Thursday, March 28, 2013

I can't hear you

As we go throughout our day we experience different luxuries that I bet most of you rarely think about. Now, I'm not talking about power windows, the microwave or even having a roof over your head. I'm talking about your senses. 

Do you take time everyday to think about how lucky you are to be able to see and hear? These are luxuries that many people don't have. 

I know it wasn't something that I thought about often. That is until about 2 weeks ago.

I went to the ER about 2 weeks ago with a nasty ear infection.  About an hour after I left the ER, my right eardrum ruptured.  Then, about a week after that my left eardrum ruptured!!! Needless to say, it was a long couple of weeks. 

The good news is that my ear infection is finally gone. The bad news is, it left me VERY hard of hearing.  Anyone who really knows me knows that my hearing wasn't all that good before this happened :( 

If I had to guess, I would say that I don't hear 75% of what goes on around me now. Honestly, it sucks. Monday night I was crying because I was so frustrated!  
It is hard to go from hearing to not hearing.

My new "normal" is not enjoyable.  

If I want to sit down and watch a movie with my family we have to turn the closed caption on so I can follow along. We tried turning the volume on the tv up as loud as it would go, but I could only hear bits and pieces of the movie. Not enough for me to understand what was going on.

Sunday at church during Sunday school I had to keep opening my eyes to see if we were done praying because I couldn't hear one word he was saying.  During service I lost interest because I couldn't hear half of what he was preaching about. Which makes it hard to follow along. 

Last week we went to a friend's house and their daughter kept talking to me and I honestly could not hear one word that she said to me. 

I have people keep asking me if I'm feeling ok, because I seem distant.  
It is not that I am distant,  I just cant hear what anyone is saying so I usually give up and zone off. 

The part that is the most frustrating for me is not hearing my kids :( 
I feel horrible because I can't hear Blake if he is in his room crying. 
I can't hear what Carson and Vanessa are saying to me. I have to keep asking the older girls to repeat themselves. I hate it! I feel like a bad mother.

What I miss the most though, is hearing them laugh. That is what upset me so much Monday night. Michael was playing with Blake and he asked me if I could hear Blake laughing, and I couldn't. It had been a long day and it seemed like Vanessa and Carson spent the whole day whining and crying (which I heard just fine because that they do nice and! 
But it is the little things, like their laughing or the I love you, mommy that make all of the crying and whining worth it in the end. Now, I don't get to hear that very often :( 
And it broke my heart.

I am doing a little better now. Not hearing wise, but emotionally. I really hope that this is only temporary and that my hearing will return within the next 2 months. I was told that it can take anywhere from 1 1/2 months - 2 months for it to return. There is a slight possibility that my hearing loss may be permanent! I REALLY hope not!

Hearing problems run in my family so I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't. About 2 years before my mom died she had to have her right eardrum rebuilt because she was almost completely deaf in it. The same thing happened to her when she was 5 months old and again as an adult. 

I never thought of being able to hear as a luxury, but it definitely is! You don't realize it until it is taken away from you. I will never again take for granted the fact that I am able to see with my eyes the beauty around me every day. I will also cherish every moment that I do get to hear my kids laughing or saying that they love me. 

This is my new normal and I know that I will adapt. It is just not enjoyable at all! I am not sure why this happened, but just like everything else I know that God has a plan and that He will be my strength through all of this! 

Thank God everyday for the little things in life that you don't think about as being a gift! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

People and their opinions

I used to be the type of person who cared what others thought of me. I didn't want to draw any attention to myself because of what others might say. I was quiet and shy. I didn't speak up and defend myself or my thinking because I didn't want to hear others tell me what I thought was wrong or stupid.

Oh how times have changed!!!

We have 6 children now, and people are ALWAYS looking at us and talking about us. People know us even though I have no clue who they are! We will be at the store and someone will come up and ask me, "How does your husband like working at the sawmill? " I stand there and have a conversation with these people who know so much about us, yet, I don't have a clue who they are!!

It is a lot easier to notice and remember a family of 8 than a family of 4. 
We tend to stick out :)

Since used to be such a reserved person, at first it bothered me. A lot! I didn't like the attention. I didn't like the fact that people had an opinion about everything that we did! 

They had an opinion about if we should have more kids. Seriously,  people of whom I have never met in my life say to me, "You're done now right?" People say, you know they make birth control now. 

They have opinions and something to say about what type of job my husband has, about us homeschooling, about me staying home......and the list just goes on and on and on....

The stupid questions and unwanted opinions have not stopped or changed, but I have.

After a lot of prayer, I am at a place now where I am ok with the attention. Actually, I embrace it. You see, I feel that God has us exactly where we should be. It is amazing to me that even though I get a lot of negative comments thrown my way, I also know that I have positively impacted a lot of people as well.  

