Monday, September 18, 2017

Kids make me laugh (and make me a little crazy)

Oops! Look again!
We went to Goodwill with some of the girls, and on the way out, the girls walked towards the parking lot ahead of me. I thought we had parked father to the right than where they were walking, but then they walked up to a gray van ahead of us. Guess I remembered wrong? Wait, that's not our license plate. Too late! Kaitlyn had opened the door. Ha! There was a boy in there on his iPad that gave her a funny look. As she walked away embarrassed, she said dramatically, you're not going to tell anyone about this are you?? Rob replied, laughing, "I'm telling everyone!" (She would have told anyways; Kaitlyn is an open book.)

(What's funny is Alee did the same thing to an empty gray van months ago. Her realization came when she saw carseats and a floor covered in crumbs and dirt. Ours is never perfect, but it's never awful either.)

She's got confidence!
We were talking about betrothing the girls to various boys at church (just joking around) and Kaitlyn declared her interest in one (we laughed at her openness). Seth pointed out that the boy likes someone else. (He is in youth.) I told her not to be discouraged... He's of course not paying attention to primary-aged girls right now. (I was going to say that the age gap would be small when they were all adults.)

Beth: "When he gets back from his mission and you're all single adults, he'll be like,..." "Who is that hot girl!?" (Kaitlyn interrupted, with confidence in her future self. I laughed in surprise at her using that phrasing as a 10 year old.)

You might be a redneck if...
We have one couch cushion (on the couch we don't like but hold on to because couches are expensive) that started smelling really really bad last week. We tried to spray fabreeze and vinegar. Nothing. So we soaked it with water, squeezed, and it's outside drying (still wet 48 hours later). The kids have continued to use the missing cushion spot (lined with pillows) as a seat. They call it "sitting in the hole". (Can anybody say redneck?) :)

That's life
Natalie walked in and heard me say to my brother, "It's the phrase we hear most in our house." Having not heard the beginning of the conversation, she jumped in and guessed, "you mean 'That's not fair'?"
We all laughed. Yep, I stand corrected; that is heard most.

My brain is not awake yet
I am struggling getting our new morning routine down. I can do afternoon, but I am just not super functional in the mornings right now. For the first two weeks, I kept leaving the neighborhood as if I were driving to the elementary school and had to redirect to get to the other interstate to go pick up Seth from seminary each morning. (If I go the wrong way it adds about 5 minutes to our drive there, which is a big deal in the morning.)
But this morning after I nearly went the wrong way (but caught myself early enough), I missed the turn to the elementary school after getting Seth (my brain was going home) and then 15 minutes later I drove right by the high school and missed it! Seth laughed at me making so many wrong turns right after each other. My brain is just on autopilot before 8am and I haven't reprogrammed it to include seminary and high school into the routine!
Mornings are a bad time to miss a turn because of all the extra rules near schools about where you can turn and which way you can turn.

I got a baby mirror for Gideon so he and I can see each other when we're alone in the van. I like it; I think he will when he realizes it's there! Can you see it in my rearview mirror? (I'm stopped at the library dropping off books - not driving when I took this picture!)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Just another day in the Bailey house

Definition please?
A while back we used the word "Epitome" and the kids asked what it meant. If you don't know this word, it rhymes with (and has the same meter as) "give it to me".
Carolyn and Seth immediately started asking their phones what epitome means. Carolyn kept getting irritated that her phone misunderstood her and was hearing the wrong word. After about 5 to 10 times, she griped that it kept bringing up "epitome" (pronounce it to rhyme with garden gnome).

This was funny enough and we all laughed at the mistake. A few nights ago, Rob commented on something about the kids, using the word epitome, and then repeated it but pronouncing it phonetically. It's now a family joke.

Labor day at Pine Island
We got together with Rob's family on labor day. We had a picnic, let the kids play in the sand, and swam in the pool. (It was the last day the pool was open for the season.)

