Monday, September 26, 2011

to each its own...value.

Mondays have always been my least favorite day of the week, but now even more so. This school year our county decided every Monday should be early release, I'm not sure who benefits from this. The teachers still have a full day, and parents are less than excited to pick up the kids an hour earlier, and of all days why do this on a Monday...a Friday may have been easier to handle?? So every Monday I lose my patience and energy an hour sooner than usual.

Not that my weekends consist of much relaxation.

This weekend I attempted a yard sale with my girlfriend. I realized that my treasure is another's trash, and people will not pay top dollar based on how "sentimental" something is to you. It crushed me to let go of things that were not only special but expensive...and the difference between 50 cents and a dollar is huge to some people! I was so emotionally and physically drained after the whole ordeal...and I may have ended up sneaking a few things back into my house.

I sold a beautiful dress that I payed $80 for (on clearance!) and only wore once for 5$, a play kitchen in mint condition for $20 and a toy rack that retails for $60 for $10. I loved that dress, it was one of nicest things I ever bought for myself...but I had no where to wear it. That kitchen was given to kaylee when she was 2, I could see her curly little head peeking in the oven, checking on the cake she was baking, and that toy rack was a life saver when it came to clean up time.


I guess things are just that...things. Hopefully my stuff will bring as much joy to someone else.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I can dooooo it!

My house is a mess. I have no idea what to do for dinner. I have tons of laundry to do and a sink full of dishes.
I'm sure my mom had these same problems, but how come they weren't a problem for her??
I can never remember a time where my mom couldn't handle things, she cooked dinner every night and I got plenty of attention....and I was not an only child....although maybe her favorite.
If the good out weighs the bad in childhood is that all we remember?
I sure hope so.
Some times my life is full speed, too fast, too many turns, and no brake peddle.
Other times my life is smooth, easy and calm. I often wonder how this affects my children...when I'm stressed are they??
Do they feel my anxiety when its 7:45 am, the baby is crying, cereal is stuck to the floor, nobody has matching socks on, and I am repeatedly saying "we are going to be late, we are going to be late..." I notice that on days that I am more patient and relaxed, they are easier and cause me less stress. I think as a whole we are happier as a family. My to-do list is never ending.
I hate the idea of not being able to say "I'm finished!" but mom or not I guess that's just life.
I have two choices, be completely stressed out and anxious over what is, or except what is not.
My house is not clean right now.....I am not sure what we will do for dinner....I have a lot of laundry and dishes to catch up on. Things will get done.
My mom did it....I can do it...not as good...not even half as good...but I can do it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First things first

This was a week of firsts.

Kaylee and Brooke had their first tennis lesson, I took all the kids on a bike ride by myself for the first time in our "new" neighborhood, we hosted our first sleep over and in less exciting news Kaylee was was stung by a bee, hopefully both a first and last.

Other things were repetitive.

The dog ran out of the house twice and was waiting for me in front of the girls school, the baby ended up in my bed at least once, my car alarm went off multiple times in various parking lots, I lost my cell phone for several hours each day, my house only stayed clean for the time that I was cleaning it and the list goes on.

I was much more aware of the new experiences this week than of the normal - or as close to normal things that go on in my life on a daily basis.


I'm not the mom that takes out the camera for every milestone, I only got one page of Kaylee's baby book completed and I'm pretty sure I have yet to order Jacob's hospital pictures. However I am the mom that gets really excited about the first day of school (unlike when I was in school), volunteers to coach my daughters fist soccer team (even though I was less than qualified), and tries way too hard when my kids bring over a new friend to the house for the first time. I'm sure as my memory fades I will wish that I had saved more things, taken more pictures and written more things down but for now I would much rather enjoy the feeling of firsts.

I'm sure we do things for the first time everyday and don't even realize it. Whether its as simple as trying a new food or something bigger like jumping out of an airplane. The feeling of doing something for the first time is a unique blend of fear, excitement, joy and sometimes confusion. When we are so wrapped up in everyday chaos we sometimes miss out on that feeling.

Some firsts are more enjoyable than others (get your mind out of the gutter), some are exciting and others are miserable. We learn what we like. what we will never do again and what makes us happy. New experiences help us grow and figure out who we are. Without firsts every day would be the same as before, life would be predictable and we would never learn from our mistakes. If we all slow down, open our eyes and embrace what new things we encounter our lives may become more fulfilled.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Do what you love

For as long as I can remember I have tried to "find" what I was good at, or what made me happy. I have always wanted to take classes or learn something new, I have had a thousand career goals and many unfinished "projects". To me there has always been 2 kinds of people, the kind who are naturally talented. and the kind who work hard to perfect a talent. I never felt that I was either. I have been labeled "funny", but to most I'm pretty loud and annoying. I am not sure if the humor that I give off is even intentional, as most of the time people are laughing at me and not with me.

Once I became a mother my passion for success grew bigger, I wanted my child to look at me with a sense of pride, and for me to be her inspiration. Being that I was a single mother I also felt an obligation to teach my daughter that women can be anything. I wanted to rule the world.

I tried different business ideas, trades, full time jobs, and a few direct sales opportunities. Nothing ever fit for me.

Once I met James and his girls I was ready to give up. I thought being home with kids, volunteering at school, making meals, cleaning...the list goes on, would make me the best mom ever. But that feeling of wanting to "be" something was still there. Some people play an instrument, paint, run successful businesses, whatever their talent, I'm sure it helps define who they are.

Talents can be right in front of our faces, we may not recognize it as something that we are good at because it is natural to us, or acquired over time as a habit. This blog has taught me that. I love writing, I have always loved writing. It makes me feel good, and I can express myself far better than I ever could in words. This is my talent. I may not be extraordinary or ever get on the new york times best seller list, but this is what I have been looking for all along. So open your eyes, figure out what you love and do it because when you are doing something that you love it makes your whole world a little happier :)

PS my next post will be extra sarcastic...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

long day

What a day.

