Quality Over Quantity

What up Almost-December???

Time is flying by, and I’m getting all “Doesn’t it seem like the year JUST started???” in my grocery store conversations like the old lady I am!

Between eating all the Thanksgiving things and decorating all the Christmas things, rolling around in all the germ things and washing all the clothes things, I got lots of things happening, as I’m sure you do.

I remember being in college and skipping an Educational Statistics Class (bleh! I threw up in my mouth a little just typing it) when there was a Dirty Jobs marathon on Discovery or if my roommate, Erin, felt like we needed to visit World Market for imported chocolate.  The few (maybe more) times I decided not to show, I made sure to make mental notes about being at a THAT place in my life; to be thankful I was able to do nothing for a bit.  I told myself I was going to remember as much as I could about those adventures or couch sessions and shouldn’t forget how great it felt, since you know, adulting and stuff was right around the corner.emanderin1.jpg

Who even has time to hang out in tiled waiting rooms for pedicures in airports now?  Sure as heck ain’t me!

This season in my life has me shuffling through those good memories pretty often since I can’t do stuff as reckless as waste time.  That go, go, go, got me like “MEH!!! I JUST WANT TO BINGE WATCH THE CROWN” and sometimes I think “WHY CAN’T I JUST EAT A PACK OF LIPTON BUTTER NOODLES AND EVERYTHING BE GOOD IN THE WORLD???” when I’m having to make 3 separate dishes for dinner time.

But the chaos and lack of down time has made me hyper aware of how intentional Pat and I are in our parenting.  We’re really starting to notice how the choices we’ve made in how we spend our time with our children is affecting them.

Listen, I’m working on my segues, but until then, just go with it.

I think we’re a little old fashioned with how we raise our flock.  We don’t waste much time around them unless it’s reading Chronicles of Narnia together or watching some of our favorite family YouTubers before bed.  Pat is constantly explaining how things work for Hank.  I’m constantly trying not to pull my hair out over the latest Marnana Disciplinary Committee Advisory Board Meeting (that’s “you bout to get a whippin’ “for short).  Amos is always watching what the others are doing, sometimes picking up the bad habits, and other times making us laugh.  And sweet Porter?  I’m at the best possible point in my mama life to enjoy every second of him because I know how fast it ends.

We’re all about quality over here, not just quantity with our time with them.  And that philosophy is spilling over into all parts of Ferrell life.20161107_192150.jpg

Hank and MH have tablets but I’m so strict with when they get to play with them that it doesn’t really count. I have first hand experience from the daycare and classroom of what too much screen time looks like, and I want to protect my bunch for as long as possible. No one is ever allowed to play with our phones unless it’s to use the app SoundTouch (if you have kids, it’s totally worth the money!) when we’re reaching meltdown levels in public or to reward somebody.  And I just finished the biggest toy and clothing purge of my life that I feel like even that lady that started the capsule wardrobe movement would be proud.

Some of that purge has to do with making room for the LuLaRoe my good friend, Lauren Elizabeth, and I have started selling.  But the rest of it was because our lives had become so cluttered with STUFF that we were forgetting to enjoy each other.

The TV we watch is void of commercials, so they don’t know about what toys they should be demanding for Christmas.  We encourage them to dig and run and explore, unless it’s through the Tupperware cabinet, then I’m liable to lose my mind with them.  There’s a steady stream of cardboard coming through our house, so somebody is always coloring a masterpiece or building tunnels. And Pat has enough sawdust on the floor of his shop to ensure HOURS of scattering, sweeping, and “sandprints.”

With all the good stuff going on in our parenting lives, this weird sense of depravity grabs hold of me from time to time when I look at these awesome tiny people.  Like, am I doing them a disservice by not giving them all the things?  Hank has no clue what a Hatchimal is, and I’m ok with it, but that also means he hasn’t asked for anything for Christmas besides another pack of nerf bullets.  Margaret Hannah has no interest in dolls, apart from the 2 she’s had for years, but also zero knowledge of the American Girl franchise.  Is she going to feel isolated and left out when the girls club comes back to daycare in a few weeks telling all about who they got and what she was wearing?  I feel like that’s a strong no, but I seem to be the one having the trouble with her being left out.

It sounds so petty, I know.

I worry that Hank isn’t wearing the same stuff as other kids at school.  I fret over Amos being in hand-me-down shoes.  Porter wears pajamas a good friend gave me when I was pregnant with Hank.

