Saturday, May 29, 2010

welcome to colorado!

Yay, this is my official, we have moved post! I have finally dug a path to the computer and there is an end to unpacking insight!!

After our amazing time at the Grand Canyon we decided we just had to make it all the way to Colorado in one day, so we loaded up our cooler with Monster and Starbucks and headed along the 10hr drive, 11 if you count the 1hr detour through the dirt paths of kaibob forest only to find out , to our dismay, that there was a locked gate on the other side....grrrrr....but we did snag a few glimpses of wildlife so we were not deterred.

once we made it to the Ft. Carson hotel we were thrilled. We got two rooms and threw 4 kids in one and helped ourselves to the other, with Pike in tow. It had been a week since we had that much privacy! Early the next morning we headed over to meet our new home. Beau was soo excited and so were the kids. Paxton announced to them that we arrived in Kellorado and he loves our house. Of course, every time we leave it, he asks if we are going back to Kellorado, so maybe soon we will break it to him that the house is not exactly the entire state. We have tried to correct him and inform him that it is actually Colorado, but he quickly corrects his speech flawed parents so now we all love Kellorado :)

We spent days purchasing appliances, choosing paint, window treatments, etc. We wanted to get as much done as possible before the boxes came. we stayed in the hotel for week and worked on the house daily. We werent getting it done with enough speed so we imported a worker/decorator/painter from Tennessee and things starts moving :) Our first project was the kitchen redo. My husband is so sweet that in spite of all my tantrums about the builder and the house he was kind enough to let me move all the appliances the builder chose into the garage and choose all my own. By "let me" i mean he literally carried them down 2 levels and installed all my new ones himself. I have to say i am smitten, with him as well as the appliances. We went for the biggest stainless frenchdoor fridge we could find. Our friends the Slates tempted us by showing off their fabulous model and it was love at first sight. So far so good, food is cold, Haagen Daas is frozen, kids are getting their own filtered water from the door and we are loving life. We snagged a vent hood microwave. I didnt really care about microwaves (i have a future goal of living without one) but Dan the Appliance Man suggested it would give us more counterspace. He was right, its great having it out of the way. Thanks Dan :) Then there is the oven. One reason Beau went for the kitchen re do was unbenounced to me until we went for our visit with Dan. Apparently Beau has secretly allways wanted a convection oven. He was spoiled at his parents house with one but post after post the army kept forgetting to install ours so he immediately chose this oven. Strange how much this pleased Dan. Not sure why he would be so delighted with our new cooking arrangement, but nevertheless it was a good choice. It has something called super boil that works in less than a min, and preheats to 450 in 5 mins. We have traded gas cooking for an electric flat top and couldnt be happier. Never again will i take apart fifteen pieces just to clean the stove! Love it!!!! Last but far from least there is the dishwasher. Who knew it was so hard to install one? this took hours, which Beau successfully used to avoid an abundance of door to door salesmen. It was soo worth it. I never thought i could love an appliance as much as I love Pirannah but he is my new bff. He has three spinners compared to my last one which only contained one. This is nice because i can put a bowl or big skillet on the bottom and the top rack still gets clean, but his biggest and best feature, his namesake if u will, is the fact that he has a disposal right in the bottom. No more washing plates before they go in, i just toss em in bits and all. Who knew i could be besties with a Pirrannah?

oh yeah, there is more than just a kitchen lol. We chose to paint the living room blue. Inspired by the amazing scenery at the Grand Canyon we wanted to recreat that orange/blue sunset in our own living space every day. it also helps that we have a huge window with a gorgeous view of the mountains during the day, and the city at night. As I sit here typing I feel like im in one of those high rise hotels with a grand view. Thanks again to my hubster who was able to ignore my constant complaining long enough to pic a great lot without my input. Around lot picking time i think he may have been getting the silent treatment lol. This gave us a slanted backyard, but it is well worth it for the amazing view we enjoy all day long!! Thanks to my artsy friends Martha and Theresa who encouraged me to go for it with the blue and not to be too scared :) and to Grammie and Beau who painted with their fingers crossed lol.

The playroom is great but totally not done. full of boxes etc, but i have big plans :)

Pipers room is of course pink and princessy but still a little unfinished.

Pearce and pike are sharing the "ocean" room. Inspired by a target add I just had to do it. We got the ocean bedding and began to paint. Beau was skeptical so Grammie happily complied and made me a stencil. We got to work and even dad jumped it. it looks so great and all the kids love it. couldnt have turned out better!

