Wednesday, June 25, 2014


The hubby and I have been walking down memory lane quite a bit lately. This season of sacrifice has us remembering the "old days." I'd say "good old days" but I think some people would be disapointed we don't think each of our days are "good." We were laughing and maybe crying inside at how much our lives have changed since having all these kiddos.

Like our spontaneity. We used to say to each other, "wanna go to The beach today?" And we would just go. Simple as that. Spontaneous moments only happen in the form of Cora's interpretive dancing these days. It takes at least 30 to 45 mins to get out the door. And that's if we can find both shoes for all the little feet, already have a properly stocked diaper bag and the baby was just fed. And every child seems to know to poop right after you've closed and locked the front door. Like magic. Black magic. 

The other day we showed up to a church gathering and hazel had on two left shoes one in each girls size. When Dropping laine off at vbs, Cora had no shoes on and was wearing an owl costume. At this point whatever gets us out the door I don't even care anymore. 

One of my favorites was the shopping sprees. My man knows how to spoil me. If it was a special occasion he would take me to a store and say, "buy whatever you want." Those were the days I fit in clothes that didn't have built in belly panels. Yesterday when doing the laundry I realized I have four pairs of underware and my non-potty trained daughter has 20. So much is wrong with that. Not okay at all. {And, yes mom I have since bought myself more underware just in case you had a panic attack and felt the need to take me to buy some like I was in fifth grade again needing to buy a bra. Which, that trip was a fun experience with the kids. The entire time we were in the unmentionables department my two oldest made them mentionables by yelling "booby holders" everytime we passed a bra. At least I didn't catch laine feeling up a mannequin this time.} 

We used to go on vacation and order room service. I love love love the luxury of room service. It's my favorite thing. I am now room service. I don't leave chocolates on their pillows though. I know better than to give them chocolate before bed time. 
And yet. With all the changes, they are the best thing to ever happen to me. If we are speaking about the life that was all about me or all about Brent and I, then they were the worst thing to ever happen to me. And that's the paradox of parenting. They will be the death of me and yet they have enriched my life. I would walk through fire for them and periodically debate setting them on fire. I love them with all of my heart yet I completely want to run away. Most of the time. 
The rest of the time I am crazy in love with these kids. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Her big toe.

My big girls share a room. They've never not shared a room so it was natural for them to do so at the new house. I think it helped with the transition. It's a smaller space and we had to add a closet so we can't have them on opposite sides of the room from each other like we did in the last house. We have changed the layout of the room six times since moving here. 


Neither of them does well by the window because the blinds are way too fun to play with. Hazel just wants to break them and Cora likes it because she can be nosy rosey and see who is coming and going from the house. But someone has to be by the window so Cora it is. 

Up until yesterday Hazel's bed was up against the end of Cora's and the changing table, which is my old childhood dresser, was at the end of the crib. {Imagine an 'L' shape mirror image facing the door.} Unfortunately my third child has discovered that indeed those bars can't hold her in forever and she can in fact escape. She would be the one to finally realize "you mean I can get out of this thing?" She is the bendiest child I've ever met. She stands at the edge, does the splits on one foot like in ice skating and gets her big toe on the top of the railing. Then crazy strong baby hulk strength kicks in and she pulls herself up with one arm and her big toe. Her big toe will be the death of me. She then climbs into her sisters bed and shenanigans ensue. 

I know. Some of you might suggest just letting them share a bed could be the solution. This is not a good idea. Trust me I wish it was. I have dreams of them sharing a bed like Marianne and Elinor Dashwood talking about boys and life together till late in the night. However it is less like Jane Austin and a lot more like WWF fighting. Drama to the max. I know this because a few weeks ago when we had the crazy idea to take all the kids camping we had a laps in judgement and thought the girls could share the top bunk since we only brought one pack n play. 

Never. Again. 

