Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A lesson in numbers, colors, and SCIENCE!

           As we have been attending school for a while now I have been remembering and thinking of all the prep work that has gotten us to this point.

We all want to have brilliant kids that are “ahead of the curve”.  They say you should implement learning in every thing you do.  Every meal should become a lesson in counting and color identifying.  Every walk outside can be a lesson in science.  A mother that is ahead of the curve herself can combine these elements into one lesson. 
You will see that I do not really have to contribute much in order to qualify as “ahead of the curve”.  A nice blessing of having so many kids is that I am often outnumbered and can not be heard over the rumble of so many small voices fighting for attention.
            On one occasion we were having our daily math lesson.  I said, “Let’s count the yellow cars that we pass.”  I patted myself on the back and smiled.  That will show the teachers that I really do care.  I have combined color recognition with counting.
            “There’s one!” an excited voice declares.  My plan is in motion.   I checked my rear view mirror and sighed in happiness.  All I have to do is… my thoughts are interrupted.  My smile fades.
            “I’ve seen 114!  I win!”  Wait, we’ve barely made it out of the neighborhood.  We could have only passed at most 50 cars, and we are supposed to count 1-2-3-4-5.
            Before I can address the miscount the next one hollers, “NO!  I’m winning!  I’ve seen 234 so far!”  Did I mention this was not a competition but merely a counting on our way to the doctor’s office?
            What was meant to be a simple math lesson combined with color recognition quickly develops into a lesson in honesty and good sportsmanship.  Before that lesson is fully developed we move on to item differentiation and classifying living and non-living items.
            “I win!  I am counting all the cars AND animals that I’ve ever seen in my entire life!” 
While the kids are discussing the differences between cars and animals, I make a mental note. Add exaggeration to the list of things to cover in the “learning moment”.  Things are getting louder by the second.  They also recommend breaking learning moments into small manageable minutes.  Does 35 seconds count?  While I am debating with myself over how long a learning moment needs to be to qualify I consider the topics covered.  Numbers, colors, character, teamwork, hmmm… we didn’t cover much by way of science.
“You can’t count everything you’ve seen your entire life!  That’s not fair because you’ve lived longer!”
            Does that count as covering exaggeration?  Siblings are so nice to take care of that for me.  As the voices turn to anger I think it’s time to change the subject to music and voice training.  I know when I can’t win.  This has progressed too far.  
Sometimes I am the one who needs a lesson.  Today it is a lesson in listening, being happy together, and using your imagination.  Just before I succumb to a lesson in music and turn on the radio, my son shouts out a statement that ends it all.
“Well, I’m going to count water vapor pieces!  I got to a billion!  I WIN!”  
Ah, ha! Science has been covered now too!  Mom wins!

Monday, June 18, 2012

A great start to summer?

The day for writing has finally come.  After a long and painful battle with cancer, my brother found peace.  The day after school ended for summer break.  Great timing.

Friday afternoon I had discussed with the kids how we were going to “get so much done”  “be organized” and “have a schedule that included having fun!”  I was stoked for summer! (Even if most of my family was going to Disneyland and we were not)  We were making our wish to do list for the summer and everything, I mean each and every bit of the list was going to be done! (No one put Disneyland, or a comparable, on the list so I was okay with the budget)

Plans changed and the TV became the only thing on the list.  I feel so honored in being able to put that list on hold for a few days.  Okay, a few weeks but not months. 

That Friday, I went to help my brother get ready for his last doctor appointment.  When he told me he loved me, his voice had a different tone than usual.  He had said those words to me often enough that I knew them.  But he looked at me and said, “It’s soon.”

The tears were in both our eyes as I tried to wave it off.  I said, “The Lord had plenty of chances to take you before.”

He sighed, looked at the ground and went on to explain how weak he was feeling, among other things.  He repeated that he wanted to be sure I knew he loved me and appreciated me.  That was the most priceless TV time my kids could ever have.

The next morning my mom called.  It was time.  He wasn’t kidding it was soon.  I had that conversation with him less than 24 hours before he left the disease behind.

