Our First Adventure!


We purchased our big red van, and of course dad wanted to take it out for a spin over the holiday weekend. So of course we did, with mild panic on mom’s part for the lack of planning, but we got it sorted. We didn’t have a good plan of where we wanted to go, or where we would stay. But we all climbed into the van with enough supplies for two days worth of adventuring, and were off.

The kids love hotels more than anything. I swear we could stay at one a few blocks away and they were be perfectly content. So when we got to the next town, dad called it. He got us adjoining rooms and everyone went to sleep with promises of pool time in the morning, and a fun drive afterward to sights unknown. I shook my head. If all of us were so easily pleased the world would be better place. But that made me think I needed to focus on the joy of the moment like the kids.

So I snuggled down with Jason and we fell asleep to the roar of the wall air conditioner. Granted I am not the best sleeper in strange places, so I got up a few times to count noses, and take people to the bathroom, but it was a decent rest.

In the morning, we ate as the kids woke up, and tossed everyone in the pool, then packed and drove to Zion National Park… Which was a nuthouse. Nope. Okay, lets go look at fun things just outside of the park instead. Having a year pass makes a lot of sense for days like these, because I can have no guilt saying we will come back another day. We can. We will. So we stopped at rock shops, our kids favorite places, and picked out, you guessed it, rocks. Then we checked into our hotel and swam. Yes. They just wanted more pool time.

We engaged in the great art of Dad Surfing, and a made a low quality, mom video. I promise to do better next time.

Dad Surfing Video

Then we packed up again and were off to a historic site. Because, why not? Cove Fort is one of the few stone forts constructed in the 1800’s. It is important in our state because it protected travelers. It was also built by a family with 7 kids… So we headed there.



Of course the kids needed to try out the wagon.


And check out the rooms.


And when we were all done with our tour they sent us home with Veggies from the garden, and one really tired boy, who didn’t make it through lunch.


For more information about Cove Fort, you can go see it in person, or check out this link. Cove Fort And we sang on the way home…

Thanks for joining us on our first Big Red Van Adventure. 




When we began

For starters, I want you to know I believe in Radical honesty. I am not going to sugar coat my life, and probably I am going to offend a few people in the process, so before hand, I am sorry to hurt your feelings, this is my life as I see it.

A day in the life at the beginning.

It’s five am and my husband’s phone begins to ring, vibrating my bed, where I am sleeping, kinda, with my two littlest kids. I glare in the direction of the man who is snoring next to me and doing nothing to stop it… After a few minutes I grumble meanly at him that he needs to turn off his phone. He informs me that his is not certain where it is. At this point I want to strangle him, really, and tell him to look in the middle of our split King bed because it is giving me a massage right now. And tada there it is.


The side effect of the whole thing being I have now woken up my two littlest kids. Sigh. So again the day starts before the sun. I tuck them back in and go make bottle and protein drink, known in toddler speak as the “Bannama bobbie”, pick them up and plop them on the couch, to see that the ruckus has also woken up my five year old, who has PTSD. Some people would be livid. There are days I have been, but this is my life, and I know my husband had the best of intentions, he was trying to get up and shower early so as to stay out of my way with what is next to come.

At six, after working on too many things to name, I have to get all the kids up, all four who are still sleeping for a grand total of 7 under age 8. Jayden is less than a morning person and glares at me under her shock of blond hair, and freaks out whenever someone looks at her wrong. We look over our morning chore list and the countdown to school begins. To me it’s like the timer on a bomb. Tick tick tick, mom’s gonna freak out if everything is not done before the clock says time to go. Yes, I freak out. After so many mornings doing the same picture list of chores to get ready for school you would think the kids and I had a clockwork system down, but it seems we don’t. Unless you count them playing and me yelling as a standard. And I would love to yell less, but unfortunately it works.

