About Me

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Nebraska, United States
A would-be stay at home mom working full-time as a teacher. I teach at my old Highschool, working side-by-side with my own teachers. I blog to keep the Texan grandparents updated and chronicle our life for future reference. (In other words, I don't have a real baby-book or diary.) Comments make my day. Thanks for stopping by! kimlepper at gmail.com

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Snow Day

She was quite happy with her consolation prize while the others got to go play outside.

"suk-ah"


Lots of energy and intense conversation at the lunch table

Everybody say "snow day!"

Red, white and green snowflakes.

The kitchen looked like we'd shredded an Italian or Mexican flag when all was said and done!

Ezra in this picture :)








Thursday, January 18, 2018

Storytime


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ballerinas





At this point little Jack Jack arrived... 

And started pulling hair...
 Time out's have never been so cute!

So.much.attitude.






Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tales from the Other Side

It's the other mastermind-of-this-experiment's turn to say a few things.  
Three questions to answer and then whatever else:

1)  The most common question SHE gets, "So...have you guys found a house yet?"
[Melissa] 
No. but there's a good reason for that: we aren't looking for a house yet. Of course I have my fun searching on Zillow for that ideal home in that ideal location, but the truth of the matter is, we're taking our time, as planned. We need to. Life over the past 15 months requires it. And there's no place else we'd rather take deep, cleansing, breaths than in a town-home with another family of five :)  
particularly nice is the simple fact that I'm not sure they'll ever let us leave.



2) The most common question I get, "So...how's it going with the other family that moved in?"
[Melissa] 
LOL! Is that who we are to you!??
But seriously, we are not here because we are destitute, nor are we here to mooch until we've bled our dear friends dry of their resources. Far from it. I'd like to think I can say with conviction (Kim, correct me if I'm wrong. Or let me live in blissful ignorance) that we're contributing members of a well running household, and that our presence makes the family machine run more smoothly, not more hectically. We are truly living in community with one another. I will admit, I had my doubts about our ability to blend & pool nearly EVERYTHING (stuff, resources, children, responsibilities, laundry, groceries...) but it has been remarkable. Of course I'm hesitant to express too much confidence too early, but I digress.


 3)  From a reader (and mutual friend), "Is there some sort of organized "chore chart"? Or are they all un-written rules??? For kids? Adults? Or both?"
 [Melissa]

 Everyone has planned responsibilities, but we haven't yet taken to writing them down. Let's see if I can remember the primary ones:

The Adults
Aside from putting our things away like good boys and girls, the four of us share dish duty, general de-cluttering, and childcare.
  • Kim: Works her tail off teaching highschoolers five days per week, cleans all floors, cleans bathroom surfaces, and cleans ALL family laundry. She even separates her whites, darks, and delicates! I know, right?! Who does that anymore? Don't look at me like that. it was HER request to take charge of laundry, because it's important to her.
  • Melissa: I take care of everything food - meal planning, grocery shopping, Costco, bulk cooking and baking, and I keep track of the budget. Ah, the budget. We are fairly determined to eat a whole food diet as a framily, meaning very little processed, pre-prepped food. It keeps our costs down, and I have the time to focus on it right now. So, we make all our own yogurt (we demolish 8 quarts weekly), sandwich and dinner breads, soups & bone broths, sauces, and of course school & work lunches on the daily. We have two mini-fridges to house extras, and two small deep-freezers. It's complicated at times, but always worthwhile when we consider the money we're saving and the healthy benefits of eating whole foods. I also watch my youngest, Ezra, during the day, Genevieve on Thursdays and Fridays, and all the kids when they get home from school. Oh. And toilets. I clean the toilets.
  • Jeremy: Works all day, frequently overtime, to provide for his family. Also, Jeremy makes family dinners on Saturday and Sunday. Where I tend to put equal emphasis on prep time and flavor, Jeremy enjoys taking time to create truly delicious and unique meals. We all look forward to the weekend! He jumps in and helps clean up the kitchen when needed, and takes the garbages out each night. Jeremy also does evening duty with his girls, bathing them and getting them all to bed.
  • Jonathan: Works all day about 45 minutes away to provide for our family. Jonathan does breakfasts for our kids and himself in the morning so I can finish my coffee and become a friendly, functioning human again. As if that wasn't enough, he also takes care of toothbrushing & bible stories at night after he's tagged in for some dish duty. He has made it a habit as well of cleaning all door knobs, railings, sink knobs, and handles every day when he gets home, to which I'm sure we attribute at least a portion of our overall health as a framily.
 The kids:
All the kids are responsible for dealing with their own backpacks, lunch boxes, coats, shoes, clean laundry, and activities they get out. We're living in tight quarters, and these kids have seriously learned how to put their things away - if only to avoid a wayward sibling getting into them.
  • Samantha: Sam empties the dishwasher every morning before school, and gets silverware for everyone at every mealtime.
  • Levi: He empties the dishwasher every afternoon when he gets home from school, and gets drinks for everyone at each mealtime.
  • Cora: She empties the main floor bathroom trash, and the basement trashes, and gets napkins on the table at mealtimes
  • Charlotte: She empties the second floor trash cans
  • Ezra: He's still working on being a small human. Lol. We don't have anything nailed down for him yet that we feel like we can really hold him accountable for. Perhaps if we could just get him to keep the sheets ON his bed, and the pants ON his bottom, we'd be off to a good start.
  • Genevieve: Her job is to be baby Jack-Jack. Come see her in action, tickets for sale soon.




