The Best Parenting Hack Ever

We don’t give our littles electronics very often. Last summer the three older ones got about thirty minutes a day. We’ll do similar this summer. This means getting to use a tablet is a BIG DEAL for them.

So we got the idea to get a Fire just for doctor and dentist appointments. That’s the only time they get to use it. This means they are now excited to go to the doctor AND they are nicely occupied while waiting.

Seriously the best parenting idea we’ve ever had! (Though it doesn’t work for Noah – he’s just not really interested – and Anthony tried to convince us he was sick, and when that didn’t work injured, in order for us to take him to the doctor.)

December Reads

I read 13 books in December. I started out with Secret is in the Bones by Heather Sunseri. Definitely a five star book. It’s part of the Payne’s Creek Thriller series. Every time I read a book by her I lose sleep because I can’t put my Kindle down. Next I read Dr. Andrews by Andrea Kate Pearson. Another five star book. The author asked me to read it for a specific purpose. I knew the plot because I had dragon edited it. I very much enjoyed the final product. Then I finished The Pearl of Great Price. That completes my trip through the four standard works I started back in 2019.

My next book was Frederica by Georgette Heyer. That was a three star book. I wouldn’t have read it if it wasn’t our book club book in December. Then I read The Curse of the Holy Pail by Sue Ann Jaffarian. I gave it four stars. It was silly and fun and a great mind vacation. Next I read a way overdue ARC (the book came out in 2018), Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi. That was another four star book. I laughed a lot. It was a very interesting look into a young life with the added stress of always having the potential to be deported hanging over her. Then I finished reading Insurgent by Veronica Roth to the big boys for their bedtime story. I gave it two stars. I’ve read it before of course but I had forgotten just how utterly annoying Tris was in that book.

My next book was 100 Cupboards by ND Wilson. I rated it three stars. I was actually quite disappointed I didn’t love it since so many of my friends raved over it. Then I read The Bobbsey Twins on a Houseboat by Laura Lee Hope. I gave it four stars. It was my favorite Bobbsey Twins book when I was a kid. I swear even though I was reading on the Kindle I could smell that old book smell since the last time I read a Bobbsey Twins book it was one of my mom’s old ones. My next book was Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney. That was a two star book. I seriously do not understand the popularity of books about old people looking back on their depressing lives.

My next book made up for that one, though. The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie was a 5 star book. I love her writing and, bonus, she liked my tweet linking to my review so that was an extra geek thrill right there. Then I read The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson. I gave it five stars. The anecdotes about the Herdman kids were extra funny since I’ve got so many very active kids myself. I finished up my December reading with another five star book, Gossamer by Lois Lowry. That was such a sweet, gentle, fanciful story.

All together I read 93 books in 2021. That equaled a total of 29,716 pages. My favorite book of the entire year was A Solitude of Wolverines by Alice Henderson. I had to put my Kindle down a few times to settle my racing heart. When they say it’s a book of suspense they mean it. My least favorite book of the year was Foster and Adoptive Parenting by Kenneth A. Camp. It was just so bad and absolutely laughable that this guy was presenting himself as an expert after fostering just one child starting from infancy and adopting him a few months later. The child was only 5 when he wrote the book. Add to that the guy had quite a Savior complex and it was just a terrible book.

My reading goal for 2022 is 100 books. I’ve read one so far so just 99 to go!

46 and One Year

Forty-six years ago Friday the most important guy in my life was born. One year ago Friday we doubled our flock when we adopted the most amazing six kids in the world.

To celebrate, we went to a trampoline park and jumped for an hour (in between interviews with the news and meeting with some people from the adoptions unit of DFPS – a year later we are still very weird). Then we came home and had cake and pizza (in that order). It was a good day.

A trip to HEB

We decided to be brave and take all six littles to HEB on Saturday. For a long time because of COVID we didn’t take any of them anywhere. We’ve been taking one or two with us to stores the last couple months. This is the first time since last February that we took all six anywhere at the same time (and that was to the zoo).

We got them loaded up in two carts with the twins in the seats and the toddlers in the baskets. I had talked to Elijah and Mayci ahead of time about walking properly and staying by us at all times and not asking for everything they see on the shelves.

These kids are pretty much angels. They all behaved so incredibly well. They were all antsy by the time we were finishing up of course, but they listened to everything we said. A couple times I had to remind Elijah and Mayci about our conversation, but as soon as I did they remembered to do exactly what I had asked them to.

The only problem was when we got some baby food suckies. Those are great for when someone is hungry in the middle of the night. Joel decided he was hungry right then (and, to be fair, it was just about lunch time so he probably was). I ended up giving him a sucky and having the checker throw it away after scanning it.

Anthony really liked arranging the food around himself in the basket. The bagger, Chris (we know his name was Chris because Mayci walked up to him and very politely asked what his name was and then introduced herself to him), handed each bag he filled to Anthony. Anthony felt very big to have such an important job to do.

We only had a few things to get. No way would I do a full grocery shop with all six (we get the majority of our groceries delivered from Wal-Mart and only hit HEB for things Wal-Mart doesn’t carry or they didn’t have/we didn’t like the substitution). But for a quick one it was just fine. Two adults are absolutely needed, though, because it would’ve been completely insane with only one cart and two places to put little ones.

All the products

Over time the number of products we use on the kids’ hair has grown. Every morning I pull out the ones I need (there are way more products and what not in the cabinet than pictured here). I am so looking forward to the day I can keep everything on a rolling cart and little hands will leave it alone, but that’s still a few years away.

Two of these products were each used on only one child, two were used on just two children. Only the water (in the blue spray bottle) was used on all of them.

Through trial and error we’ve found what works best on each kid’s hair and then when the weather changed this winter through even more trial and error we found what works best for each kid again. With at least three distinct hair types between them this means a whole lot of product!

The Silver Lining

Two years ago Trump was throwing a temper tantrum which was the longest government shutdown in history. Jamie, being essential, was working but not getting paid until it was over. So many people, known and unknown, were incredibly kind to us. So we decided to pay it forward and that’s why we became foster parents and ultimately adopted our six little ones. So now that Trump’s reign has finally ended, at least there is one positive thing that came out of his presidency.