Thursday, January 28, 2016

Welcome, Baby Rain!

This all started over a month ago when a co-worker of Scott's told him that there was a Great Dane in the animal shelter near us. We know that can be a common occurrence as people don't realize how big and clumsy these adorable little puppies will become. Or how much they will need to eat! We still had a crate that belonged to the shelter from bringing Theo home so we figured that we'd just go "check it out" when we returned the crate. Both of us hated the thought of a gentle giant like Justus being in a shelter...

So we drove down there only to find out that she had already been adopted. While we were happy for her, we were both slightly disappointed as we had started to like the idea of having a second Dane.

So I decided to keep my eye out and watch a few different websites just in case anything came up. Within a week or so, we found this little beauty who was the last one left from the litter of 7 and needed a home.

The kids were ecstatic and so were we! Scott has said that he will always have to own a Great Dane after having Justus.

Rain came home with us yesterday and after greeting all of the kids she climbed into Justus' bed and fell asleep curled up in the middle. Justus just stood there and stared at her like "Now what?" and laid down on the kitchen floor. We promptly ran back out to grab a second bed. 

She still likes to try and cuddle with him, but he isn't so sure. When she starts barking to play- he runs away! Today he jumped up on the couch to try and get away from her!

Theo is also unsure, usually watching from a table or somewhere else out of reach. They've had a few scuffles today. They may be the same height, but Rain already weighs 3x his weight at 15.5 lbs!

She's adored by all.

We'll keep giving Justus and Theo extra attention and treats until they adjust. Can't wait to see what adventures they have as she gets bigger! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Our Love-Hate Relationship

Written by Keona

My mom and I have what you would probably refer to as a love-hate relationship- some days we love each other; other days... not so much. When we love each other, it's great. I couldn’t ask for a better mother. She’s willing to listen to my problems and girl drama and never-ending stream of story plots. Her advice is great. Honestly, there is no woman whose word I would trust more. We love doing things together. Whether it’s watching a YouTube fail video, going shopping, or reading a new book, my mom is my first choice for a companion. If we got our heads together, I think some pretty awesome ideas would be the result. We work together when it comes to teaching grade nine algebra and I’m not sure what on earth she would do without me in that area. Watch lots of educational videos, I guess. Or maybe not do algebra at all. I mean, honestly, if you’ve ever actually used the algebra you learned in high school, you are a rare human being. Either way, what I’m trying to say is that we’re like best friends 25% of the time- we really are.

That other 75%, however, would very quickly convince you otherwise.

That’s right- NEWSFLASH!! 
This amazing mother that you see here all the time is only telling you half of the story. 

You want the truth? 
Click HERE

Yeah, she hasn’t changed.
If anything, she’s gotten worse.

The cat attacks Lily? Over her screaming, all that can be heard is Mom laughing herself to death.

Someone wipes out on the kitchen floor? Your normal mom might say, “Oh! Are you all right?” Not my Mom. She thinks it’s hilarious.

Just as long as there’s no broken bones or a need for stitches. Now this wouldn’t bother me too much. AFV has been a family favourite for as long as I can remember. YouTube fail videos are the bomb around here. I think the problem here is that we don’t fall enough. See, she enjoys it and so when it doesn’t happen often enough, she begins to incite it. She’ll stick her foot out for you to trip over it, or randomly kick you in the butt. And, of all nine of her kids, I am her favourite one to pick on. I don’t know why. Ask her, although that will do you little good- I’ve tried. I don’t think that she has a good reason; at least, not good enough for me. 

For a while, I took it like a good child- ducked low when I walked by, asked her “Why?” when she did it, didn’t really retaliate....

Now, it has all changed. When I asked her to stop, she didn’t. When I tried to be on her good side, I was rejected. She started a war and it has escalated quickly. If she punches me, I usually punch her back- or find some other form of revenge. Sometimes my dad gets frustrated by our nearly-constant bickering or from having to break us away from a fight on the couch.

Just to make this clear, we would never actually hurt each other… much. I know that my mom loves me and I love her.

Now, on with the stories.

Yesterday, we were sitting beside each other on the couch. We were about to do biology and the triplets (I’m not sure how many of them) had been playing on their iPods, so my mom took them. She then proceeded to ask for mine.

“Give me your iPod,” she said. Of course, I knew that I had done nothing wrong to deserve such treatment (as is usually the case) and so I refused. We had a [physical] fight over it and she grabbed my side with her nails. (She has long nails and they are painful when they are digging into your side- I just wanted to clarify that.) So I did the only logical thing- cracked her in the knuckle with my iPod. Justus came running over to stop us- he's good at that- and jumped on my mom. He then slept with his head on the couch between us for the next 45 minutes. He's a good dog. My Mom still has a bit of a bruise from my iPod that she complains about excessively. She deserved it. In the end, my iPod did end up in her possession but I got it back long before any of the triplets did. I won’t say how since she’s going to read this blog.