So, the big kids get dressed. I dress the little kids, change diapers, and look at my ugly pink robe thinking, I am looking fabulous (Did you hear the sarcasm?) And then I look at the bombshell that is my kitchen. It was clean this week, but not today. I have had to do therapy, back to school night, dental appointments, dad working late, and my normal schedule this week. I just didn’t get to it last night before I passed out in my bed. We scramble through cleaning, making lunches, checking backpacks, and then the blissful moment when I get to shower…. I love my showering time. It’s almost as good as bedtime and naptime. That is until someone interrupts myblissful revire by slamming open the door and screaming. “MOM! James poked me so I punched him in the face!” I admit I hear shocked silence for a moment, wishing I could rewind for a moment and just pause my life so at to enjoy my blisfull shower just a moment longer, but then sigh, I have to deal with it again, “Well, since you punched him, I can’t help you, you meted out your own justice. I think you were a little too hard on him and I need you to go appologise.”

Which is naturally followed by the shrieked reasons why he was being fair and I am not. I hate the word fair, nothing in life is fair, I can tell you for certain. So I growl at my eight year old, “Go appologise and I will deal with this when I am OUT of the shower!” He sculks out, I get dressed and it’s almost time to head to school.

I head out to the truck (Yep I had to sell my huge van and I have not had time to replace it) to see that it is full of my husbands tools, some that weigh a ton, and all the carseats are in the garage. I glance at my watch. Mr. Incredible had it right, “I still got time.”

I take the ten minutes to fix both problems, march my three littlest across the street to my angelic neighbor who is willing to watch them while I drive to school, in exchange for a nap, and pack everyone in the car.

I admit to loving the silence as I drive home with only the baby, who is babbling and talking in the back seat. I let my mind rove as I drive the memorized route, opposite of commuting traffic. Small break, and then back into the fray. I have one hour until preschool drop off. So gather kids, change the laundry again, change the dishwasher, pick up and vaccumm so that the carpet grubber won’t eat something and throw up again this morning…. Oh time to get the kids in the car again. I run over to the same nieghbor’s house, pick up her little girl and drive down the hill, and back up.

After looking at the clock I see I have an hour and a half until Kindergarten drop off… Huh, what can I get done in that time? Addy needs a nap, Ben need hugs, James needs positive reinforcement so he is nice to his teacher today, oh and an early lunch so he eats before school. And then suddenly we have to go again… I drag myself to the truck, loathe to deal with another run. This time I put on music to make the drive more palatable and as I head home, my toddler breaks down. I hand him a drink and he passes out. Ahhh the peace of naptime. I tuck him into bed and place the baby on the floor where she is amazingly close to crawling. Sleep beckons me and I wish I could give in, but soon it will be time to pick everyone up again for the day. My wonderful neighbor brings home the preschooler and he sits at the table narrating his life and reading books, really looking at pictures, while I allow myself time to breathe. Then it’s time to change the laundry and dishes again, prep dinner and toss everyone, even the slightly sleepy toddler back into the truck for after school pick up, this time leaving the baby and the preschooler with my neighbor knowing the toddler is a mess and needs the time to wake up before he can be nice.

The last drive to school of the day, to the sound of “Too tight!” and “No mom!” while I try to find a happy place. The carpool lines are long and it’s blisteringly hot outside, but I turn around after loading up my four kids and head home. We talk about what they did and we fall out off the car, pulling out backpacks and homework, all over the table. Their shoes inherently land everywhere except where they belong, and make the toddler stumble, and cry. I sigh, time to yell again, talking isn’t working. “Backpacks and shoes do not belong in the middle of the floor!” They scramble to pick them up, kinda, and shove them out of the middle of the room, returning to homework.

I have to go pick up the little kids, and the neighbor kids, and then it’s time for homework, which is it’s own form of torture. We should re-institure homework as punishment for bad parenting. They must do two hour of homework for four children every day and then we will consider forgiving their crimes… I think it would work. There is a fast clean up again and it’s time for dinner. I made pizza, store bought. I know, not terribly healthy, but I managed to get it made, with grapes and salad, it will have to do.


