Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thankful day 29

Today I'm thankful for coming home. Sure, we have lots of laundry to do and unpacking and cleaning up but how wonderful it is to sleep in our own beds and get back into our daily life.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thankful day 28

Today I'm thankful for cool little bits of technology like figuring out "via" on the GPS and MP3 players and stuff on phones. They sure make life a little easier as long as they don't take over your life. :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankful day 27

Today I am thankful for my children and how each of them has affected me, both as a mother and as a parent. Today my oldest son turns 14. He was the first to enter our lives and the one who ushered us into the world of parenting. Happy birthday Michael!

Thankful day 26

Today I am thankful for traditions... specifically our "pie for breakfast after Thanksgiving tradition"... :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful day 25

Today I am thankful for my family, immediate and extended. Each person is important to me and I love them. Especially my own children, who are so unique and so talented. Without family, life isn't worth living.

Thankful day 24

Today I am thankful for safe travels through heavy rain (but thankfully no ice), cooperative children (yes, all 8), and short journeys for Thanksgiving. I am thankful for answers to prayers for safe travels and all that goes with them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful day 23

Today I am thankful for my washing machine. After last week's attack of the sickies and trying to get ready for a trip, I'm just glad to have my washer. I'm thankful the dryer is working, too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful day 22

Today I am thankful for living in a large city. Ok, on the outskirts of a large city. I am thankful to have places to go when they are making a large amount of noise and commotion while replacing our roof, that aren't expensive or far away.
I'm thankful that I have the 12 passenger van to take my kids somewhere while this is going on. Yes, and I am also thankful for the new roof.

And thankful that I have so many things to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kansas City Missouri temple- November 21st, 2010

We drove around the temple site again today. Very windy... you can definitely see the shape of the temple now. Enjoy!

We drove up from the south this time, from the new stake center site.

Thankful day 21

Today I am thankful for movies. It was so nice tonight to sit together as a family (I think we need one more rocking chair or even another loveseat in here...) and watch a movie together. We watched a new favorite, "How to Train Your Dragon" on BluRay. We watched it with the trivia track and everyone except the youngest 3 were reading the popups and learning cool stuff.

We have a lot of movies. Tom was employed by a company that worked closely with movies for a long time. We buy movies when we find the keepers. We check out movies at the library and Blockbuster Online, starting to use free codes at Blockbuster Express and Redbox.

Very rarely we go to movie theatres. Fun, but expensive. It's more fun to be able to watch them at home with everyone and pop popcorn. I think the last few movies we saw in theatres were Toy Story 3, Enchanted, and Monsters Inc. We went to the drive in a few times too when we were near one, in Amarillo, TX and Indiana, PA. I think we took the kids to Finding Nemo at a drive in Ohio.

We watch very few PG 13 and nothing R, just because we don't agree with things being included in movies that go against what we hold as our standards. There are still so many good movies out there even with that rule. We are really looking forward to seeing Megamind and Despicable Me and Shrek the 4th.

We love movies :) Time for another Star Wars marathon. Or Pirates of the Caribbean. Hmm.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thankful day 20

Today I am thankful for glasses and modern medical advances that allows for near perfect vision with glasses or contacts or even surgery. Michael was telling me the other day how his vision used to be before he got glasses 2 years ago. I don't remember life before glasses, I was 4. Tom got glasses when he was about the same age as Michael and he remembers how great it was to suddenly be able to see. They are both near sighted.

We also have, for the first time in our marriage, vision insurance. Here's to new glasses for the 3 of us, which is overdue...

Thankful day 19

Today (yesterday) I'm thankful for fall. I grew up in a climate that didn't have fall or winter. Sure, we called it that but putting leaves on the walls and windows and pumpkins everywhere didn't change the fact that I lived in southern California where we had no seasons. At least no CHANGE of seasons. I loved when I went to school at BYU and enjoyed my first real fall (other than just quick vacations away from home for Thanksgiving and such). Since then it has become my favorite season. I still love snow best of all but not always winter... winter is sometimes a favorite, sometimes second favorite. Fall is great with the cooler weather, no ice (yet), crunchy leaves, and Halloween and Thanksgiving to enjoy. Yes, even in Texas we lived in an area with 4 definite seasons. Ohio and Pennsylvania were my favorites but Missouri has had some beautiful fall colors. At least when we were able to get out and enjoy them between illnesses.

