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Ashton – 16 months

It’s been a while since I dedicated a post to our newest arrival, Mister Ashton.  Ashton who is now 16 months old, running, talking, singing, and the pure and utter joy of my life.

He is talking so much it is crazy.  He mimicks just about everything.  The other day he pointed out the car window and said “dadda?”  I said “daddy is at work.”  To which he responded “dadda weekkkk!!!”  Now all day long he walks around saying “dadda week, dadda week, dadda week.”  When he hands me something, and this is a favorite game of his to for example take pieces of paper and one at a time hand them to me or to rip tiny pieces of toilet paper off and hand them to me, and  each time he hands me something he says “op-te-gum” and when I repeat “here you go?”  he says the exact same sound “op-te-gum”, and he says it every time he hands me something.  I can’t put into words how stinkin cute it is!

He also will just babble “optegee gupadeegup mamma” or he will come to me all day long and say “mamma?” perfect as day as tho he wants to ask me a question, and when I say “what Ashton” he babbles and so it is like we are having conversations.  He also says “poo poo” very clearly and knows to point to his diaper when he has gone to tell me to change him.  Some other words he says very clearly and at approriate times are “hot” “bite” “drink” “please” “this” “that” “sissy” “down” “help-me” …….  I just can’t believe how much his language is exploding right now.

He also comprehends really well.  Anything we ask him to do, he knows and understands.  Whether it’s “let’s get undressed” or even “take your clothes off” or any version he raises his arms up and knows what we mean.  He throws things away, gets diapers, puts his feet out for shoes to be put on, can put his own legs into his pants/shorts, he is eating with a spoon and fork, he will even take just one of some item of food like if I get him popcorn at target I can just set the whole bag next to him and he tales one piece at a time and eats it just like a little man.

He is also totally obsessed with balls.  He even sees baseball or basketball on TV if we walk through a restaurant with TV’s and yells “BALL!!!”  I mean it, he LOVES balls.  Bats also.  Those are 2 other words he says really clearly, ball and bat.  The “t” sound at the end of words he really enunciates as well.  He can hit a ball off a tee with a bat, he can hit a ball out of someone’s hand, but the most amazing thing since he was about 14 months old is that he can hit a ball that you underhand throw to him.  I am not making this shit up.  His dad pitches to him and he hits it!  He spreads his legs and puts the bat over his shoulder just like a tiny pro player, and Chris throws the ball and Ash swings and 9 times out of 10 he crushes the ball across the room.  They are not real baseballs, they are the kind of balls you use in a ball pit or other kinds of soft balls, sometimes tennis balls, but the kid has this amazing natural ability to hit balls.  And he throws amazingly well too.  So it is possible that finally, after 5 biological boys, 1 step son, and a step daughter, that Chris is finally going to get his little stud ball player!  I would never label my kid, or force him, but he has a natural love for balls and bats, he would play ball for hours.  This has been since he was 9 or 10 months old, his favorite game was for me to drop a ball and him go get it and bring it back to me.  Chris also says the way he just knows how to stand, how to wait for the timing, the hand-eye cordination to actually be making contact with the ball, at this age, is something he has never seen or heard of in all his years with kids coaching or playing baseball.  It’s actually really cool.  It’s neat that he will be basically an only child by the time he could play, and we will be able to put in the time and effort and money into him and his ball playing if that is something he continues to love the way he does now.

Ashton is also very much a momma’s boy, he cannot stand for me to leave him still.  He will play by himself but only if I am in the same room and only for about 10 minutes before he needs to sit in my lap.  He loves to cuddle and he gives the most amazing kisses and hugs, and always when you ask him to!  SOmetimes he will even kiss all by himself as the initiator.  He likes to hug me a thousand times while in the grocery cart.  He needs me to lay with him to go to sleep still and still wakes up a few times a night to be nursed back to sleep, but he does sleep in his own room in his big boy car bed!  He is the cutest, most handsome, sweet, fun, smart, most perfect and amazing little boy and I thank God every day and night numerous times for giving us Ashton and making him healthy.

So there is a rather long update on my son!  Here are some pics to go along with it as a reward to you for reading the whole thing!

Thirsty boy!

Thirsty boy!

Weeeee! Daddy push me higher!

Weeeee! Daddy push me higher!

Na-Nakey boy playing with Zach in the backyard with the hose - still has his crocs on tho!

Na-Nakey boy playing with Zach in the backyard with the hose - still has his crocs on tho!

Football anyone?

Football anyone?

Beach time!

Beach time!

