Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Little Community Service

I am a believer in community service. For our family it's getting involved in ministry but for those of you who don't hold religious beliefs I still encourage you to go out and make a difference. I personally feel that God has led me to work with teenage mothers and today I think I began an outreach for prevention with teenage boys as well. Here's how it went down...

I woke this morning with a horrible headache and cramps and wanted more than anything to climb back in bed and sleep. With three kids three and under at home, I'm sure you know - not a possibility. So I did what every mom with young children does when ill, turn on the boob tube and let them eat whatever they want. Vance went down for his nap and my sitting on the couch turned to laying with eyes closed. Keely, the two year old, came up to "snuggle" but began kicking me in the face, jumping on me, and sticking fingers up my nostrils. After trying to shoo her like an annoying fly didn't work, I sat up to notice she was naked. "Get your pajamas back on and come lay with mommy." Surprisingly she listened. Vance down for at least an hour and a half, Ryleigh quietly eating as many cookies as she wants, and Keely, the trouble maker, laying right beside me. This is fantastic! I dozed with my little one, as Dora the Explorer provided the mood music, only to wake when Ryleigh opened the back door. "Shut the door," I said. "But Keely is outside," she replied. She's right, she isn't beside me anymore. Crap. The little dog is missing too. Crap.

So here I go outside shouting for the MIA twosome. My attire consisted of flannel pajama pants, hair far from tame in a semi-ponytail, face broken out again like a ProActiv commercial, black mascara under my eyes from the previous day, imitation Uggs with one pant leg tucked inside, and the ugliest sweatshirt I own. They aren't out back. As I circle the house there she is in her two-toned pink footed pajamas trying to lift up the knocked over trashcan that's three times her size. Cali the 2 pound teacup poodle is verbally assaulting the neighbor with her yipping and with every step I take towards her she runs closer to him and his 4 dogs. Ryleigh has come out to assist in the hunt wearing capris, a bathing suit top, and her Cinderella dress-up shoes (at this time of day the temperature was in the low 50's). Keely turns around and her pajamas are completely unzipped revealing that she is at the moment, anti-panties and anti-diaper.

I know you are thinking, "you lost me with the community service thing". Well the witness to this fiasco, is my teenage neighbor. I'm apologizing profusely between yelling for the girls to get in the house or at least zip up the show and at the dog to come. I resort to desperately pleading to the evil spawn I call a dog so the guy can pass through his gate. He says nothing, nothing at all. Awkward. I think he's scared. He just looks at me and then the girls who have both fallen on the ground trying to erect the can, and goes into his yard as soon as I have detained the micro Kujo. As I pick up with one hand the semi-streaker, the yapping dog in the other and turn to walk the crew back in the house I thought if this had been on film right now the caption that would appear across our backs would be "Trojan...wrap your willy or this could be you."

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Friday, December 5, 2008

There's Something in the Air

Yesterday afternoon the CallerID showed the children's school calling. First thought...crap, what's this about? Second thought....maybe I should just let the machine get it. No, I will buck-up and answer, I figure I will have to deal now or later, no time like the present. It was Jace's teacher....oh no.

"Mrs. B., I was calling to ask if Jace might have some stomach troubles."
Believe it or not I had this same call last year, so I know what this is regarding.
My reply is a simple "No" since I don't want to go there if I don't have to, maybe my initial thought is incorrect. At least I hope.
"Well, we've been having some issues with Jace passing gas. It is beginning to disrupt the whole class." Okay I have to go there. "Jace is a very gassy kid, but we've never had anything medically documented."
I'm so thankful that this is over the phone because at this point in time I feel myself turning as red as the sweatshirt I am now wearing. Why? I'm not sure, it's not me passing gas and stinking out my friends, but at this moment in time it might as well be. What am I supposed to say, "I fed him Chili two nights ago for dinner and watch out tomorrow because he had leftovers when he got home from school today"? I'm sure this is just as awkward for Mr. Ward, in fact he even mentioned that. He apologized and said he didn't want me to think he was saying I couldn't feed my child what I wanted but he just wanted to make sure there wasn't a medical problem he should be aware of. No, I just have a child who can cut the cheese and makes no apologies, or at least weak giggly ones.

So here it is, another parenting quandary, how do you teach manners on gaseous matters? I always make the kids say pardon me. Reasonable. However, I feel if they know it's coming they need to try and squeeze it in. And if it's at the dinner table then leave and come back - discreetly. So this is where maybe I'm getting a bit unreasonable. It's probably my own fault because with Vance and Keely I always make it into a joke just as I did with the older kids by saying with a tickle, "Someone has a rooty tooty in their booty." Maybe my lightheartedness as toddlers has led to flatulence with fanfare as adolescence. I admit that I personally would rather suffer a blow to the head then fart in public or with friends (I will confess as I age this gets harder and harder to do), but why should I? Does everyone not have bowel activity? Tooting isn't a sin, so that must mean that even Christ farted. I imagine he and the disciples being all men probably reacted a bit like Jace and his friends. Maybe my children have a healthy view of it, realizing that God made them and that they deserve a little release now and then. I just hope as maturity comes they are able to temper their vapors with some appropriateness and not go to the opposite extreme like their mother who rarely allows this so-called indiscretion. A mom who for this moment is not ready to move ahead with her walk with Christ in this area and will continue to fart like a Pharisee.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Grown-up Christmas List

For those of you who follow my blog, no I have not given up. My desire to get back on here and type is great but my time is too short. We are still moving. What has it been 2 months now? It's ridiculous but true. This weekend is the final push before our tenants move in. We have been making trips back and forth and now my new one is filled to the gills with boxes that have yet to be unpacked. The job of cleaning the other house hangs over me like Eeyore's rain cloud. I will be so relieved when we are done, I mean completely done with the other house so that I can turn my attention to this one. In the interim life has not stopped, we've had ministry commitments, school commitments, potty training regression, sickness, allergies, and the everyday screaming, nakedness and fighting that is my reality. So my hope is that by Christmas, life will resume some normalcy. I hope that the smell of cardboard will be gone and replaced with tons of yummy cookies. That the stacks of stuff will be replaced with a tree and just a few of my favorite decorations (I'm not doing the whole shebang). That the continuous loop of kids shows so that I can get something done will be replaced with Hallmark channel Christmas movie watching. The "heck no" response to the requests to paint or craft will finally be replaced with a "yes, let's make Christmas presents". That the screams, shouts, running, peeing on the floor, hair pulling, nursing, diaper changing, cheerio throwing, non-nap taking and mess making would be replaced with peace on earth...or at least eight straight hours of sleep.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Still hanging on...

