Monday, October 31, 2011


Most of the time, Kenna's writing is just fine. Every now and again she'll come out with something like this:
Not only is it written backwards, but, aside from the e's, every single letter is also backwards. Wow. Watching this and hoping its a strange talent and not true dyslexia or something. The advantage is, when you hold it up to a mirror, you're golden:-)


On Saturday night was a Fall Party hosted by some friends. Grey was going to be a pirate. On Friday we practiced with the ponytail, eyepatch, bandana, was going to be great and he loved it! On Saturday, not so much. He kept ripping everything off and was just not in the mood. Boo.
Doing the ponytail practice...we got a little out of hand:-)

As Kenna says, if God had given us a Shaughnessy, this is what she would look like!

Kenna was a cheerleader! Someone at church gave us this costume last spring, and thought it would make a great deviation from the fall-back dressup, Princess.
Since he wouldn't keep the pirate stuff on, we snagged an extra dinosaur costume someone brought as an extra. He was very embarrassed by it, you could tell:-)

Definitely a mope-y dino!
Cheerleader turned kitty cat once she got done with the face painting!

It was a little small for him! But it was very cute!
Brooks was a Rubik's Cube

No smiles from him!
On Sunday I saw this pic in a magazine of Knox Jolie-Pitt. Grey should have dressed up as him! He's almost a dead ringer! What other boys can pull off that hair?!
It's Knox
Brian wore his favourite colour. The "I'm kelly green 'cause I'm from Ireland" shirt. I painted the word "envy" on an old black tee...
So we were "Green, with Envy" :-) This was Brian's idea and was perfectly easy!

Blog Headers

You might have noticed I like to change up the header every few months (to reflect recent pictures), but I don't want to forget the old ones! Just another "down the memory lane" thing for me. No worries.

Before all this fancy-schmancy purty stuff, the blog simply listed my title, "My Crazy Life" followed by the quote from Don't Blink.
Sept 2010: This was my very first attempt at a personalized blog header. I used Word. Lol!
Nov 2010: Second try...I used Word, again:-)

Jan 2011: Welcome to the "new world", Dar. My first attempt using Picasa.
April 2011

July 2011
November 2011
December 2011

January 2012
February 2012
April 2012
June 2012
Aug 2012
Sept 2012
Oct 2012
Dec 2012
Feb 2013
May 2013
August 2013

September 2013

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blind Cord - Video

Grey woke up early from his nap yesterday, before any of the other kids were up. He was getting in some snuggle time with Mommy, until he discovered a new game. So its not the most exciting video ever, but just some time with him, alone, without the other kids bossing at him, his cute little babbling, and that winning smile! (my sister Janessa will love this, I know!)


Let me start out by saying, I am the oldest of 11 children, we are all about a month shy of being 21 years apart from beginning to end. So I've seen plenty of chaos from a variety of perspectives (child, teen, adult). And plenty of injuries, in varying degrees. Nothing phases me, and in fact, it takes quite a bit for me to even raise an eyebrow at it. No ice packs unless you are swelling, no band aids unless you will bleed on my furniture.

So on Wednesday, Brooks got his hand slammed in the van door (front passenger side). While stuck, he was screaming like a banshee. Opening the door, of course, he was still screaming away. It was literally echoing through our street. And seriously, who can even think and assess a situation with that kind of primal screaming going on? Like the compassionate mother I am, the first words out of mouth were "Enough! No more screaming". And guess what? He stopped. Just like that. He scaled it right back to an appropriate amount of crying/whimpering as I looked at his hand to determine what would be the best course of action, and he stopped crying within moments telling me where on his hand was sore and stuff. No broken bones, and no immediate swelling, perfect functionality. Whew. A trip to the emergency room, avoided! I gave him an ice pack to hold while we drove, just to keep any swelling away. (it never swelled even a little, miracle!)

The "squished" hand. Praise the Lord, it was not broken or really even hurt!
I am very glad that I have been teaching my kids to have self control, even in the worst of times. If he had kept crying and carrying on and on, I likely would have taken him to the ER, thinking there was something wrong, when in fact he's perfectly fine (being 2 days later, he literally hasn't mentioned it again - no pain, perfect function, no bruises)...and a trip to the ER costs us a lot of money with the insurance we have. I consider that money saved a great pay day for Mommy. All the consistent child training, literally paying off!

In case you are wondering the "how" behind the teaching. I don't know if there is any secret, or if I am really doing it the best way possible...but it's just the consistency of not allowing the kids to carry on over injuries or injustices...anything, really. In the injury arena, an appropriate amount of crying is ok, with a pat on the back, and a "you're fine". And then it's "ok, you're done now. No more crying." At Grey's age, he'll also get a hug and kiss, but again, then he's put back down to continue his little life. We don't dwell on it or give it more attention than it's due. If they don't/won't stop crying for whatever reason (tired, don't want to obey etc), they go sit on their bed until they have self control and are happy. This Mommy doesn't stand for "milking it".