The kids Saturday was also filled with television, XBOX, and their loving dad.  My husband cared for the kids without question when I hung up the phone and called out, “I’m going to Bryce’s!”  I grabbed the keys and left without a word more.

What more can I say about that day other than nothing can compare to holding the hand of a loved one moments before they are gone.

I called relatives and had out of town company stay at my house for a week.  Life was on hold at the same time it was crazy busy.  All the friends that helped in the past came around again offering condolences, cookies, and lasagna. 

One week later my husband and I attended the second wedding for that day, after going to a funeral for a neighbor in the morning, and helping with their family luncheon that followed.

I realized, or remembered rather, how being involved is what gets us through it all.  If we were not active in our church we would have a much smaller support group.

Knowing this, I was eager to offer a salad today for yet another funeral.  Knowing this I was also less than excited to have the day I did which diminished my abilities to help. 

The truck would not start at the end of swim lessons.  No problem.  Call the tow truck, have the fix it place give us a ride home, beg the driver to return the library books.  Have a snow cone while we wait and make a few new friends.  No problem.  Walk to the park for lunch instead of drive?  No problem at all.  I have been meaning to get more exercise.

Fall out of the truck while attempting to get the boosters our and hurt my bad ankle again?  That’s a little more of a problem.  Joke about stopping by the hospital on the way home and sit on the couch indefinitely.  Practice hopping or scooting everywhere I go.  Be glad there is a bathroom on the main floor, and allow ten year old to be “in charge”.  Well, that took care of the salad problem, but I am a control freak.  I really should try to let him have more responsibilities.

Have a great excuse for Hubby to do the dishes and finally get a chance to write.  No problem!

I really should stop asking for things like “I wish I could make more opportunities to write”, or, “I wish I took more time to exercise”.   Even the phrase, “I should let my kids have more responsibilities” should be thought with caution and should certainly never be mentioned out loud!  Well, all my goals are on their way to accomplishment.

Maybe next week I will get to that routine and to do list.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Remember a hundred years ago when…

You know you’re in for a great day when your youngster greets you with, “Hey Mommy.  Remember a hundred years ago when you…”  I would prefer “Good morning” but that is rare in these parts.  Then again, I am should be getting used to the unusual salutations. Most often I hear, “What’s for breakfast?”  Or “What can I eat?”  With an occasional, “Can we eat yet?” 

I do remember what seems like a hundred years ago, when they would climb into bed with me and fight over who gets to be between Mommy and Daddy.  Back then we were called Ma Ma and Da Da. 

A hundred years ago they were small enough to stay where I put them.  If I left the room I knew where I could find them.  The biggest trick they could do was switch bottles, making me think everyone had their fill when really one had guzzled and stole the other’s bottles. No wonder they are always asking what they can eat.

It seems like a hundred years ago when they were learning to crawl, beginning to speak, and throwing their food.  Now they run and hide, yell and argue, and simple refuse to eat, or beg for something better. 

Maybe it’s just me, but I often measure my work as a parent by the way my children behave.  Watching my children grow not only makes life go by faster, but also boldly displays all my bad habits.  They mimic and copy my every thought it seems. How many times have others thought they wish the kids would leave that secret at home?

Once in a while I will see them and wonder where they learned something.  Before I know it, it will be another hundred years since I watched them offer to help a friend stand up after they had fallen, or give the penny they found at the playground to someone else because “they have a piggy bank.” Am I that generous and thoughtful?  I doubt it.

I hope in a hundred years I will be able to remember how frustrated they made me when they were late for school and just stood there.  I was getting ready to yell, “Hurry up!  You’re late!  What are you waiting for?!?!”  Fortunately the window wouldn’t roll down before I saw they grab hands with the slowest sibling and run in together. 

Once again, patience is a virtue and waiting for a moment proves to shine light on a situation.  My being forced to pause changed the tension in the air from what could have been distressing for my children to a warm glow in my heart.  Not only that they would care enough for each other to make sure everyone was coming, but they took each other by the hand and ran together. 

