Anthony at Church

The other Sunday Anthony just was not feeling the going to class thing so I spent the second hour in the hallway with him. Eventually we ended up in an empty classroom where he figured out how to fold chairs.

He folded and put up a whole lot of chairs. I joked that means he’ll be an excellent Priesthood holder one day since it’s always the men doing most of the folding and putting away of chairs.

Once he finished putting away all the chairs he put up the table that was leaning against the wall folded up. Impressive since I’ve seen plenty of adults struggle putting up those tables.

He ended up opening some of the chairs he had just put away and dragging them across the room (it’s a very echo-y room since it used to be the library and has no sound dampening anything in there… which is probably why it was empty while church was going on).

He set up four chairs around the table. It was very hard work, but he was determined to do it. And he was having a whole lot of fun.

Once he got the table and chairs set up the way he wanted them he very quietly sat in one of the chairs until it was time to pick up his siblings from their classes and go home.

Two Boys on Trek

Like their older brother five years ago, Fritz and Adrian spent part of Spring Break on that great Mormon LARPing adventure known as Trek. Their experience was very different from Cameron’s, though, mainly because of the weather.

It was 16 degrees when they woke up Friday morning, colder when you factor in the windchill, and they all came home with windburn this time rather than sunburn. We’re talking icicles hanging off water dispensers midday. In Texas. Texan kids aren’t built for that kind of weather.

The boys made very cute pioneers. They walked 13 miles and shot BB guns and bows and arrows. They ate well. It really would have been pretty pleasant if not for that crazy weather. Fritz says his fingers and toes only went numb for short periods a few times. Adrian woke up unable to feel his hands and feet at all and discovered condensation had made his gloves and socks wet. One of his Trek Siblings helped him get those off and go through the rather painful process of warming up.

Fritz says if he knew then what he knows now he would not have gone. Adrian says he still would have. Kind of funny really since Fritz loves the cold and Adrian most definitely does not. But I guess there is Texas cold and then there’s the cold they experienced on Trek.

They were both happy to get and be able to take hot showers and sleep in soft, warm beds. Noah was the happiest, though. He missed Fritz so much and pretty much wouldn’t let go of his big brother for a couple hours after he got home.

2021

This has been a busy year for us. I simultaneously can’t figure out how the time has gone by so fast and how we fit so much into just twelve months. Tomorrow will be 2022 and the start of twelve more months of adventures.

In January Fritz and Adrian got their first semester report cards for 7th and 9th grades and both did amazing for their first time in public school since kindergarten and second grade. We also continued trying to figure out just how much food to make to feed our small army (spoiler alert: it’s always too much or too little).

In February we put up a baby urinal in our bathroom and it’s been the best thing we could have done. There was more figuring out how to feed our small army (we’ve pretty much got it down now). We got a playground put up in our backyard. We ended up with COVID in the house and had to quarantine at the same time pretty much the entire state of Texas shut down due to a freak snowstorm and crazy cold (we got lucky and never lost power).

In March I started getting more creative with Mayci’s hair. All the adults in the house got vaccinated for COVID. Zeke turned six on Pi Day. The next day Noah had surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids and have tubes put in his ears. We got brave and took all six kids to HEB for the first time.

In April I sprained my foot when I gracefully fell down the stairs of The Beast. We also discovered Zeke has hair like Fritz’s: It grows SO fast!

In May our six-year-old officially changed his name to Zeke. School got out and so Mayci finished pre-k, Zeke finished kindergarten, Adrian finished 7th grade, and Fritz finished 9th grade.

In June the kids were bored of their 11-week summer vacation within about 30 seconds so we started our summer schedule which continued the entire summer and worked great. We got Fritz’s end of course results (all three passed). We entered Birthday Season when Adrian turned 13 on Juneteenth. The end of the month the twins turned two.

In July we got Adrian’s STAAR test results (he did great especially because it was his first time taking that sort of test). On the 6th Nicholas turned 3. And then on the 11th Fritz turned 15. Adrian saved all year and enlisted the help of a few other people in order to give Fritz an Oculus Quest 2 for his birthday. On the 18th Anthony turned 4 ending our intense streak of five birthdays in less than three weeks. Fritz got all registered for the virtual school for 10th grade.

In August we finished birthday season on the 2nd when Mayci turned 5. Zeke and Mayci both took off in their reading (best decision ever to work on teaching them how to read over the summer). We found out who the three elementary schoolers’ teachers would be (they’ve all been the perfect teacher for each kid, especially Zeke’s). In the middle of the month it was time for four of the kids to be off to pre-k, kindergarten, 1st, and 8th grades (and Nicky moved to a new room at preschool). A week later Fritz started 10th grade. Just before the end of the month my beautiful mother turned three-quarters of a century old.

In September we started getting monthly boxes of Young Adult books from Literati for Adrian (love those books). Dance classes started up for Zeke and Mayci. I did the most complicated and beautiful hairstyle on Mayci that I’ve done so far (53 twists). The twins moved out of their cribs and into their big boy beds. We took four of the kids to the movies for the first time. Mayci went to dance camp at the high school and got to perform at halftime at a football game.

In October we pulled Nicholas out of preschool. We got the four littlest boys new church clothes. I did some fancy hair on both Mayci and Haley. We had some really cute costumed kids on Halloween.

