Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Farewell to Summer!

I love fall!  It is my favorite season!!!  But it started showing it's face the first week in September, even a little early for me.

Despite a not beautiful day for swimming, we packed the kids up for one last play-day at the lake a few Sundays ago.  I was resistant and came very close to throwing a mommy temper tantrum - you know throwing my hands up in the air, stomping my feet, screaming and making it a PJ afternoon instead.  But we had already told the kids (like you can un-tell 4 excited kids that we are changing our minds) and I had already spent an hour collecting everything we'd need for an afternoon by the lake. 

We loaded 5 kids, the giant green swim bag, stroller and food into the car and drove out to our favorite local stop - Todd Lake.  The kids slept on the way out, and Mark and I were able to be quiet and just together. 

We arrived to a nearly empty parking lot :)  There was only one other family on the beach and they were packing up to leave.  THE LAKE TO OURSELVES FOR THE AFTERNOON - pure joy!!!  Mark and I could easily track and watch all the kids.  It was a bit chilly so all the kids wanted to do was wade and play in the sand.  And they were so peaceful and happy to just play together.  No fighting, no fussing, and very minimal whining.  It was an afternoon of pure bliss and it was so hard to leave.   The only bad part of those hours spent by the lake was our camera died just as the kids got dressed and were playing on the playground.  We missed catching some beautiful moments on "film".

But like summer, it had to come to an end!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Does it really matter to our kids what we wear as "mom"? 

To an extent, of course.  There is the willingness to be seen with us.  The example we are setting.  But really and truly my 7 and under crowd could care less whether I'm in my PJ's or dressed to the nines (which happens, NEVER!)  But, at least for me, how I dress does effect my attitude and perception of myself.  Pajama days are the greatest.  But if I ventured out our front door in my PJ's there is a feeling of relaxation that is not conducive to orchestrating a successful outing. 

So every morning (that we are leaving the house), I do put forth a good faith effort to put my best foot forward.  An effort to say to my self, my kids and the world that "yes, I am capable and we will have a great day!"  Does it always work, well - no!  But the effort is there and with effort there is promise and potential.

Eloise, was camera happy the other afternoon so I let her take pics of me and Mathilde...  I do feel more put together in my head than I feel I appear in said picture...but I made the effort!  And pretty proud of the outfit, as much for look as for cost.  Goodwill to the rescue - Seven for All Mankind jeans ($4, only problem the fly likes to not stay up, fixed with tiny kid hairband :) ), Ann Taylor Loft top ($3.50, Cashier at the grocery store complemented it :) after telling me I looked tired - GRRR!)

So from my girls perspective - "Mommy, you look pretty today!"  Gotta love those sweet little voices. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dressing for the job you want....

not the job you have!  This is critical within the workforce.  We have focused on always making sure that Mark's work attire fits not the job he has, but the job he hopes to get next.  This has meant dress shirt, tie, dress slacks and me ironing EVERY morning for the last year.  I'm sure as we ready for the next step, we'll be throwing in another suit, a few sports jackets and maybe, nicer shoes.

But what does this adage mean for us - moms?!   This question is something I've wondered about a lot since Mathilde was born and I started getting my "real" clothes back out of storage.  There were A LOT of solids, a variety of sizes, many stains and even a few holes....very pitiful.  I looked at this wardrobe and my pony tail and wondered what this presentation of my self says to the world.  Well, actually forget what the world thinks, what message is this sending to my children.  I hope that one day they will look at their Daddy's career path and my career path and everything each entails with pride and ambition. 

But why on earth would they aspire to example in appearance and behavior had become blah! and very-overwhelmed-mother-of-five-who-doesn't-look-in-the-mirror looking.   This is the job I ALWAYS wanted - SAHM.  So why was I not dressing for this job - Confident, Capable, Organized Mother of Five. 

It was way overdue that this mom's uniform get an overhaul!!!

But how? 

First, an attitude adjustment!!!  This is a DAILY adjustment.  A reminder that yes, I have the best job on the planet.  It is not to be taken for granted. 

