Oct 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

OK, I admit it! I'm actually sort of liking D track. One of the things we were most dreading was missing school on Halloween. There was no class party and no school parade, but we had plenty of our own fun.

The Dog Walker's cell pics are even worse than mine!
After I spent my morning cutting out Princess's dress, we climbed into our costumes, picked up Crafty and Curly from preschool, and headed for Bossy's work. The kids walked the halls, gathering candy at nearly every office! Baby Doll was not a bit shy, she would push her way to the front and choose her favorite piece of candy. One of Bossy's co-workers even made each of the kids a balloon animal.

Then we went to the lunchroom and had some delicious chili (that Bossy made) and more treats. After 20 more long minutes waiting for Bossy to finish something she had to do for work, we finally left the building. We piled everyone in the big van so we could make a couple more stops.

The first place we went was the Sweet Tooth Fairy Cupcakery. They were giving out their strawberry shortcake cupcakes free to anyone in a costume! We walked away with 10 cupcakes with a retail value of about $25.

Then we headed into downtown to pick up our tickets for Disney on Ice. We were only given vouchers, so we had to turn them into real tickets. I can't believe how quickly they sold out the opening night! Thank goodness our vouchers worked for several shows. Now we are going on Friday afternoon.

Our last stop was Gamer's work where he was handing out treats. When we got back to the house, I sent Teach to pick up pizzas from Papa Murphey's (I'm a sucker for things holiday-related). Aren't these cute?

The kids hit the neighborhood about 6:00 and they didn't stop until after 8:00. The amount of candy they collected is insane! I personally am in a sugar stupor and definitely ready for a long night's sleep. They are bouncing off the walls, of course.

And this didn't include all of Prima Donna's candy or what they ate on the way!

Hope you had a happy and safe Halloween!

Ready for Halloween?

I didn't mean to blow you off last night, but I was just so incredibly tired! It's my turn to do the high school carpool which means I have to be dressed and ready to go by 7:00 AM. You know how I hate early mornings!

Crafty and Curly
I would be OK if I didn't stay up til all hours of the night. I used to be able to get by on 4 hours of sleep, but the older I get, I can only do it for a day or two before I crash. So here I am.

And it's Halloween! The kids are very excited! Bossy took them to Chick Fil A last night for dinner. They gave free kids' meals to all the kids in costumes. This is our first year to be off-track for Halloween, so that's a little strange. Bossy has a big party at DCFS so we are heading there as soon as Curly and Crafty get home from preschool. Yeah, you heard me right. Crafty works at Curly's preschool when she is off-track. Princess started working there in about 4th grade and now it's Crafty's turn. It is so nice for them to have a little spending money of their own!

Sport's football team had a playoff for the playoffs last night. It was crazy! We sneaked into the playoffs as the 4th place team so we have at least one more game on Saturday. I need to hurry with this post because I have 2 hours to get Princess's dress cut out before we start playing. I just got the fabric yesterday and the dance is Saturday. I know, I know...Drama Queen told me I was too busy and it was time to cut something out of my schedule...

So I'm cutting something out.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Oct 30, 2012

I got a Package!

Know what was in it? Fifteen complimentary tickets to Disney on Ice, 100 Years of Magic! Can you believe it? They even gave us enough for Bossy's family to join us this time! The kids are so excited. Most of them don't remember when we went last time. OK, most of them weren't even born...

We are planning to go on opening night and let me tell you, they have discount tickets available for that day only. You can get great seats for only $12, that's not much more than a movie! And watch for us, we will all be wearing our blog shirts. If you see us, stop and say "Hi." We would love to meet you in person!

The show starts on Wednesday, November 14 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 18 in Salt Lake City at the Energy Solutions Arena. They try to accommodate everyone, with plenty of shows including 3 on Saturday. If you don't live in Utah, I'm sure they will be visiting your state soon too. For tickets, head to the box office at the arena or stop by SmithTix. Teach is still working customer service so she will help you out.

** I am a Feld Family Ambassador and in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion within this blog, as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-Show events. Even though I received these benefits, I always give an opinion that is 100% mine. **

Oct 29, 2012

Love those Caramel Apples!