In November Jamie and I went to see The Beach Boys again. Lola moved in with Cameron and Tami and it’s helped Nicky’s eczema so much (he’s allergic to dogs). We celebrated Jamie’s 46th birthday and one year since we adopted the kids by playing at a trampoline park. We got our family pictures taken. I started having more time to read again thanks to Haley playing with the twinplets six hours a week and the kids getting a little older and more independent.

In December Nicky suddenly started looking much older and bigger than his little brothers. Anthony’s dreams came true when we put a Christmas tree in our living room. My Daddy turned 77 on Christmas Eve.

And now here we are on New Year’s Eve looking forward to what 2022 will bring us. We know a few things like Trek for the big boys, Fritz being ordained to the office of Priest, Birthday Season ending with us having 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 14 and 16-year-olds, Ani turning 22 in February, Zeke turning 7 in March, me turning 44 in April, Cameron turning 21 in October, and Jamie turning 47 in November the same day we hit two years since the kids were adopted, and having kids starting pre-k, kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 9th, and 11th grades in August. Whatever else 2022 has in store for us, I know it will be awesome!

Halloween!

The kids had lots of fun this Halloween weekend. The celebrations started Friday with Trunk or Treat at the kids’ elementary school. Saturday we planned to go to Trunk or Treat at church, but various of us weren’t feeling too good after getting flu shots so only Adrian went to that. And then on the real day the kids went to Ani’s apartment and she and her friends took them around the complex trick or treating. So much candy!

Zeke the Red Power Ranger
Princess Anna, formerly known as Mayci
Anthony the Blue Power Ranger
Nicholas the Werewolf
Noah as Stitch #1
And Joel as Stitch #2
Adrian as Newt Scamander

Ani has always been the queen of putting together last minute homemade costumes, but Adrian is apparently even better. He found this random blue sport coat and got the idea to be New Scamander. He put on his church clothes, a tan jacket, and the sport coat and carried my Niffler. Totally nailed it.

Blue Ranger, Yellow Ranger, Red Ranger
Two Little Stitches

A simple rule…

I made a simple rule for myself that ensures I always read my scriptures, every single day. I am not allowed to read any books until I have read a chapter/section in the scriptures. Since I quite enjoy reading books, this works great for me and I haven’t missed a day of reading in months. (I also have Read Scriptures as one of my daily to do’s and I really like crossing things off my list so that helps as well.)

Wearing her hair down

I don’t usually let Mayci wear her hair down even though she regularly asks me to. She’s not yet five and plays hard and is just as likely to be sitting on the couch on her bottom as on her head. So generally I insist that she have her hair in protective styles like braids or twists to prevent tangling or breakage. Sunday before last I finally agreed to let her wear her hair down for church. She was so excited. And super cute. The funny thing is while hair like this is generally referred to as a Wash N Go, it’s anything but wash and go.

After her bath, where her hair was washed twice and conditioned once and then thoroughly rinsed out, Saturday evening, we worked her leave-in conditioner through her hair and detangled it. She wore her bonnet to bed as usual. Then in the morning I sprayed her hair with water until it was nice and damp. Then I added a lot of cream and worked it through her hair and detangled again (thanks to the bonnet there’s not much detangling to do in the mornings). Then I put some jojoba oil on her scalp and pulled it down the strands. I added some more jojoba oil to the ends of her hair since when left down those ends really like to get dried out.

I gave her hair a final brush with our magic purple brush. It leaves her hair in the prettiest little ringlets when it’s used in a certain way. To finish up her Wash N Go, I put a giant pink bow in her hair on the side. She is such a girly girl with a love of pink and bows so with a pink bow in her hair and wearing a lacy pink dress she’s really just living her best life.

As far as hairstyles go, it’s a pretty quick one, just about 15 minutes total. But that’s 15 minutes for a hairstyle that is only going to last looking this nice about 4 hours on such a little girl and adds some time to styling the next day since there’s more detangling to do than usual after wearing it like this. But she loves it so on occasion it’s totally worth letting her wear her hair down.

A Little Break

On Saturday morning four adorable teenage girls from church came over for a couple hours as part of Girls Camp. They said I could have them do any service I chose so I picked the best thing I could. I asked them to play with the kids while I went upstairs and read.

They took the kids outside for about an hour and then spent the next hour singing songs and playing The Floor is Lava with them. The kids had a great time and I think the girls did, too. The kids all ate huge lunches and Noah and Joel took long naps after they left.

About three hours later Anthony asked me if he could go outside and play with a bunch of girls. I guess he had a lot of fun with them!

Would you skip from 2019 to now?

Speaking in Conference, President Nelson was talking about the pandemic and how things have been and lessons learned and said some would probably like to skip from April 2019 to now avoiding the whole thing altogether. Adrian said he would, but then I reminded him that means he wouldn’t have six little siblings and he said in that case he definitely wouldn’t want to skip.

Adopting six kids in the middle of a pandemic has definitely been odd. Until things shut down we were having Elijah and Mayci over every other weekend. For a couple months we only ever saw them on Skype. Several planned visits to see their bio grandma and aunts and uncles have been cancelled due to exposure. We didn’t take them out in public all together for about an entire year.

I agree with Adrian. No way would I skip. Can you imagine what we would’ve missed out on if 2020 never happened?

I’m 43 today!