I have also learned not to care what anyone else has to say. I meant it. I really don't.  I don't care if you think we shouldn't have more kids.  I don't care if you think we cant afford our kids. I don't care if you think homeschooling is a bad idea. I don't care if you don't like that I love God with all of my heart. I don't care if you think I am fat. I don't care if you think my kids are ugly. I don't care if you think that I am a bad wife. I don't even care if you think that I am irresponsible or a bad mother. Seriously,  I don't. 

I also don't care who you are that may think like this, family, friend, acquaintance, or total stranger! 

We choose to live our lives the way that God is leading us to go. Sometimes (actually most of the time) that means that we do things that most people wouldn't do. Why? Because we trust God. We trust that where He guides He provides.  We trust that He will never leave us or forsake us! TRUST - we trust that His plans are better than our plans. 

If we waited until we could "afford" kids to have kids, then we wouldn't have any. No one can every really afford kids. We are currently better off now finacially than any other time in our lives. That didn't happen because we waited to have kids. That happened because God provided for us like He says He will. 

No, trusting the unknown isn't always easy. I trust that God has a purpose for our lives. I want to be able to stand before Him when I die and have Him say thank you for trusting me even though you couldn't see what was going to happen. I don't want to stand there and have Him ask, why did you think that your ways were better than my ways? Why did you choose to play God in your own life instead of following my path?

We pray about where God wants to lead our family and then that is what we do. You don't have to like it. That is your choice. It is also my choice to not care what you have to say or think about me. 

No matter who you are or where you come from, someone will always find something negative to say about you or the way that you live your life. 

People are constantly thinking that they are better than someone else. They have a better job, a better car, more money, or better behaved kids. They have never had money problems or  an addiction.  Or there are people who have had money trouble or an addiction that no Ionger have those problems, and now they think that they are better than those people who not too long ago they were just like.  

Honestly, it's sad. People are so quick to judge others and offer their opinion of how they should live.  Maybe instead of judging others so quickly,  we should worry about the problems that we have in our own families,  because no family is perfect!

I think the world would be a better place if people would stop worrying about what everyone thinks of them. I know my life is a lot less stressful now :) I am 100% happy with my life and I wouldn't change anything about it! Even the hard times. It is because of the hard times that I have learned how to be strong and I have learned what is really important in my life. My life isn't always easy, but it is always worth it!

So just know, that if you have an opinion about me or my family.... keep it to yourself,  I dont care :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Time to loose it!

In the last 13 years I have gained a LOT of weight.  Some of it due to 6 different pregnancies and some of it due to stress and depression.  

This was me in high school. I played varsity softball and I was extremely athletic :)

Guess what?!?
My senior year of high school I weighed 195 lbs. It really doesn't look like I am that heavy does it?!? I guess I carry my weight well! I was not known for being the fat girl (At least I don't think I was....LOL) and most people had no clue that I weighed almost 200 lbs.

My body is a bigger build, and I don't think that I am ever meant to be 150 pounds. (Even though the Wii fit seems to think that my ideal weight is 148 lbs...... yeah, when I was 12) 

Anyways, a month after I graduated high school my mom died and a month after that I went away to college.  I ended up seeing a psychologist while away at school to help me deal with my mom's death and I was also on some antidepressant drugs. The first year after graduation I gain 15 pounds. 

Fact- When Leslie is depressed,  Leslie eats......

This was me on my wedding day to my first husband at age 19. I weighed 210 lbs. 

Then, I got pregnant with Mariela.  I gained a whopping 66 lbs while I was pregnant with her!!! Thank God, that I didn't gain that much every pregnancy or I would be as big as a baby elephant right now!!!

I got pregnant with Gabby when Mariela was only six months old and gained 40 lbs that pregnancy. I don't really remember how much I gained with Makayla, but it was probably about the same.

(Sorry, I don't really have any pictures of myself from Mariela to Makayla.... I avoided the camera like the plague!!)

By the time I met Michael I weighed about 250 lbs. Here is a picture of our wedding day. 

This picture (our second, more formal wedding) I was about 8 weeks pregnant with Vanessa. 

This is me pregnant with Vanessa at 34 weeks. I think I gained 40 lbs with her too.
After having Vanessa I went though a lot of depression because of Michael and his porn addiction.  

Remember..... When Leslie is depressed,  Leslie eats!

By the time I got pregnant with Carson I weighed 280 lbs. I gained 20 lbs while I was pregnant with him, but that was all baby. When I had him the 20 lbs was gone!

In this picture I am 36 weeks pregnant with Carson.

