Friday, February 28, 2014

What did you do all day?

My husband came home not long ago and asked me "what did you do all day?"... after the day I had, I whirled around and gave him a look.  I calmed down quickly when he said "Oh, I didn't mean it like that..... How was your day?"  In his defense, he didn't mean it how it came out! 

However it got me thinking.... and after a conversation on Facebook about being a Stay-At-Home-Mom or a Homeschooling Mom, people think you have all the free time in the world to watch TV, relax, and just lounge all day in our jammies. 

I though I would take this opportunity to tell you exactly "what I do all day!"  This might get a little long!

My first alarm on my phone goes off at 2:30 am.  That is the time that Joe gets up for work.  He leaves the house at 3 am and starts work at 4 am.  So that wakes me up and if he doesn't get up from either that or his alarm, I wake him up.  Then most every day I return to sleep... some days I stay awake, but not often if I can help it!

My second alarm goes off at 5:30 am.  I typically do hit snooze two times.. for a total of 16 minutes.  I think it makes me feel like I am sleeping in.  LOL.. though I know different.

I get out of bed, make a trip to the bathroom and get dressed (typically in lounge pants and a t-shirt unless I have appointments in which case I might  re-do my hair quickly, slap on a little make-up and brush my teeth.  By this time it's about 5:55 or so. 

Out to the kitchen to make coffee or warm up what might be left from yesterday and get the dishes from before bed into the dishwasher.  I then sit down for about 10 minutes while drinking my coffee and checking emails and calendar with schedules for the day. 

By 6:30 the kids start rousing.  Katie is always first... then Josie is close behind.  I get them breakfast.. Katie almost always eats cereal along with Owen and Josie has toast with cream cheese.  Yes, my children are creatures of habit too!!

Then I get the backpacks ready with snow boots, snow pants, coats on top with hats and mittens.  I also make sure that all homework is tucked in their bags as well as any library books.  Then I put their shoes by their other paraphernalia.  Then we check lunch calendars for the day and see if we are packing lunch or eating at school.  If it's lunches -- commence packing lunches.

I typically have clothes laid out the night before and by this time Owen is typically up and eating breakfast.  Everyone gets their clothes and gets them on (only the three bigs).  By this time it's shortly after 7 am and I put the dishes from breakfast in dishwasher and make sure everyone is dressed and has socks and boots/shoes on.  Then at 7:20, Evelyn gets up and is changed and dressed, followed by Landon.  Then out to start the truck so it can warm up over the next 20-30 minutes since it's more than likely below ZERO outside.

At 7:30 Jacob gets up, changed and dressed and his coat on.  Then he is sat in the high chair and had his cereal before his bus comes.  

Meanwhile, I take Landon & Evelyn out to the truck and get them buckled in.  Katie, Owen & Josie get their coats, hats, mittens on.. get their back packs and head to the truck.  By this time it's 7:50 when Jake's bus arrives.  I put him on the bus and then take the other three to school (3 blocks away). 

After dropping them at school, come home, feed Landon & Evelyn breakfast, which can take until almost 8:30 or 8:45 depending on what they are having.  Then they are sent to play.... I start cleaning up from the rest of breakfast,  start the dishwasher and start laundry.  I can easily do 3 loads a day even when I am caught up which will probably NEVER happen again in this house.  While the laundry is in the washer and dryer, I do the daily chores... sweeping the dining room/kitchen, vacuuming the living room, changing the garbage, taking out the recycling from the day before, going through school papers and deciding what to keep and what to pitch. 

Laundry is constant throughout the day.. so that never stops.  At this point we are at 11 am.  This is my break time... I sit down.. for one hour... and I watch Young & The Restless...this is my "ME" time during the day.  At noon, I feed Evelyn & Landon and let them play while I get the dishes done and the dishwasher (remember I started it earlier) dishes put away.

Then at 1 pm, the kids go down for a nap.  During that time, I finish folding laundry.. make any phone calls I need to make, to insurance, therapies, or doctor office.  I also check FB, email and see whats going on in the world, but I generally don't sit down to do this.... it's done while I am cleaning up, folding laundry etc. 

