A Whole New Me!

It’s been a while, I know, I know.  Sorry.  As anyone can imagine, life with 6 kids is always busy- we always have something going on.  Between gymnastics, dance, boy scouts, cub scouts, girl scouts, PTA, MOPS, karate and baseball, I rarely even have time to keep up with housework!

I have a few things in mind that I can talk about so hopefully I’ll have some time to be writing more regular posts.

The last time I wrote, I was talking about how I started exercising more and getting in shape.  I am happy to say that I have been able to keep up with that still and I have even gotten my husband in on it!  He lost weight, I lost weight.  We also both gained muscle.  I was just doing various exercise challenges on YouTube.  Some were 12 weeks, some 2 weeks, some just ongoing.  I also got myself  Fitbit.  I joined up with friends who have one also and started doing weekly step challenges with them.

After I noticed change in my body from regular exercise, I started changing the way we were eating.  I already made sure the meals we ate had veggies in them and also that they were fairly balanced but now I started making sure that we didn’t eat anything that was highly processed.  Less fatty and unhealthy foods also.

I then started looking into other ways to get healthier.  I started buying some more organic foods  and looking into… just, more.  A friend of mine told me about essential oils.  I got a starter kit with Young Living and was hooked!  These little bottles are amazing!  We have gotten a lot less illness since I’ve started using essential oils also.  I use them in my cooking and while cleaning.  So now not only do we eat healthier foods, but I have limited the amount of dangerous chemicals and toxins in my home.  Our overall health has improved tremendously!  I use grapefruit or citrus fresh essential oils in my drinking water daily.  I use theives household cleaner all over my home- bathrooms, kitchen, windows, carpet, wood floors, etc.  It’s that time of year so I use lavender, lemon and peppermint in the diffuser to help with seasonal symptoms.  I use a blend called Progessence Plus to help with hormones and my gosh, the energy and balance mood-wise is so needed!  I diffuse Purification constantly to keep the house smelling fresh and clean when I don’t always have time keep up with housework. I’ve also recently started using vitamins called Super B and PowerGize- even more energy and my hair and nails have been growing so fast!

If anyone is interested in starting essential oils for yourself, the best way is to get a starter kit like I did.  It’s 11 of the most commonly used oils, a diffuser and a bunch of samples.  By getting a kit, you also then become a wholesale member meaning all future purchases are at wholesale price, 24% off of retail!  Feel free to use this link to get started!

https://www.youngliving.com/vo/#/signup/new-start?sponsorid=10401268&enrollerid=10401268&isocountrycode=US&culture=en-US&type=member

Or you can just go to YoungLiving.com, click on “become a member” and then use my ID.  I’d be happy to talk more about oils and help you get started getting on the track to wellness along with me!

I’m loving my new, healthier lifestyle and it’s now my mission to help spread the word.  The more people I can educate about health and wellness, the better!

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Being a Mom is NOT for The Faint of Heart

My mom life isn’t for the faint of heart, anyway.  My life has been one ToDo list after another.  Lists written out, scribbled on a spare notebook, written nicely on an actual notepad or even in my phone.  So. Many. Lists.  SO. MUCH. TO. DO!  Of course, the mom guilt is there.  So much going on that I don’t have time to spend with each kid individually.  Thoughts in my head like, “Will this one be a man-child living at our house when he is 30 years old because I am screwing him up?” Or, “Will that one hate me when she is older and think I didn’t care because I wasn’t able to watch that game because another one had dancing class?”  So many variations of those thoughts run though my head now and then.  That is, when the ToDo list isn’t running through my head.

I purposely don’t schedule much at all during the summer months because our time during the school year is so busy, but somehow those few short weeks always get filled up with events also.  I do love having my kids around all day long in the summer, but by the end of the summer I have the occasional (ahem, often?) thought of, “I am so glad the school year is starting soon so I can get back to a routine and the kids are out of the house for a few hours each day!”  Then, of course, I feel bad for wanting to be away from my babies.  According to all the memes I see on Facebook, I know I am not along with these conflicting emotions.

My fall hasn’t been any easier.  Right before school started we took a family vacation to Tennessee, which was great, and I am grateful for the get away, but it was still a little nerve wracking to return the day before school started.  Since then, all 3 boys have had birthdays.  Squeazel broke his arm the night before his birthday.  That was fun, let me tell ya.  The cast is coming off this week, yay!  Giving this child a bath every night hasn’t been a fun task for all involved.  But his laser tag birthday party has to be postponed.  I was able to have the party for the other 2 boys without a hitch, thankfully.  I did however forget about bringing in a treat for Gubba to his class on his actual birthday.  Insert major mom guilt.

