Thursday, September 29, 2011

how many kids do you have?

parenting is hard. whether you have one child or seven, it's all consuming, exhausting and hard. i frequently have people comment to me that they don't know how i manage five children. while it certainly increases the workload, there are certain truths that occur any time you have more than one child. here are just a few...

~you have to have several children to understand the trouble you're asking for if you let one child carry another child's happy meal from the car to the house. and never, ever, switch the toys. it doesn't' matter that they are the same.

~only a mother of young children can fully comprehend the terror in your heart when you walk into the bathroom and see three sharpie lids... with no sharpies.

~ you can get your body back (for the most part) after one baby. you can even do it after two. but five giant babies? forgetaboutit. your only hope is that you can get your muffin top down to a size that will fit in non-maternity pants.

~ you recognize that quiet children are children making a craft out of tampons and shampoo.

~you also have learned that there is little that a bandaid can't fix.

~ the best babysitter while you clean the bathroom is the bathtub.

~ it only takes a minimum of two kids to fight over the same cup! five kids arguing over one cup will make you want to start drinking at breakfast.

~ the noise level of a home does not simply double with a second child, it rises exponentially.

~ the above is the same for laundry.

~ supersonic hearing. i can now identify five different coughs during the night. my room is on a different floor than the children but i still can tell who is coughing.

~ you can love many, many children with the same devotion as your first. it's hard to believe when you only have one. you can spend many nights during your second pregnancy worrying about it. but fear not, it's true.

the more kids you have, the more strangers will stare at you, give unsolicited advice and judge you. but those strangers could never fathom how full your heart is. even if you haven't caught up on the laundry in six years.

Monday, September 26, 2011

big news!

hey friends! i have some super exciting news to share with you all! a few weeks back, i was asked to be a staff writer for a new website starting up! it launches TODAY and i'm so excited to be a part of it! an incredible group of women have come together to make this happen and i'm honored to be a part of it. so go over, check it out, tell me what you think! my first post will be up tomorrow! :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

parents just don't understand...

i have to tell you guys something... it may come as a surprise... i am way out of my league on this teenager thing! just when i got comfortable, thinking i'm an old pro at this parenting bit, i get smacked with puberty. half the time i'm not even sure what we're talking about.

"so she was like, i'm totally over this. and i was like, whatever, you are just being ridick. she was like i know, right?"

"um, right on sis!"

"mom, why do you say right on? it makes you sound like a hippie."

alrighty. i knew the day would come that i would be old and stupid. i had no idea it would come at 33. the funny part is that among her friends, we're the cool parents because we have piercings and tattoos and we're much younger than her friends parents. but as far as she's concerned, we're lame. and we don't understand. and we're trying to ruin her life. the job of a mother is never done.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

my FAVORITE cell pics...

i'm a hoarder. not a hoarder of stuff, a hoarder of pictures. i can't delete them. i just can't. which is why i have 300+ on my phone. i think that's too many. possibly why i can't fit more than 50 text messages! i had planned this to be my top ten favorites. but i couldn't cut it down to ten. so it's going to have to be however many it ends up being :)

my oldest and youngest, only weeks after Esme was born. it brings tears to my eyes even still!

punk rock baby!

best friends

my little angel :)

grown up best friends!

they really do love each other

the kids playing dress up with Esme, they dressed her as a "motorcycle guy"

helping each other with chores

two of my favorite guys

she's a star at heart

my little man, when he really was a little man!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


as today marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11, i find myself at a loss for words. there is nothing i could say that would give honor due to this date. i find myself simply needing to be silent. we will spend the day with our family, it seems a perfect tribute. to hold tightly to those we love. we will never forget the tragedy that unfolded in our country on that day. i am proud to be an American and thankful to our troops for risking their own lives to make this place safe for my children. have a blessed day, all.

Friday, September 9, 2011

just a little trip to the store...