Anything else to add?
Yeah. This one nagging thing somebody said to me. I told them we were going to be moving in with some friends and the response was: "you mean, you're going to move in with people who were your friends before you moved in with them?" Now, I do understand that for one reason or another, what appears to be a delightful experience could end up not working out as well as we hope, but the outright assumption that living in a small space all together would fail so miserably proposes a hypothesis I hope to prove so very, very, false. I think one of our foremost goals as a framily is to think of each other first - to love each other well. And as such, we communicate OFTEN and respectfully about what is working and what isn't, what we appreciate and what bothers us. We are frank, and not interested in couching our words and carefully constructing our sentences. Above all we seek to honor God through this adventure, and if we accomplish that, I consider it a raging success.
Proverb Melissa added to our Kitchen

**Melissa would like it noted that this post is being posted without it being perfect**

Monday, January 15, 2018

Two Months In!

 I keep getting so far behind it seems like I'll never catch up!  There's been so much to remember and no time to document it.

Ok, so- two months in and things are going swimmingly.  I think a few items have been key to our success:

1) weekly meetings (we call them High Counsel Summits)  This is when we say what's been irking us, things we'd like each other to be aware of, go over upcoming items, grocery status, etc.  It was really nerve racking at first, but it's become a very low-key time of everyone sharing hilarious kid antics that may have been missed by one or two adults.
G now says "Dawdan!" with much enthusiasm
2) being frank- There's really no room for social niceties at all times.  If somethings bothering someone, we're ok mentioning it and then everyone respects that although they don't agree, they'll comply.
Examples?
According to Melissa, if something is in the sink it's dirty.  No picking it back up. No exceptions.  No food gets washed/cut in the sink (at least when she might see it ;) ).  But the floor?  Meh- it's all good.

Unless Kim sees it.  Because floor--hello, people walk out of the bathroom where there are still little people trying to learn to aim and they then walk into the kitchen...no.  No food on the floor is edible unless it's going to be cooked to oblivion, the floor was JUST washed or it is a dry expensive item.

Cora has acclimated to having three sisters with much joy

3) being ok with the other parents parenting.  So, if the biological adult is present they get first dibs on discipline, but for the most part whomever is the adult present is the adult taking care of the issue at hand.  A few times one of us has seen a tantruming child of the other framily and have asked, "May I give it a shot?" to which the bio parent says "BE MY GUEST!" and said child is whisked away to their room to finish the tantrum.  There's also NO judgement on anyone's part as far as parenting.  Suggestions, yes, but only when things are calm and the stressed parent is able to process.

I remember one day it NOT being my child doing the ear piercing screaming and I said with a sweet smile, "Can I just say how relieved I am that your child still does that?  It means mine aren't the only ones making our ears bleed!"

Adult Movie Night- 8pm kid bedtime is beautiful
4) date night- Fridays someone goes out.  Except last week, when Melissa was gone.  Which leads me to...
Quick!  Melissa is never in the pictures!  Say Cheese!
5) being gone.  Melissa left for 3 days and we all took over, but it wasn't this huge "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN GOOD-BYE I NEED A BREAK" when she returned.  We were SO glad she was back, but it didn't really wasn't too bad since there were still three of us (and extended Framily) holding down the fort.  Plus she did an awesome job making sure all the ducks were in a row before she left.  One more day and things may have started to go a little haywire, what with the bread and yogurt supply on low...:)


Lunch with the two little one day

Love.those.dimples.
Anywho, when she returned we got bold and started to discuss COUPLES being gone overnight or one adult being gone over a weekend for a retreat...I might actually get to go on a retreat!  Something I've been wanting to do for years but just didn't know how to make it work!

6) Pitching in.  Seriously- four adults to run a house is SO AMAZING. But we all four HAVE to pitch in.  Dishes are ridiculous and unfortunately, none of us "enjoys" dishes.

Post-sledding selfie

Ok, that's enough for now.  I think.  Maybe we should open this up to questions?  Any questions out there?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Super Framily

Since we've been blending, we've all noticed each other's rather unique super-powers.  Be them useful or just fun to watch, everyone seems to resemble some fictional character...From oldest to youngest:

Jeremy

He's our Dr Strange.  He's on a completely different level socially but brilliantly talented in ways we don't realize until we try it ourselves.