I spent the last 2 days in bed...so sick. I'm actually still sick, and pretty foggy, but I had to share some of what happened today.

Because I've been in bed, we have no food, no clean clothes, no lunches were made last night, I'm not sure if the kids brushed their teeth all weekend and to be honest I'm surprised my house didn't burn down. Dad was in charge.


So this morning I crawled out of bed, showered, and dug through the pile which we call "laundry mountain", all the clothes that get thrown from the dryer onto the couch in my room. (yes I have a couch in my room...would be so "cool" if it wasnt covered in clothes) I successfully found clean underwear, socks and matching outfits for everyone. I was going back to school today myself and had to be dressed and ready by the same time as the kids. I woke everyone up, grabbed some granola bars and bananas, and tried to get everyone out the door, a process that usually takes 15-20 minutes from the time I say "we are leaving". One kid didn't have shoes, two kids needed me to sign something and someone was in the bathroom taking forever!

Finally we were ready...I told my 4 year old to stay home with daddy and I would be right back...she said "OK!" I walked out the door with my 3 big girls, a baby in my arms and coffee in hand......beep beep...that was the noise the front door makes when someone opens it. "NOOOOOOOO!!!" that's me screaming as the dog runs out the front door.

I run back in the house with the baby...James is yelling at Veronica "why did you let the dog out??" Veronica is crying...I put the baby down...the baby is now crying...I grab the leash. Meanwhile I had placed my coffee cup on the side walk outside of my house...all I wanted was my coffee. I do not want to chase the dog. I'm wearing all black (School uniform) I start to follow the dog, the girls are running after him too, finally we get to the crosswalk, the dog then crosses the crosswalk towards the school. At this point I tell the girls to go to class. My dog is now in the car line, almost gets hit...twice...I'm yelling his name, kids are staring, teachers are rolling their eyes, a woman says "if you just call him, he will come"...he darts over by the bus loop. I run as fast as I can, but lose him. I have to get back home, I cant see him anywhere. I hang my head and start to walk away...then a man asks me if I'm the lady looking for a dog...wonder what gave it away, the running, the leash, me mumbling "bad dog" under my breath?..."YES!" I scream...he leads me to the bike rack where a small crowd is forming around my dog. I attach the leash and head back home, picking up my coffee that was on the sidewalk...hopeful that someone had slipped a "happy pill" in it.

I walk in the door and James is ready to leave for work, suitcase in hand, showered and fresh...I on the other hand, disheveled, sweating, and frustrated have 2 more kids I need to take to school before I can start my day.

I get the kids in the car, run in and out of the house at least 5 times because I forgot something and then am finally on my way.

Remember how hot it was, well while I ran in to drop of the 2 little ones at school a tropical storm formed. I get soaked on my way back to the parking lot.

The good news is I made it early to my school and nothing out of the ordinary happened in class.

I hit traffic on the way home and didn't move for an hour, but luckily James was able to pick up the girls from school.

I was excited that James was going to be home when I got there, but I was sadly reminded that during working hours, even if he's home he's still working. So I was on my own with homework.

After homework, the girls and I headed to their first piano lesson, I don't know who was more excited...me or the girls. They were each having a private 30 minute lesson, which meant 2 hours of me in a waiting room with 4 children. It was a long afternoon, the instructor was 30 minutes late, and the kids were kinda crazy in that waiting room. But they all did well and loved it!

We got home late, had a healthy dinner of McDonalds, Jacob drank my iced coffee that I left on the counter, and bed time was a struggle as usual.

So I had one of those days...you know the kind where you are ready for it to be tomorrow. We all have them, and its really all about how we handle things. To be honest, most of the day I was calm, and I think I even laughed a few times. Its just life....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A team effort

Jacob slept in his own bed last nice...but in all fairness it was because he didn't wake up and scream "mama" repeatedly while banging on the wall (which happens to be next to my bedroom)...so the real test of my strength has yet to come.

James is working a home show all weekend, which leaves me alone with the kids for three days...I should come up with plenty of material to blog about.

I am very tired today, last night the kids went over to a friends house for movie night and we didn't get home until after 10. Considering I was "on the clock" since 6 a.m. that was late for me. We had a play date at our house in the morning and then went over to a friends for dinner tonight...so tired is an understatement.

I think just that fact of knowing that James wont be here the next few days is part of what wears me out as well. When you have a partner you depend on them more than you even realize. People always give me so much credit for being a mom of 5, and most of the times I fully deserve it ;) but I know I couldn't do the things I do without the help I get from James. He is my best friend, and although he may not fully understand my role as a mom, he's the only other person who really knows "what its like". Not what its like to have 5 kids, but what our family is like. He makes me laugh after a long day, disciplines a child that I've already disciplined 10 times, picks up milk on the way home, walks the kids to school so I can stay in my pajamas and does so much more that goes unseen. I know that I need him in order to be "super mom".

So although I'm happy that he will be working hard this weekend for our family, I will miss all his help. And maybe the next time I feel like I do everything, I will come back and read this blog :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

all children are created...VERY DIFFERENT

My son is spoiled. There I have admitted it. Now I have to fix it.

Every one of my friends will attest to the fact that my daughter Kaylee was a perfect baby...or at least that I thought she was. She never cried, was so easy going, terrible 2's did not exist, and a temper tantrum was a mere lip quiver and glassy eyes. Time goes on though and she is now 8...and cops an attitude on a regular basis...I miss my perfect baby.

Jacob is the COMPLETE opposite of Kaylee...Karma, something I ate when I was pregnant...VOODOO?? Whatever the case, my son is a handful.