Today I am praying for the patience to wait and see if the situation truly is what I think it is, and hoping that next time I am asked to remember a hundred years ago I will remember it fondly. 

(For the record, Lily was remembering the last time I gave her a haircut. I gave her another one this week.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Having quadruplets the scariest thing? Not anymore.

Having quadruplets is officially no longer the most frightening experience I have gone through.  I came home Monday night to a warm and loud welcome from all the kids.  “Mommy, I thought you were going to die!”  Me too.  This was followed with, “You got new clothes? No fair!”  They didn’t seem as stressed as I thought they would be.

After what may have been serious food poisoning, a virus, or possibly some unknown gastric disease (they are asking for more blood to test today.) I do not recommend eating at Chuck A Rama. 

Saturday night I did not feel like eating dinner and as the pain increased through the night, I could not sleep.  I got up expecting to vomit, but ended up on the floor crying, scared, and having my limbs slowly become paralyzed.   (Apparently, that’s what happens if you don’t breath.) My husband said I was scaring him and he was calling 911.  I said “Yes, do it!”

All I could think of was the kids are going to be so scared and what are they going to do when I am gone, as in what if I don’t get to come home type of gone.  As the paramedics arrived my thoughts quickly changed to, “Oh NO!  I am not dressed!”  The blanket that darling hubby threw over me was quickly discarded as the paramedics checked my vitals and tried to get me to breath correctly.

After a few minutes they offered me a ride, but I insisted I needed clothes on first.  I ended up wearing a jacket and my husband’s jeans partially on, but everything was covered enough.  Then they asked if I wanted to go in the ambulance or in the car.  I felt better thinking I had a choice and chose to drive ourselves.  Hubby ran in and woke up the oldest boy saying, “I’m taking mommy to the doctor.”

We arrived around two in the morning.  I waited impatiently while giving blood and getting ultra and CT scans for the time to be late enough to call someone for help to watch the kids, not really worried because they were all sleeping and it might be possible we would be back before they woke up.  HA! 

At about 7:30, I called to tell Stephen I was not coming home today (Sunday) and he would have to make breakfast and be in charge.  We didn’t have any cold cereal or pop tarts, only about half a loaf of bread so I told him where the pancake recipe was.  By the time someone arrived to check on the kids he had them sitting at the table with a nice perfectly made pancake breakfast with carrots and ranch dip.  What was I so worried about?

The four have a homework assignment to write and draw a picture of something that happened during the week.  We talked about it and they were all more interested in having a play day at a friend’s than they were about me being gone. 

I said, “And I went to the hospital.”  (hint, hint)

“Yeah, that’s when we had our play day!”

Again, what was I worried about?
This weekend I gained a new appreciation and understanding for my brother and his cancer.  When I told him about what happened, he said it was very similar to one of his experiences.  He came to visit me and immediately told the nurse to give me a different type of tape on my IV and asked where the room’s thermometer was.  He changed it and we ordered some warm blankets.  I am so glad he was able to take care of me. No one else had enough experience to do that for me.  I never even thought of asking for it.   Sometimes our trials can provide blessings for others.

Of course the other things I learned, or remembered rather, are that I have the best husband I could possibly have, I have an awesome family and neighborhood friends, and my kids are pretty good kids.  I have been very blessed.

What am I going to do about it?  I am hugging my kids more.  I am washing laundry and making new PJ’s!  I am letting my kids help in the kitchen more and, since I watched “Hoarders” for the first time while in the hospital and it sacred my pants off, if I had been wearing pants, I being more diligent in making the kids pick up after themselves.  Not that it is anywhere near qualifying for the show, but let’s just say my kids were getting tired of me telling them to pick it up instead of stepping over stuff.  But what do you expect with the mom gone for a few days?

Cherish your loved ones.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A new year, new month, new goals and achievements.

This week we have had three days in a row with three different children staying home from school.  Let me tell you, this bumps my schedule a bit more than I would like.  The first was not sick, but did not want to be late to school since he would have to attend “tardy school” and miss recess. 