I love fall!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful day 18

Today I am thankful for neighbors. In Utah it meant someone who you talked to at church, or had a block party with and let the kids run around with in the yard. I'm remembering the Ballads in Provo, and our 3 neighbors in our 4-plex in Orem. In Kentucky I'm remembering the guy next door who was never home, and the other ones that had little kids like we did. In Ohio I remember the people in our complex that stole our deliveries and our Thanksgiving decorations... wait. Not thankful for that but for those that let us know. In eastern Ohio I'm thinking of the librarians 2 doors down. The library was two doors down. Homeschool family's dream. In Pennsylvania I'm thinking of the guys at the lumberyard across the field that helped us drain our flooding basement. In Texas I'm thinking of all those at church, the nice people across the street, the kids' friends in the four houses on either side, and now in Missouri, all the "Tom"s on all sides lol, Ed next door who we were friends with but he passed away last week, and the friends we're making here.

We have had some great neighbors. Growing up, Tom and I had great neighbors too who still remember us and we've found on facebook or talked to when we go to California or Illinois to visit.

You know who you are!

Thankful day 17

Yes, I was behind.

Today I am thankful for chocolate. Tom works for a chocolate company as of June this year, and I am thankful for that too. You need that little treat every now and then and it's even better to share. We all love Tom's discount. And here in Kansas City, there are even drive through Russell Stover stores...

Here's the website... I like the bloopers in the outlet section.

Thankful day 16

Today I am thankful for my breadmaker. When I just don't have time to make bread by hand, or when things are crazy busy or like the last few days, full of sick kids but we still need bread by lunchtime, the breadmaker is a lifesaver!

Here is ours...

We've had the same breadmaker since December of 2000 (MAYBE 1999, I am trying to remember if Emilie was born yet lol). It died last fall and my brother Jared got me a new one, same kind, for Christmas. I am happy to say that this 2nd one is nearing its first birthday and doing quite well.

I have some great recipes to share and you might just have to tweak the recipes to work for your climate... having lived in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and now Missouri, climate differences are crazy! Comment if you'd like recipes for chili cheese bread, cinnamon raisin bread, or a never fail buttermilk bread.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thankful day 15

Today I am thankful for a sense of humor. If you can see the funny side of things, it sure makes life better. Especially with kids :)

Kansas City Missouri temple- November 13th, 2010

So this evening we piled into the van to go see the temple site and then head to the pet store to feed Kenny the snake. So amazing how things are going! You can really see that a lot is being done now that the work is mostly above ground.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thankful day 14

Today I am thankful for pets. We've had a few... growing up we had a cat, named Katie. My dad is really allergic to cats so now that my allergies are worse I really understand better what he went through letting us have that cat and her kittens. I loved her. She died when I was in college.

Moving around the country we had many fish. Sometimes it was just Michael, sometimes everyone had their own. Some of them even survived our power outages and freezing temperatures. Eventually they all passed away before we moved to Missouri.

We've had Kenny the Kenyan Sand boa (snake) since February of 2006. Our kids have learned a LOT about snakes from him. They have learned about reptiles, carnivores, hibernation, mice, and the food chain. Even Christopher talks about Kenny having to eat the mouse. He is right now going into a dormant cold weather mode. We cleaned out his tank yesterday and I was holding him... even with the heat lamp he was pretty cool to the touch.

Benjamin got Cedric the dwarf hamster for his birthday this year. I think he's the most fun of all the pets we have. He has a ball he runs around the house (and sometimes out of the house with Benjamin and his neighbor friend) in, and everyone likes to hold him. He runs around his wheel for hours, and yesterday we gave him a baby carrot which was highly entertaining to everyone. Liberty loves the little furball that runs...