Last night was my breaking point...or maybe yesterday as a whole...considering he started the day by telling me to "go way". He screams every night, and for the fear of him waking up the other 4 angels that are sleeping, I reluctantly bring him into our bed. HUGE MISTAKE. How someone so small can take up an entire king sized bed is beyond me, he must wear stilts under his jammies or be related to inspector gadget, he manages to jab both James and I in the ribs, face, and stomach multiple times a night.

Back to last night...it was different..I was ready to put my foot down...take back what was mine - my bed! He woke up at around 10...screaming...I let him cry. He cried...and cried...and then I think he used profanity. I went into his room and tried giving him his binky. Nope, that wasn't what he wanted. I took him out of the crib and tried sitting in the rocking chair with him. He refused to sit with me...he pointed in the direction of my room. I began to weaken. James was still down stairs watching TV, I decided to bring Jacob down....which made for a very happy baby...until he wanted a drink. He began so scream "gink" (that means drink...duh) I give him a drink...and we then proceed back up stairs. He then has a complete break down, screaming and kicking. I take him in my bed..."TV ON!" TV ON!" he wants the TV on...but not my TV, the downstairs TV...I took him back down stairs. My night revolved around that crazy little boy.

James ended up sleeping on the couch. Jacob kept me up all night...as well as Kaylee who had a bad dream.

I have to change my ways with him, I let him get away with more than I would let any of the others. He is my only boy, and my baby...but its not right...I'm the boss...I am the boss....yeah...he's not the boss of me.

Kaylee was easy by nature...just a good, happy, baby. Jacob is happy, when he gets what he wants.

All kids are different, and I now know that some will take much more work than others. Its my job as a mom to give each child what they need not just what they want.

Tonight it will be very loud in my house, I am going to sleep in my bed...ALONE. Even if it means I have to hear Jacob scream all night. I may not actually sleep but at least I will be giving him what he needs.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

new year...new me...same stuff

We have made it through almost 2 weeks of school already, on time, dressed, fed and well rested....only what 34 more to go?? This is a big year, my "baby" (Kaylee) is in 3rd grade, we also have Brooke in 2nd, Audrey in 1st, Veronica in VPK (or as she calls it "pre-pre k"), Jacob in a toddler class, myself back in school, a wedding to plan, a house to buy (and finish decorating) and a dog that I am determined to train. My life is busier than I even knew was possible. I am focused on making my life organized (stop laughing...), functional, and as stress free as possible.

I have always had a hard time with taking on too much, and making things more exhausting than they have to be. Maybe I have a fear of boredom...whatever the reason, I insist on being busy...and usually complain that my life is too crazy. Well no more. This is the life I have, and I want to fully enjoy it.

Things could be so much worse...sure my son has been driving me crazy, and yes I have 4 very dramatic, loud, messy....oh this could go on for a while...little girls. My dog keeps me on my toes, and my fiance works entirely too much...but I love who we are. It takes a long time for a blended family to really blend...and for a step-parent (who would never refer to them self as a step parent) to build a bond. We have gotten over so many hurdles over the past few years, and I think we can now really enjoy where we are.

I am so excited for school projects, wedding planning, family vacations and everything else that this year will bring. It will be way more than I can handle, and I will make many mistakes...but at least I will have my big crazy family to share it with!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do as I say....you know the rest...

I am constantly telling my children "don't do that"....although I myself have and continue to do that. Yesterday I broke a glass bottle in the kitchen while cooking, which I blame on my 21 month old...yes I am blaming a baby...he is highly distracting and is frequently the cause of my clumsiness...cute and well worth it though. I immediately rushed the children out of the kitchen and did a quick sweep. However, as anyone who has broken anything knows, particles of that broken object will show up for months to come. Through out the rest of the day I would scream at my children whenever they entered the kitchen barefoot. (which may have caused severe psychological damage...I am sure at least 2 of them are convinced that broken glass in your foot WILL KILL YOU). I had to remind them several times to put shoes on and at one point I completely banned them from the kitchen...which made dinner very awkward. I Kept thinking to myself "do they want to get hurt? why cant they just listen? Am I even speaking English???".

Then it happened...a sharp pierce and rush of pain through my entire foot. Yup. I was barefoot...in the kitchen. Stepped on glass. Dumb. Very dumb. But so typical.

So although it hurt...and my children will feel so much smarter than me..once again. I at least proved my point.

Just as I tell them to eat healthy, as I sneak dessert after dinner, and force them to play outside on days that I have sat on the couch...there is a reason behind my madness. When you are older it's harder to make the better choice, its easy to be lazy, and there is nobody to tell you what to do.

So even if only half of the things that I drill into them stick, they will make only half of the mistakes that I have.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friend or Friends...more than a number

Well I've lived in Tampa for about a year now and I have yet to really make any friends. Unless you consider the crossing guard, my daughters teacher (who has emailed me more times than most of my family members...and it wasn't because my child made student of the year) or the handyman who has been less than pleased to receive my phone calls.

My kids on the other hand have more friends than I can keep track of. Our house is on a corner, and the closest one to the school so everyone knows where we live. They have friends from school, karate, dance, the walk home, the grocery store...everywhere. Children form instant bonds, with only one primary goal...to have fun! Friendship is so much more complex for adults. We have to have the same interests, similar life styles, and for woman there is so much judgement involved. Guys are kind of like kids...they just want to have fun. For them its easy...have you ever heard a guy say "Can you believe what Bill wore to the BBQ??". Usually, guys don't need the support that women look for in a friendship either, they just want a buddy to have fun with.

I am lucky to have a great group of friends, unfortunately they live about 4 hours away. I have known them all for a long time, and each of our friendships are unique. I trust them, I respect them and I appreciate them. I want to build strong relationships like that here, but it has been so much harder than I expected.