Second, find came in many forms.  It needs to be functional.  It needs to be flattering.  Mark's opinions matters a lot.  But much of the "how to" inspiration has come from the ladies at ain't no mom jeans.  I do not know these ladies at all, but they are brilliant and fun to read, and best of all they write about things I think and recommend products I can see myself using, and even better can AFFORD!  And I was also beyond thrilled when they featured a mom, who was wearing almost an exact replica of my favorite summer outfit. (after I wore it first :) yeah me!)  They've also recommended two products that I nearly immediately went out and further recommendations needed -  Just BittenRevlon's lipstick and a tank by Yummie Tummie (bought one of ebay for a 1/4 the price) - both are my newest favorite things!!!!

Third, the hair HAD to be cut!  I knew it was at an all time low when a) I walked by a mirror and thought to myself "this ponytail looks great today!" and b) Mark started recommending different cuts!!!  So I did it :)  And because of this I have to get up every morning and shower and take the 5 minutes to do a minimal amount of helpful in the goal of feeling put together.

Attitude, check and frequently double checked!  Inspiration, check!   Grown up haircut, check! 

Action...  How does a mother with a thousand other priorities and the rare extra few dollars find and build a wardrobe.  I started by evaluating what I have...solids and jeans.  Then, bring in inspiration and layer...voila!  New outfits :)  Yeah me! 

Next, THRIFT STORES!!  Yes, it was not so long ago I was embarrassed to be seen near one and will now gladly proclaim my love from the mountain tops!!!  We went to Goodwill this weekend and I decided enough was enough on the fall wardrobe, this mommy was looking for her first (typically, circle the store - kids clothes, books, toys, then if there's any patience left look for myself).  The days finds - 2 pairs of jeans (both of the $150+ variety), 1 pair cargo pants, cute jacket, 1 vest, 2 tops!!!  Yippee.  A weeks worth of outfits for for $25.50...the same as 1 pair cargo pants!!!  I am so grateful the women of the world who pay full price for things and then give them away in "like new" condition. 

I have always dressed Mark and the kids with pride and to build their self esteem.  Hoping that they'll always be seen as ready for whatever the world throws at them.  It was time to start dressing me to be able to catch everything, and stop looking and thus feeling like everything had been dropped on me.

And if I didn't far prefer to be behind the camera instead of in front of it there might one day be a picture ;)  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yo Gabba Gabba! Finn is 2!

It has been a crazy busy two weeks.  Sofia and Isobel went back to school.  I started a new playgroup and have been busy meeting new mommas and littles.  Eloise has started preschool.  Mathilde is mobile.  We served as housing during evacuation from Hurricane Irene for Mark's folks, sister, our niece and nephews and an assortment of 4-legged children.

But the biggest news Finn is TWO!!!!

And we welcomed in the TERRIBLE TWO's with our biggest themed birthday celebration yet!  This momma has been known to "over do" birthdays in the past, but this one was huge!!!  Our family has a strange and great love for Yo Gabba Gabba and Finn is IN love with them!  So the planning started way back in May, when I found a few tiered Gabba cakes.  And things kinds spiraled from there. 

There are very limited party supply places that stock the Yo Gabba Gabba theme so we ordered a pinata, plates, napkins and favors from Birthday Express.  The box arrived and this mommy was cute, so Gabba.  (Mark and I decided that there was no way we could bust DJ Lance's boombox pinata, so it served as decoration and will be displayed in Finn's room.)

And then there was the cake.  I drooled and pondered and schemed and finally settled on modeling Finn's cake after one by Sweet Elizabeth.  She was sweet enough to respond super fast (within 12 hours) to a query I sent on pan sizes and Brobee horns.  (FYI 10", 8", 6" + 1/2 a sports ball)

I knew I could tackle this cake, I had confidence, I had a vision, I HAD a clean kitchen!  (If you have ever worked with me or near me you know I'm not a neat worker :) )

The cake was going to be Plex, Brobee, and Muno.  I decided that I wanted the cake to be edible and didn't want to recipe test and have to eat numerous cakes to find the "right" from scratch recipe for us.  So I took the easy way out and used the box mixes.  Lemon for Plex, Strawberry for Muno, and double chocolate for Brobee.  I'm not an icing fan!  So I did go in search of a butter cream recipe, and found not only a great recipe, but a "crusting" recipe AND smoothing technique to make it look like fondant.  (Fondant = I think I'd love to try but to daunting in detail and cost to venture into)   And it worked beautifully :)  I forgot to buy the "right" paper towels for smoothing not once, but three separate grocery trips!  So tried a few things and the best alternative was a sandwich bag!  It is clear so you can see what your doing and doesn't cost $3+/roll!!!

