"The real winners in life are people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better." - Barbara Pletcher

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Buss Christmas

Yep.  I should be packing, cleaning, making food, or folding laundry.  I'm just not feelin' it yet, so I'm doing this instead.  The feeling will hit eventually and everything will get done, I'm totally confident.  I did force myself to scrub out my bathroom...."check".

One last Christmas gathering to close out the year...

Our big kids got their very own hot glue guns, along with a ream of paper and other crafting goods.  They were ecstatic, such a funny thing to get all riled up about.  Love them! 

The kids sang a few carols for Great Grandpa and Grandma.  Sweet memories.

We're headed out to spend the last evening of 2011 with our Besties, such a fun way to end the year.  I'm sure the urge to post pictures of our night will hit before the urge to gather diabetes supplies for Ryleigh's suitcase :)


Tuesday, December 27, 2011



I loved Christmas/Birthday/LongWeekendPalooza.  I loved it.  Four full days of my handsome husband home, all my chickens together, and no work, daycare, school, errands...  It was heavenly. 

I felt like I really got to spend good quality time with each of my kids.  I did everything I really wanted to do-and didn't take a lot of pictures, which is all right with me.  We just hung out.  I wanted a few days in a row of just hanging out...saying yes whenever there was a request to paint, or hot glue something, or dress a baby, or attempt a french braid.  It felt glorious and relaxing, and time slowed down for once.  It's all relative, you know.  Five kids at Christmas probably isn't anyone's idea of relaxing, but compared to the usual routine, it felt like a staycation.

The boys shopped for the girls, and us girls shopped for our favorite boys.  It was full, and fun, and didn't feel rushed or crazy.  We forgot the popcorn balls until the last minute, and hopped into HyVee 15 minutes before they closed, which is kind of tradition.

I will need to take a bottle of Resolve out to the van at some point this week, to de-stick the seatbelts, which is also kind of tradition.

I threw together the bomb Christmas Eve dinner, if I do say so myself.  I'm the Queen of pre-making meals, doing it fast, getting it done, and moving on with our night.  I love that, because it makes our evenings smooth and last longer when I'm not in the kitchen for half the time.  I loved planning and making dinner Saturday night.  It probably helped that I was half-way through my second day off, so I wasn't exhausted!  I'm going to make an effort to do it more often-even if only on the weekends.

We were both bummed we didn't just buck up and take the kids to 11pm candlelight Christmas Eve service.  It just isn't the same at 4pm, no matter how you try and slice it.  However, I was fearful of the behaviors we might inflict on others the next day, if we kept the kids up past Midnight.  Knowing Jane Pierce was singing O Holy Night almost put me over the edge, and I'm still kicking myself a bit for missing out.  

Turns out, we needed the kids to be in bed early, because we had a lot of work to do for Santa.  Turns out, we are old and get tired earlier than we used to.  Turns out, toy assembly with post-10pm brain is a lot of work.  We're already laughing about putting the ping pong table's legs on incorrectly.  Twice.  Really!  It wasn't funny at the time, when I was falling asleep behind the instructions, and Mitch was scrounging around for the right drill bits.  Ho Ho Ho!

The little boys were up first, after 7am (which is a little early, but totally acceptable for Christmas morning!), and I could hear them talking in their beds about presents.  Then, I heard them singing Happy Birthday, Jesus.  Are you kidding me?  Adorable.  They love Santa and presents, but they know what we're doing when we celebrate Christmas. 

Rugger made everyone a gift weeks ago (literally, maybe even over a month ago) and hid them in the garage "behind all the bikes and other garage junk".  Sneaky!  I actually knew he was working on something way back then, but had no idea he'd actually kept everything together and hidden stuff.  He wrapped paintings, drawings and candy, and handed them out.  Such a sweetheart.

It's not all about the presents, but for goodness' sake...it's amazing to see our kids love each other like that. 

The Slinkies were a random Wal-Mart purchase for the boys' stockings, and they were such a hit.  That's all Maeson told anyone who asked him what he got.  A Slinky. 

At one point the night before, we considered just showing the kids the box.  Clearly, glad we stuck it out and finished the job.  Santa would have been so disappointed in his little elves.  

I loved the nice, nearly balmy weather we enjoyed, but it just didn't feel right.  You know?  I'm not a fan of freezing cold, or icy roads.  But, it just felt weird to be playing soccer in Grandma's back yard after lunch.  Are you with me?

The boys are way too big with their real bikes.  I can't stand it. 

Reise and I both got Heelys, so we can keep up with the big kids.  We might head to the mall to practice.  Ya know, just to see if we can get kicked out.  Or, make fools out of ourselves as we fall in public.  Either way!

This was the first time in a very long time every member of Mitch's family was together at one time.