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth, even though a few short weeks ago I felt as if I was teetering precariously there. We are for the most part moved in. God is so good that he has provided us with a renter after having two back out, we are pleased. I do not have the computer hooked up at the new abode yet so that is why I have not been blogging. However once I do, have I got some stuff to say....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On the Brink

I am a woman on the brink...of what I'm not sure, but at this very moment I'm leaning toward insanity. I currently have many irons in the fire as some proverbial elders might say and maybe it might not seem like a lot to those of you reading it, but to me it seems momentous. Here’s my list:


We are currently in the throes of packing for a move across town and the realization of our over abundance of belongings has begun to make my head swim. I feel as if I am signing my life away with the infinite amounts of paperwork that accompanies purchasing a home. We know that escrow closes before the end of the month but the date has not yet been confirmed which brings a whole lot of unknowns to be dealt with. Lack of boxes has put our work at a standstill and the hunt for cardboard has left me feeling like an alcoholic Nancy Drew, as I stalk the neighborhood for newly moved in neighbors and frequent the Liquor store.


Numerous times throughout the day I find myself saying, "Get your hands out of your butt" or "Nobody likes hiney hands." As fun as these are to say they are not in vain. Keely is in the midst of potty training, not by my choice, she just refuses to wear clothing or diapers ripping them off as soon as they are put on her, which necessitates the need and the sayings. Thankfully she is doing well, the accidents are few and far between, now if only her hands and butt were.


Speaking of needs, my sleep needs are not being met, four hours of interrupted sleep does not do it for me, two of which were on the kid’s bedroom floor. My sleep, or lack thereof, has left me weepy and irritable. Brian is out of town on business and calls me daily and normally gets the brunt of my emotions. I love to hear from him and miss him terribly but as much as I want him to be having a nice time, my jealousy rears its ugly head. At first I was living vicariously through his dining out and Vegas fun, but I turned a deaf ear after two days of hearing about gourmet cuisine while I ate Taco Bell and cold cereal and trudged through all of the aforementioned crap. What a bad wife! Where's my joy? Most likely it rolled under the Dora bed when the kid's kicked it out of me while lying on the floor at 2 in the morning.


Some commitments I made before we even thought of moving are now due, within days. Have I started? I'll let you guess.

So, there it is, the edge in which I precariously teeter, ramrodded there by all of the above. My mom, who is out trying to help me make sense of my domestic nonsense, has been able to reel me back a few steps. Helping with the kids and allowing me time to nap has clarified my out-of-control feeling to an extent. However, I am hoping that a life line will not be necessary. I believe if I am able to rally myself, this final push through my own personal crisis I will not see myself fall endlessly into a pit of despair but rather realize that I'm on the edge of some type of success. A success that will bring to fruition the dream of a new home that will accommodate our family better; where I can make semi-gourmet non-Taco Bell meals, where children can roam the land, and that our foolish pappy-loving stuff will finally have a rightful place. Maybe just on the other side of this ledge is a daughter who will potty like a big girl and will no longer feels the need to spread her cheeks. I know that over this hurdle that seems to last a lifetime are children who sleep through the night and will no longer need a comforting pat or a mother to threaten them to go to sleep. My prior commitments which seem to be creeping up behind me will only allow for growth of the groups I made them to, as well as myself. Maybe the brink is not such a bad place to be. Granted, I normally like my ground flat with quite a bit of space surrounding it, but you never really see what God has planned for you until you stand on the edge and see what you weren't able to before.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Groceries, God, & Good Sex

On my last trip to the grocery store, I took 3 out of the 5 kids along with me. Vance slept the whole time and Keely and Ryleigh were, miraculously, exceptionally well-behaved. I think God allows a good grocery trip every once in awhile as an encouragement. Anyway, this particular store has a bulk food section where I bribed the girls with candy of their choosing to carry in their very own little plastic bags. My ploy worked!

Upon checking out I ran into an older gentleman, almost literally, who apologized for cutting me off and struck up a conversation regarding my mannerly kids. I'm not sure how the conversation exactly went but the two missing kids came up. The man told me that he too had a house full at one time and then said, "Let me remember how this goes. Are you Catholic?" I replied, "No", thinking I know how this goes. "Are you Mormon?" I kindly said, "No." "Jewish?" "That's a new one. Nope." "Then they would say 'must be a sexy Protestant'." I'm not sure who "they" were but I was in love with "them" and him for for that matter! He completely made me smile the rest of the day and I considered getting several t-shirts made in a variety of colors stating "Protestant Who Likes Sex", to exhibit some humility.

It does strike me as funny how many times Brian and I are asked the Catholic/Mormon question. I guess some people believe it's only if your religion mandates you to have many children that you would ever have more then two or three. We without a doubt know that our children are a great blessing from the Lord, but we don't feel as if God has commanded us to procreate and now we have a job to do, so we continue to pop kids out. Rather, we feel as if something is missing from our family. Yes, you read correctly, I used the present tense. I don't know when we will have another baby or if God will continue to bless us in that manner but I do know there is the desire and the room for more. Our kids feel the same way, Jace would like seven and Brynna, the one who rarely interacts with the little ones except for the occasional pat on the head, said she would like to have more brothers and sisters. Even during those moments where my kids drive me nuts and I think I could be institutionalized, I never question the love I have for my clan or doubt that it could be shown to additional children.

We know that if we didn't have God at the center of this chaotic, noisy, messy and sometimes smelly household we would never manage. Our decision to have a larger-than-most family, is a choice we have made, a choice to not limit the blessings God has offered to give us as long as we are equipped spiritually, physically, and mentally. We have made this choice not because we think we will get a better place in heaven or that the only purpose of sex is to create life, but because we love our kids and couldn't imagine life without them and because the world will one day be better because of them and those that are yet to come. Not to mention, this Protestant likes sex.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Calgon Moment

Do you remember the commercial when the lady with the screaming kids said, "Calgon, take me away", cutting to her in a tub of bubbles looking serene? Today, I feel as if I could oust that lady and become their new spokesperson, that is if they don't mind eyes with dark circles and greasy hair.

