Cooking, Movie Theater, and Cabela’s!

Everett and Lyla love helping me in the kitchen.007efbblog008efbblog

I bought this headband from Hobby Lobby and Lyla was really excited to wear it, grabbed it out of the bag as soon as we got home and put it on with the tag still attached.044efbblog

Friday night we watched Faceoff! 091efbblog

We had a gift card for Hobby Lobby so I got a bunch of air dry clay for the kids. We spent hours and hours for a few weeks sculpting all kinds of things. Mostly Mario related but also little people and animals and random other stuff.095efbblog249efbblog255efbblog262efbblog

We had a gift card to the movie theater so we went and saw Ralph Breaks the Internet. I didn’t want to see it but I was outnumbered when we voted. haha119efbblog

Picking out treats β™₯125efbblog126efbblog

I asked Sierra to hold Lyla for me while I paid.128efbblog

I love taking group shots by the auditorium.137efbblog139efbblog

Little kids ready to watch the movie!152efbblog154efbblog

Middle kids ready to watch the movie!159efbblog161efbblog

Big kids ready to watch the movie!162efbblog165efbblog169efbblog

Posing with this fun cutout sign after.174efbblog

Enjoying the piles and piles of snow!182efbblog211efbblog226efbblog

This was Sunday afternoon, the older kids were with their dad so I took Lyla to Costco just her and me!

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She loved walking all through the store with my full attention and helping out as much as possible. She put most things in the cart and also wanted to help unload the groceries into the van!326efbblog330efbblog336efbblog

After a little over an hour we picked Everett up from his dad’s.358efbblog

And went to Cabela’s! Everett and Lyla LOVE Cabela’s!389efbblog395efbblog

Talking about all the fish.397efbblog402efbblog

Talking about all the taxidermy animals. (taxidermy: ew)415efbblog432efbblog

Everett talked to me a lot about these two bears fighting over the deer on the ground.441efbblog

They wanted to try out all the camping chairs on display.449efbblog464efbblog

We got keychain flashlights for all the hikes we’re planning for this summer.466efbblog

I tried on a couple t-shirts and a zip up hoodie. The kids played happily in the dressing room.475efbblog480efbblog

They were enamored with their reflections. So much they were kissing themselves a lot and of course kissing leads to licking like how puppies and kitties kiss because Lyla is super obsessed with puppies and kitties! (babies and kitties are her favorite things)483efbblog493efbblog497efbblog

Those kids get joy out of licking their reflections and I get joy out of ALMOST catching up on my blog! I’m now getting into March’s pictures! Woohoo!

February Blues

 

We’re surviving alright but February was the dreariest month for me. It took a lot of willpower and memories of the spring and calendar checking to cope with the seemingly-endless snow, the gray skies and gray clouds and gray streets and gray everything, and the cold… the bitter cold. Early mornings dragging six grumpy children into the frigid winter air to drive the big kids to school. A few hours later picking Sierra up (she has half days), a few hours later picking Brooklyn up. In and out of the apartment, in and out through the cold, driving on icy streets, waiting in snowy lines, watching nothing but gray. It was tedious. I’m sure it was made worse by needing to adjust to being divorced, but maybe not. Maybe this longer-than-average winter affected everyone as badly as it did me?

There wasn’t pure grief and dislike throughout the winter, there was just a lot of it.

These pictures are taken right before bed one night. Lyla still cosleeps and breastfeeds. She will not go to sleep without breastfeeding and she is a super light sleeper and if she stirs in her sleep at all she reaches for me, crying, with both arms until she finds me and curls into me. This means I have no alone time at night at all. But it also means Lyla is a very cuddled and happy toddler always knowing mom is within arm’s reach.

Β 

There’s this little Goodwill drop off fairly near my place and I used it so much this last year. Bags and bags of stuff given away, trying desperately to fit better in the small space we have. Still feeling so cramped. I’m still often looking around and through shelves and wondering: can anything more go?

Payson with a couple toys he brought along on errands.

Everett just being super cute in the backseat.

