Friday, August 26, 2011


My friend Kari emailed me to invite me and the kiddos to the pool. I read this email at 11:00 pm. After a long day with kids. After a long night at work. I read the email and thought "NO!!! Is she crazy? Why would would I want to take 5 children four and under to Ashworth Pool?" For those of you who don't know, Ashworth Pool is a real pool. Not an Aquatic Center, zero-entry type of pool. Why would I want to hold onto 5 children who can't touch the bottom of the shallow end? I went to bed that night thinking that my cautious, safe friend Kari might have had one to many adult beverages that afternoon (she wrote the email around 3pm).
Next morning - check email again. 'Did she really ask me to go to the pool-pool?' No. She didn't. She asked me to go to the last day at Ashby Park wading pool. Ahhhhhh. Much better. I think I need to not check emails in states of lack-of-sleep stupor.

I loaded up the kids with sunscreen, hydrated them with lots of water and got them into their bathing suits. Off to the wading pool we go. Bennett gets in the car and tells the other kids all about the cool slide and the giant water bucket that dumps "a whole lotta" water on you. 'Oooo, Bennett, not the Ames Water Park. This is a wading pool here in Des Moines. We won't have to be in the car that long.' Thankfully this was enough of an explanation. We were still excited about going to a pool, even if it had no slide. SLIDES!! After that quick, jog to the front of my memory, we had a quick, serious talk about the park. We were going to the pool and even though they had a park there, we were not going to swing or slide or play in the sand. I could handle wet kids, I could not handle dirty, sandy, wet kids who were crying because they just burned themselves on the sun-soaked hot slides. Luckily for me, I have some of the best kids in the world and they listened beautifully! No drama, just lots of wet fun!

She dumped water on her head for the first 10 minutes she was there!

Sooooo happy!

Collector Inspector Bennett reporting for ball collecting duty.

Fun with fountains!

Annabelle got more than she bargained for with this fountain as the water went right up her nose. She came out of this one with a pouty look saying "My nose! My nose!"

Splish-splash, just taking a bath.

Will getting down with the water!

This was some sort of follow-the-leader, we are sharks game. I LOVE that they all play so well together.


Cale and Graysen loved the bucket with a hole in it.

All of a sudden I noticed all of the kids were all together. Let's try a group photo!!!

Kind of... :) Caden thought Miles must be thirsty and Cale is creeping in the background, but together none-the-less!

What's wrong, Cale? I love your pouty lip.

Even better than that pouty lip is this GREAT smile!!! (Unfortunately to get him to smile like this I had to ask him about his beloved Hawkeyes... Sigh)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Some mornings

Typically I try and have a plan for the day. It's a loose plan, but a plan none the less. With 5 - 6 kids in the house, there has to be some control!

Today I had plans for a major lego construction zone and some painting with potatoes. I know you wish you were here! This was to happen sometime after I got the breakfast dishes cleaned up. Well, I forgot to water my plants last night (I was canning my second batch of green beans. 25 pints so far. Yeah ME!) so when Caden and Graysen got here and Bennett and Caden asked to go outside, we did! It was a beautiful morning and the birds were singing. Out came the hose, big wheel, tricycle, and trucks. Miles and Annabelle arrived. The sandbox got open. Plants got watered. 15 turns on the swing were had. 20 trips around the house were made in search of the bad guy. Etc, etc. Pretty soon it was 8:45, I was sweating, breakfast was yet to be consumed and I had forgotten my coffee inside. Where did an hour and 15 minutes go and when did the plan fly out the window?!?!

By the time we had breakfast and I had gotten everything cleaned up (along with 2 cups of coffee!) the kids had begun a game of marriage. It started when Caden said - "You guys pretend to get married and I will be the baby that someone drops off to you." (I guess Heather and Adam have had that all important birds and bees conversation with young Caden!) Bennett and Miles were on board and Annabelle, not to be one left out, was in the background screaming "I DO! I DO!!" Miles stated that he would be the mom and Bennett was quick to say "OK, I will find the marriage place."

The marriage place consisted of a blanket that got moved from place to place. On the blanket they laughed, took care of the baby, ate their meals and slept. It was soon decided that Annabelle was the dog and that she could lay on the blanket because she didn't shed very much. Annabelle took what she got on crawled on hands and knees every time the blanket was moved. What a good girl!