At 2:30, I get the kids up from nap, change diapers, get their coats on and load up to go get kids from school at 3:15.  I arrive early so I am parked in the same spot every day!  Then pick up kids at 3:15-3:20.  Take the carpool kids home and return home by 3:30 and then Jake's bus arrives anywhere between 3:40-3:50.  Then it's chaos.. everyone wants a snack... oh I forgot...while kids are down for their nap, typically I will start to prep dinner for the evening too.  Snacks then, homework, just utter chaos because by this time daddy is home too.  Dinner finishing.. cleaning up the snack dishes and into the dishwasher.

Dinner is typically on the table at about 5:30 then eat... clean up ... and if I am lucky I get to sit down at 7 pm... but usually someone has something to do or I have something to do out of the house.  Typically it's more like 8 or 9 pm when I get to sit down after putting the kids to bed at 8 pm.  Then by 10 pm I am ready for bed... sometimes later depending on what I have to do...... which can involve more laundry.....more dishes... or forms to fill out for this or that! 

That's my day in a nutshell... then factor into there, dr appointments, therapy, grocery store visits, school activities, sports, church, etc etc etc.  The other day in addition to that I had three dr appts for the kids mixed in there!

I am not telling you this for sympathy, I handle it just fine most days... however when I say that I haven't had a shower in 5 days, this is the reason why.  I don't have time some days and some days when I do have time.. I don't have the energy!  LOL

So next time you are thinking about the life of luxury of a Stay-At-Home- Mom..... PLEASE know, it's not all soap operas and bon-bons!  It's a lot of work and there are days (thank goodness not very many) that I would love to escape for a day of 9-5 office work... where no one asks me to do anything extra.. cut their food or change their diapers! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Thought I would share some of our family pictures that we had taken!  They turned out so great!!! Love every single one of them!!


















Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year's Resolutions (Who needs 'Em??)

I have never really  been one to make New Year's Resolutions!  They have never really been for me.  Though I am also a procrastinator and a quitter... there are probably 100 projects that I either have the stuff to make and never started or have 1/2 started and never finished. 

I've (in the past 9 years) blamed it on the fact that I have kids. (And kept adding at an alarming rate) so who has time for even the most menial of tasks let alone arts and craft time.  I sometimes don't even have time to shower on any given day let alone take a ton of time for myself.  Who am I kidding?? I would just like 10 minutes to go to the bathroom ALONE!  But, with 6 children, that may not happen at least for another 10 years! 

This year, I have decided not to really make resolutions per say.. However, I do want to make some life and habit changes for this coming year.  I read on one of my FB friends status (Thanks Diane), that we should choose a word and make changes towards that "word" over the course of the next year. 

So, that is what I am doing.  I have taken about 24 hours to decide what my "word" is going to be.  I could probably find 100 different words that I need to work on, but one ALWAYS comes to mind to make my life feel more in my control and hopefully make me feel more grounded if I can focus on it.

Organization is my word for the year.  This is something I need to work on.  I keep a very strict calendar and I typically know what I am doing on any given day at least a week in advance.  I keep three-four calendars.  One on the fridge, one on our phones, one in my purse and one on the counter.  I also keep a secret one in the cupboard that we don't want everyone that comes to our house to know about... that one holds information that I really only want to share with my husband!  lol

However the rest of my house is a chaotic mess.  Now, don't go calling hoarders (unless you are talking about the floor of my laundry room, then make that call :)  )  I am not a hoarder, at least I don't think I am.  I can pitch with the  best of them.  However with 6 kids, 4 of whom are in school, the paper clutter and clothes clutter is OFF.THE.CHARTS!!  How can 4 kids in school generate that much paper.. I mean seriously.  I try to only keep the really important stuff, but when you're 9, 8 and 6,  and 6, EVERYTHING is important.  