We clean up and begin the required reading for school, my homework, since none of my kids are good readers yet, and then get ready for bed. They toss all their clothes on the floor, which I sigh and tell them to clean up for the hundredth time, brush teeth, and flop onto the couch. I wish at this point I could say we did something fun like going to the park, but frankly I am done and want to sleep. I let them pick a couple shows from Netflix, one boy show and one girl show, and then off to bed.

Once the peace of little sleeping bodies settles over the house, my husband gets home. It is the perfect moment to give him a hug, and have him there to talk with on an adult level is awesome. There are more dishes to do, laundry to fold and put away, and life to prep for the morning.


When I fall into bed at the end of the I pass out.. Hello bed. I have missed you. We should spend more time together… Snore. Only to be woken up at five again, or often before. It’s a hard life, not for the faint of heart, but that is all it requires. Heart. A lot of heart, and nothing else.


When Did life happen?

When did life happen?


A long time ago two people thought it was a great plan to get married. We were young, well youngish. I had just graduated college and Jason was entrenched in a career. We bought a home and had a baby. Sounds like the perfect life. right?

Well it was. It is.

Then life happened. We had another baby, and lost a few. And by a few I mean 5. For some reason I could no longer have children. Now I know, you’re looking at that awesome picture at the top, thinking all those kids look like carbon copies of me, and you’re right they do…

We barely sold our home, upside down in debt, overwhelmed with all the life that kept happening, and trying to keep up with, well anyone. And I felt broken. Inside and out. It was devastating to lose those babies. I wanted them. I ate well. I exercised. I attended church. I did everything that church told me to and not to do. And the doctors had no answers for me.

So we moved back home. We started a company. We became foster parents. We promised to adopt, and we found out we were expecting. If you go back in my posts, you will see the day Ben was born. I was shocked. Our family grew by 4 boys in one month, two weeks really. And life started happening again.

We had a daughter too. But not before losing another baby. This time I was going to get answers. And I did. I have a genetic condition that only effects pregnancies. Okay. I could live with that. Not my fault. Nothing I could change. I could let it go.

And I did.

Now we run that same company building commercial buildings ten years later. We have 7 kids. They are all ours. Maybe not with the same genetic make up, but I’m a mutant so what did we expect.  And we know that life will keep on happening.

And we love that.

I am not one for freaking out over nothing. I will get a ramped up heart when a mouse goes skirting across the corner of my vision like anyone else, and I will lose my temper when the house looks like an air strike is the best option, but that’s not my go to answer.

So this morning when I got up at five to get two boys off to a ten mile hike, I was prepared, calm as a cucumber, if a little tired. We got breakfast made, last minute items collected, and the biggest boys out the door by the time dad got in the shower.

At that moment I was certain I could get anything done.


But then, as so often happens, things started moving at an inhuman pace. The others all woke up.

Addy had a raging ear infection which had swollen her jaw. She needed three kinds of medicine, none of which she wanted. Our special needs guys all wanted to eat, but needed to dress, so they were unreasonable. Ben used the chaos to demand video games. Dad needed to leave, but hadn’t eaten, so his words were harsher than normal.

And I started to break down.

“Come on just drink the medicine. I’ll give you a pop cycle.”

But inside I was screaming. Once dad left the room with his own placations, I calmed for a moment and talked her into the yucky medicine followed by the yummy one, and negotiate on the third later. I went to start pancakes, which I had already mixed and made for the boys gone on the hike, so no default to cereal for the littles.

But the first one cracked, breaking into three pieces because I was impatient with a cold pan, and I lost it.

I swore at the pan, snapped at the kids, and burst into tears.

This is not the kind of mom I want to be.

This is not the kind of day I wanted it to be.

I’m too tired already and it’s 7 am.