None of this matters, because my pack is mostly happy, well fed-ish, and have good manners.  They know how to have conversations with adults and typically behave.  But that doesn’t always keep me from thinking they’re missing out on  STUFF.

Having to constantly stay on top of 4 revolving wardrobes makes me want to scream, “I’m never buying anyone ANY clothes EVER.AGAIN!”  Living in a 3 bedroom house makes me want to scream, “NO! You cannot save another chicken feather/trophy/rock you found in the parkinglot!”  Trying to keep the toys from multiplying during the night makes me want to scream, “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” when there’s a reason to give somebody a gift.

And all of that is why Pat and I have been trying to be really specific with what we give everyone.  Especially this Christmas. We want to be sure that if it’s time, or objects, or services they’re getting, it’s quality time, objects, and service.  That occasionally leaves me at a loss for what to tell someone who asks what they might like for Christmas, or make me stutter when someone asks what do they play with.  For two seconds I panic that they don’t have enough stuff in their little lives, and then I think back not on those times of sitting around doing nothing in college, but on those times I had to change out shorts for pants in everyone’s dressers.  That’s when I remember that for as long as they’re happy being with each other, I’m going to encourage and embrace it instead of compare our lives and playroom to someone else’s.  I know we may have some people beat in quantity of children, but if we’re talking quality, this bunch we’ve got can’t be beat.20161113_153825.jpg

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Things I Want to Remember: About Amos

23 days since my last post.  I would feel bad about it but I’ve been too busy fighting freaking IMPETIGO.  It started with a scratch on Margaret Hannah’s nose and made its way through all 3 big kids.  No bueno.

Guys!

It was yuck.

But I’m here now, and that’s what matters.  Here to dish out a little mush about Gregory Amos Hamilton Ferrell (Or Gregree AaaaaaMOS Hamten Perrah if you ask him) on this fine Wednesday.

He’s pretty much just growing up like WHOA!  His vocabulary has exploded, he likes to pretend, and he’s out of diapers  PAH-RAISE THE LORT!

He replaces his D’s with G’s so when he says “Don’t do that” it sounds like “Gon’t goo that” and it’s the cutest.  Or “Ungawear.”  He wears those now, instead of underware.  But backwards.  Always backwards.20160925_174801.jpg

He doesn’t like when you mock him, either.

When he wakes up or we get home from the daycare, he says “I think I need sumptin’ to eat.” EVERY.SINGLE.TIME he walks past the pantry or refrigerator.  I’d be hungry all the time too if I kept deciding I didn’t like things I was eating just a few days before.  Inside either of those places lives 3 or 4 things he will consume, and it’s frustrating FOR REAL.  But hey, he’s pooping and growing like normal. He’s cool.

For now.

He doesn’t like to watch TV.  Only to sit all over you.

I don’t mind.20161022_084722.jpg

In his classroom, they’re learning colors and days of the week.  He is constantly asking if things are green and singing “Se-ben days in a week,” while he dances around holding up five and two fingers.  The best! Some days he has to sit in timeout on the playground because he collects acorns like it’s his job and throws them at passers-by.  And bites his sister.20160928_104130.jpg

He sleeps on the bottom bunk right by himself with his 4 blankets.  It’s never ok for Margaret Hannah to be on the bed with him either.

We have chalk paint on the pantry doors and a chalk board at kid level in the playroom that he always asks if it’s ok to go chalkin’ on.  That’s code for “Mom, I’m gonna bang on the wall and see how much chalk dust I create.”

He really likes to eat pistachios and cashews.  Not chicken nuggets or a potatoes.  Just the expensive nuts.  And party food.  ALWAYS party food.20161031_085744.jpg

Now that he understands that ABC’s isn’t just a song, he likes to call out letters and spell things.  Mostly everything is spelled A.M.O.S. or P.E.B.O.S.4, but you have to drag out every letter when you say them.  You get a high five if you just went back and read those letters in his voice.

He killed it as John Hammond from Jurassic Park for Halloween, too.  He didn’t let that walking stick out of his sight, and I’ve only found a few packs of skittles hidden in his bed.received_10207645855129025.jpeg

He’s also funny.  And he knows it.  AND he likes to keep toys in his underwear.  He’s a keeper for sure.img_20161015_215029.jpg

We love this kid so so much.