My sleep of five and a half hours was interrupted three times last night, leaving me in a groggy daze. What has really left me chanting the Calgon plea in my mind is the disaster called my family room. A quick survey of my family room floor reveals a carpet of gift bags the little girls were playing with, the stuffed animals and books that were the "gifts", and the tissue paper that the ceiling fan blew everywhere. Baby dolls are tripping hazards and the individually wrapped toilet paper rolls the girls helped me put away from Costco are not put away at all, but lay scattered on the tile after falling from various toilet paper towers. My fridge houses fruit my friend gave me along with all the tools to make two batches of jam, and at this juncture in time I have no desire since I have stomachache.

I'm still fuming over Brynna calling home to say, "I feel like I need to vomit." When the phone call came, I had just put Vance, Keely and Ryleigh down 10 minutes prior and I thought they were already asleep, so I called my neighbor who went to pick her up. The girls however had fooled me, after my discovery of them dancing around the room it took more then an hour for them to finally fall asleep. Brynna on the other hand took a 20 minute nap, which was evidentially a miracle cure because after waking she was looking to play, not vomit. Play? Fat chance, a tired cranky mom with no plans for dinner will never allow that, don't you worry. Crab Appley, nap lusting, Calgon-needing, mom will not allow anyone to enjoy anything for that matter. I am feeling borderline crazy but, I realize what needs to be done to regain sanity, but it's just out of my grasp, and no I'm not referring to Vodka. A nap.

Right now a nap would part the clouds, would bring forth the sunshine, birds would sing, and flowers would burst with color. A bath might do the trick too, personal hygiene has become a luxury as of late, but I know that I would just sit there and think, "is that soap scum", while the kids pounded the door. No, I need a nap, I need to block out the world and just catch a few precious "ZZZ's". Calgon,nor Mr. Bubbles, will be of no assistance to me, I need the sandman.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Islands in the Stream

I have just sat down to enjoy a moment of peace and to write. The little ones are down for naps and the older kids have not gotten home yet. I think it's kind of crazy that when I actually, have a spare moment for me, this is where I want to be, sitting on the couch with my laptop. Maybe it's because I can finally have a complete thought and at the end of the time I have invested I have something tangible. I think that this has been the hardest thing for me being a stay at home mom, results aren't seen. Housework is undone within hours if not minutes, laundry within a day or two, and then there's the kids it will take years before I can tell if I've really done right by them. But, right now after a few minutes I have a whole paragraph. An accomplishment.

In case you couldn't tell I sat down today without a decisive thought of what to write, I had a few ideas but nothing really said "blog me, blog me". I considered writing about how my shower could be a Discovery Channel show with the infestation of ants. I so hate those six-legged pests! They have found a chink in our fortress and have yet again invaded our bathroom of all places. Partially my fault, I'm told since I don't allow them to take the bait back to their queen. I just immediately spray them with ant spray or squish them with my thumb, making their absence only temporary until more workers can be sent out. So this time I am being patient, allowing millions, yes there are that many of them, to see me naked and hear me sing in the shower as they travel across my shower ledge to the bait. My only comfort is knowing that if the sights and sounds don't kill them their time will surely come when their queen takes ill from the fruits of their labor and keels over and dies....(tapers off with an evil laugh). No, I couldn't make this a whole post.

Maybe I could blog about how Vance's tooth has some how disappeared? A tooth that Jace, Brynna, and I all saw trying to pop up through his little white gum has some how gone in reverse and disappeared. It never pressed its way through the tender skin yet it was right there. This is why you never refer to yourself as a "seasoned mother", you will quickly be proven wrong. Although, a phantom tooth, doesn't really warrant a whole post, this situation needed to be mentioned, so when Vance is a one year old and toothless people won't think I'm a liar.

When I woke this morning and saw how I resembled a thirteen year old just passing onto the threshold of puberty with my pimple filled face, I thought I should blog of the injustice. How is it that as teenagers we have the impression that as we enter adulthood our clogged pores are no longer? If I am going to keep anything from my pubescent years why can't it be my ability to stay up all hours of the night? That would sure come in handy instead I get pockets filled with puss...great deal! Then I thought poop is probably enough for my few readers to handle I shouldn't discuss gunk that could shoot out of my flesh if I by chance make my face too taunt with a smile. Next...

I thought back to earlier today and Keely's hellish hairstyling. How she empties a whole spray bottle of water onto your head, then every stroke of the brush starts with a thorny bristle whack against your skull, followed by a brush stuck in your locks which is then pulled loose, managing to rip visible amounts of hair from your cranium. Cute, in a sadist kind of way but really that's the whole story so it lacks the length of one of my typical posts.

Wait! This is why I love writing so much! I can see that my stream-of-consciousness has led to a complete posting. The floor I swept today is yet again dirty with play doh, the dishes just taken from the dishwasher are once again in the sink, the freshly vacuumed carpets are covered in dog hair, but this which I have typed, a hodge podge of thoughts, has come together to make something I can see and others can read and it will last until has a glitch and looses it all - but until that time I can see I've finally accomplished something today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Not the Last Laugh

"Who is a cute baby? Who loves his momma," I asked Vance in a sing-song voice. He responds with peals of laughter and a shriek.
"Isn't it weird," Brynna asked me, "how you're not the funny one and Vance always laughs at you and Dad is funny and he never laughs at him?"
"I am too funny," I argue with the 7 year old.
"No you're not, you only make me laugh if you tickle me or something," she retorted.
"Maybe you have to have a sense of humor to think I'm funny," I thought, my maturity showing.

Mind you this all occurred on Monday the first day back to school. My ego had already been bruised by my oldest thinking his dad was cooler than I and now, evidently, he has the humor market cornered as well? When did I loose my mojo? I have always been funny, if for nothing more then out of necessity. In High School, it seemed as if I befriended all of the beautiful girls so if I wanted a guy's attention it normally came through making them laugh. I was the crackup and now it seems that my comicality has fled.

You might be thinking, for Pete's sake, why are you taking a person whose idea of good humor is an ice cream bar (get it?) or a knock knock joke, but really her comment is just a straw that has been beginning to collect on this camel's back. I've had several reminders lately that I am not the funny girl I once thought I was. You would think with age, self confidence would be a well stocked resource, but it's not. Year by year it's been depleting in the humor department and I've called it growing up.