Since, of course, it was not really his fault but mine that he was late for school I listened to his reasoning.  Dallas is, um shall we call it “talented” with rhetoric.  He can win a debate with me often.  If he doesn’t win, it is usually because I said, “I’m the mom!” So, he stayed home and turned from the challenge child into a perfect angel.  I thought, “If he will be like this for not going to school, I will keep him home all the time.” No kidding, though hard to believe.

The next day Marek was sick, and he really was for a few hours.  Then he wanted to play and ended up just being happy to be home.  Today it was Stephen’s turn to be “sick”.  Not sick enough to take nay gross medicine though.  I have noticed that this may be a ploy to get one on one time with mommy.
We talked about it and are starting a new “maintenance” schedule for the kids.  As long as they are doing their best in school, once a term (Quarter? Semester? Report card time.) I will take them out of school for one day for whatever they want, including big projects for school like the science fair.  They seem excited about that.

The other thing new is I read a book!  It’s called RetirementQuest Make Better Decisions by John Hauserman, CFP. 

Reading the beginning of RetirementQuest scared my shorts off.  Hauserman clearly and simply explains the economic history and outlook of the future, showing why it is so important to plan for your retirement.  This demonstrated to me further why having a large family is so much work!

I thought, "There's just no way possible to have enough money to retire and live for the extra 30-40 years."  Memories of all the money mistakes we’ve made flooded my mind and the guilt set in.  I began to get depressed, until on page 35 it said,

"The challenges facing these people are beyond the scope of this book.  This book is intended for mature readers who have already achieved a reasonable level of financial security and responsibility, and for younger people who are actively in a wealth building mode."

Well, that explains it.  There really is no hope for us.  But as I read on, I made connections with the mistakes we have made in the past.  I must disagree with the quote from page 35.  Although it may be beyond the scope of individuals that are simply not able to produce enough assets to invest, the knowledge is essential for those potential investors to have prior to their making mistakes.

 Let me say it again, everyone should read this book prior to investing. 

I wish we had read RetirementQuest before we traveled through the pitfalls of inheriting money and receiving lump sums from insurance claims, etc. This knowledge could have saved us enough money that I wouldn’t need to patch our jeans! (Translate that as thousands, and thousands, and thousands of dollars)

The book is thorough with easy to understand examples and hypothetical scenarios.  The author also includes several references to check out like websites for the government, as well as his own website that walks you through the “journey to retirement”.   The website is an amazing tool you can use for free!   I ended up having hope for our future after all as the journey winded through the descriptions of generations and what could be the future for America.

If you are interested in this book, you can purchase it here.

Now that we have come this far, the next goal is to get our Christmas … I mean Valentine’s Day letters out!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On Time???

I have found a miracle way to get the kids to school on time!  It’s so simple no one would ever think of it unless they came upon it by accident as I did. Here’s the trick:  do not be involved in the “go to school” process.  Let them take care of themselves.  Ha!  There it is.

We were getting the truck fixed and I had to drive Steve to work after dropping the truck off at the shop.  I told the kids to leave when the timer went off.  I was able to get back home fast enough that I could have driven them and they still would have been on time.  But they were already there, standing out in the cold with their noses dripping and their ears bright red from the cold.  But they were there.  

I told them to zip their coats, but they are too cool for that already.  I walked over to them in the line and started zipping for them.  By all appearances their mother was dutifully caring for them that morning. They all had their hair combed and wore shoes that matched and were weather appropriate.  Miracles happen.  Sigh. 

The real miracle was that I got organized and dressed them before I left.  They walked around the house for a full 45 minutes waiting for the timer to go off.  Then they ran to school hoping they would not be late.  Whatever.  It worked!

Now, here I am a day or so later, running behind schedule.  I decided to shower after the kids were in school so I wouldn’t make them any later.  I can’t find my shoes.  I can’t find a hair brush.  Time ticks away as I search endlessly.  I must comb my hair within the hour!  I continue searching.  Giving up at my wit’s end I finally look in the bathroom drawer.  Oh.  I put the hairbrush away where it belongs.  Ugh!  I never look there!  Why would anything be where it belongs?  How can I blame or punctuality problem on the kids when I can’t handle myself and they are all at school on time without my help?