The best big brothers a baby could ask for!

The best big brothers a baby could ask for!

Amazing big sister - Ashton just loves his sissy!!!

Amazing big sister - Ashton just loves his sissy!!!

On our boat, the sound of the motor really relaxes him!

On our boat, the sound of the motor really relaxes him!

All in all, we love you so much Ashton, and could not have dreamed of a more perfect Angel of a son to enter our lives.  You bring so much joy into our hearts every day with your huge smile, your laughter, your sweet loves and kisses, mommy could not imagine her life without you in it!!!

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Busy busy!

I have been so busy I have not had a chance to do much of anything on the computer.  It is so hectic trying to move a family of 7!  Sheesh!!!

One thing that I am excited about that should give me a bit more time is I am starting to get fresh organic fruits and veggies delivered every other week.  I am so excited for this!  We are huge fruit eaters and we try to eat veggies and having them around will make that so much easier.  And it is not that expensive either – for just over $20 a week I will get a large box full of mostly fruit and some vegetables.  Farm Fresh To You is the place we are going to be getting the deliveries from and I will let you guys know how it goes!

Until later – sayonara!

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Well, we are pretty much all moved in.  What is left are those boxes that sit in the garage for the next year when you say “well, we have lived without it for a year, we obviously do not need it.”  Then you load it all into a truck and take it to the dump.  I have been moving non-stop in some form or another since last Wednesday and today I am taking a break.  I am dead tired by the end of they day, I am snapping at people, I am annoyed at my kids laziness, I am irritated at how filthy the old house is, and the sheer work load of moving a family of 7 from a 2500 square foot 4 bedroom 3 bathroom home to a 3500 square foot 5 bedroom 3 bathroom plus full office home is really daunting a task for one woman.  Chris is helpful, but he is moving big stuff and obviously can only help Saturday and Sunday.  The kids helped until the novelty of the move wore off and now they just want to play with all of their friends who live next door and across the street and around the corner.  I think half the student body of their school live witthin a mile of us.

With the kids all living so close, this brings me to my title of this post.  I am surrounded by shoes!  Dirty tennis shoes, old skate shoes, flip flops, etc. line my front door.  And I can tell I have entered the world of higher priced homes full of families who all take their shoes off when entering their humble abodes.  These are 11 and 12 year old boys here, who are all removing their shoes promptly upon entering my home.  Without being told.  It is a different world out here in Mansion Oaks, indeed.

It is sort of surreal living here.  I walk around the wide hallways, the spacious living area, the generous kitchen, and it is such a joy to do the menial tasks of cooking and cleaning.  We have really come about from our humble beginnings as a couple.  When we first got together, when we weren’t living with his parents in their spare room, we had first a 1 bedroom apartment where all the kids slept on the floor.  Then a 3 bedroom house was like a castle to us – with his kids in one room and mine in another.  Then there was our 4 bedroom income-restricted apartment in which we thought we had struck a jackpot!  And now here we are.

Here. We. Are.

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Thanks girlymama for the idea!  Here six unimportant things that make me happy:

1.  “Mama” – that word in and of itself is an amazing thing to hear, but when my 15 month old bundle of wonderful perfect joy wakes up in the middle of the night, and through his still asleep soft voice and his still closed eyes he calls “mama mama” and when I come to him and begin to nurse him he snuggles against me and again says “mmm mama mama” – wow.  Just amazing.

2.  Quiet and a good book – Oh my!  I do love the quiet.  And a good book?  What more is there to life?  And the two of them together, at the same time????  THIS is what my Heaven will be!

3.  Alone time with hubby – With seven kids, five of them living here full time, a mentally disabled extremely high needs teenager and a very busy toddler among them, those 48 hours I get once a month with just Chris (ok well Ashton is always there too but we make do!)…..  Those 48 hours are what makes me get through the other 3,249,491 hours a month.  Our reconnection time, our us time, our time to be like teenagers falling in love with each other all over again.  It is purely and simply, wonderful.

4.  Our boat – even though it sucks during the winter when it takes up space in our garage and we have to make payments on it when we aren’t using it, and the gas can be expensive, and it is a lot of work to clean it before and after each use, and sometimes we can spend a whole day on it and Chris and I never get to do anything but help everyone else into life jackets and wake boards and blowing up tubes and deflating tubes and cooking lunch and serving our kids and our guests, there is nothing in this world that has been more of a joy and blessing to our family than our boat.  Everytime we are on it, Chris and I look at each other and say “the best thing we have ever bought!  This is great!  I love this thing!!!”….