This is only one example of the not-so-loving side of our relationship. I won’t even go into the times that she’s thrown potatoes and erasers at me or called an “iPod-free day” because I spent a few too many minutes on Instagram or Temple Run (usually Instagram). Today, we realized that the ear infections I’ve been getting are probably due to a dairy allergy like Elijah and Jeddy have. We decided that I should probably cut dairy out of my diet and she laughed at me. Then she gave me a pop tart. See? She can be nice sometimes, but only if she starts to feel bad. Which isn’t usual. Besides, I always get her back. From hiding her makeup brushes, to exploding a kidney bean on her nose, I will find a way to make her pay, which then turns the fight into a full-scale war that lasts all day. 
I hate to admit that I usually lose. 

Except we don’t decide on a winner- it kind of just dies down. So I win. Kind of. Either way, 

I guess we just have a special kind of relationship. It's annoying sometimes but it's also fun and I think the fact that we can fight and then get over it is really good for both of us. It has taught me to forgive and also not to take things too personally. 

Through it all, I know that she loves me, and I wouldn’t trade her for any other mom in the world. Even one that doesn’t like to throw things at me.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Our 2016 Reading List

My oldest five are all readers. Half of my Christmas shopping list was books. 
No joke. 
I spent a small fortune at Chapters.

 Keona was telling me the other day how she remembers when she was little that I'd always tell her to "go read a book". 

Go read a book.

Watching more than half an hour of TV?
Go read a book.

Been playing game boy for too long?
Go read a book.

I honestly didn't even remember saying that, but I think it's probably because now I have to tell them to put the books down!

I used to be a big reader too. I would stay up late on school nights (telling my mom - 'just one more chapter') to finish my latest book so I could lend it to my friend the next day. Once I had Keona and the triplets, my bible and the odd how-to book was pretty much the extent of my reading. 

Three years ago, Keona wanted to read the Hunger Game series and I wasn't sure about it so I told her that I wanted to read it first. She looked at me like "yeah, right..." and I never really seemed to get around to it. So when Scott and I went on vacation we were browsing the airport bookstore and I saw the first Hunger Games book. I grabbed it and read it while we waited for our flight, and then continued reading it while sitting on the beach all week. I forgot how much I loved reading a good book! 

Once I came back I went and bought the next two books in the series and finished them pretty quickly. Well, not according to my girls... But pretty quickly for a mom with 8 kids who can't just sit and read all weekend.

So Keona and I decided to make up a reading list for 2016 after seeing a similar idea on Pinterest and I'm pretty excited about it! Here it is:
 click for printable
Click to enlarge or print!

Here's what we're currently reading...
Checking off biography from the list! 
Recommended by "The Lazy Perfectionist"

Keona is re-reading a favourite to kick-off 2016. She likes to read her favourites over and over again. While I can only read a book or watch a movie once. (It drives Scott and Keona insane!)

Side note: I realize that I'm not a teenager, but I do tend to read (and enjoy!) young adult books. So if you follow along with our reading list- there will probably be some young adult fiction on there! :) 

It's more fun for me and the girls when we can talk about what we've read with each other. It's been some great bonding time for us. Some of their books however, particularily sci-fi ones... I can't force myself to get into. Keona's looking forward to recommending a book for me that I've refused to read so far because I'm 99.9% positive that I won't be able to make it through. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to force her to read.

Jeddy and Ella are starting to learn that reading can be enjoyable on your own. I still have to enforce quiet reading time with them. Addy on the other hand, is always chasing someone around with a book!

They do however like to write. I love the littles notes that they leave laying out for me...

See- my little charmer...

And if you come over for dinner, be prepared for some "smelly chicken"! Haha... 

Happy Monday! 

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Cast...

15 years old
She is the oldest and has a personality to match. She is incredibly determined, driven, and knows what she wants. She always (like seriously, always) has her nose in a book. Sometimes she's reading,
lately it has been a lot of writing. She is a people person- an extrovert to the extreme- and she wants nothing more than to make a difference in the world. She's turning 16 in a few months and then only one more year of high school. 

13 years old
Our oldest triplet. Charity is known as a "tomboy" but she's also a "daddy's girl". She would gladly spend her time playing basketball and skateboarding over doing her nails, hair, and makeup any day. She's extremely competitive, but has such a compassionate heart. Outside of sports...  She is always putting others first (unless it's her brothers) and forgives people without a second thought. She loves cooking and baking and pretty much anything to do with being in the kitchen. When nobody else wants to help with something, you can always depend on Charity.