Once you become a mother all of a sudden your friendships revolve around your children, and if you are social like me you desperately hope to have things in common with your kids friends mothers...yes I said desperately. I often get looks of sympathy from other moms...and I think the thought of them having to be around all of my children to socialize with me is a bit terrifying...so usually they are "busy" (hanging out with another mom and their 1 or 2 children)

So for a while I had given up on the idea of having friends here...except James of course...who is a great friend, but not so keen on "girl talk", baking or sun bathing...and unlike my other friends, I am often finding myself cleaning up after him and doing his laundry.

But then recently, a miracle happened...I met a mom...MY AGE...ok a year younger...but who's keeping track. She has 3 kids...and we have a lot in common! This post is really making me sound like a loser...I'm bragging that it took me a year to make 1 friend...but the whole point is, that friendships do take a LONG time to create, and really can be over in an instant. And as we get older I think we long for more solid friendships, and seek quality over quantity.

I hope that as my children get older they appreciate their friends, and let go of the ones who are not genuine. Friendship is more than "fun"...its influential, because we really are who we surround our selves with.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

back to blogging

Almost 2 months have past since my last blog. If you know one thing about me, you would not be surprised by my inconsistency. James teases me for blogging, once we got an argument and I said he was being mean, he told me to blog about it. I should have. The truth is, I just get so busy, and writing takes a clear mind, something I rarely have. Today however I am home ALONE...I even put the dog in the back yard to make myself officially the only person in the house. Jacob, Kaylee and Brooke are with their grandmother for the rest of the week and the other 2 are at camp (I cant remember their names...out of sight, out of mind..jk).

It has been a somewhat productive summer thus far, and unfortunately we are nearing the end. I took a trip to boston with Jacob to visit my sister in law, wish I could have stayed longer. Flying with a baby is awesome...oh no wait flying with a baby is TERRIBLE...he was pretty good...but in the future I will be reserving the entire back of the plane. And apparently when you request an isle seat, it means you will be given the middle seat, between two single men who have no children, nor want someone elses child touching them for 3 straight hours.

Boston is so beautiful, for a long time I wanted to live there...after visiting I have started to feel that way again. I'm just not sure about toting around 5 children via public transportation. I could just imagine one getting off the subway without me, or leaving a couple at a bus stop by accident...I do several head counts a day already and we live in a much less populated area. Jacob and I walked around the city for hours, and I was so amazed by all the children, running through the gardens, and dining at adorable little street cafe's. I imagined what it would be like to walk out of one of those pricey brownstones each day and stroll around, taking in the sights and tastes, everyday would be exciting! Too bad James sells swimming pools...I have a feeling there isn't a thriving market for that in Boston...although rooftop heated spa's may be an idea!

After the short trip, it was back to reality. The kids have been in camp, the babysitter idea didn't work out as planned, but its probably better off...and I have been in school. I actually really enjoy school, the skin care industry is very unique. Its such a positive environment, which for me is perfect. The last thing I wanted was more stress in my life, but this career path is all about less stress. When I'm working on someone I'm not thinking about my life, I'm thinking about the person I'm with, and making them feel relaxed and in turn I feel relaxed. Of course James has been "helping" by "allowing" me to practice facials and such on him...real rough life that guy has. And yes it is somewhat funny to see a 6'5" man with a face mask on. I am excited about the future, and I think for once I found something that I will really enjoy doing.

I am taking the rest of the summer off though, and will start school again in a few weeks. James and I will be going on vacation in the keys soon...without the kiddies..but don't worry they get to spend time with the grandparents..I'm sure they will come home sleep deprived and spoiled rotten.

I'm pretty happy with how my life is turning out, I couldn't have ever imagined it to be the way it is...and I now I cant imagine it any different.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Back to school blues...

So I finally started school this week. I had forgotten how hard it is to balance so much when you have children. When I met James I basically stopped everything to be home with the kids. At the time I was working full time, coaching my daughters soccer team and going to school full time, but with James being just as busy with his career, one of us had to be home. It was impossible for both of us to be that busy and make a "normal" life for the children.

The last time I was in college, I had lived at home with my parents. I worked a 9-5 job, went to school at night and came home to a sleeping child. A little different than my life now....so very different.

Monday was exciting. I had all my new supplies, (I've always been a sucker for pens, pencils, and a "Fancy" notebook) my bag was packed, and the night before I laid out my uniform like all the "cool kids" did back in the day. I was eager to learn all about my new career path, and desprately hoping to make a friend or two.

Tuesday was scary. I was 30 minutes late because I went the wrong way on the interstate. I had a test, which I passed with flying colors...yeah I'm bragging...it may be the only 100% I ever get. We jumped right in to chemistry, which was beyond difficult for my 8th grade level of intellegence to comprehend and I may have developed carpel tunnel syndrome from all of the note taking.

Wednesday was intimidating. I had to "practice" a cleansing and facial massage (which I had briefly learned the day before) on a student who had already been in class for several months. We then picked right back up where we left off in chemistry, which made my brain swell and my palms sweat. One of the administrators made a pizza fondue, which our entire school was forced to eat...together...in the cafeteria. I sat alone for about 5 minutes until a woman my mothers age invited me to sit with her and her friends...they were clearly cooler than me.

Today was exhausting. I woke up with Jacob's foot in my rib cage. In clinical we were told to let our hair grow out for body waxing next week. We practice on one another...it hurts when a professional waxes me...help. In lecture the woman next to me yelled at me because I was writing to loud...which I'm still confused about.

Between all this James has worked late almost every day this week. My 18 month old has hit the "terrible two's" early, we are having work done on the house, and I have had "stage mom" obligations.

