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Summer is in full effect this week. It’s hot. Really hot. The kind of hot that I love, but only for part of the day. After a little while, I’ve had enough of sweaty baby heads and itchy, sweaty skin, and worrying about sunscreen (even though I love the smell of that stuff!) and water intake, and the inevitable cranky that comes after getting too much hot everything. But at the same time, I am over the moon and head over heals in love with summer! Shorts and tank tops, bare feet and sunglasses, fresh fruits and veggies, long days full of sunlight, warmth, family, and fun.

This morning, after several that were so muggy, it was so much cooler, and breathing in the fresh air was so refreshing. I turned the AC off and opened all of the windows so wide. I could feel myself relaxing almost instantly. In our jammies, The Littles, The Zoo, and this mama – with fresh coffee in hand – headed outside to play in the yard before the heat could get hot. Those two cuties headed straight for the dirt patch (oh, how they love it but I’m ready to pave it!)  and the dogs sniffed everything in sight while the cats nibbled grass and rolled in the dirt patch. I sipped my coffee, soaking it all in. This was just about as perfect as it all could get, except for the rest of my brood who are all dispersed for the day. I always soak in those moments, thinking of all my littles, wishing they were all still little and under my wing every minute of every day. And missing James while he’s gone. *breathe in, breathe out. I can’t dwell here, it makes me emotional – but you get the idea.*

Lucas asked to “call Dad” so we did. With Facetime. Seriously. How in the world did we get so lucky to have such awesome technology so that these kiddos could run around the yard, play in the dirt, jump on the trampoline, throw balls with the dogs while their dad gets to watch from halfway across the country?! Being apart is so hard. SO HARD. But it’s things like this that make it just a little bit easier and lets us not miss out on the everyday things that sometimes, we take for granted. The kids love it, they want to hold the phone and walk with Dad or show him something that they think is cool. It warms my heart, completely. My phone photography skills were clearly lacking today – but sometimes, buttons get bumped while trying to press two buttons at the same time while holding the phone all in one hand and holding a squirmy baby in the other. This mama has mad skillz!! Or not. ha!

facetime

After awhile, we went back inside, had some breakfast, I indulged in a second cup of creamy coffee, did some laundry, fed the dogs, and lazed around a bit. But it’s Friday, which in our neck of the ‘hood, is “garbage day.” And in a house full of boys, that’s a pretty big deal. It’s taken on a different feel over the past few years as it meant hauling the can to the curb, but this past winter, The Littles discovered the GARBAGE TRUCK! And since it’s summer, there is also the added bonus of the wood chipper truck and today was also recycling day, which means RECYCLING TRUCK! So we gathered up the household garbage and while holding Levi on one him, Lucas and I wheeled the can to the curb and then pushed the recycling bucket to the curb, and then neither wanted to do anything else but hang out in the front yard. So I put them to work and we pulled some weeds.

Levi weeding

But then a few minutes later, while I was slaving away, I found them wrenching on the truck wheels. These two, they crack me up.

Lucas Levi wrenching

We headed back in for some quiet time, only it wasn’t quite as quiet as I was expecting, but there were some cute moments.

iPad

After some napping and other mundane things, we snuck back outside, just in time to catch the sky doing some pretty cool things as an awesome summer storm was rolling in. I absolutely love the clouds and the sunshine and the fun things they do together. It’s stunning. And amazing. And perfect.

sky

Grandma “Fran” stopped by so the boys could play in her car. Gosh they love that so much. Keys and windows and doors and changing seats and opening compartments – they are in little boy heaven when Grandma comes over! We were outside for quiet awhile before the brisk, cool wind picked up, the skies got darker, and the sprinkles started. And just at the time that Grandma had to leave, the sky opened up and it downpoured. She later called it a “gullywasher,” a term that I’m not sure I’ve ever personally used in my adult life, but I remember hearing it used a lot when I was a kid. I don’t think we have any gullies, whatever that is, around here. Maybe I’m wrong. I’ll have to consult the online dictionary. Ok, I did. I’m wrong. There are likely gullies everywhere. Learn something new, everyday. Anyway, we went inside and after waving goodbye to “Fran” for 5 whole minutes, I realized the patio door was wide open. And the rain was pouring in. Sopped it up, closed the windows, and I caught Levi watching the rain.

