Friday, April 29, 2011

What do sailboats and rain gutters have in common?

I really have no idea but when you bring the two together with a bunch of boys - you get a fun time!

Seth had his boyscout sailboat regatta or something like that - LOL! He painted his boat during scouts and then they got to see who had the fastest boat. I figured out it wasn't so much about the boat as it was about how steady the boy could blow the sail and balance the boat. Seth won his race but did not have the fastest time. I think the reward was in the fun he had though.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

It's a quiet Easter at home this year. It's just us - our 'little' family. I am waiting for the roasted red potatoes to bake. We are having pork loin, fruit salad and fresh green beans as well. It's nice to have a quiet holiday but I do miss my family at times like this. The kids dressed up nice for church and afterward the Easter bunny visited our yard and left some goodies. We are truly blessed.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

No More Tears

I know it looks like Ayden is strangling him but trust me, they are playing and having fun.

For some odd reason Dillon has never enjoyed the bath. He cries and shakes all over. He says, "Cold Mommy, help mommy, no mommy." Things like that. It breaks my heart. In all honesty I bathe him as little as possible and usually just wipe him down when he gets dirty. It just upsets him more than it's worth. Tonight was a necessary bath night. With Easter Sunday tomorrow and having attended an outdoor birthday party with bright green icing, a wiping down would not suffice. Ayden loves the bath so I put him in with Dillon hoping it would rub off a bit. No such luck. Dillon just kept telling me he was cold and crying great big alligator tears. I had put a few bubbles in the bath and told Dillon to sit down to pop the bubbles. He bent over and splashed, a bit distracted. Then I had a brilliant idea. I had Brooklyn bring some of his bubbles and I blew them at the boys while they played and happily splashed about in the water. After that Dillon was hooked. No more tears at bath time!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Day Off

~Day 6:
Everyone needs a day off. A day where there are plans, but not restrictive plans. A day where you move on your own clock and don't have to worry about phone calls or work. Today was that day for the Orr family. All of us. Bobby did not take any vacation days for our spring break but that was fine since he is off on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Yesterday was a 'get things done day'. Today was to play.

A little back story... Last summer the kids and I all got tired of one another. Now that the kids are older it's not enough to just play in their rooms and go to the park sometimes. They were constantly swarming me and waiting for me to entertain them. It was horrible. We were all happy when school started. I decided that another summer like that would send me over the edge. We had two choices for cheap summer entertainment. (By cheap I mean less than $500 and would entertain us all summer. Not too cheap huh?) There was a pool membership we could buy or season passes to King's Dominion, the local theme park. Brooklyn and I had almost decided that while Dillon and Ayden are still so young the pool would be best. Then I told Bobby. He was so excited about KD it was settled, we would buy season passes. It took some saving and scrimping but with Dillon free and a discount for buying so many, it wasn't too bad. I splurged and bought the VIP pass for myself so that we wouldn't have to pay for parking. I'm so glad I did that too! It is $12 to park! Anyway, we hurried up to purchase them because we knew we wanted to go for spring break.

So, for our day off we went to KD. We ate a large breakfast, to sustain us, and arrived around 11:30. We went up the Eiffel Tower first, because it was something we could do together. It was windy and so cool to look out at the park. Then we headed for the rides. At first, it didn't seem Dillon could go on anything. I knew that couldn't be the case though and I quickly found plenty of things he could go on. Here are a few shots:

The older kids were so sweet and tolerant to pose with the Peanuts characters for these photos. They didn't complain a bit. If you click on the picture of Charlie Brown you may be able to tell Dillon is screaming. Poor baby.
Then, in continued trooper fashion, the older two boys rode in cars with Ayden and Dillon. I know that couldn't have been thrilling for them but I was too tall and didn't want Ayden and Dillon to go alone.

Then I let the older kids head over to a coaster that was in the kid zone area. We agreed on a place to meet while Bobby and I took Dillon and Ayden to some smaller rides.

Bobby took Brooklyn on a roller coaster that the boys weren't tall enough to go on, then I took Caleb on a roller coast that had four loops that Brooklyn for sure did not want to ride on. I admit, I'm looking forward to this summer when Bobby and I can head over in the evening for a date and go on whatever we want. Even fun days have to end though and we headed home, in horrible traffic, and half the kids crashed. Check out which one stayed awake! I couldn't believe it.
Can you believe he stayed awake? (And yes, I fixed his seat belt)

We can't wait to go back!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Let's Talk Some Business