I got a wild hair on Thursday of last week to cash in our unused Coco Key passes from last April.  We gathered up some BOGO coupons, and paid $10.70 to get in on Monday.  It was such. a. blast.  It was a surprise for the kids, I avoided the Christmas mess in the house for one more day, and all five children were sawing logs by 7:20pm.  That, my friends, gets an A+.  The one and only snafoo of the day?  Rowen somehow managed to leave the house with size 18-month swim trunks on.  For real.  He's a big 3yr old.  Not like one of those little guys who could maybe still squeeze into a 2T.  No.  He had a rash on both thighs which he never complained about once until we got home.  Then, he was in a full fledged panic, because even his PJ pants touching the raw skin was too much.  I applied some diaper cream, which offended him to the highest degree you could possibly imagine.  However, it was totally cleared up by this morning.  Whew!  Please know I am laughing hysterically right now, just typing that out.  That kid is incredible.   

Ryleigh has been saving her money for a Nutcracker.  She saw this guy at CVS at the very beginning of the season (we're talking September, here).  She was gifted some money for Christmas, and had her first post-holiday shopping experience last night.  "I saved so much money, and there's barely a scratch on it!"  She is so practical, I imagine she'll never buy anything until it goes on sale, ever again.  Love her!

Huge, contented sigh from this mom.  So many things I love concentrated into one awesome weekend.  Happy Birthday, Jesus.  We're so glad that you were born! 


Time flies!

The last week has flown by so quickly, I can hardly fathom that it's been almost a whole week since we dipped everything we could find from our kitchen into almond bark, and celebrated a birthday.

We used a lot of utensils, because they kept going straight into mouths.  I totally get it.  Almond bark is so delicious.  I mean, seriously, get out of here-it's so good!

I love it when one kid gets excited for another kid.  It makes the random flareups of sibling jealousy a little more bearable.  

Just messing around with the different continuous shooting modes on my camera :)  It's sad that these kids are so shy.  Reserved.  Timid. 

And, he's officially SEVEN.  He went from a little kid to a regular boy over night.  Such a bittersweet thing, this growing kids bit. 

My goal for this week is to blog my Christmas pictures, play air hockey, take lots of naps, ignore the mess that's breeding in the basement, get my house back to looking less like a landfill and more like a dwelling space for humans.  The 'plan' is to get a For Sale sign back in our front yard by Sunday...which will require the adults that live here to be productive this week.  Even tho at least one of the adults is having a really hard time not slipping into vacation mode.  I just want to sit on the couch and read books, load dart guns, and eat leftover cake balls for the next few days.  I love long weekends, but they make it really hard to get back into the routine.  :)


Friday, December 23, 2011

Second Annual

Traditions.  Love them.  Rowen Family Cabin Christmas.  These pictures look a lot like last year's.  Love that.

Velveeta Shells and Cheese in the kids' stockings.  Maybe it makes me a mean mom for never buying boxed pasta.  Maybe it makes me a good daughter for letting my mom be a cool Grandma for always serving it?  We'll go with that!

Homemade kites.  Such a fun memory from my own childhood, now passed on to my kids.  Love!

Not to be outdone by his baby cousin,

Nature walk with the dads and Grandpa.  "Did you find a bald eagle?!"

Mitch took all the nature walk pictures, which turned out great.  I just love that the boys are standing on the edge of a "caving bank" posing for a pic.  I'm such a Nervous Nelly.  Get away from the edge, please before that bank caves.  Thank you!

Wii bowling tournament.  Tiffany tried to defend her title as champion.  {She failed.}

Second year with a brand spankin' new baby.  This likely will not continue as a tradition...but one never knows.

Late nights, no naps...  Grandma gave the kids each a flashlight (and even labeled it with their names, no fighting! Praise Jesus) and they played flashlight hide-and-go-seek in the gigantic basement.  At 11pm.  I wish I had a picture of seven of them snuggled up together in one bedroom for the night.  By the morning, one kid had bailed, several had switched beds, and Rugger had stolen all of the blankets.  Such fun.  This is the stuff awesome holiday memories are made of, folks. 

I love everything about this: bowling against Pao with a spit-up covered hoodie, and coffee mug permanently attached to body.  Fussy infant?  What about it?  She still won that game and advanced to the next round.  Pure skill and tenacity right there. 

Meals?  What?  Full day snacking fests.  Pretty sure the final count for Dekker was SEVEN oranges.  At least he snacks with healthy foods. 

Then, there's my kid's version of a snack...

Oh, and another one of mine with his fourteenth cup of hot chocolate.

Cousins.  If I had to guess, I'd say they're discussing the exhaustion that comes from having baby brothers.

Taking a break from his bowling coaching duties (see the pipe cleaner ear piece/microphone?) to polish off a cake pop.


New Wii bowling champ!  277, what a crazy bowling score, even for Wii.

Jacuzzi bubble bath.

Heading out to climb that taaaallllll tower.   I love everything about this memory.  Tiff with a kid on her back, running.  Rowen and Dekker holding hands, running.  Dave being the paparrazi.  Stef and I driving, trying not to hit the small children that continually popped out in front of the vehicle! 

I was too wimpy to climb the whole thing, I think I made it about three flights.  Chicken!!

Such a fun time making memories with my blast of a family.  The cabin is already booked for next year, thanks mom and dad!  Maybe we'll start the countdown now...359 days 'til...  :)