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!

First Day of School

Five of my kids were off to school this morning. There was a little hiccup when Anthony refused to get in the van because he thought bringing his nap mat meant he was going to the preschool (they have naptime in pre-k), but we got him in the car and once he realized we were dropping him off at the big school all was well. Nicholas thought it was entirely too early to be arriving at preschool (he’s not wrong). The twins are enjoying being the only little ones home and having their Fritz all to themselves (the virtual school he’s attending doesn’t start until next week).

8th Grade

1st Grade



Last Year of Preschool

Summer Schedule

Zeke and Mayci definitely operate better when they know what to expect and have things to do so I made them a schedule for the summer and it’s been going great.

We start the day (WAY too early) with a snack and whatever they want to do (Anthony and Nicholas are home at that point, too). They eat breakfast about 8 while watching something they choose on TV and then go outside to play. We drop Anthony and Nicholas off at preschool camp some time between 9 and 9:30. Zeke and Mayci keep playing outside until 10.

At 10 they come inside and have a snack while watching Little Einsteins or Bluey or some sort of other edutainment. Then they play with a selection of toys that changes every day. They get to choose which they play with and for how long, but are only allowed to play with whatever was put on the table that day (or they can look at any of the books in the living room).

While they are playing with toys I call Zeke and Mayci in one at a time to do a lesson in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. We do one or two lessons a day depending on how well they are doing and what sort of level of focus they’ve got. We’re about twenty lessons in and both are doing great with reading. It’s easier for Zeke since he started learning in school last year. He’s improved a lot already. It’s pretty new for Mayci. She knew her letters and the sounds they make and had practiced isolating initial sounds of words, but she had never blended sounds into words before.

When they finish their reading lesson they return to the table to continue playing with the toys. Meanwhile, Adrian does his chores and straightens up the living room and then he gets his computer time for the day. He spends 45 minutes on Adventure Academy, 10-15 minutes on DuoLingo, and 45 minutes to an hour on Code.Org/Hour of Code.

After asking me every single day the first week if it was the day they go back to school, I made a calendar that shows each day between now and the first day of school in August and has a countdown for how many days are left until the first day. I also put all the birthdays during birthday season (which begins with Adrian’s birthday on Saturday and ends with Mayci’s birthday the beginning of August) on there as well. Each day around lunchtime we go to the calendar on the wall and go over the day, date, and how many days are left until school starts again. Currently they also want me to tell them how many days until they test for their new belts in taekwondo and how many days until Anthony starts taekwondo. They really like to see what day it is and how much time is left of summer break. Since I put that calendar up they haven’t asked once if it’s the first day of school.

We have lunch at noon. They always watch an episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates while they eat. Fritz and Adrian used to love that show, too. One or both twins joins them eating and watching depending on if they are napping at the time or not.

After lunch they go upstairs for an hour of quiet time. After quiet time they watch an episode of Sesame Street. That’s followed by another snack while watching Bluey or some other very short show. Once their snacks are eaten they go back to the table to play with toys again.

On Mondays and Wednesdays they get ready for taekwondo about 3. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I call them back in one at a time for computer time. They get 20 minutes on ABCMouse (we might try out Homer in a couple weeks) and 10 minutes on CodeSpark.

While one is having computer time the other does two pages in their Summer Bridge workbook (Adrian also does two pages in his Summer Bridge workbook most days). During the rest of their sibling’s computer time they either watch the other play (because kids really like watching other kids play on the computer) or go back in to play with toys on their own. Sometimes they keep playing with toys until Anthony and Nicholas come home and sometimes they watch something on Living Scriptures.

It really is amazing how smoothly our days are going with this schedule and amazing just how much they enjoy the schedule. It really makes them happy.

Adrian’s favorite part of the day

Every weekday we get up at 6:20 to get the six littles ready for the day. We leave the house about 7 or so and drop Elijah and Mayci off at the elementary school. As they get out of the van I always say, “Have a great day Mayci, I love you! Have a great day Eli, I love you!”

Then we head to the daycare to drop the middle two off at preschool. As they head in to use hand sanitizer after getting their temperatures checked, I always say, “Have a great day Anthony, I love you! Have a great day Nicky, I love you!”

Then we head home with the babies. Adrian gets up at the same time as the littles so he can get ready for the day and do his morning chores. A little before 7:30 he heads out of the house to the bus and after he puts on his mask an backpack I always say, “Have a great day Adrian, I love you!”

He often says that is his favorite part of the day.

Third Quarter for the Littles

A week or so ago we got winter progress reports for the toddlers. They have skills and conduct requirements listed and mark beginning, making progress, or mastered for each.

No surprise Nicholas got making progress or mastered for everything and his teacher wrote that he is just a joy to have in the class. His personality is so much like his big sister. They both charm everyone.

Anthony has a little more trouble with a few concepts and behavior. He got mostly making progress and a couple mastered and beginning. His conduct in class is mostly between beginning and making progress which is a big improvement from a few months ago.

Early elementary grades are 1s, 2s, or 3s and are more like the toddlers’ beginning, making progress, and mastered idea than grades.

Elijah got all 3s in music, PE, and health and mostly 2s and 3s with just a few 1s in conduct, reading, math, science, and social studies. He can orally count to 39 with no mistakes and can identify all letters, both upper and lowercase, and their sounds (though the sound y makes trips him up a bit still).

Mayci got all 3s in PE, science, social studies, conduct, and fine arts. She got mostly 3s and a few 2s (no 1s) in language arts, reading, and math. She can identify all the uppercase letters and all but two lowercase letters and the sounds all letters make. She can count to 29 orally with no mistakes and objects up to 16.