story fam

story fam

Monday, March 30, 2009

Menu Plan Monday for week of March 30th

I took a break for a bit from Menu Monday but decided this morning to get back on track. We started the envelope budget system again and I am thrilled to report that I did not use all of our grocery money as I had anticipated. I know there are many women out there that can shop for $75 a week or less, but I have not achieved that yet!!! Try as I might, I cannot leave the WalMart without spending $100-although there was one trip this month that only cost us $90-that was a major milestone!!!!

Here's the menu for the week:

Monday Grilling out hamburgers/hotdogs corn on the cob

Tuesday Nuggets and fries

Wednesday Smoked sausage and fried potatoes

Thursday Beef stew and biscuts

Friday Mac and cheese (Jr. Gamma Phi Circus Opening Night)

Saturday Manicotti

Sunday What's left in the fridge?????

For more great recipe and menu ideas head over to

Have a great week!!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Henry goes to FF

Henry done up and ready to go visit Ella
Ella measured Henry for part of a math project

Laynie, Maya, Emily, Evan and Ella love on Henry

Emily, Laynie, and Maya

Maura hugging Henry

Jaida giving Henry some snuggles

Jordan was the man-Henry rolled over for some belly rubbing for Jordan!

Today Henry was invited to go as Ella's final Featured Friend guest. We went into the back room and Ella was allowed to bring in small groups of her classmates to meet Henry and ask us questions about him. Here were some of the questions:

How old is he? Where did he come from? Why didn't you just get a puppy? And the number one question: Why does his breath smell so bad (man if we knew the answer to that question we would be so happy!)?

The kids were wonderful with Henry and Ella was so proud.

And He's Back!!!

Well it isn't sunny California, but we sure are glad that Daddio is back home! I pulled the kids out of school an hour early and we boogied out to the airport so we could see Dad get off the plane. I forgot about the security so we got to see his plane taxi in and then we were waiting behind the glass as he came down the escalator.
It was a sweet sight to see the kids jumping up and down and running to the passenger exit to give their Dad big hugs.
He was definately missed!!!
Back to reality Daddio:)

Waiting for Daddy to Come Home

Playdate at the Museum

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Stay-cation

What do you get when you cross kids in 2 different school systems??? Well at this time of the year you get two seperate Spring Breaks. While it is a pain to have the girls home one week and the little dude home two weeks later, it does make for an excellent excuse to have to stay home!!!! A friend from church coined it the "stay-cation"-the vacation where you stay at home!! Gotta love it. Not only ist it stress free (well sort of) but it is Daddio's favorite thing: cheap!! So what have we done on Mike's stay-cation? Played WAY too much Wii, colored, played multiple rounds of Dora Chutes and Ladders (I did promise him that I wouldn't tell any of his friends that we played this game-it's for babies), got Krispey Kremes, rented a few movies, went out to dinner with Gramma Choo Choo and today we went to the museum with Aunt Anita, Addison, Avery, Aunt Jessica and Berlyn. I have to say that being here at home for the week has been nice. We haven't done a lot-but just hanging out has been a great change of pace. And I don't have all of that post vacation laundry to do over the weekend:)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My apologies...a bit belated

Have you ever had a moment, or in my case days, when you realize that you owe someone a belated apology?? I promised I would do this so here goes.....

Dear Mom,

I am so sorry for all of the eye rolling, back talking, sarcasm, and stupid opinions that I bestowed on you during my adolescence and young adulthood. I am sorry that it has taken me being alone with my kids these past 4 days to fully realize (but please know that long ago I did start to recognize your sacrifice!) that there was not really an end to your being alone while you raised us. I am sorry that we all took you for granted and did not appreciate how exhausted you must have been day in and day out. Thank you for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thank you for every stitch of clean clothes, groceries, transportation and the extras that you provided. Thank you for loving me even when I forgot that you were a human being with feelings long before you became my Mother.

You are very important to me.

I love you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Busy Monday

Ella answers questions (man is she good with the microphone!)
Ella interviewing Michael

Ella asking Michael to answer questions from her classmates

Ella sharing CoCo her special Valentine gift from Harrison

Michael visited Emmy's preschool class-she was so proud to have him come into her room!

Michael helped Emmy get all of her school things into her cubby and gave her a hug before she went into her room. She worships him!

