor sweet neighbors! So aparently our barn and fences need some attention. Feeling thankful for what we have, for the home that is calling us back, for the children God has blessed us with who are our very favorite people to spend time with, for neighbors and friends who are taking care of our chores while we are gone, for nanas and papa who spent several days with us on our vacation and love spending time with our favorite people. We are so blessed! A little tease from our vacation... Birch Bay 2013
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Getting Away…

IMG_0802 Do you ever take a break from the grind? We usually spend our Saturdays doing projects, mowing the lawn, fixing stuff on the farm, organizing yet another messy pile of salvaged wood or things that we saved because we knew we'd need them one day. This past Saturday we milked the goats in the morning, had some breakfast, made sure the kids looked "decent" and headed out for a day of deep breathing in God's beautiful creation, the North Cascade's. If you haven't ever taken Hwy 20 about 1 1/2 hours east of I-5, Burlington, you really need to. The drive is breathtaking! I'm not going to narrate a whole lot but wanted to post a few of the zillion pictures we took. It's been about 4 or 5 years since we've gone out there which is kind of crazy because Newhalem is only 45 minutes from our house! The kids had so much fun and I think all their little love tanks were filled by the end of the day. It was a beautiful trip, and we have so much to be thankful for! IMG_0822 Connor was especially impressed with the train at Newhalem! But let's be honest, what four-year-old boy wouldn't be?! IMG_0827 IMG_0829 I'm on top of the world! :) IMG_0842 No, I did not feel that it was necessary to include Jack in this picture, it was frightening enough letting our "loose cannon" Victoria up there out of our reach! IMG_0845 I kept these luscious little rolls and curls to myself, or at least mostly grounded. Not that he wouldn't have loved climbing all over that train! IMG_0851 IMG_0852 No train is complete without a bell! IMG_0857 Okay, here is all seven of them, safe behind bars! :) IMG_0883 I'm saying, "okay Victoria that is enough, isn't that squeak really loud?" She's saying, "GO DOWN MOMMY!"...Squeak!!! IMG_0891 They had so much fun pretending to be working on the train! IMG_0900 We met a couple from West Virginia biking from Mt. Vernon, WA to Maine!! What a neat couple, wish would could have packed up all the kids and gone with them! Thanks for chatting with us Jerry and Lori! IMG_0902 No feeding the bears! IMG_0909 Nice little hike on the Trail of Cedars. The kids called this bridge "the wobbly bridge" and it was, made my stomach turn a little. But what a great little hike, perfect distance for the kids! IMG_0913 IMG_0939 IMG_0943 Oh MY Word. IMG_0962 IMG_0974 Look mommy! I'm almost taller than this tree! :) IMG_0983 Connor was so sweet. We were walking along hand in hand and he says to me, "Mommy I LOVE vacation! We get to see all kinds of things that we didn't know about!" That was one of those moments that just made my day! IMG_0995 Kids playing under the "Tower of Power" Seattle City Lights in Newhalem, WA. Great place to visit! IMG_1000 Can't leave this place without getting an ice cream cone! Five Bubblegum, and one Rocky Road for the kids. IMG_1003 Don't forget my ice cream, if you do I will scream! :) And look at my handsome husband! IMG_1013 This is the life. IMG_1016 Okay, a little more, and perfect dad. Thanks. IMG_1018 Contemplating his next need. IMG_1022 More dad! IMG_1025 Why are you eating my ice cream?! IMG_1027 My heart is broken, my parents don't even love me, very much! IMG_1028-001 Here I am banging on the table and he's not even going faster! My life is so hard. :( IMG_1031 Messy. Sticky. Gooey. Yummy. IMG_1037 Oh yeah! IMG_1040 Um, no. Maybe next year :) IMG_1065 Babies just make life more fun! IMG_1077 Off to get a better view of the dam, isn't it pretty?! IMG_1079 In the parking lot before the bridge over a waterfall. Chris opens up the back of the van and right next to his head coiled around the window was a snake! Of course the kids were thrilled and wanted to take it home. Um no. There was a group of young adults from India looking on and laughing at our little Cait carrying this large snake around, Chris explained to them that we don't have poisonous snakes around here, "Oh!!!" :) IMG_1081 Little sleepy toes, does it get any cuter?! IMG_1090 And then the inevitable happened, Victoria lost one of her princess shoes down the cliff! IMG_1091 Heartbroken. We even bought her some more yesterday at Walmart. But this morning she told me we needed to get a ladder so we can get her princess shoe off the cliff. :) IMG_1098 Walking over the waterfall bridge :) IMG_1102 It's a long way down! IMG_1103 IMG_1110 This is what the bridge is made of so you can see down below you. Kind of freaky! IMG_1115 Still holding onto her lone shoe. This was our last stop before we headed home. What a full day! The weather was perfect and we got home feeling happy and exhausted but sure we need to do something like this again very soon. I think today I realized that we could have a really nice looking lawn/garden and not do anything fun, or we can a little of both :) It's nice to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of God's creation!
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Connor has reached the “age of randomness”

