Every time we have a big family dinner we always have an assortment of pickles and olives. The meal just doesn’t seem complete without them. When Jamie’s parents moved to Ireland they gave us their very cool and unique lazy susan tray. It’s got lots of little bowls that fit together and hold the perfect amount of each type of pickle and olive.
Tag Archives: Cameron
Helping With Thanksgiving Dinner
I’ve been sick for several weeks with a respiratory thing. After prepping some things for Thanksgiving Wednesday night I woke up quite a it worse on Thanksgiving. Luckily we had already arranged for Cameron to come help cook Thursday morning.
Zeke jumped in and helped for a while, too. He worked hard on the green bean casserole. He loves helping in the kitchen (he also loves flashing that peace sign in pictures which totally cracks me up).
One of the things Cameron helped make was the stuffing. Chopping the onions for it of course made his eyes tear so I told him putting your head in the freezer can help stop the tears so he did it. Opened up the freezer and stuck his head right in (as it turns out it didn’t help much).
The best part of the picture I took with Cameron’s head in the freezer, though, was my mom. She got quite the kick out of him doing that. The only thing better than having much needed help with cooking Thanksgiving dinner is having fun while you do it!
We got our family pictures done a few weeks ago. This year I decided to just use bright colors for our shirts and though I worried a bit that they wouldn’t look right with the natural background, they turned out great. Jacqueline Eldredge always does an amazing job with our photos! (Pictures from 2020 and 2021, part 1 and 2021, part 2)
All of Us: (Back Row) Fritz, Cameron (Middle Row) Ani, Haley, Noah, Heather, Joel, Jamie, Nicholas, Elaine, Frank (Front Row) Mayci, Anthony, Zeke, Adrian
My parents, Frank and Elaine (76 and 77 years old)
Us, Jamie and Heather (44 and 46 years old)
Haley, age 23
Ani, age 22
Cameron, age 21
Fritz, age 16
Adrian, age 14
Zeke, age 7
Mayci, age 6
Anthony, age 5
Nicholas, age 4
Noah, age 3
Joel, age 3
Our traditional walking in a line picture! Ani, Zeke, Adrian, Nicholas, Jamie, Joel, Heather, Mayci, Cameron, Anthony, Haley, Noah, Fritz
Some days are just crazier than others
And yesterday was one of those days!
At 7:20 Jamie and Fritz left for the testing location for Fritz’s English II End of Course exam (insert rant about how stupid standardized tests are and how annoyed I am that they spent the last two months preparing for this stupid high stakes must pass in order to graduate from high school test).
At 8:30 Jamie took Nicholas and Joel upstairs when Noah’s ECI therapist got here. Noah has a tendency to let the other two boys do everything for him so we need to keep them separated during those visits. Noah did amazing this time. He spent the entire 45 minutes happily playing with playdough and parroted some words and even said a few things spontaneously.
At 9:45 Adrian texted asking if he took his Ritalin (answer: no, his father forgot to put it out for him). He said he really needed it (something about shooting the ceiling… no idea) so I headed to his school to give it to him and then immediately went to the elementary school to pick up Anthony.
At 10:15 Fritz let us know he was done with his end of course. This meant he needed to be picked up but I had The Beast at the elementary school and Jamie couldn’t leave the twinplets. So he texted Cameron (who happens to live near the testing location) and he was so kind as to drop everything and pick Fritz up and even got him Sonic on the way home.
Meanwhile, I picked Anthony up at 10:20 and we sat in The Beast in the school parking lot and did his med check with his psychiatrist right there in the van. We’re adding a fast acting ADHD medication dose after lunch for him. Medication is making SUCH a difference for him and hopefully that’ll take care of the afternoon impulsiveness and behavior issues. Mornings have been excellent and learning is finally happening.
Of course adding the after lunch dose means paperwork and so when I took Anthony back into school at 11, I went to the clinic (my second school nurse’s office of the day since that’s where medication must be given even when administered by the parent) and got the form for the psychiatrist to fill out. While I was in there Mayci saw me through the window so she popped in to ask if I could take her Fiesta Parade float home with me (of course) and as I left Zeke was lining up with his class outside the cafeteria so I ended up seeing all three of my elementary schoolers this morning.
I got home and by 11:15 I had filled out and scanned the medication administration form and emailed it to the psychiatrist to sign. Right after I sent that, they emailed me the thing to sign that tells about possible side effects of the medicine so I got that signed and emailed back (she doesn’t send any new medications to the pharmacy until that’s been signed).
Side Note: Tiny Scanner is the best app… I got it to turn papers we filled out into pdfs way back when we were applying to be foster parents and I still use it quite regularly.
So all of that happened before noon after which we had a bit of a break from all the crazy, though it was a busy evening, too. Right after school Zeke had his weekly ballet/tap class. After dinner, we got the kids ready for bed and everybody except Fritz got in The Beast to take Adrian to his 8th grade dance. Fritz had seminary at church at the same time, but he always walks so that was no different for him.
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.
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!
A few more pictures from Saturday’s photo shoot with Jacqueline Eldredge Photography…
We got our pictures taken by Jacqueline Eldredge again this year and once again they turned out amazing. My kids…