This lasted for some time, but eventually Graysen was stealing the blanket and Miles had lost interest. Caden stated that he guessed Annabelle could be his new mommy. Annabelle took him to the couch and patted his back while he fell asleep while Bennett went to work. (For anyone keeping track, Bennett has been married to both of his cousins in this little imaginative play-time!) Work consisted of a job located outside which caused everyone to want to go back outside. I wasn't quite ready for that so I suggested a quick show before more outside time. Jake and the Neverland Pirates, anyone? YES! YES! YES! NO, DORA!!! DORA!! The yes's were from the boys... After Annabelle screamed DORA for the 15th time (peeeeessssss), the boys said that would be fine if they could watch Jake after Harrison got home. She's got them wrapped around her little fingers...

I got a load of laundry in, the dishes put away, lunch stuff laid out and this blog written. Now Dora is finishing up and soon we will be back outside. I guess my plans can wait for another day... :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to school time

Today was the 1st day of 1st grade for Harrison. His grandpa asked him last weekend if he was excited to be in 1st grade this year and he said, "Well, yeah. I mean, I'm a second year." as he puffed out his chest. For those of you who don't know, Harrison goes to the Downtown School and they have multi-age classrooms. This means that there are 8 or 9 students in his class that were in his class last year and there are 8 or 9 new kids this year. The new kids (Kindergarten) are 1st years and since Harrison is a 2nd year (1st grade), he gets to be a role-model to the 1st years. It's an enormously important responsibility. :)

I got up early this morning to go to Krispie Kreme to get doughnuts for a Doughnut Cake idea I stole from a friend who found it on a blog. I envisioned a dozen Krispie Kreme doughnuts with chocolate glaze and sprinkles piled high on the plate. When I got to Krispie Kreme at 5:45 am I was met by a drunk 20-something practically passed out at a table and NO sprinkle doughnuts. "Those will be done in about 20 minutes." Really? As I looked over the bleak selection of doughnuts, I looked over at the poor young man with his head on the table I thought, "Well, it could be worse." I bought one dozen plain doughnuts and headed off to Hy-Vee to get blackberries (Harrison's favorite!).

At Hy-Vee I couldn't help but check out their doughnut collection and ended up with 6 more doughnuts. SPRINKLES!!! :) I think the cake turned out pretty nice.

Harrison got up just as I finished the cake and he couldn't wait to eat it. After school... "I want everyone to see it all day and we can have it when I get home from school." Way to lord over the doughnuts, Harrison. He finally agreed that everyone (me) would be much happier if we could eat the doughnut cake for breakfast. He then asked me why I made the cake. I told him it was to celebrate his first day of school. "It's not my first day of school. I have already had, like, over 181." Being literal is one of his many, many wonderful traits...

Then it was picture time. I snapped a couple outside of just him. Isn't he grown up and handsome?!?!

Then I went to get Christopher for parent photo-ops. But Caden and Graysen showed up before we finished the pictures so we went inside to chat with Heather. Graysen then proceeded to throw-up on himself AND Harrison. So off with Graysen's shirt, off with Harrison's shirt, check to see that Graysen is fine (he is - he just randomly still spits-up!) and off to find Harrison another "1st day of school" shirt. Whew...

Pictures and shirt take 2

Christopher stayed home this morning so that I could take Harrison to school. We talked about his favorite parts of summer (Yellowstone, crazy Aunt Kaylee, and James coming for a WHOLE WEEK!!) and what he was excited about for school (new classroom).

Mrs. Mathews - best teacher ever

He was nervous about finding his classroom as the Downtown School is in a new location this year, but he remembered right where is was from school supply drop-off night. We found his name tag and found a table seat next to his friend Elijah.

Then I gave him a kiss and told him he wasn't too old to kiss me back. Elijah then commented that his mom just left and she made him kiss her too! Harrison begrudgingly gave me a smirk and a kiss and went onto drawing. I took a moment to look at him and before I could say "OK. I'm going to go now. You gonna be ok?" Harrison looks up at me and says "You can go now." in a very 'hurry up and get the hell outta here' kind of tone.

I love you, Harrison. I am proud that your dad and I have raised you to be independent, confidant and wonderful. Happy 1st day of school.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Bennett and Harrison were working together to spread blankets on the chair, creating a throne to sit upon.

Me: Harrison and Bennett, I am so proud of the way you are working together.

Bennett: Thanks!

Harrison: Yeah. Well, I mean, I have had some stress cause he is 4 and all.