I begin counting the many ways I waste time.  At least I don’t have the television begging for my attention like we have in the past.  Sometimes we were ready “on time” but turned on the TV.  It made us very late.  TV is a weird thing; so fascinating, yet such a waste. 

Someone I know was telling me about their fabulous television that they bought this week.  It was such a great deal!  It used to be over $1000 and now it sells for $800.  I said, “Next year it will only be $500.”  She didn’t think that was funny.  I should be congratulating her on her find and spending savvy.  But seeing how we loved our hand-me-down TV’s for the first 16 years of married life, she was talking to the wrong person. 

The television we got for Christmas is the first TV we have ever bought.  Last year I had one with me as I stood in line at Wal-Mart for Black Friday. I stressed over it all night long but bought it anyway.   After I got home I continued to stress over it.  It was not a need.  It was not in the budget.  Hubby would be so surprised!  But I was too self conscious and guilty.  The thought of how many meals I could buy for the same price haunted my night mares until I finally returned the TV.  I took it back! 

Yes, I am crazy.  That’s been well established before right?

So, she was raving about this TV and telling me how bad she felt for spending the money but that it was such a great deal.  Wrong person to ask for moral support.

Then I went home and found the coupon I have.  Oh NO!  It expires this weekend!  I better go buy something!  Do I need it?  No.  Do I have the money for it? Not really, especially since I have to buy new tires today. Yet, I still “need” to buy the stuff that will be on the fantastic sale! 

That wonderful “budget” thing we had going has so gone out the window.  We almost made it one whole month before I realized despite my patching the holes in the pants, there are kids with holes in the bottoms of their shoes, the truck needed to be fixed and have new tires, and the kids STILL want to eat all the time.  Sheesh.  Sometimes it would be nice to live in ignorance and not know that we didn’t pass the safety inspections and just carry on with life.

On the other hand, what fun would it be if we actually got everything we wanted?  Boring.  Predictable.  Expected.  Life with kids is not any of those.  For that matter, life without kids is not predictable. 

Brenden has told me that when he is older, like 110 years old and an adult, he will still not understand girls.  Some things never change, and some things never stay the same.  I am cherishing the time I have with family today, with or without a functioning budget.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reaching towards the goals

Here I sit in my pleasantly comfy home while listening to the sirens of yet another accident – I hope – related to the recent snow storm, feeling like superwoman!

For the first time that I can remember, perhaps ever, we have made a budget plan and it worked out to equal possible.  There was enough money on paper for everything I could think of with ten dollars left over.  Could it really be possible?  Could we actually save ten dollars a month towards having a vacation or something?  Perhaps when the next vehicle breaks down we will have money to cover it?  The truck has been getting a bit moody lately.  But my mind screams no!  There must be something missing!  Did we remember to feed ALL six children?  We can’t possibly have a positive balance in the budget.

We decided to sleep on it and wait for the revelation to present itself.  Low and behold, it did!  This weekend as I was counting the pairs of pants with holes in the knees (eleven!), I looked at the bank account and decided that no, we do not have enough money to clothe all of the children.  Feed them, yes.  Clothe them, maybe not. 

If I could find jeans for ten dollars each, I still have over a hundred dollars sitting here with holes in the knees.  So, I decided to begin mending them.  I unstitched the leg seams of a few pants.  It took forever!  I had to keep reminding myself, this will save me one hundred dollars.  This will save me one hundred dollars.  After the third pair, I was done for the night. 

This morning Stephen was walking around in his underwear.  “I have no pants that aren’t wet or have holes in them!”  (Wet from playing in the snow yesterday.)

Aha!  I have a pair ready for repair.  I managed to complete it, with it being wearable and the kids were still on time!  Apparently the most difficult part is the seam splitting and winding the bobbin.  (My machine requires careful taping to wind the bobbin correctly) I even combed their hair before they left.  The rest of the day can be rotten and it will still be a great day because of my great morning!