I feel like if my house were organized and there was a place for almost everything, I could stay caught up.  That might be a pipe dream the first weekend I am gone from home and Joe is here with all 6 kids by himself.    However, I feel that organization is the first step in me getting in my groove here at home with the two new kiddo's.  It's taking me some time to get adjusted.  The kids are great and doing great... way better than we could have ever expected thus far, but I on the other hand, I am having a more difficult to the addition of two children.  

I sleep better in an organized room.... that's a proven fact for me.  I function better in an organized home and I have more motivation to be productive in an organized space.  Anyone I have ever worked with can verify this.  My desk was always clean... perfectly so.. organized probably more than most people care to look at.  

Home should be that way.. not perfect, but organized so if someone wants something, I can walk right to where it IS and grab it for them rather than having to dig through three rooms before I realize it's not in any of them and it's in the garage because I stuck it out there when someone called and said they were coming over in 10 minutes and it needed a temporary home.

A neighbor came over the other day and came in to deliver a Christmas present for us.  My house was clean... however it was cluttered and I was embarrassed.  I don't want that to happen again.  
 
So, what am I going to do to get organized you ask?  I am not really sure beyond a couple things.  

I am not going to bed until and  unless my sink is clean of dishes.  It stressed me to wake up to have dishes in the sink... so on night two of the year, we are on our way to that goal.. two nights of a clean sink going to bed and it's been so much better in the mornings.

The second thing that I am going to do is this challenge.  

http://moneysavingmom.com/2012/04/4-weeks-to-a-more-organized-home-assignment-1.html



Myself and 21 other people on FB have agreed to motivate each other to do keep up on this activity and hopefully after 4 weeks we'll be a better version of our homes and our lives.  I fully intend to continue on this  on a monthly basis for some of these things to keep it in my rotation.  I have added some of this to one of my many calenders and we are starting it on Monday, January 6th.  If you'd like to join us and be part of our FB group, please let me know, and I will be happy to add you!!

I will keep you posted on my progress every couple days.  I might even post pictures of what I throw out an what I organize that particular day to track my progress!

Let's get Organized!!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We're BACK!!!!!

My blog is back open.... yes it is!

I closed it last year in the middle of October and it's been private for a year.  Don't worry, you didn't miss any posts.  There weren't any.

We had a rough year.. a year full of ups and downs for our family.  I am NOT going to go into detail about what happened.  I WON'T be answering any questions about the past year.  It is BEHIND me and I am moving on with my life.  Those people that I can trust and I know are behind me, know my story.. those that don't... it's not your concern so please mind your own business and worry about your own lives.

Now with that out of the way, we'll move forward.  Our latest news, most of you know is that we went to Bulgaria to bring home our newest additions.  We are so happy to have Landon and Evelyn as part of our family!  We are now a family of 8.  Here are a couple pictures to get you through until I can update our blog with professional pictures that will be coming later this week!  So until my next post, which should be soon with the way our life has been the past couple weeks, Here are our newest additions!!!!




Sunday, October 7, 2012

Update on Us!

I haven’t blogged in awhile so I wanted to post a quick update on how things are going.  Now that we have settled into school and everything else going on, I am hoping to have lots to blog about and be here often.

Hockey has started for Owen and Katie has decided to join in with him.  Their first practice was Wednesday and they both did great.  Owen (at 5 years old) got moved up with the bigger kids.  He did awesome at line drills and puck handling on Wednesday! 

Katie is with the beginners, but is one of the best out there.  She gets the concept of skating and did such a great job on her first night with all those pads and with all boys except one other girl.  We were so proud of her. 

Here are a couple pictures of the first night!

236

Katie is all decked out in Pink… Don’t they both look cute??

259

Waiting his turn with the puck!

304

Still Standing.. she only fell a couple of times!!

323

She’s already got Hockey Teeth!  LOL

Josie and Jake are doing great.  Josie is loving school and so is Jacob.  Here are a couple pictures of the two comedians!!!

020

Oh mom.. PLEASE!!!!!

073

Yep.. I am so darned cute.. booger nose and all!!!!

 

090

Posing at the apple orchard.. Much rather do a photo shoot than pick apples!!

