The Gonzalez Family Herald

Headlines and commentary from a Northern California family of seven.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The helpfulness of children

My second daughter suggested I blog about her so I am going to accommodate her.

I suppose it would seem silly to say that with five children in the house all under ten years old, things get hectic. In the midst of the chaos mom and dad need a little bit of help when they can get it. Well, this particular post is about the help we get.

It seems that out older children are really starting to pick up the load quite a bit more. The other day I was told that my second daugther changed the baby all by herself. She also made mom coffee and helped with the dishes. These are the kinds of things that help a parent out. If there are any parents out there reading this, tell your kids its OK for them to help you with things that can be done by the kids. They will feel better about themselves for doing it and you will have the benefit of knowing that you children are being taught various responsibilities and a work ethic.

So thanks kids. For all your help. For all that you do. And for being kids. Because sometimes mom and I have to remember that you are, afterall, just kids. And we need to remember how much fun it is supposed to be just being a kid. I love you all. God bless you.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

And now a word from our sponsors

Child Number 1 speaking! Wow! The boy giggled! I LOVE the spotlight. My Dad was changing the baby, and he said, "Woo, boy, that's smelly!" The baby seemed to think that was funny.

As you may have read before, we went to Tilden Regional Park about a week ago. Well, it's just about breakfast time. We had In-N-Out for dinner last night.

Mom & I need to go shoe-shopping pretty soon. Child # 4 is a-playin' with Mom right now, an' dat's all, folks!

(Down the hallway)

"Dad,I got your coffee!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A cute picture

I am in a hurry right now, but I had to get this one up. I love this picture...

Isn't he just the cutest little boy in the world? Michael Jackson, if you are out there reading this, don't asnwer that question.


Monday, August 15, 2005

We went on an explore

So I have been thouroughly irritated about being stuck in the house. There is something about nice weather and me being a man that makes me want to, well, get out. So I decided that the family would hit the road and see what was in front of us. Actually, I talked it over with my wife and we decided that Tilden Regional Park near Berkeley would be an excellent place to go with the family.

We packed a picnic lunch, got in the van and hit the road. And I must say that my wife knows how to pick a field trip. Tilden Park is a very nice area. It is a large regional park with lots of activities for the kids, trails for everyone, a lake, a carousel, a really cool visitor center and a neat little farm for the kids.

So we got there at about lunch time, so the first thing we did was park in the nature center parking lot and ate lunch. That was an adventure because unlike what I believed was going to be great weather we actually managed to go to this place on a very cold and windy day. So our picnic took place in the van. Now I like our Mazda MPV as much as the next guy, but with seating for seven, a family of seven is a little cramped in a van like ours. But hey, we were exploring. We toughed it out and managed a complete indoor picnic in the comfort of our van.

Our next stop was to the visitor center. Man, I was impressed. This place had a lot of hands on learning for the kids (and for us too). We spent about a half hour in the visitor center enjoying the scenes and sites, then went to the little farm. That was another cool experience. Check out a few pictures...

So after the farm we went to the carousel. That was another very cool experience. The kids had a blast. The baby was comfortably sleeping on my chest throughout the entire thing and our youngest daughter loved every second of the ride.

After the carousel came the botanical garden, a beautiful collection of hundreds of native California plant species in a nice little safe area. The one bad thing about the gardens was that it was all over a hill with few ramps. This meant that our family was able to view the perimeter of the gardens and that was about it. Oh well, maybe next time.

Then came the mini steam train ride. Another very cool adventure. Pictures of the train ride did not come out so good so you're going to have to take my word for it.

Anyway, the entire event went well. We had fun, learned a lot and had a great little rest sitting in the van stuck in two and a half hours of traffic on the way home. When this application gets better I will post the pics. Until then, hasta la vista baby.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Who, what, when???

Anyone get the number of that train that just hit us? Sometimes life happens so fast that after a spell here and there, you have to look back and check out what you just experienced. So is the case for me this week.

A couple of weeks ago I had to alter my shift at work. Not a major undertaking, but given the timing of the change it had a significant impact on. Now this change is only a two week stint to help out my supervisor who is on vacation. But it came at a time when another coworker was having a family emergency AND I was doing overtime AND my daughter was swimming in the league championships.

