Thursday, February 26, 2015

This Week at Our House #8

  1. John's job continues to go well. And since he is working from home, he still has plenty of time with the family.
  2. I thought after I quit work I'd get a lot more done. If more sleep counts, then I'm doing well. 
  3. Ruth's so stressed about the upcoming ACT. We looked at a website that helps you determine if you have a good chance of getting into certain colleges. I think that made her more nervous, even though it looks like she should get into her first choice. And wow, I cannot believe I am getting to this point with my own children. It seems like this was me not that long ago. 
  4. Kate's very happy that she does not have to worry about the ACT for another year. 
  5. We are trying to figure out what to do for Johnny for school next year. We might send him away with Ruth and Kate or we might have him go to school for chemistry, orchestra, and seminary and do the rest at home. He'll be 14 just as he begins the 10th grade, so I am feeling a little nervous sending him to big high school. Legacy Prep has been wonderful. I wish they were still going to the 12th grade.
  6. Adam's done a great job on some big projects he's had for school. He's basically completed them alone and they turned out well and even comparable to the kids whose projects were mostly done by parents.
  7. Rachel's going through something. She has been yelling and screaming and on edge. I've finally gotten her calmed down long enough to have a solid conversation on self control and choices. Hopefully, she'll really calm down and try and make some good decisions on how to behave.
  8. Anya's doing better at not lying since we made it a policy to not believe anything she tells us. It seems that she is starting to internalize "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".
  9. Joseph has been climbing on everything. He particularly seems to like sitting on top of the toy shelf. He's been playing outside again more. The winter and Joseph and I have never been good friends. Joseph needs to move around and explore.
  10. Josh has been pretty awful about primary, so I've started doing a practice primary lesson every morning with Joseph, Josh, and Arwen. I'll see if it helps him with church, but I know it is good for his soul to be getting a more personal gospel instruction each and every day. We spend a lot of family time reading and talking about the scriptures and relating them to our lives and current events, but I think the little ones can get left by the wayside because it is just not interesting for them yet.
  11. Arwen's hair is finally growing in and looking nice and that just makes me so happy. 
  12. Suzy climbs up and down the stairs. She's such a cute and curious little girl. We all just adore her.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

This Week at Our House # 7

  1. I can't even say how awesome it is to have John working and his work going well and being accepted by his employers. John probably would say the same thing, except that he would add, just how awesome it is to work from home. He wastes no time on driving and he can sleep in and take naps and work in the middle of the night if he desires.
  2. I finished my last week of work. I worked with some pretty great people and I liked that I moved around a lot, but I am glad to be back home. The kids are glad that I am back too. Several of them had been praying that I would quit my job.
  3. I dropped Ruth off at the mall to buy herself some shoes on Saturday and she came home with a skirt. So I took her to Target on Monday and she came home with shoes, hair dye, and a new hair straightener, some make-up and a little bit sad about how much all that stuff costs.
  4. I just love Kate. I love having her around and hearing what she has to say about school and her school work and her friends. When she helps me with housework and the little kids, she always does such a great job. 
  5. Johnny keeps John company by playing all of his nerdy games with him. And Johnny is such a good conscientious boy. Every night after the little kids go to bed, Johnny offers to get John or I a treat. I can't believe I have such awesome, easy going teenagers.
  6. John made Adam do his own school project and he did a really good job. Adam wanted Johnny to do it for him, but felt much better doing it all on his own. Adam can do a lot and is really smart, but he hesitates to do things in case he fails.
  7. Rachel has been arguing with me no matter what I say. But, she is now trying to do better and be more compliant. She made it one whole day without arguing.
  8. Anya lost one front tooth. I went to her classroom for her Valentine's party. She's a cutie with a messy desk.
  9. Joseph and Joshua drive me nuts. They wrestle all of the time. Joseph has scratches down his face from Josh. Unfortunately, I had to take them both to the store. They kept running off. I almost turned a corner so they could not see me and then it occurred to me that while their little boy antics drive me crazy, I am so glad that I have the two of them right there together messing everything up and driving me nuts. I may actually miss their antics some day.
  10. Josh insists on being called Joshua. Then he will say, "I want to be good." So to tease him, and call him Good.
  11. Arwen has Molluscum contagiosum, these small wart like bumps. Johnny caught it years ago and we have not been able to get rid of them as the younger kids keep picking it up. Recently I read that lemon juice gets rid of skin tags, so I thought I would try it on these bumps. It is working really well. I think we will finally be able to get rid of them, but the lemon juice burns just a little bit. One morning as I was changing Arwen's diaper I remembered that I needed to put lemon juice on her bumps. I called Johnny to get me a small bowl of lemon juice. Arwen yelled, "No, Johnny! Don't do it!" As Johnny came down the stairs, Arwen yelled. "Johnny, go back upstairs." As Johnny went toward the kitchen Arwen said, "No, Johnny, don't go there. Go upstairs." Then as a last ditch, she pleaded, "Johnny you like upstairs."
  12. Susan can crawl up the stairs, oh my. She loves to eat all of the time. She will chase the pile of dirt while we sweep hoping to find a treat, and she always checks out under the table for snacks. She's kind of like the cats.
This Week's Pictures