Right after that, Squeazel’s cub scout patrol had the opportunity to present a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier down in Washington DC.  We decided to make a long weekend out of it.  It was a great honor and a wonderful weekend. Oh yeah, last week the oldest called me early from volleyball practice telling me I needed to get her early because a ball hit her in the face and she was “slightly concussed.”  Nothing like the conflicting worry about your child with a possibly head injury when she’s punished and you’re still slightly upset at her because a few days before she had a full blown teenaged, drama filled mood swing when it was discovered a school project wasn’t done in time and now there’s consequences.  Appointment was made to make sure her brain is A-ok. Now I’m in full on planning mode for a sprinkle this weekend for a friend of mine along with a different friend and add in planning a sweet 16 party including DJ, catering, etc. in less than two weeks for my oldest.  After that is the make up party for Squeazel and the weekend after that we are going on our first ever cruise as a family to the Bahamas!  I can’t wait for that!  Then, the fun of the holidays starts.

Add all of this into the weekly fun of cub scout meetings for 2 (soon all 3) boys, gymnastics for both little girls, karate for all the kids (except the youngest and the one with the broken arm), the occasional girl scout meeting and volleyball game, and dance class.  My life has been me just trying to get through the day and try not to forget too much or anyone anywhere.

I’m just trying to be the best mom I can be, and it ain’t easy!  The pressure is there to make sure dinners are healthy, the house is relatively clean, the kids get their homework done and that no one has a major meltdown while walking the isles at Wal-Mart.  There’s always a basketful or pile (or 2) of laundry waiting to be folded and put away.  Piles of papers reminding me of stuff that needs to be ordered or phone calls that need to be made. I always manage to be late to everything I need to go to.  I missed the trike-a-thon at preschool 2 weeks ago because I had to pack for leaving for our Washington DC later that day.  I didn’t get the chance to do any of it before then.  When I miss stuff like that, the guilt hits me big time.  I know I need to give myself a break, but it’s still hard.  Raising kids in a world where it seems everyone judges one another for doing too much or too little is impossible!  There’s no way that anyone can be perfect, yet I still try.  I just wish as moms we would support one another more instead of criticizing each other trying to make someone look bad in order to feel better about ourselves.  <— I’ve seen that first hand, so sad.

I try to make time for myself also so I don’t have major freak out moments.  I have been trying to exercise 5-6 days a week for at least 30 minutes each time and eat better.  I got myself a Fitbit and that has helped a lot to motivate me.  I lost about 20 pounds since I started this chance of lifestyle and even motivated hubby to change.  He lost about 30 pounds, which is so unfair, but he did have more to lose than I did.  I have to admit, I love working out now.  Its a great stress reliever and I feel so much stronger lately.  I also have changed around the snacks we eat.  More clean eating and snacks like peanuts, fruits and veggies.  I hate how eating better costs more money though.  As if our food bill wasn’t high enough already…  I also recently ordered a started kit of essential oils.  I am the kind of person that follows the philosophy that the human body isn’t meant to consume tons of chemical-filled foods and medicines and usually natural is best.  If there is a way to do it naturally, I want to try that first.  I’m not super crunchy, but since trying to be healthier, it’s been on my mind more.  There are days when lunches are a more healthy peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread and then there are days when it’s hot dogs.  I just make sure to get the kind without nitrates.  I can’t be bothered to sit there and cut up cheese and pieces of bread into special shapes and julienne carrots or make fancy designs into the skin of cucumbers to dip into hummus.  That’s just ridiculous!  That food sounds yummy, but who has that time?!