In my youth I would put on comedy shows for my family and friends dressing in 60s polyester dancing around like an idiot and imitating people. I would have a jocular response for almost everything said to me. Now I only dance unreserved in front my children, the world outside my home gets the sway and snap. As for the rest of my humor, I'm guessing it has been shoved aside by cooking, cleaning, ironing, chasing kids, packing lunches and changing diapers. It does on occasion rear its jovial head, when stress is at a minimum and I can enjoy the moment and actually reason appropriateness or when stress is at its peak and it functions as a coping mechanism.

So as I search for my funny alter ego in my ever increasing domestic chaos I will try to push the insecurities aside and show the world how I really bust a move, I will learn some new knock knock jokes and I will strive to keep this blog alive so that I can see my life for the humor it truly contains. In the interim, I will keep up with my imitation of a sweet mom with a kind voice that makes Vance laugh so much. Maybe I will emulate that soft spoken mother with my other kids, instead of the screaming irrational mother who is constantly referring to her children by both their first and middle names . I think it might conjure up a chuckle, if they don't think I've gone crazy first.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Between a Rock and a Cool Place

Ahhh, The first day of school! The kids were excited to wear their new outfits and carry their new backpacks. The thought of the snacks I had set aside for only school lunches was enough to get Brynna out of bed without a squabble. As sad as it it is to admit my kids have only eaten "baby" carrots and never realized that carrots could grow well over two inches long. Now that Brynna has made this discovery, she packed the biggest carrot she could find in her lunch, minus the plumage. Such simple pleasures.
They were dressed and ready before breakfast was on the table. Jace looked the part of a young skater (Hurley shirt, plaid shorts and slip on shoes) and Brynna went back with her Punky Brewster mismatched style (brown monkey shirt, green and ivory floral pants, and orange floral print shoes). I took the first day of school picture outside the front door like always and put the camera in the stroller for the photo ops at school. "You can take Brynna's picture at school but not mine", Jace commented. Fair enough, I got my picture and I don't want to embarrass him with making him strike a pose at his classroom door.
The kid's school is about a 3 blocks from our house which made it easy for the entire family to walk over and witness the festivities. We dropped Brynna off first, did pictures, she found her BFF and was running toward the playground before even saying good-bye. Next our brood headed to Jace's classroom, which was locked so we went to the playground where his new class was already lined up. I assumed that he would saunter off in his I'm-too-cool-for-life way and join his buds but he stood there for a minute. "You want us to walk you over", I asked. "No", he replied. "Well, maybe Dad could."
What??!!?? When did I become that uncool? When did Brian rank over me? I bit my tongue and stood on the sidelines with the youngest three and watched as Brian walked over with him and just stood with him at the back of the line. The whole time I'm thinking, "Why is he just standing there? I would go up and introduce myself and Jace to the teacher. The teacher doesn't even know Jace joined the line. What is he doing? He's not even making conversation with the kids surrounding them. If only Jace had asked me..." Then it dawned on me, maybe it's cool just to be there with him. Jace seems pleased just standing there with his dad not speaking. Could it be that I talk too much? Humbling.
This afternoon I walked in 100 degree heat to meet the kids at school, because this morning at breakfast they asked me to. Go figure I was late; Vance was fussy so I was packin' him while trying to do some computer work, Keely was naked, and Ryleigh was spitting on the floor while she was being punished with a timeout. I knew leaving the house I would be late but I wanted to do it, I didn't want to disappoint and I wanted to try the skill of just being. I did make it 3/4 of the way to the school when Jace came running full speed toward me and talking just as fast. As we waited for Brynna he talked about how great his outfit was , how people didn't recognize him with short hair, how he doesn't have any friends in class that are guys, and how nice his teacher was. He saw some friends a few times along the way and would run up to talk with them but then he would let them go on ahead and he'd wait for us continuing his conversation where he left off. I just let him talk and was just there. I know that my time of on the sidelines will become even more frequent as time progresses but I guess I don't mind not being cool as long as I can be his rock.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ouch

Good news, Vance did not contract the crud that circulated through our home, which is amazing that he and I have been able to avoid the coughs, nasal drips, and saliva smears. So what has been causing my youngest babe to cling like an infant monkey to his mother and why wouldn't he sleep for the past 5 nights? Teeth! You might think, "How could a 'seasoned' mother (not a descriptive I normally use when describing myself, but I'm going for dramatic effect) miss that option?" Well considering the earliest any one of my other four teethed was 8 months, the thought didn't enter my mind. So instead of a runny chapped nose, I'm dealing with a runny mouth with a chapped chin. Instead of coughs, I hear cries all day long, that is unless I'm holding him. Unfortunately unlike my primate example, Vance can't cling to my back without apparatus and so I front pack him all around the house while trying to accomplish normal everyday tasks. It's like being pregnant again except now my bump can grab things that come within his vicinity. Aside from oral gel, constant nursing, and Vance becoming an extension of my abdomen I just have to wait it out and eventually my easygoing kid will return. The bad news is that I think it's periodontal neighbor is moving in. The ouch, I'll let you figure out for yourself.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Who Got My Baby Sick? S'not Me

My little Vance is a wonderful baby! Sometimes, I'm afraid he's good to a fault. He only fusses when hungry, tired, or needs a diaper change, so it seems when not napping a majority of his day is spent in his chair watching all the action. Well my little guy is not happy today, in fact I now am typing this with one hand so that I can cradle him with my other arm while patting his bottom. His clingy behavior might be brought on because of my bragging about my sweet baby, just yesterday, I jinxed myself. I should have counteracted the jinx by mentioning the jinx but did I, no. Now here I sit with Vance trying to sleep yet not willing to shut his eyes all the way, I'm sure not because of superstitious curses (at least I hope not, knock on wood) but because the other children have been battling a small cold and have passed it on.