What groceries for seven for a week looks like. Can you believe I carried all these upstairs? Haha

Lyla’s favorite purchase:

Making blueberry muffins together.

Because we won’t live here next year I made sure to snap some pictures of my kids playing outside so they can remember what apartment life was like for them.

Lyla loves gathering our reusable shopping bags and carrying them around the apartment like she’s coming home from errands.

This was one morning bright and early before school. We had just arrived home after dropping Brooklyn and Sierra off at school and I snapped this before making breakfast for the rest of us.

Lyla fell asleep that day on the way to pick up Sierra from school and I had to pee when we got home so I asked Payson to hold sleeping Lyla for just a sec so I could go and they were so cute together I snapped this before taking her back πŸ™‚

Another day another nap taken in the car and finished at home in my arms. It’s the only way she naps.

One morning brushing tangles out of her hair.

Lyla LOVES toys. Any toys. But also especially ones that belong to her siblings.

Her reaction to Bopit!

That’s her laughing face over hitting my camera. haha

Falling asleep in the van. Every single day.

We went to Hobby Lobby to get air dry clay for the kids to do some sculpting.

Lyla had fun pushing (and hanging on) the cart.

She saw Everett in there and insisted on joining him. They look super adorable but she spent the rest of the time yelling at him to move and get out!

The Week of Valentine’s Day 2019!

Look at me freaking blogging AGAIN! Daily-blogging goal, here I come!!

I’m just going to jump straight into these photos because I was so crazy busy today (homeschooling and mommying) that I don’t have a whole lot of time and I still feel vulnerable from my last blog post AND I just uploaded a video to youtube (whaaaa? Who is back online again? Me!) in which I edited poorly and left a clip of me getting dressed and it shows a little of my stomach and my body dysmorphic disorder is raging. haha! Eeek. But I’m leaving it because 1) I was raised in the LDS church long enough to feel like showing anything of my body was sending me straight to hell even if I was doing it in the OPPOSITE of a sexy way and I want to cut that fear out of me! And 2) that is what the stomach of a woman who is 35 and has had six children and ate Cabela’s fudge for a week straight looks like. haha. And it’s OKAY for me to not look like a supermodel. I never have and I’ve been happy anyway.

Lyla is still making messes, guys, don’t worry. Don’t worry about a clean apartment over here, Lyla will make sure that doesn’t happen.

I took this picture for a reason but a month later captioning it I don’t remember what that reason was. The girls are cute though. ha

I wanted to remember what my van looks like during the long winter months (FILTHY!) so I snapped this and I’m SO glad because just now winter is finally ending and I’ll wash it and this will be a fun memory!

About to head to school!

We went to Fred Meyer to get Valentine’s for Payson and Ember’s class parties. Lyla LOVED the Valentine’s gifts and decor and tried out every single pillow in the area.

The cards Payson picked out for his classmates.

Everett was thrilled by the whole idea even though he didn’t get to get cards. He talked about next year when he was in school and gets to pick out cards!

Still with the pillows.

Ember picking out her cards.

The boys rough housing with all the plush toys.

It’s tradition that I get the kids Valentine’s from me. We got these chocolate heart boxes and a few other things πŸ™‚

Then I really had to go get Lyla new shoes because she outgrew her last pair of boots and threw the other pair in the lake.

She wanted to try on every single pair in the store. I think I ended up letting her try on at least five pairs and she ran and skipped and hopped up and down the aisles very happily with a huge grin. She loves shoes.

The kids all loved these seats.

This is a familiar sight. Four long months of almost nonstop snow. Blah.

Payson has been working through a lot of emotions about the divorce and has talked to me daily about it, one thing that helped him was putting pictures on his wall of him with each of his family members AND a group picture with me and all of them. He likes looking at photos and knowing that his family is still his family and always will be even if we live in two different homes.

Filling out their Valentine’s cards.

Everett worked on his preschool curriculum while they did that. (That’s not an affiliate link)

And Lyla always joins him.

This was the day (one day each week) Payson and Ember went to school and Sierra, the little kids, and I painted.

Legs make for a good canvas.

After a bath to clean up the paint mess.