5.  Being able to afford “it” – So many years not only in this marriage, but in all of my life, have been spent having to watch every penny, sometimes not knowing how to afford gas or finding enough food to make it through the week.  But we are finally at a point, Glory be to God, that we can afford to give our family more freedom.  We can take trips, have steak for dinner, and let the kids pick out their own school clothes!  I can go to the store whenever I need something and just get it.  I can buy things because they are a good deal, not because we are in dire need of it.

6.  My faith – I once was lost, but now am found.  I was a faithful person and then lost that, and thank the Lord I have it back now.  I am walking in step with the Good Lord again and we are more at one then we have ever been.  This makes everything in my life come together and I am truly blessed to be blessed.

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CVS -ing

I did it.  I got on the CVS bandwagon.  Actually I have been wanting to but we have never had a CVS around here.  Now all the Longs Drugs have been bought by CVS so there is one about a foot from my front door.  Ok, so it is maybe half a mile away.  So yesterday I went and got a Sunday paper from CVS and while I was there I signed up for the Extra Care card.  I came home armed with my paper, the new CVS ad, the ECB card, and a head full of knowledge from reading this blog, and I got out some scissors, a notebook and a pen, and some envelopes.

What I did was went through all the ads, cut out coupons of things we would normally purchase, then went through the ads to match those things up to see if I could get double deals, manufacture coupons to go with store coupons, etc.  At CVS I was mainly concerned with building up some ECB’s, so I wanted to buy everything that had a decent ECB return.  This week they had mostly school supplies that would end up free.  Unfortunatly today when I went all I was able to get was the notebook and some school glue, the rest they had not stocked yet.  Since the ECB return is only good until tomorrow, I will have to go back tomorrow and try to get the rest.  But here is the breakdown of what I did today, my first day of CVS.

CVS week 1

CVS week 1

I think I could have broken this into multiple shopping trips, but I just wanted to try it out and get my feet wet.  It wasn’t as hard or intimidating as I thought it would be.  I did have to go to 2 stores because the 1st store told me I could go over to the other one for the school supplies, but the 2nd one didn’t have them either.  And the 2nd one (Granite Drive in Rocklin) does not have their things marked.  Nothing tells you what the ECB’s are!  The first store (Stanford Ranch and Park in Rocklin) has everything very clearly marked.  This is the store near my house (and my new house too) and this is definitly where I will do all of my shopping.  Anyway.

I got the Kotex 2 for $7 with $2 ECB, 8 ct. grip pens for $.99 with $.99 ECB (times 3), gain laundry soap for $5.99 with$3 ECB, Tylenol for $3.99 with $3 ECB, Colgate was buy one get one free then I had $1 coupon so I got 2 for $1.99,  and the glue for $.99 with $.99 ECB (times 2).  My total was $25.98 and I got $12 ECB.

I then went to the other store where I got an 8 pack of AA batteries for $5.99 and I had a coupon for $1.50 off so I paid $4.50 for those (regularly $9.00!!!), the Scott paper towels 8 count for $4.88 and I had a $1 off coupon so I paid $3.88, and one of the notebooks for $.99 with $.99 ECB.  My total was $10.28 and I paid for all of it in ECB’s, plus I still have $2 in ECB left over and I got another $.99 ECB.

In sumary I have $3 in ECB left and all that stuff I bought for just $25 bucks!  Normally I would have paid that for the paper towels, the Kotex, and the Gain alone.

Again I do think I could have probably lowered my initial investment but I just wanted to get my feet wet this time and do this hands on instead of just reading about it!  It was fun to be able to feed my shopping addiction, but to be getting things we need for the house and getting super good deals.  We are really trying to budget our money better and actually build a savings.  It is hard when you are used to just buying whatever you want when you see it and not really caring.  I am going to be making lists, dinner menus like I used to, clipping coupons, and going to several stores to get the best deals.  I have read where some moms have a grocery budget of $35 a week!  Crazy!  Im sure they aren’t feeding a family of 7 with 4 teenagers, but still.  That’s cheap.

My goal is to start having things packed away so we never need stuff like feminine supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, batteries of different sizes, paper plates, laundry supplies, school supplies, bottled water, juice, basically all the things you can stack and store.  The new house has so much storage it is ridiculous.  I will have plenty of room to use for this and I am so excited to do it!