One of two things happened. Pure giggles. Beautiful laughter of the best kind. The kind that makes you remember they are sweet and that you love them and don't want to burry them in the sand. Or screams of terror. Hair pulling, biting, paci stealing chaos. Most of the time they bounced back and forth like a pendulum of emotions. I can see my future with these girls is going to be intense. 

Thus our conundrum. Rather than move one of them to the babies room we thought putting the changing table between them made more sense. Until today. I walked in and caught her right in the act. In motion, one foot going onto Cora's bed the rest of her cute body on the changing table. It was like catching an opossum walking on the wall at night. Scared the day lights out of me because if any child of mine will fall off the furniture and break something it's going to be her.  Then my favorite part. She froze and acted like she was supposed to be sleeping there. "Oh! Hey mom. You forgot to put me in the bed so I'm just chilling here on the changing table pad."

This child is amazing. 
And crazy smart. And I love her in all of her insanity and qwerkiness. And not gonna lie, she is awesome. 

Climbing out of the crib. Not so much. 

Friday, June 20, 2014


i'm actually posting a friday thing on friday?! say what?? it's like a christmas miracle. 

linking up with jeanette to show our crazy kids in our crazy week with our phone photos. 

life rearranged

being a fire fighter family means striping away the traditional definition of the holidays. we do easter on monday some times, we've spent every thanksgiving since laine was 18 months old at the fire station. this year we visited daddy at the station for father's day. we love him and wanted to be with him and if that meant going to work and getting to climb on cool fire trucks and eating ice cream  before dinner than i guess we'll take one for the team. 
still hard to believe we have four kids. please 
note cora is fully accessorized and hazel looks like a crazy ragamuffin.

this guy is my everything. i'm so grateful for him and he's been my rock these last crazy pregnancy and baby filled years. 

stamping. thought it'd be a good distraction while i made dinner. 
it was. just not the way i was hoping. {sigh.}

we did our first thing on our summer fun list. pjs and ice cream.

the rest is just everyday fun. playing. waiting. watching. building. crashing or "booming." 
living and growing. 

{these two. ah!!! i die. they are only 20 days apart and they kill me with their cuteness!}

these kids. i tell ya, they make me insane, but they are a part of me. and i love them deeply.

i was praying last night that i would see them through Christ's eyes. i struggle with the job, i've made no qualms about that, and i think there is nothing wrong with saying this job is hard and feeling the burden of it.  my husband is gone all the time. he is a wonderful provider, but none the less the job requires his absence for a minimum of 24 hours at a time. thus i must stand alone and pull the slack. i chose this life as well and though it was modeled to me i never understood the depth of sacrifice my mother or her mother before her faced. i don't know if my particular struggle is one that other people face, i assume it is. my anger boils over, my stress levels rise to new heights, and i am completely overwhelmed some days. okay everyday at least once. especially when i am alone.

 knowing my husband is going to be gone for four days is like watching a tornado head your way and not having a storm shelter to run into. i know it's gonna be chaos and some moments pretty scary, but this time around i'm reaching out and spending time with others. keeping the kids busy and playing with friends. i have faith and hope in the knowledge that my feet will not fail in the swirly storm. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

number 110

this boy "graduated" from preschool. i'm certain the requirements to "graduate" are more of a suggestion since if we ask him the days of the week he leaves out thursday every single time. he can do math in his head so that's saying something.

i can't believe he's changed so much.

he get's the jokes in the movies. which, his favorite is the lego movie. everything is awesome, everything is cool when you're part of a team. i think the lego movie is our boy version of frozen. catchy tune in my head all day long. good message. catchy tune in my head all day long. everything is awesome, when you're living the dream.. 

he himself is super funny. he says things to sound big, but end up making zero sense. like, "mom i'm so hot i need to come inside to warm up." nope. that's not right dude.

he insisted at dinner after his little ceremony at school that everyone wish him 'happy anniversary.' i didn't have the heart to tell him that's the wrong phrase because we tell him he's saying things wrong all the time. finally after he made the whole table say it (which made him smile ear to ear) the hubby explained it to him. he's now referring to in as his celebration day. kid kills me.

