Thursday, December 22, 2011


If a picture is worth a thousand words, then here’s 2000 words explaining my blog neglect: 

IMG_1763 - CopyIMG_1761

Amongst all the moving chaos, we are trying to enjoy the Christmas season as well.  Here’s what we have been up to: 

We saw the Christmas Lights at Thanksgiving Point, watched Holiday movies (“Elf”, “Fred Clause” and “A Christmas Story” have been some of our family favorites this year) and have read lots of Christmas books.  Each year we buy one new Christmas Book, have everyone sign it and each night we read one story.  We were given a jar at the beginning of the month with strips of paper with uplifting holiday activities for our family to do each night like “do something for someone without them knowing”.   I think the kids like drawing out slips of paper more than actually completing the activity, but at least we’re trying.  We also decided let the kids draw each others names so they can learn to enjoy the process of gift-giving.  On on of our family nights, we bought some toys to donate to “Toys for Tots” and thanks to Grandma Carmen, the kids have even gotten to bake a little.  I’m packing up the kitchen, so despite all good intentions to bake, I’ll have a great excuse not to now. 

There’s nothing that brings the spirit of Christmas more than music.  We enjoyed Brooklyn’s choir concert  and the Christmas sing-in.  I am sad that this is that last time I will get to see Cam “sing”…(or try to.  Yup.  He is monotone and off-key most of the time, but he has other talents).




It is quite possible that you won’t hear from me until next year.  I am looking forward to 2012.  I think there are a lot of great things in store.  I plan on starting a few new hobbies after settling in.  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tis The Season

As a blended family, I think it’s important that we come up with our own holiday traditions, and the only way I could set the tone for that was to buy all new Christmas décor.  Last year while the “cat” was away at the Utah/Notre Dame game, the “mice” went shopping at Taipan Trading to “play”. 

Since we are moving less than a week after Christmas, I wanted to keep things as simple as I can this year, but still have a festive atmosphere.  The girls wanted to help me decorate the tree, so I taught them how to stagger the ornaments.  It went up in a jiffy with all their help.  I didn’t even rearrange it after they were done.  They did such a fabulous job and with a little bit of teaching are becoming real assets to the family.  They even helped Grandma Carmen decorate her tree this year.  


The stockings are hung…although not by the chimney because there is not enough room for 8 stockings with a family this large!  I made nametags for the stockings and bought bells at the dollar store for a little added touch. 


Each year, I like to add something new.  This year I added framed ornament photos of the kids above their stockings for a little more bling.  Gosh, I love Hobby Lobby, which is where I purchased these frames (half off, only $2 each).


I have been asked if I keep my table set year round.  And the answer is “yes”.  I have had many dishes broken with the kids clearing off the table, but I have learned to buy an extras because I know from past experience that in a house with 6 kids, décor gets broken.  But I would rather have a space I enjoy living in than a sterile environment with everything put away just because I have children. 

This year, I fell in love with these winter plates that I found at TJ Maxx.  They go perfectly with my Christmas table scape!  And yes, one has already been broken.  I had to teach one child that when clearing the table, you can’t pick up the setting by the placemat to move it…


Harley followed me around today while I was taking pictures.    She likes to sit under the tree and, as seen here, play with the trim on the stockings!   She has enjoyed the Christmas decorations as much as everyone else!


Matti’s 6th Birthday

This is the poster Matti helped make for her birthday spotlight at school.  It pretty much sums up what this 6-year-old is all about.  Matti has always been my little “sunshine”.  As grandma Carmen puts it, she is always “full of  joy”.  She has a spunky, cheerful, creative spirit that will always brighten your day. 


She is addicted to coloring. When we tell her it’s time to clean up, she always has to color “just one more thing”.  And as you can see on her poster she wrote, “I love my cat”.  She loves to make beds for Harley (see Harley in the laundry basket below) and dress her up in doll clothes.