It sounds worse than it is. I actually loved this week. It has been chaotic, productive and exciting. School is something that I have to work very hard at, and I know that what I am doing will be worth all of the hard work. I have learned about positive energy, and being thankful for what you have. I will definitly be overwhelmed and maybe even stressed out over the next several months but it will only be temporary. In the end I will have a career that will make me feel good, and allow me to help others feel good as well. I will have a sense of being, and be able to provide more for my family. In some crazy way I love the idea of being too busy. It allows less time to think about what isn't and more time to focus on what is.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

In my shoes

OK my past few posts have been little deep...so I thought I would share my exciting morning with you. James made a huge mistake today, by admitting that he had no appointments or office work to catch up on. I am almost positive that he regrets it now.

Saturdays are always a little wacky because the two youngest girls have ballet (at different times) which causes a 2 hour block of waiting, and 4 trips to and from the ballet studio. I refuse to sit in a 10 X 10 waiting room with my (not even close to quiet) 4 children, 6 other mom's and multiple signs that read "absolutely no food and drink". So we usually drop off, clean the mom-van, play in the drive away, switch dancers, drive around the neighborhood searching for garage sales, grab a snack, and then pick up again. This also pushes the baby's nap back by at least an hour, and somewhat messes up the rest of his day. But it is all worth it....unless neither of them get into Juiliard...I'm not even going to think about that.

Today was MY lucky day though. First question of the morning "Honey, do you have any appointments today?"...silence...a sigh...followed by a hesitant "No..." This was as good as winning the lottery (scratch off...not Powerball).

I was suddenly excited to get out of bed. I fed the kids a healthy breakfast of cheese and doughnuts (there were also bananas and yogurt offered...I try not to be too pushy on the weekend). I then dressed the little one in her dance clothes, which took way to long, and I am pretty sure that her tights are 2 sizes too small. Next I did a search and rescue effort in my van and found her missing tap shoe...which had gum stuck to the bottom...which means there is more gum somewhere, someplace, stuck to something in my car.

Now that the kids were fed, and some were dressed, I was turning over the less enjoyable responsibilities to James. I sent him off to dance with our 4 year old, I should have made him take all the kids but just him taking one was a huge relief. Not having to pile all the kids in the car, or find 4 pair of shoes was also a nice break. I did make him come back for the second girl though, I didn't want him to get the impression that Saturdays were even slightly easy.

This is when it gets fun...

As James comes home to do the "dancer switch", he gets a small glimpse into my every day life. He walks through the door to pick up our 5 year old, the younger one is still in class, so he has to go back and pick her up when he drops her sister off. Hectic. He runs to the bathroom while I gather her dance shoes. In the mean time our dog is standing by the front door. EVERYONE in our house knows that if you open the door you have to watch for the dog...if he gets out, he will not come back. Our 5 year old, literally looks at the dog and opens the door to let him out. James is walking out of the bathroom as this is happening. He looks at our daughter and asks her why she did this...she has no answer. Now this happens to me at least 2-3 times a month. It used to be a lot more frequent. James goes chasing after the dog..he is not much of a runner..the dog on the other hand is extremely fast. I chuckle...so happy he has today off. After about 15 minutes I realize that I have to leave to pick up our daughter, James is still not back with the dog though. The baby is sleeping, one child is sick on the couch, and another is still in her jammies...and my 4 year old is at dance waiting to be picked up..10 minutes ago. I was a little panicked...I had to make a decision. I told my oldest to keep the door locked, and her dad would be back in a few minutes...I said a little prayer and the big guy was definitely listening because as I pulled out of the driveway, James came walking down the street, dragging our dog.

When I got home, he told me how he had ran out of our neighborhood, over a golf course (3 times) and through several backyards, sideyards, frontyards and driveways. He also witnessed our dog almost get hit by a car twice. He was so frustrated with not only the dog but our 5 year old who let him out as well.

Saying that I understood his frustration was an understatement. I deal with things like this and situations even worse every day. Being a mom is far from easy, and in all honesty I could never be successful at James' job. I appreciate his hard work, and ability to provide for our family. Its easier for me to recognize what he does for us, because his hard work creates tangible benefits on a daily basis. My hard work is more big picture. Hopefully after today, he appreciates me just a little more than he already did :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Appreciate life

Its so easy to get lost in the everyday chaos of life. I don't stop and appreciate my children, my family or my life often enough. This week has been tough with everyone being sick, myself included, and this afternoon I hit a wall. In that moment, I could only see the negative, and annoying aspects of my life - yet there is so much good that goes unnoticed.

About a week ago, before I knew that my entire household would come down with the plague, I signed myself up to volunteer in my daughters class - for today. This time was intentional (there was a bouncehouse, cotton candy and snowcones involved) After putting my feelers out on the walk to school this morning (I asked if I had to still volunteer - she responded with a firm YES), I showed up(fashionably) 15 minutes late. When I arrived on the playground, my daughter greeted me with a run and a hug, and was genuinely excited to see me (I was wearing my cool young mom clothes). Over the next two hours I helped with games and cheered against whoever was not on my daughter's team (there may have been some cheating involved...) I really enjoyed being there, and I was lucky enough to have a babysitter watch the rest of the kids so I could just focus on my daughter. As I watched her interact with her classmates, I couldn't help but notice how different I was as a child. She was so calm, cool and focused. She didn't have to try, or do anything to get anyone's attention. I was much more self conscious, and awkward. I was so proud of her and for a moment puzzled. People always comment on her intelligence, disposition and overall good character...but where does that come from, I often wonder. I mean yes, I want to take full credit - but really a lot of who she is, is who I would like to be but am not.

I am proud of all my children, each for different reasons. Some days they disappoint me, and in that moment I forget how wonderful they truly are. Just as I love James, and as all relationships, when we hit a bump it feels like we are falling off a mountain.