Levi rain
Only a short while later, after we had filled our bellies with pizza delivery, a little spontaneous scream it out fest, and some jumping on the couch, the nighttime crankies kicked in and that cute little dude found himself sound asleep and in bed. Lucas and I got some quiet time together while Hannah vegged out with some Minecraft after work. Finally, Lucas has fallen asleep and I’ve just texted my dear friend who is in the hospital getting ready to have her first baby. She’s going to be a great mom!

I reflect on these days and always remember how lucky I am that I get to be the kind of mom that I have always wanted to be. Enjoying the wonder that’s in the little things that these little ones and big ones do and think and say and feel. Laughing so hard that we cry. Even when the days are trying and exhausting, they’re so worth it. It’s totally worth it.  There is nothing better than being a mom. I mean it.  Nothing ever can compare to all of the emotions that fill a day, that fill a heart, that fill a LIFE by being a mom. It’s a super huge responsibility, one that I don’t take lightly. It’s hard work. It’s cute and fun, but it’s hard work. But there are these kick back and mostly relax kind of days that are there to put you in your place and remind you that this is the good stuff. The really really good stuff. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Not even to never have winter again.

But I’d really love not to have winter again.

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The baby is sleeping, the toddler is head over heals in the dirt patch, the deck is shaded, lightly breezy, full of cats and dogs, and it’s a beautiful morning to sit out on it and enjoy. I love these kinds of days – slow and easy and no big to-do list or agenda. Just quiet time and loving what life has given us right here at home. It’s nearly silent, at least until Levi wakes up. There are birds chirping and distant neighbor noises. There are no clouds in the sky and the sun will soon move to this side of the house, bringing summer along with it.

It’s crazy to think that school has already been out for a month. We’ve had our share of busy – playdates with friends, trips to the skatepark, house work, yard work, geocaching, park time, bocce ball, and plenty of lazy time. The weather has been perfect! We’ve had plenty of rain but it’s kept everything green and full. It’s been hot, but not scorching, which for me, is PERFECT. I sure wish that every day was summer. I could spend it just like this.

I’m such a lucky mama. I feel so fortunate and thankful to be able to enjoy these things every day!

Just for fun, I thought I’d detail out all the “things I did” for the day. Being a “stay at home mom” (yeah, right) definitely isn’t a relaxing job. Granted, I wouldn’t ever rather go back to the 8-5 shift work instead of staying home with my kids and being awesome. Awesome, but not glamorous.

I grabbed my notebook and pen and kept it nearby most of the day. I made a list of the highpoints, tally marked the oh so not glamorous, and just had a mostly normal and typical Saturday with my kids.

Mostly in chronological order:

  • I woke up and loved on The Little’s as they wiped their eyes and started their day with smiles. I wasn’t quite as anxious to get out of bed as they were.
  • Made coffee, unloaded the dishwasher, reloaded the massive stack of dishes from the night before, and took the recycling out.
  • Cleaned up the kitchen cabinets, swept the floor, dealt with some crazy kids.
  • Made homemade waffles and finally got to drink my coffee. Well deserved and delicious!
  • Breakfast for the dogs and cats, cleaned up after breakfast, sit down for a breather and nursed Levi.
  • Snuggled and loved and laughed.
  • Multitasking at it’s finest – talked to my mom on the phone and cleaned some more things and carried the baby all over.
  • A quick bath for me and then for the babies. Got them dried and diapered and dressed.
  • Gathered up AllTheBoys and drove across town to get Connor to baseball practice. Paid his fees. Left him there for an hour.
  • Hit up the grocery store.
  • Picked up Connor, stopped at the video store for weekend reinforcements, made it home for some play and downtime. (yeah, right)
  • While nursing the baby, did some St. Patrick’s Day planning (thanks Pinterest!), replied to some emails, and got sucked into the nets for awhile.
  • Gave up on making dinner – because that’s just the way I do it when things get a little loud and crazy around here.
  • Took the orders and went through Subway drive-thru.
  • Garbage out.
  • Fed the dogs. No Subway for them, except for the crumbs on the floor.
  • All out play time – cards, throwing diapers around, chasing cats, chasing dogs, jumping on the bed, dumping Trix on the floor, watching Minecraft videos.
  • GANGNAM STYLE DANCE PARTY!! Lucas loves it, over and over and over, and we all get into it. Fun times!
  • Jammied up the babies. They look and smell delicious.
  • Toss in the laundry. Then another load a little later.
  • More baby nursing and internet wasting time. I can’t quit you Candy Crush!
  • It’s getting late but got the babies to bed. Ahhhhh, quiet.
  • Levi up. Levi down. Levi up again. Then Levi down.
  • Tidied up some toys and things that get left all over.
  • Brownie time!
  • Relax. Wait, what’s that?
  • James got home!! (dude, it’s midnight, if he weren’t coming home, I’d have been in bed hours ago.)
  • Oh yeah, St. Patrick’s Day – made the Leprechaun Milk.
  • Collapse in bed. Snuggling, minor chatting, zonked.
  • There was also letting the dogs out 12 times, 12 diaper changes, bathroom breaks, 7 additional nursing the baby times, a hundred and one dog and cat pets, and a billion hugs, kisses, and loving moments with my kids.

