grabbing life by the horn{worm}s

Does it seem to you that time is flying by at epic speeds? Or is it just me?

I’ve been meaning to write about our trip to Florida. How the massive crowds at the theme parks made me want to stab people, but then the last few days at our favorite beach town soothed my soul {and feet}.

I was planning on writing about how awesome the kids did in school this year. They are some smart little cookies, you know.

I had intentions of writing about foster care. We are officially a licensed foster family now, since April. We waited and waited for our phone to ring, and wouldn’t you know it, as we were in Florida going through the security line for Disney World, we got a call for two little girls. It didn’t work out and they weren’t placed with us, but a few weeks ago, we finally had our first placement. She is the most adorable baby and we are enjoying loving on her!

Did I mention that I survived another year of the three-kids’-birthdays-in-five-days week? Just barely. We pulled it off, though, and I now have TWO teenagers. Lord, help me.

Our oldest is taking his driver’s road test next week. Lord, help me.

Oh, and today I discovered these beasts {tomato hornworms} mooching off my tomato plants. Okay, more like devouring them. What the hell. Don’t mess with my tomaters.

tomato-worm

tomato-worm-2

So, like I said. I’ve been meaning to share all these things with you; but, I’m kind of tired. This having five kids thing is kind of exhausting. And awesome.

Room Redo:: Twins

When we first bought this house almost 5 years ago, every wall was white. Or beige. No joke. I have been soooo overwhelmed at the thought of decorating, painting, or anything else. So much that I have done pretty much nothing until this year! Bit by bit, things have been coming together, walls have been getting painted, projects have been completed.

Back in 2007, I did add some vinyl decal-thingies to the twins’ walls, along with some red and blue striped vinyl. It was not bad, especially for their 4-year-old selves. But they aren’t four anymore. Time for an update.

For the past two weeks, I have been slaving away tearing decorations and posters off of the walls. We have been organizing toys, giving away boxes of stuff, and throwing away bags and bags of trash.

The colors (darker turquoise, limish-green, and orange-butterscotch trim) are totally wild, but they work GREAT together. Seriously!

Before (ignore the child-labor and jammies, please):

twinsroom-before

twins-before-2

After:

twins-room-after

twins-after-2

Not too bad for an amateur, huh? I must say the twins have NEVER played in their room this much and this nicely before. It’s well worth all the work I put into it!

a year of loss, patience, and growing

2011 kind of kicked my ass. I’ll admit it. I am not one bit sad to see it go.

The losses were hard. Not that loss is ever easy, but I never expected to lose so many wonderful people in my life. Cyndee, my Grandma Krank, my Grandma Barnhart… there is not a day that goes by where I don’t think of them or miss them terribly. It’s painful to think of just how big the void in our family is without their physical presence.

This was the year we went forward with our plan to have more children. Never in a million years, did I think we would be wanting more little people running through the house, but over the years, we have grown to love the chaos, the loudness, and the crazy. Justin had surgery in March, but that story is best left to be told face-to-face, preferably while consuming alcohol. If you’re lucky, he will probably show you photos, too.

No luck with making babies, yet, but we will keep on trying! If anything, this whole journey has taught us much about patience and strengthened our marriage. We have opened our eyes to the possibility of adoption and foster care, not as second-best, but because we have taken time to see, learn and realize that our hearts have more room than we ever thought possible. We have so much love to give to more children, children who otherwise might not ever experience the love of a family.

The spring was filled with sadness, anger, and shock as we learned of certain betrayals. It was not easy making the decision we did, to cut people out of our lives completely, but it was necessary to protect our family. There are just so many chances you can give someone before you say no more to the hurt. Our family is stronger because of it. We’ve grown. We have become closer.

Having our oldest kid home the past few weeks, on Christmas break… we know that we made the right decision in sending him to boarding school. He is changing, we are changing… the tension, the anger, and the hurt on both sides, it’s better. So much better. He is excelling in school and has been given opportunities that he would not otherwise have been given, had we kept him home this year.

2011 has grounded us and strengthened our family. We have learned once again to take nothing for granted.

“She turned her cant’s into cans, and her dreams into plans.”

“Some people come into your life as blessings, others come in your life as lessons.”

ash-balloon

sleepwalking

We have had some issues in the past few years with BB sleepwalking. Not really issues, but it’s freaky nonetheless. One time, I was sound asleep and woke up because I felt someone staring at me. You know, that feeling. I opened my eyes to see him standing there, just waiting for me to wake up. Then, the gibberish started. I picked him up and tucked him back into his bed. Another time, he brought me a book to read to him after he had already been asleep for hours.

It’s so ODD. Really. To have someone walking around, eyes open, but not really conscious. I’m afraid that one of these days he will fall down the stairs or something. It’s a long way down from his room to the main floor!

So, last night, about an hour after he had gone to bed, he walks down the stairs and over to me on my chair where I am watching TV. He begins talking, only I can’t really understand what he is saying. Thanks to some quick-thinking on my part, I grab my phone and start recording, so I can show him in the a.m. He NEVER remembers any of it. I ask him questions and he answers them (sort of). Only he doesn’t know who I am. So.Weird. And when I ask him what day it is? I think he is trying to say “Monday” but it comes out sounding like German or something. Hah!