I told you yesterday that we had tons of fun making caramel apples. Bossy and I unwrapped hundreds of caramels thinking we were doing it the "easy" way. The kids poked the sticks and then dunked them in caramel. I had to laugh a bit at Gamer.

He was sure the only apple to put caramel on was a Granny Smith. So we washed a bunch of them and then I pulled out a bag of Red Delicious. I was betting on my bag.
And I was right! Almost all the kids chose the red apples over the green. Our biggest problem was that the caramel started to set up before we could get 18 apples dipped. I guess we should have rewarmed it, but the kids loved the fact that they could lay it on thick!
Prima Donna and Crafty
I love this tradition, even though the only time I had a caramel apple as a kid was when we were trick-or-treating. An older lady about three houses down from us made dozens of them for all the kids. We could choose between caramel and candy apples, the candy apples being dunked in something red. I don't believe I ever went for anything but the straight caramel.
Baby Doll
We would have to eat them before we got to the next house, but that usually wasn't a problem.
The was quite a distance between the houses in my hometown. Hope you enjoy the Halloween festivities this week. I know we still have a few plans for fun. But one of these days I'm going to have to stop playing and just clean my house. Maybe in November...

Oct 28, 2012


After a miserable night, I convinced my sweetie to get up this morning and go to the InstaCare. It appears that he has a couple of cracked ribs, and no, they can't do anything for him. He is pretty miserable!

On to happier things... Sport's team won their football game today, so we will have at least a playoff to see if they make the playoffs. There are three teams in a three-way tie. Prima Donna got home from her CEO Camp in one piece. I will see if she will guest blog for me so she can tell you all about it. And we spent a good part of the day playing.

One of our favorite things to do every Halloween is trick-or-treat at Macey's. Not Macy's the department store, but Macey's the grocery store. They are a small chain in Utah, but they do tons of things to help and serve in the community. This year instead of having their treats on Halloween, they decided the Saturday before would be better. They also arranged to hold the event outside in a traditional trunk-or-treat fashion.

The treats were awesome! The kids got fruit snacks and granola bars, glow sticks and chips and cookies. A few pieces of candy, root beer, and a chance to frost their own cookie rounded out the festivities. The kids loved it! Except that the lines were a bit too long.
Even the older girls got in on the fun. Princess wore her beautiful Homecoming dress with a sash that read "Homecoming Queen, 2012" on it. And they gave everybody treats, even the Dog Walker! We finished the evening making caramel apples, playing games, and watching The Great Pumpkin. I'll put up some apple pics tomorrow. These are from the Trunk-or-Treat. Hope you are all enjoying the fun Halloween season!

Oct 27, 2012

OK, I Get It

OK, OK, let's all just calm down! My sweetie is right, of course, I think I was just a bit overemotional when I read Maria's comment. Life here has been a little crazy. Like tonight, for instance. I convinced Bossy to do another Tupperware party for me, so I was getting ready to head out the door when Princess came up from her room.

She was a bit upset. "Dad?" she questioned. "My ceiling's dripping water!" It only took my sweetie about 10 seconds to realize that the water he heard coming from the direction of the laundry room was not the washer filling, but the bathroom faucet running. He made a mad dash for the sink which was running all over the floor.

That was a mistake! There was about an inch of water on the bathroom floor and his feet went right out from under him. He hit the floor hard, his fall only broken when he hit the edge of the bench in the mudroom with his rib cage. He writhed in agony on the floor for several moments trying to catch his breath while I slipped carefully past him and turned off the water.

He refused my assistance, so I grabbed an armful of towels and began cleaning up the water mess. Most of the kids were gone, so we figured it must have been Baby Doll, standing on her stool, turning on the water but not having enough strength to turn it off again.

My sweetie finally managed to get off the floor by himself, but we may end up in the doctor's office tomorrow anyway. Anybody out there ever have a cracked rib? What should we watch for?

Oct 25, 2012

Another Response - From Sweetie this Time

Itty-bittys… that's a term we like to use with the kids when they get feeling bad about something that maybe they should have had a thicker skin about.  It’ kinda of cow boy… or cowgirl up, but just on an emotional level…  At  great personal risk after reading my wife's latest blog post, I had to risk it.

