….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!!!

18767372_10158804145255367_6130926211451878478_n

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!

b1c524fa1ca888e8a4b41d372e6d3133

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! 🙂

65633bd1f60a31060a8c5bbb749a162f

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.

blog signature

I’m Passionate….

There are so many things that I enjoy but there are a few that I am absolutely passionate about…

Anyone that knows me knows that I love coffee and cake and I love a good ole southern meal. My husband and I love new foods and we love finding new restaurants.

I love to travel, I love to explore, I love to be adventurous and sporadic and I typically fly by the seat of my pants in most areas of my life. I love meeting new people and making new friends. I love to read and I love wrapping up in a blanket on a cool day with a good book and staying there until I finish the book.

I love so many different things but there are a couple of things that I am passionate about.

I am passionate about my Jesus.
Since I was a little girl, I remember being so excited when the church bus would come and get me on Sunday morning. I loved going to church with my Granny, getting all dressed up and going to a place with peace and hope and safety. I start everyday with my favorite scripture… I will say it over and over again because this is me… Psalms 42:1 “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” , because as a little girl that was me and as an adult I know that I couldn’t make it a day without Him. I am PASSIONATE about Jesus.

IMG_4469[1]

I am passionate about my family.
I wake up every morning knowing that I am a mama to 4 of the coolest kids ever. I take this responsibility so serious and I give it my all. Sometimes until it has run me into the ground. I love taking care of my family. I love cooking for them and caring for them and I love that I was chosen for this place.  I am sure that there are things that I could do better and I try daily to make that happen. I love being there for them. I love that they know that I will always be there for them. I am PASSIONATE about my family!mountaintripimg_2118

I am passionate about my friends.
I believe being a friend is unconditional. It is not my place to judge them but to be there for them. It is my responsibility as a friend to encourage them and support them in their quests through life. That is what a friend does. My job as a friend isn’t to tear them down or compete with them. I pray for them and I know that they pray for me too.  I love my friends as if they were family and that is why they are a passion for me.

17799457_10158495054365367_4316744818846385787_n

And I am passionate about me… about being the BEST ME that I can be.

I know that may sound a little bit conceited but, how can I be passionate about Jesus, Family and friends if I am not the best me for them. I had a big scare in November and it gave me a bit of an enlightening. I realized that I wasn’t doing everything that I could to be a healthier, happier me. So I decided to change that. After numerous doctors to no avail, I looked to a more natural approach. I started taking better care of me for me. I stumbled across the Le-Vel product Thrive® about a month ago and it has allowed me to take my life back and be more PASSIONATE about the things that matter the most. I tell people I am not promoting a product that I half heartedly believe in, I am promoting a product that allows me to give my all. I am thankful that I stumbled across this product because today, I am more involved in church, a better witness, a better wife and mother and a better friend. I have more energy and I feel better than I have in years. thrive3

What are you passionate about? What keeps you going? What makes you stop and think and wonder what you can change?

I am a happy, HEALTHY lady today and I am so grateful for the things that I am passionate about because it allows me to live life in a different way.

 

blog signature

What I learned at the Park

Does anyone else get major anxiety when going to the park?!

Maybe it’s just me. I usually hope that it is just us when I get there, mostly because I don’t want to compete with the other moms.

The ones standing around in their mom groups in work out clothes and you ask yourself “did they really just go to the gym or is that for show?” I can get a little catty in my head and think …. “you know they just ate a huge candy bar before they got out of the car” 

They are seriously chatting about books and recipes and using soft voices when talking to the kids.

I stand back.
I use “soft voices” too, I don’t want them to think I am some sort of psycho… but how do you tell your dare devil 3 year old not to jump from the top of the playset in a calm voice!?SNLF5986[1]

I did the things you do at the park… I had the reminder about strangers talk, I brought bread to feed the ducks, I packed a picnic lunch and still I stood there feeling like the other moms were staring me down. So inadequate as a mom.

