A little joy to share with you!

A little joy to share with you!

Friday, November 25, 2011

My parents...

I grew up with people everywhere.  Friends, neighbors, family.  Especially at holiday times.  The holiday rule was always to invite anyone!  Well... this year we might have pushed the envelope a bit for any regular household.  We called my parents at 9:00 the night before Thanksgiving to let them know we asked a couple more people to dinner. Did I mention that I grew up somewhere between the Waltons and Little House on the Prairie?  Dad's response was, "hey!  So did we!"     
I'm thankful for this crazy crew that shares my life!  Thanks Mom and Dad for always filling the house with warmth and joy!  (Mom is at one end of the table and Dad at the other!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gearing up for the holiday season!

Holiday card printed... check!  Address labels printed... check!  Christmas letter written... sigh.  Not yet.  No check...  (But don'tcha love the photo???)

Favorite elf dressed for character day at school!  Note that Santa (above photo) might wind up sitting in the elf's lap this year...

Part of our coupon crew!  We clip, gab, and drink too much coffee a couple times a month.  Love it! 

Little Man helps clip coupons.  His favorite find, so far, is the very entertaining bag of stuffing mix on his tray!

Sooooo... how is the coupon clipping going?  We have successfully cut our grocery bill by more than half!  I spend less than $100 a week on groceries for a family of seven!  This includes all the soap, shampoo, toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc.  And a fringe benefit is that meal planning has gotten much, much easier!  This week, ham steaks were on sale, buy one, get one free.  One went into a mac & cheese this week.  Five are set aside for the coming months.  Boneless, skinless chicken breasts were a fantastic price.  One package made two meals this week, three packages are in the freezer.  A turkey went directly to the freezer.  A small package of burger (half off a couple weeks ago) came out of the freezer.  So did a marinated pork loin (buy one, get one free a few weeks ago).  And we don't always eat meat....  We had vegetarian stew (plenty of good deals on beans, diced tomatoes, celery, carrots, and even spices lately) and ever-popular Honey Muffins (baking supplies are on great sales this month) for dinners, as well.  With so much in the freezer (meats, soups, vegetables) and pantry (couscous, pasta, beans, vegetables, cereals), most of next week's meal planning is taken care of.  I'll just need a few basics and use the grocery budget on the best buys for future meals.  Staying home with Little Man is actually paying for itself!  I'm thrilled :o)     

Just a quick photo... this is what 75 cents worth of groceries looks like!

Have a happy day!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Whooops! It's been a while....

Little Man has been keeping us busy.  What a joy he is, though!  I love being home with the little guy.  My days start out with giggles and playtime, then some cuddling.  He shrieks and laughs, pulls toys (and pets and anything else he can reach) to his mouth, and gives his G'amma kisses.  Ok... maybe he's just seeing if I'm edible, but I'll call it kisses.  His joy is contagious!  What a blessing to share this year with Little Man.

By the way, check out Little Man's wrinkles!  I think he decided the baby growth charts were a challenge.  In which case, he was aiming for the 90th+ percentile and getting straight A's...  His thighs have wrinkles, his calves have wrinkles.  Even his forearms have wrinkles!

And as youngest child has pointed out, he has NO NECK!  Just a lot of chins.  (His grins have wrinkles, too!)

Sooooo... what else is going on here?  Fearless Leader and I went to a NASCAR race last month.  (I know... it's been a while since I posted...)  We had a great day watching cars zoom around a track.  I had a hard time figuring out which car was in the lead.  They were all going so fast.  But it was fun to be together.  Actually, the second "race" was even more fun!  We sat on our tailgate for over an hour watching cars, trucks, RVs and motorcycles inch along on their way out of the stadium.  We had a chance to chat with each other and with other racegoers who were not in a hurry to leave.  (While watching those who were in a hurry progress at about 4 inches a minute.)

G'ampa is pretty smitten with Little Man, too!

Other news here....  Oldest kiddo is almost finished with college applications!  She is hoping to go to a small state college about an hour and a half from home.  Close enough to come home weekends, far enough away to begin the journey to independence.  This college also offers alternative student housing and child care for Little Man.  Sounds like a great fit!

Second kiddo is a hoot!  She has a funky, confident style and stays BUSY, BUSY, BUSY with her social life.  I practically need to schedule time with her.  (Or ground her so I can have a few minutes...)  But she is lively and conscientious.  She stands up for justice and the rights of all.  She was even commended by her principal and vice principal recently for showing impressive leadership.  (VERY proud mamma here!)

Miss Sassy (third daughter) is busy riding horses!  Every morning, she asks hopefully if it is "horse" today.  Sorry kiddo... we can only afford one lesson a week!  Miss Sassy just finished testing for a new communication device.  She got very excited being able to communicate so many thoughts.  We look forward to hearing lots from her soon!

