A Dozen Good Eggs

Sunday, September 18, 2016

how do you get anywhere?

well we mostly don't get there on time but we do get there. Most of the kids are able to take care of their own showering, dressing and generally getting ready to go somewhere.  They do need reminders often. Some are completely incapable of doing that for themselves, that's where we step in and do it for them. There are lots of opportunities to try to do things that are hard but when we are working to get somewhere in a timely manner is not it. We drive a 15 passenger van in the summer when we go out. It doesn't drive well in the winter so we usually park it in a snowbank for the cold snowy months. We have enough seats in the mini van and prius if we go somewhere in the winter. that means we both have to drive but we rarely leave town in the winter so it isn't too bad. School events and community events we drive to in two vehicles. This also allows me to use my handicapped plates to park closer to the doors and take the kids who need that, and the others can park further away and get a little energy out walking to the doors.

It isn't that difficult getting us anywhere but getting there on time is a bigger issue.  Certain children have difficulty keeping track of necessary items like shoes and coats. You wouldn't think a coat could get lost that easy but it's easier than you think apparently.  Even when half the kids are ready someone else is still trying to find their ______(fill in the blank).  There are at least 2 kids who live life on their terms and time is not their friend. They just move at whatever speed they feel and any amount of urging or hurrying will do nothing to speed it up. even when everyone is in the car , one of those kids is still poking along getting ready to go. They seem to enjoy holding everyone hostage. There have been occasions we just picked them up and put them in a car and left, unable to wait any longer for their poky attitude.

Where do we go? We try to take a bit of a family vacation in the summer. We go to the library often in the summer. We also enjoy music in the park most Tuesday evenings of June, July, and August.  We like to go to the beach. In winter we have school activities and some outdoor fun activities that requires all of us to carpool. More often not everyone is going so its easy to just hop in the mini van and go.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Livin Large

Being a large family with 11 of our 14 kids living at home I often get questions about how do you do this or that? You must be really organized! Mostly I am not organized I just have a good memory. I Do have a few things I do to make things easier. I thought I would share some here.

meals. How do you cook for such a large family? Well it's been so long I have been doing it I don't know how to cook for only a few people! One thing I do is make a menu for 2 weeks(sometimes I do a month, depends how ambitious I am at that moment). Then I list all ingredients needed to cook those meals. I also buy cereal and milk just about every time I am out. I often buy milk 10 gallons at a time. I have started to save that menu and list in a binder so that later I can go back and grab a menu and list without having to sit down and write it out. WHy didn't I think of that sooner? I keep favorite recipes in the binder as well as the menus and lists. I cook in 8 and 10 quart pots. a four quart pot would not cook enough of anything for our family. I have a few small sauce pans the kids use when making something for just themselves. I have also started making bread. Homemade bread is filling and adds to a meal and makes it go further.  I have been known to roast a chicken for chicken dinner, save the brother and make chicken soup, use the leftover chicken for a hot dish, and then have one night we eat leftovers. that's four meals from a couple roasted birds. This year we do not have any birds in the freezer. I will miss that in the cold dark winter.

Laundry. It's never done. There are approximately 2 times a year for about 5 minutes when all laundry is done. Just before the kids go to summer camp is one time.  the other time is usually just before school.  I missed both times this year. Came really close before camp but didn't quite make it. Not even close before school.  The girls do their own laundry. Jaeger has begun to do his. I do household and the boys' and Sophie's and Eric's and my own. It is still never done.

Cleaning. My kids are slobs. I do a lot of picking up tidying up but they have not been great about helping. Recently we are trying  new chore chart to see if that helps. So far its going ok. It breaks everyone up into teams. Then each team of 2 has two jobs to do. We tried boys night and girls night doing the dishes but that wasn't going so well. Pairing up some of the difficult kids has been hard in the past because no one wants to work with them. So far this pairing is going ok. Our house is never spotless but it is tidy. and the dishes are done daily.  With this many kids that's really all I can hope for.