He's so cute, we could eat him up! 
(What a weird phrase)
Alee was being odd (odd compared to most, which for her is normal). She started trying to kiss the baby and ended up licking the baby. I told her to stop, and someone accused someone else of licking the baby another time. I asked all, who has licked the baby?? Alee proudly raised her hand, and Carolyn and Natalie pointed at each other. !?!?
Nope. Didn't ask for that story! Weird kids.

School and church kept us busy most nights last week and the week ended with a finger injury for Seth (PE volleyball). (Why do kids always seem to get sick or hurt at the weekend? I couldn't get him in anywhere so we taped his middle finger to the index in a splint until Monday.)

Be prepared!

Hurricane Irma was headed towards Florida this past weekend was predicted to give us some bad weather.. (It turned and lessened and missed us, for which we were grateful.) But we did have a bad thunderstorm, which knocked out our power for 2 hours, so we decided to have an FHE that night to talk about emergency preparedness.
We have about 30-50 gallons of water stored (for drinking, plus non-potable water for washing or flushing) and we have some food (but very scattered selection and not organized so I'm not sure what we have?) and we have flashlights and a Dutch oven and charcoal and a grill and 72 hour kits and soon to arrive, a generator we recently ordered, but there are areas we are lacking. For example: We don't need to rush out and buy water to last a few days when they announce a disaster, but if it's raining and we have no electricity cooking is tricky and takes too long.

So each child thought of a natural disaster and then we talked about how we could prepare for that disaster. It was sort of fun, and we made a list of things we need to buy and do to prepare even more. I hope to share some of our preparedness adventures.

Growing boy

Gideon had his 2 month check-up on Monday. He is over 13 lbs and 23" long. I think that's bigger than the others at that age. He seems so big in other ways too - holding his head up and talking to us, and his current clothes and diapers are getting tight. I love watching him grow. 

I've started working on getting in shape and I do push-ups on the edge of the bathroom counter (because I'm too week to do them on the floor)! I do them while he's lying there after a diaper change. He smiles big when I move my face towards and away from him over and over. He thinks I'm playing a game with him.

First real x-rays!

After nearly 15 years of raising children, we finally have needed an x-ray (for Seth's jammed bruised bent finger), and as it turns out, we also have our first break. The pediatrician said it looked more than a jammed finger and sent us to the orthopedic doctor that afternoon. (Seth said their lollipop tasted like cherry medicine.)

Seth has a broken index finger. It's a little break and doesn't cause him much pain, but we do want his musical fingers to heal straight. :)

They called it a bony fleck. A tiny little piece broke off, and to help it heal straight, he has to wear a splint for the rest of the month during the day. 

It really worked out well that school was cancelled Monday so he was able to go to both appointments and miss no school. In addition to that, my mother in law (and more of Rob's family came to visit and entertained the girls while I was out with the boys).
We feel blessed for the convenience of it all and for the only minor injury and that the extra doctor visits happened in a year when we've already met our deductible (thanks to Gideon). ;)

After school is when life gets interesting
The kids all fight over who gets to hold Gideon after school (while waiting in the older kids' car rider line and when we get home). They insist they can hold him while they do homework and it doesn't distract them....sure...

Alee is so excited to finally have real homework. She's pretty efficient, except for the reading. 15 minutes is 15 minutes - no speeding that up. (And it's her least favorite part to do; she's fastest at the math.)

Every day chaos, organized
The fun thing about loading or unloading at drop off is the amount of stuff and people in the van!
We have a seating chart based on day of the week and whether it's drop off or pick up. (It ended the fights and made getting in or out more efficient.)
I'm sure people behind us wonder why we take so long to get moving in line and why we bother to put things in the trunk, but if they only knew...

I bring with me most mornings:
6 kids
5 backpacks
2-5 lunch boxes
3 instruments
3 shoulder rests (for instruments)
1 small seminary bag
1 gymnastics bag (Wednesday)

And I often check (in addition to these) if the oldest two remembered charged Chromebooks, gym clothes, and school IDs in their backpacks.