sometimes i get a little full of myself. thinkin i'm a pretty good mom and i've pretty much got this whole thing under control. rigghhht. that, my friends, is the perfect recipe to be humbled! let me set this scene up for you: i need to make an unscheduled trip to the store, as our home phone died today and i need to replace it. so i'm just gonna run to walmart quickly. now i'm wearing my super comfy sweats, the ones i should never wear in public, because i went to the zoo today with a friend and i wore cute clothes and now i just want to be comfortable. (did you not know i have a quota of how many hours i can wear jeans? i do. it's three) so my thought process here is "it's walmart. everyone will be wearing sweatpants." my three bigger kids (i'm down one kid tonight) are still in school uniforms, so they're good to go. my darling toddler, however, has just decided to lip gloss herself as we're leaving. if you are not aware that lip gloss can be a verb, you've never seen what an almost two year old does with it! so little girlfriend is wearing a super cute outfit and lip gloss on every square inch of her self. i did wipe her hands and face off but i'm just too tired to change her clothes. luckily her shirt is white so it's totally not noticeable.
well, we get there and get the few needed items. but then i make the rookie mistake of walking past the packaged meat section. what? you can walk past that section without issue? well then you don't take esme with you. suddenly she is standing in the cart pointing and screaming "DOT DOG! DOT DOG!!!" like a crazy person. listen, this girl loves hot dogs. as in, it's the only food she'll really eat other than honey buns. we're really into the healthy food kick over here. i seriously have to limit her to one "dot dog" a day. so she is standing in the cart (because God forbid walmart have carts with working seatbelts!) with her dirty shirt and only one remaining pigtail having a religious experience over seeing so many hot dogs in one place. it's like her mecca. she loves them that much. suddenly, a woman approaches me. she looks like your typical walmart shopper. (i'm gonna leave it at that as not to offend anyone...)
and says "she shouldn't stand in the cart. it's not safe."
well thank you kind stranger! this is actually my first child and i had no idea that was frowned upon! all this time i've been letting her do tricks in grocery carts and live on hot dogs! i thought that was what parenting was all about! these other children? they're not mine. i borrowed them to make my grocery experience more interesting!
as we walk away it dawns on me....

i'm such a mess people in walmart feel led to advise me on my parenting.
i believe we've hit a new low.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Home is where you...spend all of your money

i'm not sure if i've ever mentioned it before but we live in a 110 year old victorian house. it has beautiful original woodwork, two gorgeous fireplaces, a wrap-around porch... and it's a total money pit. if it can fall apart, it has. in our ten years here we have replaced the kitchen and bathroom plumbing, put in a new furnace and hot water heater, torn up most of the carpet and refinished the floors, converted the formal dining room into a master bedroom, put up a privacy fence around the huge yard, and remodeled the kitchen and bathroom. in between having five kids. this house is a continuous project that is never done. people tend to have the (incorrect) assumption that since theMr is in general contracting, it's easy for us to do all of these things. however, he never has time to do the work around here because he's always working! some days i think it would be easier to just hire someone else and have it done! for example, last week the pipes under the sink busted and all the water was pouring into the cabinet, flooring and into the basement. so he pulled it all out and replaced it (for the third time). he finished just in time to shower for work. then he remembered that he'd forgotten to put the screen door on the back door back on after moving in the new refrigerator. so he quickly did that. he rushed upstairs to take a quick shower, only to realize the hot water handle in the shower had broken off. so he had to go back down two flights of stairs, get all of his tools, fix it and then take a shower. making him almost late for work. this is typical in this house! a tiny nail hole in plaster is soon a baseball size hole. one leaky pipe becomes all new plumbing in the bathroom. it's the nature of owning a really old house.

i have a hard time looking around and only seeing what still needs done, instead of the big picture. what's the big picture?

a home is where your family is, in whatever condition that may be.

when i see this fireplace, i see it as the one that can't be used until the gas line is repaired. but my kids see it as the one where i take their picture every christmas!

Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action.
~Mother Theresa

this sidewalk is cracking and old and in need of repair. but to Aliyah, it's where she plays hopscotch :)

He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

the yard. with a big hill to mow, neverending weeds to treat and too much shade for decent flowers... or where we practice our modeling poses!

Basically, I believe the world is a jungle, and if it's not a bit of a jungle in the home, a child cannot possibly be fit to enter the outside world.
Bette Davis

the glass in this window has been broken and replaced twice. but to Esme, it's where she watches the neighbor's big "dog dog"!

Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.
Martin Luther

the tile on this fireplace is coming loose and keep having to be glued on. but sits right next to a chair where many stories have been read :)

Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

and this chair just happens to be under the ceiling that fell down a few weeks ago and must be completely replaced. but it's still the place to cuddle with dad before he goes to work :)

Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.
Christian Morganstern

this porch is officially sinking and also needs completely torn down and rebuilt. but it will always be the place where four children have had their "first day of kindergarten" picture taken.

with all of it's faults and headaches, my home is perfect because it's where my family is.

A house is built of walls and beams, a Home is built with love and dreams.

Guest post on grace!

time for another guest post! this is written by friend Misty, who has lots to say (and lots worth hearing!) she's currently on "couch-rest" recovering from surgery so what else does she have to do?

I am a bit narcissistic. I think we all are, the difference is I know I am, and I know why I am. Throughout most of my life I have felt like a big disappointment, like I have always been letting someone down. Maybe it's because I have always been selfish, or maybe it's because I didn't know what I needed to do to make someone happy. It's not that I am a people pleaser, it's more along the lines of I need to make a difference in the lives of those around me.

