Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Homework

Kennedy had her first homework assignment, which she waited a whole 10 days to get.  She was told to draw a picture that represented our family's escape plan, if a fire were to happen.  Without being told what to do, she drew herself standing under the stop sign across the street from our house. She drew a bright sun, and later added fire flames that didn't quite reach her place of safety.  She was very proud of herself.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Birthday Boy

"Isn't it a great day for a birthday?"  Kolby said to me after he woke up Sunday morning.  "Sure is buddy! Happy Birthday!"  Kolby turned 8 years old, which is a big deal!  He decided he wanted to be called "Birthday Boy" all day.  It totally made his day all the times I remembered to call him that.

Kolby actually got to begin his birthday celebrations a day earlier.  Saturday afternoon we all went rollerskating at Skate City.  Kolby has been asking to go every day since school got out  last May, because he had coupons.  Finally the day came.  He was thrilled.  So were his siblings.

During one of the skating games that were played, Kolby managed to be the last skater not eliminated.  His reward was choosing between ice cream or cotton candy. He chose cotton candy, which he freely shared with his siblings.

Since none of the kids have really been skating too frequently, they were all a bit shaky on skates.  Everyone except Kamy hugged the wall the entire time as they skated around. Regardless, they had a great time.

Kolby is a genuinely happy boy.  He loves to do flips and ride his bike around the block.  He still plays star wars and makes the best sound effects.  Kolby would love to live in water if he could.  He likes to get dirty and could care less about being clean.  He beams when he's complimented and loves getting one-one-one attention.  He requested sausage penne for dinner and waffles with huckleberry sauce for breakfast.

After church, we took our family picture. Even with a sleeping Kimble, and everyone being silly, it's still a great picture!

Kolby got some more darts for  his dart guns (he's been out for a while and sadly shoots at things, only to have nothing happen) and he got all the stuff necessary for him to be a cub scout.  This, he is most excited about, and gets to join Keaton this week at scouts.  He also got a set of scriptures, for that is the gift our kids get when they turn 8 years old and be baptized (which he will be in a few weeks).  Last of all, he got a pair of roller blades.  This was met with whoops and hollers. He was so excited, and put them on immediately.  After practicing in the garage, and along my carpeted floor, he wore them after I sent him to bed for the night.  This morning, I woke him up for school, to discover him sleeping with them still strapped onto his feet.  I guess he really liked his gift!

I made him a candy bar cake, which everyone liked (surprising, since we aren't really cake people) and he blew out his 8 candles after he made a wish.

It was a good day for a birthday indeed. Happy Birthday...Birthday Boy!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Holy crap I've been busy.  I feel like I started a job. Well, I kind of did.  I started selling my things at a local Farmer's Market.  I didn't have huge success at the one in our little town square, so I began looking for other markets to sell at.  I found one up in my old neck of the woods, and it was a Saturday market.  Since they already had their vendors set up and filled up, I was  put on the "fill in" list.  Luckily, I was able to get in two weeks in a row, and I received so many compliments on my items!

"This is the best thing in this market!"

"Either you are the best at what you do, or you are the first of what you do. I'm guessing it's both, and I LOVE your stuff!"

"This is genius."

"You are so clever!"

"I just had to come over and see your stuff!"

"You've started a trend around this market.  Everyone is wearing your headbands!"

Last weekend, I brought 60 headbands to the market, along with my other baby stuff, and left with only about 8 headbands.  Kamy was a great helper/salesman too.

It's been so fun.  People of all ages have been buying my headbands. Most of them wear the headband immediately, then walk around the rest of the market. Then other's notice them, ask them about it, come over to my booth, buy some, wear them, and then walk around....repeated over and over again all day. Almost all of the other vendors also bought my headbands, and wore them, so it was great advertising.  My ears are ringing with compliments, and I'm overwhelmed at the response.  It's really been great....but I'm exhausted!

I feel like I've been sewing for three weeks straight.  I've had to make lots of krinkle toys, bibs, and headbands, losing count of how many headbands I've made after it reached 100.  I still hold true to my "No two headbands are the same; I make each one unique."  I'm having a lot of fun.