It started when Brynna the other day complained she had a sore throat, two days later Ryleigh, her roommate, was not feeling so hot. Ryleigh being the lover of all things shares her hugs freely and unfortunately sometimes her coughs. So Keely caught it and yesterday Jace began to feel symptoms as well. I have been trying like mad to keep the kids away from Vance and enforcing oodles of hand washing, especially the two younger girls, but I'm guessing my attempts have failed. Keely is my biggest offender, her nose is a sieve and she is normally oblivious of the fount until she gets a hankering for a snack. At that time she either picks a treat or opts to blow her nose on the back of her hand and lick it. As you can imagine, I am at the sink absurd amounts of time daily. Keely was accosted the other day when I saw her within inches of Vance's face, saying, "Hiii Bance" repeatedly. Although the snot that was running out of her nose was not found on his face the spittle from the raspberry she blew while being pulled away was. As a mother you have to realize that despite your best efforts, kids will get sick. The more children you have, especially if some of them go to school, the more illness circulates. My only hope is that all these little coughs and bugs will one day build up their immunity levels to super human proportions and they will never have to suffer a serious illness. At least this is what I tell myself to feel better about Keely sometimes eating out of the trashcan. Do you think I have a good argument?

Well my typing has finally put my baby to sleep and the slits where his blue eyes once peeked out of have given up and closed. I do hate when my kids are sick, mainly because I hate to see them not feeling themselves, but it also seems to slow things up and I can't get done the things that I normally have to do. At the same time I kind of enjoy when my kids are sick, because I do get so caught up with what has to be done or what I should be doing that it's nice to sit with my children all snuggled up and wanting comfort. I know that eventually I will have to get dinner ready and clean up the dirty dishes from lunch, but for now I'm going to stop multi-tasking and just enjoy this little boy resting quietly in my arms that is until Keely decides to eat another mucus featured entree.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pappy versus The Flylady

I am constantly on a quest to get my house clean and organized. As you can imagine with 7 people and four animals in a house, it gets messy at breakneck speed. To compound the issue I have inherited the "I'll use this someday" gene. I come by it honestly, my Pappy, God rest his soul, lived through the Great Depression and for good reason kept everything for the rainy day when it would be needed. His basement was a wonderland!!! Those of us after him have continued on with our borderline hoarding heritage. I have in the past taken this desire to keep things to absurd levels. At one point in time I had over 130 empty toilet paper rolls stored in drawers and a closet. I thought they'd be good for kid's crafts, mind you at that juncture in time I only had one child. I finally parted with my cardboard cylinders, but not as easily as one would think, but when I did it was completely freeing.

Normally my stockpile involves emotional attachments: cards and notes from grade school, toys given to my kids from family and the worst offender, my children's clothes. Just imagining them in the tiny apparel brings such nostalgia I have trouble parting and so I keep it. My treasures have at times enveloped me in a funk and I am torn between my desire for domestic saneness and my biological need to squirrel stuff away and use for future kids. In my quest for household sanity, I found the Flylady. If you have never heard of her, she is a wonderful women who helps millions discover what it feels like to have a clean sink everyday and an uncluttered life. I have read her book several times, I've joined her website, I daily receive her emails trying to keep me on the right track. I can't tell you how great it feels to follow her program to fling out the things I don't need, use, or love. Then I have a day like today. A day when instead of getting rid of things I bring them in. I get my "Pappy" thoughts flowing and I head to the thrift store that's going out of business and not only do I purchase the sizes the children are wearing right now but I set out to acquire the clothing in the following three sizes as well. I mean how adorable will Vance look in four years wearing those jeans and shirts and what a great deal boot. Do I need it? No. Do I use it? Well not yet. Do I love it? I love the price. Would Pappy approve? If it can be used someday, yes. Would Flylady approve? No.

Maybe this does not seem like a dilemma for those with ample storage, such as the illustrious basement or even an easily accessible attic. I however have limited storage space, a ladder leading to a 3'x3' opening in my ceiling is my attic, it houses holiday decorations, baby supplies, boxes containing I don't know what, empty boxes, and clothing from birth to at least size 7 for both sexes and here I am, "Pappytizing" my life with even more stuff when I should be "flying" and downsizing. I imagine the only way Flylady would allow such a thing to happen is if I followed her recommendation of the number of things brought into a home should be balanced with the same amount of items leaving to bless others. I'm afraid there is no way to satisfy both of the voices in my head...

Well maybe there is, if I brought in 10 new outfits do you think I could justify eating those 10 candy bars taking up space in my fridge? I know that would bless me.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Birthday Gifts

Today commemorates the day of my birth 32 years ago. The day where my poor mother pushed out a 9 pound 14 ounce baby and still had the energy to win the name game of Erica versus Bonnie. Yet here I sit collecting the rewards of her effort. I'm sure that being contracted by her uterine muscles was not a day in the park and yes I did suffer the unfortunate cone shaped head for several days after but thankfully I have no memories of that voyage past the cervix.
My celebration of that momentous day has, thus far been spent with my children. Brynna spent the night with a friend and brought me home a beautiful orange colored cake decorated by her and her friend with a whole bottle of sprinkles dumped on top, accented with half a bottle of candy stars. She said she chose orange because that's my favorite color and she knows how much I like sprinkles. Evidentially, I like them A LOT! The children along with our neighbors, John and Matt, sang me "Happy Birthday" with the cha-chas, the version I prefer. I think they were hoping by doing so that they'd be able to have some cake. Their plan was quickly foiled, because as soon as they sang the last note Keely came up to me and presented me with her birthday gift. "Mom, poop", my Sloth girl said. While I was washing my hands in the other room those sprinkles beckoned the children like a siren calls a sailor to his demise. Brynna decided to show her masterpiece off and slid the cake into the lid. Keely slid her chair over and "checked" out the damage. My beautiful cake did not last long. I'm not sure how it happened but it is now two inches higher on the right and marked by finger pokes all around and for some reason it looks as if was sat on. How the heck does this happen?
Ryleigh later made me a "cake" out of toothpaste and rainbow jimmie sprinkles on a plate in her room. When I confiscated it along with the tube of Thomas the Train Tooty Fruity toothpaste she claimed it was to brush her teeth with. "We don't brush our teeth with that much toothpaste and we don't brush them with sprinkles either", I said. "Okay," she replied, "let's just eat it then." She ran to grab some spoons. Yum!
So as I reflect on this day I have to thank my mom for all her hard work in pushing me out, if she hadn't I wouldn't have this day to treasure: a hug from Jace, a battered cake from Brynna, a sweet dessert that's good for your teeth from Ryleigh, a poopy diaper from Keely, and a smile from Vance. Birthday girls get all the good stuff!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

There's a Tear in My Beer...