 

 

Phone Dump… Again.

I know I always start out the phone dump posts with “I can’t handle much more blah blah blah,” but like, that’s the truth.

We’re back on the sick train, and I’d just like to say how much I LOVE having a big family except for germ sharing and getting in & out of a vehicle. Stuff never really goes away, and it’s like herding cats.

If we could all have the same thing and get over it, I might have more of my sanity intact, but as it were, the last 5 weeks have been filled with 11 co-pays, 3 antibiotics, a round of eye drops, a topical cream, and 8 different diagnoses. 

I’m over it, yall!

So here, look at some pictures and give me a few more days to work on a legit post, ok?

Pat took all kinds of initiative and white washed the fireplace. We’ve been talking about doing it since we moved in 1 whole year ago, but we couldn’t find the right time to do it. He cleaned grout like a boss, scraped up tons of candle wax (Wha? Why?), and we had an entire uninterrupted conversation about how each other’s week went. Straight up date night, really.

My boss won a runoff and is now our towns’ mayor. 

Legit.

Charming had to move out of the coop because he’s too dang loud. The full moon in August threw him off so bad that he pretty much never stopped crowing. Pat put up some solar garden lights on the ramp up to the coop and even those got his feathers ruffled. He’d catch sight of them at 2 am and step out to protect his ladies, crow 7 times, and go back in to wait until he looked back outside at the soft glow he thought might be daybreak and come out to crow some more. 

He’s enjoying his new family and hen harem from what we understand. 

We had to make a quick trip to Birmingham for an orthopedic appointment for Amos last week.  Everything checked out pretty well, and that led to a stop at the lego store, 5 orders of cinnamon sticks from Cindy Cinnamon  (Don’t know her? Poor you), and his chance to ride the carousel by himself.

He picked the frog because he knew that’s the one MH would like best.

Hank had the chance to pick anywhere for dinner the night of his birthday. He chose pancakes from my mother’s house and a cake from IGA that he could read. Easy enough.

He turned 6. I can’t even.

I spent DAYS in labor, almost starved to death in the process, and pushed out a baby with a 17 centimeter head. I love him so much and am so proud to be his mama. Except when he farts in line at the checkout, then he belongs to his dad.

These two have forged a new bond that is the funnest thing to watch. They play together almost every second they can when we’re home, pretending to take their toys to the water park (they’ve never been to one so it’s extra fun to listen to what they think happens there), driving to the bank, and playing daycare. I relish the sweet moments and they’re giving me lots here lately.

And to wrap it all up, this boy has done lost his mind when it comes to sleep. He spoiled us big with sleeping from 8pm to 4 am almost as soon as we got home from the hospital. Then he had croup last month and just can’t seem to find a good rhythm. He’s good for a solid 4 hours until 11 or 12, then it’s up almost every hour until finally, he konks out for that good sleep 28 minutes before the alarm goes off.

But he’s so dang cute that I promise to forget this bump in the sleep patterns as soon as he gets back on track.

How about you guys? Yall got the gross germs percolating at your house, too? I’m sending you lots of good thoughts and ecoupns for my favorite disinfectant right now if so!

Kids in Cars Making a Mess

Have you guys seen Jerry Seinfeld’s series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee?

No?  Go watch this first.  This is my favorite episode, because Miranda Sings speaks to my 14 year old sense of humor.

Some students (Thanks Alex Ann and Madi) showed me a video of hers on YouTube way back in 2011.  They thought she was being serious, and I recognized the genius of her act right way.  I’ve been silently taking all the credit for her success among the tween crowd in the years since.  I feel like I  helped her get there by sharing her videos when someone needed a good laugh.

*sidenote* If you don’t laugh at her, we can’t be friends.

ANYWAY. Long way to get to my point.

Letting children in your vehicle can be about as eventful as Miranda’s ride with Jerry.

There is always so much complaining. Someone’s too close.  He’s touching me.  She just threw my sunglasses in the back.  It never ends.

Throw in a stale muffin and a rouge sippy cup that has turned into some minimum security prison hooch and it can be down right RANK when the wind is just right.

We had been getting whiffs of something that smelled slightly off for a few weeks that we just could not find.  I mean, it’s not like I went on some massive hunt for it or anything.  I just asked “Do you smell that???” every time someone got in the truck with us.  Pat was especially tired of it after we had a load full of farty little boys in every available seat this weekend for Hank’s birthday movie trip.

