Friday, December 30, 2011

Rub a Dub there's a BABY in my TUB!

So, for some reason, people often ask me how we do bathtime with the kids. I know people are amazed that we are able to get anything done with five kids 7 and under, but bathtime is something that we've kept the same from the time Olivia was our only baby until now. It's just gown...a little. Ha! BUT, for all of those who are really wanting to know how we do bathtime, here it goes.

After dinner on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings the kids get ready for bath by each picking out a pair of clean PJs(the other nights they can wear the same ones because obviously, Pajamas don't get dirty while you sleep...) and anything else that they need(panties, socks, house shoes, diaper). Olivia helps the two littlest get theirs ready. They usually do this while Scotty and I are finishing up in the kitchen after they've helped us with the dishes and clearing the table.

Once Emma Claire has her things out she'll move on to pasting tooth brushes. KK has recently been given this job. It used to be Olivia's job, but now that KK is old enough to do it and since Olivia has other responsibilities, KK happily stepped up! She sets the tooth brushes out on the counter in birth order so that they are ready for brushing. Scotty brushes the kids teeth while they are in the tub. This makes things so much faster.

Once Scotty and I are upstairs and everything is laid out Scotty starts the water and I usually strip down the babies. A baby is anyone in a diaper, so at this point it's Bub and Mia. (If we have a newborn Scotty usually bathes them first in a bath sling, then I'd get them dresses, but now that Mia is OK sitting in the tub, we do the babies together.)

We have a removable shower head like this one. I'd suggest buying one to anyone with kids. It makes bath night so much easier and faster. We got the idea from Jon & Kate Plus 8, You can get these just about anywhere and they are pretty cheap. We got ours at Walmart several years ago and we've never had any problems out of it.

Scotty does all the washing up and brushing teeth while I'm getting the hair brush, tooth flossers, Qtips, and nail clippers. I keep all of this stuff in one little basket which makes it easy for me to grab and use for bath night. Olivia or KK get this stuff out for me usually. This is also my time to get clothes out for Sunday or time to make sure everything is ready for bed.

Once the babies are washed up Scotty hands one off to me and he takes the other while the Middle Littles(KK and Addi) get in the tub for play time.

After bath we brush hair, clean out ears, floss teeth, and clip nails. We do this EVERY time. It keeps things routine and routine makes things easier. I used to dry hair too, and sometimes still do, but most of the time I just let the girls hair air dry.

Once the babies are done with all their stuff I'll give them a few floor toys to play with and I'll clip Livi's nails. If I've gotten time I clip the other girls nails before they get in the tub, but most of the time I'll get that done when they get out.

Scotty goes to clean up the girls then sends them out to get dressed. Once he has Olivia's shower set up she does everything else on her own now, so that's nice. She's just recently started doing her own shower and that works great for her to get to have her own time. Even if it's while she's in the shower! Ha!

While Lulu is showering Scotty and I tag team to complete the girls nails and teeth and hair. By the time Liv is out of the shower we are ready to help her. She's big enough now to do her own hair, so it's usually just flossing her teeth and finishing her nails if they didn't get done before bath.

Once everyone is brushed and flossed and clipped and clean we are ready to begin our daily family worship time.

A few other thoughts:
  • We reuse towels. I have five towels and a six hook over the door rack. I just hang the towel on the rack once the kids are dry. Now if someone gets their dirty we have backups, but normally they are washed on Monday when I do all the other laundry. That means that they are used three times to dry a clean baby. Big whoop!
  • Once Bubby is going potty and is a little more "aware" of himself he'll bathe alone and Mia will move up with Addi and KK will likely shower before Livi. KK is probably old enough to take her own shower, but she's just not ready yet.
  • We use bar Dove soap. Even on the babies. I also use Lavender Aveno sometimes, but usually only if I had a good coupon.
  • We have a bath tub toy net to keep all the toys cleaned up and it's super easy for the kids to scoop them up as they get out.
  • We use an old towel as a kneeling pad. It's also used for quick clean up afterwards. With five littles there's bound to be some water on the floor. It uses the last spot on my rack.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Festivities

I just love the Christmas Season.
I love the decorations and the smells and the food and the fun parties.
Here is a look into our Christmas Festivities for 2011.

Each year my dad's extended family gets together for a Thanksgiving/Christmas celebration. It's a fun time with eating and presents and a dirty Santa ornament exchange. Here are a few pictures from that get together. The kids were not great at taking pictures this day! Ha!

This is my Mom(Nana) with the kids all in red and black.

 Lulu had two teeth pulled over the Christmas break. This is probably the first two of many that will need to be pulled. The poor girl has a TINY mouth.

I tried SEVERAL times to get a few good pictures of the kids for Christmas presents. It has gotten increasingly harder to get all of them smiling in one picture. These are the best two!

What Christmas holiday would be complete without some Holiday baking?! Here we are making chocolate cookies with candy cane sprinkles and peppermint icing. Isaiah really loves rolling the dough, as you can see!

The girls helping me. Addi is on the counter because it was a Wednesday(her special day).

Isaiah thinks the spoon at the end is the best part.

But he hadn't tasted these cookies yet. Look at that! They were so pretty and that peppermint icing was to die for!

Our gingerbread house 2011. This was the best yet. The kids had the idea of using some cupcake picks to ice onto the house as decorations. The Santa on the front is from a cupcake. Emma Claire also had the idea to give Santa some cocoa by biting a M&M in half to make it look like a mug. She's a culinary genius!