The pressure to be the perfect mom is always there.  I think for most moms.  We want our kids to turn out to be good people that care about other people.  We want our kids to be smart and have an easy time in school.  Not struggling with homework or other classmates.  We can only do so much and then we let them go.  Hoping that we taught them enough about right and wrong and please don’t disrespect the teacher or tease the other kid when it seems everyone else is doing it.  All of these thoughts run through my head in addition to my regular list.  I try as much as I can to get through that list each day. The baby (I gotta stop calling her that, she’ll be 3 soon) has an earring in with the little stone missing because it fell out a few days after I bought them, but they stay in her ears and you can’t *really* tell, at least I hope.  Getting to the store to buy her a new pair just isn’t terribly high on that list. Priorities, people.  Right now there’s banana muffins cooling on the stove because I actually got a chance to make them with the bananas that were probably a day too far over-ripe.  Shhhh…  I’m sure they taste fine.   (Why on Earth do my kids seem to go through 4 bananas a day so I have to buy two bunches every time I shop and then in a few weeks later when I’m used to buying that many bananas, they suddenly decide they don’t want them as often and now I’m left with several sitting in the fruit bowl.  Then I buy one bunch and by the next day there’s one left.  What gives?!) So I made the muffins because we had a period of I-don’t-want-to-eat-bananas.  At least now that gnat I saw this morning will go away.

 

Getting in Shape

The youngest finished nursing about 8 months ago.  Ever since then, I’ve been putting on a few pounds.  At first I wasn’t sure why I was gaining weight because I hadn’t changed anything about the way I was eating.  A friend pointed out to me that I wasn’t nursing anymore and it was like a light bulb moment.  DUH!  Of course that’s why!  For the last 11 years, my body has been used to needing those extra calories for the baby growing inside of me of because a baby was nursing.  Plus, I was over 35 now, so I bet my metabolism has changed.

In the last few weeks I have started watching what I ate more closely and also started doing a half hour of exercising each day, courtesy of YouTube.  I wish I could devote more time, but with a little something called ‘life in a big family’ going on, that’s about all I have.   Not much was changing, but then several days ago I started drinking a gallon of water a day.  Ever since I started doing that, I have noticed changes!  I really think the extra water in combination with the better diet and exercise has made a real difference.  I still allow myself a little bit of ice cream some nights because I believe in the saying “everything in moderation.”  I feel that if I was to completely deprive myself of the fun things to eat then one day I am going to have a bad day of pigging out and then forget it.  I don’t want that to happen, so I hope that as long as I allow myself some good, not-so-healthy foods now and then, then I will have an easier time sticking to my plan and I will feel more comfortable in my own skin when I have to wear a bathing suit this summer.

What tips and tricks do you have to get in/stay in shape?

Catching Up…

Life is always busy.  Some times of the year are worse than others for my family.  The months of September- February are a blur each year.  The boys all have birthdays in September, my oldest in October, November is Thanksgiving, we all know the craziness that December is and the youngest also has a birthday right after Christmas.  Right after those holidays is my birthday which usually gets lost in the mix, and then finally before Valentine’s Day is Mommia.  Finally, after all of that I can have a little break because things slow down and there isn’t anything on the agenda that needs planning.

For some reason, that’s always when I start planning our summer vacation because I guess I just can’t leave well enough alone and I need to always be planning something!  This year, we planned a cruise (our first!!, I’m so excited!!) and also a trip to Tennessee using the timeshare.  When I put the dates in my schedule for TN, I saw it was immediately after we are going to Washington DC for a few days with Squeazel’s cub scout patrol.  As in, we are supposed to leave the day after we get back. Craziness. Since we would already be a few hours in the right direction, we decided to just keep going that way and not bother coming back home for just a few hours.  Our cruise isn’t until November.  I was able to find an awesome deal of only $140 a person.  I’m always on the lookout for a bargain!  Meanwhile, I’m scouring Pinterest to learn as much as I can about TN and cruising and taking kids along in tow.  For me, planning and researching the trip is part of the fun!

For now, life is just continuing on in our busy schedule of karate, dance class, gymnastics, school and everything that goes along with that like band and chorus.  The clubs for the ones in elementary school are now over for the year so the before and after school trips for drama, science club, math club, and technology club are no longer.  Thank goodness!  I love that my kids enjoy being involved, but it really takes coordination on behalf of my husband and I.  I can only imagine how much crazier it will be when the younger ones start getting involved with more school and extracurricular activities!  By then, my oldest will be driving and I have a feeling will be helping out with that.  (So thankful for her and all of her help!)

During spring break I made a point to not schedule much so that way the kids and I were able to enjoy a few days at home doing absolutely nothing.  Enforcing screen time was more challenging, but I love when my kids have off from school so I can be around all of them all day long!  Don’t get me wrong, I love that they go to school also so I can get the mental break I need for some much needed sanity, but I do also love time with my kids.  By the end of break I was ready for days at home with just the two youngest. If nothing else, just to be able to clean the house and have it stay somewhat clean for more than an hour!