Paxton and Parker are in the basement although you could never tell. another thing I complained to Beau about was things looking "basementy", but they dont. it is amazing. it is just as beautiful as the rest of the house and they love having their own space. Paxton has a nintendo room painted "bowser's shell" green, he came up with the paint color himelf :) Parker is still undecided and Im not pressuring him atleast until our room and the playroom are done. Like me he is overwhelmed by choice so we are currently taking suggestions on 11yo boy rooms??

In short, we have a great new house. a thousand more sqft to work with, 4 levels , 5 bdrms and a playroom, 4 bathrooms (praising God for this one most of all) and a nice yard i never have to water! maybe soon I will dig a path to the front door and see Colorado Springs beyond my living room window :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

oh how Grand

In the last 2 days we have become that cheezy tv family....but it is sooo much fun :) Today Beau and I took our 5 beautiful children to one of Americans most beautiful places. The Grand Canyon! When we arrived in our tank tops and flip flops we immediately noticed a few things....

1. just because it is Arizona, dont mean its hot...its flippin freeezing

2. it looks just like the pictures, only more breathtaking. almost as if The Creator hand carved it it and hand painted it with a heavenly paintbrush....wait....He Did, they just forgot to put that on the signs :)

3. we have no clue what the heck we are doing!!!!

so begins our day....

We wake at 6am as usual, get all dressed and head to breakfast with 5 hungry little mouths in tow. due to realization number one, we are all sporting nice new overpriced Grand Canyon shirts and will be doing the canyon in style. we look at some maps and viewing sites and see so much info our heads or spinning, we have no clue what is realistic with all 5 kids or how to get anywhere. Thank goodness we found Jared. This Jared did not sport diamonds, but he was just as valuable.....he lives in the Grand Canyon (yes i know, news to me as well, 2000 people make the canyon their home) and he has an adventure bus. Really it was a jeep, but the kids found it much more exciting to ride the adventure bus.

our first stop was the Grand Canyon National Forrest or Kaibob Forrest. Jared taught us we can eat sagebrush and juniper berries, and how to identify trees with pine nuts. If we get lost in the woods now, we are set!!

Eventually we made our way to the canyon. we saw The Battleship, a rock formation that looks just like a ship parked right in the canyon. see pic above. We learned that canyon squirrels love people and will pose for pics, also learned they bite :) The canyon itself is a sight to behold. It looks just like a picture and yet a picture does it no justice. We were perched on the southern rim, and it looks like the north rim is just a few hundred feet away but Jared swore it was twelve miles across. We knew there are plenty of spots without a guard rail and in spite of the dangers we wanted the real canyon experience. Thanks to babywearing 2 kids were secure, keeping the others alive was a mere test of parenting skill. Parker fell off at one point (also see pic above)but managed to climb his way up with a smile. Aside from that we passed with flying colors and all of the fab 5 made it back safely. After 3 hours we said our goodbyes to Jared and his canyon. Thanked him for all the info and water. It couldnt have been more perfect (envision Beau and Courtney high fiving Griswald style sporting uber sunburn and fat grins)

There are some downsides to the Grand Canyon. The food is disgusting. there are 3 resturaunts and we tried em all. BLEH...We were so desperate for tasty treats that we were compelled to eat rattle snake. We can add it to the list of weird kempe eats (reindeer, deer, moose, buffalo, bison, alligator, ostrich, ostrich eggs, emu eggs) but it was by far the nastiest. All kids tried it except paxton whom we now consider our smartest lol. Hope we have better luck at the next gas station.

We are done at the Grand Canyon for now but hopefully someday we will be back. We conclude one adventure only to begin our next, on to Colorado!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

what i did on sunday that changed my life

Not sure how much it will change, but I guess we shall see. As of sunday night i officially became a Kindle reader!! woo hoo. I downloaded my first ebook. Ill spare everyone the suspense and divulge my book, dun dun dun duhhhh Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Yes I know, those of you who know me are finding this to be an odd choice. Beau is still confused. The bottom line is, I asked everyone I knew what they were reading. Im totally tempted by the vampire books, but dont want to get sucked in, lol, cheesy pun intended. I love a good Bible study, but just not as fun without my ladies and I couldnt convince any of them to stow away atop The Beast and ride with us to the Grand Canyon. So I poked around the New York Times bestseller list and this was number 8 that day. So for 9.99 I am the proud owner of a book on running???