Thursday, February 12, 2015

This Week at Our House # 6

  1. I am very late in posting this. I am pleased to report that John's job is going very well and he is making his early deadlines with regular working hours.
  2. I am currently on my last week of work. We will be getting a tax return and John will be getting paid sometime in March, so we will be covered. The kids keep praying for me to quit. So Friday will be my last day. I worked with really great people and in a peaceful environment, but I will be glad to have my time with the older kids again.
  3. Ruth's so busy will school and working. She's learning that if she wants enough time for school work and ACT practice, she has to say no sometimes.
  4. Kate helped a lot with the housework for another week. But she is a champ. She wrote a very sarcastic essay for the writing portion of her common core sage test. It was all about climate change and environmentalism. Kate said she was not going to let the government manipulate her into becoming an environmentalist, so instead of writing how to save coral reefs and help the environment she wrote instructions on, according to scientists, what people can do to destroy the coal reef.
  5. Johnny's sure growing up. Right now life is pretty easy for Johnny. He works very quickly, so he hardly has homework and has lots of free time for reading, video games, and books. But I make him work a lot around the house.
  6. Adam is a bit swamped with book reports and big projects for school right now. Adam's a bright little guy and does very well, but he thinks he is dumb because academics are so easy for school. He got 100% on a heart anatomy test, and I said, "see, you are smart enough to become a dentist or a doctor!" He another one more exam that he only got 93% on and thought he spoiled his chance for becoming a doctor-- silly boy.
  7. Rachel has been arguing non-stop. I can't say anything to her without her yelling at me and telling me I am wrong, and she is only 8!
  8. Anya has been lying a lot. We've dealt with this before and made it through. I hope we can convince her that being truthful is better.
  9. I had a funny conversation with Joseph as I dropped him off at school. He pointed to a boy and said, "That's Mason. He is nice, He let me help him spell cough." I asked if that was for the spelling test and Joseph said that indeed it was and Mason was so nice to let him help. (Face palm)
  10. Joshua LOVES legos and can look at the instructions and put the pieces together with little help. 
  11. Arwen draws and draws all day long and you can tell by looking at our walls.
  12. When I get Susan up in the morning, she just snuggles up close to me and rests her head against mine. I tool her to get her well check and vaccinations. She is 14 pounds and in the 3% and 26 inches and in the 23%. I guess she will be tall and thin. But she sure does eat a lot!!
This Week's Pictures

