This week - highs and lows...

Sunday high: Blake officially quit his "No treats in March" thing and we celebrated with chocolate cake! I like my husband but I like my husband more when he eats ice cream with me.

Sunday low: Messy chickens.

Monday high: Good Monday energy - gym, finished another barnwood wall, laundry parties, played with the kids at the park, got all the kid bikes fixed up with new tubes and inflated (Blake's good efforts), etc...

Monday low: Lots of adulting - paying bills, registering cars, phone calls, etc...

Tuesday high: Movie date with Paisley to A Wrinkle in Time. One on one time with my older kids is a getting more and more rare... even if that time is spent watching a giant bedazzled Oprah it is still worthwhile.

Tuesday low: Had my weekly my-house-is-so-messy-freakout. Had to run to the store and left Paisley in charge at home for 10 minutes. Came back and she had magically cleaned without my asking all the things that were making my eyes twitch - it was a tender mercy and I am grateful for her (even if I am suspicious that she was just doing it to earn her ticket to the movie that I said "we might go see.") It was also the 2 year anniversary of my brother's death so I was in a slightly higher emotional state that day than normal.

Wednesday high: Pi day!!!
Eating it...

And watching Blake teach the kids how to calculate it!

Wednesday low: The wind. Idaho Spring winds are obnoxious as are the dozen or so tumbleweeds that blow in daily and get caught in our fence.

Thursday high: My parents passing through town so they could watch Cosie's music program and take Blake and I out to Barbacoa - hot rock steaks and chili rellanos made for a delicious night out with good company! 

Thursday low: Blake is sick - again - for like the 10th time this winter. When he is sick, I always end up having to ask him the question, "Do you like me?!?" Sickness makes an already quiet guy more quiet which always has me concluding on thing - that he hates me. The rest of the family has had one of our more healthy of winters so I don't know why Blake keeps getting the germs. Heaven knows he isn't the one crawling through the Play Place tubes of bacterial doom.

Friday high: Fielding telling me, "I would hate to be blind because I couldn't dream. I couldn't "see" in my head my dreams." Which led to some google searching which led to this cool fact. Blind people who are born blind do "dream" but do not have visual experiences in their dreams. Those who become blind around age 5 or later can and often do have visual dreams. Fielding's thought process always gives me pause.

Friday low: Ummm... it's Friday afternoon... same afternoon low as every Friday where I compulsively check my phone to see if Blake is coming home early. I live for our weekends and today is no exception!


Dear future self,

Dear future self,

Please don't say it. Even when they are 18, 16, 14, 12 and 10 respectively - don't say it. When you are up to your eyeballs in worry and stress over ACT's/SAT's, driver licenses, dating rules, phone rules, etc - don't say it. When your heart is breaking because of their choices or you haven't slept in days because you aren't sure that you can pay for one more teenage driver on the insurance - don't say it. When they roll their eyes or yell, "You are the worst!" or runaway - just don't say it. 

Because no matter how bad it is - no matter how hard it seems. There is just no way that it is harder than this:

Always remember the day you were given the best response possible every time someone says, "Oh just wait until they are all teenagers!" Because really, "Has any teenager ever dropped a turd out of their pants on your dining room table 15 minutes before you wanted to eat dinner on said table." I DON'T THINK SO!

Remember the moment when physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion combined because it is 5:38pm and you stared at your sweet two-year-old's tushy and the infamous load sitting ever so neatly on your table and something in your soul cracked. Remember that and be kind to those young moms you know. Their mommy-trials may be different than yours but in no way possible are they less demanding.

Remember that and remember that if you can handle table-top-turds than you can handle just about anything. You got this Mama!

Foolishly naïve "mother of 5 under 10" you!


According to my phone...

The 5th grade did a "wax museum" - Paisley choose Kerri Strug and did great on her poster and speech. One of my more favorite school projects.

Perry had pajama day at preschool... he still looks cute in footsies!

Luna naps about every three days (usually in the car)... this day she put herself to sleep on the couch after dance class.