We love the animals in our lives, neighbors' pets, someone to love and take care of and be responsible for. They love Grandma and Granddad's dog (and Ariana and Amanda too) Chomper, where we stayed for 2 months this summer, as well as their cat, and Aunt Sherri and Uncle Richard's dog Charlie. Aunt Monica and Uncle Jeremy have a dog and a bunny they loved when we visited in April. And many, many more pets of friends and family.

Nathanael wants a bunny someday (dad says no) and I think we'll be getting fish again. Maybe a hermit crab or two.

Not only do these provide excellent learning opportunities but they also are part of the family. Even fish.

I'm thankful for pets.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Timothy is 4 years old!

Timothy is our 4 year old. He is amazing. He chose not to talk (other than learning the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors...) until he was 3 years old. He is making up for it now. He loves to make Liberty laugh. His best buddy is Christopher, who learned to talk right along with him and they say many of the same things. Christopher's big disappointment right now is that Timothy is using the potty and he isn't. Soon. Christopher is only 16 months younger than him. They both LOVE Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story. We have lots of little Buzz Lightyear figures around here. They loved Michael's big Buzz to death. There are a few beanie Buzz's. We even have a little Lego Buzz but he's packed up.

He's a big little guy, almost as tall and as heavy as Samuel, who is nearly 2 years older. (22 months apart like a lot of our kids). He loves picking out his own clothes. He likes going to Primary and Sunbeams now. He gets to give the scripture and prayer tomorrow. We'll see how that goes.

He likes singing in Family Home Evening. He doesn't like being read to, because that means we're going at a different pace than his own. He does like helping and listens well, but there are some things where he just dances to the beat of his own drum and nothing you say will change that.

Timothy loves to be active and figure things out. He hates help. He insists on doing it all himself. He will get himself something to eat. He will get himself something to drink. He will clean himself up. I think we were almost to the point he would have changed his own diaper if we hadn't started potty training. He loves puzzles. He can equally play alone fine or get along with others, as long as he's in charge somewhat. He is definitely a challenge to figure out some days but a joy to have around. We are glad he's part of our family.

Thankful day 13

Today I'm thankful for family. I'm thankful for my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, siblings, nephews, nieces, inlaws, and my own children. I'm thankful for church family, which has expanded over the year as we've lived in so many different wards (congregations) and have kept friends from these places even as we move on... I'm thankful for my online friends who are also my family. I'm thankful for friends that I just don't know yet, who will be my family. I'm thankful for the family I don't know, either because of distance in miles or distance in time.

I miss my grandma, I don't get to see her often, she's in Nevada and I've been in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Missouri. I miss my Papa, he died right before I graduated from high school and left for college. I miss my other grandparents who have passed on since then. I miss my son. However, I know I will see them again someday and that helps on the bad days.

What I try NOT to miss is the opportunities I have now, in this life, to build the relationships I have with my children, husband, and other members of my family.

Thankful day 12

Friday I was thankful for rain. I was hearing about flooding in Amarillo (where we moved from most recently) and hail and snow, and we were getting rain all day and listening to the sound and enjoying the smell, and hearing about the weather in places our other friends and family live. We are getting our roof replaced from the last big storm that blew through here in Kansas City so I hope it doesn't rain next week but I sure am grateful for the rain right now. It makes everything clean and beautiful. It keeps the grass growing in the spring and summer. It clears the air.

I love rain.