I have to give a quick shout out to the Kindle. Had I been at the local bookstore, i never would have chosen this book. It was just so easy to hook up the the 3g network and click purchase, that I was able to have it before my second thoughts or price consideration was a factor. I leapt right in to the world of Kindle and the water is great. It is so thin and light I can nurse a baby and use my one free hand to hold the Kindle while turning pages with my thumb. My buddy Angela reminded me how good a book felt in hand, so i was worried that i would never find the Kindle love however in 1 hr or two I learned that the Kindle feels different, but just as good. Im not sure ill ever want to mess with real pages again! even tried the Kindle Bible at church and found that if I get any faster at looking up verses, I will be inside Pastor Harms brain or selling psychic services! In short, love love love Mr. Kindle :)

As for the book, yeah its about running. Why I really chose it? well, the quick Kindle summary mentioned the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico who run and run for days at a time while kicking a ball. Once a few years back I encountered them briefly and found them fascinating. No I wasnt backpacking through the desert (although now thats on the to do list) I was watching one of the first Road Rules seasons and the crew met up with them and ran a race. Not sure why I remembered this, but i did, and with a swift click I planned to learn more. I dont allways get my Bible time in, and as a Christian who desires to do this daily, there was some guilt involved when resolving to read a non-Biblical book. I promised myself I would not engage in junk fiction. Whatever I chose , i was going to learn something, and so I have.

The book is about running, but the author isnt that much of a runner. It is a "how to" book of sorts. It is also a great anthropology read on the Tarahumara. A great diet book too! Come to think of it, its a bit of an autobiography with a splash of inspiration. As if all that weren't enough it gives an amazingly vivid geographical depiction of the mexican deserts complete with all the beauty and danger posessed there. If you didnt respect and appreciate that part of this continent, you will now. Id recommend it to my fil who is plagued with foot problems yet desires the benefits of regular excersize. Id recommend it to all of my mom friends who are forever in pursuit of the smaller pair of jeans. Id also tell any friends who are depressed, board, or searching for more within themselves to check it out. Of course its for the runner, both amateur and avid and for anyone who loves a challenge. For anyone interested in other cultures particularly Mexican cultures, but there are many more to learn from as well. it has left me with an awe for the perfect machine God created when he master engineered the human body. It has left me with a new attitude and love for the job I do everyday thus id recommend it for anyone who isnt in love with their job or has a task they arent quite sure they can accomplish. Truly this book is for everyone and if the author could improve it at all Id suggest he leave running out of the title :) in hopes of snagging a few non running readers like me!

I read this book from the point of view of a Christian wife/mother/woman who loathes running. I finished this book with a new outlook on my roles in this life and maybe just maybe a 5% chance that ill go running in the near future, up from zero its an improvement. It made me a better friend. ill never again pretend to be listening as carrie goes on and on about how far she ran today or ignore one of manda's fb posts about her latest running accomplishment. Forevermore, i get it, i appreciate it, and i know there is so much more to it than feet on pavement, both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Though there was some evolution mentioned, I still think it is a great read for today's Christian. For a creationist there is nothing more inspiring than listening to someone describe all the massive details that went in to something God created in the blink of an eye. There are lessons on selflessness, kindness, materialism, perseverence and last but not least it does contain a breastfeeding cameo about a running mama who ran 90 miles stopping to nurse her infant at checkpoints. Did I mention the babywearing Tarahumara men and women who sport infants as they run no less than 40miles and if thats not cool enough, there is one american mama who runs the same distance sporting her 4yo on her back. Had to throw those out there just in case none of my mama buddies have found any reason to read it by now :)

so in short, I love my Kindle, and I love the first book I read since the last time i was moving. Check it out!!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Learn to Love

Learning to love was a long road for me. I started out life a mean girl. I'm sure many of you can attest. I was the mean girl in high school for sure, but it started long before that. In kindergarden I put a rock from my shoe in another girls ear, by age six i was a pro at giving an indian sunburn, I had dirty looks down to an art form by grade school. Still not sure where it all came from but I was a meanie for certain.

I was blessed with my first child ,Parker, and guess what. It seems he inherited a little bit of my meanie! He peed on a child at preschool, he bit, he threw blocks, he was me with red hair! Beau braved the meanies and we were married. I still had a little bit of meanie in me but as I moved around, made new friends and experienced the world, God worked it out. I think I was 20 by the time I was truly able to be happy for another person. To be joyful for something that didn't benefit myself in some way. Kindness and Love for others sure felt good, much more so than the meanies. I thank the Lord everyday for taking the meanies away :) He has even helped us work out most of Parker's meanies as well, turning him in to a sweet and Godly young man!