Well actually it's in my 2% milk, but nonetheless it's there for a stupid reason. I assume my emotional distress is the cause of hormones regulating themselves after birth. It has been 3 months though since Vance's arrival, so maybe I can't blame it on postpartum and just have hormonal issues. The end of Disney Channel's movie Jump In got me all choked me up. It is a cute movie, but does it warrant tears? That would be a big resounding "NO". I mean it wasn't even as if I watched the whole movie and got really involved in the plot or the characters, but rather I caught their jump rope victory and welled up. That's right, I said jump rope victory, it wasn't even an all American sport like football or baseball but just some kids doing double dutch. I've always had a seeping eye problem with movies, but movies that were tear worthy and that I watched at least three quarters of. No, this emotional distress was caused after walking in and out of a room for an hour and then settling down to watch their rope skills leading to a win. Crazy!

Maybe my melancholy was the result of my approaching birthday and the fact that I can only do 10 jumps over a rope before becoming winded and quitting. Or maybe it was because I'm reading the book of Ecclesiastes, not one of the more uplifting books of the Bible, yet I haven't come across any mention of playground props. Whatever the cause it's a bit asinine. What's going to happen when the kids go back to school and I see other playground games? Will tether ball or dodge ball set me off? What could a game of tag do to my psyche? I hope I will be able to pull it together because salty milk tastes gross. Probably even more so than young Hank Williams' beer.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bald Barbies

I sent out a photo update to family and friends showing off two of my girls new hairdos. Brynna and Ryleigh got their hair cut last week. Normally, I'm too lazy to take my kids for hair cuts ,no that's not why Jace has long hair. The girls have never wanted any sizable amount chopped off and I just can't see paying $15 for an inch off the back - I can do that much. As a mom with three beautiful girls, you would think that I'd be all over the bows and braids. The truth is I hate to brush hair and I only do pony tails. Now granted, I have mastered the pony tail and I can do one, two, or I've even gone as high as 8 pony tails on a single head, but that's the extent of my hair doin' skills. My girls only get braids when their grandmother comes to visit. All of this to say, I'm not a hair mom.
Brynna has been letting her hair grow for a purpose, and I've been not so patiently waiting for her to reach her goal. She once had a short little bob with bangs, her choice only with strong maternal influence at the age of four and the promise of coloring it pink. Then I think Brynna was about 5 when one of her friends cut her hair for Locks of Love and Brynna was in awe. She declared that day that she would do the same and help little girls who didn't have hair of their own. Very admirable, I could back this. After a year of slow growing, Brynna announced to someone that she was growing her hair out for Barbie wigs. Confused I asked her what she meant, "I thought you were growing your hair for kids with cancer." "I am," she replied, "that's the back. I'm going to grow my bangs out for the Barbie wigs." The "Duh" was implied.
Brynna's friend once again unselfishly chopped her mane for the program and Brynna went with her, Ryleigh just wanted to be like the big girls and tagged along. When Brynna's turn came and she was getting her tresses clipped, the hairdresser asked if she wanted bangs. She opted for not. I guess all those bald Barbies are going to have to get someone to knit them some beanies, it's going to be a cold winter with no hair.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Poop in a Ziploc

Keely's penny has made the arduous journey through her bowels to reintroduce itself to the world in a sticky brown clump. "You pooped the penny", I said as if she had accomplished great things. I asked if it hurt to poop the penny out, her reply was "yeah" with a smile on her face. She wanted to see her effort and then her Sloth voice chanted, "Poop penny" three times. Brynna came into check it out and was a bit disgusted. However, even in her disgust, she still thought her sleeping older brother would be upset that he missed out, hence poop in a ziploc. The depths of brother-sister love.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Naked in Rain Boots

Two of my children love to be naked, actually I have a 3rd one that does while pooping but that's another story. I figure, for two of the three, it is just a developmental stage since they have all loved the freedom from a diaper. Keely will strip at the chance and Ryleigh although out of diapers still gets the "nude bug" every now and again. I have always tried to downplay nakedness. I wanted my kids to not think being naked was bad, but rather was natural. I figured if I talked about it and acted like this is who we are and what we look like then it wouldn't be such a curiosity later in life. I'm not sure if my plan has worked. Brynna is freaked out by her unclad siblings to the point that she will not remain in the same room with them. Hence, today, she came running in the house yelling, "Mom, Ryleigh is outside, naked in rain boots." My thoughts; she's out back, it's hot, what's the deal, but to Brynna it is vulgar. I had my same bare philosophy with her, she too at the age of 2 ran around in the buff but now she is very guarded. She will only undress in the bathroom, never in a bedroom, for fear someone will see her. I guess in a way it's good that she has developed some modesty because the two little ones possess no discernment when it comes to their disrobing. We've always said, "it's not a party at our house until somebody gets naked", because it has always seemed that when we have people over one of our children bares it all. I'm not sure what to do regarding my little buff butts, I don't even know if it really is an issue. Maybe I need to read a bit more on the subject, see if I'm raising strippers who will one day trade in their rain boots for shimmying in go-go boots or if this desire to feel the air in their nether regions is a desire all humans have had since Adam and Eve and have just learned to subdue. Hopefully by the time Vance comes of the diaper banning age, I will have discovered the answer, the thought of him in go-go boots freaks me out.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Penny for Your Poop