I was able to mix one batch of icing for Muno, there would have been extra, but I colored it all before I thought about it.  And one batch for Muno and Brobee.  For Brobee, I did mix 1/2 butter-cream and 1/2 Wilton's decorators icing because the butter-cream was trying to fall off.  (My sister said the green didn't taste very good...oops!  But I was going for icing to stay on the cake not taste.  Backwards priorities?!  Maybe :))  For the coloring I used Wilton's black, red, green and yellow.

Since, I didn't want to battle with learning to handle and make fondant, I was thrilled to find sheeted sugar by Wilton.  It worked perfectly to make the eyes on each character.  And for Brobee's horns?!  This took some thought, but I stumbled on smallish coconut macaroons at the grocery store.  They were perfect!!!  Squished Molded them into horns, attached 2 toothpicks each and covered with Muno's red icing!!!!

And to escalate the sugar high to epic levels...I made Muno pretzels, Foofa chocolate covered oreos and Tootie Marshmellows!  All inspired my original "dream cake" maker over at Two Parts Sugar.

 And then the big day came - September 4, 2011 - FINN TURNED 2!!!  And all the planning and prep was complete and it was time to celebrate Yo Gabba Gabba style.  For dinner/lunch we served a "party in my tummy" meal - pizza, chicken nuggets, carrots, broccoli, cheese and popcorn...Brobee would have been so proud of all our little eaters!!!
Oh, and we found a Gabba shirt on ebay and it arrived just in time for the birthday boy to wear his Brobee shirt to the PARTY!

His guest were all his "Hassett" numbered at 11 total little "Hassett's"!!!  Other cousins and friends would have been fabulous...but we are a walking party and Finn had a fabulous day :)  He did not seem quite aware that all the fuss was for him but he loved every bit of it.

We had a wonderful day celebrating!  I can't believe our boy is already 2!  He is learning so much and turning into such a little boy!  Suddenly within the last few weeks all attention has turned to wheels and building and tools....  We are so excited to watch him grow this year!!!!


(Blogger is being very cranky so I'll be back with pics!!!!)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to School 2011

It has been a huge week!

The big girls went back to school last Tuesday :)  Sofia is a 2nd grader!  AND Isobel is in kindergarten!  They have both transitioned fabulously into their new classrooms.  Earning many "keys" for great behavior at school, we are so proud.

Now if behavior at home would follow suit this mommy would be thrilled.  Any transition always causes some challenges in discipline...but, man!!!  We'll get back on track and trying to stay patient while holding on as tight as possible to consistency.

Summer and freedom and endless hours of play are such a blessing and joy of childhood.  But the routine has come back easily.  And everyone seems grateful to be back in a structured routine :)

A few weeks ago I started a new meet-up group for moms and their kids in the area, and we had our first play-date last week.  Everyone seemed to have a great time.  The kids played well together.   And it was great to meet some new people and carry on an adult conversation right in the middle of the day :)

We have also experienced our second earthquake and watched a hurricane affect our family.  The earthquake, for us, was fairly uneventful.  I thought a giant fighter jet had flown over until I checked facebook and family started calling.  The epicenter was less than 60 miles away and it ranked a 5.9 on the scale.  The house shook and it was loud, but since it didn't dawn on me that it was the earth itself moving it was not terribly scary.  There have been a few after shocks, we've only felt one.  So all in all...we live in Virginia!...2 earthquakes in less than 3 years is beyond quota!!!!

Hurricane Irene was the story of the weekend.  Threatening to cause historic damage in a path that has not occurred in recorded weather history.  Mark's parents and their 4 legged children and his sister and children came here for the weekend.  It was great having them and we got to celebrate Mom D's birthday with her.  It would have been nicer to have everyone without the threatening hurricane hanging heavily on everyone's mind.  But thankfully by the grace of God, the storm did weaken.