After I had Carson, Michael lost his job and we started having financial problems.
Leslie worries =  Leslie eats. 

Carson was 9 months old when I got pregnant with Blake. I weighed in at 290 lbs when I went to my first ob apt for him. 

This is me right before I went to the hospital to have Blake.  I weighed 310 pounds by the end of my pregnancy.  Again, all 20 lbs came right off when I had him! (Having a 12 lbs 5 oz baby really helps...LOL)

Well, 2 weeks ago I decided that I was done!

Done being unhealthy and done being over weight.  

 Honestly,  it doesn't have much to do with how I look. I think that I am beautiful and I know that my husband does too :)

The fact is that I am starting to be borderline diabetic.  I had diabetes with my last 2 pregnancies and I do NOT want that for the rest of my life!

I also am tired all of the time and I hate it! I want to be able to chase my kids around and play with them without being exhausted!  Most importantly,  I want to be here in 10 years to see them grow up!

About 2 weeks ago I cut back on soda and I stopped snacking throughout my day if I wasn't hungry. I was still eating whatever I made my family to eat, but I watched my portions. In about 2 weeks I had lost 7 lbs!  

This past Sunday I got really serious with this loosing weight business. I have an online personal trainer who puts together my meals and my exercise routines for every day of the week. 

When I weighed myself this morning I weighed 279!, that is over 10 lbs that I have lost :)  I am so excited! ! I have never been more determined to loose weight than I am right now!

This is me today :)



Yes, I know that it is my fault that I am over weight and only I am to blame. 
BUT, telling everyone about my weight problem is not an easy thing to do. I am putting myself out there for everyone to judge me and talk about me,  but oh well. I WILL beat this and then you will only be able to talk about how much weight I lost and how good I look :)

Michael and I are going away for our anniversary this year and that is my incentive to keep pushing myself as hard as I can. I bought something cute to wear and I bought it too small so I have something to keep me going! LOL,  whatever works, right? I have 10 weeks from today! 

I will keep you all updated with my progress!  Failure is NOT an option! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Homemade laundry soap

A little over a year ago a good friend of mine really turned me on to a lot of DIY (Do it yourself) cleaning and beauty products.
To be completely honest, at first I thought she was nuts. (Sorry, Lea)
I used to think that people who made there own laundry soap and cleaners were people who were over sensitive about the environment and over the top crazy.
I have never been the type of person who worries about chemicals in my house or making sure I buy organic, BUT I am a freak about not spending money!! (I will say that over the past few months I have changed a bit in my thinking and I am glad we are a chemical free house :) Mostly!)
Saving money was honestly my main reason for looking into making my own laundry soap. At the time I was about to have baby number 6 and we did anywhere from 2-4 loads of laundry a day!! That is a LOT of laundry soap!!
I do coupon and I always stocked up on laundry soap when it was on sale. I probably never paid more that $1 a bottle for laundry soap, but when I found out that I could make 10 GALLONS of soap for less than a dollar I decided I would give it a try.
The first time that I ever did the laundry after using the homemade stuff I literally smelled EVERY SINGLE piece of laundry that I pulled out of the washing machine before I put it in the dryer. I was sure that it wasn't going to smell clean, but I was wrong!!
It cleans just as good as any commercial cleaner does!!
I have been making my own laundry soap ever since! This laundry soap success started my DIY obsession with making everything else that I possibly could at home :)
It is very easy to make and takes me probably about 5 minutes to do!
Here is what you will need-
4 cups HOT water
1 bar of Ivory soap
 A cheese grater (have one that you will only use on soap, not cheese)
1 cup of washing soda (found in chemical/laundry section of store)
1/2 cup of borax (Also found in chemical/laundry section)
5 gallon bucket (preferably with lid)
Boil 4 cups of hot water on the stove.
While the water is boiling I grate my soap.
When water is boiling take it off of the stove. Add the Ivory soap, washing soda and Borax and mix until dissolved.
Then pour mixture into the 5 gallon bucket and fill the rest of the bucket with water.
Let the soap sit over night to thicken up. (It will not be really thick, but you will see some thick clumps throughout it in the morning.)
Mix equal parts soap and water into your own container.
**Remember to mix up the mixture before you use it because it settles on the bottom.
My bottle holds 3 cups of soap and 3 cups of water.
Now it is ready to use!!!!
I use about 1/2 capful per load and each batch lasts us about 3-4 months!!
** This soap does not suds up like regular laundry soap making it safe to use in HE washers as well. 