he is so independent. and yet knows to stay close and let us know when he's going anywhere. read that as he tells us every time he has to go to the bathroom or is going to head to the bathroom. which brings me to my favorite moment from our camping trip.

this is the scene:
we've just successfully hooked up the trailer to go home, on only our third attempt which is saying something for the hubby and i. the kids are all in the car and everyone around us is watching. it's what they do. lots of pressure.

 the following happens:

(from inside the car)
laine-"mmmmoooooommmm? i need to go potty"
me (outside)- "okay! get out and i will take you when we are done."

he gets out.
me- "i need to help daddy make sure he doesn't hit this trailer so i will take you to the bathroom in 2 mins. stand right here on this number 110 (the spot across from us) and don't move so you don't get run over."

he steps on the 110 and i walk around the back of the trailer to the other side. within 1 min of getting to the other side he come sauntering over to me.

me-"buddy! what are you doing? i will take you in a min."
laine-"i already went."

now i'm looking at his pants thinking he's clearly peed them and i'm a horrible mother for making him wait. but they are dry. and my worst nightmares are realized...

me-"laine?! where did you go potty??!??!!!!!"
laine- (very innocently and matter of fact) "on the number 110." and he gets in the car like it's no big deal.

palm to forehead.
all our neighbors just watched my kid pee on the 110 spot. could we look more white trash? oh my word. utter embarrassment. i rush and apologize to anyone who might have been flashed by my five year old. and they would have been flashed because he fully drops his drawers every time. thankfully the only LADIES (really laine?! really?!) that saw laughed and said their boys used to do that when they were little. so mortified and so thankful for their graciousness.

needless to say we had a talk about listening a little better and not peeing in front of strangers. something else i'd not thought i would need to explain but now we know. no peeing on the number 110.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Instafriday at the beach

we survived.
at one point i almost gave up and said lets go home, but i didn't. instead i tried to enjoy the moments in this little memory making trip of ours.

favorite moments:
 our early morning walks on the beach
 the big boy making friends and saying 'hi' to every person who passed on a bike
 the big girl dancing on the shore every day and saying, 'i just want to go in the water'
 crazy toddler girl's wavy hair went curly on me and i swooned every time i saw them
 an amazing water show curtesy of wild dolphins for 45 mins our first night
 sharing that moment with the big boy
 the amazing weather
 having our neighbor tell us how proud they were of our family making memories and doing such a good job even though it must be hard (seriously, wasn't expecting that)

i'll let the photos speak of all the fun...

it went just as i figured it would. sand was everywhere. and they loved it. i hated it.
all our campfire/dutch oven meals were amazing. and i'm so glad i planned and made all my meals ahead of time. just grabbed the bag and handed it to the hubby. 

the girls ares till sleeping at 10:00 a.m. and that's proof of all the fun and little sleep they got. 
we will be back in october for more sand consumption and memory making. 

linking up with jeanette at life re-arranged. enjoying the community that shares their moments thru their phone photos.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

all sorts of crazy

i get the comment, "i just don't know how you do it all?" a lot. like, every time we go out. my standard answer, and the actual truth, is "i don't." i learned a long time ago (aka 21 months ago) that i am in a season of saying no to doing things, and therefore saying yes to more sanity.

but my husband and i realized we are not so sane. having four kids in under five years makes you a little nutty. either you have to be nuts to have the kids or it's in having the kids that you become nuts. either way? that's us.

one thing we are crazy to say yes to is camping. we have been going camping for a year now with the kiddos. and we are about to do so again. last year we had an eight month old and that was c-a-razy. she just ate sand the entire time. so so gross. this year we will have a three month old. i actually think it will be easier than last year. but then again who am i kidding, it's going to be a mess.

my husband grew up camping as a family vacation, me not so much. i have come to learn to love it. i love what it allows our large family the ability to do. make memories. we can't afford to go to a hotel or stay in a condo on the beach. but we can afford a beach front spot with our trailer. it's not a vacation. let me make that very crystal clear. not. a. vacation. it's so much work. actually harder than having the kids at home because of all the sand and dirt and not having things readily available to me at any moment. however, it's a ton of crazy chaos which we are big fans of and my kids love it.

people have asked me how we've gone camping or how we are planning on going camping with four little kids this is my advice...