~Day 5
Not boring business. The business of choosing a career. When I was little I wanted to be a lot of things. I thought I'd be a lawyer, a zoologist, a vet, a teacher, a mother, a writer and a graphic designer. After being on the yearbook staff for four years I really found I enjoyed playing with fonts, layouts and copy. So, I entered the college of communication at UT and was going to specialize in magazine. Then, I thought about my choice. I thought about everything else I wanted in life. Namely a family. I thought about what a competitive career I was going to enter and the fact that I am not a competitive person. I thought about what made me truly happy. I enjoy graphic design and writing, but more as a hobby. I didn't want to make that a job, then it'd be work!
My favorite place on campus, Turtle Pond
I knew I was good at school. I enjoy being around other people and work well with others. Not only that, but when I had children it would be great to have the same 'hours' as them. So, I switched majors and entered the college of education.
Me in front of the sign for the college of education - if you click on the photo you can see it bigger

I lost almost a year's worth of classes. It put me behind and I was in college for five years instead of four, but it was worth it. I'm not a 'business' woman type person. I don't want to have to prove myself by working late hours when I have a family at home. Granted, I thought I would have babies and stay home taking care of them. I thought if I did work, it would be optional. That has not been my reality, but it feels good to know that I completed college and I have the ability to help support my family. Most of the time I enjoy my job and I feel like I am making some kind of difference, if only to one child. I have time with my children and that is crucial. It was a large part of my decision in the career I chose. I hope my children have seen how important education is and choose to continue with school like I did. More importantly I hope they consider everything when choosing a career path: their strengths, interests and how it will affect their future family.
My graduation annoucement

Friday, April 15, 2011

I Don't Really Understand the Question

~Day 5: The question for today is, How do you spend time alone? Say what? Time alone. Um, I still don't get it. What is that exactly? Time alone for me is a joke. Not a funny one either. I used to have alone time every day on my way to and from work. It's a 35 minute drive so it was a great, quiet way to think about my day, set goals, and assess my life. About once or twice a week I would call my dad on my way home. We could talk, uninterrupted for a good 30 minutes. I would turn the music up and listen to whatever I wanted. Now Ayden rides with me since his daycare is ten minutes away from my school. I spend that time listening to his dreams, his ideas and pretty much being bossed around by a four year old. I admit I envy my husband his days off. He is off two week days a week. On his day off there is no one home until 2:30. Even then he can go upstairs and the kids don't follow him. I can't go to the bathroom without being followed by at least two of them. So... my time alone comes around 9:30. It seems the older they get, the less alone time I get. During my alone time I watch some TV shows or movies. I read... a lot. And I sleep! Before kids I stayed up late and woke up early and felt great. Post children I stay awake as late as I can muster so I get my alone time and then I'm dragging tail ALL day the next day. Not only that but I can fall asleep any time: on the couch, at the table, driving... ok, I'm kidding. But not much. In all seriousness though favorite way to spend time alone is the same as it's always been. I love to read a book and eat something that my kids would love to be eating. How do you spend 'me' time?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Get Your Groove On

~Day 4: Nothing serious with this post. It's about music! I love music. Love it. Love it. Love it! Music is a very emotionally loaded thing for me, it greatly affects how I am feeling. When I was younger I was very much into darker sounds. I liked The Cure, The Smiths, Depeche Mode. I can still appreciate that music but now I just want to feel good. I want to listen to something that will be uplifting.

Ayden: Lately Ayden and I have been listening to a lot of Lenka. At the end of this song the chorus says, "I want my money back." Ayden thinks they are saying, "I want my mommy back." This is his favorite song and we listen to it about five times a day.

Another favorite of Ayden's is Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues". I have no idea what the appeal is to a four year old but I love the song so I guess I can't complain.

Brooklyn: It's all about Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. Ah yes, we are in the throws of teen pop music. That is fine with me though because there are certainly worse things she could enjoy. Her favorite song is "Speak Now" by Taylor Swift. What I like about Taylor Swift is that I can listen to it without wanting to pull my ears off.

Seth: Seth likes to listen to Justin Bieber. I guess it's a secret though. He said he doesn't want his friends to know and he pretends, at school, that he hates him. I don't see why he won't tell anyone. I think it's very trendy for all the kids to say they hate him. I think they are all secretly jealous of the kid. "Baby" is his song of choice (and yes, I have his permission to put this on my blog).

Caleb: He never really says much in the car about what he wants to listen to. I know he likes music because he does sing it around the house, never in front of anyone though. Needless to say I was surprised when he said his favorite song was "Grenade" by Bruno Mars. I'm not crazy about it but it's clean enough and he likes it, so that's fine.

Bobby: Bobby likes such a wide variety of music. He listen to techno stuff (which I hate), weird video game music (no thanks), church music, alternative and punk. Bobby gets obsessive about all types of things - music being one. He'll get hung up on one album for a while and that is all he listens to. Lately is has been Eve 6. He has revisited this band many times. I like most of their stuff too, I must admit.