So now, life is just surviving the day without forgetting anyone or anything and then going to sleep only to do it all again the next day. I try to take a little bit of time here and there to spend individual time with each of my kids so they know that each of them is very special to me.  Sometimes it’s taking one to a birthday party for a friend, just sitting next to them on the couch watching a tv show or just plopping down on their bed and chatting for a few minutes and what’s going on in their lives.  I feel taking that time is important so they each know that they mean something to me.  It’s easy to get caught up in the every day hustle and bustle, especially in a family with as many kids as mine has. Those times are important for creating the building blocks of a lasting relationship of open communication with them.  Before I know it, the younger ones will be in high school also, going in all different directions all on their own. The expression really is so true:  The days are long but the years are short.

Can Moms Get Sick Days, Please?

Why do so many thing that a mom does on an everyday basis involve bending over?  Pulling the sheets off of a lower bunk bed, filling the lower rack of the dishwasher, getting clothes from the dryer, general picking up of toys and other random items that are on the floor.  The constant bending over is putting unnecessary pressure on my already sore head.

Earlier this week I felt a UTI coming on.  I usually try homeopathic remedies first before going to a doctor so I was drinking cranberry juice.  I haven’t had one in years but the last time I did, the cranberry juice helped right away.  The time before that, I was pregnant with my first son and I skipped the UTI part and went right to a kidney infection.  THAT was not fun.  Overnight in a hospital with an IV and other meds because I had a few contractions while hooked up to machines.  (Little did I know then, that contractions that early on are normal for me.)

Anyway, I’m drinking the cranberry juice off and on not thinking much of it because I was feeling fine.  Then, on Wednesday night, I was taking my oldest to a concert in Philly (little over an hour away) and suddenly my symptoms were much worse.  Chills, my eyes were hot and watery and I had a low fever.  The drive to the concert was not fun at all because I also had to stop at every Wawa on the way to use their bathrooms.  Thankfully, they are pretty clean.  Drinking more cranberry juice the whole way there in hopes it will help the symptoms subside a little.  It helped and I was able to enjoy the concert.

When I made it home, I went right to sleep.  I woke up about 5am to go to the bathroom and had major back pain.  The first thing I thought was that the infection went to my kidneys.  I tried going back to sleep, but it wasn’t very restful.  When I woke up to start my day a little later, the pain wasn’t as bad.  As I went about my day I felt better which was a good thing because the day was already busy with plans.  On our way to gymnastics, the pain came back a little bit.  To play it safe I went to the Urgent Care in town when Mommia’s gymnastics were over.  The pain was getting worse. I got an antibiotic and by the evening I felt much better.  Good thing, because Squeazel had his chorus concert.

Today I have a headache that I can’t seem to shake and an odd taste in my mouth.  I’m sure they are side effects of the antibiotic, but it could be worse.  It’s better than another kidney infection.  I did a few loads of laundry just to keep up and other small things, but I plan on spending much of the day on the couch eating the home made mac and cheese I made (comfort food!) and watching Christmas shows with the girls.  The sweeping, mopping and picking up of Hulabaloo pieces can wait until tomorrow.  They have been on the floor since yesterday anyway.

It’s good to take a down day now and then

Ever take a day to just do nothing?  OK, I showered and I’m dressed in jeans and a Giants tee (they won again yesterday, I have to support my team). The girls are still in pj’s though and I’m eating cheese puffs as a breakfast. I’m just feeling lazy today.  I was putting away a few loads of laundry and doing dishes, so the proper time for breakfast passed by, but I was hungry.  So at 11am, I decided to eat a few cheese puffs to hold me over until lunch.  Someone’s gotta eat them, right?