After painting and a bath we made homemade playdough!

Everett and Lyla are both obsessed with all sorts of playdough so they were really happy and played with it for at least an hour!

Lyla loves to make balls of dough or snakes and calls them mommy, daddy, and baby. She calls everything mommy, daddy, and baby. Specifically she always says, mommy, daddy, baby, Lyla baby. So she pretends anything in groups of three or more are her and me and her dad.

I adore Everett and I adore our one day a week quality time days! It’s so nice to be with just him and Lyla occasionally and give them better attention!

He and Lyla made brownies with me. I didn’t take pictures of the process but I took this picture of him cutting them for the family. And tasting them!

The day before we’d got our Christmas presents from grandma in the mail! Each kid got a gift card to Barnes and Noble!!!! Our favorite place! Or in the top three of our favorite places at least!! We were thrilled! So we went to pick out books and toys.

The girls have phones but no service. They just use their phones for games, writing, pictures, and videos.

Everett had to go potty and they were excited to be in the bathroom. I love them so much.

These two loved looking at the toys! They played with almost every single toy in the place!

Lyla had this giant beanie boo for quite a while. I thought she might end up picking that for her toy but eventually she chose something else.

This chair!!! She was OBSESSED with this chair!! She sat in it most of the time. She leave and grab a new toy occasionally and always come back to sit in the chair with whatever she was playing with.

Lyla loves all toys. A lot.

All the big kids were there picking out toys with their gift cards, too!

Back at home we watched Face Off together. (That’s not an affiliate link)

Lyla was so excited about the camera being on the timer setting that she ran back and forth taking pictures more than a dozen times. Everett had got hit in the face in this picture and I was comforting him!Β 

One day as I’m trying to put away laundry, these two invade. They always jump all over the bed while I sort laundry. And Lyla likes to unsort and unfold the laundry and especially loves to pick up the piles I’ve made and throw them all back into the laundry basket together. haha

The end!

Shorter Breaks

Shorter breaks between blogging is a big improvement from months between blogging, right? That’s my new blogging goal. Though I might not meet it very often.

I don’t do anything with my pictures or videos when I’m busy and as a single mom of 6 I’m pretty dang busy! haha

Even today, I started this post hours ago and have those two sentences above. haha! And Lyla is currently, literally, hanging on my back and saying, “ooh, ooh, ah, ah,!” and peeking around my head to see my face (while strangling me) and saying, “Peekaboo! Peekaboo mama!”

And Ember is reading me her American History book that she and Payson have been working on in homeschool and then she asked me to unlock the bathroom door because the baby lock to keep Lyla out is really high and she can’t reach it herself.

So! If I don’t blog guys, that’s why. It’s every second of every day this single mom gig. Today besides doing some homeschool stuff I really need to look into Turbo Tax to figure out my taxes. It gives me anxiety… I thought about hiring an accountant because I’m so nervous I’ll screw it up but I’m almost totally out of money so I’d like to not spend hundreds and hundreds unless I truly have to.

I have a parent teacher conference with my kids’ school this Thursday. They go to this school one day a week and I hate it. The administration doesn’t really like me. haha! I live in a super strict state when it comes to homeschool laws and they do NOT like that I stray from their schedule and curriculum and if you’ve followed my blog for any bit of time where I used to talk about homeschooling you know that I don’t thrive with sticking to consistent schedules. I follow a routine and curriculum but I like to add a LOT to things I use and go on rabbit trails.

This trait has fantastic benefits, I am flexible and can go with the flow and adapt to changes on the fly and as a mom that’s helpful. People who are strict planners and organizers and stay consistent have myriad benefits from that and I have myriad benefits from being the opposite… I guess I’m just saying that whether one or the other is “right” is arguable in either direction and the public school argues that my way of existing is the exact opposite of right and I get in a lot of trouble from them. It causes the most anxiety of my life right now, even more than grieving and my divorce does. I can’t function in the world very well knowing someone that directly impacts my life is so upset with what I’m doing. I can’t function very well when I really LIKE what I’m doing but other people oppose it. I feel like a pretty good mom and when I homeschool my kids we all learn and LOVE it. Like really love it and have the best time, but I take criticism very seriously and I absolutely can see the flaws with the way I parent and teach. The problem is that there are flaws with doing it the “other” way, too! So which way do you pick? I personally think that’s up to each parent to decide, to take seriously the ways in which you can parent and teach your children and weigh them and choose what seems better suited for you and your children and then act accordingly. But the state disagrees that it’s my choice so we run into a problem. haha