182

Such a big boy with his walker at the apple orchard.  He walked all over for most of the morning!!  BIG BOY!!!!!

195

Josie let me paint her face and spray her hair for homecoming which is a HUGE step for her.  She typically hates face painting and anything sprayed in her hair!!! 

Now a quick update on the status of our adoption.  We have been submitted to court.  We are now waiting to hear which judge will hear our case and when that will be.  We are hoping for a court date before the end of October, however I am thinking that it might be the beginning of November before we actually have court, which will mean the beginning of December when I travel to get the kids.  We are in a waiting pattern right now so I will keep you posted on any new information!  We are still quite short on funds… if you so feel led to donate to our adoption, you can do that with the chip-in on the right side bar of the blog… prayers are ALWAYS needed as well that everything falls into place for travel and court etc.  THANK YOU all for your continued support!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Respite Care

I haven’t blogged in awhile… quick update on us… school started a couple weeks ago.. everyone is happy in their new classes and are off to a great start to the year. 

Adoption – we had our VISA appointment about a week ago..went very well.  Now we are waiting for the Article 5 letter to be translated and authenticated and it will be submitted to the MOJ next week.  At that point, we will wait for a signature from the Minister and then we’ll get submitted to court for a court date.  Then about a month after our court date, we’ll travel to bring our two new additions home!  I can’t wait to get them here!!  Ahhh I miss them so much!!!!

OK, on to the topic of the day!  I have had a lot of people ask me recently about respite care for their children.  Some agree that respite care is great and very needed…others disagree with respite care and can’t imagine going anywhere without one or more of your children. 

…today I am going to put it out there.. my feelings on respite care. 

We live in Iowa… where we have some of the best services for people with special needs.  We receive respite care for both Josie and Jacob.  We will add Landon and Evelyn to that plan when we get them home.  We receive respite through the I.D Waiver.  The Intellectual Disabilities Waiver (used to be called the M.R Waiver and yes it is what you think it is).  This is a program in Iowa that if your child qualifies for, you can have services for your child while it waives the income of the family.  With this waiver, we get respite, supported community living and medicaid (for us its supplemental to our private insurance) along with a laundry list of other services that our kids aren’t quite old enough for yet.  The three listed above are the ones that we use for now. 

We have quite a few hours that we can use of respite per month and we use every single hour.  Sometimes we use it so Joe and I are able to have a date night once or twice a month… sometimes so I can do things if Joe is working or vice versa.  There are other times that we use it for Josie and Jake together so we can do something with Katie and Owen alone.  We have used it individually for Josie and Jake so that the rest of us could do something that might not interest the other one. 

For instance this past weekend, our respite worker came to our home, to watch the kids while Joe and I went out for a bit.. then when we came home, she took Jake home with her and he spent the night there.  The next morning we took the older kids to a tiny amusement park near us for mini-golf, go-carts and a bounce pillow.  Then we went to lunch sans Jake.

I know some of you are thinking ….. WHY not take Jake with you??  I am going to be perfectly honest here.  We love Jake, he is our son… he is definitely part of our world and we love to take him with us to do mostly everything, but he is a lot of work at times.  He is 5, he’s mentally like a 6-12 month old and he is the size of a 2 year old.  He doesn’t walk on his own, he doesn’t feed himself (at least not at a restaurant).  When he’s overstimulated, he pulls hair and head butts.  He needs a stroller or to be held wherever we go.  Knowing all of this, we KNEW that he would not enjoy or get anything out of watching us do this stuff.  We would have pushed him in the stroller the entire day and he would have been overstimulated and too hot to be happy at all. 

We use respite and I think it’s the greatest service that we have for the kids.  Some families use respite for a few hours here and there, others use it to have a little vacation from the trials and tribulations that are their household.  We all need a break… we have to have a break and there is nothing wrong.. in my opinion.. with using respite.  It makes me a better mother.. to have time away from my kids…whether that be an hour or two days or a week. 

I would pray that those of you who don’t believe in respite, to please not judge those of us that use it….until you walk a day in our shoes at our homes, you can’t know.  I need respite.. I love respite.. I will continue to use respite and I will suggest it to anyone that asks me.  What is your opinion on respite?  I would like to hear it!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Whew…. Finally getting a chance to update!!

