Friday, March 28, 2008

It's taken me almost a week to catch my breath, reflect, wipe away tears, and remember how wonderful the last week was with everyone here. So many memories, laughter, was blessed. It was so great to see the cousins reunite. Molli and Morgan, our fearsome twosome...Jonah and Myca, boys bent on wrestling and sword fighting...Mackenzi and her faithful shadow Sydney....and Emma and her buddy Markus, each doing their own thing! It was truly beautiful to see. I had such flashbacks as I mounted the stairs (NUMEROUS times) to tell the girls it was not time for giggling but time for sleeping...of many many summers ago with my own cousins and my own mother yelling the same words. It brought such a smile to my face. Sitting around the dining room table with ALL of my siblings, each of us so very different and yet so much the was remarkable. My brother Tigger has changed much. I don't think you can face death the way he has and remain unchanged. And yet, he seems changed for the better. He seems to exude love and connection. He sought me out many times just to talk or to hug. But it was THIS moment that really brought tears to my eyes.....

This is huge mass of people is MY family. Some of the faces are new, the new babies and the brother and sister in law we've added....but this is us. Even now, looking back at the picture and remembering the chaos of trying to get all 23 of us to stand still and look at the camera, just makes me laugh. For better or worse, we are stuck with each other. And I, for one, am so very glad.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Popping in to say that we are still here and all is well. We are having a total blast with the family here. Today we are coloring eggs and doing the big egg hunt. Of course we got a foot of snow yesterday so we will be hunting indoors. Have I mentioned that I HATE winter? Here are just a few pics of some family fun!

The girls

Uncle Josh and Emma bowling

Thomas decides to help Uncle Josh bowl

My darling newphew Markus who bowled a 116!!!

Molli and Morgan AKA Thelma and Louise

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Just a quick post to let y'all know that I'll be absent for a few days as my brother and his family are here. This is my brother that is in the Army and was in Iraq for the last 18 months. We haven't seen him or his family in 3 years as they were stationed in Alaska. He has five children as well and they are all almost the same ages as ours. So the cousins are rediscovering each other and having a total balst. I'm clicking pictures like crazy since who knows how long it'll be before we are all together again. Last night, my mom looked around the table as we were finishing dinner and got kind of choked up as she said, "My WHOLE family is around this table right now." It was great.

So the Waltons are reunited and today we are going bowling. Imagine 11 grownups, and 11 children invading the bowling Gotta love family.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Let it be known that this day, March 14, 2008, I, Mandi K, have won the coveted parent of the year award. Here's how the award was won...

Emma, Thomas and I arrived at Sydney's school to pick her up. The girls took off for the car already fighting about who would sit in the front (ok, so no children should be in the front...but that was only the beginning..)By the time I reached the car, they were kicking, screaming, hitting, etc. I broke up the fight and informed them that they would now both sit in the back. Emma launches into "fit" mode. She began screaming and stomping her feet. I scooped her up and placed her in the car. She proceeded to continue the fit. I just ignored her. We pulled into McDonalds so Sydney could use some of her birthday money on a yogurt. The screaming from the back increased as Emma howled that she had wanted to go to Burger King. I informed her that she would write sentences when we got home. She didn't stop. I then warned her that if she didn't stop I would take her lovey(aka her favorite blanket that she cannot sleep without) away for the night. Surprise, surprise..she didn't stop. So, when we arrived home, I scooted inside and removed her blanket from her bed and hid it. Then the fun began....

She threw herself on the kitchen floor and was shrieking and kicking. I hauled her to her room. She was hysterical. I called Matt and he could hear her while I was in the living room. I went upstairs to tell her she needed to get ready for school. She refused, so I dressed her myself. Then I pulled her down stairs and put her coat and boots on. Remember now, that she is still screaming wildly and flailing. I pulled her down the driveway. Meanwhile she has lost her lovey for 2 days now and has been told that she will not be going to the Daddy/Daughter dance tomorrow night. The bus pulls up and she throws herself on the ground and refuses to get on the bus. I carry her onto the bus and put her in a seat. THe bus driver reassures me that it'll be fine but I followed them to school, just to make sure. As the bus pulled away from my driveway, I fell apart. I don't know what in the world would make my beautiful, funny Emma act this way. I felt like the worst parent ever because I clearly had no control. At one point I even considered giving her the stupid blanket back just to get her to stop. BUt I have been trying SOO very hard to be consistent and to follow through with my threats. I'm desperately sad that she can't go to the dance, something she has been looking forward to for weeks. I just felt there had to be serious consequences for her actions today. I know it will start again when she gets home and realizes that she doesn't get her lovey. oh boy....well that's the tale that won me the award!