My husband laughs at me because I remember growing up and thinking that rain reminded me of Christmas. Only in Southern California. :) I remember one rainy December day coming home from school and my mom lighting a fire in the fireplace and warming up and doing my homework by the Christmas tree... :)

Thankful day 11


Thursday I was thankful for medical advances in the world. Namely, things like Tylenol and Aleve. I'm thankful for doctors who know what to do when, and for medical discoveries that help us be healthier. I'm thankful for nurses who are helpful and listen. (and this is not all doctors and nurses... but a good portion of them.) I'm thankful for all those who give their time and talents to help others be healthy. I'm also thankful for those medical professionals who know not to do too much and to trust parents' judgement and intuition as well.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankful day 10

Today I am thankful for music. I especially like that my phone plays music, LOUD lol, and MP3s like talks from our church's General Conference. I don't have headphones and I don't think there's a jack on my phone... so everyone gets to hear my music. I have kids' songs, church music, country music, and lots of other stuff on there and sometimes I just put it on shuffle and take it as it comes. My kids and I like the surprise of what comes next.

I grew up with music. We sang songs together growing up. My mom always said she couldn't sing but I am thankful she DID and does. I remember her singing me to sleep. I remember her crying as she sang hymns in church. I remember her singing Primary songs with us.
I remember Dad kind of singing. He would say he had the hymnbook memorized and didn't need it at church. I remember being little and watching to catch him miss a word... I don't remember if he did or not. We used to listen to oldies 8 tracks on road trips. I still would love to have copies of all those songs. It would be fun if it was in the same order as on those 8 tracks, because I used to remember what song came next as a kid. They were 8 track tapes recorded from Dad and Mom's records from growing up.

I used to listen to songs in Dad's garage when I went to go watch him work. He listened to country music and would tell me about the singers and what was going on in the music world.

I grew up singing in school choirs, at least until orchestra took more of my time. I learned to play the recorder at one point. I played violin in elementary school and loved being part of a group to make music. Mom would come to every concert. In junior high I switched to the viola, though still keeping up with the violin. I preferred the lower, richer tones of the viola even though my husband claims they're just there for the off beat. Yes, there are many viola jokes. I had the opportunity to play the viola in church a few years ago in a viola duet with a very talented player. My husband promised to get me a viola when we got engaged... still hasn't but he HAS given me 9 kids, the viola will come later I guess. I played viola in junior high and high school though I did stop high school orchestra to be more involved in some other activities at school and prepartions for college. My experiences with orchestras help me share with my kids the joys of classical music as well as musicals. "The Pit" at our high school musicals were some fun memories.

I always enjoyed singing in church choirs and small groups. I am NOT a soloist.

Now we sing as a family. Mostly for family home evening, we also sing other songs including songs with our movies and songs from "They Might Be Giants" and Weird Al Yankovic. The older kids have MP3 players and it's neat to see what choices they make for songs to put on there.

The kids notice the soundtracks of movies and music playing in the car and at different locations. They discuss the instruments played and instruments they would like to play. We are working on getting our kids in piano lessons, maybe trading with another homeschool mom for basic violin lessons.

Music can lift our spirits, can teach us, can bring enjoyment as well as learning. I love music.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kansas City Missouri temple- November 7th, 2010

This is so exciting! Yes, we missed a week between all the excitement of Halloween and kids still being so sick, but look at the changes! There is a structure there above the ground level! You can definitely see the shape of the temple. So it's been 2 weeks, but we were rewarded for our patience. VERY cool!

Thankful day 9

Today I am thankful for Sam's Club. Isn't that enough? Here in Kansas City they have the least expensive milk, eggs, chocolate chips, bread flour, yeast... all the essentials. Plus they often have other items that are our favorites at prices that beat anywhere else. We like their brand of toilet paper. Bananas, unless on sale elsewhere, are the best price there. Cranberries are GREAT there at this time of year. We like getting their case price on ground beef, 90%. (love having a chest freezer). We get the large cans of fruit, pizza sauce, 5 lbs at a time of pasta, and many other items that can't be beat. The key thing is we buy Sam's Club brand items in bulk, and other items of other brands but only if buying them there beats the price found anywhere else. Cheese is also a great price there, as well as pepperoni.