I’m considering putting my kids into regular public school next year… I would have to move though because I really despise the public school district where I live. But I can only move within a two hour radius of the kids’ dad and the options are pretty uninteresting in every direction. I feel totally trapped. I will make the best decision on where to live within the confines of my options for sure but it’s just not the most pleasant past time. Luckily I have until August to figure it out since that’s when my lease ends. I need a few more months to figure it out. Specifically I need summer to roll around and for me to be free of the anxiety of the public school breathing over my shoulder before I can devote enough mental energy to FIGURING OUT WHERE TO LIVE! Figuring out where to live has always been a decision that overwhelms me and takes me months to decide.

Honestly I’m pretty indecisive with everything. I hate feeling trapped and out of control and some decisions take away your control in big ways. For instance, I have hated where I live for quite some time but getting out of a lease is too expensive and challenging so I’m just staying and waiting it out. I made a decision that impacts my life for an entire year and I feel trapped by that decision. I feel this way with a lot of things so it takes me a long time to commit to ideas. I have a hard time trusting people, choices, and most everything after the devastating end of my marriage and church relationship.

I also struggle with perfectionism and making decisions FREAKS me the heck out. I feel the need to research almost every single thing about life, if not truly everything, to DEATH before I do anything. I literally stopped in Fred Meyer yesterday while shopping to research the two mascaras I was choosing between. They were on clearance (woohoo) but I’d never tried either and even though I don’t even WEAR makeup much anymore and don’t care that much, I couldn’t choose without hearing lots of reasons why I should. I needed thousands of others to convince me this freaking mascara was better than that freaking mascara. I made my choice based on reviews and because it was a different choice than I was going to go with it gave me such bad anxiety that I tossed the mascara on my bathroom counter when I got home and haven’t even glanced at it since and am trying not to think about it. I despise this trait about myself. It has worked wonderfully in many ways but it also wrecks me. I use all sorts of techniques to deal with life as a perfectionist. Perfectionism is how I handled a very challenging childhood. I don’t think I’ll cure myself of it any time soon. The last three years worth of effort, at least, hint at that truth. But I try anyway.

I have probably said too much so I’m going to throw some photos here. And after feeling anxious about sharing this much of me I might come back later tonight and delete all this talking. So if this is still up and it’s weeks later when you’re finding it, wow! Look at me overcoming self criticism and leaving something vulnerable up!

Oh my gosh it’s now more hours later and I’m getting back to this! Brooklyn wanted me to print a cover for her book she’s writing, Lyla had to go potty, Everett had to go potty,Β  Payson wanted me to beat a difficult level in Plants vs. Zombies 2, Payson wanted to talk about the party he’s putting together, Lyla wanted me to rough house with her, Everett shared some chips with me and danced in the kitchen and lots of other little things.

And Lyla and Ember just followed me to my computer and are asking for things. And Brooklyn just came to ask me to setup and print Sierra’s book cover. So I need to hurry and do this! Ack.

These first few photos are from back when we got a stomach bug. It was total hell. It wasn’t one of those quick and somewhat mild bugs, it was puking and having diarrhea nonstop for hours until you felt like you’d die from pain, weakness, and trauma. It was BAD.