Still, I'm taking these next two days to pause.  Relax.  Put away the sewing machine and CLEAN MY HOUSE!  I also have a lot of blogging to catch up on.

If you are interested in headbands, I can create according to the colors you want. Simply email me (kamyrensmiles@hotmail.com) and we'll get  together!  Eventually, I'll put these things up on Etsy.  For now, the local business is keeping me very busy.  I even made a contact with a successful company, who LOVED what I made and wants to "talk further". 

Anyway, just wanted to explain why I've been absent as of late.  Hope you all are still sticking around.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy {4 Year} Blogiversary!

Last week, on the 18th, I celebrated four years of blogging!  In four years, we have moved four times, gained (more than) four pounds, lost (more  than) four pounds, had one more kid to add to the existing four, supported The Husband as he changed jobs four times, learned four new skills (ok, maybe more) and have had about four (hundred) life-changing moments.

Let's journey through the last year, but feel free to revisit the blogiversaries from Year 1, Year 2, and Year 3.

Perhaps the most interesting post written to The Husband for his birthday.

Organizing blankets, Donating Blankets, The News story, all in honor of Kimble and his two cardiac baby friends turning ONE!

We took pictures of our new house, officially became home-owners, and had an unexpected hospital visit with Kimble that resulted in one of my favorite pictures ever!

Christmas for the Girls; Christmas for the boys.

Our Family Newsletter 2010.

In our family, singing Happy Birthday makes the dogs howl.

Speaking of singing, I love to eavesdrop on Georgie's songs.

Adding up what you do everyday can be more fun than actually doing it.  So can listing Household facts.  But if you find yourself super bored, you can simply write up some bios on your family members.

I was no good at rollerblading, and haven't been since.

I started working out, with my first experience at the gym being Spinning Class!

Kimble's heart is growing!!

Kolby actually showed remorse for the first time ever!

Kimble starts walking!

Burning Love.

My little Georgie is now my little Kennedy.

Mother's Day with all five of my kiddos!

We have another heart baby reunion.  What big boys!

Here is what I do all day long.

Scavenger Dates are the best!

I love seeing what changes four years can bring.

Even two years can bring a lot to ponder about.

Thanks for reading!!  If you want to take a minute to leave me a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts!  Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


With the kids being in school now, I've had a lot of quietness saturate my days.  It's really been lovely.  I'll admit, having the daytime with just Kimble and an empty house has been just what I needed. I feel that I'm not a very patient mom unless I build up a reserve.  Now, school days are my reserve.  Kimble and I get things done around the house in the morning.  We play together and watch Backyardigans together.  He vrooms his cars around downstairs as I sew things to sell at the local Farmer's Market.  Then, he has lunch and takes a nap and I have a completely quiet house for almost three hours.  I feel spoiled.

While doing my morning cleaning, I found a shirt in Georgie's Kennedy's drawer that use to be Kamy's.  In fact, Kamy wore it on the first day of first grade.  Here's a picture of that day. Kamy and Keaton were walking to the bus stop, so excited to go to school together.  I loved that moment in time.  I can't believe how big my kids are getting now. 

Kamy is becoming a young lady, so tall and lean and poised and so eager to learn new things.  Keaton is almost 10 now and although he's always been thoughtful and sensitive, he seems to be more in focus lately, like he's beginning to understand who he is now.

Kolby was doing really well all summer, with his attitude and focus, but since school has started, he seems to have reverted back to his old ways of throwing fits and lying about doing his work and getting frustrated way too quickly.  I'm sad to see this happen.  It seems we might have to try some medication afterall.  He had one month of it during the summer, and when discussing how it made him feel, he said he felt more focused and willing.  Other's noticed a difference in his attitude as well.  So we'll try it for another month and see if it helps him in these new challenges that school and schedules bring.

Kennedy is very happy about school.  She is eager to get things ready the night before by laying out her clothes and picking up her room.  She loves to walk to school with the boys and gives her teacher hugs every day.  I'm so happy that she is happy.