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Our first snow storm

All week we were hearing people talk about the snow storm that we were supposed to get Tues & Wed. (We don't watch tv, so we don't always know what is going on around here) My best friend and our landlord both texted me on Monday to make sure that I knew about the storm :) 

I went to the store on Monday and stocked up on lots of food! For those of you who don't remember, the first snow that we had this winter kept us stuck in the house for 5 days. That snow was not even a storm like they were predicting for this week. This time I made sure I stocked up!!! 5 gallons of milk, plenty of cereal, lunch meat...... we will not run out of food this time!!

I was really hoping that it wasn't going to be as bad as they predicted.  No luck there though :(


We went to bed last night around 9 and there was about 1/4 inch of snow. When we woke up at 5:30 to get Michael off to work we had no power and about 7 inches of snow on the ground.  

Needless to say, Michael didn't go to work today and it is starting to get cold in our house without power. We also don't have running water when we are without power and that is no good :(


 BUT we are still having fun and making the most out of our situation :)

Michael and the 5 oldest kids all went sledding in our backyard. 
Climbing back up the hill was the hard part!

Carson decided that he didn't need a sled :)

Vanessa doesn't look like she is having fun....

Everyone else is though :)

We now have about 11 inches of snow and it is still coming down pretty hard.

We have had a couple of tree branches fall. One fell as I was measuring the snow.


Hopefully,  our power will be back on soon, but for now we are all safe and just spending time together as a family. Sometimes it us nice to not have anything to do :) 

No power = no cleaning ;)

****update- Mariela just went outside and we are now at 13 inches!!! 

This is the first snow storm that we have ever been in! Well, Michael has been around snow storms growing up in Illinois,  but it is a first for this Florida native and her kids :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Well, I started this blog Saturday at my daughter's bible quiz competition and I have not been able to return to finish it until now!!
A busy life this mom of 6 has :)

Any who- I still want to share our Dr. Seuss party with all of you!

The 4 girls spent the day decorating the house for our party.

 I spent the day baking and decorating a cake.


Michael came home from work and drew me some pictures that we could use as games.

I pick on him, but he is an AWESOME artist and I am very proud of him :)

The Bernard family came over to enjoy our fun filled Dr. Seuss evening with us!
Getting this many kids to all look good for the camera at the SAME time is not an easy task!!!

Here are some highlights of our fun filled night!!

The kids all made their own hats to use for the pin the hat on the cat game that Michael made.
The peekers :)


Blake wanted to play too!!

The next game that we played was a Grinch Christmas tree ball game that my wonderful hubby made :)

Go Nessa!

The littler kids LOVED this game!!!

Blake played this game by himself for about 10 minutes :)
They also played a Dr. Seuss matching game-
We ended the party with the cake :)

Eden and Carson blew out the candles!

Successful Dr. Seuss birthday party :)
Thank you, Ann & kids for joining us!!!

All of the kids (and Michael) said that they had a lot of fun this week!! I think that it is something that we may continue to do every year :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Lorax

Last night we read the Lorax to continue with our Dr. Seuss week.
Now, you probably think that I missed a night, but actually I didn't....
Wednesday night we read, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.
BUT I can't get my pictures to upload :(
**I bought a new Samsung Galaxy tablet and I took pictures on it thinking it would be easier to upload the picture from that straight to my blog, but I can't get them to upload!! The blog is written and as soon as I can get the pictures uploaded I will post that blog.
On to today's post :)
Last night we read The Lorax (on my Galaxy tablet)
I was able to buy an app on my tablet instead of buying the book in the store. I liked this better :) It read it to us and made sound effects throughout the book for only $4.99. Cheaper than buying the book in the store :)
**The only thing that I didn't like about the Lorax book was that it had the words stupid and shut up in it. Both of those words are disrespectful "bad" words that are not allowed to be used in our house. I didn't like that they were in a childrens book.
After we read the book we did two crafts.
The first one we did was making Truffula trees.
We used pipe cleaners and a soft knitting yarn.
Vanessa said that hers looked like a pony :)
(*Please excuse the mess of dishes in the background. Our sink is leaking and we can't use it!!)
Michael's tree looked the best. Surprise, surprise :) 

Vanessa riding her pony (Truffula tree)
Never a dull moment in this house :)

Scary woman, good lookin' Truffula tree :)
Mariela had the genius idea to make Truffula pens!!
Smart girl she is :)
(*Makayla didn't want me to take a picture of her tree, she was having some technical difficulties)
Our second craft we made the Lorax!!!

We used paper cups and construction paper.

Vanessa had fun with this :)

My over the top husband :)
*See his face..... I was yanking his chain then too :)
He loves me!!

Give him a nose


Our Lorax family :)
Can you guess which Lorax belongs to who??
Today we will be having my best friend, Ann and her family over for our Dr. Seuss birthday party!! Tomorrow, the two older girls have Bible Quiz competition so we can't do it tomorrow :)