Tomorrow I wil finish the CVS stuff for this week with the rest of the school stuff and earn even more ECB’s.  I am going to do it in 2 or 3 steps so I can try not to spend any money.  I will use the $3 ECB I have left and buy the things with more ECB, and I should be able to add to my bounty without spending money.  I will then take another pic of everything I get without paying for it – so the stuff I already have plus the new stuff as long as I don’t pay for it.  I will see what I can get for the $25!  My goal is to go through the paper every Sunday and then do my CVS shopping on Monday.  Some of the stuff is a 3 day deal so if it isn’t done by Tuesday you don’t get the ECB’s.  If I go Monday I can buy stuff and if there is an issue, like there was today, I will have one more day to get it.  Leave room for error.

If you have a CVS near you, you really should try it.  It is fun and cheap and it feels good to shop without spending a lot of money.  I can totally see why the other moms say it is addicting!!!

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Fun days of summer

Summer is a busy time around here!  It always feels like it will be a nice break, but it ends up sometimes feeling like more work than when the kids are at school.  I think that is partly because there is something nice about the continuity of doing the same routine each day versus the summer where every day is different.

Dylan is gone this week.  His b/m is only taking him for 3 weeks this summer instead of the court ordered 5 weeks due to her not being able to afford daycare.  I will keep my thoughts on this to myself for now.  Long story short, I am supposed to have a full 5 week break from him, only having him 2 weekends during those 5 weeks.  Due to this new issue, she is taking him a week on/week off schedule and only for 3 weeks.  (Funny how this wasn’t decided until 3 weeks of summer had passed, thus making it impossible for her to do the whole 5 weeks that way, but I digress).  I have him signed up for camp for 2 weeks in order to get the 5 weeks I mentally thought I had.  He already went one week and will go again in August.

Zach is here this week.  He does the week on/week off thing too.  Its good to have him and dylan seperate.  Gives everyone a break from the little pill 🙂

Of course my 3 babies are here like always.

We have to come up with ways to play without spending a lot of money this summer, because all our money is going to our new house and new things to furnish all the extra room.  We have gone to the $3 movies which was really fun, and we take our boat out which only costs us gas money, and we can get 2 full days worth of hard boating, tubing, and wake boarding for 1 tank of gas, which is pretty economic if you ask us!  That boat was the best investment we have ever made.  Everyone says so too – when they go boat with us – they say “wow, great investment guys, what a great time, best time I have had in a long time, best Sunday ever” and other nice things.  It make the 5 or 6 months we make monthly payments on it while it sits in storage worth it.

Ashton is graduating from Wallypogs this week.  He had to take last week off due to getting first swimmers ear, and then an inner ear infection on top of the swimmers ear.  It was a bad week last week!  But he is all cleared up now and we went to the lesson today and holy goodness the kid can float!  All alone!  And even be flipped backwards in the water and come up on his back!  And jump in from the side and get to his back!  It is freakin IN-CRED-IBLE!!!!!!!!!  GOOOO WALLYPOGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Deborah and Monica are amazing and if anyone wants their information please let me know!

I will post pics later of our summer fun.  I also want to try to figure out to upload a video of Ashton at swim school.  I have never done it before but I am going to figure it out because it is really fuckin cool to see him get directly to his back like he does after only 3 weeks.  It’s awesome!

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Kidney Walk

I heart this pic so much!  Does it get much more precious???

I heart this pic so much! Does it get much more precious???

Since Chris has worked in Kidney Dialysis for over 18 years now, renal failure is an issue that is close to his heart.  Because of this, he dragged me out of bed early on an otherwise perfectly gorgeous Saturday morning to participate in a 5k Kidney Walk.  It was actually fun.  We took 2 of our spawn, Zachary and of course little Ashton. 

Ashy and I both got these Kidney Walk t-shirts because we raised enough donation money!

Ashy and I both got these Kidney Walk t-shirts because we raised enough donation money!

Me with 2 of my boys

Me with 2 of my boys

< half of our family!  The 4 of us at the walk.

< half of our family! The 4 of us at the walk.

Chris, Ashton, and I at the beginning before the walk got underway.

Chris, Ashton, and I at the beginning before the walk got underway.

Here we are at the end in front of the lake that Ashton spent the first half hour of our day trying to throw himself into.

Here we are at the end in front of the lake that Ashton spent the first half hour of our day trying to throw himself into.

 

So all in all it was a really fun day and over $30,000 was raised for research.  This was just a small walk, there is a big one in October.  I have been informed that we will be a part of this one as well.  Lucky us!  I guess since now Chris is in upper managment, and the “boss”, he wants us to be more mindful of these kinds of issues.  I just went for the free bagles and cream cheese.  🙂

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