I mentioned before that I'm selling stuff at my local Farmer's Market.  It's been going...ok.  We have made a little bit of money every time, but it hasn't drawn the crowds like I thought it would.  Last night, a gusty wind storm plowed through our area, that had everyone holding down their tent canopies.  Unfortunately, the canopy  we had borrowed from a friend completely collapsed on me and broke to pieces.  I'm unsure if it can be salvaged.  After dismantling all the pieces and putting all the set-up stuff in the van, I was left with a few hours before the market closed.  As a rule, if you set up a booth, you stay 'til the end. So, I sat on my ice chest and had my basket of items sitting on the grass next to me.  Amidst the wind and the raindrops, I talked to passer-byers  and still solicited my items.  Some people came over and looked at my stuff, perhaps out of pity for me.  I ended up selling a few things.  People really like my headbands!  I have a new market to sell at this weekend, downtown, which is a bigger crowd-drawer. Hope to make some sells then.

Last week, after a big hefty rainstorm, all of us were in the van, driving to a Cardiac support group, when we came upon a rainbow.  However, the unique thing about that, was that we were right at the end of the rainbow.  It actually started on the pavement in front of us, and then lifted into the sky. It was so cool to see. I tried to take a picture of it, but unfortunately, it didn't come across in the picture.  The kids all looked for the pile of gold that is sure to be found at the end of the rainbow, but someone else must have beaten us to it.  Darn it.

Since the weather has been nice, The Husband has been biking to work almost daily.  Not only does it save us money on gas, but it gives him a good workout twice a day.  Plus, he looks like a hottie in his biking shorts!

I've been dying my hair for at least 8 years.  Persistent onset of early graying jumpstarted this routine.  Normally I stick to a color very close to my natural brown, with some auburn highlights. Last week, a very bad thing happened.  The box color wasn't what I anticipated, and I was left with a very coppery mahogany type of color. I hated it.  It just didn't match my coloring.

So what did I do? I went to the store and got some "de-color" thing that's supposed to remove the color that was just added.  Then I got another color that was supposed to be what my hair normally looks like.  After the "de-color" treatment, my hair was brighter orange than a carrot stick.  It was coppery and almost blonde in some parts and I was sickened that my hair would be completely damaged.  With caution, I went on to the next step and did the brown box color, hoping that it would mask the orange.  Well, it did, but only slightly.  I have an almost maroon haze to the brown, but it's much better than copper orange.  Now, to get some hot oil treatments.  All the dying has left my hair so dry and damaged. What a bummer.  The thing that started this was that the stores didn't have the kind I normally buy. I'll blame the stupid store, and hope they get it back in stock!

Look at Mr. Kimble!  He sure is enjoying his baths more. He likes to splash around now, play peek-a-boo with the shower curtain, and he'll even lay down on his tummy and play with his toys, while in the bath.  What a cute boy!!

Finally, I applied for two "creative writing" type jobs.  I would love it if I got one!!  We'll see.

Monday, August 15, 2011

You Only Have Your FIRST Day Once

Kennedy's first official day of school was today.  Since she didn't go to preschool, today was her very FIRST day of school...ever.  She'll have more first days for every grade level, but never again will she have her first FIRST day of school.  She couldn't have been more excited.

Kennedy painted this picture, in preparation for school.  "I have to learn how to paint so pretty, momma", she said.  Afterall, there is a painting easel in her class that will surely be occupied as much as the teacher will allow.

After school, I asked Kennedy about her day.  She said "We read The Gingerbread Man and I swing-ed and I learned how to chew with my mouth NOT open...and I forgot everything else."  Sounds like a good day to me.

PS:  Thank you for the comments about the prior post.  I still haven't picked a specific story, but I have narrowed it down!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Job?

So here's the thing. I got inspired this week to look for a job as a copywriter, or in essence, a job which you make things more interesting through the written word.  So I came across one specific job, and I'm applying for it.  (The great thing about writing jobs, is that it can be done from anywhere...even from home, while sitting in your cozy jammies with your bowl of oatmeal cradled in your lap as your one-year old scales the kitchen table looking for any forgotten cups of milk to toss overboard.)

