Saturday, June 22, 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Oh, June

Oh, the adventures that we have been having!  It is amazing what can be packed into a day- and do you know what else is amazing?

I am slowly mastering the art of "a quick stop at the pool or splash pad".

No joke.

It used to be this big production to take the kids anywhere with water, but this summer I have decided to keep it simple. 

Let's say I want to go to the pool after being at the zoo.  Before we go to the zoo, I just grab suits and a few towels.  Nope, not everyone needs their own towel. 

We pull into the parking lot and everyone does a quick change in the car (I have just been putting my suit on under my clothes or just hanging out in the wading pool in a dress).  We swim, drip dry on the way to the car, sit on towels and head for home.

It is freeing, it is amazing.

They don't have to pee all the time, they can get their own suits on (for the most part).

The boys are competent swimmers,

The girls are pretty laid back.

Everyn, of course, is a little more high maintenance, but she is also pretty content.

In between parks, swimming, little league, track camp, tee ball, playgroup and adventures we have been hanging out at home.  There are about 6 neighborhood boys (the boys ages) and one little girl (B's age) that are frequently in our yard.  500, color tag, baseball, dodge ball, Pokemon cards, swinging all take place in the late afternoons.  The girls pick flowers and play house.  The boys even have a running club.

Deacon is doing math every day and spelling everyday.  My mom is reading The Hobbit out loud to the boys and we are listening to a lot of audio books.  We just finished Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, Sarah Plain and Tall series and have now started Treasure Island.

My sister is home from Thailand so she is around a lot- which the boys love.

Noah spent a week in New York, and although we missed him, I think it was a good vacation for him.

I had my birthday and was spoiled nicely. 

I started a quest to lose 10 pounds.  I gave up my 4 pieces of toast for cheerios.  I started doing the Insanity workouts everyday in addition to regular workouts.  I hope I see results.

Soon I will get some pictures up of summer fun, and maybe some quotes of the days.

Soon I may start on my summer projects- photobooks, deep cleaning the house.

But for now, we are just enjoying summer.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I can't keep track of what I have blogged about and what I have only facebooked about- and for that matter, what I haven't mentioned at all.

A few months ago we decided to start an informal budget.

We have been married for nearly 13 years and have never really whole heartedly tracked spending. Since I am a frugal person, and Noah is a reasonable person, spending too much (more that we earn) has never been a problem.  It also helps that we have two incomes.

But we now have 5 kids, and the oldest 3 are boys.  We have food expenses, and homeschooling expenses and recreational expenses.  And everything is multiplied with more children.  You want to buy that $2 stocking stuffer for your kid?  Well, I have to multiply it x5 and suddenly stockings aren't cheap anymore.

Now, I think it is a little ridiculous when people with adequate funds base the amount of children they want to have on how much money it costs to raise a child.  The reality is, it doesn't have to cost as much as a lot of people think it does. Not every kid needs to have their own car, their own room, and to have their college education paid for by their parents.

But, all that being said, it still costs something.

We sat down and talked and looked at the numbers. Some more grudgingly than others.  We have been saving a lot of money for "bigger projects" (like buying our land), but we (some of us) wanted to challenge ourselves to save at a higher rate.

All that is backstory.
We decided on $100/month for clothing needs for our family.  Now, some of you may be thinking that is a very small sum, and some of you may be thinking that it is a lot.

We rarely buy the kids clothes at stores.  We get hand-me-downs from friends, or shop at garage sales or thrift shops.  We will buy "special" clothes for them for birthdays/Christmas at times, and occasionally there is a piece to their wardrobe that is missing that needs to be purchased, but for the most part we don't spend very much on clothing for the children.

Noah should probably dress up a little more for work, but he doesn't really, so no big expenses there :)

I wear scrubs to work and "play clothes" for the most part.  I have been the same size (except for pregnancies) for a long time now, so my clothes are fairly long lasting.

So our clothing expenses are mostly shoes.  Those boys can wear out shoes in a hurry, and our boys tennis shoes and sandals are not really pass downable.  Noah and I occasionally need new shoes as well, so that is where most of the clothes budget money goes.  And there will be months that we spend nothing on clothing- then that money just gets moved to the next month.  Eventually there will be a heavy shoe replacement month :)

But this month is my birthday month, and my wardrobe is really, really sad. I got a pair of nice jeans at a thrift store awhile ago, and I have a lot of cute sundresses (that I will wear if the temperature ever warms up!)  But I need some shorts or capris and tops that are not race swag.

So I have claimed the June hundred dollars.  I am curious to see how far it goes, especially if I hit some thrift shops.  I need new socks and at least part of a swimsuit as well as the above mentioned items. 

Just for fun I may take the money out in cash.  And when I get home I promise that I will throw out the jeans with the massive whole in the seat :)  Really.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Adventure #1- at the Sculpture Garden!

Early in May we went on our first "summer adventure".  My mom joined us and we visited a Sculpture Garden near our house.  There are intern artists that live on site and the sculptures change every once in awhile.

I wasn't sure if the kids would like it, but what is not to like about...

 a giant lizard to climb on and gawk at...

 Colorful art with interesting design, shape and media...

 Being able to find the first letter of your name...

 Climbing (with knees knocking) to the top of a 40 foot platform...

 Being on top of a giant culvert...

A playground made of colorful metal and "junk"...
 Hanging with your siblings...
 Climbing to the top of a roof, and hanging on for dear life...

 And having the courage to work your way down again...

 All by yourself...
 Swings in "caves" on a fun playground...

 Isn't that cool?...
This kind of "adventure" is exactly what my kids like.  They really like to climb on things.  We can spend all kinds of money on museums and fancy activities, but they have the most fun at places where they can freely explore, learn and imagine!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Goliath Challenge!

Deacon and I participated in an obstacle run in May.  The adult race was a 5k with various "challenges" and the kid race was 1 mile of the adult race.  The cool thing about the Goliath Challenge is that the money raised from registrations goes to Feed My Starving Children.

It was a cold and rainy morning, which was the norm for pretty much all of May.

Here are some pictures from the day!  I know there is a lot :)

The hilly terrain, not the actual challenges, was the challenge for me!

The event was at a snowtubing facility

Everything being wet, muddy and slippery made it extra fun!

Coming up the final hill!

Berean was a trooper.  Thank goodness for her rain boots!

The snow was the part of the course, and the plywood over the pond was too!

There goes Deacon, charging up the hill!

Deacon crossing the monkey bars! (BTW, I also made it across the monkey bars without falling in!)

Roman and Lincoln were great spectators.  It is always unfortunate, however, when you must wear a winter hat in May!

Hanging out with Berean

Deacon climbing the rope!

Success! We are putting one in our tree so that some of us (ahem) can practice

Deacon, through the water and running for the final obstacle!


The boys. Hopefully Noah's leg will be well by next year!

So much fun!