….It’s the middle that counts the most….

I just embarked on a 10 hour trip alone with 5 kids under the age of 10!!!

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Here’s what I have learned traveling alone with kids for the past 7 years….

  1. NO ONE EVER has to pee at the same time… no matter if you took them in or not, as soon as you get on the road, regardless if everyone tried and went, 15 minutes down the road, as soon as you start making decent time again, from the back seat you are sure to hear “I have to poop!!!!”
    Me: “Why didn’t you go 15 minutes ago?!”
    Reply: (I promise this is a true story) “I forgot” ….
  2. Someone is always touching someone else resulting in an argument and, in my case, something flying to the front of the car, and when asked who did that, I hear a unanimous “they did!!!”
  3. I must have said, “I’m pulling this car over, I’ve had it!!” 1,111,223,234,534 times
  4. “I’m Bored” is the car mantra
  5. “I’m starving” is a close second
  6. When we stop the car that was once clean, it looks like every snack bag and lego bag has exploded in the back seat.
  7. no one can EVER find their shoes!!! No matter how in advance I let them know that we are stopping, someone always has a missing shoe!!!
    side note: one time I thought that I really had my act together… got them all out of the car, walked them holding hands like angels into a McDonalds, got to the restroom only to realize #3 was missing his shoes … it happens!!
  8. They never nap at the same time… they go in shifts and this makes me picking the radio station non existent for 10 hours!
  9. Drive through orders are a nightmare for me and for the poor fella taking our order
  10. And no matter how crazy the trip was… I will still tell everyone that my children are the best travelers in the world!

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I managed to go on this trip (with an extra kid in tow might I add), run them here and there, take care of 3 sick kids that decided to fall ill, days apart, take them all into different bathrooms along the route, get everyone’s order right in the drive thru and I didn’t forget anyone!!! I am super woman for sure! 🙂

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On another note… bittersweet, I tucked in a 3 year old for the last time ever! It’s a little sad but almost like opening a new chapter. As my sweet baby turns 4 tomorrow, suddenly he is not so little anymore. He will start preschool in the fall and he will slowly become more independent. He will slowly become a little boy and not mama’s baby any more and then a new chapter will open for me. I know that my family is complete, I don’t have that longing for another baby, but I do miss my babies being …. babies.  It is interesting going into this new part of life. The part where everyone is more independent and not reliant on me for every little thing, but as a mama, you secretly long to be needed always. I love taking care of my quartet. I love watching them grow and learn and I often think what a great honor it is, that I was chosen for this role in life. Tomorrow we will celebrate my baby, Alexander Blake. Tonight I will stand in his doorway and watch him go from 3 to 4 and watch as my baby boy silently grows up on me.

Momin’ ain’t easy but I do it with so much pride and gratitude.

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I Need a few more … YEARS!!!

Happy Friday!! Well, the sun is shining, I have an all girls sleepover tonight with Zoe and Alexander is going 100 mph…. see picture ⇓⇓⇓⇓

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How does looking for ONE toy turn into this!!!!!!!!???? And, I was completely nuts to think he would clean it up …. they are all “too heavy”!!!  OF COURSE!!! …. Well, no one is fighting so it’s a good day!!!

Yesterday I registered Caleb for Kindergarten! {insert sobs and tears here}

How is it possible that he is already going to Kindergarten??

It’s kinda funny really, with each one I have talked about how excited I would be once they started school. I am pretty sure that I said that as a way to psych myself out once the day came… but it doesn’t work once the day is upon us.

I sat in the school library with a friend of mine. I watched them fill out their forms and then I watched as the daddy’s eyes started to tear up as he wrote how amazing his little girl was under the section “describe your child’s personality and strengths and weaknesses”. I think he probably needed another form.

Then while I was filling out the same section for Caleb, I felt the tears come up and then that sad feeling in the back of my throat that makes it hard to breathe. I am thinking to myself, “keep it together, you have done this before, don’t cry, don’t cry….”

Caleb has become so independent since starting Preschool last August and I am so proud of him. As he walked off with the Kindergarten teachers and the other soon to be Kindergarteners, it dawned on me that I would be in that same place next year with my baby… my last and then, that’s when I had to choke back the tears. Alex kept asking when Caleb was coming back and I knew then, he was going to be completely lost without his sidekick in August.

I get asked all the time what I am going to do when they are all in school and I usually say “lay around the house and do NOTHING  for the first week” but honestly, that is probably not going to happen.

I miss my babies being little. When Braxton started school, I literally stalked him all day and cried BIG tears when he walked in and I was in the carline like an hour early!!!  When Zoe started school, I worried about her, wrote her room number on her right hand with a BIG heart and her lunch line on the other hand. My separation anxiety was a little better with her, mostly because she is so independent and rarely accepts help with anything.