And youngest kiddo!  Another very social kiddo.  She is fitting in beautifully this year and enjoys many buddies.  Her goal this year is to make the honor roll and hopefully even the high honor roll.  She is working diligently at it and her progress report was all A's and high B's except for a C in art (with the notation that she had missed the most recent class during which an assignment was turned in so the grade was not an accurate reflection of her work.)  Boy, did I get to hear NEVER, NEVER, NEVER schedule a dentist appointment for art day...

Fearless Leader has been working on house projects, car projects, and yard projects.  And I have been spending my days with Little Man.  I've also started clipping coupons with friends.  I know, I know... I have just marched right in to middle aged dorkiness.  But we're having fun!  And saving a bunch on the grocery bill!     
Actually, it's making a big dent in the financial gap of not having a part-time second income this year.  The kids actually enjoy helping (and saving), too.  AND one of the most popular teachers at school heard our kids comparing deals the mamas had found and enthused about how saving money was actually earning money.  Made the kids smile!  (By the way... I'm not EXTREME, just saving.)

Little Man enjoyed his first horse-drawn wagon ride!
So did Miss Sassy, second kiddo and Boppa!

Just a couple quick photos to finish with!  Oldest kiddo on perhaps an off day?

And the rest of the kiddos with Little Man practicing for the family holiday photo shoot coming up soon!

Well... Little Man is awake!  Gotta run!  Have a happy day!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Miss Sassy had a therapudic horse riding lesson today.  Her younger sister was watching the lesson.  Sassy groomed the horse, rode around obstacles, clapped, waved, lifted her hands in the air, rode backwards, passed toys back and forth with her side-walkers and trotted.  When we were leaving, Sassy's little sister said, "Mom, when she trotted, I smiled.  I don't usually smile when my sisters do things.  But she trotted on the horse.  I couldn't do that, Mom.  And she could!  She did all those things on a horse, Mom.  She's really learned a lot!"

That really made me pause.  Our youngest started passing Miss Sassy's milestones before she was a year old.  Now Miss Sassy has achieved a milestone ahead of her sister.  I'm bursting-my-buttons proud!  I'm in awe of Sassy's achievements.  And I'm touched that youngest kiddo has the insight to notice and celebrate her sister's new skills.

(Miss Sassy is sitting in the hay loft with her instructor in the photo above.)

Have a happy day!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Little Man is a month and a half old now.  He's started smiling and cooing.  Oh... and he is showing a predilection for stubbornness.  Which could not possibly originate on our side of the family.  Absolutely no stubbornness here.  Nuh uh.  Nadda.

Oddball is working on weening the daytime feeding.  Little Man wants nothing to do with that darned bottle.  His preferred method is to wait it out.  He scrunches up his face, closes his eyes tightly, spits the rubber nipple out and feigns sleep.  Repeat scenario every 20 minutes.

Oddball is equally determined to wait Little Man out.  Note the use of the word, "determined."  Stubborn did not originate on our side of the family.  Just the same, if I had to place a bet, I'd put my money on Oddball.  She's such a determined kiddo, it could almost be taken as stubbornness...

We were trying to catch Little Man's smiles on camera the other day.  Little Man smiled whenever the camera was not waving around in his face.  Did I mention that the little guy is stubborn?  But I did catch this photo of three of the girls with him.  Gadget, Oddball and Imp smiled for the box waving around in their faces!

"Look, Ma!  No hands!"

And Gadget Girl... this kid is a character!  Most of her wardrobe is average teen stuff, maybe a little on the quirky side.  Y'know... all the stuff parents and grandparents purchase.  But when Gadget buys or makes a piece of clothing, it screams originality.  Purchases this year have included 6" high boots full of buckles and chains, a straw hat, and a funky dress.  She also made a cloak and is working on a corset and a Renaissance-style dress.  All of which she will wear together for daily wear... along with her mohawk (which she plans to dye purple and spike for school) and eyebrow ring.  Yup.  She's an original!

Of course, all this originality comes with a mighty large amount of stubbornness determined character.  I recently lost all hope of ever attaining, "Cool Mom," status by uttering the word, "no," twice in a row.  Twice in about 15 minutes, to be precise.  I think I dropped below, "Geek Mom," status....
Oh well!  Just call me Geekma!

Miss Sassy has enjoyed swimming, barbeques, visits with Nana and Boppa, horse lessons and summer school.  Now she is ready to ditch this place whenever possible.  She takes her big Barney toy and heads for the car every chance she gets. The other day, she fell asleep in the car waiting for someone to take her somewhere.  Stubborn Determined child!
Imp just celebrated her birthday.  The actual day was over a month ago, but since her big day was the same day that her new nephew came home from the hospital, she agreed to wait until July for her slumber party.  Why are large gatherings of pre-teen girls dubbed, "slumber parties," anyhow?  I think slumbering is the only thing this gang of buddies failed to accomplish during 24 hours of mayhem....  I hardly recognized this kiddo for the day.  Our normally fairly quiet and reasonably polite child transformed into a sassy, giggly, stubborn determined, slightly obnoxious chatterbox.  So did all the other girls.  Five girls could have passed for 45 children.