I want to try harder to savor the great moments, appreciate the good ones, and let the bad ones pass. One of my best qualities used to be my ability to handle what life threw at me. Over time, I started asking why, instead of figuring out how.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Late nights

It's 3 am and here I am on the couch with a boy. My 1 year old. If it were a few years ago that first sentence may have been a little risque...and the couch would have belonged to my parents. Oh how times have changed. Now a "late night" for me consists of a sick child (or 3), Tylenol, and some form of complaining (usually coming from me as I am counting down the hours until the rest of the house will be requiring my full attention...on little to no sleep)

Not that James and I don't have our share of nights out, but that comes with hefty consequences, and is usually followed with movie's and "quiet time" the day after. I think my kids love when we use poor judgment on date night. Pizza, movies, and a pajama party because mommy and daddy are "sick"...winning (last time I will ever use that phrase..it just fit..it's late)

I came downstairs with my son (who was in my bed, jamming his feet into my ribs...now I know why my parents made me sleep on the floor in their room...he's skating on thin ice) so that James could get some sleep, apparently 1 year old's have no concept of time. My daughter woke me up about an hour ago, screaming my name. Conveniently, I was in the middle of having a nightmare. I went running to her, and there she was slumped over the toilet. Her sister just got over having a stomach virus, which my son now has as well and I am sure the rest of the house will get over the next week (If you're reading this, disinfect your screen immediately). The thing about germs with a family of my size, is it takes forever for them to make the rounds. Our house will be sick for 7 week increments...I'm pretty sure that doesn't happen in a family of four. The fun part is waiting for your turn to get sick. It's like watching a plane that you're in go down..you cant prevent it. And of course when the kids are sick they want to be all over me..which is a real tough call. Do I do the mom thing and risk my health, or completely ruin their childhood to avoid being as miserable as they are in a few days. I try to compromise...so I blow them air kisses.

Hopefully everyone will get better soon, if there is one thing I can't handle its a stomach flu.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Be Aware

As parents James and I are always trying to do the "right" thing, set examples and be good leaders. Believe it or not though, we are not perfect (I'm pretty close though) and like anybody, we make mistakes. I yell when I shouldn't, I lose my patients, and at times I use poor judgment. However I do believe that we try our best, and always have our childrens best interest in mind. This post may not be as sarcastic or entertaining as some of my previous ones, but I felt that this story was important to share.

Yesterday for Mothers day, our family decided to spend the day at Sea World. We got up early, and stopped for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Upon receiving my breakfast, I took a big bite and pulled out a piece of plastic from my mouth. I was a little upset, so James decided to say something to the manager. No one yelled, the manager was very apologetic and in the end my breakfast was comped, not necessary but much appreciated. With that, we were off to the theme park.

The night before our trip, we purchased annual passes to Sea World and Busch Gardens online, and printed out e-tickets. When we arrived at the park there several options of getting in, but no one to assist. We went through the main gate and were sent to a kiosk, which was unable to print our tickets, finally we ended up in a sea of people (no pun intended) waiting in line behind a row of ticket booths. No exaggeration, we waited in that line for over an hour. At one point a woman walked right up to one of the windows and said she was "sick of waiting" and would appreciate it if they could just look up her info in the system so she could go in. Unbelievably, they let her cut the whole line. I know this sounds very long and drawn out but that's kinda the point...it was a long, unorganized, mess. Once we were in I was frustrated, and maybe the breakfast incident gave me a little boost - but I felt that it was important to voice my opinion to a manager. James stayed with the kids while I took 5 minutes to talk to a customer service employee behind closed doors. No yelling, just me expressing my frustration and once again the employee was very understanding.

Finally we were able to get on with our day. We tried to make the most of things, despite our tainted first impression. Unfortunately, the park was a little disappointing, many of the shows were closed and a lot of the activities cost extra money (I don't mean merchandise either). After several hours of walking, we decided to stop for a drink and take a rest.

As we walked towards a table we heard a man screaming at his little girl. This little girl was no older than 6, and clearly upset. She seemed to be kicking a fit over something. The man then proceeded to shout "I am going to do this to you in front of all these people" he then grabbed her by the arm and started spanking her. This wasn't a controlled spanking, this was an act of rage. He was mocking her and calling her names. At one point he told her that he was going to tell all her friends that she was a cry baby. James and I were in shock, no body around was doing or saying anything. I began to give the father a dirty look, which had no effect. James then starting talking about him very loudly, he was pointing out how this man who was reprimanding his child for her lack of self control, had none himself. Then, out of nowhere, this teen age boy started yelling at James and I, stating that man was his father. He told us we had no idea what it was like, if he meant being a frustrated parent he clearly had no idea himself. I kind of laughed him off, but he exploded. He was screaming "F--- You!" over and over, inches from our faces and his body language looked as though he was going to attack us. James and I quickly grabbed the kids, as the boy ran towards his father. Before we could even react, both men were running in the other direction.

We stood there in shock. The rest of the day was weird, and by the end of it we were more than ready to go home.

In the car, with the kids half asleep and preoccupied by one another, James and I reflected on the situation. Most importantly, we were upset that we couldn't help that little girl. What must happen behind closed doors..the thought was hard to swallow. We talked about how the entire family had no self control, and a father who set no example for his children. James said he wanted to knock them both out (he's 6'5, 290 I think he stature alone was a little intimidating), but he couldn't. Our children were there, what would they think? How do we teach children not to hit, and then do it ourselves. It's never OK to lose control like that. I thought back about the other incidents that day, and how unintentionally I kept my composure. We came to the conclusion that our children make us better, and that every decision is based around them.