Well we survived school day number one without Daddio. Michael and I got Emmy to school and then headed on down the hall to spend an hour with Ella for her re-do of Featured Friend week. I got to read a book to the class after answering some tough questions (so how old are you?-and then I heard a little guy say, "Man she is way older than my Dad!"-ouch!) and then Michael got to answer some questions as well. We went to the park afterschool and had a pretty uneventful night (which was fine by me)! Tonight Grandma Choo Choo is treating us to McDonalds (thank you for saving me from dinner time) so that will take us to bedtime. We are all missing the Dadster and can't wait for him to come home!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Back" Talk

This morning I had the job of being chauffer to the girls-usually Derek takes them to school but since I am flying solo this job fell to me. I was half asleep as we drove down the road but not so sleepy that I missed the word "butt" being thrown around in the back seat. Now I realize that "butt" isn't a bad word to many people. Sorry, but it just plain annoys me to hear my kids use it! They think it is hilarous-I think it sounds bad. So I calmly asked my gang if they would stop using the word "butt" since it sounded rude and use a different word to describe their anatomy. Yep, I learned quickly that I should have been specific-I should have said, "Oh my lovely children would you please use the word bottom when talking about who you are going to punch and where?". Instead I made the mistake of leaving my request open ended.....and as a result here are the words that my kids came up with in less than 3 minutes:

tushie, patootie, buns, bum, booty, hamburger (for some reason this brought the biggest laugh??), peach buns, moon, moonie, big moon (this one was directed at me...why did they add big??), tootie booty, jiggly tushie, jiggle bottom....

There were even more but I'll stop with these variations. Wanna know the worst part? By the time we pulled into the circle drive I was laughing hysterically. I know that's wrong-believe me I know.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A flash back at WalMart

Today the family went to the local Walmart for some quality grocery shopping (yes, I am being sarcastic). Daddio is leaving for California tomorrow and I wanted to get food before someone else gets sick!!

As we were shopping, I had a flash back to earlier days when I would take all 5 of my little duckies to the store (yes ladies I mean all by myself). At the time of my youngest daughters birth, I had a 4 year old, two 2 year olds, a one year old and a new born. This translates into a baby carrier in one hand, a baby on my hip, and 3 little ones hanging on to various parts of my body. You can imagine the looks I got upon entering the store-and no they weren't looks of admiration!!! It never ceased to amaze me how people would walk right up and ask me questions about who these children belonged to-now may I please note here that this always stupifed me because who in their right mind would take 5 kids ages 4 and under to the store if they belonged to other people?? It was always the same-a variation on a reoccuring theme! So here are the top 10 things that people used to come and say, or ask, WHILE MY KIDS WERE STANDING THERE! Oh, and for those of you who need a mental picture...I used two of the gi-normous blue carts. I pushed one and pulled one-no one had to walk!!

10. Do they all have the same Father?
9. Have you ever heard of something called birth control?
8. Do you know what causes that? (The person would then use a sweeping gesture towards all of my little lambie pies)
7. You aren't pregnant again are you? (How rude is that? You NEVER ask a Mom of 5 children if they are pregnant-dude it's called post baby fat!)
6. Are you going to have more?
5. "Why" (Usually accompanied by a jaw that drops)
4. "Oh my"
3. Better you than me
2. "I'm sorry" (You should be for saying something so stupid in front of my kids!)
AND NUMBER ONE...and Mommies I have heard this more times than I can ever count....
1. Do you run an inhome daycare?
My now 9 year old daughter got to the point where she would cut people off who approached us by saying, "No we aren't a daycare. We're her kids and we don't want to be here."
So today as we all walked around and I pushed my one cart (which 2 girls still ride in) I had a wistful moment of those crazy days where life passed me by so quickly I think I neglected to stop and enjoy those moments at Walmart. But let me tell you this.....I can take all 5 of those kids shopping by myself and they rock it every time!!!!! Well almost every time...but if you see me out in public and I look like I'm going crazy don't feel like you have to acknowledge that you see me! I won't be offended if you just walk on by.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Reading Thing