I don't think I am alone in this. I think all people have an innate need to be a positive influence in the lives of those we love the most. We all want to be remembered for being good people, and for making others feel loved. I can't say, I have ever met a person whose goal was to make others feel lousy, though I am sure I have in my need to make myself feel like a better person. (this would be my ego getting out of control and reflecting what a fool I can be.)

So how can we be sure that we are making a difference in the lives of those we love most? How can we be sure to be a positive reflection of God's love within us? It's really not that hard.

Have you ever taken time to tell the people you love why you love them? Riddle me this. How often do you wake up or come home and feel like an utter failure as a person? Like all you have done is brought others down? I feel like that all the time and honestly this feeling is completely curable.

Tell someone you love them, and tell them why.

This is biblical. God advises us to take our talents and use them to bring them closer to Him, but do you know what your talents are? For some people it's obvious. I have friends with great pipes that can draw person to the Lord through worship. I have other friends who can preach. I have other friends who can write. These are talents that are pretty visible. But what about those, that are often celebrated or put to use in church? Things like our character. Things like our words, or how we act, or parent, or the way speak to others, or make contact? These things aren't always reflected or used in the church actively, or showcased. And sometimes we don't even know that we have those talents.

It's our job as Christians to point out those talents and tell people that those skills bless us, and that who they are makes a difference and it's the easiest way to love people known to man. It doesn't require any grant talent, money, or skill. Just the time to take write a quick note, a text, or a phone call and tell someone why who they are makes a difference.


I have a friend who is an incredible father. It really blesses me to hear him talk about his kids. He doesn't say I love them in his sentence, but the glow he gets when he discusses them that says it. I love hearing this conversation. He's man of God and he understands the gift our children are. He showcases his love and responsibility towards his kids by making them a priority in his life. Whether it be by reserving an hour of his time each day to spend with them to making sure he is present at events his kids request his presence. As a person who grew up without a father, this touches my heart in so many ways and actually helps heal some of the loss I deal with that hurts to this day. Knowing and seeing someone visually and verbally invest in his kids helps me see how God has designed each of us to love our fa milies and to place priority on them in our lives and by being able to share how this man's actions blesses me, encourages him to continue to pour to into his children and shows him where God has given him a great talent.

I have another friend who has an incredible gift of kindness. Whenever I am around her, she treats people with an incredible amount of love and respect. There are people in our lives that I know who have done incredibly crappy things, but she still loves them and forgives them. Her ability to extend grace beyond my understanding Christ like and allows me to see how God forgives me many errors in my personality and actions despite how often I screw up and fall on my face. There are times when I want to pass judgment on others and write them off, but this person shows me through her words and actions that we must forgive others for their transgressions and look deeper for what causes those mistakes - because we are human, and need others to forgive us when we fall.

It takes ten seconds to tell someone why you love them and the difference they make in your life, and encourage you do it and do it often. Help the ones you love the most grow and maintain their talents. You will be making a difference in their life and helping them continue to make a difference in others. We all need to know that who we are makes a difference - and the first step in this is love thy neighbor first.

Blessings to all of you!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

top ten reasons it's probably a good thing you're done having children!

ladies (and gentlemen~) i'm tired. really, perpetually, constantly tired. part of it is not getting enough sleep. part is having a job and five kids. part is getting old. ( i know i'm only 33, but i'm pretty sure my body is older!) eh. anyway, lately it's become clear to me that it's probably a good thing i'm done with my childbearing years. these are just a few...

10. my one year old is on her third hotdog today. and i'm not really concerned about that. at least i bought the healthy(er) ones.

9. while in the waiting room for my OB/GYN yesterday, i looked at all of the pregnant woman and thought how happy i am that i will never again have to hold a toddler while being checked for dilation.

8. i've discovered pioneer woman's iced coffee recipe, which is so strong that it would probably cause premature balding on an unborn child.

7. i become ridiculously angry when awoken in the middle of the night now.
as in "mommy, i had a bad dream."
"wake up your dad"

6. i can go away all weekend and nobody is counting on me to feed and/or pump for them.

5. i don't have to worry when getting romantic that i'm going to leak milk.

4. i don't have a baby screaming in a crib for me to get them every morning.

3. i only have to show medical professionals my lady business once a year now.

2. i actually have conversations around what field of work i'd like to get back into.

1. we have a 7 seat van. any more children and someone has to be strapped to the luggage rack. i'm pretty sure that's illegal.

now that i'm getting a tiny taste of freedom as we pass through the baby stage for the last time, it's wonderful! i thought that there would be a twinge of sadness but... NOPE! i heard a quote the other day that i love...

"i'm willing to love my children with all of my heart but not all of my time." exactly.