My mom came! We got her for two days which was a nice bonus... Perry about mauled her to death though.

Perry chose the "donut factory store" for FHE treat. We loaded up to Krispy Kreme and he was super disappointed that the machine wasn't running. Turns out he was not there for the donuts - just for the "donut robot." Luckily by the time we had our treat and waited around another 10 minutes it started to pump a batch out!

I've been reading... the Olympics slowed me down but now I am back to it. Two excellent books I have read lately are The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures and Being Mortal... just in case anyone is in the market for a good book.

At the moment everyone is healthy and sleeping. The sun came out again and Blake gets to teach our Relief Society activity which I am gleefully looking forward to (I keep asking him if he has his handouts, visual aids, and punny treats to go along with it ready). Looking forward to a good week!


Must be Friday...

Wore these two out this week ... So happy it is the weekend!


It works but it doesn't...

My favorite blogger, Britt has dedicated her past week of blogging to cleaning up her draft folder and publishing the posts she has there - she called it draft week and it has inspired me to have my own draft week, or should I say draft day... since unlike her who had 165 posts in her draft folder - I had one (funny how we all write differently). This is something that falls in the hard to put into words category but has been on my mind since August 2017 when I first started writing it (notice the end of a summer with 5 kids home all day so deal with the whining - I earned these whining moments) .

It works but it doesn't...

I have these certain tricks and tips that I have picked up during the last 10 years of parenthood. Some came from books, some came from watching others raise large families, and some just came from me. They make my life manageable and in most cases - enjoyable. They are what allow me to do what I do. But even though I do them, even though they work, my life is still utter chaos and sometimes I wish parenting books or pals or even myself would just put that disclaimer out there. So here it is - all the disclaimers to those magical "parenting large family hacks" that I have put into use over the years.

Hack #1 - Meal plan
I have a very simple meal plan method. On Sunday I write on our weekly whiteboard calendar what we are eating. I use my brain, ask for Blake's/kid's input, or if I am feeling daring write down a new meal idea from a recipe that looks particularly appetizing. This works because we have a basic rundown of what we are eating for the week. It doesn't work because at least once a week I am missing a key ingredient for what I wanted to make and I refuse to go back to Wal-mart for the 10th time (I am the WORST grocery shopper), or schedules get in the way and I need something quicker or more eat on the go, or the lure of BOGO Smashburger has me feeding my kids ramen while Blake and I sneak out for a quick weekday date.

Hack #2 - Start dinner prep early
Everyday I know what I am making for dinner before 12am so that during the kid's show time (2-4pm) I try to do something that qualifies for meal prep - chop the lettuce, brown the hamburger, start whatever bread I need to start. This is a really good habit and makes it so I am committed to eating at home because well... I already started making dinner. The other day I was on a particular roll and had all the Cobb Salad ingredients pre-prepped, the rolls raising, and the smoothie fruit pre-loaded in the blended before 4pm. We had our afternoon activity running around to do because it was Thursday but I planned and thought that when I got home at 6pm, dinner would be a cinch to put on the table. BUT IT WASN'T! The older kids were bored and picking at each other, Perry wanted to "help", and Luna was ready to eat (and I really struggle with feeding snacks to my kids/my-hangry-self when we are 15 minutes away from the main event). I did everything right but those 15 minutes of getting the meal actually on the table were insanely challenging and I felt like they pushed me from "good mom" to "bad mom" status for the day. Sometimes the fact that I try so hard and am doing it the "right way" makes me all the more mad when it turns into a crazy train.

Hack #3 - Do a little laundry everyday
I do laundry everyday but Sunday - I know this sounds abhorrent to some people but it is the only way I can function plus Blake and I are stinky runners so without laundry everyday our hamper reeks. This is how I do it - throughout the day I put a load in, I fold a load, and about every 2-3 days I call out "laundry party" and the kids and I have to put everything away before I will wash anything else. It works - I stay on top of our laundry and laundry causes very minimal stress in my life even though I am constantly "doing it" and for the most part my family doesn't stink. It doesn't work because without fail at least daily somebody is out jeans or there coat smells like smoke  (the bonfire kind not the cigarette kind) or there are no matches to any of their socks. My family is just big enough that laundry, even laundry done well, can still ruin someone's day (especially with a certain tween that only has 3 favorite shirts she wants to wear and gets huffy when mom has to force them off her body and into the washing machine).