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I’ll be back Thursday with a total recap of how much fun this trip was for our boy, but for now, I WISH I had a picture of them all together when they were in the babies room at the daycare to put next to this one.  I’m so thankful he’s got such a great group of little boys to call pals, and that I’ve been able to watch them all grow together.

After we dropped everyone off to the correct homes, Pat broke out the shop vac, and we purged that Expedition like nobody’s business.  FOUR socks with no matches, two pair of tennis shoes, handfuls of raisins, a piece of a poptart, exploded Chic-Fil-A Polynesian sauce, 15 ink pens, and 3 packs of wipes.  All just in the back seats.

The smell was located as well:  A moldy floor mat that Marnana SWEARS she’s never poured her capri sun out onto. She volunteered that information.  I didn’t even have to ask if she’d spilled something.  Her honesty is admirable.

I’m very thankful I have a husband who thinks clean vehicles are important.  I do not.  But he does, and he knows acts of service is one of my love languages.  Think flowers and candy are the way to this girl’s heart?  No way.  Unload the dishwasher and vacuum my truck without me having to ask, and I’m yours pretty much.

Also thankfully, his love language is quality time. So in a way, me parked in a camp chair watching the kids lure a stray kitten into the yard next to the passenger side of my truck while he threw socks and raisins out the window was the ideal date night.

I wish I would have taken pictures, but I reconciled that with knowing we’d be back in this same situation in a few months.  I’ll just take some then.

As long as there are children in the back seat, I figure I’ll always be trying to sniff out that strange smell and sweeping chip crumbs off the console.  I also think I could resurface our driveway with the amount of gravel that accumulates on my drivers side floor mat.

And that, my friends, is the universe’s way of saying to enjoy life, time with loved ones, and loud music when your drive, I think.

Leave me a comment with a random item you’ve found in your vehicle.  Bonus points for only hearing Miranda’s voice from now on when you read the words “Hey Guys,” or want to say “Stop asking me all these qwesshins” when you feel like you’re being interrogated by your children.

OH!!! And since we cleaned a lot of stuff this weekend, I came across the first picture Pat and I took together.  Babies, pretty much.  14 whole years ago at the end of October.img_20160925_202416.jpg

 

Places I’d Rather Be

Pink eye is disgusting.  I need to get that off my chest right out the gate.

It was a tough weekend.  I’ll keep whining to a minimum and just say we spent so much time resting and hand sanitizing and proclaiming to the world how much we HATE being sick.

Also wash your hands, keep sick babies at home, make the world a better place.

Ok, so I might have needed to get more than just 1 thing off my chest…

We battled it all like champs, and after one more visit to the pediatrician for Porter, we’re on the tale end of all the germs.  We have to be, I’m pretty out of Lysol spray.

And since I’m pretty much wiped out from all the things this week, I’m turning this post over to a nice list of places I’d rather be than in muggy, south Alabama this weekend.

Feel free to leave me a list of your own in the comments.  I’m sure you could think of something good if it meant you didn’t have to deal with sticky weather.

Unless that’s your thing.  Then just never mind.  That’s weird.

1. Blue Mountain.  Because it’s empty, full of shallow areas for this kind of fun, and you can manage to drive on 98 without the fear of being run out of a lane by someone with a Louisiana or Arkansas license plate.  Yall!  Don’t lose your mind when you come to our slice of the Emerald Coast. Be better drivers!

 

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2. Driving through this amazingness. Today is the first official day of fall, so it’s only fitting.  Plus, I’m part Sanderson Sister, sooooo…

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3. I hear this place is all kinds of magic during this time of year. I’m not brave or rich enough for a real trip with my pack, but maybe one day.

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4. If you’re gonna have a fire pit, you might as well have one like this, right?  I mean, why even go through the trouble of setting one up if it can’t look like this?  I would like to be here, with cozy socks and apple cider yelling at my children to get away from the fire, telling Pat to stop making the fire so big, and jumping from my seat to save the things being thrown into it.

So maybe here isn’t a good idea…

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5. And here!  A cable knit comforter and a good sound machine?  I NEED the kind of sleep that could only come from flopping down into this bed.  You don’t even know, guys.

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Your turn.  Where would you rather be right now?

Lysol is Good for the Soul

I’m using you guys as my Complaint Department today, ok?