Because I lost my meanies I was able to be blessed through friendships that have molded and shaped my life and taught me many lessons. I met Linda who taught me to love alaska and finally got me to enjoy it. Without her Id still have no clue that real maple syrup comes from Vermont and not Mrs. Buttersworth. I met Martha who taught me to look for answers in the Bible, and she also taught me that the worlds largest chocolate fountain resides in alaska and I can take a trip to the choc factory any time I want, It is my right as an American:) Without the meanies, i had alot of extra time on my hands for making friends. I met Carrie who taught me to babywear and cloth diaper. Cathy who showed me how to homeschool. Jen from Texas who taught me to make garlic bread out of hot dog buns, and how to make and love mexican food. Mary who showed me the joy that comes from making special moments with friends amidst the busiest of mommy dayz. There is Theresa who taught me to love and appreciate a good photograph and myself :) and many many more along the way. Just think, if i still had my meanies, all the friendships i would have missed out on. All the love I would have lost.

Looking back, I am thankful for my days as a meanie. There was only one of me, but I have been entrusted to raise, nurture and help develop 5 beautiful personalities. Each one has the potential to become a meanie. To judge others, to ridicule, to become self centered. My first hand experience will help me recognize these behaviors. To squash it before that nasty little seed has a chance to grow. Of course they wont be perfect, they will have their moments, but they will not be meanies. Not if I have anything to say about it :) and fortunately I do!

To all of those who endured my meanies, I say thank you, thanks for not choking me to death and drop kicking me to timbuktu! Im sure I deserved it, and I truly apologize. To those who never met my meanies, consider yourselves oh so lucky! and to those who where around during my transition time, arent u proud of me , look how Ive grown :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why so many?

As I am preparing for the day (guzzling coffee and hiding from toddlers) my thoughts turn towards the questions ill be answering as we explore the world. Undoubtedly I will receive 2 or 3 "Are they all yours?" a couple of "Don't U know what causes that" and maybe I'll hear a new one. I get it, people are joking, i take it in stride. I know when I choose to do things a little differently I'm gonna get some comments. Doesn't bother me really. But I thought if I answered some questions before I head out the door today, maybe Ill shop uninterrupted?? or not lol

The first questions is why? Well there is no real answer to that. My dad has a HUGE family. My grandmother gave birth a dozen times or so. But my moms side just had 1 set of twins. Beau and I both have 1 sister , so its not exactly in the family, although I definitely inherited Grandmama Kelly's fertility genes :) Many people assume its because we are religious. Definitely not so, we started working on the Fab 5 long before we were walking with Christ, however it helps for sure. We are able to trust God to provide for us and he always has. We have always had plenty of food, a large enough home, and plenty of wants fulfilled along the way and the Lord has always provided the means for me to stay at home with my Blessings and to homeschool. All births but 1 accompanied a promotion which has been Awesome!

We love our big family and all the challenges that come with it. Our children go everywhere with us. For this purpose, we drive THe Beast! yes big families have amazing benefits but there are some issues to overcome. The vehicle is one of the first. Sure mini vans are great but after 3 kids you realize they are called MINI vans for a reason. We still use ours for most things but when we travel as a pack only The Beast will do. I have a love/hate relationship with him. He is large and definitely in charge. Technically he is a diesel Ford Excursion. He has a few extras that earn him his beastly title. First, he has been lifted, as in high school boy, but it does serve the dual purpose of entertaining both children and dads alike. Second, The Beast came complete with a bling bling grill. This is where my superior rap skillz came from. Other than rap skillz, there really is no purpose for the grill. Kids love climbing into The Beast from the back, Moms love using their inner Hercules to toss a carseat complete with 20lber all the way up in there. I just recently received the license to drive The Beast after almost a year of avoidance. I have to say it is nice and not quite as difficult as I thought. There really is no trick to it, people simple move out of your way. The Beast has his downside though. He gets a whopping 14mpg on a good day and might as well suck hundred dollar bills right into the gas tank. As someone who cares about the environment, its not exactly ideal, but i do cloth diaper, let the yellow mellow, and force the hubster to ride a bike to work. My meager attempt to compensate. He also does not work well for covert operations or drive thrus. He is the correct height but that does no good when the engine roar prevented them from taking your order in the first place.

Our next most common question is typically, How do you afford them all? Well that part is easy. Hand me down clothes, cloth diapers, and an overt lack of spoiling. We probably have as many toys and gadgets for all 5 as the average family has for one (minus baby carriers but i gave up jewelry for those :) . We resupply for holidays and birthdays and thats about it. As for food, just buy healthy stuff that doesn't taste great. This makes you a great mom because you provide only healthy stuff, and trust me, nobody eats as many healthy treats as they would fruit snacks and potato chips. Individually packaged products are also out the window (minus the secret stash of Barbie fruit snacks just for mom). No soda, no juice boxes etc. Warning, This does make your kiddos all super eager to visit the neighborhood angel with a superb pantry stash :) But it also makes the kiddos super appreciative of treats and sweets and a trip to the ice cream shop is soo much more special.