It’s so nice to have a full day and end it with all of my people in one place. I love our big family. I love spending my day with them.

This last year, I’m not going to lie, it was rough. I know I mentioned it before and I don’t want to dwell, but it was the kind of rough that made an impact, not a victim. I was challenged in so many ways. I was forced to look at my life from a different perspective. I evaluated my parenting, how I was doing things and what I wanted to do and could do differently. There were plenty of realizations and questionable moments that kept me awake at night, that sent me searching for answers and solutions and options first thing in the morning. There were days that I struggled with the challenges of being a mom of 5 but was refreshed and ready to take it all on – because that was my job.

For me, it didn’t matter what road I had to choose or what obstacles were thrown at me, my job was to be the best mom to these kids and to provide them with a wonderful and loving life. No.Matter.What. It’s my responsibility to do the best that I possibly can – and this means being flexible, learning every single day, changing things up, being willing to admit my faults and pick myself up and try again, to be aware, to be kind and loving and gentle and nurturing  even on the hard days. And there are hard days. It has nothing to do with being a mom of 5. Being a parent is freaking hard work.

This family is the.most.important.thing to me. I take an enormous amount of pride in all of us. I try really hard to help us all work together and keep the day to day moving smoothly. I cannot imagine what my life would be without any of us in it. I have to do everything that I possibly can to preserve our lives and keep us together for as long as possible.

Part of that is becoming the kind of mom that I never thought I’d be. Well, maybe not never, but it didn’t completely appeal to me when I first became a mom. As I’ve gotten older and learned more and forced myself to not take everything at face value but to trust in what I can learn on my own, I’ve changed my thoughts more away from an “everything in moderation” mentality.

Moderation is good, for a lot of things, but not everything. The foods we eat, the products we use, their kind of moderation is killing us. So now, we’re changing that up. I’m transforming into the eco-mom. To be vague for now, things that I never really cared about or just accepted as “good enough” now really shock the hell out of me. I want to shake people for using bleach in their homes and for allowing formaldehyde on their brand new babies. I really wish someone would have told me how horrible these things are when I was a brand new mom. Now, I can’t shut it off. I can’t stop learning more and wanting better and feeling drawn to sharing with the world. If we accept the in moderation mentality for some things, we’re really shortening our lives with our children and families. Nobody wants that.

Every day I find new things to do and make and try and eat. It’s overwhelming and consuming but it’s so exciting! I feel empowered and in control of our lives. I  know that not all change happens quickly and that sometimes it’s a process. So, we’re in the process. Some things, like no more bleach, was a no-brainer. Other things, like getting away from processed foods, that’s a bit tougher – but we’re working on it.

We only have this life. This ONE life. There are no do-overs. But there are do-betters!