I laid out there lunch and I remember I didn’t bring a wipe to wash their hands, {just lay it out, have them eat and pretend you don’t notice}  but then I remembered that Alex sat a sandwich on the porch yesterday and I am pretty sure he went back later and ate it with mud caked hands.

Then the playground clears out and the anxiety fades and I remember why I brought them….
To play and get dirty.

I hate feeling like I always need to be better, like I am in some sort of “mom court” all the time. And if I don’t do something just right then my kids will grow up and remember the one time I took them to the park and forgot the bread.

I used to really beat myself up about not being that perfect mom…. but is there such a thing. We all mess up and shame on us if we ever make another mama feel like she isn’t doing enough, or doing it just right.

I am about 100% sure that Braxton was my guinea pig child. I know that I have “messed up” more with him than the others, but then I sit back and watch him and I realize that he is smart, kind, a great student, he loves, and seeks to be pleasing to others. So, I suppose that all those times I forgot the bread to feed the ducks and those times that I yelled across the playground not to push, helped him along the way.

Momin’ ain’t easy, but I am learning everyday. I am loosing the anxious feeling and just living with my kids and for my kids. I want them to grow up and think “My mom was always there… she was firm and we knew she meant business, but she was there to kiss the bumps and bandage the scrapes. She was there to hug us when someone hurt our feelings and she was there to kiss us and love us” …. that’s what I want them to remember.

So, I guess I said all this to say, I know that I’m not the BEST mom in the world but I know I am the Best mom for my quartet. God thought so, so I’m going to try really hard not to beat myself up for all my imperfections and just do us.

 

blog signature

An Experience

I thought being a mama would be a walk in the park.

I laughed when “seasoned” mama’s would say “just wait until you have your own”.

Then I had Braxton and I immediately thought I knew everything, when in fact I didn’t know anything at all. I didn’t know if he could fall asleep in a swing. I would sit by his crib and hold a mirror to his face to make sure he was breathing. (true story) I called the pediatrician the first time he fell and busted his lip, the nurse giggled, I remember getting a little upset, and she said, “give him a popsicle this is the first of many bumps”.
I thought “I don’t have any popsicles don’t those have sugar in them.”

babybrac

I was strict with his diet and gave him only organic foods, only milk and water and never ever gave him a “dip” for his organic, free range, stress free chicken nuggets.

I was a “helicopter mom” to the extreme. I remember watching my sister in law, while on our first family vacation give her son, who was 4 months younger, a pudding cup. I stood there silently appalled that she would do that to her child!!!

Then one day we heard the words that no mother wants to hear and my views seemed to change almost overnight. MY child wasn’t supposed to be sick, he was an organic baby, who NEVER got sick or had a cold. He had never even had an ear infection. MY child was not a statistic. But in fact, my child was.  And I realized then that I didn’t know anything at all and that I had a lot of road to cover!

Then as time went on we added 3 more monkeys to the bunch and I became “seasoned”. QUICKLY!!! I became that crazy mama, going through Wal-Mart with one in the front, one where you are “not supposed to put a child”, one hanging on the end, in flip flops {an accident waiting to happen} and then Braxton wandering aimless through the aisles as if he is the only one there…. That is EXPERIENCE! I learned to listen to those other mama’s … fast!!!!

Now, while I don’t know everything, I do know a lot. I know about emergency room visits. I know how to put a band aid on extra tight to avoid another ER visit. I know how to pack lunches that they will actually eat. I know that cupcakes can smooth most things over. I know that kids have disagreements and that I can’t always come to their rescue. I know that girls are dramatic and that I still have A LOT to learn about raising a girl in a house of testosterone. I know that boys are gross and they literally smell, and I know that they will fight regardless if we are at home, church or an aisle in a store.

scaryfaces

I have learned to smile when they are embarrassing me to know end and make some sort of awkward joke out of the situation. They have taught me that being serious all the time is lame and that sometimes you have to use a funny voice when ordering processed food in the drive through. I have learned that messes get made and they get cleaned up eventually.