Sports and activities. There aren't any ! no one is playing sports at the moment. and music lessons come in the form of band lessons at school. With many doctor and dentist and orthodontist and therapy appointments in addition to rides to friends houses or activities with friends I don't see how sports can factor in. There are just not enough hours in the day. No one has shown a great interest thus far in sports but if they REALLY wanted to do something we would figure out a way. At the moment no one is interested.

pets. Yes we have pets. Dogs cats and rabbits currently. Mocha is a springer spaniel and Australian shepherd mix. Java is a lab and pit bull mix but really looks more like a rat terrier of sorts. The cats are Maisy and Fiver. There are 8 or 9 rabbits at the moment. Frosty and Simon had 9 babies. one died and 2 went to new homes. Everyone who said I want a rabbit I want a rabbit backed out when the babies were born.

School days. 5am wake up gets everyone out the door by 7. most of them are self sufficient and lunches are made the night before. Busses come at 6:55am. Homework if there is any is done at the dining room table after school.  As long as I remember to wake everyone up and they have enough clean clothes its not too bad getting them all out the door. most of them are ready, all of their own accord by 630 or so. Only Sophie and Juno need assistance.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Scoop

My great grandfather was called Scoop. I can't recall the reason but whenever I offer the scoop on things I think of him. So here is what is new around here, the real scoop.

Kids went off to school today. First day of the new year. One child has been struggling with mental health, social problems, school behavior problems, academic refusal. We suspect FAS. That child is staying home this year to homeschool with me. We started today also. Seems like the right thing for him. He works hard for me. As he works out his past traumas and finds ways to integrate into the life around him, school is not the place for him. He can not handle it. So home it is. I would wager that we did more today on the first day in 2 hours than the other kids did all day today at school.  FAS diagnosis is in process but it is a long drawn out process and that is one more reason to keep him home.

So 3 kids are in 7th grade. technically. one is home with me and didn't do much of anything in 6th grade so I don't know if I should call him 7th grader or not. Sophie, the youngest, is in 5th grade this year. The other 6 are in grade 6. This means that they are all in middle school. Everyone is in one school. one building. except the one that's with me and I shouldn't have to pick that child up because he is ill or has bad behavior. I also don't have to worry about him catching the bus so I would say everyone is in one school is a fair assessment as far as communication with school.

Since its another year later we are all another year older. Except me, I'm still 27. Shhh don't tell Sophie that's not the truth. She believes it wholeheartedly.

Juno got a diagnosis last year of col6a2. what this means for her future is uncertain. We will continue to take one day at a time with her. We will assume she will live a long life and encourage her to remain active as long as possible.  That is all we can do.

We took a family vacation in August to Minneapolis St Paul area. We spent a day at the art museum and the science museum. We spent another day at valleyfair (similar to 6 flags park). We stayed in a hotel and ordered in pizza and generally had a great time.

Back on the home front Eric remains very busy putting up several greenhouses on our property.  He (and we) are anxious for them to be done.

We had to give away our chickens this year. With the greenhouse construction they couldn't remain in the fenced garden area. They refused to stay in their area and constantly wandered into the construction area  making it unsafe and unsanitary. We moved them out to the field below the house. The coyotes took over from there. One day there were about 50 chickens. then 40. then 12. then 5. at which point I didn't want to care for them anymore. We would put more time energy and money into 5 birds than we could get out of them IF the coyotes didn't get them first. So they went to a new home. We will try again next year in the old area inside the 6 foot fence where we never had issues before.  Because of this we have no roaster chickens in the freezer. No chicken breasts. we also have no eggs coming in. And because the greenhouse is where the garden was last year and its been so time consuming we had no garden this year so we have no veggies to freeze or can.  Very disappointing to buy chicken and eggs from the store.

I guess that's about all the news from lake woebegone. I will try to carve out more time to keep up this blog. I know I have things to say. I should probably try and find time to work on my book as well. but  the children need me and that doesn't leave as much time as I would like for those things. I'll try though.



Monday, September 5, 2016

new laptop

and I am hoping that will translate to more blog posts. As we get ready to go back to school here life is busy and somewhat difficult. As puberty marches in and takes hold the children seem to lose their minds. They revert to being 2. are you 14 or 2? some days I can't tell.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Busy Weekend!