Sandy, don’t you think maybe you're having some itty-bittys?  Yes, having twelve kids makes some people get all upset and they go out of their way to tell us why they think it's irresponsible to the economy, environment, etc.  When we take the family on a trip we get told we’re "number one" a lot in more other states.  (Some people consider the one finger salute something else, go figure...), and back when people were threatening me with physical harm it wasn’t fun at all, but Maria didn’t do any of these things. She didn't even include any of the normal objections.

 Don't we feel quilty burdenin sociecty, the goverment, the world with one more mouths  ect.  She didn't ask as if we never heard of birth control.. She didn't assume we took goverment handouts.  She didn't assume it would be impossible to care and nuture for so many kids and raising them in a big family was short cutting them some how.

 Maybe she meant then as an insult, but I don’t think so. I think she just wanted to know  why.  The page says "ask me anything".. so get over the itty-bittys and answer the question. 

Just to be fair, here are some of my reasons. for having 12 kids.

1. We just like kids.  We enjoy all age activities and find it enjoyable.
2. My wife is hot.
3. We have been blessed to be able to afford to  feed and shelter the bunch of them.
4. We make choices like driving older cars, shopping sales, etc., that help us with number 3.  We do that because of number 1.
5. We have found that as our family has grown, our ability to care and nurture has also grown. 
6. We don’t believe that there are too many people on earth, and that growth is fundamentally good for the economy.
7. We believe that our Heavenly Father made this earth so we could come to earth, gain a body, and gain experience.  For many of us that experience includes raising children. That’s what He wants us to do.
8. Really number 7 sums it all up. We believe children are a sacred blessing from our Heavenly Father, and we have happily agreed to care for as many as He trusts us with. And we feel privileged and honored to do so.

So do I ever feel guilty?  Yes!  To have so many blessing when so many struggle to have any or are limited after only one or two, sometimes it just doesn’t seem fair for me to have been blessed with so many.  But then I see someone with  a nice boat, cabin, or Chrysler 300 SRT8 and I remember that blessing aren’t  passed out evenly  I’m not sure why, but I  know it will all make sense someday.  So I go back to being grateful that I’ve been blessed with 12 kids and a hot wife as the guy in the SRT blows my doors off… Maybe it’s time for a trip to California.  I need someone to tell me I’m "number one."

This is Why - With a Little Help from Bossy

My precious tiny Scout (2005)
I sat down at my computer earlier, all set to write you a nice post to read when you get up in the morning. As usual, I checked my stats and read my comments. A couple of them needed moderation, so I pulled them up. I was a bit surprised by the first one when somebody asked me what my sweetie did for a living (he's an Electronics Design Engineer), but the second one had me stand up and walk away...

It was on my "Ask Me" page and Maria phrased it like this, "Why????...Seriously Why???"

That was it. No explanation or anything. That left me to assume that her question was directly related to the fact that we have chosen to have 12 children. Well, like any sane person, I sat for a moment in stunned silence. Then I called Teach in to have her read it too. She said, "You can just delete it, Mom." So I did. One push of a key and it was gone.

But not forgotten. I went upstairs, fully intending to go to bed without posting. In the almost two years I have been blogging with nearly 600 posts I have only had one other person say something negative and yeah, I felt bad. I got undressed for bed, but I couldn't shut off the hurt so I climbed in a hot shower. As I inched the water temperature higher and higher, I thought about all the ways I could answer this particular question.

Since the question was so brief and mostly anonymous with no link-back, I could only assume that this was intended as an attack so immediately my defenses were up. I don't like being judged. Last spring a reporter from the Deseret News called me for my opinion on the Ann Romney debacle. Since the reporter and I had visited before and she knew we were all about family, she wanted to know what I thought. I was happy to give my opinion over the phone and it was over.

Kisses from Baby Teach (1991)
The next morning there was a nice write up with several quotes from me that supported motherhood in general. Later that day I pulled up the story on the internet. Bossy had already warned me not to look at the comment board, but I just couldn't resist. It was full of all kinds of negative statements. The two that stand out in my mind were when one reader called me a "baby factory," and another that suggested that my husband needed to put a knot in his ....  (Sorry, this is a family-friendly blog!) You get the idea.