So while this year has been tough, I’m so thankful. I’m appreciative of the change in perspective. I know this is all going to lead to something bigger and better for my kids and my family. And me. I like this process and who I’m becoming. I try really hard to not be an extremist. I’m really understanding of people’s choices and beliefs, but I can’t help but want to share the knowledge. An activist of sorts? Maybe.

But at the heart of it all, I’m just a mom. Just an everyday kind of mom, trying to be a great mom, trying to raise great kids and have great family, and to do great things. This is my job. And I love it!

I let things in my life fall by the wayside. I allowed sadness and frustration and anger to settle in. I failed my family in little ways. I gave up control, and I’m taking it back. Right now.

This past year has been so horribly hard, things I don’t want to share openly at this time. But it’s also been full of new joys and so much love, and great success and rewards. But it’s been an effort, every.single.day. I try to keep myself in a positive head space, making the most of each day and taking things as they come, and almost always carefully navigating the high road. That isn’t always easy ya know. Believe me, I have felt the overwhelming temptation to stoop to the lower than low road, but for the sake of my family and ultimately for myself, I just didn’t. But I wanted to! Remember the old cartoons where there was a little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other? That was me. Only my head was twisting back and forth and around and around trying to make decisions. Ultimately, procrastination won! Even thought  that wasn’t one of the choices, it became the unspoken third choice that seemed to win more often than not.

My house is messy. Cluttered. Dirty. Overwhelming for sure. It’s a direct reflection of my brain. My daily/weekly/monthly/yearly to-do list has only grown, minimal scratching off has occurred. Parenting, real parenting, has taken a back burner. Meals have been fast and easy and repetitive. (read: not so healthy) Life has just piled up on top of me, on top of us, and it’s time to reclaim it.

The time is now. Right now. Today!

I’ve been trying to meal plan since the new year and haven’t gotten very far. Yesterday, I got somewhere! I’m not done with the month but hope to be by today. I’m getting the basics going so I can develop a good system moving forward. SEVEN people live in this house and we all can do our share to take care of this house. I’m tired of dealing out chores as they arise. We need to get back into a good system of keeping ahead of the mess and everyone being responsible. I have a good implementing plan, and even though I don’t want to be procrastinating, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. So in the next few days, I hope to have that ready to go – fast and efficient and fair. James and I need to sit and make a BIG to-do list for our projects. We’re starting some, not finishing, and have daydreamed about plenty of others. Oh daydreaming….

I have to stay on task, otherwise the daydreaming will take over. Oh, wait, the daydreaming always takes over!

I was just daydreaming of a cleaner house, a more simplified life, and no more laundry to have to do. Ever.

I feel a big PURGE coming on. I have missed “spring cleaning” the past three years due to a pregnancy, a crazy toddler and lack of desire, and then a preemie newborn. Actually, this past spring, we did just toss a bunch of more obvious things, so that is something I guess. But by this spring, I hope to have it D-O-N-E, DONE! Simplifying is going to take over and life is going to be happier, right? It needs to be. We have too much stuff. Just STUFF. Have you seen my magazine hoarding stash? You don’t really want to, or maybe you do. Maybe I’ll share it sometime. I can say that I have not read even 1/16th of them. I had good intentions but who has the time? Most are photography magazines, full of amazing photos and colors and beauty. They’d make for some great crafts. I better hit up Pinterest before I recycle them.

I’m so ADD, seriously. Purging = Pinterest project. oh my.

But really, I have for a long time noticed that when life is crazy, the house is crazy, my head is crazy. And when my head is crazy, so is life, so is the house. They all relate. I’m not a perfectionist and I do not plan to live in a spotless museum. Our home is a lived in home. But seriously, something has to be done around here. Who’s hiring me a maid? Oh yeah, that’s me, I’m the maid. Crap.

So yes, I’m taking my life back. I’m diving in and I will be awesome. I cannot let the fear or the stress or the excuses sink me anymore. My family needs me. They depend on me. They are my whole entire life and I cannot let them down. I cannot let myself down. I need to get this life together and make it extra awesome. I need to be what my kids need me to be, and then some. I need to take better care of myself, too. I will not be what this year has handed me. I’m going to put it all behind me and take a deep breath, and start fresh.