I woke up thinking about that little girl, and if any of you pray, please say a special one for her. We cannot control others actions, we can only hope to influence them. Maybe if each of us were more aware of what we said and did, things would change. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and feelings will always play a huge role in our lives, but I guess it's more about how we react than anything else.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Summer $pending

Kids are (bleepin') EXPENSIVE! I did the math this morning (not the best time to do math...it took me a while to figure how many children we actually have) and realized that the cost to send all 5 children to summer camp would be equivalent to renting a summer home in the Hamptons (maybe on the outskirts..not "technically" the Hamptons). Since I will be in school for a few hours a day, I will need part time child care. I was thinking of maybe having a contest with all the kids..."who can make mommy smile the most"...it would consist of light house work, a few foot rubs and a low key dinner prep...the two kids who perform the best get to go to camp. Sounds fair...maybe not...I guess camp is out this summer. I could however have someone come to my home and watch all 5 of my angels, for a fraction of the cost of camp. With that said, I do not want my children to miss out on typical summer activities, or feel "bored". I am hoping to plan an inexpensive agenda-o-fun for the baby sitter to follow each day, allowing the kids to get the camp experience right at home.

Although I'm not the most organized, creative or enthusiastic mother on the planet, I think I could come up with some great activities. Budgeting is also not a strong point of mine, nor is time management. Oh god, now I know why camp is so expensive - this is going to be another full time job. (I count being a girlfriend and a mom as 2 full time jobs..student...and don't forget stage mom). Nevertheless, I'm doing this. My best friend and I growing up always wanted to have a summer camp (at the mature ages of 8 & 9)...I'm living out another childhood dream (I also wanted 100 children). I will keep you guys posted on my progress and feel free to make suggestions.

Friday, May 6, 2011

sign me up...

I have a knack for signing myself up for things that I have no business being involved in. Last year at my kindergartners open house I signed myself up to be the room mom - and at the time I was just about 9 months pregnant. It really was a mistake, but after I put my name on the list, and was then praised for being THE ONLY mom to sign up, how could I say no?? Luckily I had the baby shortly there after and was medically excused...although I'm pretty sure I received hate mail from some of the kids because of a lack of parties that year. I have no problem volunteering, but I'm not "Queen B" material. Well once again I have volunteered my (lack of)time...

I received an email this week about an important meeting regarding my two youngest girls dance recital. I simply read "IMPORTANT" the date and the time. Other than that I have no idea what else the email said. I show up (20 minutes late) to the meeting last night, to find out that its a meeting for moms who would like to volunteer for picture day, rehearsals and the recital - not your choice but all 3. Yes I am now a stage mom. I wanted to walk out, but once again no one else volunteered for my kids class, so I looked like a hero. I received a two page instruction manual with the first instruction being to arrive 10 minutes early to each event...already bombed that. I will also be responsible for every child's hair and make up...really?? I don't even do a good job on my own hair and make up...half the time my own kids are touching me up before I go out. Another responsibility will be to check each costume, and make sure every girl looks the same. My daughter was always the kid that was missing a bow, lost a glove or had the wrong color tights...now I am supposed to crucify any child who is not perfectly in sync with the rest of the group. Is this karma?? I haven't read past the first few expectations, I didn't want to drain all of my confidence in one day. I did however catch Kaylee reading the entire manual this morning, I may use her as a mentor. She would be a great a stage mom...we do look a lot alike...maybe she can just do it...I mean for the sake of the recital!

On a completely unrelated note...my car is past the point of messy..to just down right disgusting. I almost had an emotional break down at publix when the bagger INSISTED on walking me out to the car. No means NO lady! My poor kids had to wait outside while we put the groceries in the trunk because I refused to open the door, I wasn't willing to risk the chance of her catching a glimpse. Then yesterday at the drive through the man in the window offered to "take some of my empty cups" ... they aren't empty...and I would appreciate if he would keep his eyes on me. He then suggested a car wash place that has a 48 hour guarantee on love bugs. I get the point...I think I'm going to go clean the beast up before it ruins my weekend.

I hope everyone has a great mothers day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

College bound

OK so I'm officially a student...or officially in debt..better yet both! I'm a broke, eager, student! Except. unfortunately my boyfriend does not like ramen noodles, so I wont get all the perks of being a college student. (I happen to prefer cup-o-noodles myself) I start school in about 3 weeks, and it couldn't come sooner!

I'm going for massage therapy and skin care - best part, is that you receive massages and facials while your in class. It's going to be like having a 15 month long "girls day at the spa". James better be prepared to take care of the kids if one gets sick because I'm not giving up some rejuvenation time to play nurse...I would have gone to nursing school for that...kidding...but seriously I will be administering heavy doses of vitamin C over the next year and half.

School has always been tough for me, I was interested in other things...like running into walls to get a laugh or seeing how many napkins I could fit in my mouth (don't judge me) regardless school was just not on my priority list. But of course I regret all those bad choices, I missed out on a lot and in the long run - other than mom - I don't have much of a title. Thank GOD my kids love school and thrive, more so than I ever did. I want so much more for them, and I think I pretty much have the teen pregnancy issue handled. After as much as they will have to be "mommy's helper", I'm certain they will be wiser than I in that area.

Bottom line, goals are so important. My recent one is to finish the massage and skin care program and build my own business. I think some women are able to make motherhood their business, and I envy them. Those moms (like my own) who have patience, understanding and wisdom to endlessly provide are incredible - I just dont have that. My children teach me how to be a good mom, they show me the "right" way to do things...actually my kids sort of run things..in fact I think one grounded me the other day. Those mom's are what I wish I was, but I'm still equally inlove with my children and provide them the best life that I know how. So while some choose college, others parenthood, or even a life long hobby - all goals are equally important.