She also loves mermaids.  I’m not sure what started the fascination with them, but this is the 3rd year Matti has been a Mermaid for Halloween.  They are her favorite toy. 

I couldn’t imagine life without this cute little girl.  She reminds me of me in a lot of ways.  When I was little I could entertain myself for hours playing with my cat and making art projects like she does now.  I have pictures of when I was little doing the same things at the same age which brings a smile to my face!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Losing Her First Tooth In Style

The night before her 6 month check-up, her tooth was literally dangling by a thread, but we couldn’t get it out because her teeth were too dang tiny to grasp.  So, we asked our dentist to do it.  When I went back to watch him pull her first loose tooth, there Matti was, with her shades on, watching tv, headphones turned up.  Needless to say, going to the dentist isn’t so bad anymore.       

IMG_1684matti dentist

P.S.  The tooth fairy had the night off since Matti wanted to keep her tooth! 


This isn’t a great picture.  My finger is in the way and the room is dark.  But it was one of those moments that I just had to grab my phone and snap a pic when I walked by Wyatt’s room yesterday and this is what I saw…

harley camoflage blog

A Typical Sunday

It doesn’t matter how early I wake up on Sunday.  We have fallen into the habit of always being 10 minutes late and we end up waiting in the hall for the sacrament.  My goal for the new year is to get there 10 minutes early!  This particular week, I enjoyed watching the kids pile on the couch and entertain themselves and each other while waiting.  The girls are reading “The Friend” Magazine and Cam and Matti are entertaining Colton.  It’s such a joyful moment when your kids do what they’re supposed to do without being asked!    


Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I was chastised today.  One grandma, who will remain nameless, expressed her feelings of being tired of checking our blog and seeing the same thing for 3 weeks straight.  So I thought I’d better get something new up on the blog to stay in her good graces. 

What have we been doing?  Although I’d like to say I have been taking it easy, putting my feet up and relaxing, we have had a lot going on.  For 2 of those 3 weeks, 3 out of 8 of us had strep (including me) and 5 out of 8 had a bout of the stomach flu (including me).  In the middle of that, I promised Brooklyn a “friend” party this year and had to keep up my end of the bargain.  We also decorated for Christmas, I’ve been working on a big project for church, and I’m not only getting ready to move by organizing, purging and compartmentalizing, but I’ve been a little obsessed with how I’m going to decorate almost double the square footage we have now on a fairly small budget.  Oh, and we got family pictures, I’m putting together Christmas cards and trying to make this holiday season merry and bright with the bazillion (not sure that’s a real word) other holiday things to do besides the regular motherly daily duties (like the 10 loads of laundry which was washed, folded and put away yesterday)…  So, now that I know my kids have clean socks and underwear for at least the next 7 days, I guess I can spend the next few days catching up on the blog.

Brooklyn is ten years old.  Justin couldn’t believe it.  I’ve already experienced the trauma of my firstborn hitting double digits and almost hitting my mid-thirties, but he is just getting started.  (I’m older and wiser than him for those of you out there that aren’t aware of that fact).  Although the kids want friend parties every year, it’s a little expensive and crazy to do that with 6 kids.  After much deliberation, we finally agreed to let the kids have a “friend” party on the even years, starting at age 8, since those are the majority of the “milestone” birthdays and a family party on the odd years.  Everyone is happy with this compromise.

Brooklyn wanted a swimming party…in the middle of November.  It ended up being a hit with the kids, our whole family could go and not necessarily be a part of the “girl” party, it kept the mess and entertaining at the pool  and the kids were happy with an ice cream cone on the way home.       