But, I will probably be in prayer at the church all day when I drop Cabby off for his first day…. mostly because I am the “ultimate helicopter mom” when it comes to him. Who will keep him in his “safety bubble”??? Honestly, I will probably stalk him too. And for now we will not talk about Alex because on that day I will probably need to be committed to a special kind of hospital 🙂 .

Being a mama is the most bittersweet job in the world… you pray for them to grow up healthy and smart and independent and then one day you blink and they are 10 and fixing their own food and making straight A’s and you are thinking “when did you grow up”!!  I am a mess now!!!! I will be a puddle of goo when they are all teenagers!!! If you need me I will be looking through old pictures, eating a tub of frosting, crying over my babies not being babies anymore!!!!

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In the Blink of an Eye

Spring Break came and went in a flash, and it’s always bittersweet for me, mostly because this year they got a full 2 weeks {thank you Jesus!!! No snow days this past winter} and while the time was spent mostly on the road going here and there, it was like a summer time teaser.

First Day of Spring Break, Miss Zoe turned 7!!! It is so hard to believe that she is already 7 even though she acts more like a 16 year old these days…. UGH!!! emotional, dramatic girls!!! She had to go to the eye doctor that day and she is now the only person in our crew with glasses!!! WhAt!!!?? Well, she was thrilled, until we got back from our travels and she had to wear them all day!

Me and the 2 younger rascals spent the first part of Spring Break in North Carolina visiting my family while the older 2 went with my in-laws to Hilton Head.

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My stay in Carolina was way to short but I will be back in June for a week so that kinda made departing a little easier.

I made my way down to South Carolina {6 hours with 2 little boys, who have to pee every 15 minutes, ask a million questions and think the back seat is a great place to work on their MMA skills} in the middle of the week to reunite with my older monkeys. We explored Parris Island, where Eron’s dad did basic training many moons ago. The boys especially thought this was the coolest thing ever, and decided they could be Marines too…. for about a day, then it was back to lazy days and Cheeto breaks. 🙂

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One day was spent in Charleston, where we took a Ferry Boat to Fort Sumter. There they explored numerous cannons and ran around like crazy people and then watched for dolphins from the top of the Fort. Later we took a horse and carriage ride around historic Charleston, my kids took that 45 minute ride as a great opportunity to take a nap.

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Our last day there was spent in Savannah, probably one of my favorite places to vacation. It just has such a relaxing feel to it. I have been in the heat of the summer, I have visited during Christmas and now even in the Spring and each time I fall in love with the town a little more.

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Savannah 2015 

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Savannah River Street Walk

We, of course, visited The Lady and Sons and I ate more food than I have all year. No REGRETS!!!

So yeah, me and 4 kids, 700 miles from home. I know that I take them on those trips because I love them and I want them to enjoy traveling as much as I do… but, by the end I am about ready to pull my hair out!

One thing that I did while I was in NC that I don’t regret in the least, is make a lifestyle change…. 100% for the better.

I have been watching friends of mine brag about their “Thrive” experience and I thought, “that is the dumbest thing, there is no way it makes you feel that good”.
“Surely it’s another sales pitch.”

So after traveling in the car with 4 kids alone… feeling run down, ready to crash every night by 9, I was desperate. SO I called up my friend Tiffany and said tell me about it!! And she did … I tried it for 3 days and by the 3rd day I knew this was a product that was made for me.

Now, if you know me, I am a habitual coffee drinker. It is what keeps me going and I pretty much have a coffee cup in my hand about 85% of the day. But in my 3 days I barely finished a CUP  a day!!! That was huge for me. At 30 I knew that I was not where I wanted to be physically. I would love to go to the gym but I was so tired that it was the farthest thing from my mind. I just wanted to FEEL BETTER.

If this is you…. let me recommend Thrive!!! YOU need an 8 week experience!!!! Check out their website Thrive. You will be so glad you clicked that link and took the challenge. I know that I am!!! Also check out Thrive on Facebook!!! You will see that I am not the only “crazy” person seeing results!!!

I am waiting on summer now… Long days by the pool, road trips with my quartet and now that I am “Thriving” wearing them out by the end of the day. I am so excited for the things to come!!!

Toodles

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We need some time….

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It’s Spring Break for my kiddos, and I ain’t gonna lie, we have been so very lazy. We have slept in {for this house that means until 8 am}, we have stayed in PJ’s ALL day, had cake for breakfast, listened to music extra loud and played games and then later we had more cake.

We had to decompress after the crazy past few weeks. I feel like we have been going about a million miles an hour since the end of January and I was ready for a few days of R & R with my monkeys.