Otherwise, I wish I had the dedication and drive that my children often do.  Stephen saw an ad in the paper for yarn.  Last year he learned how to “knit” a hat.  He completed one with my help and began another on his own.  The second was still waiting for him to complete it.  When he saw the sale, he asked to make a deal with me.  “If I finish the one today will you take me to choose my own yarn tomorrow?” 

Sure, what would it hurt for me to say okay to that?  It has been incomplete for months.  Well, he finished it and the first thing out of his mouth the next morning was, “Remember what we’re doing today?” followed less than an hour later with, “Remember our deal?”

When I told him he had to do a chore first, he did it!  Then he wanted to leave right away.  “Don’t you want lunch first?  I am cooking it right now.  It’s almost done.”

“No.  Let’s go get the yarn!”

Needless to say he took his time trying to choose the very best yarn.  (Since I limited his options to less than the 25 he wanted.  I allowed him to get three since they were on a good sale and I am saving hundreds of dollars by mending our pants.)   He now has about 7 inches of a scarf. 

Dallas is mad that knitting gets in the way of playing.  I wish it was easier to get him to eat dinner.  And Marek sits patiently next to Stephen watching and “helping” him knit by slowly pulling the yarn out of the bundle as Stephen needs it.  Evan and Brenden are oblivious to the knitting issue, but Lily can’t wait to try it on. 

Who is it for?  “Whosoever might need it.”  That’s right.  He is simply making the scarf and hats for the sake of making them.  He tried to choose gender neutral colors so that he could give them to the homeless shelter or the Festival of Trees (the local children’s hospital charity) 

I want to be like my kids when I grow up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Does physical exercise equal brain power?

Today marks the third day in a row that I have officially exercised, as in gone to the fitness center and worked out.  Whew!  I have heard that exercise is good for your mood and brain as well as the rest of your body.  More exercise is supposed to result in better sleep and increased memory functioning, so I’ve heard.  Well, here are my results so far.  I have had less than 5 hours of sleep each night since Monday.  I was getting closer to six before that. Although I must admit I probably have a better attitude, I cannot for the life of me remember what day it is!  

Monday I was frantic trying to get Stephen’s homework project (major project) complete.  Our printer is broken so I emailed stuff to hubby at work, begging him to print it.  I called to be sure he got the message and everything was turning out fine.  After dinner we settled in to face the long night, planning to stay up till midnight if necessary to complete the project.  Then Stephen said, “Oh, yeah.  That’s not due till next week.”  Well, goodnight!

Tuesday I rushed home from the grocery store.  I had taken too much time shopping and the older two kids were home from school alone.  I didn’t know if they had a key or not since our last visitor borrowed it. She left it here, but I don’t know if it actually got back into the backpack where it belongs.  I was also concerned we were going to be at least ten minutes late for cub scouts.

I pulled in the driveway and the neighbor girl was there waiting for us.  “Can they play?”

“No.”  I said, honking the horn.  The boys had not even tried to go inside.  They both came running from the back yard.  I hollered, “Hurry get in!”

Girl says, “Why?”

“Because we’re leaving.  Hurry!  Get in boys!”

Girl: “Where are you going?”

“Bye, hurry up!  Close the door!”

“But, where are you going?  Can they play later?  Can’t any of them play?”


I start driving down the street before they had their seat belts on, leaving said neighbor standing in our driveway. I felt bad for being rude, but we were so late!  Wasn’t it obvious we were trying to leave?  My frustration was curbed by the boys' happy demeanor.  They didn’t seem to care about anything at all.  Then they asked, “Where are we going Mom?”

“We’re late to cub scouts.”

“That’s not until tomorrow.”

“Oh, well, I guess we are just driving around the block.”

So, when the PTA called and asked, very apologetic for the short notice, if I could help at the school “tomorrow” I thought who in the world can help with less than 24 hours notice?  Well, I have no idea what day it is or what other obligations I have “tomorrow” so I may as well.   Who knows if I would be busy “Next week”?