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

This Week at Our House # 5

  1. Well, what a crazy week it was. Arwen starting throwing up Monday afternoon, and soon there after most of the rest of us got sick too. John began his new job on Monday and was sick on Tuesday. This is where the perks of working at home come into play. John worked half days and Saturday and the middle of the night when he was up, and got his full work week in even though he was sick about 4 days.
  2. I took work off Wednesday night for illness and I rarely get sick. I didn't have influenza or the last stomach flu with the kids. But this time, I had a fever for about a day and a stomach ache and some nausea for about 3 days.
  3. Ruth felt sick and stayed home from school on Wednesday.
  4. Kate was one of two family members to stay well. Because of the sickness, I did not get my usual deep cleaning done during the week. Kate helped me to catch up on Saturday. I think it was a bit of a shock for her. I get the downstairs decluttered, reorganized, thoroughly swept  and washed once a week. It takes about 2 hours. Kate helped clean off surfaces, sweep the stairs, reorganize the toys, clean the desk, and wash the floors. I cleaned out from under couches and the piano, did the laundry, reorganized the toys, swept out the pantries, swept the floors, and washed the floors. Then we cleaned the bathrooms together. I usually do this all myself. I loved having a cleaning buddy, but I don't think my cleaning buddy loved working with me.
  5. Johnny stayed well until Saturday. When he knew that he was sick, he quit eating anything and ended up being okay stomach wise. But I think he may have been a little fevery.
  6. Adam was sick Tuesday night and better by Friday. He has really bad excema on his hands. I've been using eucerin all winter and it is just not working. I recently switched to coconut oil and that seems to be working just a little better.
  7. Rachel was only sick on Sunday. She did not miss any school at all. In fact, I would say that with all of the sickness going around in our family since December, Rachel has probably stayed the healthiest and I think she is proud of that.
  8. Anya has been saying that she is sick everyday since October. I know that she is not being honest, and it is getting very frustrating. It started when she had a UTI and got to skip her homework and watch TV. Now she says she is sick before school, at homework and chore times, and before church. We have called her out and talked to her about it, but she still persists. Right now we are just ignoring it and making her do everything no matter what she says. The funny thing, though, she told me the story of the "Boy who Cried Wolf". She seemed to really like it and find it meaningful. I wish she'd learn the lesson in it.
  9. Joseph never got sick either. but now he has a very runny nose and a cough. Blah, we have had too much illness this winter!
  10. Joshua threw up twice on Tuesday night, and once in his bed on Thursday night, but he never woke up. I find it so odd that I have some kids who sleep through puking.
  11. Arwen brought the illness into the house. I think she must have picked it up from nursery. It seemed to have about a 24 hour incubation period and it was pretty much 24 hours from nursery to Arwen puking. Arwen threw up 5 times. We have not had that much puking in a row in a long, long time. Ruth, Kate, and Johnny used to get the stomach flu where they would throw up every 20 minutes for hours, but the younger kids really haven't had that much.
  12. I knew Susan was sick because she would not be put down. I knew she was better when she went off to play again. Now Susan has a very runny nose, but I am going to take her in to get her next set of vaccinations soon anyway.

    No Pictures This Week

Monday, January 26, 2015

This Week at Our House # 4

  1. After 10 long months, it's finally happened-- the miracle we have been waiting for. John signed a contract last Wednesday, and he begins work today. It's contracted work. He won't have any benefits, but the pay is double to make up for that plus the small business taxes. He'll work from home, which is good since we are down one car and not in a position to buy another. It's been a long, hard time. The kids hardly believe that it's true. Everyone wants me to quit working now. I will, eventually. I think we still feel a bit traumatized. We've barely mentioned it even among ourselves-- like somehow it won't be real if we talk about it.
  2. I am still working for a little bit.We need to get through until we get the tax return and the first pay check.
  3. Ruth has a dance class and a ceramics class this semester. I think she will enjoy them both, and especially enjoy the break from a straight set of serious academic courses.
  4. Kate's been mourning the loss of her last semesters seminary teacher and class. This semester, the teacher began the class talking about how they need to get along and be friends. Kate looked around and noticed that a lot of the people she does not get along with are in the class. I think this will be a good challenge for her. It's something we all need to work on.
  5. Johnny had homework!! It really frustrated him.
  6. Adam and Rachel have been fighting like cats and dogs and I am tired of being a referee.
  7. Rachel was the only kid that had a cavity this last dentist time. Poor girl. But she bravely got her filling done without any noise.
  8. Anya is about to loose her first top front tooth, just as Suzy is growing hers in.
  9. Joseph can be such a good boy, I am just not sure I'll make it to his adulthood as a sane person while I wade through the not as good parts of his decision making.
  10. Josh keeps taking everyone's things and putting them on his shelf in his closet. He took $241 from Ruth, and legos and food from Johnny and Adam. I wish I knew how to get this to stop.
  11. Arwen can dress and undress herself better than Josh can.
  12. Suzy has her first front tooth. The other one has not cut, yet, so we are in for more teething. She pulls herself up and climbs a few stairs. She definitely needs to be watched all of the time now.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Zuppa Tuscana

This is about the best soup version of potato soup on the planet...