The reason we actually have cheese puffs in the house is because we had a birthday party for my younger 2 boys this past weekend.  Something I spent all of last week planning and getting stuff for, so cleaning the house was just a quick pick up and sweep here and there.  The party went well!  It was a glow party which I would have thought was really cool as a 6 or 8 year old.  The kids said they loved it!  I took a few pictures, but not nearly enough as I wanted to.  Believe me, everything looked awesome.  I was so busy playing hostess and making sure every kid had a glow necklace, bracelet and flashing rings on. I was also refilling the candy bar which was meant to be for goody bags, but the kids were eating it throughout the party so by the time they party was over, there wasn’t a lot left.  Note to self- put the candy out towards the end next time.  Everything was either neon and/ or it glowed in the black lights I had scattered around the room.  I had found a ring toss kit made from glow sticks, got a neon ball for bowling with water bottles with a glow stick in each bottle.  There was a ball toss, too.  I also got glow in the dark face paint and tattoos the kids could put on.  We had the party at our church in the basement and I moved all the chairs to the side for parents to sit and left the large space open for kids to run around and bounce balloons in.  Hubby had also rigged a projector to display and interactive image on the floor so if the kids stepped on it, the image moved around.  We had pizza and chips and cheese puffs to snack on, and I made a bunch of brightly colored cupcakes and that was pretty much it. I completely forgot about the veggie and fruit tray in the extra fridge at home, duh.  Oh well, it was still a lot of fun.

Last week I made about 4 trips to Walmart for things I kept forgetting, Toys R Us for gifts for the boys, a trip to the party store and 2 trips (one yesterday after the game) to the mall to look for a homecoming dress for Quail.  We finally found one yesterday, yay!  Last week we also had 2 of the boys’ birthdays so after dancing we all went out to dinner. All of this in addition to the regular driving we have for activities like volleyball, gymnastics, dancing, scouts and karate.  Thankfully soccer was cancelled because of the weather. We also had a nice surprise one day- my stepson, I guess you could say the real #1 of the bunch, stopped by for a visit.  We hadn’t seen him in a while so it was a wonderful surprise!  (Yes, a grand total is 7 kids.)

But now that that party is done, I can start planning the next one at the end of the month for my oldest and also get the kids some Halloween costumes.  There’s always something to plan!  Today I feel like just vegging out though.  I did do a little house work, so it’s not like I did nothing at all.  I will end up folding another load of laundry for my oldest son to put away also, but that’s probably about it.  We all deserve a day (or 2, or 3) here and there to relax and get some air.  I know once the kids get home from school, the mom taxi will be starting up and the rest of the week from there on out will be busy.  So here I sit, on the couch, eating cheese puffs and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  That’s good enough for now.

Getting in a Routine

So, as you can imagine, back to school is a bit hectic with 6 kids.  Getting into the swing of homework, packing lunches, extra activities and just having to get up earlier every day took some transitioning.  I’m happy to report that the kids are pretty much settled into the routine and seem to be doing well.

I had gotten a call last week about Gubba because every year he seems to just need an extra talk about how teachers are in charge when mom or dad isn’t around.  He is my spunkiest boy, so I guess he is trying to keep me on my toes.  After a quick talk about how he needs to do what the teachers tell him to do right away and not be bratty, I have gotten a note saying he was doing much better.  If this was our only hiccup then I’ll take it!

Activities for each kid have started.  Quail joined the freshman volleyball team and if there isn’t a game then she has practice to go to every day, including Saturdays.  We haven’t jumped into Girl Scouts yet because of the busy schedule, but our first meeting will be next week.  Squeazel and Gubba have started Cub Scouts and Jim is even the leader for Gubs’ den this year.  Squeazel also signed up for every club in school except for one since he is a 4th grader this year.  He chose to play the snare drum in band.  Since I played the bass drum for a year when I was in HS marching band I’m happy because I can help him with reading music, but as a mom with multiple children I am not looking forward to hearing the banging and having to lug it back and forth to the school. The other clubs he wanted to join this year are: math club, drama, chorus, technology club, science club.  Pretty sure that’s it. He just started enrichment also.  He missed qualifying for the G&T program this year by 2 points and was pretty upset about it since he qualified last year and was really hoping to be in it this year.  I think it’s a blessing in disguise because of all the other activities he wants to do.  Bisque is playing soccer on Saturday mornings.  All 3 boys have started karate at our local church.  Jim also helps teach that since he has a background in martial arts.  Mommia has started gymnastics like last year and still loves it.  This year we also added dancing and she is really enjoying that also.  It’s a half hour of ballet and half hour of tap.  She loves being able to make lots of noise with her feet.  She is signed up for a preschool class but it doesn’t start until January.  Also this year the karate program is starting a play class for kids her age so she will be going to that also.  I don’t know exactly what it will be like, but Jim thinks it will be more focused on play with teaching them a few fundamentals.  Anything that helps this chick burn some energy is good with me!  Snip is the only one with no activities but she usually goes along with all the other kids to their things, so she’s plenty busy also.