I'd like to thank....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Before I forget, here's the link to the site for chore charts... for those of you who asked.

This weekend was wonderful. My baby sister got married on Saturday. It was lovely. This was just a small ceremony, as her new husband is going into the Navy. They're planning a big hurrah after he gets back from basic and A school.But, my sister looked amazing (as usual)

Then, Sunday morning, Matt woke up with a stomach bug. We chalked it up to too much to eat and drink at the wedding. Until late Sunday night when I got it, and then ALL the rest of the kids got it. So we spent a fun day yesterday taking turns in the bathroom. It was awful. Thank the Lord though that it's a fast bug and this morning we are all better. I wouldn't wish that on anyone...ick.

Alright off to reclaim my home! Vacation is over.....right.....

Friday, March 07, 2008

This morning was crazy. I knew I had a WIC appointment, Syd needed to get to school and I wanted to work out at the Y before I had to pick Sydney up. Well the car wouldn't start. So I bundled everyone up and decided we would walk Syd to school as it's right up the road. As we are about halfway there, I glance behind me to see Bo (our big chow/retriever joint custody dog) bounding along behind us. So now I am hanging onto this 125 pound dog by his collar and trying to push the stroller. We make it to the school and I stand outside the door wondering what to do. Emma can't hold the dog if I take Sydney in and I can't very well take the dog into the school. Thankfully, at that moment, another mom came out of the building. I asked if she could PLEASE walk Sydney down to her class for me, she was happy to help. So now we have to walk home...I asked Emma to push the stroller so I can hang onto Bo. She does, for a while...then she starts crying that it's too hard. Now Thomas is crying because he wants to suck his thumb but cannot as he has mittens on. (Did I mention it's 16 degrees out?!?!?!?) It was really great. I can't imagine what people thought as they were driving by. My firend Mindy came and jumped the car so I could get my running around done. I blew into the WIC office hoping for an in and out appointment. Yeah right. An HOUR later, we emerged, just in time to fly to Syd's school to pick her up. Funny how the best laid plans can go out the window at a moment's notice!!

Anyway, today was crazy hair day for the kids at school. Here's what they chose as hiar styles...

Jonah channeling Sanjaya

Molli with many pigtails

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


So March has arrived. The snow is almost completely gone, thank you Jesus! And now of course our yard looks AWFUL. Garbage everywhere, sleds, misc. toys....yikes. Now I understand why my other always made us do a "spring pickup" outside.

This month is BUSY for's why.

1. Sydney turned 4 on the 4th..her golden birthday. It was a great day filled with Diego cake, a new camera and her new bike!

2. My sister gets married this weekend!!!

3. Next Saturday is the Daddy/ daughter girls are so excited to go with Daddy!

4. My brother and his family arrive near the 20th for their first visit in 3 years! I get to meet my new niece and they get to meet Thomas!

5. Easter...lots going on there, eggs to color, dye to spill, baskets to fill, eggs to find...

Then of course we slam into April where we get to go away for Spring Break...SO looking forward to that. We are going to try and tap some of our maple trees this week and make some syrup..that would be fun.

I also had a small meltdown this past weekend when I asked the children to clean their rooms. Jonah was fairly retiscent and complied with little nudging. The girls, however, whose room was AWFUL, were not so easily convinced. Finally, Matt and I helped them rearrange hoping that would spark some interest in cleaning their space. such luck. I was on my hands and knees cleaning their room as they are playing around me. I lost it. I informed them that I was done and they were not leaving their room until it was clean, no dinner, no nothing. THat got them moving, but I was so upset. How did my children get so stubborn and so indignant that I would ask them to clean up their own mess? My depression grew as I realized that I was at fault for not every making them do it. I usually just do it myself because it's faster and there's no hassle. After a long talk with Matt (whom I adore because he just let me vent and scream and throw things and then gave me some chill out time before trying to help)we decided that it was time for chores. I mean, there must be an upside to having so many children! Then began the debate as to whether or not an allowance was in order. After much discussion we decided that there were some things that they should just be expected to do without having to be paid. Matt went online and foiund chore charts and we made them up, printed them out, and hung them up. The bigger kids have more, obviously, but even Syd has basic chores. We are on day 3 of the chore chart and I am happy to report that it is going well. The kids have embraced their chores with little to no complaining. Jonah and Molli even do the dishes! I'll keep you posted on how we do!