If I could have a redo on this beautiful Thursday, I would seriously consider activating it.  Porter has croup, and his little cough is about the saddest thing in all the land.  His first sick visit to the pediatrician had us leaving with a round of steroids and at least 3 days home from daycare.

I took Amos with us as an afterthought because he’d ran a tiny bit of fever early Thursday morning, and woke up with really puffy eyes.  Turns out he was the sicker of the two.

I’m skipping the specifics and letting you know that he’s been drinking spinach and fruit smoothies for the last few days (I was afraid he might starve after a 2 week-long boycott of our real-food-go-to’s for him) and coupled with his illness, it did not end well.  The icing on this disgusting cake is that we’re a week and a half into operation “get that boy outta diapers quick-like!”

Bad, guys.

It was bad.

When he came to our bed at 6 this morning, he was smelling a little ripe.  I followed him back to his bed, and it was that scene from dirty jobs where Mike Rowe has to clean a basement that had seen a pretty bad sewage backup.

REAL BAD.

For. Real.

We were already germ-xing like, whoa! but I needed the big guns to help with this.  I know that between the daycare and sick days at home, I’ll never be able to smell Lemon Lysol and not think of all of the germ fighting I’ve done in my life.

The disaster zone was wide spread thanks to Amos tossing and turning during the night. We learned the hard way that green smoothies aren’t meant to be ingested when you’re sick.  Take that nugget of advice to the bank.  Or the toilet, whichever is closer.

Pat and I got things cleaned up as fast as we could since school doesn’t accept tardy notes that say things like “Hank’s little brother exploda-pooped all over the bottom bunk and his parents were busy praying and screaming about it.”

This gross morning didn’t end with toddler sick belly.  No way, that’d be too easy.  I got round 2 when I went outside to let our big dogs out of their crate *Side note* PLEASE! SOMEONE LET THEM COME LIVE WITH YOU!!! THEY CAN’T STAY IN A CRATE FOR EVER!.

Pat had to go on to drop Hank off, and my mom was on her way to help with the little boys, but I couldn’t leave without letting Simon and Suze try to escape while I stood in the enclosure with them (or pee, whatever you want to call it).  I let them out SIX TIMES yesterday.  More times in 1 day than I have since they had to be banished to the crate last week. They managed to knock over their water dish during the night, and the short version is they were brown when they rushed out at 7:24 AM.  I don’t know if you’re familiar with how big of a poop a 65lb dog can make, but it’s big.  And what they’d churned up in that crate was a level of Dante’s Inferno, I’m pretty sure.

I put that fire out…uh…NO!  I washed that poop up, ran inside to change clothes, doused myself with more Lysol, and Bo Duked my way across the hood of my Expedition to make it to work on time with Margaret Hannah.

I was there long enough to live it up with my class on our first color party day and came home to be with the little boys before 10.  It only took about 20 minutes before the next wave came over our house, and for the last 4 hours, I’ve been toting around my Lysol in one hand and a sick boy in the other.  You can’t be around too much Lysol, can you?

Surely not.

Pray for us, will you?  And spray a little Lysol out at your house for the homies caught up in this evil, please.  It’ll do your soul and immune system some good.

Patience is Overrated

I REALLY wish I was a super mama.  Like the kind  who are always put together and killing it at meal prep.  Instead of being dressed in age appropriate clothing, I’m almost always schlepping it in athletic running shorts and t-shirts older than my children.  AND I DON’T EVEN RUN, guys!  The extent of my meal planning is to write out a bunch of supper ideas, grocery shop accordingly, and then not fix any of that junk because it takes too long.

I’m also kinda bummed that I don’t have a sweet voice that never gets loud when my sweet children run through the house alternating between making clicking sounds with their tongues and whistling.  There isn’t enough patience in all the land to deal with a 4 year old learning how to whistle.  Promise.

I get a lot of compliments on how well behaved my children are, how it seems like I’ve got it all together (whatever IT is, I’m still not sure), and that Pat and I just look so happy.

I thank you for all of that, but it’s a farce.

For some reason, my children think scratching and pinching each other in the eye sockets is the only way to effectively communicate.  I was up twice this week after 11 pm dragging dogs back into a crate they’d busted out of while I was in my pajamas.  Pat and I fight at least twice a week about how long he takes getting out of bed every day.

Farce, I tell ya.