To coincide with the first day of Spring (come on warmer weather), I am going to join in the Spring Reading Thing at
Here is what my Spring Reading List looks like:
Mommy is Going to Read:
The Boy in The Striped Pajamas-John Boyne
Clay's Quilt-Silas House
The Kite Runner
The Shack
Meet the Austens'Madeleine L'Engle
Multiple Blessings-Kate Gosselin
Harry Potter books 5 and 6
5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter-Vicki Courtney
How to Have a New Kid by Friday-Dr. Kevin Lehman DONE-THIS IS AWESOME!!
The Treasure Inside Your Child
Mommy is Going to Read to the Kiddo's:
The Princess and The Kiss
Beautifully Made: Approaching Womanhood (yep, it's time-sigh)
The Story of Me: God's Design for Sex Ages 3-5 ('s time for this too) DONE
Before I Was Born: God's Design for Sex Ages 5-8
What's The Big Deal? Why God Cares About Sex Ages 8-11 (do you see the theme here?)
Mom's Rocking Readers Selections:
We will be picking a new book club book for our family to read during the month of April-I'll keep you posted
Cross Pointe Book Club Selection:
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks DONE
I do read a lot, so if I get through the selections above I have a few more to add. If you have any suggestions PLEASE leave me a comment as I am ALWAYS looking for a good book to read-hey, it is getting closer to summer vacation!!!!

My First Ultimate Blog Party

Hooray...I am participating in my first ever Ultimate Blog Party!! For a link to join in the party click on the side bar and you'll get all the information that you need.
So welcome to my blog to all new friends who may happen to visit. I am a stay at home Mom to 5 kids (ages 9, 7, 7, 6, and almost 5). We're a busy crew who love doing life in our own crazy way. My life is hectic and I spend WAY too much time in a silver Chevy Venture (that's a mini van to those of you who don't have kiddo's).
I am a wife to Super Daddio (Derek) who can leap tall buildings in a single bound. We're lucky to have a strong marriage that has weathered some rough storms.
I hope you enjoy looking through my posts!!!!
Thanks for visiting!!
After looking at all of the AWESOME prizes, here is my wish list (THANK YOU so much to all of the people who have donated these wonderful items-like many Moms who sacrifice personal treats, I would be honored to receive ANY of the items on the list of prizes):
1. Number 58: Kitchen Aide Mixer (oohh the cookies we could make)
2. Number 15: Chicbud earphones (I need some bling for my visits to the Walmart)
3. INT10: Momoir Workbook
4. Number 25: Period kit (yep, I have a daughter approaching this phase of life-sigh)
5. Number 49: Jillian Michaels DVD (I have 5 kids-no explanations needed)
6. Number 80: Crocheted bag (Just sounds lovely)
7. USC7: Monogramed Ziptote
8. USC10: Mabel's Label's (hey, we loose A LOT of stuff)
9. USC20: T's and a tank (These sound stylish and I could use some style)
10.USC26: Hatley's PJ's ( relax in new jammies)
11. USC40: Yankee Candle (love 'em but don't buy 'em)
And of course I would love anything else on the list outside of my top 11!!
Hope you have a fantastic Blog Party experience!!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

An Artful Design

About a month ago I sponsored a ladies night out through our church at the local pottery store. After an hour of wandering around trying to choose something to paint, I copied off of my friend Tami-thank you Tami for taking pity on my uncreative soul.

I painted this plate and then had help from Kathy (a lovely woman at the pottery store) who, with a much steadier hand, wrote these words:

In this home....

We do second chances.

We do grace.

We do real (and if you know us you know this is true!).

We do mistakes (true also).

We do "I'm sorry".

We do loud...really well (shocking, I know).

We do hugs.

We do family.

We do love.

I have thought a lot about this plate and decided that it could also say the following:

We do life together-the good, the bad, and the ugly

We force our kids to get along

We love God

We cry

We laugh at Daddio's silly jokes (most of the time)

We do dinner together at least 6 nights out of the week

We do discipline

We do Carle's ice cream

We do not push our kids to excel at things just to make ourselves feel like good parents

We do witness miracles

We do the very best that we can with what we have been given

We are blessed by our present, past, and what is to come in the future..

I could go on and on........what do you do as a family? What would your plate say? We all have our own stories to tell......what does your story say about you?