I think summer vacations were carefully designed to prepare parents to cheerfully wave goodbye to the school bus on the first day of school.  Only 17 days to go....

Have a happy day!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

summer fun

Sassy girl had a ball game the other day.  Our local minor league team mascot visited this special group of kiddos for a photo session.  Miss Sassy LOVES Ribby!  She got a little distracted by her favorite giant bat and failed to play any baseball at all, instead choosing to follow Ribby around squealing excitedly.  But for the photo shoot... this was a close as she would get to her great, furry hero.

Oldest kiddo went out to apply for a job yesterday.  I am so proud of her!  She's got a lot on her plate right now with Little Man here, but she is determined to take on as much responsibility as possible.  Senior year, college applications, an incredible GPA to maintain, a sweet, sweet baby she's doing a marvelous job nurturing... and now a part-time job again, as well.  (She worked part-time through much of the pregnancy.)  Did I mention I'm one PROUD mamma?
Meanwhile... gadget girl tried her hand at babysitting!

Notice the ears... Gadget girl was given a much-appreciated gift at one of the baby showers!

Here is youngest kiddo modeling the latest in hot summer fashion.  Mmmmhmmm... an apron and a bikini.  Guess she won't be getting any spaghettii sauce on her belly... 

Youngest kiddo is growing up on us.  Apparently, she has had a crush on a boy for about six months now.  And forgot to mention that to us.  (Sheeesh!)  She's been hanging out at the town pool a lot this summer.  It didn't take too long for big sisters to figure out her infatuation.  Especially since the boy likes her, too!  Big sisters have been alternating light-hearted teasing with earnest comraderie and an endless string of advice.  What fun to suddenly have a giggly bunch of teens running around the house figuring out what youngest should wear to the pool or some other trivial detail!  It is bittersweet to have her growing up, but the comraderie and excitement is contagious.  Sigh!  My baby has a boyfriend.

And some Little Man photos!  Youngest kiddo snatches him up every chance she gets.  Ummmm... so does G'amma....

  Have a happy day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I've had a few people mention that they read the blog and look forward to new postings.  Perhaps pointedly mention that they look forward to new postings...  Yup.  I'm behind again...
Our summer is busy as always.  The girls are working, swimming, hanging out with friends.  I seem to be continually waiting for Miss Sassy's summer school bus or picking up Gadget Girl from her job.  And feeding and cleaning up after a houseful of kids. 
I don't have much writing time.  But I suspect a few followers are currently "reading" the blog for more photos of the little star of the family.  The little man is beautiful and growing fast.  He started his life journey at 7 lb. 9 oz. and at three weeks old, he is 9 lb.  His main hobbies are eating, sleeping, and filling his diaper.  Once in a while he takes a break from that busy schedule to open his eyes and observe the world around him.  Including his hands.  Sometimes he manages to pull his hair, bat at a toy, or pop them into his mouth.  He does get mad at that baby who pulls his hair, though... 

Little Man sometimes lacks attention around here.

  There may have been a few minutes last week that noone was holding, cuddling or talking to him.
Other news... hubby and I spent the day in Maine a couple of weeks ago to celebrate his birthday.  We had a wonderful time walking the beaches, eating out, driving around and talking.  The quiet was a bit of a shock, though.  We're not used to it...

Gadget girl has a new haircut.  She wanted me to cut it for her.  I originally refused (due to complications associated with 20th anniversary dinners, etc.), but she promised not to cry.  Ta da!  I can cut a mohawk!  And she loves it!  What a free-spirited kid!  I really admire her spunk.  Or, perhaps more accurately, her punk.

Gadget Girl has joined one of the goofy town bands with me!  Mostly because she likes to drive us to practices & might as well bring the trombone and play.  But she has found herself enjoying the band in spite of herself.  There are a bunch of goofy and interesting teens in the band, a fantastic & very friendly conductor, and a fun trombone section.  (Ok... when is a trombone section ever NOT fun?)
 Speaking of fun trombone sections...  Trombone nights are a blast!  Sometimes we even play the instruments for a while.
 Sometimes playing doesn't involve instruments.  Gadget Girl was shot in the glasses with a nerf dart.
 The perp wasn't even contrite.  Maybe because we were celebrating his birthday.
 Little guy played with the trombones again.  He stuck to tooting the back end this time (repeatedly) and let Gadget Girl try the little trombone.  We also discovered that Gadget Girl is a phenomenal euphonium player!  Her first time playing the instrument, she kept up beautifully with the bunch of us!  (Not that we are difficult to keep up with;  mostly lots of giggling and banter between players.)  Might have to keep our eyes open for a euphonium now.  Gadget Girl loved it.  Oiy!
Original Oddball almost got a chance to play, but Little Man woke up and had other ideas.  Like tooting repeatedly....
Miss Sassy loves the new little guy!  She kisses him and holds him every chance she gets!  If he cries, she goes running to him.  Youngest kiddo loves him, too.  She can be found rocking him and cuddling him several times a day.

Well... that's it for now!  A few happy thoughts for today!  Have a wonderful day!