Brooklyn and some of her best friends enjoying her swim party.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A is for Apple

Colton likes apples.  I ordered some really expensive “organic” apples from Winder Dairy and put them in the fruit bowl on the counter.  When I looked at them more closely one day, there was a little bite taken out of each one.   Nice.  Yesterday, Justin was talking to someone on the front porch.  When he came back in, Colton had one in each hand and was switching off taking bites out of them.  I’ve moved them into the fridge before, but I just don’t like cold apples.  They hurt my teeth.  I’ve moved the fruit on top of the fridge, but then we forget about it.  I put our garden fresh yummy home-grown tomatoes in the fruit bowl this summer and apparently apples and tomatoes look a lot alike to Colton.  He took a bite out of a few, but soon discovered it wasn’t the delicious crunch he was seeking and spit it out all over the floor.  As you can see he likes apples so much that he eats the entire thing.  The only evidence that’s left is the stem.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Progress on Our Casa

For family and friends out of state or those who live nearby but haven’t gotten a chance to see the progress of our house, here it is today.  There were 13 vehicles of various genres of workers working today.  I think they are trying to get as much as they can done on the exterior before it snows tomorrow, that’s right for those of you living in warmer regions of the country, SNOW! 


I’m sure it will look better without the dumpster and work vehicles in front of it, but it is taking shape.  Framing is nearly done and the HVAC, plumbing, roof and electrical are being done as I type this!  We don’t have a move in date, but we are happy to see constant progress! 

“Hell”oween, I Mean Halloween

It is my least favorite holiday.  I would rather celebrate Arbor Day, Veterans Day, or even Bosses Day over Halloween.  I guess I am the scrooge of Halloween if there is such a thing.  This year, Justin and I played it smart.  Some people said we were “cheaters”.  Others called us “lazy”.  But they didn’t have Colton to keep track of or push around in a stroller he’s too big for.  So we came up with “Truck or Treating”.  Yep.  We drove around in the truck and followed the kids around the neighborhood.  Colton was content with me feeding him Smarties, Justin was content not chasing Colton.  I was content because everyone else was content.  The kids thought we were awesome parents because we cut down on their candy gathering leg-work.  When they finished going up and down a street, we hauled them to their next trick-or-treating destination within the neighborhood.  I think we just found a new Halloween tradition. 


Brit the cheerleader, Matti the Mermaid and Brooklyn the Hawaiian girl in the back of the truck ready for trick-or-treating,

Colton’s 4th Birthday

Let me tell you a bit about this “little man”.  Colton has definitely kept us on our toes, as I’m sure you’ve seen in past posts.  He is certainly an enigma.  We are constantly trying to figure out what’s going on with this kid, and I don’t know if we are getting any closer to an answer.  We thought he was deaf because he didn’t have eye contact and played in his own little world, but got his hearing checked and it was fine.  He constantly had ear infections, so we got him tubes.  He couldn’t stick out his tongue, so we thought a tongue tie was the only thing holding him back from talking.  2 ENT’s said it wasn’t bad enough to clip, the 3rd one agreed to do surgery and once in there found his muscle pulled so tight that it was one of the worst tongue-ties he had seen.  He still wasn’t talking and was severely developmentally delayed.  Early intervention which included speech, occupational therapists and horseback riding therapy, helped us teach him how to chew, drink from a cup, eat with a fork and spoon, and teach him to follow one-step directions.   He had the most foul diapers I have ever seen.  I talked Justin into getting Colton’s blood tested, and we discovered he had Celiac’s disease (gluten allergy).  So we put him on a gluten-free diet.  We got him tested for Special Education, and he tested in the 1st percentile in all 5 areas of testing.  He went to 2 specialists at the University of Utah, and each came out with a separate opinion, which got us no closer to figuring out what was wrong. 

We recently took him to a 3rd evaluation to see if we could get an Autism diagnosis.  After 2 observations, multiple tests and a large fee to get this all done, he has currently stumped the doctor/psychologist and we are still awaiting an answer.   We thought he might have had a seizure, so our next step is an MRI and many other tests to see if he has Seizure Disorder.  We don’t understand the spinning, fascination with lights and fans, the repetitive motion or the rocking.   His brain is functioning at a very low IQ which is why he learns at an alarming slow rate.  If he is taught something, his brain can’t access the information he has learned, and nobody knows why.  All we want to do is help him learn, grow, progress and develop normally.  It is beyond frustrating. 

