Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Random Things About Me...

Well, I was tagged to do this on Facebook, and it seemed fun. So here you go...

1. I am married to my high school boyfriend, and I am still in love with him.
2. We have 5 terrific kids.
3. I have been to the Taj Ma Hal.
4. I grew up in the D.C. area and took for granted that I could go to the Smithsonian any time I wanted to. Now I miss it.
5. I have climbed the Great Wall of China, and been to the Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City.
6. I still have my 2 best friends from childhood, and I like them more now as grown women than I thought possible.
7. Holding my oldest son as a newborn taught me more about God's amazing love for us than any Sunday School class ever did.
8. I am proud of my "little" sister, and the woman that she is today.
9. I work 3 nights a week 6pm - 6am so I can be with my kids during the week.
10. I like my husband now better than I did before we got married, and he is a terrific hubby and father.
11. I am proud of my mom and all that she has accomplished since dad died.
12. I have the greatest in-laws any woman could ask for.
13. I went to the Berlin Wall the June after it came down, and brought home little pieces of it.
14. I love to travel internationally.
15. I plan on filling up my passport (and Scott's) with travel visas and stamps before they expire.
16. I enjoy grad school, and learning.
17. I read the Wall Street Journal online every day.
18. I like my coffee with milk and splenda.
19. My dream cruise would be to Antarctica.
20. Green plants do not survive long at my house. I have a very brown thumb.
21. One day I'd like to get a PhD.
22. I am currently working on a Master's Degree in Public Affairs.
23. I believe that everyday people can make a huge impact to change our world for the better, more so than any big celebrity or politician ever could.
24. I plan on "retiring" early so I can spend my time working to deliver international humanitarian relief after my kiddos are grown.
25. I am blessed.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

5 Kids Out the Door By 8am into the Cold

5 kids
5 breakfasts
Lots of clean teeth
10 clean hands
4 brushed heads of hair (Joseph still has his buzz cut)
10 socks in place
10 shoes over socks
5 backpacks cleaned out and ready to go
1 lunchbox packed (Julia isn't quite ready for school lunches yet so we send what we know she will eat)
5 coats
5 warm knit hats
10 gloves
2 noses pressed to the window "on lookout" as the others finish with coats
1 Daddy ready for work
1 car warmed up to drive kids to the bus stop
........all leads to



1 Mommy enjoying 1 cup of coffee and a moment of silence.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One of my favorite new quotes from our China trip....

"The early bird gets the worm, but the early worm gets eaten."

Just a little random thought for the day.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Pictures from the Funny Farm...

Want to see what happens when 5 children pile on a loveseat for mom to take one picture?

I actually took 30 pictures. Most of them look something like this...

I never claimed we were perfect....

This one became my new desktop background picture...

OK, so we got 2 good ones out of thirty...

And, just because they are so darn cute, here are my little 6 year old "twins."

Till next time...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Blog Maintenance for the New Year

Happy New Year, it is the time of the year when I try out new organization techniques, today it is on the blog.

In order to make an attempt at simplifying my life, and keeping track of my random thoughts, I finished cross posting my old Lots of Kids post onto this blog as well. In case you think it looks a little weird, I did it for me. Like an old journal I occasionally go back to see what I was up to at different times in the past. Since my posts on the two sites are different, I wanted to make it easier for me to look back on one forum, instead of two. I am still trying to figure out the best method of keeping organized, so please bear with me. This is my solution for now.

OK, really, I am going to go get pictures of all 5 kids together!!!

Home Management with Lots of Kids...

FYI: I posted at Lots of Kids with our homemangement tips. Here's a copy:

Divide and Conquer

Hello all. I am happy to report that Scott and I are back home from China with our new daughter and everyone is making a pretty good adjustment. We learned a lot on our trip, and there was one night at dinner when it occurred to me that this was what it was like to only have one child. It has been so long since we only had to get one child ready to go it felt kind of odd.