Since Finn is climbing me and furniture in an effort to see out the window and count cars and horses...I'll be back with more sometime :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A huge day...

I still have not decided how I can possibly tackle the posting of our entire summer into this space.  This falls into the category of way too daunting to think about! 

But today that is completely on hold and is filled instead with great hope and change and love!  I find myself pacing and waiting and stalking facebook and refreshing my email every 30 seconds and holding the phone with thumb ready to answer.  You see the hubby was in a very important meeting this morning and news has come in that it went great :)  (Details will come soon we hope!)  AND my baby sister is having her 4th baby girl!!!  No word yet but she should be being sewn back up and heading to recovery shortly, with baby safely in the nursery with her daddy.  I'm not often on this side of labor and delivery and well I'm not very good at it. 

So I find myself here, typing nothingness but hoping for the greatest news and this day being remembered as one of the greatest, most life changing days EVER! 

I find it amazing that everyday people are experiencing life changing and really history changing events in their lives and rarely does humankind pause and take notice.  A small baby is joining our family.  Everyone is forever changed.  She will make history.  Her sisters will forever have another best friend.  Her parents will have another gift to nurture and watch grow.  And whether our great-grandchildren learn about her in history class or through family stories, she will change this world!  Each one of us has and will change the history of our world.  What an awesome responsibility!

Our house has been focusing A LOT recently on this ability to be movers in this world.  To be examples in both big and small ways.  To use our talents and make our world and the greater world better.  To accept the Lord's Will and trust Him enough to accept it and live it.  To those who are given much, much is expected!

We have been given the gift of 5!  To witness to the world through our family that the Lord is great and through Him everything is possible and nothing is beyond Him.  We have been given the gift of higher education and intelligence and a desire to serve and in His Will we are lead to great tasks and greater good.

May the Lord give us the strength to witness and exist in His Will.

P.S.  Baby Molly has arrived and all are doing well :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer is nearly gone...

How is it already 8/10?  How have I not managed to sit down and write here in over a month? 

There is a lot to catch up on and it'll take several postings.  I'd be tempted to say our summer was boring.  The day in and day out of nothing much on the calendar can get really monotonous with five little ones who want to stay home in their PJ's, and yes there were many days we did just that.  But we also have traveled, participated and vacation bible school, took swim lessons, and played.  It has been a HOT summer in the mountains.  This leaves us inside on most days and this mommy plagued with cabin fever.  The kids have seemed quite happy to play and run and wreak havoc in the house.  But I think we are all ready to resume the structure of the school year.

Since there is a certain 6 year old breathing down my neck to have her afternoon computer are a few pics and I'll go back to....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Celebrating and Recovering from the 4th of July

We had a great weekend celebrating our country's independence!  Uncle Mike, Aunt Leslie, Aaron and Nathan were here to visit Friday evening through Sunday.  We played and visited and swam at "their" pool.  I cooked and Mark grilled and we ate take-out Chinese.  I made two great - very easy and fun dishes for the festivities; Red, White and Blue Strawberries and a Patriotic Fruit Salad - both were a huge hit!

All the kids had a great weekend and were SO well behaved!!!  They had a great time swimming and paddling about the pool - sadly my camera never left the pool bag!   They got to see fireworks Saturday night from our back windows :)  Sunday was spent at home playing in the yard and eating Chinese take-out, then napping and relaxing.  And I just realized, I didn't line the kids up all cute in their 4th of July clothes and get a pic...might have to rectify that!

Monday, Mark worked in the morning and then due to the threatening thunderstorms we bagged plans to go to the Todd Lake :(  We instead wandered up to Harrisonburg, by way of the Green Valley Bookfair - like we need more books.  But we did find a few treasures and were grateful we were inside when the storms did roll in.  We then went to Goodwill, found Finn 2 pairs of pants, much needed as his diaper was leaking [oops!] and I'm tired of having nothing but shorts for church.  After that it was Chili's for dinner, gotta love kid's eat free coupons!!!  At nearly $5 per kid...we'd never eat out if it weren't for the coupons and free or reduced kid's nights!!!  And what outing is complete without a run through Target?!  All the kids, except Fia, fell asleep on the way home and were transferred to their respective beds for the night.  Sofia stayed up for a bit with Mark and I and watched fireworks from the back windows again.  We were very grateful that we can see at least 5 different firework shows standing in our kitchen!!!  9-10pm is just too late for us and them!