I was hurt and wounded. Our family size had nothing to do with my comments or the article, but we were in a direct line of attack. Bossy has a difficult time with unfairness and she just couldn't let it go. She wrote a wonderful response and put it out for everyone to see. I apologize if it is a bit over the top from the comment I received. Maria was certainly not questioning our ability to take care of the kids, but I thought it was so good I made a copy so I could read it now and again.

I want to share it with you.

From Bossy:
Baby Bossy...who knew?
Her children are active in school service and participation. The school-aged children enter in every single Reflections category each and every year. Her third and fourth daughters are education majors (graduated now) and will be teaching full-time this fall. She volunteers for each child's classroom and contributes more to her local PTA efforts than most. She is raising twelve civic-minded citizens that get out and vote in every election and participate in the local caucus. She encourages respectful family debate of political candidates before each election and respects when her children disagree and vote opposite of her. She finished her Master's Degree with two small children and a little assistance, but after that she has worked sometimes three jobs to support and pay for her growing family. Her husband is highly-respected in his field and often contracted by major hardware design companies to present on their products and write books and papers. They do not rely on any government assistance. As their oldest child, I am proud to be enriching the planet because of my parents. My parents' choice in number of children has nothing to do with you and yours. If you are so strongly against individual's rights to procreate, may I suggest moving to China? A large family can leave a large legacy, and absolutely as they all become college graduates with middle class incomes, she will be contributing much more in property taxes, social security, and other government programs you falsely claim they are leaching. A great legacy indeed.

Thanks for sticking with me. I know that we don't all have the same values and goals and dreams. But that doesn't really matter, does it? We can still be friends...even if you move to China. That's the beauty of the internet, and of blogging.


Oct 24, 2012

Carving Pumpkins with a Bear

Tricky title, huh? Got your attention anyway. You knew it had to do with scouts, didn't you? Pack Meeting again, and this time Sport worked extra hard and was awarded his Bear. My grandson, Taco, earned his Tiger, so that made this meeting even more special.
When the awards were over, we had a special service project. We carved pumpkins! There is a girl on our street who has a strange gastrointestinal disease. So unusual that the doctors have not been able to figure out why she can't keep any food down. Her stomach rejects almost everything... except pumpkin seeds.

Curly and Burrito
So the cub scouts wanted to help her. We bought 40 pumpkins and most of them were gutted and carved tonight. We took two large pans full of seeds to her home and she was thrilled with the caring and concern of all the little boys in our neighborhood.

And the kids thought it was fun too. A little messy maybe. My sweetie covered the carpet with plastic sheeting and the tables with paper so it wasn't too bad.

The Dog Walker brought lights so they could see what they might look like on their own porches for Halloween.

Sport has lots of patches!
We got a fantastic deal on the pumpkins! Rojas Farms gave them to us for a dollar each and that included the tax and everything. We picked up 20 of the little carving kits at the dollar store although I was wishing we had invested in ten more. The kids had to do a fair amount of waiting, but I guess learning a little patience is good for them too.

Gamer working with a group of boys.
My sweetie is such a good Cubmaster. I hear boys say all the time how much they look forward to pack meeting every month. He loves working with the kids and their brothers and sisters. He never loses sight of the fact that scouts is about families too.

All in all another awesome pack meeting!

Oct 23, 2012

Little League Football

Sport is #52.
One of my favorite parts of fall is Little League football. Both the Dog Walker and the Gym Rat played for quite a few years and now it is Sport's turn. This is his second year and he plays in the Gremlin League. Gremlins are unique in that they have both 8 and 9-year-olds on their teams. All of the other leagues (except the oldest...Juniors) are single ages only.

Sport is playing a very different game than he played last year. During his first year he was on the platinum team and as the underdogs, they performed way better than anyone expected. In fact, they won the State Championship! It was a fun year, but as a first-year, Sport spent a fair amount of time on the sidelines.

Now in his second year, he is the star of the team! As the line captain, he plays noseguard for the defense and tackle for the offense. He is on the field pretty much the entire game! He is a force to be with...he weighs about 120 lbs and he pulls down those little boys like they are in kindergarten. Most teams double-team him to stop his devastation.