Another cupcake pick for the Christmas tree through the window. So cute! I loved the mini cupcake bushes also decorated for Christmas! The kids and their daddy did a great job with this!

Each year we have Chocolate syrup and biscuits for breakfast on Christmas Eve. Isaiah has only had it a few times in his life and as you might imagine, he LOVES it. For those wondering about Chocolate syrup, it's much like Chocolate gravy, only better...I'll post the recipe another time.

The girls like it too!

Mia will have to wait to have it next year, but the biscuits aren't bad, ehh, Mia!?

My two Middle Smittles are usually up to NO good!

The big girls getting ready to make our annual Christmas cookies!

Addi's hair has taken on a mind of it's own. I think it must need a trim. It's SO wild in the mornings!! Here she is ready to make cookies. 

Even Mia got in on the cookie action! She's such a joyful baby!

Daddy and Lulu icing cookies.

Addi showing off one of her cookies. They were famous for having LOTS of toppings!

KK and Bubby wearing some of their icing.

Leaving cookies and milk out for Santa.

Leaving magic Reindeer food!

Momma and her Littles. What a blessing.

Our Christmas 2011.

Daddy and Mia going to wake up the kids with jingle bells.

Morning Smittles round 1 

Morning Smittles round 2! Look at that hair!

CLASSIC Christmas morning face on Addi.

Bubby got a t-ball set and a new hat.

Mia got a Sophie!! She LOVES it!

Our family all ready for church on Christmas morning.

The girls all looking pretty in red and black.
Bubby handsome as can be.

My beautiful children after church. I just want to GOOSH them!

Isaiah in his Christmas sweater and new firetruck shoes. He's wearing my dad's Santa hat. It kept coming down over his eyes.

Our stockings. They don't look so overwhelming in this picture, but in person Scotty and I both had to double count them because it looked like SO many stockings!

Our after-Christmas Makeover party!

Friday, December 23, 2011

May Your Days Be Merry and Bright!

Merry Christmas!
Love, The Smittle Family
Scotty, Leslie, Olivia, Emma Claire, Addison, Isaiah, and Amelia

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The First Christmas

This week I gave Olivia a list of 20 Christmas related spelling words. To help her learn the words I gave her an assignment to write a short story about Christmas using the 20 words. I didn't give her any other guidelines. This is what she turned in to me. Her manuscript writing is kind of hard to read. Her cursive is so much nicer, but since I told her she could do whatever she wanted this is what I got. I think you can probably make it out. I'm so blessed to teach this sweet girl! I can't believe she's SEVEN now! Boo!

Merry "Chistmas," indeed!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's been a while

It seems like it's been a while since I posted last. It's not really intentional. I've just been busy with the Christmas season upon us. There are so many things to do and see and buy! Yikes!

We recently went to Branson for a mini vaycay with the littles. They loved this sweet gift idea from my parents. We stayed in a family waterpark resort and rode on the Polar Express. The kids had a blast and it was nice to get away for a few days.

Here are the kids finding out that Nana and Pop got them a VERY special trip for Christmas this year. My mom made these little stockings up with golden tickets and jingle bells and showed them pictures of the waterpark. So cute! You can see the excitement on the big girls faces in this one!

The Littles at the waterpark. The youngest two weren't fond of it, but the older three went CRAZY there. Mia wouldn't let us even put her into the water without a FIT. Brother was just REALLY cautious. Isaiah is trying to make a silly face in this picture. Ha! And yes, he has another black eye. He's all boy and clumsy to boot. Poor boy!

My three little girls in matching pjs that used to be for Lulu, KK, and Addi! BOO for getting bigger!

I LOVE this sweet sweet picture of my darling Addi sleeping on the way to the Polar Express. That soft sweet cheek needs to be KISSED!

Oh how I love this picture of my beautiful darlings! They were SO excited to ride the train!

Our family on the Polar Express. We almost didn't get to sit together after one of the train people told us to go into a cabin that was already full. Once we got back to the right one there weren't any seats together. Luckily there was a family that was willing to give up their seats and move to another spot so we were able to all sit together.

Drinking hot cocoa and eating YUMMY cookies. This was their favorite part!

Santa on the train.

Addi really liked the conductor. He liked her too as you can see in this picture! Ha!

Another Santa at the Branson Landing. The kids loved the light and water show there, but it was COLD! Did I mention I forgot to pack coats and hats? Mother of the year award, people!

Before we left we drove over to Springfield to the Bass Pro Shop. All the kids love the animals there. This bear has been around for a LONG time. There are pictures of ME in front of it as a small child. The girls LOVED it!

Scotty told them to look scared of it! HAHA!

They had a cool Santa area set up with rides and games and crafts for the kids. Our kids loved the wild animal carousel. Too bad I couldn't get a picture of Lulu because of where she was sitting, but here are the other kids.

Love this silly girl! She said, "Mom. Make it look like the bear is going to eat me!"

I'm looking forward to Christmas this year. We are really rethinking how we'll do Christmas next year. We battle the Santa thing each year trying to decide what to do with it. This year we are doing three gifts for each of the kids: PJs to wear on Christmas Eve, a Santa gift(and stocking), and a sibling exchange gift picked out by the sibling especially for their sibling. I love the sibling exchange. It's funny sometimes, the ideas that they come up with.
What do you do for Christmas? Spending limits? Gift limits? Ideas? I want to hear!