They are all good about remembering their own things, but occasionally something is forgotten. Not surprising with so many possibilities to forget!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Kids and pets

We were talking recently about medicine and I said almost all medicine when I was a kid was cherry flavored. This led to conversation that led to Kaitlyn's weird quote:
"If I lived in the stone ages or whatever it was called when you were young I would have hated it. You didn't have iPhones, you didn't have computers. They didn't have good TVs. They didn't have good Kindles. They didn't have good sprinklers." (Not true)

We forgot some things on the way to 5th grade meet the teacher (my phone and her headband... Mine was a little more important since Seth and Carolyn were home alone and needed to be able to contact me). We turned around to go back home and run in to get the things. Alee said, "I'll run in to get my headband, but you don't run Mom, because then you'll have to go to the bathroom and we don't have time for that."
(True, but I've got goals to get back in shape!)

The turtle:
We got him a fish (another pleco) to take care of the algae in the tank, so we also got a little tank decoration for the fish to hide in.

The turtle has already snapped at him a few times and will not leave his little broken ship hiding spot alone! Grrr! He also keeps pulling up the mat in his habitat and trying to eat it. I wish I could give the turtle time out!

The kids are not allowed to name the pleco in case this one dies too; I do not want tears. I told him they could call it the vacuum.

Two older ladies at the store were helping me load my groceries at the register the day I bought the fish (because Gideon HAD to be held in the store that day) and were talking to me. Found out I have 6 kids and saw the fish. One laughed and jokingly asked if I didn't already have enough mouths to feed. :)

Alee's obsession:
She has this obsessive fear about things getting into her mouth lately and the consequences if something does. (I find this funny since everything went into her mouth for about 3 years straight. So many chewed up flip flops... It was like we owned a dog!) Anyways... Here are some of her comments to give example. This is just the past 3 days. (My comments or explanation where needed is in parenthesis.)

(Couldn't find dropped earring.)
What if it got in my mouth?

I was rubbing (my hand) on my mouth and it came off (a tiny scab). What will happen if it got in my mouth?

I was opening the Dawn and I put it on the counter and some shooted out. What if some got in my mouth?

I bumped into the side of the tank. What if turtle water got in my mouth? Or I might have accidentally stuck my hand in the water. (Did you?) No. Or I might eat the fish; like if his tail fell off and I ate it. What would happen?
(I think that has been my favorite so far!)

This morning I had a poptart. What if I ate the wrapper? (Wouldn't you know if you ate the wrapper?) What if a small piece was sticked to the poptart and I didn't know and it got in my mouth and I ate it? What would happen?

When I was spraying it, it got on my feet. What if it gets in my mouth while I'm sleeping? (Bug spray intended to be used on people that I let her use around the bed so she would stop worrying about an earwig possibly coming into her room and climbing up into her bed.)

A stick blew away. What if it got in my mouth? (Oh Alee) What if it did?! (It was nature; I'm sure you'll be fine.) Oh ok.

I accidentally sprayed her (meaning a stuffed animal) with bug spray* and Kaitlyn slept with her and she fell on my head this morning. What if it (the bug spray residue from 36 hours ago)got in my mouth? (*The kind of spray you put on people to go outside, the night before last.)
(It didn't. You're fine.) Can you wash her anyways to be sure?

This has been going on for weeks. I'm curious to see how long she frets over consuming something harmful by accident. I'm also curious how this got started. I'm very much into washing hands before eating and after using the bathroom and such, but she's taking her wellness to a new level.

Faces in the family:
Several people have said Gideon looks like Alee as a baby. Apparently, Google photos agrees! When I searched Alee's face (I have tags and it follows the person through all ages), Gideon's photos are mixed with Alee's. I'll have to figure out how to tell Google they're two people!

The opposite is true with Kaitlyn. I have to regularly merge photos of her into the same tag because Google face recognition thinks it's 2 different people. (I have to do this with other people occasionally, but with Kaitlyn the most.)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

First day of School - 23 August 2017

Seth stared seminary Tuesday. He attends with most of the kids from our ward, but also kids from other wards who attend the charter school/academy where it's held. Since the class has kids from 3 schools in 3 different districts, the calendar is not so simple. It was nice to have a practice day. 