Hack #4 - Have a chore system
We have one thanks to Blake - I try to use it - but most the time I just say "Hey do this please!" and I am met with minimal complaining. So as long as that works I will do that... but even still the brunt of all housework falls mainly on my shoulders no matter how much I delegate. It is 100 times harder to get your kids to correctly perform a task (even when they have the best intentions) then to just do it yourself so I am constantly telling myself "Let them do it!" even if it means a longer/less pretty route to the end product. Getting kids to help is not hard in my opinion - "letting them help" when you really just want to grate the cheese all by your little own self in a quiet kitchen is much harder. Sometimes I even have to remind myself this with Blake - he wants to help with the cooking but I would much rather him just go away and wrestle kids - but he wants to be by me and be involved in the dinner prep (both good things) so I have to find him a job too and ignore the resulting unsupervised kid chaos even longer.

Hack #5 - Have clear rules for electronics
Here is our one and only electronic rule - we play them at the library. This works really well for our family. I never have to battle for my kids attention over Candy Crush or Minecraft (or whatever it is kids are playing these days). I don't have to do point systems or timing methods or discipline in this area - I have never once used the phrase, "If you do such-and-such, you will lose your electronics." Electronics are a fun thing they do once or twice a week at the library/school for a brief time and then we walk away. This works... BUT I know it won't work forever. Sometimes I wonder if I am totally damaging my kids in this regard - that like the teenager, who never had sugar as a child, who hoarded candy bars under her bed (true example from a childhood friend) they will spend their first adult moments of freedom glued to screens learning the digital culture their mom ferociously sheltered them from. I worry that my sons will never be cool because they know nothing about how to play videogames and that will be all their friends will want to do. I worry about my girls being sidelined socially because they don't Snap or Instagram or do who knows what else. But I can't - I can't willingly embrace all that stuff for myself let alone for the little people with underdeveloped prefrontal cortexes that I have been given the responsibility to raise. So it works but I also am not naïve enough to know that it doesn't work.

And that is what makes parenting so crazy hard - because everything that works also doesn't work and it is the constant daily adjustments trying to make it "really work" that can just make it so darn exhausting.

And in the end your kids will still need therapy to repair all the damage you did in those moments when it didn't work.

*I copied and pasted... something blogger is incapable of handling and I am too lazy to fix so ignore the formatting issues please


Winter came...

We've been getting dumped on this week but after last year I am trying hard to have no complaints. The kids have been playing in it any chance that mom is willing to go through the entire snow clothes ensemble procedures.

Blake's been feeling lousy for awhile but we even coaxed him out yesterday to assist with snowman assembly.

Have I ever mentioned how tough this girl is?!? She holds her own in the snow play department.

And we had to change the sign - I knew the early Spring we were having was too good to be true...

Rice, rice, baby...

Sometimes I forget some of the tricks I used to entertain Paisley and Cosette with when I just had them and loads of time and I was always concerned about being "a good mom." 

I remembered one the other day when Perry was off at preschool - I spread out an old sheet, grabbed some bowls and pans from the kitchen, and poured out some rice.

Her first scoop accidentally spilled out of the pan onto the sheet and she looked up at me like "Oh no - are you going yell about the mess?" She breathed a sigh of relief when I said "It's okay - just keep it on the sheet."

She enjoyed a solid half hour of sensory play - which is about the longest I have ever seen her solo-play in her life (she usually has a sibling/friend around anyways).

And it reminded me to not take this motherhood thing so seriously all the time - some messes are good messes... or atleast worth the smiles.

Paisley playing rice back in the day at the same age as Luna.