Here's where I need your help!  The job application requires a few writing samples.  Those of you who have been with me for a while, have read through the different stories that I've posted.  Stories from my daily life...stories of my childhood...heartfelt posts regarding Kimble...

I have some contenders.  What do you think about these stories?
The Jacketless Hood
A Most Disgusting Story
The Perverted Math Teacher  (Too risque?)
The Stalker Mailman
The Tale of the Bike and the Scooter
Look Ma! No Hands!
Stupid things I did as a kid
A Play-by-Play of my day

Signs of Pregnancy
Midnight Expectations
Looking back on the last two years (my husband's vote)

Are any of those stories worthy of a "writing sample"?  Which ones were the best? Whether it made you laugh or cry or touched your heart....do any come to mind that I should submit in conjunction with my resume?

Just as another side note, the company I'm applying for is family oriented. They actually want someone who has kids, so they can add that experience when writing.
Please let me know!!  I plan on applying for the job tomorrow.
Thanks for your help!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


The Tooth Fairy was one day late. When disappointment came,  I suggested to Kolby that she might be charmed into coming if he wrote her a nice note.  This is what he wrote:

The kid doesn't mince words, does he.  "Kolby has lost a tooth.  Ples lev mune."

I guess it worked. He got two dollars the morning he woke up for the first day of school, which he spent half of today, getting an ice cream cone from the meandering ice cream truck that spends all day driving in circles around our house.  Some things are just too tempting, when you've got two dollars burning a hole in your pocket.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

School Bells Are Ringing!

Ah. The first day of school.  No matter how much you prepare, it still seems like the morning swarms around you like a rabid tornado.  "Go brush your teeth.  Well, brush again!  It's not good enough.  Where are your shoes?  We had them set aside last night with your clothes! Who didn't change their underwear?  Keep the bathroom door closed!  No, you cannot watch tv.  Where is your backpack?"

School starts earlier this year, than it did last year.  My elementary-age kids have to be out the door at 7:05am and Kamy leaves at 7:20 (she is a big Middle-Schooler now!) so we have the makings for an early start around here.  Even with having the kids set out their clothes and do their chores the night before, there is still a lot of chaos going on, most of it a result of not listening to me the first time I say something.

The kids were all excited for school to begin.  Last night, they met their  teachers and got to know where eachother's classrooms were.  Kennedy, most especially, was excited to see her classroom and discover her name already printed on a cubby hole.  It was so hard not to tell her teacher that her name was Georgie.  As it turned out, Kennedy walked right up to her teacher, shook her hand, and said "My name is Kennedy!"

Unfortunately, Kennedy doesn't start school today, with the other kids. She gets to go into class later today, to have more of an orientation, but doesn't officially start until Monday. Although I prepared her for this, she was still sad when the other kids went to school, and she had to stay home. To make up for it, I'm painting her nails a pretty color later today.

I hope it's a great year for them.  Horray for the first day of school!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2 Years Ago...

Yesterday was a serene day for me. I had a lot of calmness, quietness, and thoughtfulness flood my senses as I thought about what has transpired from that emotional day, two years ago, when I first received the news during my followup ultrasound: "Your baby has some very serious heart defects and won't survive after birth without immediate intervention."

I thought about what a wreck I was as I drove to my friend's house to pick up my other four kids, and how I tried so hard to mask my emotions, but failed miserably, as my friend who was equally pregnant, comforted me without knowing what was wrong until I could manage to talk.

I thought about that following weekend, as I tried to relax my mind enough to sleep so that I could escape the consuming worry and dread for a few moments.

I thought about all the times concerned people called to comfort me, and to get more information on our baby's diagnosis, and how it just didn't seem like this should be my reality now.

I thought about all the followup ultrasounds I had for the next three months, each time receiving more of the puzzle pieces to this new world that we were now a part of, and how with each appointment, ultrasound, NICU tour, or consult we had, the news just kept going from bad to worse.

I thought about  the day they told me he had a cleft lip as well, and how I suddenly understood the phrase "it was the straw that broke the camel's back".