  • 2 bunches Kale, Picked Over, Cleaned, And Torn Into Bite Sized Pieces
  • 12 whole Red Potatoes, Sliced Thin
  • 1 whole Onion, Chopped
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
  • 2 cups  Chicken Broth
  • 3 cups  Milk
  • 3 cups Heavy Cream
  •  Fresh Or Dried Oregano
  •  Black Pepper To Taste


Prepare the kale and set it aside.
In a medium pot. boil sliced potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot, crumble and brown the Italian sausage. Drain as much as the fat as you can. Stir in the red pepper flakes, oregano, chicken broth, milk, and half-and-half. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Give it a taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add the potatoes, a splash of heavy cream for richness, then stir in the kale. Simmer an additional 10-15 minutes, then serve.

This Week at Our House # 3

  1. John is still negotiating some possible contract work and he has a couple of job interviews this week. Maybe things will be back together soon.
  2. I wrote this to my moms with big families group of friends, "While I was working tonight, I realized, probably for the first time, what a charmed life I have had. We've never had a lot, but we have always had sufficient enough for me to stay home with the kids until now. I had gotten so used to thinking that I am sacrificing some big career or what could have been prestige. blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I never realized how good I had it until now. And now I really know, that none of that matters much. I have just been very blessed to be at home and have as much time as I want to care for my family."
  3. Ruth's been quite busy with school and work. She doesn't have an actual job, but she is working about 12 to 15 hours a week babysitting and housekeeping. She has a pretty good savings so far and is paying for all of her own things now.
  4. The semester ended this week and Kate has another 4.0. She is working real hard because she wants to get a scholarship to BYU.
  5. Johnny ended up with all A's and 2 A-'s but never does any homework. 
  6. Trying to get Adam to read is trying. I don't know how to help that boy learn to love books. I limit video games to just 2 days a week, and TV is supposed to be just as limited, but the kids sneak it if I am not home. Adam got all A's and one A- for the second term.
  7. Rachel brought her grades up. I think she is trying harder to  pay attention in class. She has way less homework at Legacy Prep than she did at Foxboro. She now says that she likes Legacy Prep better.
  8. Anya for the first time did not get straight A's. She got a B in essential skills because she never did her make up work from when she missed a week of school. But she is only in the first grade.
  9. Joseph got all A's too, and he's also been bumped up another level in reading. 
  10. Joshua had his 4th birthday!! He LOVED it! He loved his gifts. His sibling all pitched in using their Christmas money and got him a pretty nice lego set. We use the food stamps to get the kids their own little stash of candy which he has been carrying around and sharing little of. Uncle Jeremy showed up with a real model train and track, that Josh is in love with. He got a noisy plastic train that runs around the floor on batteries from my mom. He carried that around for days. Josh knew exactly what he wanted for his dessert and dinner. He wanted salmon for dinner and a "brown" train cake for dessert. We provided both. At dinnertime he chanted "Salmon, Salmon" and at cake time he blew his candles out before we even started singing. John kept relighting and Josh kept blowing and we all had a good laugh. Josh is a very organized little boy. He likes things neat. He loved building things with legos and blocks.He loves to color and tries to stay in the lines. He hates dressing and undressing himself and going to the bathroom. Hopefully, he'll outgrow those 2. He still wakes up crying at night which is annoying, but all in all, we love our little Joshua. He brings a lot of joy to our home.
  11. Arwen was sick most of the week. I came home from work Monday at 1:20 am and she had puked all over. She had been having diarrhea the week before. She puked one more time that night and one more time on Wednesday, We tried to keep only simple sugars and carbs in her to give her body time to get rid of the germ and to give her stomach time to heal. So she cried every day when we said no chocolate milk. She seems to be okay now and is happy to be getting her favorite drink again.
  12. Susan is getting her top teeth. She's been pretty grumpy and waking up at night. Since I get home after 1am, I have been getting 3 hours of sleep a night. I never planned on working before my little ones started school. When John gets a job, I am going to go back to that plan. 10 young children and a part time job is a little more than I can do, I think, at least long term.
This Week's Pictures