Twin Love

It has been one LOOOOONG winter here at chez Story. I'm not sure we have had one full week (since before Christmas) where someone wasn't sick. It's currently Ella's turn-she is running a fever, has vomited, etc. and her twin is very concerned.
When I think of what Michael's song is, I think of nursing. He is a natural. Whenever anyone is sick, he steps it up and cares for them. Whether it is a kiss, fetching water or jello, or covering one of us up with a blanket he is there. His intuition is remarkable. He just knows what to do when he sees that one of us aren't well. Michael blesses us with his ability to serve and care. Unfortunately Ella is missing her Featured Friend week at school-this is a week all about her (this may shock you but she loves that it is all about her-yep, she's our diva). It has been a bitter pill for Ella to swallow-this being home sick on such a special week (need I mention that she is the last featured friend and has waited ALL year for this special week?). Her wonderful teacher did send a get well card home yesterday which brought a smile to Ella's face.
So we are trudging through this week with the hope that no one else gets sick-Derek leaves for California on Sunday and I, quite frankly, do not want a house full of sickies while he is gone.
Here is to the promise of spring!!! And no more sickness!!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Do you remember when you were pregnant and looked at a friend who already had children and uttered these words, "I am so tired! It is so hard to be pregnant!"? Maybe the statement sounded different, but I am certain that at some point we all felt that way. I remember saying something similar to a good friend who, at the time of my pregnancy, had a small child. She looked at me (in a glazed over sort of way) and nodded her head-but I noticed that there was something in that smile that was preparing me for what was to come.

Yesterday I woke up at 4am to the sounds of coughing-our 4 year old and our 6 year old had joined us once again (need I even mention that they ALWAYS come to my side of the bed to announce that they will be joining us?? At like 2 and 3am?). The dog came up to my side of the bed when he heard me move and decided that he needed to go potty. By 7:40 a.m. I had 4 kids dressed, fed, coats on, shoes tied, backpacks on, jackets ready, lunches ready, snacks packed, assignment notebook signed, shoes retied.....and then Ella looked at me and announced that she didn't feel good. Unfortunately this is Ella's Featured Friend week at school and since she wasn't running a fever we let her go to school. Probably not the smartest parenting move! At 8:25 the school nurse called to inform me that Ella was running a 102.3 fever-could I please come and get her? Sure, I responded...just as soon as Emmy's breathing treatment is over. Our day progressed uneventfully until I remembered that I had a doctors appointment scheduled....for an internal sonogram...and a pelvic exam...and I now have Ella! Well ladies, we went and survived that appointment-which left us short of time so we cruised to Walmart for a new thermometer/bread for dinner/childrens motrin/and I dropped off my own prescription all in 20 minutes....before we picked up Michael. After the Prairland pickup we proceed to the next school for Emmy and Fiona, get home, Ella's temp is back up, we eat snack, play outside..and I remember that Peris needs a ride home from circus. We get back in the van to head back to school and then I'm not sure what happened.
In the span of the next 2 hours, Ella continues to have a high fever, the dog PEE'S all over 3 backpacks, I make dinner, give 4 showers, make one lunch, help Michael with his inhaler, do a breathing treatment, clean up so Derek doesn't realize that we really do live in a disaster zone during the day, and finally put the kids to bed.
Why am I sharing this? Because I realize what that Mom was saying in that smile that she gave me all those years ago...."You have no idea what tired really is"-and now I know!
P.S.-I've been up since 3am when Ella yelled down to me "Mom, I puked and it didn't hit the toilet".

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Dear Dr. Lehman,

Where ever you are this morning, I THANK YOU for writing this book!! I am not a fan of "how to's" or "step" programs but sir, I am a believer!!!! Your 3 little steps (1. say it once 2. turn your back 3. walk away) have already worked in our home this very morning!!!!! Derek and I have also used the "do you need a hug?" approach twice-oooohhhh I am just too pumped on this FUN DAY (remember dude, I read your book in ONE night!). Our son is so confused-it is delightful!!!!

You are one wonderful man Mr. Lehman.

We thank you.


Kara Story

Hearts at Home 2009

Here I am at the conference (we sat in the balcony)
This auditorium would be filled with over 4,000 Moms!!!

My friend Tami

Can you see the Go Fish guys? This place was packed for the Mom's Night Out
and the Fishy guys did NOT disappoint us! It was a rocking evening of fun praise
music that did glorify God!!!
There is nothing like singing Jesus Loves Me with 4,000 other Moms or singing How Great Is Our God and watching Moms raise their arms in the air towards our Heavenly Father.
We who are priviledged to have the title of Mom are so blessed!