Heather: Wow... I listen to so many different songs. It is very difficult for me to peg down just one song at a time. I love the local band Carbon Leaf. I sing along loudly. My favorite one is "The Boxer". I love the music, the lyrics and how it's upbeat even though it's about a couple having a fight.

Dillon: This one is easy. Dillon loves to sing "Old McDonald", ABCs and the theme songs from "Caillou" and "Super Why". He actually knows and sings more songs but those are the ones he will sing with no prompting from us, except when I want to get it on video. Then he won't sing at all. I end up with sweet renditions of the song - by Ayden. The weird thing is Dillon stops as soon as I hit record and starts up again as soon as I press stop. GRR!

Music can have such a powerful influence on me and my family. My goal is to always keep up with what my kids are listening to and the message the lyrics and the melody is relaying. What do you groove to?

Monday, April 11, 2011

What is your greatest trial?

~Day 3:

(Just for fun here is what I'm left feeling like all too often, Ms. Hannegan in "Annie". If you don't know how it goes here it is, but just picture me saying little boys instead.)

No, my greatest trial is not akin to Ms. Hannegan's love of bathtub gin, my greatest trial is my own selfishness. I battle it all day, everyday. My goal as a young girl was to be a mother. Nothing ever prepared me for what that entailed. I got my first glimpse when I brought Brooklyn home from the hospital. The longest she ever slept was 2 hours. I was exhausted and I laid there awake waiting for her cry, dreading it. I think I sobbed the first three nights.
Embarrassing isn't it? I was throwing such a fit. I have come a long way since then. By the time I had Caleb I would simply sleepwalk through the feedings.
With Seth, I enjoyed the quiet time with him.

I don't remember much about my daily thoughts or feelings when the older three were little. I guess I was too busy to acknowledge how I felt. Then they grew. Before I knew it they were sleeping all night, playing well with one another and we were busy with activities. I had them home, in bed asleep by 7pm every night. It was bliss.

Then came another marriage and two more babies.
I work with kids all day to come home to more kids. Nothing in the house really belongs to me. The kids are in my closet, my kitchen, my laundry room, my bathroom! I consider them when I plan our menu. I consider them when I plan anything! I pass up just about every invitation to go anywhere with friends. I get so little time with my children and the time I get does not seem to have the best quality. So, I stay home quite a bit.

And it's not easy to admit it but I get a bit resentful at times. Horrible isn't it? Mainly my resentment surfaces when they are arguing with each other, arguing with me, being exceptionally loud, and simply not listening to what I say. That is even worse though because these are times that my calm reaction can set the mood in my home and I'm afraid I rarely react calmly. I lose my temper, I yell or just lash out in some ridiculous way that I have too much pride to relay. I am selfish with my time at night. I want them out of sight by 8:30, but that rarely happens. I want to sleep in on Saturday, again that rarely happens.

They are wonderful kids and Bobby is great and lets me take a nap on Sunday when he's home, but I often get grumpy anyway. The solution? I don't know yet. I've tried prayer, putting myself in time out, using a softer voice, explaining to them how I feel, yelling at them, ignoring them... etc. It's endless. However, my greatest trial will eventually be my greatest reward. If I can combat my selfishness and overcome it, that will be a huge win for me, so it's worth it. How do I plan to combat it? By working on giving charitably and thinking less of myself. I'll let you know how that goes.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

What Inspires You?

Day 2~ I am inspired by so many things. Give me a gorgeous sunrise/sunset, a field of blue bonnets, a child's smile, a well written book.

What does not inspire me would perhaps be an easier question. To answer that question I am choosing to focus on quotes. I love reading quotes. I used to have a quote journal where I collected all of the wonderful, creative and intelligent things I heard or read that inspired me. That was before the Internet though. Now there are entire websites dedicated to the collection of quotes. I find other people fascinating. I enjoy the way they can rearrange letters and words and come up with something profound and meaningful. When I was in journalism I loved beginning my stories with quotes. I enjoy reading articles that begin with quotes. I just love that instant connection I feel when I get what they are saying or when someone expresses how I feel in a way I never considered.

Here is the quote that inspired me tonight, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~Marianne Williamson

Wow, I mean what else can I say about that? This is so insightful, so eloquent. It does not need to be explained or discussed, it just rings true. That is inspirational. That is what I want my children to know and carry with them. Who are you not be talented, special, amazing? My goal as a mother is to find that talent that is within them and help them learn how to grow that talent. No easy task. I worry that with our limited budget I am holding them back. But, you know, if I teach them what is in this quote, and teach them to find their passion, nothing can hold them back but themselves.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Getting Out of My Funk

I have had writer's block for quite a while. Anyone who still checks my blog from time to time has probably figured that out. I don't really know why. Things are going well in our life. In fact, they are probably better than they have been. One would think that would give me plenty to write about. And yet, here is the blog. The span between posts is quite large and seems to be growing larger. I know some people who do a 30 day challenge to get them back into posting. I looked it up and didn't like all the topics. So, after some research I found this list of questions that someone came up with. I don't know that I will stick with their questions and I know I'm going in a different order, but I liked the direction. So I'm borrowing this idea.Hopefully it will get the writing juices flowing again.

