Friday, November 30, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday #1

Wow, long time no post. My intention was not to delay this blog, but with five kids my days are so full that I never can find time to blog. But honestly, I miss blogging. I know I only had six posts, but I enjoyed being creative and writing about my family. So i've decided that blogging is going to be my "me" time. A couple times a week i'm going to take some time, whether it be late at night, when my kids are napping, etc. to blog. Wish me luck!


1. Violet is now onto her third pair of eye glasses in the last six months. She's six and I can understand that glasses are a new concept and a new responsibility for her, but seriously, three pairs?? And glasses aren't cheap either! The first time she left them on the floor and Wren stepped on them and the second time she left them in a taxi cab. So when we got her new glasses, Wren and I sat her down and explained to her how important it is to be responsible and treat her glasses like a prized possession. We gave her a list of rules and decided to do daily checks to make sure her glasses are either on her head or on her nightstand and not on the floor or available to her younger siblings or the dog. Here's to hoping this new pair lasts!

2. I've been a reading fanatic lately. I've always loved reading but am finally getting to the point where I can find time to read each day... even if it may be at night before I go to bed. I love, love, love memoirs and biographies. Some of my favorites are Bloom, Heaven is Here, The Obamas, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, and The Freedom Writers Diary, though I could go on and on about my favorite books! My love of reading has definitely rubbed off on my oldest two. Seeing Mommy read encourages them to read and they think its cool when they see me reading... I love that! We've gotten in the habit of having "Mommy/Daughter Reading Time" at night before bed. I sit with them and we read together.

3. I cannot believe tomorrow is December 1st. December 1st officially marks the time of year when we begin to celebrate the winter holidays. In October we're busy worrying about Halloween and November is all about Thanksgiving. Tomorrow we will decorate our house with Hanukkah decorations to prepare for the upcoming holiday. On Sunday we will be taking a family picture for our holiday card. I'm hoping and praying that all goes well, but with five little ones you can never be sure! We will also start to read Hanuka related books each night before bed and color Hanukkah themed pictures. This time of year is so great because it really gives my children an opportunity to learn about their religion and culture. Get ready for lots of hot cocoa, cookies, and warm fires, kiddos!

4. This week Violet and Mila both began piano lessons. Wren and I feel extra curriculars are an important part of our children's development. They're both in soccer (during the spring) and year-around ballet. The younger three will begging extra-curriculars when they are old enough, though that time is a bit far away. My husband and I both like the idea of them participating in one art, one sport, and one music... so long as it doesn't overwhelm them and they're enjoying them all. We let them pick what they want to do as long as we know it's something they're interested in and will stick to. So far the girls aren't overwhelmed and are enjoying all their extra-curriculars. Soccer isn't in session right now and both piano and ballet are only one day a week so they're not too busy and still  have time for their family, school, and free time.

5. Last week was Thanksgiving and we hosted over 50 (yes, f-i-f-t-y) people. There was so much food that we still have leftovers! And no, no one here is sick of Turkey Day food either. I think our family motto has turned from, "the joy of a family is life's greatest blessing" to "there's never enough Thanksgiving food!" Our fridge is still full of turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry, macaroni-and-cheese, and a lot more! I'm thinking about using the last of the turkey to make soup to ring in December 1st, the beginning of the winter season! What do you think?

6. On July 16th, Wren and I celebrated seven years of marriage. My wonderful in-laws took the kids for the weekend and Wren and I were able to get away for two days of relaxation and romance. I love my husband more than I can describe. He is my best friend and soul mate. When we met at 17-years-old who knew how much we would accomplish and create. We live the best, most incredible life together and I couldn't be more happy to call Wren my husband. He is an amazing father and caring husband. I am in awe that we have been married for seven years and can't wait to see what the next seven years (and seven years after that, and seven years after that, etc.) bring us. I love my Wren!

7. And lastly, its been more than four months since my last post and a lot has happened since then. Back HERE I wrote about having the baby talk with Wren and now i'm proud to announce we're expecting! I'm three months a long... yes, we conceived a month after the talk. Wren, the kids, and I couldn't be happier about our newest addition due in May 2013. I definitely want to find out the gender and am excited for whatever will be given to us- girl or boy. The older girls definitely want a little sister and the youngest two are so young they don't have a care in the world. Wren says he would love either but I know he secretly dreams of having another little boy. What man wouldn't? He and Connor are the only men in the household! Here's to baby!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What We've Been Doing

Going on walks. The kids love going on walks around our neighborhood. We are located in a gated community with tons of land to explore. That's one positive about living in the desert; there's grasslands, hills, and tons of other nature type things for the kids to enjoy.

