Archive for June, 2011

Moving-Today!

June 30, 2011

I’m sitting on the floor in my, mostly, empty house, drinking my last cup of coffee and waiting for my last load of laundry to dry. I’m listening to the sounds of all my kids sleeping and I can feel the cool, morning air, touched by the ocean, coming through my window. There are 4 bags waiting to be loaded into the van, but everything else is there and waiting. I was hoping to hit the road by now, but the laundry isn’t dry. Soon.

It’s a long day of driving ahead of me, but we’ll be at our destination by dinner time.

This house has represented so much to me over these 10+ years. So much so, that I’m going to need to dedicate an entire post to it. But for now, I just have to say that I’ve really loved living here. However, I always knew it would never be mine. So I’m letting go, as countless people have to countless places, and moving forward. I don’t know what it’s going to bring, but I’m sure it will be good.

Now to shut this down, pack it up and check those drying clothes. I need to get this day moving!

Doing the Dance of the Children-No Matter Where I Am~

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Moving-1 Day and Counting

June 29, 2011

Last day to get the rest of the stuff packed up and outta here. Thanks to the help we’ve had that’s gotten us this far!

Today starts with a Dr. appointment for me, an oil change for the van and a pick up of Maddi from a friend’s house. Then it’ll be time to get down in the trenches and finish all that’s still looming. Maddi and Mariah will likely move their things to the houses they will each be staying at. Mariah is staying until late August to continue working and then head off to college! I’ll be down in mid August and will get to visit with her before she goes. Maddi is staying in SD for the month of July at the invitation of a friend’s family. Arianna will be the lone “big kid” and will travel with Clay and meet up with us on Saturday.

Yesterday I was so thankful to have the help of a couple of people who came and packed. Thank you! I’m also grateful to the 2 families who brought us food! The kitchen was packed yesterday, so my cooking is done. Dinner for last night and lunch for today showed up. Many thanks for the yummy food!

I think we have some extra hands showing up today to help get it all done and for that I’m VERY grateful. So much has gotten done, but there’s still plenty to do and it all has to be done by tomorrow. Then I’m hittin the road with my 4 youngest and heading to a friend’s house in the Gold Country of Northern California. After a few days there Clay will pick up the kiddos and head to his family for some 4th of July celebrating and some time to relax. By then I’m gonna need a couple days in bed to process all of this and see what the next step is.

Now it’s off to the Dr!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Life~

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Moving-2 Days and Counting

June 28, 2011

I woke up this morning feeling anxious about all that still needs to be done. Things need to be listed on Craigslist/much packing still needs to happen/the yard has to be mowed/The playroom-well, let’s not talk about THAT!/2 cars need oil changes/I have to go to the PO to have mail forwarded/Call TimeWarner & have the cable disconnected/2 kiddos have dental appts this morn/Max has GATE testing this morn/Lex’s shot record needs to be updated…EEK!!!!!

Let’s not forget that it’s Arianna’s 16th bday!

One step at a time. Clay’s off to the dentist with Gabi and Lex. Max and I are getting dressed and ready to leave for testing. He was so funny about it! He grabbed a red shirt and said that he was going to wear it because those people usually wear red. ??? I had NO idea what he was talking about. After much confusing conversation, it came down to the fact that I’d never explained WHAT GATE testing is. So he thought he was going to get tested to be a crossing guard. Ah Ha! Hence the red shirt. Now he understands it’s going to be a test to see what classes he should be placed in. I’m impressed with the fact that he wasn’t freaked out about getting tested on something he’s never done! Awesome kid!

I’m relieved to know I have someone coming to help with a little packing. Anyone wanna join in?! Come on over! I’ll buy lunch. Seriously, I just don’t know how this is all gonna get done by Thursday. Prayer?!

Doing the Dance of the the Children/Change/Moving~

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Moving-3 Days and Counting

June 27, 2011

Today-I was up a couple hours before anyone else, so I did laundry, dishes, made coffee and cleaned out the drawers in my bathroom. Then I got dressed, drove the van to the GoodWill drop box and unloaded some giveaway bags. If there’s one REALLY good thing about moving, it’s gotta be getting rid of stuff! I then headed to Starbucks and met up with a group that I know is there every morning. During that little visit, I got a phone call from the kid’s dentist asking if I was on my way-NOPE! Dang it! I rescheduled for tomorrow morning. Then it was off to an appointment and to rent a storage unit. I got all that done and decided that I better stop to eat something before I became completely useless. Then there was a trip to the bank and finally, I made it home to pack, pack, pack.