Keely, who just turned two, was still walking around with a pacifier dangling from her lips, as of three days ago. She reminded me of an plump old fellow who would talk with a cigar in his mouth as if it were an actual part of his body. The pacifier rarely left her mouth and on the occasion that it did I would try to hide it only to have her crying for it a short time later. I am well aware of the pacifier recommendation of stopping by the age of 3 months but I never enforced it with my others and they turned out fine. When Ryleigh sucked one we always made her remove it while speaking as to not need speech therapy later in life like her paci-speaking older brother. I'm not sure if the pacifier is the culprit of Jace's struggle to keep his tongue in his mouth while trying to pronounce certain words, but I wasn't going to take chances. How quickly we forget though! Keely kept it in her mouth while speaking and only when I would remember or need clarification of a word would I ask for her to remove it. Now, Keely speaks like Sloth from the Goonies, I don't think the paci is to blame but rather I think her deep whining grunt-like communication is a phase. The pacifier was her best friend, her comfort; sleep was not easily found without it and with her companion in her mouth she was the best sleeper of all of my children. The pacifier was her playmate acting as her chew toy. Many a paci found it's way into the trash because of holes she had chewed in them. The holes would collect food particles because Keely liked to put food in her mouth top it off with a paci and chew it all together. When a hole was discovered I would confiscate and replace. Well, I have finally run out of replacements! The first night without her dear friend was not fun. I contemplated running to the store and purchasing another one but Brian stood firm. Eventually she fell asleep, but it has not been an easy few days. She misses her paci-buddy terribly. Off and on throughout the day she tears up and I have to hold her for a while until she calms. Numerous occasions I've had to remove her from the trash can, as she searches for her lost chum and eats a couple of scraps she has found. Now her oral emptiness has led her to find surrogate comfort. Normally it's her hand, fingers up to her knuckles or her fist, occasionally I ask her not to chew toys or animal food. Today however, when I went to change her diaper I laid her back on the couch and she started coughing and choking, I sat her up ready to Heimlich her when she swallowed. I asked her what was in her mouth and she replied in her Sloth voice, "there", pointing at a pile of pennies in Brynna's purse. Thanking the Lord that it went down and didn't choke her, the older kids were almost in tears with concern. I assured them it would be okay, and told them that I've heard stories that it just comes out in the poop. Well you might have thought I told them we had won the lottery. The questions of how, the excitement of when! I'm a little anxious over this situation. Not my children's fascination with fecal matter, but over Keely's desire to replace her beloved paci. You can only child proof a house so much and I later found her with a die, from one of the kid's games, in her mouth. I guess all I can do is pick up as much as I can, solicit the older children for help, say a prayer that whatever she ingests goes down okay and see what treasures await me in tomorrow's poop.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is that a peanut in your pocket...

The other day I asked Ryleigh if she wanted some peanuts. She answered, "Not one like in Jace's pants but the one in the jar." I think I have myself a new euphemism.

Answering my own question...

I think the answer to my question the other day about how these super mega-moms do it, is this - they have no animals. So now, I am just biding my time until our menagerie's time is through.

The fish, no complaints, Brynna has trouble pouring him into a cup when she cleans the bowl, so she asks for help. The help? Oh, that would be me.

The three turtles, pretty painless, except when they escape and need to be found, signs need to be posted around the neighborhood, guess who does that. Oh, that would be me.
Three times a year, roughly, their pond needs to be emptied and refilled, guess who that job might fall upon. Oh, that would be me.

The dogs, where do I start, Calli, the teacup poodle bites a child every other day (not that they don't deserve it), but who has to take care of rescuing Kujo from Dennis the Menace and tend to injuries? Oh, that would be me. Puppa, the stray that was never claimed, is a great dog. The kids could probably remove some major organs and the dog would just try to nudge them away, however, she sheds and who has to sweep and vacuum everyday(Okay, at least every other day)? Oh, that would be me. The dog also poops. Not little Calli poop, but big dog poop. The kids for the most part clean it up, but I have to constantly remind in a loud voice so they remember. On the days they don't though, who's cleaning dog poop out of tiny toes? Oh, that would be me. To top it off the dog's in heat and keeps sneaking in the house. Right now I'm nursing and "my friend" isn't visiting for the next year, I don't want to be entertaining hers - but who is running around with a wet paper towel swiping up drips? Oh, that would be me.

As for the two rats, giving them to Brynna was the best gift Brian and I have ever given, but their huge cage needs to be cleaned often so that my kids don't go to school and become known as the "rat pee kids". Guess who takes care of the rat cage. Oh, that would be me. Also, if their cage does not remained centered on the wall then they chew whatever comes near, i.e. my couch, the speakers, toys, etc. All day long, I constantly am reminding Keely, in a loud voice, that she needs to leave them alone. She knows how to open their cage and tries to take them out against their will. I'm sure removing her, removing them takes up at least 30 minutes a day.

The kids are responsible for all of the animals and they assure me with each new addition that I won't have to worry about anything, but they're kids and their priorities are not always aligned with mine so, who has to pick up the slack? Oh, that would be me. I know what your thinking, get rid of the animals stop your griping.....but then they cry. Huge tears that roll down their cheeks accompanied by sobbing promises and whose heart breaks a little and thinks, "It's not that bad"? Oh, that would be me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Brynna ran into the house the other morning so excited that she and Jace had obviously discovered a new species of insect. Begging me to hurry outside, she claimed to have never seen one before and they were thinking that they might get a show on Discovery and be able to name a new insect. Alas, I crushed their dreams when I told them it was just a "beetle".
It actually was a June Bug, but at the time I couldn't remember what they were called. My memory lapse is just one more reason why we should move back to Maryland, how can anyone forget the overabundance of June Bugs? I have such fond memories of flicking them off our screen door every night and listening to them "thump" on the ground. Ahhh, sorry I digress.
Anyway back to my original story, after dashing their hopes, Jace just decided to keep it as a pet and name his beetle Charles. Poor Charles didn't make it through the day in a plastic cup on our patio in 110 degree weather, go figure. However, the next day Ryleigh found "Charles" in the kiddie pool and made him a pet yet again, only for him to meet his demise by 4 in the afternoon. Brynna, my child who carries crickets around and has been known to stick a roly poly in her pocket, feared both of the Charles'. I knew she didn't like them because she would stay away from Ryleigh as she "cuddled" her pet, but the extent of her fear was confirmed the other day when she came into the house screaming hysterically. Once she calmed enough to talk through her cries she said, "Jace flicked a Charles at my face". Confirmation that I am a bad mother came shortly there after, as I began to laugh at my sweet girl and the new name given to an old species of beetle. Please know that I'm not completely horrible I did give her a hug as I laughed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

How do they do it?

I guess I need to stop watching all those shows on TLC that feature large families. I am in awe how they can have 12 kids or more, homeschool them, keep them under control and content, how they all like each other, and how they keep a clean house. I'm at least 7 down, I send my older two to school, my kids fight constantly, are always bored and want friends over, and my house is never clean...even when I clean it. So how do these wonder women do it? Do they ever sleep? Are my priorities completely screwed up? I guess my dreams of being Michelle Duggar are just that, dreams.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Beware of the Ravens...