And with that, I wish you each success in your current and future goals!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

All grown up

I have been busy the past few days doing grown up things...no not those kind of grown up things..less exciting grown up things. I'm finally going back to school (5th time's a charm?) which requires entirely too much preparation, in fact its almost discouraging and probably weeds out the slackers from ever even going back. So between school prep, kid stuff, health stuff and the everyday minutia, I'm really starting to feel old. I catch myself enjoying things that just a few years ago would be lame...example I went to the grand opening of the dollar tree today...and "browsed". I did buy some sponges and an awesome micro-fiber towel...see there it is, my lame inner old person. Its just strange to start to become your parents, but I think I would rather grow than be stuck in the past. I'm happy where I am and look forward to whats next.

OMG its almost 11 PM - I should have been in bed HOURS ago!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

End in sight...

So spring break is finally coming to an end...its bittersweet (mostly sweet...98.9% sweet). I had a nice time with the kids, but I think schools were created for the sanity of mothers everywhere. I can handle a weekend, even a 3 day weekend, but 10 consecutive days is a bit much. There were highs and lows, laughs and cries, and hopefully in the end not too much long term damage.

So to sum up our week:

We spent a few days in south Florida, I crammed as much as I could in, but forgot that my mini-van has exactly enough seats for the amount of children I have, so inviting other people's children was a less than intelligent idea. After loaning a few of my kids to a friend and taking back an invite from another parent, I was able to allow my girls some alone time.

While down south, I took Kaylee and her friend to build-a-bear, and only felt guilty for leaving the others home until we got to the register. I can afford 2 kids...actually I can even afford 3, its those last 2. I am going to write a book titled "you know you have to many kids when..." For example, James priced out a Disney cruise the other day, 5 nights was 19,000..yes 19,000...nineteen thousand dollars. Best part, that only included 3 of our children. How do you explain that "Honey daddy and mommy like you, we just don't love you, so your going to stay home with grandma and grandpa while we go on an awesome vacation". I did however promise Audrey that I would take her to build-a-bear another day because she was very upset. Unfortunately, she has asked me every day if its "another day", so we may have to make that trip sooner...hold on she's asking me if we can go now...OK so as I was saying, I may need to take her there sometime this week.

After doubling the water bill, eating most of the food in my parents house and breaking a bulb on my parents chandelier we decided to wrap up our trip and got home on Wednesday. When we got back, I somehow managed to get some "spring cleaning" done, while my children did some "spring messing" so basically the house looks exactly the same.

In other news...I started couponing about 2 weeks ago and saved 50% on my grocery bill this week! I would blog about it but I just steal all my skills from other peoples blogs...so it would be very repetitive. If your interested here are a few sites that I go to:

http://www.couponmom.com/
http://www.shopathome.com/
http://www.afullcup.com/


Well, James is off today so we are having family time...or daddy and kids time...we will see how it works out :)

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Road Trip

This year was my first Easter away from my parents, so to make up for lost time (and avoid a guilt trip) I decided to drive down to south Florida today. I planned on leaving no later than 7 am, those of you who know me, know that this did not happen. Apparently I didn't actually set the alarm, and although I had very good intentions of packing last night, the Amazing Race and Extreme Couponing completely stole my attention. Speaking of which, I actually think James and I could win the Amazing Race...another blog for another time. Anyways so I woke up at 6:41 to a tap on the shoulder and a little voice, "Alexis...Alexis...you said you wanted to wake up early". I may have wanted to...James however did not plan on waking up early. "BROOKE DON'T WAKE US UP IN THE MORNING" OK so if I wasn't woken up by the tap, I was now awake by the firm manly voice.

We got out the door by about 8:45, my best time yet. This trip was also one of the smoothest. Veronica only took her seat belt off 3 times, Lip gloss was only used on body parts not car parts, 1 bottle of water was semi-shared semi-nicely between all 5 children which then avoided having to make any potty stops, and Jacob only let out blood curdling screams for the last 20 minutes. Maybe a loss for some but a huge win for me.

We arrived at my mom's by 12:30 and were greeted with a pleasant surprise. My mom walked us to the back patio which was set up with tables, flowers and tea cups. My tea cups, that I had collected since I was a little girl. She had fancy hats and rings for the girls as well. She had spent the night before baking scones, making cucumber sandwiches and hand dipping strawberries in chocolate. We all sat down, two to a table, legs crossed, having our very own tea party. It was perfect and if you read my previous post, this is what I mean by my mother being amazing. I don't know who appreciated the tea party more, me or the girls. Either way today was a memory made.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

So I forgot all about Easter, until about 10 pm last night...which actually worked to my benefit because James had already had a few drinks and was more willing to part with his wallet. We got the girls purses instead of baskets, baskets really kind of are a waste. Maybe next year I will use shoes...much more practical than a crappy basket, that I have to steal from the kids when they are at school, pack them in a box and then spend months dropping hints for that box to be "put away". And once the box of Easter crap gets put away it never come back out. I think we have enough Easter decor for 3 families...then again my family is the size of about 3 normal sized families. Regardless, every year we buy new stuff. Growing up holidays were such a big deal in our house, in fact part of the reason I lived at home for so long were for the holiday perks. My mom loved holidays so much that she would find new ones that no one else we knew celebrated, and that in the long run ended up being a let down...fun while it lasted, but I cant tell you how many years st. Nicholas forgot to fill our shoes. The good thing was that he also forgot to fill our friends shoes...so I guess it was win win. Valentines, St Patty's and of course Christmas we a HUGE deal. It wasn't the gifts, or the even the treats, it was the genuine thought and love that went into everything. I always wanted to carry on that feeling and share it with my children, I think I've lost it though. My mom is a strong, selfless woman. To think that she felt exactly how I feel on a daily basis (she had four children, a house to maintain, and well..my dad...men..ugh) but I never knew. I never remember a time where I felt like I wasn't the most important. I want my kids to grow up having amazing memories...not average, but almost perfect! Speaking of which I have about 4 dozen eggs that I still need to hide! I hope everyone has a wonderful, MEMORABLE day!