Swimming. I honestly don't know what I would do without a pool- especially in this 100 degree whether we have been experiencing lately. We have been spending hours and hours in our pool at home. Not only is it a great way to stay cool and refreshed, but the kids can get a lot of energy out of their systems!

Barbecuing. It's great to come home from a walk or a great swim to some delicious barbecued foods! Usually I will prepare our dinner sides in the afternoon and set them aside, then i'll take the kids on a walk or for a swim and when we're all done, there will be a yummy meal waiting for us prepared by Wren!

Going for ice cream. When I was pregnant and just had one or two children, I swore I would NEVER bribe my children. As they got older, more verbal and opinionated, and more and more children were thrown into the mix, I occasionally find myself doing so. I am aware of what i'm doing, but bribing them from time to time just makes everything easier. Like they say, sometimes you have to chose your battles. In my case, I have to chose if I want to bribe them in order for them to do something. In my case, it's usually ice cream. The kids just LOVE ice cream. So usually i'll tell them that if they get their chores done or rest for an hour, i'll take them for ice cream. It. Works. Like. A. Charm.

Making lots of cold drinks. Sun tea. Lemonade. Koolaid. You name it, we've made it. Not only is it fun to make homemade drinks with your kids, but it's healthier and keeps you refreshed all summer long!

***Now tell me, what does your family do to stay refreshed and occupied during the summer?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

10 (Questions) on (July) 10

1. How many children do you have?
I have five children.

2. What are their ages?
Violet is 6, Mila is 5, Seraphina is 3, Connor is 1, and Adelaide is also 1.

3. What time do you start your day?
Monday thru Friday I wake up at 5:30am so I can exercise for an hour. And on Saturday and Sunday I wake up no later than 8am, which is late for me. I should point out, though, that when i'm pregnant, I don't really wakeup at 5:30am to exercise- which has basically been a little more than half of the time i've been a mom. Oh well!

4. What does your family eat for breakfast?
Monday thru Thursday we eat cereal, muffins, oatmeal, fruit smoothies, or yogurt and granola. As for Friday, we eat eggs, and everyone gets to chose how they would like their eggs to be cooked. Wren and I are not short order cooks, so this is the only opportunity each week for everyone to be picky about their style of cooking. We allow this partly because it's become tradition after so many years, and because I don't cook the eggs! Lastly, on Saturday and Sunday we rotate between french toast, pancakes, and waffles.

5. Do your kids watch TV?
My kids are still so young that they'd rather spend their time exploring outside or drawing a picture than watch TV. I love it this way and would definitely like to keep it like this for as long as possible. With that said, we do have a family movie night each week when we watch a movie as a family, but that's basically the only time each week when the kids watch television.

6. What are their favorite activities?
The only two who are old enough to participate in extra-curricular outside of the home are Violet and Mila. Currently they are enrolled in ballet and soccer. When Seraphina, Adelaide, and Connor get older, I KNOW they are going to want to be involved in activities as well, but we haven't quite reached the point where they are old enough. Inside of the home they are really into the arts and enjoy making up plays, dressing up, going swimming, drawing pictures, baking, and a lot more.

7. Do you get a break during the day for some you time?
I get a break each day when Violet and Mila are at school and the youngest three are down for their naps. I learned a long time ago to rest when your children are resting, so that has become my one and only time during the day for a break.

8. How do you end your day?
Each night after the kids have gone to bed, Wren and I spend some alone time together. Each night is different; sometimes we watch a show, other nights we just cuddle, etc. But it doesn't matter to us what we do, because as long as we spend time together, we're happy.

9. What is your best parenting advice or tip?
My parenting advice is to enjoy every moment: big, small, funny, sad, etc. Kids grow up so fast, trust me. I know my oldest is only six years old, but it seems like just yesterday she was born. So enjoy every moment, please. You'll want to remember these moments, even if they have come during a time of stress or anguish. Remember, your babies are only young once, then they grow up...