As for his own team, his teammates trust him and look to him for that pat on the back and words of encouragement. That said, their team is not winning every game like last year. They have only won a single game the entire season. If they don't win this coming Saturday, they don't make the playoffs.

We have talked about this at length and Sport is OK with the season being over. He has learned so much this year about football, but even more than that, he has learned how to be a leader.  That's what I love about Little League football! It's much more than just a game.

Oct 22, 2012

Fall Break at the Scarecrow Festival

I know, I know, all we do is play around here. My sweetie is a bit annoyed that we didn't get anything accomplished this weekend, but we sure had a lot of fun! We got up Saturday morning and everyone except Teach (who had to work) and Prima Donna (who had a homework project) headed to the Scarecrow Festival.

The festival is held every year at West Ridge Academy. It used to be Utah Boys' Ranch for troubled boys, but I guess when they started allowing girls they changed the name. My kids were so excited to go! Remember back in the spring when we went to the Scout-o-Rama? Well, those giant bungee trampoline things live at West Ridge Academy and they were definitely set up for the festival. And did I mention that everything was free??

We got there within a few minutes after 10:00 when it opened and the Dog Walker, Crafty, and Scout headed straight for the trampolines. They still had to wait for about 30 minutes, but it was much better than the 3-hr wait at the Scout-o-Rama.

The rest of us split off into the games and bounce houses. The games were the traditional duck pond, spin the wheel, horseshoes, you get the idea. They all had tickets for prizes and then we got to turn in the tickets for something fun. We brought home ribbon tiaras and stuffed animals. Curly was the most excited about the plastic witch's fingers and he got two of those.

We rode a little train and the kids got inside that huge rolling ball. But probably the most fun we had was when Bossy and the Dog Walker decided to battle it out in the elastic pull. They strapped into the harnesses, sharing a little trash talk. The first pull put the Dog Walker in the lead, but Bossy didn't give up. The second pull had the same results.  On her third and final try, the worker wanted her to win so badly, he slipped her Velcro bag a few inches in front of the Dog Walker's. My favorite part was watching the elastic pull them back in. Neither one of them could stay on their feet. Thank goodness they were in a giant blowup!

Our fun ended all too soon since we had to be back by noon. Crafty's play was going on and her call time was at noon. Sport's football ride was also picking him up at 12:15. (I'll put up some pics of the game tomorrow.)

Before we slipped away, we bought some bread from their little shop. It was only a dollar a loaf and it sure made awesome French toast for our Sunday morning breakfast!

Maybe I can convince my sweetie that our trip to the festival was in lieu of a trip to the grocery store... we did buy bread, didn't we?  That's definitely accomplishing something!

Oct 20, 2012

Fall Break at Church History Museum

We had so much fun at Cornbelly's on Thursday that we decided to play on Friday too! Once again our time was limited. The Dog Walker didn't get out of school until 10:00 so that was our launching point, and Teach had to be to work at 4:00, so we had six hours to play.

I have been wanting to visit the Church History Museum for a couple of months, ever since my little brother wrote about it on his blog. I hadn't planned on having the grandsons, but since their mom had to work, we took two vehicles and piled in. We arrived about 10:45 and toured the ground floor first. They had some amazing things there! We saw an original copy of the Book of Mormon and the death masks of Joseph and Hyrum. We enjoyed that floor, then we headed upstairs for the kids' area.

After embossing some papers and stringing them into necklaces, the kids climbed into the replica of the boat that was built by Nephi. from the Book of Mormon. Prima Donna has a wicked sense of humor. You probably all know by now that Sport's real name is Nephi named after the prophet in the Book of Mormon. Well at one point in the book, Nephi's brothers are angry with him and they tie him to the boat. Prima Donna wanted to re-enact this for you so she took some of the yarn from the necklace-stringing and tied his hands to the mast of the little ship. Unfortunately, our Nephi's bands were much more easily broken than those of the real Nephi (although he managed to do it as well).

The kids area was really fun (unless your name is Nephi)! They had electronic coloring pages and huge blocks that could be stacked up like a real building and then broken down again. There were paper dolls and replicas of the gold plates as well as a whole wagonload of puppets. The Dog Walker had to try on every one of them!