I had no idea when I married Justin the obstacles we would be facing with Colton.  It has not been an easy road.  It has caused sadness, contention, frustration and strife.  But one thing is for sure.  This boy is a special spirit.  Even though he has been crying a lot lately (I call it “CNAR”, Crying for No Apparent Reason), he has always had a sweet disposition.  He is never mean.  He is a good traveler in the car.  He is loving, and he loves to give hugs when you ask him to do something, and he doesn’t want to do it (he especially does that to his teacher at school).  The kids love him and life would be boring and dull without him.  I guess 5 other kids weren’t enough to teach the 2 most impatient people in the world (Justin and me) patience.  We love you, Colton.  Happy 4th Birthday!     


Colton enjoying his gluten-free Rice Krispie Treat…no cake for this boy! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

All Happy Together

For family night, we continued another Halloween tradition; decorating a haunted gingerbread house.  The decorating was fun, but the thing I enjoyed the most was taking a step back, glancing around the room and watching everyone content, doing their own thing while awaiting their turn.  Cam was building Legos, Wyatt was popping the bubble wrap the house came in, Matti (seen in the background) was coloring her “scribble art”, Brooklyn was working on some art as well, all while Brit was taking her turn decorating.  The TV was off and we were genuinely enjoying being together (I think Justin was enjoying putting Colton to bed.  If not, he enjoyed the night after he was down).  Sometimes it’s not the activity itself that’s important, the activity is the catalyst in bringing us together. 


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sneak Peek

The process of getting family pictures taken for a family of 8 is not fun.   However, the girls got their braces off and have beautiful smiles now, and all of the kids have grown so much since our last picture (only a year and a half ago) that it was time to suck it up and do it again.  All I wanted was ONE picture with everyone at least looking decent to hang in our new house.  We haven’t gotten all the proofs back yet, but here is just a sneak peek of what we have seen so far:  

bancroft kids

I often feel tired, no, exhausted with our day-to-day life.  Caring for a family of 8 is no easy task, especially when “clean your room” means throwing all your clean clothes (that mom just spent 12 hours washing, drying and folding) you don’t want to put away back into the laundry hamper for mom to wash again (that was the “teachable moment” this week)!   But when I see these faces, I am reminded that motherhood is a great calling and I am doing the greatest thing on earth and one day (maybe not today) it will all have been worth the effort, sweat and tears. 


Remember that little crying spree we had with Colton in Disneyland?  Well, Justin woke him up from a nap for pictures (although he rarely takes naps these days, this HAD to be the day he fell asleep) and he was fussy, cranky and of course CRYING!  He cried before, during and after these pictures, for a total of about 2 hours straight.  I’m amazed these pictures turned out at all.  His face was splotchy and snot was running out of his nose from crying.   


Justin wanted a picture of just the two of us.  Although I was reluctant, I like how it is super romantic with the sun shining down through the trees.  Thanks to our friend and neighbor, Cassie, who took these shots.  She did a great job capturing the Bancroft Bunch as we are now, October 2011.  We are definitely a little older, a little wiser, and little more tired than we were a little over 2 years ago when we became one, but the kids are also smarter, easier and more helpful as well. 

P.S.  I will be keeping the family picture under wraps since I am saving them for Christmas cards.  Gotta leave some surprises! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Pumpkin Patch

What is it about the pumpkin patch that’s so enjoyable?  Here are the top 5 things we like to do while we’re there:

5.  Search for and pick the “perfect” pumpkin. 


4.  Get lost in the corn maze.


3.  Climb on the tractors.  This patch has about 15  lined up just waiting to be climbed on!  Not even Cam can resist!


2.  Give each other wheelbarrow rides


And the #1 Reason we like to visit the pumpkin patch is to hang out with each other!