So I have been up at about 4:00 AM to get to work by 5:30. I work until 4:00 PM and call it a day. No big thing. Except that 4:00 AM issue. Man that is early. It makes me exhausted just writing about it. Needless to say, I have been T-I-R-E-D. But yesterday was the last day of that schedule and next week it is back to normal.

In the midst of this exhausting last few weeks I have also noticed that my four year old is becoming an insanely good reader. My wife has taught all of our kids how to read. As homeschoolers there is a certain amount of instructional basics that we need to cover before we can get deeper into the teaching we want to give our kids. But I have got to say that few people in this world have the ability to teach reading and writing like my wife. All of our kids have been exceptional readers before their fifth birthdays. We have a nine year old that eats through books. I mean she will get a 200 page young reader novel and have it finished the next day. My eight year old is the same way. We have a large collection of Previously Read Books that my children have owned for a few days.

Which brings me to next realization... my wife is an exceptional woman. Not only is she a "household engineer" (I can't stand stay-at-home mom or homemaker, so bear with this), but she is a great mother, an awesome teacher, a wonderful wife and a generous person. On top of all this, she homeschools three school-age while tending to two other less than school-age children. Is that outrageous or what? She doesn't give herself the credit she deserves - partly because she is also very humble, partly because she doesn't have time to - but she is such an inspiring woman.

Another thing about my wife... even with as much stuff as she has going on in her life she still finds time to take care of a baby. Our son has graduated to size 3 diapers. This comes a day after his six week birthday. This also comes from 100% breast milk, as have all of our kids. Yes, you heard it here first ladies and gentlemen, on top of everything else, my wife nurses our babies. Man, I need to stop before this becomes an infomercial and I start getting phone order for a new wife.

My kids have also shown me how awesome they are during the last few weeks. Mind you they are nine, eight, four, two and brand new, and they will frequently remind you of this by their behavior, but the three older kids have definitely taken on a much more mature position around the house lately. They are becoming more responsible, more considerate and more mature. Now if we could just get through that peaceful sibling coexistence issue...

I have a ton of pictures that I want to share. I will be posting them in a little bit as time allows. Right now the house is in a bit of a hush because mom and the baby are sleeping. But when next I write I will give the old college try to get some photos up here for you to see. Until then, never let a baby boy lay on the changing table with his diaper off or you may be forced to perform an emergency shampoo on your hairdo.

Monday, August 08, 2005

It's here, it's finally here

Does anyone know what time it is? If you didn't know...

That's right, it's FOOTBALL SEASON!

Woooohoooo! After six long arduous months of no football, the Chicago Bears pulled out a late victory over the Miami Dolphins in the Hall of Fame game tonight. Yes, I know it is preseason. And Yes, I now that these games mean absolutely nothing. But hey, it was a football game. After that long without a game, this was like heaven. I believe I will start warming up for the screaming and cheering that invariably comes from 17 weeks of regular season football savagery followed by four weeks of playoff excitement. Man, I can't wait.

I know this one was short, but I am tired and I have to be at work early tomorrow. Speaking of work... nevermind, I'll tell you later.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Measuring the cost

Man, things are expensive! I had to send a document to Missouri by Friday. Today is Wednesday. I figured I would go to FedEx and send the thing overnight for a couple of dollars. FedEx figured differently.

I found out that to send a single page document by FedEx from Northern California to Missouri costs $21. Of course, had I been sending this to a business it would have only cost $19. And if I would be satisfied with it getting there by Monday, it would have only cost $12.50.

OK, back to reality. If I hadn't mentioned this before, I have a wife and five children. I live in Northern California, possibly the most expensive area on the West side of the country. I am not paying $21 to send a stinking envelope overnight. Call me cheap (I prefer frugal, but to each his own), but $21 just seems unreasonable. So I went to the US POst Office.

I was surprised. I was able to get a guaranteed Friday delivery for only $13.65. And all these years I thought the postal service was more expensive than the others. Well, for you folks out there that ship things, the USPS might not be a bad way to go. Plus my sister works for the USPS so I am sure she will get some pleasure in knowing that I am supporting her carreer in some way.

Anyway, it's hot and I need to cool down. I'll write again later.