If I wore boots, I’d be picking myself up by their straps right now. Ready, set, GO!

There are days when bedtime can’t come soon enough. The exhaustion from the day has met its end, the fussing and busy are just too much. I cannot wait for all heads to hit pillows and the house to be silent. SILENT. It’s probably the only time when I really relax, that is if my eyes don’t slam shut faster than I blink.

And most mornings I wake up to someone in the shower, the dogs woofing, a cat pawing at the door, or most often, a baby waking next to me. Sometimes, I LOVE that. Levi can wake up so happy and giggling and even when it feels just too early to be alive, he reminds me that morning is a great time. Other times, it’s a screamer or a crier and the air outside the heavy blankets is so stifling and opening my eyes is the last thing I want to do.

And then there are days like today, when I woke up to total darkness, a silent house, and didn’t feel like a zombie. No thanks to my bladder, but still. It’s so nice to just lay in bed, staying warm, hearing babies breathe, and enjoying the quiet before getting on with the busy. It gives me quiet time to reflect and be thankful, to smile and love all my babies that much more.

Never does a day go by that I’m not so very thankful to be a stay at home (yeah right, mamataxi!) mom. In our big family, we all make sacrifices, but James makes the biggest one of all. He leaves every week to be gone for 3.5 days, to support our whole family. Not too shabby considering most work at least 5 days a week, but at least they are home some every day. He gets up super crazy early, stays up way too late, gets only a few hours of sleep here and there, all so he can be home as much as possible. I try not to complain when the days are long and hard and exhausting, I know it could be so different. This is the life we have chosen, to benefit us all the most. And how awesome are cell phones these days? Gosh, it would all be so different without daily pictures and texts and phone calls and OMG Facetime! Lucas is still a bit weirded out by Facetime – how did dad get in that phone?! – but soon he will love it and I know that it makes the days go a little faster for James.

He is an excellent provider. I am a sucky housekeeper. But I am an awesome mom. I have my moments, I’m not perfect, it’s a learning process for everyone even when you’re doing it for the 5th time. We try to improve every day. There is always a better way, a smarter way, but sometimes we take the easy way which isn’t always that great. I love being a mom. When I was 20 years old and pregnant for the first time, I knew that I would love being a mom. But I had no idea that I would love it this much. Who knew that I’d be so fortunate to do it 5 times over and dedicate my whole day to doing what I love. Seriously though, sometimes I’m lazy. I’m not all hands on and crafty (only in my head, I am) and entertaining. Sometimes I just let my kids, wait for it, play on their own! It’s important. But no matter what, I’m right here, trying not to hover (because that is easy), to learn from them as much as they learn from me.

At the end of the day, when I’m waiting for all heads to hit the pillows, I just want them to know that more than anything, they are loved so completely. That I love being their mom and look forward to watching them grow. And I thank James often for being who he is and allowing me to be who I am. He really is super awesome.

Sometimes, I love the dark quiet mornings when I can just lay in bed, count my blessings, and start my day off loving my family so completely. My heart is full. So full.

We know this. It’s not a secret. One day you’re anxiously awaiting their arrival from the womb and then you blink and then they’re adults – or almost. Almost. How is it that just yesterday I was sending my first-born off to kindergarten, with her brand new glasses and her bangs pulled back off her chubby little face, a backpack as big as she was strung across her back, and a smile that went on for days? There was no fear, no tears. Just a lot of excitement. Last week, I sent that baby of mine off to her senior year of high school, glasses replaced with contacts, bangs dangling and covering her eyes which light up her much more matured face, a messenger bag over her shoulder, and a smile that went on for days. Ok, so some things don’t change that much, they just get bigger. But how can it be that she’s just 2.5 short months from being 18? An adult. *gasp* I always seem to think that I have this under control, I am always internally emotional but can sometimes hold the external together. I take each day in stride. I’m always so proud of my babies and welcome their wing spreading with open arms. But suddenly, almost instantaneously, it hits like a ton of bricks. My baby is almost an adult. Fortunately, I have 4 more babies to raise to adult so I’m still a bit of a ways away from having a full-out heart attack over here. The palpitations are building though.