I decided on Friday to paint the kitchen this weekend. Eric had to work so it was perfect timing

Satuday we taped and painted one big wall with a passthrough window. Some kids went trick or treating with their friends. the rest of us stayed home and watched a movie after eating pizza and eating ice cream.
Today, Sunday, we tackled clearing off the cabinet tops and painting those walls. I am hoping to get oak faceplates for the outlets to be uniform with the rest of the house. Slowly, slowly, 4 years after moving in, we are claiming it and making it our own. 

Because we had the kitchen torn apart and had to put it all back together, dinner was a bit late getting going. This means the Sunday night crunch is even crunchier.  2 more kids left to shower. Some are still eating. I'm exhausted.

Tomorrow its back to school. back to laundry. But for todays scheduled activities, stuff got done. one of the benches broke so I am trying to figure a plan for seating. so far my options are,  buy a bench, paint a bench I already have.  Next up is boys bedroom and girls bedroom.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

mourning dreams

today im mourning dreams. dreams of a life where the children dont try to kill each other on a daily basis. dreams where i can decorate bedrooms, or even put clothes away and expect it to stay decorated and clothes away instead of destroyed. dreams where i can own things and kerp them in the most convenient place instead of having it stolen or have to hide it and cant use it when i need to. dreams where things stay in the condition and location i leave them. dreams where I have time for me with no mom guilt. dreams where a clean house stays clean longer than five minutes. dreams long gone. I love the kids but every now and then I mourn those dreams.

Monday, October 26, 2015

weekend

Saturday I spent shopping for a birthday present for Ben and snacks for the week and groceries for the next two weeks. Eric and I managed to sneak out for dinner Saturday night but when you have to come home and clean up everyone else's dinner mess it kind of takes something away from the joy of going out. Might as well stay home. We had cake and presents with Ben. He was happy. He is little big Ben now. He is still tiny, the size of a five year old approximately. But now he is 12! so he is little big Ben.

Sunday was a yearly farm chore that I am glad is over! Chicken butchering! We usually have cornish rock cross and they are huge. but they are stupid. We lost so many trying to let them forage/free range. One died not two feet from the door back into the pen. He couldn't find his way back.  They are bred to sit and eat and grow. thats it. they do this well but they end up covered in poop and we had some water drainage issues (now resolved) that they would just sit in the muck or get stuck in the muck and I would pull them out getting covered in chicken poop in the process while they flap wings only for them to go right back to same spot. So this year we tried a different breed. Dixie rainbows. They are mean! and also not smart. and most importantly NOT BIG! so we butchered half as many as usual because there wasn't much sense in butchering such tiny hens, they can grow and lay me some eggs instead.we put up all the roosters and a few of the hens so we are left with about 20 hens, along with the 20 I already had laying I should be good in the egg department as soon as these new ones start laying. Since the old 20 had been free ranging and laying their eggs all over the place we were having a shortage of eggs since we couldn't find them. They are now penned again. So happy egg city. and next year we will definitely be raising the cornish rock cross again. We will not have nearly as many chicken meals this winter as we did last year. 3 or 4 chicken breasts of these small birds are nowhere near ONE breast of the cornish.

Sophie got to do something really exciting on saturday. She went to her friends house! This is a rare thing for her. Most people aren't willing or able to help her but this just worked out perfectly. Her little friend Reena is in her class at school and they talk on the phone every day. for hours if I let them. We found out her friend and she have a lot more in common than we had realized. their house is all one level so no issues there. and her mom was more than willing to deal with Sophie's disability.  She doesn't need a lot but she needs help on stairs and in the bathroom. She is so excited to play there again another day or have her friend here. She stayed there five hours and didn't want to go when I picked her up!

Today is monday. Back to school. and it truly WAS monday. jackets were missing. shoes were missing. kids were running late. dogs ran out and wouldn't come in. peacefully sititng by the fire now and planning my day. Time to get moving I guess.