Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Tough Time

When I heard that there was a new outbreak of the Swine Flu, I have to admit my response was more of weariness than concern. Now, I'm not downplaying the seriousness of the situation at all. It's a dangerous flu and people have died--that's not good at all. However, over the last couple of months my family has been wracked with one illness after another. Stomach bugs, flu bugs, and severe chest colds. There was one brutal week where literally everyone was so sick there was no one available to play nurse to the others. This culminated in me and 2 of my daughters getting pneumonia a few weeks ago. So, when the Swine Flu news hit, it was more of an "oh no, not more sickies" from me than anything else.

I am sharing this because I know this blog has been a bit slow over the last couple of months. It's been a hard time for my family, as well as some of our other bloggers. Juggling a large crew is difficult enough. Throw in illness and general economic woes and things get even more harried. So, please forgive the quietness around here. It wasn't intentional, and we don't mean it to be permanent. I'm hopeful that this current flu will not turn into the horror story that it could and that soon everyone will be enjoying warm summer weather and be healthy...and blogging again.

I want to thank everyone who has been following this blog for your patience and continued support. We are working on getting things together and having more regular posts. We also hope to do a few interactive things with our readers--so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, remember to wash your hands and keep safe until this latest threat has passed.

***This message is cross-posted on the various LOK Blogs.***

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Every baby believes the world revolves around her.

Babies in a large family don't just believe it.

They know it.

(Also posted on my blog at

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How do you celebrate Birthdays?

Birthdays in our house come in clusters. We have two within 10 days in the spring (April 27, May 6), three within 20 days in the fall (October 27, 30, and November 11), and four within 40 days in the summer (July 2, July 29, and August 8 -- yes, I know that's only three dates, but I have twins).

With nine birthdays each year, it's been a bit of a challenge to figure out how to celebrate. When my oldest daughter turned 3, I was so excited because she was finally old enough for a party with her friends. We went all out and had a great time, and I continued throwing birthday parties for her and her brothers as they got older, but it didn't take very long for me to realize that, well, I just plain don't like throwing birthday parties. They're stressful an overwhelming. After nearly ten years as a mother, I think I've come to terms with the fact that I'm just not a crafty mom. Homemade party favors and fancy treat bags? I'd rather pass.

So our main celebration every year is a portion of our family home evenings (each Monday night we have a lesson, songs, and games together). On a Monday near the child's birthday, we give them presents and cards from the family and have them stand up while we take turns sharing all the things we like about them. It is so sweet to hear a child praised by her brothers and sisters and we enjoy reminding that child of their special place in our family. When possible, we invite the child's grandparents to come, both their biological and our adopted Hawaiin ohana.

My husband and I also take the child out to dinner sometime that week.

After getting burned out on birthday parties with friends those first few years, we decided to throw a big friend party just every other year. At first we thought we'd do it when the kids reached their even birthdays, but when we realized that most of the time that would be in the same year (we have births in 99, 00, 02, 04, 06, and 08), we changed our minds and decided that every other year, we'd throw a party for everyone in the family. 2008 was our year for friend parties, and we had lots of them.

But now, as we're approaching my oldest daughter's tenth birthday, I'm wondering if we should rethink our plans or bend the rules for her. She wants to have a party with her friends and I'm not opposed to it. We have space in our home for a gathering, and she's even thought of a few games she wants to play, like Apples to Apples. I'm sure she could plan most of it herself, so it would hardly be the major stressor that caused us to implement the "every other year" rule in the first place.

What do you think?

And how do you handle birthdays in your family?