Rob took him to seminary on his way to work. Class starts at 6:30am. He loves it. His aunt (Rob's sister) is his teacher and she puts a lot in to making it a great spiritual and fun experience.

We (5 other kids and I) leave home about 7am and pick him up after class ends at 7:20 and begin our school drop off rounds. He's an early bird, so early morning seminary isn't hard for him. And it's on Rob's way to work and he likes going in early, so that's easy too. It's only hard for those of us at home who don't like getting up early (have to leave 30 minutes earlier this year) and those who don't like to eat on a schedule (Gideon) who are struggling a little. But we'll get into a routine.

Fortunately, the elementary girls still get free lunch this year, so lunch boxes aren't every day. (Since I'm not making 15 lunch boxes/week, I buy more $$ convenience food they can put together themselves if needed.)

First day of school

I can't believe they are in their last year of elementary school!

No, you can't be homeschooled and stay home with Gideon! Our 7th grader.

Going to pick up Seth from seminary. (Their faces show their feelings about starting school.)

Alee found one of her best friends within 2 minutes. They don't have class together, but she sees her at recess.

Ran right in and jumped into the routine like she'd never missed a day for summer break! (We get free breakfast in the classroom at our school.)

Then onto high school drop off. He was ready and confident. I was so glad.
I can't believe I have a child in high school. (Only 4 years left until he's a grown up. How did this happen so quickly?)
Fun fact: That was my brother's book bag when he was in high school about 20 years ago.

She was also confident and ready. Her schedule needed a fix, which they did at our request, but without communicating with us (other than our submitting the request), so her schedule fix actually needed another fix. She kind of flipped out and had a little drama in her day. After I took care of the drama yesterday afternoon, I took care of the schedule this morning. The guidance was slammed with schedule fixes, but hers went through easily with no wait; another prayer answered. She skipped off to class this morning (well, as much as you can skip in middle school).

And Gideon and I are left to figure out how this schedule at home without all of the other kids is going to work. He wants to be held all day (expected) and mostly by me. I do love to hold him, but maybe not ALL day.

We won't start dance until after labor day, so we have this week and next week to ease into the schedule before we are full-on school year mode!

Total Solar Eclipse

This might possibly be the coolest thing in nature I've ever experienced. Rob said it so well, so I'll just repeat the words he sent to a few people in email, and then I'll add my own to that.

It was so cool!

From about 2:00 until 2:40, we checked the sun every few minutes with our eclipse glasses.
At 2:40, it was like early dusk, and we felt something was coming.
At 2:41, it felt like past sunset. Another cool thing was that it looked like sunset in every direction, on every horizon. It was so dark that my camera couldn't catch any faces, no matter how close I got to them.
We enjoyed the "ring" by eye only. None of our lesser mortal cameras could capture it.
At about 2:43, the world got brighter, by very minor degrees
By 2:45, the sun was out enough to feel like early morning.
By 2:50, the sun felt like it was back to 100 percent, even though it wasn't.
We kept checking with our eclipse glasses until about 3:30, maybe even 4:00.

It's now after 5 and we're all showered and done for the day. It's hot out there! The City of Columbia calls it "Famously Hot". I call it "too hot".

Feel free to distribute this summary and the amateur photos I've attached. I got them by rigging a cut pair of eclipse glasses to my phone lens. I called it my eclipse monocle.

You have to have special glasses. (Not to view the eclipse when it's completely covered, but to view the sun being eclipsed since even a small partial sun is dangerous to look at directly with your eyes.) We got ours free from the dentist earlier this year. Rob split one that we got extra with someone to use over his phone lens.

He spent a while rigging things up and messing with it, but he got some good shots. Usually, I'm the one messing with photo-related stuff, but I took the kids to play while he got all techy.