For me, (yes I am involved in activities also) MOPS has started.  I totally recommend MOPS to any mother with young children at home.  It has been such a great outlet for finding support, friendship and sanity! Go to the MOPS website to search for a chapter close to you!  Some of my closest friends have been found through MOPS, along with my kids.  Go check it out for a meeting to see if it’s for you! I am a DGL (discussion group leader) which means I basically try to keep discussions in my little group close to topic and try to steer away from tangents (tangents and I go way back so this is a fun challenge for me).  I also volunteer with the PTA by being the Box Top and Labels for Education Coordinator for the elementary school the boys go to.  I also do the Labels for the intermediate school in town ever since my oldest went through there.  I currently don’t have any children in that school, but I will net year and for the next 10 years or so after that, so I figured I’d stay on in that position.  I like being involved in the school so I can get to know the other parents and also the teachers and also that they can get to know me.  I have so many kids that I’m sure one of my kids will be in class with this teacher or that person’s kid.  I think it’s important for my kids to know that I know the parents of their friends and also their teachers and that I am in communication with them on a fairly regular basis.

With back to school also comes the oh, so lovely spreading of germs.  Bisque missed a day of school last week because the Sunday before he had a fever for a few hours and for the last 2 days I have been dealing with the same thing with the baby.  Thankfully this morning she woke up acting like her normal self.  Who knows, maybe it was teething.

This time of year is also nutty for me because all 3 boys have their birthdays in September.  We usually do all 3 together in one big party.  For the last 2 years it was Minecraft themed and we had a video game truck come. The oldest wanted a party by himself this year so we had something small at Bounce-U which is a local place that has a bunch of giant inflatable things for the kids to jump on.  Now I am full blown planning mode for the party for the other 2 boys.  We are having a Glow party!  Should be a ton of fun.  Next month is my oldest’s birthday and then Halloween immediately after and then the craziness of the holidays sets in.

Since we are pretty settled in, I will hopefully be able to write a bit more.  I do plan on writing a post about our camping trip that we took to Hershey Park at the end of summer break, meal planning, and the birthday parties.  Be on the lookout for a bunch coming from me in the coming days!  Hope everyone had a great back to school!

Back to school craziness!

Going back to school comes with the start of the crazy schedules that go along with the school year.  Yesterday was orientation for Bisque to start kindergarten and in the evening was another orientation for Quail for high school. After the HS one, we picked up the Chromebook each student gets, a new thing this year!  Many text books will be available through the computer meaning less books she has to carry around.

The other day at the store, we ran into a friend who has a daughter the same grade as Quail.  The girls are old friends.  She is on the volleyball team and Quail has been wanting to do something so we checked to see if she could join and she can!  Today I got her knee pads and tomorrow is running to the doctor’s office for paperwork for the physical.  She has missed a few practices, but I’m just thankful she was able to join last minute like this.  Hopefully she will enjoy it.  She stopped playing softball 2 years ago and has been looking for something to do ever since.

I also got shin guards for Bisque at the store today because he is signed up for soccer this season.  It’s his first time playing besides a short little program last year through the local recreation department.  Most of those ended up getting canceled anyway because it ran each week when they held practice.  He has been wanting to play for a while now.  Soon practice for that will be starting.

Mommia is signed up for dancing and gymnastics.  We picked up tap and ballet shoes for her the other day.  This will be her first experience with dancing lessons.  I had taken dance from the time I was 5 until I graduated high school so I’m glad she will be taking lessons.  Quail took lessons for only 5 years.  Broke my heart when she decided to quit dance for softball.  I hope Mommia stays with it for longer, but if not, then at least she tried it.  She took gymnastics last year and loves that.  She’s a very active little girl with TONS of energy so I needed to find a creative outlet for fer as soon as possible.  What is really cute is that she keeps putting on the tap shoes (what I did for 12 years!) and tapping around the house.  She can’t wait for classes to start!

The older 2 boys have cub scouts starting soon.  Squeezel is a Weblos this year and Gubs is a Wolf.  Hubby is actually going to be the leader for Gubba, too.  I have a feeling that I will be doing a lot of the planning for meetings since he works a lot and also because I have the experience since I have been Quail’s girl scout leader since she was in kindergarten.  I need to get on that planning!