I don’t have the patience to deal with children who misbehave.  That’s why mine act like they’ve got some sense when we’re out in public.  I don’t have the patience to get 4 humans dressed every day, so three of them have been taught how to mostly do it themselves.  I don’t have the patience to hear Pat hit his snooze button for a fifth time, so that’s why there’s a good bit of yelling during the morning rush at our house.

Life at my house is loud.  No matter how much I PLEAD for it not to be.

We’re always in a rush.  You try getting all these people out of the door.  That patience I felt like I needed to stay sane flies right out the window on the daily.  Sanity will come later in life, I figure.  For now, I’m just surviving.  Seriously, I’m not really parenting, I’m just herding flippin’ cats.

We eat breakfast in the car and at work because ain’t nobody got time for more than a pack of muffins or a handful of dry cereal on week days.  I’ve accepted that and am at peace with having to do one less thing like eat breakfast at a table 5 days a week.

I thought all of my experience with teaching children would just do wonders for me as a mama.  In all actuality, these babies we’ve got don’t wear my patience thin…It was never that thick to begin with.

I did think I’d be able to handle EVERYTHING that comes our way with some much grace and poise, but again, I’ve found my peace.

How, you ask?

I brought Amos to the daycare one day last week without any shoes. I sat a pizza box on top of the blanket Porter takes every week, so it smelled like Little Caesar’s for a few days.  I let Margaret Hannah wear her dirty tie-dye socks 3 days in a row because it would have required patience on my end to deal with the meltdowns she was working up.  Hank’s lunch money balance was low and I didn’t have any cash, so he at Peanut butter and honey sandwiches 4 days straight.

At peace with every bit of that.

It’s not easy, and I don’t want other mama’s to look at us and think that it is.  Being in the trenches is stressful and trying and character building.  But I’m a total PRO at picking my battles.  At maintaining a level of sanity that works for all of us.

What I want other mamas to see when they look at us is how much we love each other DESPITE the yelling.  To see the life lessons we’re trying to teach our pack EVEN THOUGH one of them is picking their nose in the checkout line.  To see that patience isn’t really a virtue when you’re raising children, it’s a way to get your walls colored on.

And nobody wants that.

So be loud together, teach your babies good manners and how to put their shoes on by themselves, and go out to eat so you don’t get too stressed over having to cook and clean up after a meal if you can.  Find that level you need to stay sane, to call “being patient.”

That way we look a little more normal, ok?

What are 2 things you do that seem like patience and good parenting to the outside but are really just your ways for coping with mama stress?  I can’t wait to read them!

 

I Can’t This Week

Photo dumping my way through this great Wednesday.  Two days late from our Monday usual & not even apologizing for nothing going up on Thursday. This week has kicked my butt, & IT’S NOT EVEN OVER, GUYS!

This kid will touch anything. She had to run inside to tell me she’d found a slug and was going to be it’s mother.

Then she fed it to the chickens.

This kid found his toes, and he’s VERY serious about it.  He hasn’t stopped holding on to them since he realized they were there, and it’s pretty much the cutest thing in the world.

So, last week, our outdoor White English Bulldogs got out.  They haven’t done that since we moved to the new house, but they managed to do it three times between Thursday and Friday.  They don’t have a good track record with cats, so when I saw one who had moved on across the Rainbow Bridge, I wasn’t shocked.  I was more worried that they had gotten after all the geese and ducks in the neighborhood.

We got them put back up, fixed where we thought they had gotten out, and went to work.  I asked my mom to stop by to check on them mid morning the next day, and she called to tell me they were chillin’ under the trampoline with something that was screaming.

NOT A GOOD THING TO HEAR!!!!

Ends up, it was a litter of bunnies, not the neighbor’s little white dog.  It was all bad.  I’m not making up for it by any means, but I was slightly relieved it wasn’t someone’s pet.

And that’s the long way to say we took them to the vet, dropped $600 on getting them up to date on their shots, and finding out that other than a little bout of hook worms, they’ll pretty much live for another 45 years.

Then Monday afternoon, Pat was weed eating under the trampoline and accidentally hit another bunny.  In an effort to atone for all the other life lost over the past week,  I took that bunny to a wildlife sanctuary an hour away from our house at 7pm.

Pray for their souls, will you?

9 long months without getting to go to paint class finally ended and I painted this fun rooster.  Amos calls it a Woo-sa and Marnana reminds me every time she looks at it that it looks NOTHING like Charming.