I thought about the day he was born.  Holding my sweet baby for two minutes before he was taken to the ICU.  I remembered falling asleep across his NICU bed, with our hands touching, my arms aching to hold  him. 

I remember getting moved to The Children's Hospital, and the feeling I got when I heard the words "Of course you can hold him!"

I remember the anxiousness of waiting for surgeries to be completed. Of seeing my baby's tiny chest go from perfection, to scarred.

I remember that one terrible night post-surgery, and how I stood with my husband's arms around me as we watched our little baby go between life and death as his whole team of doctors and nurses swarmed around him all night and worked as though their hands were guided by our Father in Heaven.

I remember the relief I felt when after five weeks of hospital life, they said "You and your baby get to go home today!"

I thought about those months at home before his next surgeries, and how I treasured every moment I had with my baby Kimble; relishing the fact that I could hold him without the hindrance of cords and monitors.

I thought about that morning before his third surgery, when he was 7 months old, and how I truly believed that would be the last time I would get to hold my sleeping baby against me, and feel his slow and steady breathing and have his heart beating against my chest.

I thought about how relieved I was, when he recovered so fast from that surgery, and I was able to take my sweet baby home again with me.

I thought about when he turned one.  A moment I didn't dare hope for when I first heard his diagnosis.

I thought about when my baby took his first steps at 17 months old, and then nothing could stop him from moving and exploring the world. He was no longer a weak and frail cardiac baby.  He was strong!

I thought about all of this yesterday, as I watched my Mr. Kimble play "vroom" with his toy cars, and "raaahhrr" with his dinosaurs; how he stood by the door waiting for someone to make the mistake of not closing it all the way so that he could escape outside; how he curled up with his blanket and held onto his binkie when I put him down for his nap; how I came home from the farmer's market to find Kimble sitting on a kitchen chair, sharing some dinner with his daddy; and finally, how he curled up next to me in my bed, as we watched Master Chef, listening to his giggles and rubbing his back as he gave me loves.

Two years has brought some significant changes to our little household.  Kimble is now 21 months old, 25 pounds, and growing out of his size 4 shoes.  He likes to use a fork at dinner, has been weaned from  his bottle, and is starting to like "swimming" in the bathtub.  He repeatedly climbs atop our dining room table, steals knives out of the dishwasher, and goes for the bathroom any time someone neglects to close the door.  It is a struggle to keep him happy during the first hour of church meetings, he loves fruit, and still takes two medications every day.

We love you so much, little Kimble.  Every moment, every struggle, every hardship...it was all worth it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Recipe Book #2

It's been almost two years since my recipe book came to be.  (See sidebar if you don't know what I'm talking about.)

Is anyone wanting a sequel? Please (please please) leave a comment if you do.  I need to know if there is enough interest!

I've posted 37 new recipes on this blog, since I first made the cookbook.  I have more new ones to add too!  There is definitely enough to make another book.  Yes??

Friday, August 5, 2011

Slip Slide

Since our kids are only allowed to play in our yard, a neighbor brought over their slip-n-slide for all the kids to play on one afternoon.  It was a welcoming relief to the heat, and the kids played on it for a few hours.

Kennedy's approach was to slide until she came to the big water spray, and then stop before  she hit it.  Kolby ran down the yellow slide (laced with dishsoap to make it more slippery) until the end, then he made a big splash as he jumped in the pooling water at the end of the slide.

 Keaton slid the whole way down, whooping and hollering the  whole way.  Kamy rolled down the slide like she was rolling down a grassy hill.

 Kimble just watched them all like couldn't figure out what the big deal was, and stayed as far away from the water spray as he could.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Playing in the Rain

We've been lucky to have daily late-afternoon thunderstorms over the past three weeks or so.  It's been a welcoming relief from the 90-100 degree weather we've had for a few months, and helps make for a cooler start to the evening just when you think your house can't get any hotter.