10. Do you want more kids?
I'd be lying if I said I didn't. Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted at lease eight kids, and I still do. I know five kids is different than six kids, and six kids is different than seven kids, so i'll take it one kid at a time, but at this moment, I do.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Talk

Each night at dinner my family and I go around the table and tell each other our favorite and least favorite part of the day. The children usually say something like, "my favorite part of today was when Mommy gave me an extra cookie!" or "my least favorite part of the day was around 4pm when I wasn't allowed to watch television." Wren usually says something that has to do with work or his family. And me? I usually mention not having enough hours in the day as my least favorite part and something that has to do with my children as my favorite part of the day.

Wren and the kids don't even expect otherwise anymore. They always know what my answer is when asked about my favorite part of the day. Whether it has to do with watching my girls at ballet or teaching them how to bake peach pie, my answer is always about the kids... and I cannot help myself.

They make me so happy. I often find myself just staring at them; in awe of the incredible children I have been given. I couldn't be more thankful for them and the purpose they have provided me with in life. Because of them I wake up smiling, go to bed smiling, and live my life smiling. Even with all the hecticness that comes around each day, I never find myself living a bad day.

And yet, even with the blessings I already have, I long for more children. Some might think i'm crazy, but it's the truth. My house doesn't seem messy enough. Or loud enough. Or busy enough. And some people would rather a clean, quiet, calm house, but I long for the opposite. Children are what make me the happiest. The more I can love, cherish, and provide for the merrier. And for these reasons, I know Adelaide won't be my last child.

But Wren isn't so sure. No doubt he wants more children, but not right now. He wants to give the five amazing children we already have plently of love and attention before adding anyone else into our group. Especially since we had five kids in five years. He also seems to like the two-year age gap between kids, while I like the one-year gap.

I understand all of his reasons, but i'm not sure if I want to wait any longer. I immediately fall in love with a baby when I see one. I stand from a distance and admire the innocent creature before me, hoping that the mother holding her baby will be me very soon. At night, once everyone goes to bed, I think of baby names I love and write them down. Isla. Ariella. Mason. Lincoln. The list goes on and on and on... and on and on and on. And when i'm holding a baby, I DON'T WANT TO LET GO. It takes an awfully strong person to pull me away from a baby i'm holding. So, as you can see i'd like to add another child as soon as possible.

Don't get me wrong. I am beyond blessed to be a mother to the five children I already have, and if I never have anymore children I won't feel any less blessed or in-love, but I feel like God is calling us to expand our family. And I know it. I feel it. I dream it. I want it. All the signs are present.

So tonight Wren and I are having the talk. Will we have more children? Will we adopt? When? Hopefully all these questions will be discussed tonight after the kids head off to their cousins house. I'm excited to sit down with Wren and just talk about this topic. It's a very popular subject between us, but we never seem to have the time to just talk about our feelings and wishes for hours and hours.

In the end we'll do what we feel is right. I'm not pressuring Wren into having more children and he's not pressuring me into waiting to have more children. We both want what's best for our family and are open to everything. Waiting. Not waiting. Adoption. Having more biological kids. And we're not expecting to reach an answer today, either. This will take time and a lot of thinking. So while I will tell you how our conversation went, please don't expect an update anytime soon.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

20 Facts About Our Family

1. I have five sisters.
2. Wren has five brothers.
3. Wren and I were the first (and only) people we ever dated, or even liked.
4. We met in highschool when we were both 17-years-old.
5. After highschool we both attended the same university.
6. I received my Master's Degree in Sociology and a major in spanish.
7. Wren received his Master's Degree in Architecture and a major in mathematics.
8. One month after graduating, on July 16th, 2005, we got married.
9. Our first daughter, Violet, was conceived on our honeymoon.
10. Then, one month after Violet's birth, I was shocked to find out I was expecting yet again.
11. We waited two years after Mila's birth to conceive again.
12. Doctors told us Seraphina was going to be a BOY. Surprise... she wasn't!
13. And shortly after bringing Connor home from Ethiopia, we found out we were expecting again.
14. Adelaide was born two months early.
15. Seraphina is allergic to all grains.
16. Adelaide has asthma but, fortunately, it's minor.
17. All of my children speak English and Spanish fluently.
18. We would love to adopt and have more biological children one day.
19. Our family is Jewish. We are not as serious as other practicing Jews (we're not Orthodox or Hasidic), but we are pretty focused on this religion and it's culture, lifestyle, and beliefs.
20. Our family is like any other family though.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Look Into Our Day

This is what our day looked like yesterday. Don't worry, our days are not always this hectic and unorganized!