Well once again my awesome husband took the day off of work (and it wasn't easy for him as he is super busy) so I could attend the National Hearts at Home Conference here in our town. I got up at the crack of dawn, took a REAL shower (if you are a Mom you understand what I mean by this), had a few cups of coffee and headed for the conference. From the minute I arrived I had a fantastic time-have you ever stood in line with a bunch of Moms who are free of kids?? We can TALK about anything!!!!
My classes were fantastic-I got my top 4 and was very pleased. I went to sessions on becoming financially free, guilt free mothering (yes, it is possible), purity (I would encourage ALL parents to seek out information on, and finally financially responsible kids. I gleaned so much information during the day.
Then it was time for our afternoon main session. Dr. Kevin Lehman was the speaker and man he spares nothing-it was super! He has just written a new book entitled How To Have A New Kid By Friday and guess what-I bought a copy. Dr. Lehman had the easiest advice on parenting-let me just say this, his "plan" is so easy 1. Say it once 2. Turn your back 3. Walk away. That's it. Seriously. I wanted a few new kids so badly that I read the entire book last night!!! I'll keep you posted on my progress.
The biggest highlight is the Mom's Night Out and this year the musical guests were a group called 4ever (a Mom and her 3 very talented daughters) and a group of 3 Dads who call themselves Go Fish (you really need to check them out at
As always, I left this conference feeling refreshed, hopeful, valued, and spiritually back on track.

If you have never been to a conference and you live in the area, I would encourage you to consider going next year-it is a really great way to recharge your Mom batteries!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Good bye Daisy 1994-2009

This morning Derek is taking Daisy to the vet to be put to sleep. She is 15 years old and has had declining health for quite awhile now. She isn't eating and has started to go to the bathroom in the house. Her limping has gotten much worse and her temperment is also getting bad. This was a hard decision to make as she has been a part of our family long before our family actually started-she was our original "kid in a fur coat". She survived the birth of Peris, a move from Peoria, the birth of 4 more kids, and the addition of Henry.
This is also the first lesson that the kids are learning about the death of a pet. It has been a good opportunity to talk about where Daisy will go when she goes to sleep.
I will miss her-that is certain.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Helping Out

Fiona reads to Emmy during her treatment

"This is too long Mom!"

The girls banded together and have started to read to Emmy during her long morning and evening treatments. They decided, on their own, that this would help Emmy sit because in Emmy's own words, "This is not fun Mom!". Thank goodness Fiona can read because the girls are taking turns and it has turned into quality time for Emmy to spend with her sisters.

Chess Club Banquet


One proud Dad

One proud Mom

Michael won SECOND place for his skill level group!

One proud little guy!

Last night we attended Michael's Chess Banquet and much to our surprise he received a Second Place Trophy for his skill level group The Pawns. When Mr. Johnson started to announce the top 10 players we waited and then when he got to the top 5 players Michael started to ask why Mr. Johnson had forgotten him-we were all so excited when Mr. Johnson announced Michael's name in the 2nd spot.

Chess has been so much more than a game for Michael. It has given him the opportunity to learn something new (not his favorite thing to do) and stretch his abilities. It created situations where his social skills were challenged and situations where he learned how to be both a gracious winner and a gracious looser.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are both wonderful people. They both have invested a lot of time, energy, and love into making this a positive experience for Michael-and the benefits will be everlasting.

We were ALL so proud of Michael last night but more importantly, he was so proud of himself. Nothing could have removed the smile on his face!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Home "Tweet" Home

Michael and Grandpa Story had a great time sketching plans and then building this awesome birdhouse over the weekend (note the bottle cap accessory). They worked very hard together to make this really cool project and it looks awesome!!
Note: Grandpa Story is having a lovely (and well deserved) time enjoying his retirement and I am sure that there are many more cool projects to come:)

Fiona's Bowling Birthday Party

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ernie Arrives....

Ernie does not look happy to be here...
We have a temporary (and I mean temporary) addition to our family...Ernie the Metcalf Preschool turtle has come to stay at our house over Spring Break...this is only to make Emmy happy as I personally think Ernie is offense little guy. So this brings our tally up to: 2 parents, 5 children, a cat (with an anxiety condition), an 80-ish pound Golden Retriever (who is scared to death of the cat), and Ernie the turtle. We are becoming a regular petting zoo-hmm...I could charge admission and make some cash on the side:)