It was so nice to return home to be with the other kids, and it felt good to get back into our home schedule and routine. We have now been home for one week, and it has been a week of discovery in so many ways. One of them is how Scott and I work to accomplish the task of managing the house. Running a house with lots of children is a tough job. I can understand how people with smaller families can be overwhelmed by the thought of keeping everything running smoothly. Well, here is a little peek into our system.

First of all, Scott and I both contribute to our home management. We both work outside the home, on opposite schedules, so we do have to "juggle" a little, but it all runs pretty smooth. Our system can be called Divide and Conquer the Chaos. We each have our own tasks, and the kids chip in as well. Each child can contribute based on their age and ability.

Food: I do the main grocery shopping, maintaining a pretty good level in the pantry and the freezer. Scott stops at the store for between-main-shopping-trips for things like milk, eggs, or special items for dinner. He can stop on the way home from work, and he is able to focus on the task at hand without getting distracted by the weekly sales and specials. I evaluate the weekly sale ad and stock up on our staple items when they are on sale. We maintain an on going grocery list on a magnetic list on our refrigerator door. We all check off items as we are running low. This helps make sure we don't run out of necessities at inconvenient moments.

Laundry: Laundry at our house got a whole lot more exciting just before we left for China. There was a long period of time when we would have 2 laundry days a week, and it was an all day affair each time. We were forced out of that routine this past year and it may be one of the best routine changes we have made in a while. We were without a dryer for several months, and it forced us to change the way we manage the laundry pile. We had established a routine of 2 loads of laundry each day so that we had enough time for the items to hang dry. This system also made sure that we didn't really get backed up on laundry. Well, the exciting part is the brand new super capacity front-loading washer and dryer set that we bought before we left for China. This new set washes and drys wonderfully fast, and we are still keeping up with laundry daily. Now, we still wash a lot of clothes, but in smaller doses so it is not overwhelming. When life throws us a change, we can skip one or even two days, and then catch up relatively quickly. I *heart* the new washer and dryer. Scott does the bulk of the laundry for us, and the children are tasked with putting their own clothes in their drawers.

Kitchen Patrol: This one is managed pretty equally between us. Kids must clear off their space at the table before they are excused, and the dishwasher is loaded after each meal. Snack dishes may be stacked next to the kitchen sink for a little bit, but in the dishwasher before the next meal. Generally, I do the dishes during the day while Scott is at work, and he does the dishes in the evening. I do the majority of the dinner cooking during the week, and since I work overnights at the end of the week, Scott does the cooking on the weekend. The two older kids sometimes help make lunches when they are home, but Scott and I still handle the dinner cooking.

House Cleaning: This is the part of the post where I get to say I am the luckiest woman in the world. My wonderful hubby actually relaxes by hand washing the wood floors and disinfecting bathrooms. This may sound weird to some of us, including me, but after 15 years I have just accepted this is one of his quirks that I enjoy the most. He has tried to explain it to me, and I don't get it, but I am thankful. On the weeks that he is out of town, I take over his regular cleaning routine, and I admit that scrubbing toilets is my least favorite job, EVER. But, I do *love* the results of a clean house. :-)

Bills, Bills, Bills: This one falls to me. Just like Scott relaxes by scrubbing floors, I relax by maintaining our finances. It wasn't always like this, but I have my little routine, and I like routine. I enjoy following the news, world events, and economics, Scott hates it. I get a happy little thrill to mark the statements "paid" each month. The biggest change in this over the years has been the fact that we talk about the bills and goals on a regular basis. The finance gurus are right that open communication means is a good thing.

I know that each family divides home management differently. Feel free to comment with your tips and tricks. Calming the "chaos" of a family with lots of kids is a good thing. Although really, I shouldn't say chaos. Just like businesses are big and small and managers use different techniques to run them, families are big and small and each one needs different techniques to run smoothly.

Have a blessed and organized New Year.

(This was originally posted at the 4 or More: Lots of Kids blog)