I know.
Sink baths are the best.  And I think I may still make the kids use baby soap even after they’re grown so I can always smell what they smelled like when they were this little.

We officially started the new school year at daycare.  That sweet toddler wore big boy unnerwares and gets to hold the flag for the Pledge.  He cute.

When I asked if we could take a first day of preschool picture for her last year at daycare, she told me she didn’t want to.  Then she followed it up with “I been goin’ there all my life, mom.”

And I think big brothers like this should be in everyone’s lives.  He does such a great job helping, being attentive, and making sure everyone else is taken care of.  He also never puts his shoes up, drags his backpack all over the place, and has a hard time realizing that every meal doesn’t end with dessert.  I’m ok with time slowing down, also.

Here’s to a good weekend, no more big dog tragedies, and less creepy things finding their way into our house.

How to Effectively Run a Large Household

Because so many people have trouble understanding how big families work, I figured families of all sizes could use a list to look back on.  You know, the important things you need to effectively and successfully OWN your household. #Boss, if you will.

If you think of any you would like to see on the list, please leave me a comment!  I know I’m going to leave some good ones off.

  1. Always have plenty of toilet paper.  Or a kid who is capable of bringing you more when you reach critical stage and notice someone didn’t change out the roll.  *Side Note* Why is this so hard???
  2. Become a short order cook or your people will starve.
  3. Never let the washing machine stop.
  4. Encourage your children to be independent.  Ours know how to bathe, brush their teeth, put their clothes and shoes on, open a pack of muffins, and operate Netflix.  We call this #winning.
  5. Develop the ability to eat dinner in under 5 minutes.  Heck, just eat while you’re cooking if you want it while it’s hot.
  6. Learn to shower with an audience.
  7. Buy in bulk, and leave the last 2 packs of whatever in the HUGE box so it’ll take up a lot of space in your pantry.
  8. Make your children watch your favorite children’s shows and movies so you can live with yourself.
  9. Introduce family members to good music. Aint nobody got time for kidzbop on a car ride.
  10. Make a playlist with your favorite kid’s movie songs to fulfill #8 & 9 on the list while cooking a meal only 2 out of the 6 people in your home will eat.
  11. Teach responsibility.  We do this by letting the almost 6 year old take out the garbage, the 4 year old put up clothes, the 2 year old wipe the table after meals, and the baby to look cute.
  12. Have a lot of animals to add to the chaos.
  13. Be ok with your children wearing things that in no way could ever possibly pass as cute clothing.  If it means you get to lay in bed for 6 more minutes, you go with it, Mama.
  14. Yell a lot about things that don’t require a raised voice.
  15. Embrace bad photos.
  16. Learn to love sitting on broken furniture.
  17. Pretend all the clutter isn’t actually there and it will bother you less.
  18. Conquer the world during nap time… Or just binge watch what’s in your que that isn’t appropriate for little ears.
  19. Become a pro at dividing dessert 4 ways.
  20. Love the heck outta each other!

I wouldn’t trade this pile-o-people living in my house for anything!  I also never knew I would need a list like this…

Whatchu got to add to the mix?  What helps your home run smoothly?

Partying in Our Pajamas

I’m here to let you all know that from now until we stop attending birthday parties, we will only be showing up in our pajamas.  Thank you, Sara and Whitni, for hosting a joint party for Amelia and John Thomas that required all the children to show up in sleepwear.

Party. Game. Changer.

No one fussed about their clothes, I didn’t have to feel guilty about not putting FOUR children in coordinating outfits, and there were no tears over having to strip down at nap since everyone was already dressed for it.  I love you, Sara and Whitni.  I also really loved those breakfast casserole muffins.unnamed

I’m also here to tell you that having adult friends with little children is life.  It’s right up there with being able to party in our pajamas.

We rarely do things with other people because there is SO MUCH that has to line up when you got all these kids.  Naps, diaper bags, full baby bellies, attitudes, enough nutrigrain bars, clean clothes, matching clothes, actual clothes and not pajamas… They’ve all gotta be working together to make an invitation to do something with another family possible.