Yesterday we HAD to go out and the boys only question… “do we HAVE to wear pants?” … I had to think about it for a minute and settled on yes, mostly because it was 32 degrees outside. These are my favorite kind of days.

I love laughing with them and making simple memories that don’t require a lot of hullabaloo.

Rewind to Monday, Miss Z turned 7! I look at her some days and wonder when she got to be so big and then realize that she has never been “little”. It saddens me some days because when she was little, Braxton was terribly sick and a lot of my time and energy went into taking care of him. She spent a great deal of her baby years with my husbands parents and in the process I have created this extremely independent and sassy little lady.  We celebrated with Chick Fil A for breakfast, shopping and later a trip to the eye doctor {cause you go when you can}, and ended with a girls date to Starbucks, her favorite meal and cake {always cake}.

Zoe is a treasure, she blessed us with her light in a very dark time and she has never ceased to shine for us. She loves the simple things. We got a small phone book in the mail the other day and this amazed her to no end. She was intrigued with the book  of “all the people in the world” {because our small town of 12,000 is her world}. She meandered through it all day and study all the names.

Now, with her preciousness comes a new world that I do not know much about. She is so emotional suddenly. EVERYTHING makes her cry. I don’t remember being so emotional as a girl. She looked at me yesterday after an emotional “lost brush” {Veggie Tales, OH WHERE IS MY HAIRBRUSH}  incident and said “mom, I think we need some time apart! I think I should go to Nana’s for a couple of weeks”. At the time I probably would have called up Nana and sent her on her way, I can say this I will surely be in much prayer as her teenage years get closer.

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Shirt from Zulily

Zoe is also getting glasses. She will be the only one in the house to have them and she is beyond thrilled. She makes me smile knowing that her happiness comes from such unexpected areas.

Tomorrow, we leave for a week of vacation time, I get to travel to NC to see my family that I have missed terribly and then we will finish out the week in Georgia,  Hilton Head and Parris Island.

I enjoy my trips with my monkeys, as crazy  as we are when we get home I wouldn’t trade these moments and memories for anything.

Happy Spring Break

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Venti with a Triple Shot

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Recently on a rainy day I met up with some other mama’s at an indoor playground with 7 kids in tow (I only gave birth to 4 of them, the others just appeared in the van) between the ages of 9 and 2.

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Some may call me crazy, others may call me brave but my response is always the same… “what’s one more?”

I just ran through Starbucks (told them not to ask for a thing because the answer was no, hey, I was already taking them to play) and asked for a Venti over ice with 3 extra shots of espresso. The lady taking my order said, “are you sure?? It already comes with 3 shots!” I laughed {who is she to question my espresso addiction  habit  consumption….}

So, because my mama raised me right I politely in my very best “bless your heart” voice said “yes, I am very sure”.

When I pulled up to the window with all 7 kids going crazy in the back, I think she realized I knew what I was talking about and that she probably should have kept her barista comments to herself. ** Dear Mr. Starbucks trainer person, please instruct your future Barista’s NEVER to question a mama’s coffee choices. It’s rude! **

Needless to say that after that play date was over, my drink was all gone and my sanity was still in tact … that is why I ordered the extra.

When I had Braxton I was a nervous wreck kinda mama. I questioned all my choices. Worried that I wasn’t doing things like the other mama’s did, reading every book I could get my hands on and calling my mama ALL THE TIME.

Then he got sick, very sick and I realized that I had this natural maternal instinct that a book wasn’t going to teach me to use.

Eventually, he would get so sick he couldn’t move and the house became eerily quiet, there were no toys and no giggles through the house. It was my awakening as a mama. I stopped fussing over the house being exactly put together ALL the time. I let the toys be, I took time to play rather than clean, I took time to listen rather than fuss.

When Zoe came along I was a little more lax. Albeit, I was a germ-a-phobe because of Braxton, but I had a different outlook.

By the time the boys came along, 17 months apart, I threw my hands up in the air and decided to fly by the seat of my pants.

I don’t fuss over the things that don’t really matter a ton. I look at my kids and say “self… do those rugrats, look happy…. yes, they do … well done mama”

So, have a huge cup of whatever gets you through, for some it’s almond milk with some kinda green blended stuff {ugh, I will spare you my facial expressions on that one}, for me it’s a “big gulp” of some sort of strong coffee, at least twice a day, and for some life is rainbows and unicorns and things just flow {to those people I wanna be just like you one day}… enjoy the small things, the clothes they picked out on their own, the Kool-Aid mustaches, sneaking them cookies before dinner. Sometimes have cake for breakfast…. I promise this is a game changer.

Take time to listen, and write everything down {who cares if people on social media think you are annoying}, I know that one day too soon I am going to blink and my babies will not be babies anymore, then I will be bored and living on a single shot.

For now I will enjoy the Venti moments.

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