Grey is in a stage right now (it's actually laughable and completely adorable, so *I* have to exercise self control in not laughing!), where if he falls, he doesn't really cry much, but he won't stand back up. He just lays on the ground wallowing (hopefully until you pick him up!). "Get up, you're fine", and he just stares at you with this pitiful expression. He will lay there for an exceptionally long time and not get up. I've come back into a room minutes later, and thought, why is he laying on the floor? oh yah...Get up! Oh Brother! He'll learn soon enough I guess. It's such a fun ride parenting all these little cuties. Bumps, Bruises, Tears and All!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Big Mac Sauce - Recipe

I found this recipe online, and decided to give it a try. Brian and I both have a certain weakness for Big Mac Burgers, and have been known to leave the house at 10pm, drive to McD's, and order 2 sandwiches:-) Only a time or two. When you get a craving, you just gotta! Anyway, I made this dressing in the morning and we had it for dinner, and we both thought it was a dead ringer for McD's version. So if you like Big Mac's, make this for your next cookout! - I will confess I followed this to the letter (aside from the mayo), which had me buying a thing of sweet relish, since I didn't already have it...but I think it was worth it, its very very good!!

1/4 C Miracle Whip dressing*
1/4 C Mayonnaise
2 T French dressing
1/2 T sweet relish
2 t dill pickle relish
1 t white sugar
1 t dried, minced onion
1 t white vinegar
1 t ketchup
1/8 t salt

*I omitted the Miracle Whip and used 1/2 C Hellman's Mayo, and it tasted fine.

Mix all ingredients together and let marinade for at least 1-2 hours (or longer).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New House

Well. We did it. We bought a house! Let me back it up and give you the story - 'cause you know I am always full of long winded details :-)
View from the street of our rental property!
We were made aware of a house for sale in our approximate neighbourhood (1 mile away), kinda through the grapevine/in a roundabout way. Brian (always one for the grand plans) wanted to take a look. This was probably about 2 months ago. We really really liked it. Great street, great area, cute house.

A lady had purchased the home in hopes of remodeling a little and having it as a rental. During her brief remodel experience, she decided that this life was not for her (construction/landlord). She said she "didn't have the stomach for it". Not sure what that exactly means. Or says about us. We are currently both in the construction business, and landlords. lol. Apparently we're stomaching it.
the bathroom
So we set out on the course to see if we could buy the house from her and rent it out ourselves! With all the research we put into it, and working out financing etc, it wasn't necessarily the fastest deal ever to go down, but fast enough! We bought this house without a real estate agent, so we became much more familiar with the house buying process, having to do it all ourselves.

So we bought (another) house. Are we nuts?! Does this mean that we are suddenly some crazy rich people? Uh, no. In the short term, our monthly finances will be about the same as always (since we have to pay the mortgage). But we are trying to think long term here. The hope is that in about 15 years we will own 2 homes free and clear! So maybe in the long run this will be a good thing for us. Are we 100% sure about the housing markets and the future? No, of course not. But we are attempting to make the best financial decisions we can based on the resources that we have. Never having belonged to any sort of "high income" category we are just plugging along, doing what we can.
the back of the house, this part houses a back entryway, a laundry room, and a shed.
We have been very blessed with 2 homes that we could sell for quite a bit more than what we owe on them - even in this crummy real estate economy!

I'm very thankful for a forward-thinking husband. I'm too cautious and too much of a worrywart to ever make the big steps like this:-) It was his initial idea for us to purchase a duplex back in 2004. Looking at our finances, he knew we couldn't afford to buy a house, unless we could also make money off it. In the lean times (work wise), there is no way we would have "made it", had it not been for this house, and the income we get from it.

God has been so good to us, and we're grateful. We will try our very best to be faithful stewards.

I'll post a few more pics for the interested. It's a completely unfurnished home, so...not much to look at. It's about 1100 sq ft, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath.

The kitchen. The only thing we want to do is sell this gas range, and buy an electric stove, eliminating the need for gas to the house. That "thing" above the stove is an intricately painted range cover. Not sure if I'm liking it, Brian thinks its neat.

The breakfast nook. All the house has new quarter round, but none of it is painted. Job for Darla, I bet!

The laundry room is in the "shed" area off the back of the house. It is quite spacious and has 2 new appliances

looking from the kitchen, through the dining room and living room, to the front door.
The bedrooms are a very good size, despite the pic angles. It is just a little smaller (by about 1 bedroom) from our current house (lower floor only). It has much better storage than our current house!

Pumpkin Patch

This post probably has more pictures in it, than any other single post I've done! But there were so many cute ones, I had to post them all:-)
New van set up, my 3 in back (they have the smallest carseats)

Sonny & Ardyn up front

This amazing tree fort is for goats, not people. See one walking up the ramp? All goats wish to live here, I'd imagine.

Waiting for our hayride! (With our friend Lane)


Grey LOVED the hayride. I thought he might fall over the edge from excitement! There were lots of animals to see!

Sonny in the massive pile of hay!

Hay pile with Hannah, Morgan & Sarah

What happens when you throw hay

Trying to make him look and smile for the camera. Fail.

Trying to escape out the bottom. Ardyn didn't like being cooped up, but since she can't walk (only crawl) and since the ground was dirt, she was out of luck

She got to crawl a little in the hay pile, but she didn't like it. Too pokey

He had fun, despite the sour expressions. Every time I'd turn the camera on him, he'd get all somber and bummed out, lol

Feeding goats

Sonny picked his pumpkin!

Brooks picked the dirtiest one there

Grey liked throwing them, not so much holding them

Kenna picked a Cinderella pumkin
A fun day was had by all!