The Saturday night stars aligned just enough to allow us a straight up WILD night out around the kitchen table at my sweet friend, Tabitha’s, house.  Between Pat and me, Tabitha and John, and Sara and Levi, a whopping 12 children were running wild and free.  Ok, so three were confined to reclined positions just being 3 weeks and 3 months old, but there were A LOT of kids.  And minimal tattling. I’m sad to say the only picture I managed of the entire night was the Butterfinger Pie dip I took.unnamed (1).jpg

Any good mama knows the only way  to have a conversation with another adult is for it to be interrupted as many times as possible by children.  And us three mama’s were straight pros this night.  It meant so much to be able to be around friends.  To catch up and forge new relationships.  Good stuff for a Saturday night.

It’s not easy doing the mom gig.

You all know that.

Sometimes the stress and frustration from sleep deprivation and not using the bathroom without an audience spills over into other areas of your life.  Relationships you once made a priority to make work fall by the wayside.  Sometimes those people you’ve had to turn away from for a time just don’t get it.  Then other times, they are SO right there with you and can shoot a catch up text or 4 in between loading the dishwasher and changing a diaper that lets you know all you need to hold you over for another week of not having a meaningful conversation with anyone other than your spouse.

My BFFs are currently two women who are either super busy raising 3 under 4 or teaching a class full of first graders full time.  “Weekly rundown:  R got an awesome work opportunity.  L starts PreK and we LOVE the school.  H is Marnana level independent.  Sweet Lu is so stinking funny these days. Let me tell you a bout what she did while we were at the beach” comes in over the course of 10 texts around midnight because that’s all the time Sarah has right now.  My reply takes a few days to make it’s way to her, but it’s that little bit of effort that makes her my mama soul mate.  She gets it.

Then a round of hilarious snaps from Erin about getting her classroom in order and taking Finn to the groomer gets a response from me about Hank losing a tooth and showing her a video of Charming crow.  Plenty of choppy conversation to let each other know “Hey!  I value this form of communication, and I know how busy you are.  I am putting forth the maximum amount of effort I am currently capable of to be sure we stay friends.” And it just works.

That’s my roundabout way to say, being able to have dinner in a home with children running everywhere with people  you want to be around is wonderful.

It would have been AH- MAZE- ING if we would have all been in our pajamas, amiright?  That’s one word, BTW. 

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Since we can’t go in public in our pajamas all the time, that bunch has adopted a no-clothes-at-all rule the second they get in the house… or even outside the house.  Near the house, really.

They wake up as soon as light filters through their window and launch their nearly naked little bodies all over the couch.  They sit super close to each other, fight about how close someone is, and then immediately start asking for food.  If I fix them something different than what I’m having, they want mine.  If we all have the same thing, they want a pack of crackers or dry cereal.  They’re weird sometimes.

I’ve decided when they’re older, I’m going to walk around in not-so-much clothing, make sure my leg is touching them when I sit RIGHT NEXT TO THEM on the love seat, and only eat what they make for themselves every time we have breakfast together.  I think it will work.

unnamed (3)Since I’m putting so much work into keeping what few friends I have, I’m not even worried that I got nothin’ when it comes to figuring out how to segue into the story of how we ate the second rooster, Pan.

So here it is:  He was good.  He made for a great pot of chicken noodle soup on a rainy Sunday after church.  Thanks, Pan.  Charming may be next if he doesn’t get his crowing under control.  He does it at the weirdest times.

unnamed (2)If the neighbor’s flock don’t watch their backs, they may be next.

I’m kidding!  We like these guys too much.  Except when they hold up morning school traffic.

thoseferal-ferrellsI’m also seriously considering chaining my page header to include this.  I feel like I owe it to Eleven..

I hope your Monday is so amazing that it feels like you never had to get out of your pajamas.  I also hope you’re able to pick up right where you left off with new friends, long lost friends, and that sweetie pie lady who always asks you the same three questions when you run into her at the grocery store.

Now, friends, I need to ask a favor.  Saturday morning, I found out a former student of mine from the very first school I taught at passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.  She had a baby a few weeks ago, was only 24 years old, and leaves behind a husband and heaps of family who I’m sure will never let sweet Addie Beth forget how amazing her mama really was. I’m asking for you to please offer up a few extra prayers for Katelyn Owens and her family if you could.  My mama heart was rocked hard with this news, and I can’t even begin to imagine what all goes with a tragedy like this.  Remember Katelyn’s husband and baby, and give your people all kinds of extra love right now.

Hopefully this goes without saying, but please don’t leave any comments offering me support.  Send all you got straight on up on Katelyn’s behalf.  Addie Beth deserves that much.