Whew!

The packing is going to continue into the night and begin again first thing in the morn. Anyone who doesn’t want to miss out on the fun is invited to come by and join in!

The kids have spent the day outside, playing with neighbors. This is a 2nd good thing about moving-there’s really not much for them to do in the house, so they’ve been outside, using their imaginations and having fun. Good Stuff! I’d take pics, but there’s really not time!

Now to get them inside to wash up and eat the very last meal that I’m cooking in this house-Chicken Curry!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Packing~

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Moving-4 Days and Counting

June 26, 2011

Today was our last Sunday at our church. We’ve been a part of this parish for almost 13 yrs! Every time I’ve ever thought of leaving San Diego, my church would pop into my head because there aren’t many places in California where you can find a Byzantine Catholic church. We received many hugs and prayers and wishes for the future. I even had someone offer to come help with the packing! Yea!

As I’m writing this, boxes are being purchased. After that, a storage unit will need to be rented and the real business of moving will begin.

I’m happy that it’s so beautiful outside and that the kids can run around while all this work is being done! I have my things and the things for 3 of the kids packed and ready for going up North. I still have to pack Gabi. The older girls are packing themselves and all that we aren’t taking will be stored. I cleaned out my pantry and brought everything that I can’t use to church so that it can be used by others. Progress is being made!

Now, off to get more done.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Gettin It Done While Doing the Dance

June 25, 2011

For the last week, I’ve been going through this house, that 11 people have shared over the last 10 years, and opening the cupboards and closets and getting them cleaned out and organized so that when the movers came it would be easy to pack. Then I found out there wouldn’t be any movers/packers. I spent a day in freak-out mode, wondering how the heck I was going to get this place done, but then I stopped, took a deep breath and kept going. Then, I found out that Clay lost his job and that we would no longer be moving to Sonoma County. Ok! Well, to be honest, I really didn’t want to move there anyway, so I decided I’d look at this as a positive. Sure, come Thursday we will all technically join the ranks of the jobless and homeless, BUT everything will go into storage and I will pack my kiddos up and drive to friends and family. It Summer, after-all and a little bit of gypsy-ism is going to be just fine! I happen to be the fortunate recipient of an amazing friend who has opened her family’s door to us (you can all remember to offer prayers of thanksgiving for her and her family, on my behalf). I do not believe we will be left without a place to go and once I’m able to sit down and think for a few minutes, I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with a plan. Until then, I continue to clean out the cupboards and closets and as soon as Clay arrives and purchases boxes, the actual packing of stuff will begin.

Plus, there’s still all the regular kiddo stuff going on. Mariah is still working and needing rides. Maddi and Anna still want to visit with friends, take tennis lessons, have going-away and bday parties and go to the fair. The 4 youngest kept busy, this last week, with VBS and play dates.

And on Tuesday I take Max for GATE testing. I still have to keep him in the forefront of my mind and know that as much of a regular routine as I’m able to keep, while we go through this move, will do him (and everyone) good. Once I have the results of his testing, I can seek out schools that will be able to offer him the best options.

So, I’m sipping my coffee and listening to the sounds of my 7, sleeping kiddos, on this Saturday morning that will be filled with cleaning, packing, the fair, tennis, the slipNslide and finding a storage unit.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Life~

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And Just to Keep Things Interesting…

June 23, 2011

I tell ya, I really don’t know what’s coming my way each day!

Today’s dose of Keeping Jen’s Life Interesting-Clay lost his job. That’s right…

So, I am still packing and organizing and cleaning out and still have to be out of this house by next Thursday, but I will no longer be going to Sonoma County. I WILL, however, still be heading to Northern California, to friends and family because there’s no other option. Good thing it’s summer! So, me and 6 kiddos will load up into the van, with whatever will sustain us for the summer and everything else will go into storage (here, I guess) and we will let it play out from there.

Believe it or not, I’m not freaking out. What’s the point?! All I can do is what I can do and that means sticking to the fragments of the plan I still have. Honestly, I think it’s going to be good. Out of the ashes, right?