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Lyla and Everett are really close and Lyla stayed near Everett most of the day. Everett had thrown up the evening and night before and by this time was mostly resting. He was so exhausted he slept most of the day.015efbblog

The first thing he got was Gatorade to replenish his electrolytes. My kids LOVE Gatorade.040efbblog

Days later, just a random snap of these two before we left to pick up Brooklyn from school.096efbblog

Everett and Lyla helped me make blueberry muffins. I use the same recipe I’ve used for years now!114efbblog

I made taco soup for dinner that night. It’s been a family favorite for many years now!132efbblog

I was taking a picture of the muffins and right then Lyla grabbed the knife I was using to cut onions! Yikes! Give me that, Lyla! haha146efbblog

This is a different day, Lyla must have liked whatever she was eating. It’s long enough ago now that I don’t remember what it was!159efbblog

Costco, we have been a loyal Costco family for ten years now!!212efbblog

Getting produce! Lyla 100% refuses to sit in the cart these days so I have her on my hip always. Sometimes my back hurts so bad from that position I let her ride on my shoulders instead!220efbblog

Don’t let their adorable faces fool you! They despise shopping and complain like crazy. Often I leave them home while I take the younger four.230efbblog

Instead of getting boxes from Costco I load the groceries up in my reusable shopping bags and carry as many as possible upstairs at a time. It usually takes me at least 3 trips up and down the stairs and oftentimes four!237efbblog

My kids love to get a pizza from Costco.241efbblog247efbblog249efbblog

Before school one morning.256efbblog

Lyla brings toys with her whenever we go anywhere. Her favorite for a while was this baby bottle (which she used for herself) and a couple of animal math counters.271efbblog

If I do anything that isn’t a “mom” task this is how it is done. ANYTHING. With Lyla on my boob. That girl has maybe even beat Ember for lover-of-breastmilk. I don’t know how I’ll ever wean her! It might be a sad ending just like Ember! I told Ember she had to quit breastfeeding when she turned four and she breastfed up until a week after her fourth birthday! She didn’t want to give it up! 278efbblog

Lyla LOVES LOVES LOVES to rough house. She loves all kinds of active playing but one of her top favorites is jumping off of anything into my arms. 285efbblog

This was only a couple days after that last Costco trip, I heard about this insane deal on glasses at Costco, buy one get one some percentage off (I can’t remember exactly how much but I saved a LOT. More than $30 a pair, I think) so I bought new glasses to have extra since Lyla lost my THIRD pair! I have the smallest apartment and yet I can’t find them ANYWHERE. I cleaned the entire place and even moved all my furniture and still can’t find them. But I’ve been super anal about where I keep my glasses (ALWAYS put them in their case if I’m not wearing them and put them up high!) and Lyla hasn’t gotten ahold of them yet!346efbblog

We had the longest winter in the history of the world. (exaggerating) but seriously it has felt like a year of snow. It snowed yesterday a lot. It’s snowy outside today. STOP WITH THE SNOW!348efbblog350efbblog356efbblog

Ember and Lyla were being adorable but I actually just took this to show Lyla’s cute hairdo. A simple twist. Now I just like the picture because of Ember’s laughing face! β™₯β™₯β™₯360efbblog

They love playing together.364efbblog

At the glasses counter with me while the person there (I’ll need to google their title!) helped me with the fit on my new frames.370efbblog

Everett asked to try them on. He’s waaaay cuter than I am in them β™₯373efbblog

And of course Lyla begged to try them after she saw Everett get a turn! haha375efbblog

So while I was at the counter the big four were a few feet away playing on this laptop that was on display and what were they laughing at?404efbblog

Their faces distorted! haha (See my camera in the photo? I carry my big, fat 1dx everywhere lately! I am obsessed with that camera. Love it. I mention it because I’ve thought about selling my cameras in order to have money but I haven’t yet because parting with them will break my heart)401efbblog

My kids always want to try out all the furniture πŸ™‚413efbblog

And we always stop by the book section. And lately I haven’t but I used to buy a book or ten during lots of Costco trips. We don’t anymore but we still browse and long for them. haha (this trip I did buy some! It was before I realized just how poor I am. lol. We can afford food and rent, I’m just running into problems searching for affordable health and dental insurance!!!! ACK, need a better job!)420efbblog

Lyla was SO cranky during that shopping trip I opened up the shredded cheese (her favorite food is cheese) and let her eat it as we waited for the big kids in the bathrooms.432efbblog438efbblog443efbblog