The rest of this week we have been in recovery mode.  Mark has worked a regular schedule and is preparing to be gone next week and studying for a certification exam.  The kids and I have been LAZY!  The house is still mostly clean from my efforts over the weekend with company being here.  And they've been tired...sleeping until after 7a everyday.  Sofia came in our room Wednesday morning exclaiming... "do you know what time it is!!!  IT'S 8:30!!!"  I don't remember the last time I got to stay in bed until 8:30 :)  We have ventured out for the Wednesday library puppet show and swim lessons, but other than that there have been no necessary errands or shopping.  It's been a nice week of breathing.  I've even picked up a book to read, just cause...GASP!  Hopefully, I can snap myself out of it and resume productivity ASAP though, starting to feel like a slug.

Our week has looked pretty much like this....

There has been outside time, girls playing (mostly) quietly in their bedroom, Finn tootling around and Mathilde babbling and drooling! 

Exclamation of the week - Sofia has decided she will be both a baker and a paleontologist when she grows up.  She will bake by day and dig for fossils at night! (who needs sleep?!)

~ Kim

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Mommy, I need more motrin."

This is going to be a LONG post due to a very busy two weeks.  I've been remiss in posting as there has been a bad, bad bug that invaded our kiddos.  It has caused what has felt like a constant refrain out of the mouths of our babes this week, <insert whine>..."Mommy. I need more motrin."  We have been hit by a nasty kid-borne virus.  It started last week with Isobel and then made it's way through Sofia, Eloise and Finn.  So far Mark, Mathilde and I have been spared (thank goodness!).  It has been a silent and calm bug causing temperatures to spike to 102 and then holds for 36 hours causing belly pains and exhaustion.  As far as illnesses go, it is the best kind - it creates no messes and quiet kids!
Over the last two weeks; we helped move Uncle Joe's family and celebrated Mark, welcomed summer and Isobel turned 5.  The move was pretty easy as far as moving goes.  All the men and Olivia moved boxes and what-nots, while Heather, Mom and I entertained all 10 kids at Heather's. 

9 of 10
So with 10 kids...what did we decide to do?!  TIE DYE Father's Day gifts for 2 dad's and 2 granddad's with coordinating ones for all 10 kids!  It was a lot more fun than I expected, but a lot more of a mommy project than a kid project...oh well!  They turned out great :)  While we were all together we also celebrated Isobel's 5th birthday!

Father's Day 2011 was a good day.  We spent the day doing things Mark enjoys.  After Mass and an errand, we went to Goodwill and got Chinese and then it was home for a quiet afternoon of napping and playing.  The tie dye was a hit, but apparently Eloise was a surprise spoiler!  Mark had asked her the day before what we spent the day doing...honest 3 y.o. "Tie-dying for you!"...gotta love her.

 June 21st, we celebrated the Summer Solstice with summer drawings, Mathile's 1st food, popsicles and catching lightening bugs!  The kids had a great time, although Sofia was the only one brave enough to touch/catch the lightening bugs.  We caught 30+ and stayed up way to late.  After coming in and stories, Mark spent awhile with the big girls looking up and listening to summer noises on the computer.
Sofia's picture for the lightening bugs

YUM!  Spinach and potatoes!  1st Foods!

She was safe as long as they were in the jar!

Letting them go!

Once it is officially summer it must be time for Isobel's birthday!!!  She is FIVE!
She had a great day!  We went to Chik-Fil-A for dinner.  She (finally) got her Our Generation doll with an extra outfit and a new dress.  And we had cupcakes and ice cream.  Due to a very busy morning taking care of grown up stuff, I was slack and bought cupcakes...such a horrible mommy.  Isobel didn't seem to mind as the store bought ones came with Rapunzel rings.

Ice cream...yum!
A birthday is not complete without an Eloise covered in cake!
 And that wraps up the last two weeks!!!!