Usually, I've called  my kids inside when it starts raining.  This particular day, we stayed outside and enjoyed the rainshower.  Kimble was absolutely thrilled. He doesn't get to go outside very often (because he won't stay in the boundaries of the yard) and it's a chore to constantly run after him and keep him out of the street, or make sure he doesn't trip over the steps, or lose his balance on the rocks.  So between the freedom of being in mom's arms, and having the funny-feeling rain falling down on him, he was in heaven!  Of couse, we still had to save him a time or two, from his own dangerous "know no fear" attitude, but he'd just get right back out there and have more fun.  (Please excuse the fact that we are really low-key about having Kimble wear proper attire whilst at home.  He "normally" has pants on when we go places, but not always when we are home.)

Kennedy thought it was raining so much, that she needed extra protection, hence the life jacket.

Of course, the boys found some fun while splashing around in the accumulated gutter water along the edge of the road.

Everyone complained when I said it was time to come inside.  I'm glad they all had fun.  Getting wet in the rain is fun, when it's done with intention.

Kolby's Letter

I really love it when the kids write me letters and notes, especially when it's a letter of apology.  One night, a few weeks ago, after being sent to bed, Kolby came up and asked if he could get a piece of paper and a pencil.  We said "yes", surprised that he wanted to write anything at all, but eager to meet his request, even if it was after bedtime.

A few minutes later, he handed us this letter, looking very repentant.

"To Dad. Love Dad,
I am sore (sorry) that I brok the tawl henr (towel hanger).  Hav my mune (money) insted of 10 bar (bare) bum spankin (spankings) for a punishmint.  Frum Kolby.  Sore! (Sorry!)"

Well, we've had problems with this certain towel rod in the kids' bathroom since we moved in. As many times as we've patched it and re-mounted it, it just won't stay in the wall.  It happened to fall off as Kolby was drying his hands after washing them (he actually washed his hands without me standing over his shoulder!).  He was so worried about breaking it, and getting a punishment, that he decided to try to entice us with his money instead of getting "10 bare bum spankings".  Now that's curious in itself, because I've never given my kids bare bum spankings.  I grew up getting spanked, and don't really have fond memories of it, so I don't spank my kids.

The most amazing thing about this letter, is that Kolby showed thought, and he also showed remorse, and then acted on his own to try to make resolution.  I'm thrilled with how Kolby is trying to learn, and trying to choose the right.  Now, we just need to work on his spelling!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Krinkle Kut

In desperation to earn some money, I'm finally starting to sell my handmade items.  Last night, I set up a table at our local Farmer's Market, which happens once a week in our little town square.  Excluding the ten dollar entry fee, I made 42  bucks.  Not terribly bad for a first time, especially since the market got rained out.  I'm hoping more people will do what they said, when they told me last night "Are you going to be here next week?  I'll come back and buy this..."

A few months ago, I set up an Etsy account, and called my store Krinkle Kut.  I don't have anything in it yet, but I will.  I'm hesitant to post things online, and then sell them locally.  So I'll have to figure out how that will work.  At any rate, right now, I only have four types of things that I'm selling, in varying colors and fabrics.  Here are some examples.

Chenille Burp Cloths

Corduroy Bibs

Krinkle Tag Toys

Rolled Flower Headbands

I plan on adding to the mix.  I've got more things to sell, I just don't have a surplus of those items made yet.  When I get things listed on Etsy, I'll let you know, and I'll have it linked on my sidebar.  If you are in the market for any of these items sooner rather than later, contact me!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Friendly Breakfast

I'm the type of person who really needs friends.  I mean, I think I'd be in a state of depression if I didn't have enough friends around. Whenever I move to a new place, the hardest thing for me isn't packing my house, or unpacking it, or deep cleaning, or the stress of the new job/school etc.  It's that I'm super lonely and just plain out of whack, until I get friends.

So even though I have moved away from this group of girls, I'm still so happy that I get to see them on a somewhat regular basis.  Last weekend, one of these girls (Kendra) who moved away a year or two ago, was traveling through and had a few hours to spare. We gathered together for a quick breakfast at Colleen's house, where we talked and laughed and discussed everything from babies to gardens to school choices to insurance.  It was a great morning. I'm so glad for friends!