I tossed the ruined pancake on a plate, and shut the pan off. Dad settled Addy and I talked her into her last medicine while I assigned Ben to watch over her and the pop cycle, and find the remote, my phone will do for now, while I go back to the pancakes.

Dad goes to work.

Deep breath.

The middle boys change the laundry and sweep the floor while I heat the pan.


The next one breaks, but the third does better.

And then they start holding together. Okay back on track.




We can do this.

Addy is sleepy now. All medications on board. Everyone is dressed. We need to clean up. We can do this.

One thing at a time.

Deep breath.

One drop of awesomeness.

No one died.

I’m a good mom.

Let’s forge forward.

Who Done it?

One of the challenges of having a herd of kids is knowing who really did it. It’s a challenge and every parent of more than one child has been in that moment where you think you know who did it, but there is still a lingering question in your head as you doll out the punishment. So here is my giggle for the day. My kids often accuse themselves.

We had an incident last night between the two baseball games we attended when dad was in charge. He didn’t notice that my drawer was unlocked and that the candy ended up spread across the counter… So when I got home I found the mess. Someone had gotten into the candy and opened it all. I mean every, single, pack. Sigh.

The usual questions followed until I walked into my bedroom and found these two bowls.

Normally that doesn’t solve anything. Two bowls just point to two thieves, but in the case of our family, my children have become deeply ingrained that there is a certain color that belongs to them. Each child was originally given a set of dishes in a specific color to help with keeping track of who cleared their place and who didn’t. Then we added towels in the same color, and so it went. So when I found these two I knew exactly who had taken the candy.

The truth was in the color code. Funny huh? The babies are too small to realize they shouldn’t use their own colors when committing a crime. And it made me smile. Ha ha. I win. I know for certain this time who did it.

WonHundred Word Wednesday

Here is a fun game we play. We write 100 words about a prompt, and then our friends do the same. Here’s the prompt:

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Here’s what I wrote:

She clung to the piece of driftwood praying for daylight. Opa promised it held some protection against whoever did this to father, but Krissy was too little to understand. She just felt that slimy feeling rolling over her again and again. She pressed her lips shut and squeezed her eyes closed, the little bit of wood clasped in her little fingers. When the sun comes it will be okay. That thing only comes after us at night. I will be safe if the sun will come up. She buried her face in her big brother’s side as he snored on.

Now check out my friends:

Denise Kasanicky createinspiredream.wordpress.com
Jaclyn Weist jaclynweist.blogspot.com
Jenifer Lee myfam-i-lee.blogspot.com
Jenna Eatough mistglenmoon.net/blog
K.R. Wilburn krwilburnbooks.com/blog
Kaye P. Clark kayepclarkwriter.blogspot.com
Laura D. Bastian www.lauradbastian.com
Miranda D. Nelson www.mirandadnelson.blogspot.com

WonHundred Word Wednesday

Here is a fun game we play. We write 100 words about a prompt, and then our friends do the same. Here’s the prompt:

3uT6qgh - Imgur

Here’s what I wrote:

He was excited about the 150 new emails. Any one of them could hold information hat could help his family. Never before had anyone in the pack dealt with witches. Grandfather Fenris was shocked that they had made their way to America again. After the witch trials they had hexed the continent and sworn to never return. But obviously at least one wanted to get some attention.

And each e-mail might hold an answer on how to stop her. The one with a pentagram behind the words caught his eyes. “So you figured out where to start. Good luck puppy.”

Now check out my friends:

Denise Kasanicky createinspiredream.wordpress.com
Jaclyn Weist jaclynweist.blogspot.com
Jenifer Lee myfam-i-lee.blogspot.com
Jenna Eatough mistglenmoon.net/blog
K.R. Wilburn krwilburnbooks.com/blog
Kaye P. Clark kayepclarkwriter.blogspot.com
Laura D. Bastian www.lauradbastian.com
Miranda D. Nelson www.mirandadnelson.blogspot.com