I have also been to a few PTA planning meetings lately.  I collect the Box Tops and Labels for Education for the elementary school my kids go to and also do the Labels for the intermediate school in town.  I like to be involved but with 6 kids, it’s difficult to do.  I do the tops and labels because it’s a way to be involved that doesn’t take up too much time.  It’s also fairly simple.

To make things even more fun, I also have to do some planning for our mini vacation this coming weekend to Hershey, PA!  We are camping in a tent at the Hershey Campground.  We haven’t been since Bisque was a baby so about 6 years now.  In my teeny bit of free time, I am scouring Pinterest to find any and all tips on camping with kids.  We won’t be at the campground for too long, but if it goes fairly well, we might make it a part of something our family does for bonding.

On top of all this business, all 3 boys have their birthdays in September.  The oldest wanted to have a party all his own since I usually combine all 3 to save time and money.  We have just had a bounce house or a game truck come to the house in the past.  This year, he wants to do Bounce-U with his own small group of buddies.  I plan to do a glow party at the end of the month for the younger 2.  As soon as we get back from our trip this weekend, I plan on putting whatever extra free time I have into planning that.

There’s always something!!

Summer is almost over!

I LOVE summertime!  I love the warm weather, being able to go to the beach or lake, less clothing (no coats to put the kids in before going outside meaning quicker to leave), a less defined schedule, etc.  I try not to plan too many things during the summer just so we can kinda wake up in the morning and say, “What do you want to do today?”  The only things we had planned really were that the 2 oldest boys went to cub scout camp for a week.  And then we have our weekend away, our mini-vacation, next weekend to Hershey, PA.  The school year is pretty busy with everyone’s activities so I try to keep the summers low-key.  It’s the time of year when everyone can be a litle lazy.

I think, however, the kids are getting bored.  School starts in about 2 weeks and I am starting to hear, “What can I do now?”  It’s been pretty humid out lately also so I don’t want them outside too long in the heat.  School notices have started coming about orientation for the oldest into high school and my youngest son into kindergarten.  They are getting excited, and so am I.

The other day Quail had a dentist appointment and I had books for Squeazel and Gubba to read.  They were occupied.  Mommia was in need of a nap because she had been playing outside so I was hoping she would be chill.  NOPE.  She decided to take the time we were waiting for Quail to get her teeth cleaned to get out the last of her energy before nap.  And for a kid who is normally high-energy, this was a lot for her to get out.  Once she decided to not listen to me after I told her to calm down for the third time, she got strapped in the double stroller.  Of course this made her yell, scream and whine.  Then Bisque decided to start to chase around Snip.  I told him several times to stop also.  Soon after I started thinking about waiting in the car, someone came to the window in the area and said to the kids, “Hey guys, can you quiet down?”  That was pretty much it- I was tired, they were rowdy and we all needed a change of scenery.  Not to mention I was embarrassed!  I was slightly annoyed at both the kids and the dentists’ office.  They are kids;z kids make noise.  With a bunch as big as mine, it’s usually a lot of noise, even when a few are just sitting and reading.  Mommia has a good set of lungs on her, and when she wants to use them- watch out!  But I was also frustrated with the kids.  B knew better than to chase the baby when we are out somehwere, especially in the waiting room for a dentist. And he also knew better to stop when I told him to instead of not listen.

That day was very frustrating.  Thankfully the next day was a lot better.  It’s proven that kids really do crave schedules and routine.  They just need to know what happens next.  I’m pretty sure any person works best in that environment.  Even if you aren’t on a strict schedule with a new baby, you can see that they will make their own by taking naps around the same time every day, wanting to eat about the same time each day, etc.  It’s just how we are wired as human beings.  So while I say with a sad face that summer is almost over, I then say again- summer is almost over.  This time with a much more hopefully, happy expression on my face.

Camping with Girl Scouts

This past weekend, I went camping with my oldest daughter’s girl scout troop, which I am the leader of.  We had so much fun!  It was great practice, because later this month we are going camping in Hershey, PA as a family, for the first time. There are 4 girls in the troop all together and each of them had their mom join us.

We stayed at a place called Driftwood Camping Resort down by Cape May.  The girls earned the trip by selling the ever popular girl scout cookie.  The place was great!  Very clean, staff was nice and friendly and best of all- bathrooms were clean!  We stayed in little log cabins.  They came with a set of bunk beds and a full sized bed.  The units also had a small TV (it never went on) air conditioning and a ceiling fan. Out front was a little covered porch with a swing. The bathrooms were only about a minute walk away.  The campground also has trailers that are there year- round and also slots for people to bring their own pull behind trailers.  Back by the lake are spaces for tent sites.  They also have cottages available to rent which are a step up from the cabins we stayed in.