5:30am- Finished packing for our trip home. There was lake stuff, clothes for 7 people for 7 nights, portable chairs and tons of blankets, enough food to feed 7 people for 7 nights 3 times a day, toys, car seats, and a lot more. Wren and the kids were fast asleep in the living room where they had fell asleep watching 101 Dalmatians.

7:00am- Wake up the children... and Wren who was as difficult to wake up as Violet, my oldest. Wren and I piled them in the bath, in hopes that the water would wake them up. Wren bathed Adelaide and Connor; I bathed Violet, Mila, and Seraphina. Then we worked as a team in an assembly line to get the kids dressed. I put on the kids underwear, shirts, and shorts; Wren put on their socks and shoes. Wren then took the kids to feed the ducks and skip rocks while I cooked breakfast. I decided on scrambled eggs and cantaloupe slices. Easy, quick, and not so messy. Well, as it turns out, Adelaide and Connor can make scrambled eggs messy by starting a food fight in the middle of breakfast. Who would have known!

8:30am- Hit the road with five kids, one husband, and a dog in tow. Five minutes into the drive(yes, LITERALLY five minutes) Mila and Seraphina decided they needed to use the bathroom. We asked them if they could wait a little while but they said no. Mila even exclaimed that she felt like a "waterfall is going to erupt out of her if she doesn't make it to a bathroom soon." Oh my little drama queen! So we finally stopped, experienced a tantrum because my 3-year-old wanted a chocolate bar she saw at the gas station even though it was only 8:40am, drove for twenty minutes, got stuck in horrible traffic due to a horrendous accident, and THEN Wren got pulled over by the police for going 53 in a 50-mile zone. What?! Don't worry, he did not get ticketed, just received a warning. After all that excitement adventure I offered to drive and ended up driving for one hour before...

10:35am- ...Seraphina threw up. Why? Because Wren gave her the chocolate bar she wanted at 8-in-the-morning. I just about lost it, considering she vomited in the car, but remained calm and kept my composure for our children. I know Wren couldn't help it though. He has a soft spot for his children and loves to make them happy, even if that means giving our daughter, who gets car sick very easily, chocolate in the morning. We pulled off to a park that was (thankfully) to the right of us when Seraphina got sick, unloaded all the children, and let them play while Wren watched them. Then I wiped up Seraphina, changed her clothes, let her go play, clean the car, and air it out before it was...

12:05pm- ...lunch time! My children work like clock work and know exactly when it's time to eat. So when noon hit, they all came running to me exclaiming they were hungry. We had decided to stop along the way for lunch, but since our plans changed, Wren and I decided to enjoy a picnic at the park. I watched the kids while Wren drove to Subway and picked up seven sandwiches, chips, and fruit for lunch. We had a blanket, layed it out, and sat for an hour eating lunch, laughing, and running around. I have to say, it was a beautiful and fun end to a crazy morning.

1:00pm- We hit the road again. By now all the kids are exhausted from running around and full from lunch, so they fall asleep very fast. This gives me an opportunity to talk to Wren about how we are a team and I don't appreciate him going behind my back to please our three-year-old. He agrees with me and tells me that he'll try to be more stern with his impulses and desire to always please his children. I then told him that as parents we try our hardest to make sure our kids are happy, but in the end we can't always please them. What matters most is that they're healthy, safe, and happy in a way that doesn't involve giving into their desire for chocolate. We then held hands and talked to each other until...

2:00pm- ...all five children woke up from their naps and became suddenly ancy and restless to sit in the car any longer. I try to make the last hour of the drive fun and distracting for them by putting on music and having a car dance party with them, which helps for twenty minutes. Then we played I Spy for twenty minutes and played "Would You Rather" for the last twenty minutes, before...

3:00pm- ...we arrive home! We were four hours late, but hey, at least we got home safely and happily... oh, and exhausted! We were all so exhausted that we left everything in the car and all took a rest!

