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.

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!

More pictures

A few more pictures from Saturday’s photo shoot with Jacqueline Eldredge Photography

All of Us
Another of all of us… and Fritz and Adrian are actually smiling!
Another picture of Cameron and Tami
Sisters
Mayci wanted her picture taken with Cameron last year. This year she requested Ani.
Just the two of us
A baker’s dozen
We always love how the all of us in a line pictures turn out.
Another picture of Zeke. He’s getting so big.
Another picture of Nicholas making a very Nicky face
Noah really wasn’t feeling the photo shoot again this year,
Joel was getting over a cold so he was only happy cuddled up with his daddy.
The momma and the papa… very soon post-op… Daddy had his kidney stones cleaned out one week and five weeks before this was taken and Mommie had a hip replacement three weeks before.
Twins on Shoulders
The ladies… Ani, Mommie, Mayci, Me, and Tami

My Kids

We got our pictures taken by Jacqueline Eldredge again this year and once again they turned out amazing. My kids…

Anastasia Sariah, age 21
Cameron James and Tami, both 20
Frederick David Harold, age 15
Adrian Lloyd, age 13
Ezekiel Franklin, age 6
Mayci Celia Kerry, age 5
Anthony Michael John, age 4
Nicholas James Alexander, age 3
Noah Moses Christopher, age 2
Joel Aaron Malachi, age 2

Beach Boys

Jamie and I went to see the Beach Boys Monday night last week. The last time we saw them was a whole decade ago. Now Mike Love is 80 and Bruce Johnston is 79 and they are still able to get around and have fun and sing so well.

The audience was mostly fans from when the Beach Boys was in their heyday, but the energy was high and the music was loud and it was so much fun. The mayor (who is my age) and his wife and son were there, too. Afterwards we were like wait, that’s… that looks like… yes, yes, it is (we love our mayor; fun fact: a couple years ago Cameron taught taekwondo to the mayor’s son for a few months).

It’s not unlikely that that was the last time we’ll ever see the Beach Boys in concert. After all, how much longer can a 79 and 80 year old tour and perform, plus San Antonio isn’t a very common stop on those tours. So I’m really glad my parents got us tickets to the show.

The Oculus

Fritz has been wanting an Oculus Quest 2 since before it was even released. About seven or eight months ago Adrian decided he wanted to buy his big brother one for his birthday.

Since January Adrian has not spent any money on himself. He has saved all his allowance and any money he’s earned watching siblings and mowing the lawn.

In March he realized there was no way he’d save up the $300 he’d need by July to buy it. So he texted his biggest brother and asked Cameron if he’d be willing to kick in the remainder.

Cameron, figuring there was no way Adrian would keep saving all his money and so would have to kick in much more than Adrian’s estimated $100, agreed and planned on pay for half of it.

We told Adrian we’d pay to upgrade it from 64gb to 256gb and pay the tax. So then we just had to wait several months until it was time to buy it.

It was a long, hard wait for Adrian. He had so much trouble not spilling his secret to Fritz. He almost told him so many times.

In the end, Adrian managed to save $215. That left $85 for Cameron to chip in and $132 for the bigger memory and tax from us.

While Adrian will get to play with the Oculus, his main reason for getting it was just to make Fritz happy. Fritz is genuinely the best and most amazing brother and helps with the other kids more than anyone else so being surprised with something he so desperately wanted was pretty awesome.

Developmentally Inappropriate

Adrian attended kindergarten at the same school Elijah goes to for about the same amount of time Elijah has been in school. And I’ve noticed something crazy.

Kindergarten is way harder now than it was in 2013-14!

I’ve heard from several friends that they’ve noticed this as well between older and younger kids being in kindergarten. I’m finding it to be very developmentally inappropriate now.

The question is why. Middle school seems about the same level for Adrian as it was for Cameron. So why are we frustrating little kids with a curriculum that makes absolutely no sense for them at their age?

Happy 2021

For a lot of people 2020 was pretty terrible. For our family it wasn’t so bad. We did, after all, adopt six kids so there was never a dull moment for us even in lockdown.

By the end of 2021 my kids will be 21, 20, 15, 13, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 2.

Four of my kids will finish 9th, 7th, kindergarten, and pre-k in June.

In August I’ll have kids in 10th, 8th, 1st, kindergarten, and pre-k.

Only Nicholas will be left at the preschool.

In April I will turn 43 and Jamie will be 46 in November.

Even with a pandemic going on, 2021 is sure to be another great year.

(I took these pictures on Wednesday which was glitz and glamour day at the boys’ preschool. I managed to get exactly zero with both of them looking at the camera.)

Happy New Year!