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The first night, the girls checked out the pool and did a bit of walking around.  The moms all stayed at the site and relaxed by the campfire.  I felt like I should have been doing something instead of just sitting there but I was told that I’m doing what I am supposed to do when camping!  It was a fun night of sitting by the campfire, eating food we grilled and then having s’mores, all with great conversation.

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The following day we woke up late from such a late bed time the night before and cooked pancakes.  The kind that you just add water to and then shake in the bottle are a huge time saver and great for easy clean up.  After breakfast, we got dressed and ready.  (Tip- you need quarters for the showers!  But they are really nice warm showers.  $1.25 for 12 minutes was perfect.) After everyone was set to go, we all piled in my suburban and went to this place called Historic Cold Spring Village.  I had no idea this place was even there, and I’ve lived in NJ my entire life!  It was very similar to Williamsburg, VA.  I thought it was very educational and fun for kids.  The girls, at 14, were probably a little too old for the passport book they give out, but we did it anyway.  At most buildings, you get a stamp after you learn about what happened in that building, or after you try a trade or make something.  After the passport is filled, you can bring it to the country store and get a treat!  (I can’t wait to take my younger kids there!)  Admission is pretty reasonable- $12 for ages 12 and up, ages 3-12 are $10 and under 3 is free.  It took us about 3 hours to go through everything.

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The girls made a sachet with fresh lavender and thyme.

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Feeding some sheep!

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Petting a horse.

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Learning how to churn butter.

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Trying on some bonnets.

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Playing some old fashioned games.

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After, we got something to eat at this little “grille” by a beach called Sunset Beach.  The food was pretty good!  I can vouch for the crabcake sandwich.  Yummy!  We went in a few gift shops, bought some souveniers, then sat on the beach.  We dug in the rocky sand looking for what they call Cape May diamonds.

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They got matching friendship anklets!

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On the jetty

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USS Atlantus

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Right up the road is a WWII lookout tower.  We missed climbing that, but it was interesting to read about it.

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These girls really do get along so well, despite some being very different than others.  They enjoy eachothers’ company and always act silly together.

Just a little further down the road is the Cape May Lighthouse.  It has 199 steps and had some great views of the houses below.  It was crazy to see how much erosion played a part in the shape of the coastline and the location of the lighthouse in the past 200 years (almost).  Admission was $8 for adults, $5 for ages 3-12 and 3 and under are free.

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20150808_190956 20150808_190935Of course they had to get a selfie.

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Later that night, we enjoyed some bananas filled with chocolate chips over the campfire.  Delicious!  They also taste great with some crushed graham crackers sprinkled on top.  (Super easy to make- just slice a banana legnth-wise, stuff in a handful of chocolate chips, wrap in foil and lay over the fire.  Flip after a few minutes to cook evenly, unwrap and enjoy!)

The next morning, we ate some bagels warmed over the campfire.  We packed up camp and then headed over to the little lake at the back of the campground.  Almost everyone caught a few sunnys.  We used leftover hot dogs as bait.

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20150809_110205My lovely assistant leader caught the first fish!

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A little turtle loved eating all the hot dog pieces that fell off the hooks.

After fishing, we got in our cars and headed over to these cute little shops just down the road.  We did a little window shopping but then headed out one by one.

I had a birthday party at the beach to go to next for a friend’s daughter.  Jim had the other kids all alone all weekend.  It was nice for him to get a taste of what I do all day long, but the beach is a big job so I wanted to help him out. He was able to do some laundry and basic cleaning.  I had easy meals set for him in the meal plan.  I didn’t have a doubt that everything would be fine.  He’s a great dad!

One of the other moms had been camping many times before so it was nice to hear from her about items to remember for when we go tent camping as a family later in the month.  That will be an adventure…  I’m coming up with my list of things I need!  I love my lists.  😉

It was a great weekend!  Everyone said they had a great time!  I’m glad I was able to experience this with my girls.  They are getting older and are all involved in various activities.  It’s getting harder to get them all together.  The moms all had a nice time bonding with their daughters and one another.  I can’t wait to take my own family to this very same trip.