Which Witch is Which?

Fall Break.  What a great time to go on a witch scavenger hunt.  At one of our favorite places, Gardner Village, we searched for a variety of witches including a witch landing her broom backwards, a witch with an “eye” phone, a witch fishing with dynamite and more.   I think there were around 15 in all to find.  We topped off the day with a trip to the old-fashioned candy store and a cookie from the bakery. 


Visiting Gardner Village this time of year has been a tradition since we moved back to Salt Lake from Logan when Cam was just a toddler.  He used to love it.  Unfortunately, he was bored out of his mind this year and totally disinterested.  When I asked him, “Which witch was your favorite?” he replied, “I don’t care”.  He wasn’t being rude, he really just did not care.  Here we go teenage years.  What do you do with your kids when they outgrow traditions?  Do you change them (the traditions, not the kids)?  But what about the younger kids who still like to do them?  Do you make the older kids participate anyway or do you just let them stay home and hang out with friends?  I’m beginning to cross that bridge of autonomy and letting go with my tween and I’m not sure how to deal with it yet! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Beach Boys…And Girls

Our visit to Oceanside was a last-minute decision (like, there’s the exit, let’s take it) so we were not prepared with a change of clothes, towels or swimming suits.  We didn’t even have a blanket because we had to make room for luggage.  The kids were told they could play in the water up to their ankles, walk along the beach and hunt for shells.  Hmmm.  I guess our kids think their ankles are by their chests, because by the time we left, they were soaked, cold and itchy the whole way back to our hotel.  


There’s really not much that feels better than burying your feet in soft, warm sand. 


Taking Our Wild Animals to the Wild Animal Park

Our California trip (not vacation; vacations are restful) began at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  A bird show, tram safari ride to see many wild and endangered species, and petting zoo were just a few of the fun activities we enjoyed.  


One of the kids’ favorite things was feeding nectar to the Lorikeets: 


Colton learned the hard way not to pet the Lorikeets.  They will bite.   It hurts.  And you will cry. 


BEFORE                                                                    AFTER

Here are a few of our favorite species we got to see in this baby factory.  If you look closely, you can see the mama gorilla carrying her new baby.  Since owls are my new favorite animal, I just had to snap a picture of this handsome guy.  Last but not least, have you ever seen a 3000 pound nursing Rhino?  Neither had we. 


Wednesday, October 19, 2011


If it seems like we have been MIA, it’s because we have been busy enjoying the Happiest Place on Earth, aka:  Disneyland




As you can see, we bravely brought Colton along with us this year.  We got cold feet and almost canceled the trip a week before we were supposed to leave.  But, his Special Ed teacher provided encouragement saying she thought he would absolutely love Disneyland.  And we felt guilty not taking the other 5 after we had gotten them excited about going.  But he did not like the rides.  The first day, he only cried after getting off the rides.  Here, he is on his very first ride on the Matterhorn:


The second day, he cried before, during and after the rides.  In fact, he learned to start crying as soon as we got him out of the stroller and the entire time standing in line…



Granted, Tower of Terror is scary, so he was justified in crying on that ride, but The Chew Chew Train, Little Mermaid and slower than cold tar bumper cars?

We thought the rides, lights, treats, and action would have gotten this reaction from Colton.  We could have saved a lot of money if we only would have known that a simple light-up bubble blowing toy would have made him this happy and excited. 


Another problem that needed solving was Matti’s height.  She was an inch too short to go on the Indiana Jones ride.  She wanted to go sooooo bad, so we broke some rules.  We folded napkins, put them in her socks and carried her through the line so they wouldn’t get compressed. 


Although we generally had a good time, we aren’t going back for years and years after this trip.  And, by the time we are brave enough to go again, the kids will probably be too old and disinterested in many of the attractions, so we justified making her a little taller just this one time.