Our last few weeks has been so busy.  I can’t believe how many things need to be done before school starts NEXT week!  Ahhhh…  So I will give you a rundown on what’s up at our house.

On the adoption front:  Our I800-a should be approved in the next day or two.  We have the same officer as we did previously.  Officer L is AWESOME and she even has visited our blog to see Landon and Evelyn.  She said that it was nice to see as typically they only deal with the paperwork and don’t get to see the faces attached with all those papers.  That was cool.  So as soon as we get that approval, it will be sent to the US Embassy in Sofia.  Then we will have a Visa appointment that our AWESOME attorney – Toni will attend for us.  We will then be issued an Article 5 letter and then I believe our documents will be sent to court, where they will sit until at least September 1st.  Courts in Bulgaria are closed until September 1st and have been since mid July.  Nice vacation huh??   So my best guess is that we will travel end of October to pick up the kids.  SUPER EXCITED about that!!!!  We still have a lot of money to raise, so if you are looking for something to do with a couple buckets of money, we have a chip in on our side bar or our Family Sponsorship Account with Reece’s Rainbow!

Home Front:  Tomorrow we are having two of these delivered: (well since I am late in getting this posted, this was actually today and I will get pictures up tomorrow!!)

5aab44bbc747b14ffff86c5ffffe417

and set up in each of the kids rooms.  We have been blessed beyond belief to be gifted these beds.  Some gracious people who shall remain nameless have been so kind as to purchase these for our family.  Also, the man that made them gave us a huge discount as well for our adoption.  He is coming to our house tomorrow to set them up.  We are super excited to have these beautiful beds in our home.  Praise GOD!!!

Today we were also gifted two full size mattresses for them.  I can’t tell you what a God thing that was.  I can tell you though it was an answer to prayer for sure. 

We painted these rooms this weekend and I will be taking pictures tomorrow of the empty rooms as well as with the beds so stay tuned.

The kids:   We are getting ready for school that starts AUGUST 15th!!  UGH!!  I am not quite ready for summer to be over and for ALL my kids to be in school!  Makes me sad in fact.  I will be alone here at home on the days I have off work. It will be strange, but I am assuming that I will get a lot accomplished for the first few weeks and then I might be a little bored.  We’ll see.

Josie will be in second grade, Katie in first and Owen in Kindergarten.  Jake will have another year of full time preschool.  We have all the backpacks packed and ready for the meet and greet with the teachers on Monday.  Here they are, sitting at the ready and I have caught the kids sitting and staring at them since I have told them they are grounded if the even so much as think about touching them to please keep their hands off the school supplies. 

552675_10152010773295026_1632302792_n

Our summer:  At the beginning of the summer, we purchased a pool pass for our family.  This is the first time we have done this, however with 6 of us at $3.00 each every time we go, it adds up.  We weren’t sure we would get our money’s worth, but boy we were wrong.  We were at the pool nearly EVERY SINGLE DAY this summer.  We spent the days of 100 to 103 weather we spent having fun in the water!  I must say it’s the best money we spent and we made some wonderful memories there this summer.  I must say as well, that it has been much easier taking all 4 kids to the pool than it has been having them at home.  Not nearly as much fighting and they got some serious exercise there.  Here are some pictures from our time at the pool.

2012-06-13_14-34-06_233

2012-06-13_14-34-39_239(1)

2012-06-13_14-35-08_777

2012-07-31_14-27-43_582

406683_10151995819760026_15288671_n

Stay tuned for summer part 2 post in the next couple days!!!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday Landon!!

Today is Landon’s birthday!  He turns 6 years old today.  This day he has always spent in the orphanage…..but it’s his LAST birthday behind those walls.  I am so sad that I can’t be there with him to let him enjoy some cake and ice cream and give him presents to open.  I love that boy.  I miss him like crazy and it breaks my heart that he is spending this birthday there and not here with the family that will love him forever.