So here we go... Day One: What do you like best about each member of your family?
My first thought was, "Wow, this could get long. I think I may extend this several days so I can talk about all of my family members." My second thought was, "What if I leave someone or something out! I can't imagine that I would but that would make me feel horrible. My family is sizable if I consider cousins, aunts, uncles..." you get the idea. So I am going with the family right here, in my home. That's big enough.

Bobby: If I have to go with what I like best I suppose I can't make a list. Goodness this is difficult. Bobby surprises me, all the time, in a good way. I can never stay mad at him because just when I'm exasperated and ready to let him know it, he does something amazing and thoughtful. The thing is, he doesn't do it to try to calm my anger (he isn't usually even aware I am angry since my anger is irrational that he isn't home, he's at work.) That means his thoughtfulness is truly sincere. For instance, he gets home from work very late - midnight. He isn't able go right to sleep so I think he comes to bed around 2am. One night I messaged him asking if he wanted me to wake him in the morning with us. We get up at 6:30. The text went something like this, "I'll let you sleep in the morning since I know you'll be tired." He replied that he wanted me to wake him up since it was the only time he'd get to see the kids. Awwww! Isn't he great? Little things like that are the reason I love that man.
Brooklyn: This girl is all about making everyone around her happy. She will drop whatever she is doing to help out if anyone asks. She can be so selfless at times; she is a good example of serving others. She spends most of her time at home in the living room or in the kitchen looking for 'jobs' to do. I won't lie, there are jobs she hates, but my point is if it makes those around her happy, she is happy. She will swoop in when I'm frustrated with Ayden and whisk him off to her room to distract him and give me a few minutes peace. In the car she placates a fussy Dillon and makes him giggle. She likes us to play games, watch movies and cook as a family. She encourages all of us to BE a family in our attitudes, activities and behaviors and she understands what it means to sacrifice for your family. What an amazing girl.

Caleb: He is so enthusiastic. Mention an idea and he runs with it. He has amazing energy. He does not let go of a problem until he can solve it. "Camping this weekend, great I'm already packed." "Help Ayden get ready for church, here are his clothes." Caleb actually asks to mow the yard, begs even. We went to the library last night and Caleb checked out seven books about tornadoes and extreme weather. When he has an interest in something there is no stopping him. Not only that, but he was looking for a movie we could all enjoy and was coming up with ways they could earn a family movie night. Once he is interested and has decided to do something, this kid is unstoppable.

Seth: I must admit, what I like best about Seth is that he shares my love of books. We share that excitement of walking into a library and wanting to look at everything! Seth loves Harry Potter; I love Harry Potter. Seth loves Percy Jackson; I love Percy Jackson. Seth loves to curl up next to me on the couch and read with me. Mostly I read to him but we'll get to a page and he'll shout, "I want to read this one." He reads with hardly a mistake then hands the book back to me and asks me to read the rest. When he has time on the computer he spends half of it looking up books on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. He has read 15 novels this school year which is an amazing accomplishment when last year he had not finished one book he started. His ability to read is finally matched to the books he is interested in reading, well, for the most part.
Ayden: Ayden is a great big brother. He has loved caring for Dillon, tickling Dillon, playing with Dillon, everything Dillon since the day that baby came home. He doesn't let anyone say anything negative to Dillon. When Dillon isn't feeling well Ayden will go up and rub his head and hug him. He likes to wrestle with his brother and play cars with him. If Dillon wants a toy Ayden is playing with he tries to distract him with something else. He wants to make sure we are taking good care of his brother and is very concerned if he's crying or upset in any way. Not only is Ayden a great big brother but just look at those eyes and that smile. It gets me every time. What a cutie.
Dillon: Look at that bug. He's the baby so what's not to like about him right now? In that picture he brought a fitted sheet to Bobby on the couch and covered him then laid down next to him. That is what I like about Dillon. He is the man with the plan. He knows what he wants to do and sets about doing it. Bobby always tell the kids, "Move like you have a purpose." Well, that message must have been ingrained upon Dillon in the womb. From the moment of his birth (I only had to push twice) that kid has moved with purpose. He walked early, he talked early (well for one of my boys it was early), he gets into things, he climbs on things... this kid has places to go and things to do. Get out of his way.

Whew, I finished! It only took me an hour. That was harder than I thought it would be! Who else will give this one a shot? I dare you!


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