Doing the Dance of the Children…No Matter What~

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What I’m Reading Today and What I think About It

June 22, 2011

This morning I saw a post on Facebook referencing an article on large families and whether or not it was “greedy” to have multiple children. Of course, I went straight over to read the article. I encourage you to do the same-here. When I saw it was written by The Feminist Breeder, I was cautious. Why? Because as the mother of a large family I’ve been berated on more than one occasion by women who call themselves feminists. They seem to forget that they fight hard for the right of ALL women to choose what they do with their bodies and when they are faced with a woman who has chosen to use her body to welcome life-as many times as God chose to bless it on them, they recoil. BUT, I read it anyway. And I’d like to give The Feminist Breeder kudos for standing up for mothers who choose to make the decision to go outside the societal “norm”.  We should not be hindered by societies’ views on how big or small our families “should” be.

As far as being “greedy”, I’m fairly certain that anyone who thinks having ANY number of children is a greedy decision, hasn’t been down in the trenches of raising those children into adulthood. Sure, I love to see the love in my little one’s eyes when I’m their sun and moon and I suppose people could figure that I kept having children so that I could build a small community of people who adore me. But then there’s reality and those adoring little fans grow into preteens and teens that find you wrong on most accounts and who readily let you know that you don’t do enough for them and even if you are doing “enough” for them, you’re not doing it correctly. They are expensive and demanding and I lose almost as much sleep over the teens as I lose when they’re infants. So, I’m poor, have no time for myself and I’m sleep-deprived. Show me where my greed lies.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Trying To Stay Sane

June 21, 2011

As my move gets closer, the craziness is intensifying.

Yesterday I found out that the movers, who I was counting on for this huge job, were no longer coming in time for us to vacate by the mandatory date of June 30th. Huh?!

As I’ve looked around this house and done what I could do to clean out and organize, while still taking care of, feeding, clothing, driving around and entertaining 7 kiddos, the one thought that kept going through my head was, “Thank goodness I have packers and movers coming!”. Isn’t God funny? He continually drags me out of my comfort zone and asks me to trust that in my discomfort He will take care of it. You should see the marks on the floor from all that dragging! I dig my heels in pretty good.

So I spent yesterday in a whirlwind of worry, disbelief, anger and despair. I was pretty sure that this just might be the thing that was going to break me. If you got a phone call from me yesterday I want to say Thank You for helping me put my thoughts together and helping me make a plan. By bedtime I had decided to let go of the worry and the control and let it all just happen (this sounds like it was easy, but don’t be fooled!). I was reminded that the most important things I have will be with me in the van-my children-and that everything else needs to be released from my worry. Things will get where they need to go. They just won’t get there the way I wanted. Well, I guess that just can’t be important right now.

I need to spend these next 9 days doing what I CAN do and taking care of my kids and trying to give them all that I am able before we leave. The rest will have to figure itself out.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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The Start of Our Summer and ‘Round the Dinner Table Talk

June 20, 2011

Saturday marked our official first day of summer. This means we are now on our own schedule (mostly) and have a little more time to do things like sit at the dinner table and talk about the day. This is one of my favorite things because it seems that when we are at the table, enjoying our meal, the kids open up with their thoughts. And their thoughts never cease to amaze me, or crack me up!

Right now the biggest topics in my kids’ heads are families and moving. But last night I realized how much living in a vacation/beach town has effected their thinking.

Somehow the 4 youngest got on the topic of fat and started talking about how people gain weight. They talked about food and exercise but then they started talking about specific body parts. Max said he thought it would be hysterical if people gained weight in their bottoms and he gave a demonstration of what he would look like if that were “possible”. Then Tristan piped in and said how funny it would be if people could gain weight on their backs. I had to stop them and let them know that people do, indeed, gain weight all over their bodies. I said that some people do have big bottoms or rolls of fat on their backs. They looked at me stunned.

Seriously?! Do they truly only see toned beach bodies?! I’ll admit this town is overflowing with them, but come on! Maybe this move isn’t such a bad thing. Not because I want my kids to put on weight or have myself put on weight, but I think they could use a little dose of reality. The whole world doesn’t look like the set of an MTV show. But ’round here, it does!

I guess it’s time to help my kids be a little more well-rounded (no pun intended).

Doing the Dance of the Children-Back Fat and All~

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Twist an american musical-Ticket Giveaway!