His culinary skills keep us out of most restaurants.  Seriously, no chef in Lincoln can come close.  And then he does things like builds a mini-mudroom or draws out 3-D plans for an entertainment center in the basement.  What? How did you...Mind.blown.


Jonathan

We think he was bitten by a mutant bug or is in touch with the Force.  His spidey senses will go off and he will inevitably find a child in need- be it Genevieve across the street (don't ask) or Genevieve in the bathroom on the toilet, Genevieve dancing on the kitchen table...really, he's saved that girls life more than once.
His sanitation knowledge and safety expertise background have kept the big-bad bugs from spreading and people sliding around outside on a surprise dusting of snow.



Melissa

Something between Daredevil and EarQ- Melissa can hear EVERYTHING.  This woman's super hearing means no child sneaks out of bed or has a conversation that she does not witness.  This is a slight disadvantage at night when I'm trying to work and my computer is RIGHT above her bedroom.  And many times she'll come upstairs and ask, "who was making _____ sound?" And I confess, "um...I was breathing?"

She also a mastermind when it comes to grocery shopping/mealplanning.  She's determined to feed us all on $800 a month on whole foods.  So far so good- delicious, homemade bread made from home-ground wheatberries.  Home-made yogurt, muffins...and everything else we feast on!  I've learned SO much from her and....she needs to write a book.


Kim

Super.Sonic.Smell.  I can smell a poopy diaper BEFORE it happens.  I know which students smoke before they enter my room.  NO scented ANYTHING less you suffer the wrath of Olfactory Overloaded Kim.

Although sleep is a rare nicety due to many life-factors right now, when enough is acquired, all the fun messy stuff comes out for kids to do.  Sledding?  Everyone suit up!  Playdough?  Here's the box!  Hide and seek?  Let me help move the couch for you to hide! Glitter?  HERE'S YOUR FAIRY DUST!

BUT.  That floor will be vacuumed daily, by golly, or insanity starts sneaking in...


Samantha

Have you ever seen Princess Unikitty?  Rainbows and Glitter and Unicorns and "Any idea is a Good idea, expet the not-happy ones.  Those you push down deep inside where you'll never, ever, ever EVER find them!" That girl thrives on less sleep than I ever thought possible for a child.  Thank GOODNESS for Clonidine.

This girl's secret power is her artistic ability.  Wow.  This girl is creative.  And has to have something close to a photographic memory.  She remembers EVERYTHING that she reads.


Levi

Batman- Justice Vigilante.  No deed shall go unpunished/unrewarded! And Cardboard lightsabor fighter extraordinaire.

His secret power is his breakfast appetite.  It's a side-job, really.  We sell tickets to help pay for his keep, "Come see the amazing bottomless breakfast appetite!  Oatmeal, Bananas, yogurt in one 5 minute setting!"



Cora

Elasticgirl/Pinkypie all the way.  This girl can mold on any piece of furniture.  And then bounce off with the agility and grace of an inflatable flailing arm (wo)man!

Her secret power is filling a room with excitement just with your presence.  She's our greeter and makes sure everyone gets their fill of "I love you's" and hugs and superlatives.

Charlotte

Rarity.  All things sparkle and shiny and gems and gold and drama when her hair isn't perfect.  She's the collector of all things sparkly and small. Our little Magpie!

Charlotte's superpower is that of possession and finding the little things.  Can't find that one bead?  Ask Charrlote. "Check out my the lego treasure box.  No, not the one at the bottom of the lego box, the one under the couch cushion.  The one on the left. I put it there last Thursday when I was playing with the glitter popsicile stick named 'Rainbow sparkle princess.'  I want it back when you're done.  That's very special to me." 


Ezra

Hulk-boy.  So handsome and sweet and cute and SMART and charming...until he's generally frustrated with the four older siblings in possession of something that is desired.  Or in other tragic circumstances such as the younger one who deemed him a punching bag for the first month here.

His secret power is super-sleeper.  Bad dream?  Let me go back to sleep.  Fallen out of bed?  Let me go back to sleep.  Never-ending cough?  Why did you wake me up?  Let me go back to sleep.  2 hour nap EVERY day?  You got it.  Just don't wake me up.


Genevieve

We can't wait to see the movie inspired by her.  It's coming to theaters soon- Incredibles 2.  The writers lived in our house to watch Genevieve in action to get all of their writing material for Jack-jack.  So innocent and sweet and HOLY COW HOW DID SHE GET UP THERE?
When a tantrum is in session you have to hold her at arms length so as not to get sliced by the lazer eyes while trying to not let her fall and hurt herself.

Her super power is her power legs.  She's been kicking non-stop since in-utero and has developed quite the solid leg strength.  Changing diapers has never been so dangerous.  She better potty train quickly!


Ram Sam Sam

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lil Sister

Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Genevieve

Lilypie First Birthday tickers