Baby Doll loved the little kitchen, garden, and chicken coop areas. But by far the favorite was the dancing corner. They had full-circle Spanish skirts and vests to put on and then electronic dance lessons so the kids could try out various moves. All the girls got into it. They even made me give it a try!

When we were finally finished, we left the museum and walked through temple square to the City Creek Center. This new mall area was dedicated about a year ago but we had never been there before. I'm not really a mall person, but it was pretty amazing! There were so many shops. We had to walk through the whole place to find the food court so we could get some lunch. It was pretty crowded. I'm not sure if that is because it was lunchtime or because it was fall break, but it was busy!

We stowed the kids in the play area with Dog Walker and Princess watching them and Teach and I headed back to McDonalds for Happy Meals. Drama Queen and my sweetie were in charge of finding something reasonably priced for the adults to eat. They finally chose chicken chili verde. I was glad my sweetie chose it, otherwise he would have complained about how hot it was.

After lunch we walked back through Deseret Book and bought the kids a half-price cookie. Another walk through temple square and past the front of the Conference Center and we were in the parking lot. Most of the kids fell asleep on the way home.

I guess we managed to wear them out again.

Oct 18, 2012

Fall Break at Cornbelly's

It's Fall Break here in Utah and that means all the kids (except the Dog Walker) are out of school for the weekend! So today we had our second Girl Scout meeting...at Cornbelly's! Cornbelly's is a huge corn maze at Thanksgiving Point. They also have tons of other fun activities likes bounce houses and pedal cars and slides...the list goes on and on.

I'd never been there before, but at one of our Girl Scout activities this summer, they gave out discount passes and told us that they had a Girl Scout 100 anniversary maze this year. It was definitely something I thought would be fun for our troop. Since all the kids were out of school, we took everyone and with our group of 21, we got an even better discount.

We headed out about 9:45 and arrived just after 10:00. It took us a while to get through the gate because even though they had just opened, it was crowded. They girls were all so excited to be there! Oh and did I mention that Bossy and her boys were with us too? We started at the Bounce Pillow and then headed for the giant Lincoln Logs. After that it was the slides and bounce houses.

Then we headed for the pedal cars. I even rode around the track a couple of times! The kids loved the little basketball courts (ok, I admit it! It was me loving the basketball...) We went into this little haunted house and Princess who had already been through assured us it wasn't scary. And she was right...it wasn't scary, it was disgusting! At one point a cow's butt sprayed at me. There were big poop droppings on the floor and dead chickens hanging in the pathway. The last part was a slide that I was a bit slow getting out of and the kids behind me (who weren't mine) ran into me. Yeah, I was kind of wishing I had stayed behind and shot a few more hoops.

After the pig races, Bossy took off for a meeting and we decided it was time to find some lunch. The booths there weren't really equipped to make an order for 20 people, so we had to wait for about 30 minutes. While the kids were waiting for their food, we decided it would be ok for them to play on some of the wooden structures next to the picnic area. It wasn't long before my 5-year-old grandson, Burrito, went missing.

My sweetie, Drama Queen, and I immediately split up and started looking for him. We sectioned the park into three areas and each of us headed off in opposite directions. Teach and the Dog Walker stayed with all the other kids and kept them busy with chicken tenders and tots.

After almost 15 minutes of searching, the three of us came up empty. I was starting to panic! Bossy had only be gone less than an hour and I had already lost one of her boys. I headed toward the ticketing area so I could report a lost child.

That's when I spotted him, calmly riding the tricycles with a bunch of other kids. He didn't seem a bit sorry that he had wandered off on his own!

After lunch we headed for the corn maze. It was hard to keep the group together, but we managed somehow. My sweetie and the Dog Walker got off on their own, but at least they were smart enough to get on a platform so we could see them.

We finally got out of the maze and it was almost time to leave. I thought the girls would argue, but they all seemed pretty tired. We finished out the day with giant pixie sticks and the short walk to the car.

Even with all the trauma of Burrito getting lost, I would definitely do it again! But I might spend a little more time near the basketball hoops and stay out of the haunted hayloft.