I’ve now been typing this post for 5 days – seriously. I get THAT distracted by babies and things and OMG the internets. Let me try again while Lucas is distracted by Mickey Mouse and Levi naps, knock on all things that are wood, while I have 2 free hands to type effectively.

My big boys, they have grown like weeds in the past year. I cannot tell you how many pairs of jeans we have gone through and shoes. Shoes now get stinky before they get worn out. yikes! And this summer, the grocery bill, it seriously doubled. And they aren’t even to the stomach-is-a-bottomless-pit stage yet. It’s a good thing there is an 8 year gap between Dillan and Lucas, so we can rebuild the teenager grocery fund again! The physical things are easy to see, but through the summer, I saw a lot of growth in my boys as brothers and friends. They were given some more freedom, allowed to go to the park with friends without mom. It’s only 2 blocks away, but as a trying not to be a helicopter mom, this was a big deal. I send an extra cell phone with them, yep, they also have to be responsible, and they keep me posted about what they’re doing and who they’re with. They were allowed to bike to friends’ houses, too. And while this was hard on mama, it was so good. They argued and fought less, they played together and as a group of friends much more. And by summer’s end, when the soccer teams came out and a mistake was made and they had both been put on the same time, they BOTH asked to be kept on the same team. Yes, my jaw had to be scooped from the floor! This is big. A very BIG step in their brotherly development. The past couple of years surely have had some rough patches. To say that I’m a pleased mama is so underwhelming. I’m elated! But, they should not grow so much. So fast.

7 days – seriously, this blog post is taking far too long to complete. Despite the amount of time I can sit in the computer chair in a day, the typing just doesn’t get done. I need to be more skilled at one handed typing and allowing thoughts to flow while doing a multitude of other things – like nursing a baby, bouncing a baby, cleaning up baby urp from down my back and in my lap, while fetching a toddler off a desk or rescuing him from an annoyed cat or four, and trying to keep enough food and water in myself to sustain me for at least one more day. I will finish this now.

Only after I post some pictures. Because, as per my usual, I paraded them outside to the deck stairs, just like I do every first day of school, so I could take their pictures and “awwwww” and swoon over my precious, once were very tiny, babies. I don’t get teary, not on the outside anyway. I love that they can get out into the big world and spread their wings and discover more about themselves every day. I love that I can get a bit of a mom breather and enjoy a little bit of time each day to be just me, not me the mom, though those days are still so numbered with two little pipsqueeks still at home. I love my babies. So much. My heart is full.

And now, my kids have been back to school for 14 days and I have been trying to write this for 10 days! (enter failing blogger grumbles here). Life is busy, it’s crazy, sometimes overwhelming and frustrating but hey, I love it!)

So, here are the pictures of my kiddos on the first day of school – I adore them all so much!

Hannah – 12th, Connor – 5th, Dillan – 4th.

senior t-shirts are cool

Instagram is serious awesome. Here are a few more of those from the past week.
All my boys before school.

It’s Homecoming Week. Two days ago was “Neon Day” where she wore neon so much cuter than we ever did in the 80’s! Yesterday was “Character Day.” Hannah couldn’t be anything other than adorable Pikachu! Today is “School Spirit Day” and they aren’t allowed to wear their cheer uniforms to school (I know, right?! ridiculousness) so she rocked the tutu again with her cheer jersey. (I’m not too sure about those tights or boots though.)

Have a wonderful year my little, precious, tiny, babies-will-always-be-to-me, children! I love you more than words and pictures can ever express. You all are by far the best things I have ever done in my life and I couldn’t be more proud to be your mama! Now, do your homework without me having to ask eleventytwenty times. 🙂

And for mama, let this be a lesson that blog posts should not take 10 days, with or without pictures.

It doesn’t get much better than this – reflecting on the day with my babytoddler nestled in closely behind me and my tiny baby curled in closely and nursing. I am sandwiched between some seriously adorable boys! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love the family bed. It used to be the most adored place by everyone. The big kids, they got so big, so fast. I know they would still snuggle in if I’d let them! The dogs and the cats – they used to be allowed, too, but I’ve not been a fan of all the shedding for some time now. I sleep much better with my wee ones snuggled closely. It is as it should be.