Lyla was acting so concerned about the snow getting on us and the food!451efbblog

The other kids loved it!460efbblog

It was after lunchtime by this point so I got the kids happy meals since we only had a super short time to stop at home and unload the groceries and then we’d have to leave to pick up Brooklyn from school!499efbblog

Picking up Brooklyn looks like:504efbblog510efbblog

And I have many, many more photos but I’m going to go for now! I’m going to go start on taxes! Blech! haha

 

Hello

I haven’t posted here how I’d like to because WordPress made changes to the platform, specifically to writing posts, and I don’t adapt well to changes to blogging platforms. I’m fairly easy going with a lot of other things but not when it comes to how I write and share… just one little area where I don’t want to put in the effort to learn a new system.

But I love blogging and lately my kids have been asking me dozens of questions about their past and while mostly we look through scrapbooks and photo books it’s easier to have that search bar to type in exactly what they asked…

Oh you want to see the time it snowed in Arizona… “snowed in Arizona,” boom… you can see that here.

Oh you want to see what “Sierra looked like as a baby.

Oh you want to hear about when “scorpions” used to get in our house in Arizona.

So I’ve been wanting to pick this blog up again in a consistent way, for their sakes. And for mine. There is therapy in going back and reading from my past self. Listening and seeing my old life from my old perspective.

I’m just going to jump right back into it because there is no easy way for me to transition from not blogging to blogging!

Everett is starting to do handwriting and learning to read (his birthday is in November so he’ll be in kindergarten this next fall, I just wanted to give him a head start) and I’ve noticed he’s been starting to hold his pencils with his entire hand in a fist just like Payson used to so I bought some items on Amazon to help with that. 002efbblog009efbblog012efbblog013efbblog

One day I spotted Lyla on the couch with some stuffed animals pretending to nurse.043efbblog

It was the first time she’d ever pretended to breastfeed a toy.051efbblog

Most days I hold Lyla on my hip as I cook but sometimes I wear her in the ergo when I really need to hands to make something.A (22)efbblog

Lyla climbing the recliner.A (51)efbblog

We eat in the living room on this mat sometimes and I read home school books to the kids.A (70)efbblog

Lyla is still making nonstop messes. I don’t blame her, we’ve been trapped inside for most of the last three months!A (83)efbblog

I had to drop of some legal documents at my lawyer’s office and they said if they weren’t in to just slide them through the slot in the door, or whatever that’s called. 288ebwblog298efbblog

I got another rug. My youngest four love to run laps around the kitchen counter and it’s so loud. 008efbblog

I work in the kitchen a whole lot.027efbblog

We eat scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast every single day.033efbblog

We had some chicken nuggets and ketchup with dinner this night and Lyla had fun fingerpainting her plate.058efbblog

I have a few hundred more photos but I need to go make breakfast because all these kiddos are waking up and wanting food! I’ll try to blog again tomorrow!062efbblog

Grief

Grief

You criminal.
You thief.
I sit in my peace
enveloped in happiness
motivation flowing
through my veins

Without warning
you are here
invading everywhere
my breath catches,
my lungs full of you
my chest aches
my eyes water my cheeks
I slump.

The longing you
discard into my heart
leaving it there to burn
the burning pain
now all I experience
all I’m aware of.

Oh how I hate you,
grief.
How I despise you.

I frantically try
to cast you out
my mind is whirling-
trying to find the
place you entered me.

I’m furious!
How could you do this to me?
How could you come in
and take away my happiness?
Why won’t you leave?

And the knowing of my
powerlessness over you
settles in.
I give up.
You win.
You took those minutes,
hours.
Of my life.

I’m lost in them.
I’m lost.

So I write to you from
the fog.
Knowing you’ll never listen.
But writing anyway.

Fine, grief, keep taking.
Take and take from me.
But I’ll take from you, too!

I will take the lessons
from your presence
I’ll never trust again,
I’ll never love again.
I’ll wrap myself up in
self hatred and solitude
and though loneliness
hurts too,

NOTHING hurts as much
as you do!