The last question I plan to tackle is of course, the infamous "Are you done yet?" Id lean towards yes but I've said that before. 2 or 3 times actually. We aren't planning on adding another blonde haired blue eyed creature to the world anytime soon, however nothing permanent has been done. It definitely isn't out of the question and The Beast does have room for 1 more :) but things are busy and 5 bdrms are hard to come by (as we have recently learned). So you get no real answer on this one, for now it is up to God. Id like to grow another arm first, but we'll see, bigger miracles have occurred!

And so I'm off to drag 5 children to the dentist! Much more fun than just one dontcha think :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ode to Mount Washmore

Laundry is Life. That is my motto. As my family has grown, so has mt. washmore. He has gone through quite an evolution. In the beginning, he was more of a lump. There were just 3 of us and at the end of each day, I'd do all the laundry, fold it, and put it away. No biggie. Occasionally the rebel in me would skip a day or two, which added little to no change in the laundry routine. Even as we added another child, and became a family of four, Mt. Washmore became little more than a hill. We had a basket in each room and every other day or so I'd carry them down to the basement and back up to the top floor once all was nicely folded. At the time, we lived in Alaska. I quickly became pregnant with child num 3. We moved into a bigger house, and soon the Mountain began to grow. How can a baby add soo much laundry to a household? She is so tiny, its just not possible. Just when you think you have it all done, you discover yet another full basket in a room you forgot, or a pile that was hidden under a bed in order to make room for laundry basket races down the stairs....I swear that elves take our clean clothes and dirty them before we can even wear them, but nonetheless a change had to be made. The mountain had to be conquered and eliminated , and I had a solution. A laundry basket in the living room! sounds bizarre but that was the plan. This couldnt be just any old basket, it had to be a beautiful one. you know those baskets that you see in stores and you think, who in their right mind pays so much for a laundry basket?? Those are living room laundry baskets! You see, at some point it dawned on me that everyone was undressing in the living room. Dad came home and disgarded socks there, snow clothes were dumped there, and of course the ever naked toddlers were allways abandoning everything there! One strategically placed beautiful basket solved all my probs. I was tossing laundry over the balcony right into Mr. Beautiful while it waited to get thrown down into the basement. Crisis Averted! until once again a wrench was thrown into my well oiled laundry moving mommy machine........

This wrench came in the form of a Ranch Style home. It was pretty, it was new, and it was a deciever! I no longer needed Mr. Beautiful so he was disgarded like the lingerie after the first anniversary. Instead of 3 floors, we now had 1. So out the baskets came. Once again each room had its own basket, we added another baby, then another, and my old friend Mt Washmore moved back in. I hadnt even realized he was here in all his energy sucking glory, then one day i called all the kiddos to bring me their baskets. I have a decent sized laundry room, and 3 full average sized baskets left me with a waist high mountain worthy of a 3 day climb. i had been gathering from room to room for a year or so before I got a call from mr. beautiful. he heard Mt washmore was back in town, he was jealous, and so he moved back in too! no longer would he reside in the living room but instead he found a nice spot in the back hallway next to all the bedrooms. There he collects everyone's laundry every night. He is amazingly the exact size of one completely full washing machine and when he is full i know its time to do a load. Long gone are the days of hunting and gathering for nuts, berries , or laundry. Who has time for that? I love him, he is my friend, one of my many assistants. Currently Kempe Inc employs Mr. Beautiful Basket, Miss Dish-washer, Madame Clothing cleaner, Dr. Dry-it-up, and employee of the year Mo Mopper. sadly Mo Mopper will be taking a well needed vacation after the move to colorado, But never again will I be deceived into letting Mr. Beautiful go. Not sure where his next residence will be as we make the adjustment from 1 level to 4, but he is sticking around for good. Mt. Washmore has since moved out, don't invite him in if he knocks on your door, he is a horrible house guest and all ways brings over nasty friends like dust bunnies and MILdew, yuk!

Just in case you were wondering , yes most days, that one load is it. 2 adults, 5 kids, one load a day, not including diapers or sheets. As for sorting, just say No. I do whites or colors, that's it. Nothing bad has happened. I only ruin one or two things per year. Well worth the time saved. No bombs go off if i wash towels with bras or denim with delilcates. The world still turns.