Birthdays with Jacob and now Landon and Evelyn always bring me to a different place than they do with my biological kids.  It gets me thinking about their “other” family… the family who didn’t think they could care for them.. mostly their mothers.  Do they think about them on these days?  Does she remember that 6 years ago she was in a hospital so happy and elated to finally be delivering this baby?  Or has she blocked this from her mind because it didn’t turn out quite as she had hoped?  Did she feel shattered at the thought that her little one was not “perfect” like she had hoped?  Does she just more than anything want to forget this day ever even existed?  I wonder.

I am glad!  I am glad she chose to give her child life… I am sad that she didn’t think she had the strength to care for her child, but rather she entrusted someone else to care for him until we could come and bring him to our family.  I am happy she did that!  He was meant to be our son from the beginning.. God knew that!  He knew that we would see him and fall in love with that glimmer in his eyes.  He put this into motion more years ago than I can count!  He knew! 

Happy Birthday to my sweet boy!  This year we will celebrate on your 1/2 birthday because by the Grace of God you will be home in our arms by then!  Today we will celebrate your birth here with cake and we’ll sing to you while each of us blows out one candle on your cake!  Knowing that when you are here, you will celebrate a lifetime of birthdays blowing out your own candles surrounded by the love of your ENTIRE family who already love you more than life itself!! 

015

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sorry for the absence!!

So I got home almost a week ago.  My flight from Chicago was delayed so instead of arriving in Des Moines at 6:30 pm, my flight didn’t get in until almost 8 pm, so then we drove home and I got to snuggle the kids for about 15 minutes and we all headed to bed.  I had to work the next morning and the kids had daycare.  Needless to say, jet lag reared it’s ugly head and I was wide awake and starving at 2:30 am.  Nice. 

Worked Monday mostly in a fog really, but got through the day.  We had a nice 4th of July.  Parade in Charles City and then back to Grundy for swimming and fireworks in Reinbeck.  Here are a couple pictures from the parade that morning.

557169_10151915534565026_416244759_n

Loving the firetrucks and sirens!!!

205242_10151915521050026_1377938749_n

On a quick break from candy gathering!  LOL

I have been trying to catch up on housework, though Joe did an excellent job while I was gone… dishes and laundry stayed caught up while I was gone so that was the biggest thing. 

Been to the pool a few days and this weekend is Felix Grundy Celebration here in town.  We’ll be going to the parade this afternoon and to the pool for a few hours before the parade. 

I have been keeping busy….. have to or I get all emotional that two of my children are 1/2 way around the world and I miss the heck out of them.  I will be so happy when they are here with us and our family can start to function with 6 kids.  Many people have asked about ages.. when they come home they will be 8, 7, 6, 5, 5 and 4….  so yes, they are close, but I think that will be great for the new ones to just fit right in the mix and learn from the other ones. 

That’s it for today.  I will be posting more… about our process, our busy life and mostly about our kids… here and in Bulgaria!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vratsa Bulgaria

This is where I am right now…. in Hotel Hemus in Vratsa Bulgaria.  It’s a great hotel.. very nice and pretty cheap compared to American standards.  It’s 55 leva a night which translates to $35 USD per night and that includes breakfast. 

The breakfast is good… it was particularly good the first day here when we went to eat at the buffet breakfast BEFORE the about 20 high school aged boys that are staying here too.  I believe they are wrestlers and I am not sure what they are doing, however they eat A LOT and sometimes when we get down there, there isn’t much left, but we make due with some bread and maybe an egg or two!  LOL

There is a beautiful square out in front of the hotel… no cars… just walking… then across the little street is blocks and blocks of shops.  Just stores, cafĂ©’s and restaurants.  No cars, only for people walking and it is really nice. 

There are mountains all around here with these beautiful rock cliffs on the sides of them!  Here are some pictures as I ventured around the city yesterday.  It’s a city of about 65,000 people so it’s not at all the size of Sofia (2 million or a bit more) but it’s so pretty here. 

068

069

070

072

073

075

076

078

080

081

082

084

086

088

089

090

092