June 16, 2011

Twist-An American Musical! This show is a fresh take on the literary classic, Oliver Twist. Now the setting is New Orleans in 1928. Twist, an orphan boy, looks for and finds family in the most unlikely of places. Along the way he does some pretty deep soul-searching for a youngster, asking about the meaning of his very existence. Twist is choreographed and directed by non other than Debbie Allen, the Golden Globe and mutli-Emmy Award winner!

Check out the the official site where you can learn more about the story, meet the cast and watch the promo video.

To enter for your chance to win these tickets, simply “like” the Twist an american musical Facebook page and then leave me a comment to let me know. Your comment is your entry. I’ll be announcing the winner on Friday (tomorrow!). The tickets are good for any date between NOW and June 24th-subject to availability. Win on Friday and see the show as early as Saturday!

Good luck!

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My Good Stuff Story For Today

June 15, 2011

You just never know when God’s putting a plan in action. He calls us to trust, to let go and to believe that He’s got it-that He’s actively working in our lives each day. It’s SO hard to REALLY REALLY do this! We worry and fret and stress and lose sleep to anxiety. But over and over again, He’s shown me that if I just go, He’ll take over.

This morning I had a conversation with my oldest, Kateri, about money. I told her I was waiting on a check and that I was really hoping that it would show up today. I let her know what my plan would be if it didn’t. I wasn’t particularly stressed over it, I just knew I needed a plan to put gas in the car until Friday if the check didn’t show up today.

When I got to work I parked and took out my make-up bag to finally get my make-up put on before going in. Im notorious for not getting it done before it’s time to leave the house! While I was applying concealer there was a tap on my window and a mom that I’ve seen over the years, but don’t know well, was standing there with a card for me. She told me that she would miss us and that she’d keep us in her prayers and that she just wanted to wish me well.

I was REALLY surprised! I thanked her and when she left I opened the card. It was very, very sweet-telling me that she thought I was doing a great job with my kids and that we would all be missed at the school, that she would see me online and that she was amazed at how I could stretch a dollar. And inside the card was $100!

$100 from a mom that I hardly know! This was the EXACT amount that I had told Kateri I would borrow if I didn’t get my check today.

Now go ahead and try to tell me that God wasn’t at work here!

Tammy, if you read this, know that you were my angel today. To the rest of us, let it be a 2-fold lesson. 1) To trust that we will always have just what we need, even if we have NO IDEA how it will show up and 2) If you ever feel that little pull to do something for someone and you just can’t figure out why such a thought has come to you, just do it! Know that you are being used for a bigger purpose and that the person you show an act of kindness to will know why you were sent.

Good Stuff!

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M.O.M. Days

June 14, 2011

As school and work wind down for the year, I find myself busily tying up loose ends. Not only is the school year ending, but our time in San Diego is also ending. The move is coming at me QUICKLY! I’ve been living off of lists and making a ton of appointments. I want all dental and doctor visits taken care of before we go so that I’m not in a rush to find new care providers. Today I tackled Lex’s kindergarten physical which meant 4 shots. Poor lil guy! I made sure to note on my calendar that he may get a fever in 7-10 days. Otherwise, I’d surely forget about the shots and think he was coming down with something. Next week everyone goes to the dentist and the girls all need to get in to get their shots up-to-date. There are haircuts that are needed as well as various gift certificates to try to use. Not to mention all the fun activities that the end of the school year brings, that require Mommy to remember to send in all manner of goodies. Today Tristan celebrated his summertime birthday at school and Max brought in whipped cream and sprinkles for the 2nd grade ice cream party. Gabi has her Kindergarten graduation on Thursday (you should hear the list of gifts she’d like and the ways in which she’d like to celebrate) and for the next 2 days in preschool we’ll be having a Luau. I’m not sure Lex or I have anything that really qualifies, but I’ll put him in his swimming trunks and a t-shirt and call it good.

I’ve been tackling little projects throughout the house to prepare for the move. And when I say little, I really mean it! But I figure that each thing I get done now will help when it’s really time to focus in another week.

There’s also some fun Mommy of Many work to get done. I have a book review to share with you, some tickets to giveaway to an upcoming show and today a big box of chips and crackers showed up for the kids and I to sample and review! Keep your eyes out for all of these fun things!

Now it’s time for me to set the alarm and try to get a short nap before I have to pick Mariah up from work.