13 years old
Eve is known for being a bit on the bossy side. And a little on the loud side. Now she's usually right, and she usually knows what she's trying to accomplish, she can just be a little... Harsh. When she was little we had to teach her not to say, "I know" all. The. Time. That said, she can do pretty much anything she puts her mind to. She plays at least 5 instruments and wants to learn the flute next. When I want things organized and delegated... Eve's my girl. 

13 years old
What can I say about Prayer? She is the artsy one. She has an incredibly quirky personality. She can make anyone and everyone laugh. She has a habit of making fun of me when I'm angry so that I forget what I was saying and why I was angry. She loves children. Toddlers adore her. She could keep them entertained for hours. She is everyone's go-to for outfit advice. She's just fun. She's also incredibly smart. You wouldn't know it from talking to her- as she can seem a little... dense. I think it's just because she says things that other people may only think. But her grades and ability to remember things long term are amazing. She doesn't know what she wants to do yet, but it could be just about anything.

12 years old
Everyone thinks Elijah is quiet but his siblings would beg to differ. He is incredibly competitive. He likes playing video games, figuring out puzzles, and getting better grades than his older sisters in algebra. He's a thinker. He's funny too. Not a class clown type of funny, but a witty- it-takes-me-a-minute-to-realize-he-made-fun-of-me funny.  He doesn't like taking orders from his older sisters (which means that Eve is generally fuming around him) and I kinda like that about him. He is also incredibly thoughtful when he isn't trying to drive me crazy.

9 years old
Jeddy is the charmer. From the cute dimples, to his outgoing and sweet personality, all of the girls' friends love Jed. His heart is huge. He loves animals and can't just observe. He is hands on with everything. From kissing toads as a toddler to making sure the birds and stray cats have enough food in the winter... He's a big teddy bear. Although he claims that he's never getting married and that he's going to live at home with me forever... I have a feeling that may change down the road.

7 years old
Our Ella-boo. She is Keona's mini-me. She follows Keona around and wants to do everything that Keona does. Ella is dressed up like a princess one minute and then in the mud catching frogs the next. She loves shopping and owns more pairs of shoes than I do. She designs her own outfits and likes to give Lily "makeovers". This girl could run for days. We nicknamed her the energizer bunny when she was little because she didn't stop moving. She still doesn't. She is always on the go and always up to something...

4 years old
She tells everyone that her name is "Lily-Beth". We call her out sour-patch kid because she is incredibly sweet and cuddly sometimes, but she can also be the spiciest little spitfire. It just depends on the day. She wants to do everything that her siblings do and gets upset when she can't. She is known for her hair. If people only knew what goes on behind the scenes of that hair... Let's just say that somedays we both want to chop it off. She was my first child to need stitches. She definitely keeps me on my toes and has humbled me as a parent on numerous occasions. Life is never dull with Lily!
1.5 years old
Addy, as we call her, is such a blessing to our family. She wasn't expected but couldn't be more welcomed and loved. She loves to eat. There isn't much that she turns away. Unless she's teething... And then she only wants pizza. Her first word was "Ella" and still to this day she calls Ella when she wakes up in the morning. Her new favourite word is "no". Usually followed up by a "thank you" because she wants to be polite while disobeying. She loves apple juice,  ninjas, and dinosaurs. (Of all things!) She's the baby. 

Saying that I'm thankful to be married to my best friend sounds so cliche. I met Scott when I was 12 years old and it didn't take long for us to become friends. There were months that we spent hours on the phone every Saturday night. Then we started hanging out in person more often, as friends, for about a year. He became one of my best friends. I realized it when I was in Jamaica with my family and just wished he could be there to see everything with me. He was the one person that I couldn't wait to share things with. Then one day in 1998 he gave me a pack of lifesavers with a note wrapped up in them asking me to be his girlfriend and we've been sharing everything ever since. We disagree at times, we yell, we may even stop talking for an hour or two. But ultimately, neither of us can go longer than that without sharing something about our day with each other. 
He is my person. 

If you're feeling nostalgic, check out the last About Us post from 2012!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Crazy Cats That Attack People

So the re-introduction post is still in the making. I planned to finish it today but then I spent 5 hours driving around forgetting bunny rabbits at home and not picking up job applications. Or something like that... 

Those of you who follow me on Instagram may know that we got a kitten about two months ago. His main purpose was to be a mouser since our other cat is the equivalent of about 112 years old and just mopes around the basement all day. 
He was super thrilled with the idea...

Scott and I went to the humane society and walked into a room filled with kittens! There were several running around and one of them kept climbing cages, jumping off of things, and attacking Scott's shoe laces. 