1. do any and all prepping at home.
i meal plan my little heart out every two weeks and camping is no different. the only difference is that i prep and make as many of my meals as i can the week before and then freeze them. this is great because now they can help keep the cooler cold, thaw by the time i want to use them and then we just grab the bag for that nights dinner! all our snacks and such i also like to prep ahead of time. that way if they want to grab something they open the cupboard in our trailer and grab a bag of whatever they'd like.

2. do not save your packing till the night before.
i have been packing the kids for a few days now. as the laundry gets done i have their bags in the nursery and i put what i need from it in them. my packing list sits on top and i can cross of what goes in so there is no guessing. i have totally shown up to our camp site with no undies for the kid. or no pjs for myself. or no toothbrush. which is way worse than no pjs. yuck yuck yuck.

pack extra pjs! we play half of the day in our jams and then change into our clothes afterwards. i'd rather have one pair of pjs per day than two full sets of clothes per day. less is best. 

3. invest in or borrow some big time essentials.
if you have littles like myself there are some key items you are going to need.

a go pod!
 we got a go pod like this one last year after we had gone to the beach. we have used it since then when then the babies are littler and it's awesome. you can put toys or even their sippy cups and snacks attached to it. SO helpful when you hate sand as much as i do. 

a legit high chair!

i hate. hate. hate having a toddler free to roam around at meals times. hate it. they are hard enough to convince to eat, but when they can move around it's the worst. i have a smaller high chair in the trailer, but when we want to enjoy the beautiful weather and amazing view we can't attach it to the picnic bench. therefore a portable high chair like this is so helpful. we are also using it to strap her in when we are cooking since the beast is too big to go in the go pod anymore. 

a carrier!!!!!

i have toddler/preschoolers who must be holding hands. therefore i need to be hands free when holding the baby. having a carrier for when we walk to the shake shack or even walking to the small park by the campsite is a bigggggg necessity. i use both of these all the time. i personally prefer the moby when they are little babies. it's so soft and snuggly. the ergo has way fewer steps. as in you buckle it, rather than wrapping what seems like a miles worth of fabric around your body. i can however get the moby on in under 3 mins. and probably with my eyes closed. cuz' i'm cool like that.

something to block out the sun!

we put a tent up like the one above for toys and playing in when they need a break from the sun and we are cooking. 
the ez-ups we use on the actual beach. or camp site.

kiddie pool!!

we got ours at k-mart last year and it was so helpful. we brought the water to them one of the days. the other we dumped it out and just put sand in it. the other day we just put the baby in it. have i mentioned i love containing my children? it's kinda the only way to survive when you are out numbered and there is an open flame and large body of water readily available for your strong willed sassy pants kids to go explore. they have to survive. it'd be frowned upon for me to come home with less kids than i started with. 

4. in the words of elsa, "let it go."
 it's going to be dirty. they are going to eat sand. you are going to feel crazy. but its so much fun. we just laugh at how dirty the kids are, for one thing they are like that all the time anyway. i love that my kids have been talking and talking about going to the beach for weeks. this is what family and making memories are all about. 

i hope that was helpful to anyone thing about camping with littles. 

how about you? are there any tricks, tips or tools you can't live without when making memories with your kids?? do share!! 

clicking on the photos of my essential items will take you to an amazon affiliate link. you can purchase them from amazon and our family receives a small percentage for sharing our opinion. click don't click. buy don't buy. just thought you should know. 
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