4:05pm- I woke up after my one hour nap to find my husband unloading the car and the three oldest girls playing dress up while Adelaide and Connor slept. It made me smile to see my girls all bonding together, reminding me just how close they are and will always be. I ran to get my camera to try and sneak a picture, but then Mila, my camera shy daughter, caught me and wouldn't let me take a picture! I then went down stairs, helped Wren unload everything from the car, and realized that we needed to eat dinner in less than an hour in order for the kids to go to sleep on time. I pondered what we should eat for dinner because I didn't plan dinner for this day because I knew we'd be returning from vacation, so Wren and I decided to pile the kids back into the car and take them to Soup Plantation for dinner. It's my favorite soup restaurant and very kid friendly.

6:00pm- Baths for the kids. I don't usually give my children two baths in the same day, but considering we spent seven hours driving and traveling home, I figured I ought to give them a bath before bed. I did it in shifts this time, because Wren had to run off and pick his brother up from the mechanics after his car broke down. Adelaide and Connor were first. I bathed them, dressed them,  kissed them on their cheeks, and then put them to bed. That way I knew they were asleep and couldn't get into any mischief while I was bathing the oldest three. Then I bathed Violet, Mila, and Seraphina, got them dressed, kissed them on their cheeks, and put them to bed. After bathing all five kids and managing to put them to bed in under an hour, I collapsed into my bed and relaxed until Wren came home from the mechanics.

8:00pm- Wren's home. We decide to tackle the loads of stuff we brought back from vacation and unpack everything. Food- check. Lake toys- check. Portables (chairs, tables, etc.)- check. Clothes- not quite. Can you imagine the amount of clothes I have to unpack and wash?? Seven days worth of clothes for seven people. That includes underwear, bathing suits, pajamas, EVERYTHING! The laundry is going to take me at least a couple of days, but I don't mind. All this laundry is not only a reminder of how blessed we are to afford so many nice clothes, but also how blessed we are to actually be able to take our children on seven night vacations.

11:00pm- Lights out! I was so exhausted that I hit the sack without showering, I just changed into sweats and a t-shirt and crawled into bed.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Meet the Kingston Kids

Violet is 6-years-old. She is incredibly observant and artistic. Something that amazes me about Violet is how she is able to look at everything in a glass-half-full sort of way. She loves drawing, putting on plays, and exploring the world around her. Violet is also incredibly responsible and without-a-doubt a mini-mommy! She loves to help me with anything needed and does not hesitate to watch over her young sisters and brother. I can't imagine a better firstborn. I love my Violet Everleigh beyond compare!

Mila is 5-years-old. She is only 15-months younger than her sister, Violet, and incredibly close to her. They often spend most of their days together, drawing, putting on plays, and just being each other's best friends. Mila is a bit different from Violet though. She's definitely more of a girly-girl and loves dresses, anything pink, and her dolls. Mila is also very sweet and strives to make sure everyone around her is happy, smiling, and laughing. I love my Mila Eleanor with every ounce of me.

Seraphina is 3-years-old. She is a combination of half girly-girl and half tomboy. One minute she'll be playing dress up or giving her dolls a makeover, and the next minute she's playing in the mud or roughhousing with her male cousins. She's also a bit stubborn and very opinionated, which gives her the ability to never give up. What I love most about Seraphina is her view on life. She is always looking at the glass half full, can notice beauty in anything, and loves detail. I love my Seraphina Aurora with all that I am!

Connor is 1-years-old. He is a homebody and very shy, yet incredibly loving and nurturing. He is a mommy's boy and loves to be by my side every moment he can. Jace is also a mini engineer and builder of many things. He loves to build and repair anything he see's, and is very creative. What I love most about Connor is his hardworking nature and willingness to never give up. He will work at something until he succeeds, even if he needs to start at the beginning over and over again. And I know that may be hard to believe for a 1-year-old, but it couldn't be more true. I love my Connor Jace with everything inside, outside, and around me!

Adelaide is 1-years-old. If I had to describe Adelaide in one word it would be happy. She has the most bubbly and joyous personality I have ever seen, which in the end makes my days happier. Addie loves to laugh, even for no apparent reason, and is always making funny faces to try and make others smile. She is also a very observant 1-year-old. Adelaide is definitely into nature and loves to explore her surroundings. She points to anything that strikes her as fascinating: flowers, a shiny building, even her favorite foods. I love my Adelaide Grace with all my heart!