After a few minutes I looked at Scott and said, "I want that one!" 

Scott tried to convince me that he was crazy and I didn't really want the crazy one. But I did. I insisted that I like the crazy ones. So I scooped him up and we brought him home to surprise the kids. 

We named him "Theo"

The kids were obviously thrilled and Jeddy was extra excited. He decided that he was going to train him to become a "ninja cat". And so they have a sparring match every morning. Every morning... The kitten jumps Jeddy and tries to tackle him. He hides around the corner and sneaks up on Jeddy. It's adorable. Unfortunately, (as we warned Jeddy would happen) he has now started trying to attack play with other people the same way. 

The other morning he jumped up on the couch beside me and put his ears back. I could tell what he was thinking... I looked at him and said, "Don't even think about it!" And he tore off across the room and up my curtains.

He's a pro at climbing my curtains

Sadly, Lily gets the worst of it. He likes to go after her when no one else is around. We'll all be sitting in the school room and when Lily goes to get a drink of water Theo will casually follow her out of the room. A few seconds later we hear her scream and yell, "No Theo! No!" Of course Jeddy thinks it's hilarious so he encourages it and continues to "train the cat" in all things ninja. 

Hopefully this means he'll actually catch a mouse at some point.

Tonight we heard Lily scream from the other room and Scott looked at me and said, "Theo?" 

She yells, "No, Theo! Stay!!! NO!!!"

Then she comes running into the living room full speed and says, 
"Why did we have to get such a crazy cat?! I don't like crazy cats that attack people!"

I'm not quite sure why he likes to pick on Lily so much. Thankfully he does understand to keep his claws in when playing. He jumps Addy all the time too but she never has any scratches. She just laughs and chases him. 
I'm not going to lie... I laugh too. Every single time. 

They do have a truce every once in a while...

I reassure her that he will get old and lazy like Flare in the basement, but in the mean time- gotta love a crazy kitten.

Monday, January 18, 2016

We're Back?

I asked Scott if there was anything he thought I should be doing for the new year. I didn't really have any resolutions (other than to eat as well as I make my kids eat) but I felt like I wanted to do something that reached farther than the walls of my own home. So when I asked him to think about it, he surprised me when he answered right away. "I want you to blog again."

(I was staging a pic of my breakfast for the blog but Addy decided to steal my cherry while I was grabbing my camera... And yes, I'm obviously doing really well with my first resolution!)

I had wanted to blog again as well. But things have changed since my blogging days of 2008. I used to have 5 kids homeschooling. Now I have 8. Five of them are in high school, two in grade school, one in kindergarten.

 This has been my most intense year yet.

Going a little stir crazy at the school table!

(Hence the two weeks of the new year before I'm actually on here) I used to blog at night when my husband was at work and my kids went to bed at 7pm to read. Now half of my kids are up later than me. We go to bed pretty early because Scott works in the office on day shift and, well, we're old.

In the last 4 years we've been through a lot as a family and as a couple. Spiritually, emotionally, physically... And I kind of lost sight of anything other than what absolutely had to be done. I kind of feel like I spent a good year of it in "survival mode." Looking back, I wish I had blogged about it. All of it. The good, the bad, the struggles, and triumphs. So here we go. I want this place to be authentically us. 

Grocery shopping with nine kids is lots of fun! Or not...

Side note: I don't allow my kids to complain. If you don't like something- change it or deal... But don't sit and complain. So that said, I won't use this space to complain. I won't complain about my husband leaving his clothes on the floor literally touching the hamper. I'll just pick them up and move on. I won't complain about my kids fighting. (Probably. Every once in a while maybe...)
I won't complain about how long my day felt. About how Lily cried through reading time until I resigned and let her go play with Addy. I won't complain about the sticky floors, piles of laundry, and undone chores...

But know that they're all there. We are nowhere near perfect and I don't want anyone thinking that I try to portray us as such. I will be honest and show our imperfections, but at the same time I love my life. I have nothing to complain about and this space helps remind me to count my blessings and be grateful. I also have to be more sensitive, as five of my kids are teenagers now and don't necessarily want their entire lives online for people to read. (Although, they were all for the Christmas blogging and thought it was hilarious! They also ask me why I don't blog anymore and love reading the old blog posts!) 

So here we go! We have so many exciting plans over the next few months. Life in general is pretty amazing right now. It kinda of feels like a clean slate. From house projects, to day trips, gardens, and chickens... 
My oldest being able to drive this year and only one left to potty train!!! 

Ideas are cooking. Things on here may change as I have time for them. But this, the actual blogging... I just did as I sat on the couch with my baby drinking her morning juice. 

Next up... A "re-introduction" post! 


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