Yes, I love Sam's Club, even though I am slightly miffed at them for not having either the 7 lb size of powdered sugar or the 15 dozen eggs case when I was there yesterday.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thankful day 8

Today I am thankful for disposable diapers. I know it's not good for the planet, and we try to do our part by potty training quickly lol, but wow, what a time saver over the course of 9 children. I am also thankful for having successfully potty trained 6 children and that we're about to start another...to have JUST one in diapers? Is it possible in the Valencic household? Trying to remember...

We were in college when we first started having children and the cloth diapering options at the time were ultra expensive and time consuming... we knew how to bargain shop and stocked up on disposable diapers and while we've used a large part of our income on diapers, per child it hasn't been very expensive with the deals we find... just adds up when you have three in diapers at once, which we've done twice now. Correction- 4 times.

We've been changing diapers since November of 1996... one in diapers then, 2 in diapers starting October of 1998, 3 in diapers starting April of 2000, oldest potty trained soon after so 2 in diapers again until July of 2001 when we had 3 in diapers for nearly 2 weeks... and then 2 in diapers again until September 2002 when 2nd potty trained. So 1 in diapers from September 2002 til March of 2003, when child 3 was ALMOST ready to train... March 2003 we had 2 in diapers until July of 2003 when we had just 1 in diapers again... January 2005 we had 2 in diapers again until June of 2006 when 3rd boy potty trained. November of 2006 we had 2 in diapers again. March of 2008 we had 3 in diapers, and in June or July we potty trained the 4th boy and had 2 in diapers again... November of 2009 we had 3 in diapers again... October of 2010 we have 2 in diapers again after potty training the 5th boy.

Summary- 1 in diapers- 3 times, when we had our first, when our 3rd lost her baby brother, and when our 5th was a baby.
2 in diapers- 7 times, when 2nd was born, when 1st potty trained, when 4th passed away, when 5th was born, when 6th was born, when 7th was born, and now when 7th potty trained.
3 in diapers- 4 times- when 3rd was born before 1st trained, when 4th was born for those 12 days, when 8th was born, and then when 9th was born. The longest time was the year from when baby 9 was born til little boy was trained just a few weeks ago.

Long and boring and full of useless information for my own remembering.

Thankful day 7

Yep, missed this yesterday. Today (yesterday) I am thankful for the friends we have met in all the different places we've lived. The neighbors, the instant family through our church, and the people we have gotten to know over the years. And we haven't lost any of these friends- just haven't seen them in person for a while! Yesterday we had a chance to get to know some people in our new ward a little better as they invited us over. (yes, all 10 of us... brave family!)

Very very thankful for friends, from our oldest friends that we've known since we were very small to the new friends here in Missouri that we've only known a few months or less.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Happy 1st birthday to our Liberty!

Our baby girl Liberty, that is. Otherwise it'd be the 4th of July, wouldn't it... hmm.

Liberty Rose turned 1 on November 4th :)

Liberty had a good day. She didn't start getting her 1st year molars until the day AFTER her birthday, and her parents were too dumb to realize why she was upset.

We love this little princess and are so glad to have her as part of our family. She is happy so much of the time, but if she decides to be ornery, watch out! She has an attitude. She loves her family. She is happy to see anyone who pays attention to her. She is SO close to walking, she only lacks the confidence to take off on her own. She walks to Samuel, she laughs at Emilie, she tackles Timothy and Nathanael, she jumps on Michael, she grabs Benjamin, she talks to Christopher, she growls at everyone, she laughs at Dad, she talks to Mom, and she charms anyone who sees her.

She says Mom, Dad, yeah, no (shaking her head) and she waves hello. She steals Mom's phone any chance she gets. She chases dogs, she waves at the zoo animals, and she tries to escape out the sliding glass door.

She likes pancakes, applesauce, anyone else's food, chocolate milk (her whole milk with a tiny bit of Nesquik), crackers, homemade bread, her birthday cake, bananas, potatoes, and the mystery food she found on the floor under her high chair.

She has blonde/red/brown hair with dark hazel eyes. Her hair isn't as curly as Emilie's or Michael's. We'll get more pics up soon but for now, enjoy her birthday party pictures with her family.