This might be why my husband got me a giant desk calendar for Christmas.  I have heard that your projects are only as good as your tools.  Well, I would change that to how well you use your tools!  Yesterday the kids reminded me that you are supposed to check off the days of the week as they pass.  We checked five days and discovered that today is Lily’s second day of dance lessons. It might also help if I wrote a few more things on it.  (Happy birthday to all those in January!  Sorry if I missed it, hope it was great!)

After three days of exercise I can say, yes! I feel much better, much healthier.  But do I have a better sleep experience?  No.  Can I think more clearly?  Absolutely not.  Am I bored of the tread mill?  Completely. 

Luckily we have an X BOX Kinect.  I was playing Dance Central with the kids and discovered you can track your calories burned.  The kids asked about it and Dallas was real excited, “You should do that Mom!” 

Afterwards we sat to watch a movie. (We got a new TV and games for Christmas so it was the thing to do.)  Evan sat on my lap and said, “I can feel you getting skinnier already!” 

Kids are awesome!  I highly recommend them when moral support and brutal honesty are required.  Exercise is great, but the XBOX is much more X-citing.  Will exercise improve memory function?  Time will tell.  Maybe you need to work more than three days to see the results.   Otherwise, we are meeting our deadlines and being punctual much more lately. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

For Christmas we received a bunch of games (like card games or board games, the old fashioned kind) which lend themselves perfectly to our tradition of playing games all night on New Year’s Eve.  (We also took our kids downtown for the Salt Lake City’s EVE)  So far we still have all the pieces, which is more than I can say for any games that we had previously.  It’s a great beginning to the year!

After we walked around down town, nearly lost Lily in the Bouncetown, decided that the idea of “art” really is subject to interpretation that may or may not be appropriate for children, and complained about it being too loud (imagine that, we complain about noise? Ha!) we found ourselves in the famed “Ball Room”.  This is a giant room filled with 2012 beach balls of varying sizes.  No, I did not count them, nor did my children.  They just advertized it that way.

Last year the giant balls, about 8 feet in diameter, were silver and the person rolling the ball had no idea what was on the other side.  Brenden was rolled over several times.  We expected the kids to be bigger enough to move out of the way this year.  However, the big balls were clear this time.  Apparently that makes them less intimidating and we still got plowed.  Even Stephen was complaining about the big teenager kids rolling him over! 

So, while I had one kid crying and another was approaching with tears down their cheeks I decided it was time to enforce a rule.  Stay near the edges of the room!  The center near the DJ is full of older folks, most of the balls, and throbbing darkness.  (Yes, Lily almost got lost there too.)  The new rule only took the edge off the pain.  We took it for an hour or two and found ourselves home before 10:00.  That was perfect timing to get the tired ones to bed and the others could move on to playing our games.

One of the games is called “Would You Rather”.  It gives you questions that each player votes on and if the votes match, it determines how many moves you get to take on the board.  When Steve read this question, he showed it to me to prove that he was not making it up, “Would you rather have the power to fly or poop rose petals?”  Of course since it has the “p” word in the question, we all knew what Dallas would choose.  But he is smart enough to know that we all knew what his answer would be.  He tricked us and won the game!

Although I was struggling to stay awake, these questions had us laughing loud enough to keep me awake. Questions like: Would you rather hear every cell phone ring in your neighborhood, or smell every fart in the neighbor hood?  Would you rather have a car that runs on happy thoughts but leaves poop, or have a car that runs on poop and leaves negative thoughts?  How about having your face on the ten dollar bill or your butt on the one dollar bill?  My personal favorite; Would you rather belch green mist or fart confetti?  Fart confetti please.

I thought this would be an interesting game but I had no idea it was so kid friendly!  All the things I keep trying to get them to stop talking about… sigh. I can kiss all those “manners” I’ve been nagging them about goodbye.  This was a great game, but I know MY mother would never approve of it.

So far all my resolutions are working out.  Day one (officially since there was no school before).  It would be better if I would write them down, so here they are.  Of course number one for most of the USA is to get in better shape.  I would like to be early to everything and beat all deadlines.  I want to blog more and to be more reliable.  Spend more time with the kids and family, and get the house organized.  (As my husband says, make every room in the house “usable”)  That’s about it for now. Let’s make it a great year!