Doing the Dance of the Children into the Nighttime~

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Living in Black and White

June 12, 2011

Max is a thinker. He’s constantly pondering everything and always coming up with the “best” way to get things done. He creates and theorizes in his head continually. There’s nothing he leaves “as is”. To his way of thinking, everything can be improved, everyone can be better and there are clear-cut ways of making this happen. He’s also a talker. So all day long I hear all these thoughts and ideas because he’s sharing them. He asks MANY MANY questions and is always very black and white with things. There’s just no middle ground in Max’s head. There’s right and wrong and nothing else. So one of yesterday’s questions was a real tough one for him to understand;

Max-”Mom, those people who throw knives at people when they’re being spun on a board, if they miss and the person dies, do they still get to go to Heaven?”.

I know this sounds like a funny question, but in Max’s mind he could not understand how someone could choose to participate in an activity where someone could be killed, if it meant it was their fault and ultimately put their soul in jeopardy.

I explained that it isn’t real, that it’s all illusion and trickery and just for show. We went round and round, him telling me that the audience is shown the knives, the front and back of the board and that it is surely real. I further explained that the fact that these performers are able to get the audience to believe it’s real means that they’re really good at what they do, but that no matter, it isn’t real and that no one dies…ever.

Explaining trickery to a kiddo with Aspergers is no easy task! There is no trickery! There is only what is and what isn’t. Try as I might, to explain it all away, I know that Max fell asleep wondering how anyone could do such a thing and risk so much for a performance.

Poor kid! I’ll keep trying to help him see that in life there is surely right and wrong, black and white, but that we often live in shades of grey.

Doing the Dance of the Children~

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Good Parenting or Meddling Mom?

June 10, 2011

I have 4 teenagers. 3 of them are still at home. My 2 oldest children have been out of the house for more than 4 years because of schooling and my oldest in is her 20′s. I consider myself pretty well seasoned on raising and staying-out-of-the-way of teens. It’s the time in their lives where they’re gaining more independence and the goal is that they will come out of their teens with a sense of responsibility for themselves, their actions and the life they have ahead of them. I’ve learned a lot about letting go, both of expectations and of physically letting them go-leave the family home and stretch out into the wide world, whether it be for school or for travel. By trial and error, love and frustration, fear and hope, I’ve learned a lot and the #1 thing I’ve learned is to check-check everything! When they say they have plans with a friend, make a phone call, touch-base with the other teen’s parents and make sure that the plans have been approved on both ends. Make sure the plans have even been made at all! Teens are crafty! They find all the ways they can to get what they want and they BELIEVE they should be able to do and have what they want. They believe in the idea of “Beg forgiveness instead of asking permission”. They believe that if they push hard enough or insist long enough that they will get what they want. They also believe that what you don’t know won’t hurt you, or them. As a parent this means you have to be on your toes! Listen for the voice inflections, the key words and the details that have been left out. If it doesn’t make sense, it probably isn’t being given to you with 100% honesty. And the BEST way to make sure of all of these things is to call the other people or the other people’s parent’s who are to be involved.

I’ve been making, somewhat awkward, phone calls for about 10 years now. “Hi, this is Mrs. Lang, so and so’s mom. I just wanted to check in and make sure of the time of the movie the girls are going to see and to be sure that I have the driving arrangement correct. Thanks.” Or “Hi, this is Mrs. Lang. so and so is not answering their phone, but they told me they were going to be spending the afternoon with you and it’s now time for them to be dropped off at home, like they told me they would be. If there’s any questions or if there’s a problem with this, please call me back or have so and so call me back. I will be calling your Mom/Dad/Grandma/Older sibling after I hang up from this message, to make sure everyone is aware of the plan. Thank you.”

Yeah, I’m not much fun! I get yelled at by my teens because “No one’s parent’s call MY PHONE asking about their kid”. Well, maybe they should! Come on…if this weren’t a necessary task, to keep my kids somewhat honest and safe, I certainly wouldn’t be doing it! I am convinced that one of the biggest deterrents from trouble is being caught or the genuine fear of being caught.

So there you have it! I call my kid’s friends and friend’s parents when I’m feeling unsure of what’s going on. And I’m going to keep doing it! I have 9 kids that have been put in my care and I plan on pulling out whatever tools I have available to me, to keep them safe and help them move into adulthood.

Call me a meddling mom. Be angry at me for calling. Go ahead and think it’s sad that I “don’t trust” my kids and feel the need to check up on them. Go ahead!

Doing the Dance of the Children-Of All Ages~

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