Maybe it's just because it's summer, but my kids seem more out of control than normal. I have to repeat myself 5 times instead 3 and then Brynna has developed some teenage 'tude, having to comment with a sassy remark to everything. In my frustration I told them they had better watch out or the ravens would come and pluck out their eyes. Of course they wanted to know what I was talking about so I told them that in Proverbs 30:17 it says, "The eye that mocks a father, that scorns obedience to a mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures." Jace and Brynna were not phased but poor Ryleigh was freaked. She continually asks if the "raisins" are coming to get her eyes or if the others are misbehaving if the "raisins" will get their eyes. Of course I reassured her that everyone would be okay but, when those older ones start to act up I let out a "caw caw" and they know what I'm getting at.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

He's here...

Well once again, I have birthed another beautiful child. Even though it wasn't like my other four, it was an easy labor and delivery. I will try to write more when time allows but here are the facts: boy, 8lbs 1oz, healthy, not named Jamal.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Brynna is constantly saying something to make us laugh. She truly has a different way of looking at the world.

As Jace was working on his 4th grade school project, the question came up between Brian and myself of how much parental involvement there should be. I stated that the project should be done completely by Jace with just parental supervision. To which Brynna immediately replied, "You guys don't have super vision!" I'll be honest I didn't get it at first, and then Jace began to explain what supervision meant and then laughing about how fun it would be if we (his parents) did have some super powers. After the 10 year old explained it to me I couldn't stop laughing. I guess my ability to know when Ryleigh doesn't use toilet paper after peeing or that Brynna is making faces while walking away from me doesn't count as super vision, but a mom's keen sense of foresight should be viewed as somewhat heroic, don't you think?

Then one night at dinner Brynna claimed to know where I bought the extremely large container of Old Bay spice from. I thought from the sheer size of the bottle she would claim Costco, but to my surprise she stated it was Best Buy as she held it in her hand. Again, Jace clarified the situation for me, when he told her that it was the expiration date and not the store. Get it, "Best by" such and such a date.

At back to school night she shared her school papers and artwork with us. Hanging on the wall was her book report with illustrations of a book she read about tigers. One of the scenes showed two tigers who I thought were wrestling however the page read "tigers have to mate". They were wrestling in the second drawing...I guess tigers have to play too.

She's the only one in her classroom assignment asking what she will look like at 100, who drew herself in a wheelchair. Everyone else just had more hair and was taller.

Maybe she just sees things how they really are. No fantasy with her and she won't let you have any fantasies either...don't even think you can have super vision.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Baby Jamal

One day while discussing baby names at the lunch table, the kids began to throw out baby names. The responses were pretty typical. Brynna wanted to name the baby after her BFF at school Annika, but she also liked Crystal and Kaitlynn. Jace, in hopes of it being a boy, threw out the name Michael or Justin (his BFFs). Then Ryleigh said she was going to call the baby Jamal. Not sure at the time where this was coming from we asked her what if it's a girl. To which she said she would still call the baby Jamal. Ryleigh loves the cartoon "Little Bill" and on one of the recent episodes Little Bill had a brand new cousin named, you guessed it, Jamal. Ever since that day at the table, Ryleigh only refers to the baby as Jamal. "When is Jamal coming?" "Does Jamal like rice crispy treats?" "Goodnight Jamal." "I love you, Jamal", as she kisses my belly. It has become quite endearing and now with just a few weeks to go we all refer to the baby in my belly as Jamal. So although I don't think Jamal will be a first name, I am trying to talk Brian into a second middle name. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dinner for two at the Dora table

Valentine's Day at our house is celebrated as a family. We normally have a romantic dinner with candles, wine goblets, a more adventurous entree and a fun dessert, chosen by the kids. This year our son had requested Baked Alaska, mind you I had no idea what this was, and dreaded the thought of making something elaborate. Why couldn't they have asked for cupcakes? My dread was increased by having our seven year old daughter ask me if she could invite her "boyfriend" to dinner with us. I told her I would think about it and after Matt showed up at our house on Valentines day with a box of chocolate and a stuffed animal I thought I would oblige. I looked on the internet and found an easy version of Baked Alaska, not so dreadful after all. Now my only worry seemed to be my little girl growing up. When she came home from school she started planning, she would bring the Dora table out of the playroom and place it in the family room (close by our eating area thankfully). She picked flowers for both of our tables, daffodils, and got down some candles. Jace wrote up menus and was to be their waiter for the evening. Brynna went to get ready in a dress and heeled shoes. Matt arrived an hour early. I'm thinking isn't it enough that I'm fixing dinner for him now I have to babysit him too? My pep talk to myself went something like this, "you're creating memories for your kids, it's fine don't worry, the screaming and yelling is their way of self-entertainment." When dinner was ready, the candles were lit, Disney provided the mood music, the punch was served and the menu presented. Of course they chose what I had made, there were no other selections. The two giggled the whole time and ate super speedily. The couple, along with the other three, upon finishing danced around while I cleaned up and prepared to put the finishing touches on my dessert. I put it in the broiler and burnt it, go figure, I've never really worked one of those before. Pep talk to myself, "it's fine, they're kids, they eat their own boogers, it's still gonna work." I was able to scrape the burnt part and the kids scarfed it down (go figure).8 After I told the kids it was time for Matt to go home and we were all cleaned up, Brynna told me it was the best Valentines Day ever. I was glad I could make this day special, hopefully she will remember her first "date" with a boy, 'cause if I have anything to do with it, it's her last until she's married!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Oops we did it again...

Well actually, we did it awhile ago but since it has been so long since my last post I thought I would update to say "We're pregnant!", yes again...this makes five. I'm about 7 months along and feel as big as a house but we are excited. I will admit that I have many days when I think that we are in fact crazy to have a baby again. When Ryleigh, the 3 year old, and Keely, the 1 year old, cry and scream simultaneously or when I'm at the store with all four and my oldest is running the cart into displays and Brynna is begging for everything and the little ones no longer want to sit in the cart, I could cry. This pregnancy wasn't actually planned but it was very much wanted. I don't think five kids is a lot, and when I see them all playing together or to hear all four of them laughing I know I would never want any other life. The crazy part is the last three being so close together in age. I'm not sure how it's all going to go but the truth is that in a few months it's going whether I'm ready or not. So I had better get ready.