P.S. Our digital camera COMPLETELY bit the dust just as we were starting her birthday celebration... so first there are pictures from the camera from earlier in the day, and the rest are from our cell phone cameras. We bought this digital camera right after Samuel was born, so not bad for it to last 6 years... and take such great pics for so long!

Thankful day 6

Today I am thankful for weekends. Especially Saturdays. It's a chance to recoup from the week. From homeschool and daily routines from Monday through Friday. From Tom working and commuting. From early morning Seminary. From daily errands, bill paying, etc. Saturday can be a day we can just be a family and spend the day doing things we want to do. Of course, many times there are things scheduled outside the home that makes Saturdays a little more hectic, but today is one of those days we don't have much going and we can enjoy the fall weather, recover from 2 weeks of illness and craziness (2 Saturdays ago I was at the hospital with Samuel with pneumonia, last Saturday was Halloween weekend and we had lots to do between Boo at the Zoo and Trunk or Treat... and everyone was still on antibiotics...) so this Saturday should be nice. No emergencies!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thankful day 5

Today I am thankful for our good health. Samuel got a clean bill of health from the doctor today after his bout with pneumonia. Everyone is either healthy or well on the way back to good health. Only takes one day of being sick to appreciate how great being healthy is.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful day 4

Today I am thankful for answers to prayer. There are some prayers that are urgent and immediate and you remember saying them. Some prayers are repeated often, like for good health and safety...

A little after 7 this morning, Tom calls me and says, "Well, I'm glad we prayed for safety this morning!" and proceeds to tell me of the accident that missed him (and that he swerved out of the way) by a foot or less.

We don't always get to see the results of our prayers. We don't always get an idea of "what if we hadn't...". Today is one of the days we did. Tom was able to make it safely to work without incident, though with a lot of adrenaline after such a narrow miss.

The major interstates of downtown Kansas City were probably in a snarl for a while this morning after the accident that he narrowly missed. I truly hope everyone was alright. Tom says traffic was not at full speed, so there were probably no injuries, just delays. I am still thankful that my husband made it through without incident. Our little miracle car is still up and running (anything hitting it would have totaled it, I think.)

I am very thankful today for answered prayers.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thankful day 3

Today I am thankful for an internet connection that allows me to accomplish so much with homeschooling, connections with friends, and learning.

Sure, we waste time, too. Things like Facebook seem to take more time but I love keeping in touch with family and friends, so part of that is worth it.

Email, websites, message boards, information, connections, music, movies, downloads, sharing pictures across the miles...

Love my DSL.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thankful day 2

Today I am thankful for the right to vote, and for all the men and women who fought for that right. For so many, it is only something thought about, dreamed of, and hoped for. Don't take it for granted.

Tom voted this morning and I will go in a few hours. We made sure we were registered to vote in Missouri as soon as we got here.

Remember to exercise that right! And vote responsibly, know what you are voting about!

November- remember to be thankful!

30 days to be thankful.

(I'm a day late... so here's yesterday's post...)

Day number 1: I am thankful for two working cars. Even though one makes funny noises, steams and smokes in the middle of traffic, and seems to barely make it through the week, it still saved us time, money, and a lot of trouble when it showed up on Craigs list this past February and we're very thankful for it. We bought it to go back and forth 2 miles to work in Amarillo, Texas, a relatively flat area of the country. It has now made it from Texas to Missouri and from Missouri to Illinois and now from home to work in downtown Kansas City. And there are some great hills here in the river valley!

I am also thankful for our 12 passenger monster van that has also come from Texas to Missouri, to Utah, to California, to Illinois, fits everyone with room to spare, and serves as a spare in case of problems. Also works for Scout campouts and youth temple trips. We bought it right after Christopher joined our family.

We are blessed!

We've only had two other cars before these two... our OTHER Ford Escort, our first car bought when expecting Michael, and our Ford Windstar we got before Nathanael was born. We also borrowed Amanda's car for a short time when she was on her mission.