Look at his best shots:

When you look through the eclipse glasses, everything is dark (completely!) except for very very bright lights or flashes. When you look towards the sun while wearing them, you see all black except orange where the sun is. If you tried to take them off (even while it's being eclipsed) and look at the sun, it looks the same as any other day - blindingly bright. (Literally blinding - don't look at the sun! You might go blind!) :)

When we first got there, Gideon slept.

We hung out with friends and tried out our glasses, looking at the partial eclipse, and playing on the zipline.

Gideon woke up just in time (of course!). I had wanted to try and get one shot while it was totally eclipsed (because Rob's eclipse monocle did not fit over my very large regular camera lens). But Gideon did not have that same plan.

Can you guess what he wanted to do??

This picture doesn't even show what it really looked like, but it's the best we got. You could see the dark sky with a dark/black circle and around it a narrow glow of light. The sun's corona showed. It was beautiful. (This picture shows the corona bigger than what we saw. And of course, the sun looks tiny because I do not own a telegraphic lens. I'm sure NASA got some awesome shots)

The humidity felt so much lighter, so the kids actually wanted to play outside for the 20 minutes right after the eclipse.

Our friends have a zipline, so we had fun on that. No picture of me, but I tried it too (not the kid version with a seat the girls are trying, but the hang from the handlebars version.) It was awesome!

 The girls pointed out our cupcakes were like an eclipsed sun from the top view. (Not pre-planned like my friend's sun chips and moon pies, but I'll take it!)

Alee wants a tire swing for her birthday. 
(But flat not on its side. I'll have to see what we can do; we cut down our biggest trees.)

Natalie wants to travel in 7 years to one of the states that will get a total solar eclipse in April 2024. I wish it had lasted longer than 2 1/2 minutes; it felt so fast.

Wow! Life hit the ground and ran

I'm going to post 3 posts today (assuming Gideon continues sleeping on me until I'm finished with all 3). The first is just August stuff I wanted to post (before during and after the other 2 posts). The 2nd is the total Solar Eclipse we experienced here (amazing!). The 3rd is first day of school. Let's go!

I had taken photos of the other 4 (I almost said 3! counting/adding beyond 5 kids is new to me!), so I had to get photos of the oldest 2 (post haircuts). I used a shutterfly gift card I've been saving a while to order 8x10s of these for the wall. I'll update them next year after my favorite photographer has her baby and is back in business.

Here's Carolyn.
(oops - I mean to edit that strand of hair that is longer than the rest before I ordered these. I knew I forgot an edit. That's the whole reason I got her hair trimmed - so it would all be even. I thought I'd done a bad job, but even the professional can't fix her stick-straight hair to be the same length. It looks it right after cutting, but after that it never looks all the same length again no matter how you brush it or wear it!?)

Carolyn took some pictures with Gideon.
Seth just wanted to be in and out of my little "photo studio" and get back to his book!

I took a photography class (just a little one) when Alee was a toddler. I'd like to take a photoshop editing class to learn more than what I've learned so far when Gideon is a little older to learn some editing techniques.

Gideon is smiling more often. The kids love trying to get him to smile. He's not smiling so much while they're at school. I think he misses the chaos and does not appreciate the extra time in the carseat.

He also is "talking" a little bit. (Not a lot of noises, but some.)

He didn't have much opinion about the water when we took him swimming last Saturday. He did want to eat as soon as we got into the pool. My always hungry baby.
(Yea for that hat that's next year's size and my nursing swim top. I was so discreet Alee thought he was just sleeping when she came up to see him.)

He was probably out of the water the same amount he was in the water. He napped on Rob. (And I got to dive - both back and front dive. Ah, it's nice to be able to bend backwards again!) We took some friends with us so the kids had someone close in age to play with in the pool. And no one got burned. It was a good day.

We are back in school mode (progressing towards full school mode, but not there yet), and life is about to get busy. The "normal" busy, but it feels busier, because we've been so relaxed the past 6 weeks. Next post!