Today was a good day. I have no complaints. I have nothing big to share. It was just good. And happy. And just the right amount of busy and lazy. Some lounging and shopping and visiting with my mama. And while The Littles tucked in earlier than expected, I’m still mostly wide awake right now. I adore watching them sleep and hearing them breathe so smoothly. I love days spent with my kids. Days where there is no whining or Screaming and just filled with giggles and silence and love.

Snuggling close means I should put the portable geekery away and return to the snuggling and close my eyes as well. Soon, these babyangels will be awake again.  They will have forgotten the snuggling and have moved on to crazy boy behaviors that they do so well.

Goodnight happy life!

Sometimes, I have to sit back, take a deep breath, and forget all the frustrations and focus on the little things – the happy things.

Losing sight is easy – between 511 diaper changes, 6093 removals of toddler from high places or garbage cans or dog food or bathroom sink, wiping tears, listening to screams and whines and dealing with colic, hearing complaints and sibling disagreements, removing pet hair from every.single.thing I eat, if I actually find time to eat, trying to use the bathroom or shower with no fewer than one extra person, wondering if the laundry will ever get all washed, folded, AND put away, remembering to wash floors but never finding the time to do them day after day, cleaning up baby barf from my hair and shoulders on a regular basis – longing for that shower by myself that rarely seems to come, and just doing all that I can to survive the day with everyone in on piece and put to bed with an extra hug and kiss and knowing that they are loved – despite any craziness they may have encountered from me throughout the day.

Creating a run-on sentence like that takes SERIOUS focus.

At the end of the day, when my head hurts and my arms are weak from holding my precious loves all day, when my eyes just want to slam shut, and I’m not even sure that I can climb the stairs and into my bed, I look back on the things that made me smile and laugh and be so happy to be a mama.

*extra “I love you’s”
*milk drunk smiles
*ice cream bucket hats
*messy pizza face
*teeny tiny fauxhawk
*silly belly laughs
*”wow,wow,wow,wow,wow”
*picking up too many matchbox cars that make cute toddler noises
*chubby cheeks
*curled up baby legs
*baby back arched stretches
*the hot dog dance
*big blue eyes
*lotsa hugs
*daughters that bring home fast food for dinner so I don’t have to cook
*laughing until we cry
*sharing chocolate chip cookies
*sweet smelling baby head
*lashes that go on for days
*the quiet of bedtime and a few minutes to have just to myself to appreciate all of the chaos that was today and to look forward to doing it all again tomorrow.

I extra big love this quite time. I can clear my head a little bit, finish up a few things that got started and never finished, but mostly, I get to look at their angel faces and be so proud of the little people that I’ve made. One day there will be no more diapers, no chubby hands to wash, no sibling squabbles, and no toys to step on. When the kids have all grown and moved on to the rest of their lives, I will look back on days like today and not remember the frustration and the tears, I will be filled with love and joy for having such amazing moments to fill my days. I am so fortunate to be a mama that can stay home to be with her babies. I appreciate James every day for being an excellent provider and supportive dad and partner.

We are so blessed.

Yep, it’s me, attempting to be a blogger again. I’m trying not to have anxiety over all the gaps and holes in this blog, trying not to want to start a new one or wipe this one clean, trying to come to terms with being imperfect and knowing that it’s OK to have gaps and holes that I can fill in later if I want, or I can leave them. They might prove to be good conversation starters – someone wanting a gap filled in and wonder how I went from a pregnancy test with baby #4 to having a 6 week old baby #5, all in 2 years! In all reality, I probably WON’T get caught up, there will always be gaps and holes, but moving forward, I hope to tell a pretty fun story of our crazy life.

Because our life IS crazy. Crazy good. Crazy hard at times. And sometimes, just crazy crazy! But I wouldn’t change it.

It’s taken me nearly 3 whole days to type this far – I deleted and rewrote a few lines, then deleted them again. But really, with all of the distractions, responsibilities, and lack of free time, getting this far was quite the accomplishment! I’m going to publish this as is, then move on to something else. 🙂