This seems to happen when he is overly tired. We had just completed our Run the ‘Hood 5K after school yesterday, and he ran the entire 3.1 miles, so I know he was exhausted.

He gave me his permission to post this video, so have a giggle {sorry for all the background noise}:

 

My twins are raising money for charity: water, and would be so happy if you could help:
Ashton’s Thrilling Drilling Campaign
Bridger’s Clean Water for Christmas Campaign

things you might see when downloading your children’s photos to your computer

You never know what you might find.

Maybe your child likes to take photos of YOU. These are surely photos you would want the world to see on Facebook or your blog.

And, of course, the gazillion self-portraits.

You might find strange photos of their siblings.

Oh my.

conversations

aveboard

As we were driving home from soccer today {and dance, and track…}, I asked the twins how they liked soccer. Ashton then asked me how Averie was while she was waiting. I replied that she was good, because she thought their coaches were cute {these boys must have been 15, tops}.

Ash: She thinks EVERY boy is cute.

Me: Yeah, I know. :(

Ash: When can she have a boyfriend so she can just get OVER this already?

Groan.

My answer? NEVER!

If you are a Mom to girls {or boys}, at what age did you let them “date” or have a boyfriend? Do you talk to your kids about this kind of stuff, or just sort of “let it be”?

We are pretty open about it and my daughter talks freely about all the boys she has crushes on, who her friends are “dating”, and all of that. I know I didn’t ever speak of such things to my parents when I was her age, I would have died of embarrassment! I’m curious to see what you all have to say on the topic!

what if…

{happy world water day}

this morning, i showered. i filled up my bright green tea kettle with tap water and heated it on the stove for my coffee press. twice. all four of my kids went to school bathed. we brushed our teeth,  flushed our toilets, washed our hands.

but what if we couldn’t?

what if our water looked like this {collected from a puddle in our backyard}?

world water day

what if your child was one of the 42,000 that die each week from unsafe water and unhygienic living?

ash-bb

what if, instead of going to the gym to exercise, our exercise consisted of walking miles and miles each day to collect water for ourselves and our families? all the while lugging a jerry can weighing forty pounds when filled?

photos by friends, J and S Lang.

what if the life expectancy for you and your loved ones was only 39 years? in six years, my children would be orphans.

what if you could change this?

{we can}

our family of six is running to provide clean water for a community of hundreds. if 247 of you each donate twenty dollars, it will happen.

what if?

donate here: http://mycharitywater.org/anderson
help me spread the word?

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love and brothers

A few weeks ago, my daughter was at a friend’s house {i swear i never see that girl on weekends anymore}, so it was just me and the boys. I came walking out of my room and there was Bridger, racing out of Averie’s room. He had that crap-i’ve-been-caught look all over his face, so I asked him what he was doing in his sister’s room. {looking for BeastQuest books} Right, because every 11-year-old girl has a bookshelf of BeastQuest books. I have been a mother for many, many years now and I knew exactly what he was doing. {looking for her diary}

I questioned him and he admitted that yes, he was searching for the sister’s coveted diary. He couldn’t even look at me, he was so mortified that he had been caught. We {I} discussed the little lie he had chosen to tell and by this time the tears were falling. I kept it short and went on my merry way, and Bridger ran off to his room.

Later on, Ashton was trying to find Bridger, and he didn’t appear to be in their room. {he was, but went to his feeling-bad spot, under the bed} I went upstairs to check on them, and found this:

i love you

{to Bridger, from Ashton}

conversation: the children

ND-hills

the kids were all gathered around the piano (keyboard) this afternoon and somehow they came upon the subject of children and how many they would have when they get older. you know, because it always works out this way.

Kane will have four.

Ashton will have three.

Averie will have four or five.

Bridger? he will have ten. said with a straight face, completely serious, not blinking an eye as if this was anything out of the ordinary. he decided he will only be comfortable if he has at least that many, and that he will adopt many from Africa. also? he will have a dog or cat for every two children.

be still, my heart.

to think that these little children came from a woman who had once thought she would never want ANY kids. how i love these little people.

A visit by Megan Fox.

*Tips for 12-year-olds:

Do not sneak computer when you are already grounded from sneaking out of bed to watch TV.

While sneaking on said family computer, do not Google such things as: boobs, Megan Fox nude, and other things that not even I will write here. Don’t even get me started with the videos.

Your parents can see every website you go on.

After getting caught, do not lie and say it wasn’t you, while knowing NO ONE ELSE has been on the computer, or even at home during the time these websites were viewed.

If you do lie which I HIGHLY don’t recommend, make up a better excuse than you were upstairs cleaning your brothers’ room. 

Do not scream, cry, throw yourself on the floor and freak the hell out. That will not help matters. And if you are old enough, to be typing those words,  you are old enough to cut the dramatics.

Do not look your parents in the eyes and lie and swear to God you didn’t do it.

So, let’s have a little recap here. Don’t look at porn on your families’ computer. If you do, in fact, find that you have viewed porn AND GET CAUGHT, ‘fess up. I can guarantee that your punishment for being a curious child will be FAR LESS WORSE than the punishment you will receive if you confess after you take the screaming, tantrum-throwing, and LYING approach.

**I am in need of a good software that will allow me to block porn from our home computers and have control of the websites that my children have access to. Suggestions?

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