IMG_9682 I love the age "4". There is something so special and unique about 4-year-olds. They have come out of the phase of baby talk, but haven't entered the age of logic and reason completely. They often blurt out what is on their mind with no care or thought of who might be listening, and without knowing that one's factual thoughts might actually hurt someone's feelings if spoken outloud. Every mom has been there at one point in her mothering career. And we often laugh at each other's stories, and share those embarrassing moments like a kid sharing his new trophy to his best friend. They are little treasures, that most of us mom's carry with us that bring a smile to our faces and our hearts when times get a little hairy, as they often do. Connor is there, he's officially reached the age of randomness. Like tonight at the table, we are just talking about our day and he starts to tell us about, "when I get married, and I'm at my wedding, and you and daddy can come to my wedding...and then at the end I will kiss my wife...and I will be kind of embarrassed (smirk on his face) cuz then we will do like a karate dance..." Aidan tried to correct him, of course, and tell him that he wont be doing a karate dance. Of course I jump in to assure Connor that if he and his wife want to do a karate dance at their wedding, I'm sure that will be fine. But where in the world, did he get that? I just love it. So today, I take all the kids to Wal-Mart to give my husband some time to "actually" work on his "at home work day". It was going pretty well, I had Jack in one cart with me and Connor on the side so I can keep and eye on him. Cait, Guenna and Eamon walking in a line behind me, then Aidan is pushing another cart with Victoria in it because she couldn't handle Connor touching the cart she was in, ok then. Made it almost to the checkout (for the first time, to buy lunch before we shop), someone, now everyone has to go to the bathroom so we start to head that way. I'm letting Connor hold onto the cart, standing next to me, he hasn't quite reached the age where I can trust that when I tell him to walk behind me, he will actually walk behind me and not wander off like Victoria does). When a kid is walking next to you, holding onto the cart, it makes the aisle that much smaller, and when I large person needs to get past you it seems even smaller. We had one of those moments, no big deal. But Connor noticed, oh dear. Before I knew it, and just after said lady walks past, Connor says plainly, "that was a...BIG grandma!...A really, REALLY fat grandma!" He actually kept repeating himself quietly, and I was having to deal with someone else at that point so it went on much longer than I would have normally let it before I stopped him. Still need to have a sit down chat with him about that one...who knows if she heard him, I'm just thankful we weren't walking behind her! We made it to the restrooms, thankfully. And everybody is quickly filling the stalls, and by the way I don't think I've ever seen a dirtier bathroom than it was today, disgusting! While I'm waiting, there was a sweet mama, changing her baby, and waiting for her kids to use the bathroom, she had four little ones. Then it was my turn, and all the kids are finishing up washing their hands. I get through washing my hands, and turn to leave behind that sweet little family and Connor blurts out, "Mommy! I met some friends that live in the VILLAGE!" I say excitedly, thinking that they had told them something about living in a village while I was using the restroom, "you met some friends that live in a village?" He says excitedly, "YEAH! And they have hats, and buckles, and dress costumes!!!" And that was when I realized that this sweet Mennonite family didn't say anything to him about living in a village, he just came up with that all on his own. Oops. Oh well. At least he was sincere :) I love my little random boy, full of life, and love, and hugs, and forgiveness and feeling. So glad for all these moments I can tuck away in my heart. They make the hard moments a little easier, and bring a warm smile to my heart when I feel at times that mothering this little boy couldn't get any harder (at least I hope it can't). I love you Connor boy, with ALL my heart!
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Kids…you can never have too many!

If you know me, or have read my blog for long you may have gotten the idea that I like kids. We have seven, so I guess that's a good thing. I partially convinced my husband to get me goats so that it might help with my addiction to human children (only I don't know that it's helping, in fact it might even make it worse but don't tell Mr. Burns). Anyway, enough about me, you just have to see these, and then you'll understand. The cuteness. IMG_9121 Do you see what I mean? The combination of the goat kids and the human kids, it's just almost too much! Baby goats, And then there are the baby bunnies...oh dear! Little bunnies Cute kids by the fence... IMG_9136 And another cute kid by the fence... IMG_9140 Cute kid feeding the cute kids IMG_8919 Proud milking maid! IMG_9279 The eyelashes. Ahhhh! IMG_8887 Sometimes my kids are even clean. And when this happens we always try to make sure we take a picture, for proof. IMG_8992 Hopefully this pictorial blog can help you understand why it's not my fault that I have a "problem" with addiction, it's their fault. They are so cute, I just can't help myself! IMG_9155 Lately life has gotten very busy with homeschooling, kidding season, baby bunnies, bottle feeding, gardening, braces, doctor's appointments and laundry oh and feeding the human kids. I've not blogged very much but I've been thinking about blogging. My thought this morning was, I wish I could just bottle up these memories, the picture of Jack watching me milk from the window and seeing his excitement as I start to walk towards the house. The statements from Connor about how he loves his baby Jack, last night on our drive into town he says, "I can't wait to hear how Jack talks when he's a kid!" The one on one time milking with my older children, little conversations. Planting the garden with each of the kids. Watching Victoria bottle feed the babies and telling Gracie (the mama goat) she's MEAN because she starts walking towards Victoria. All of it, the tough stuff and the easy stuff. Precious times in the lives of these little ones. My heart is full. I love them all, with every thread of my being. My life is all about them, what an honor to be their mama!
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