Who said being a mama was a job you had to apply for and have a perfect record. I have said it before that I am no “pinterest mom” and I admire them and I wish they would come decorate my house and teach my children how to keep white furniture clean and how to meal prep and make birthday parties the best thing ever. For now I will stick with leather furniture, cheap carpet, my “less is more and big is better” philosophy, no pretty curtains {because that is how Tarzan gets around} and sometimes dinner isn’t what everyone loves and cereal is OK for dinner!
I learned that Nerf wars are a blast ESPECIALLY when we ambush the Barber when he comes through the door…. I will take full responsibility for this because it was epic.

Being a mama is a privilege that I will never take for granted. It is fun and stressful, noisy and sometimes too quiet, it is runny noses and wet kisses and it is late nights and early mornings. But that is OK with me… we are going to make the most of EVERY crazy moment, live life and make memories…

4e80ea5f8d0ddaddce6eb10ef02b9b00

That is my Friday thought!

blog signature

We need some time….

09269c126f02a2082a743e6bafdd0b7e

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.

17191953_10158354761475367_7657690341442343206_o

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

blog signature

WeLcOmE to the NuT HoUsE

psych4

Many moons ago when I first got married to the barber my first job was on a Geriatric Psych Floor. There, I was a Nurses Assistant. It was my very first job and I had NO idea what I was getting into. I just knew that I was ready for adventure and I needed a job. There I met amazing nurses and nurse techs that taught me a thing or 2 about life and, though I didn’t realize it then, a thing or two about motherhood.

The person that said “nothing prepares you for motherhood” never spent 5, 12 hour nights in a row on a psych floor.

psych3

Working there I learned to stay awake all night long.
Being a mom, I learned that sleep isn’t really as necessary as they claim it to be.

In Psych I learned that bed alarms are the most annoying thing in the world and that no one stays in the bed when they are supposed to.
As a mama, NO ONE STAYS IN THEIR OWN BED. EVER!!!!!

In psych I learned to deal with patients who whined about EVERYTHING.
As a mama, kids whine about EVERYTHING!!!!

Working psych, I have had patients use the bathroom in inappropriate places … i.e. the corner in the hall.
Being a mom, I have had children use the bathroom in inappropriate places… i.e. the front yard or in the middle of a crowded park.

Working psych, I have had patients lose there temper and throw things across the room.
Being a mama, I have had children throw things across the room {today in fact}

Working psych, you learn to properly restrain out of control patients.
Being a mama, you restrain them often, usually in the car, a playpen, with “baby gates” or you bribe them… what ever works!

Working psych you learn sneaky ways to get a patient to take all there medicine.
Being a mama, you use those skills learned to the best of your ability.

Working psych, I have had patients walk down the hallway missing clothing.
Being a mama, when you ask them where there clothes are, they reply “it’s underpants day!” to which you reply “alrighty then!”

On a psych floor, you learn to always have your guard up.
As a mama, they rarely fool me.

On a psych floor, patients yell obscenities at you and call you names you may not like.
As a mama, “poop face” is a term of endearment from one brother to the next and you learn to go with it.

Working psych, I heard some of the best stories, some made up, some real.
As a mama, those stories make the best bed time stories.

Working psych, I had patients that made my day.
Being a mama, they make my day everyday.

And lets not forget those wonderful first aid skills we had to learn, like CPR and the Heimlich maneuver {which by the way I have had to use 3 times}.  How many mama’s can say they know that.

So you “Pinterest mama’s” can have your pies and cookies and crafts. I can get my kids to take there medicine and when I get funny looks at a store because one of my kids have their underwear on the outside of their pants, I know how to go with it. Thank you, to my Psych floor experience.

Later on, I went to work OB with another amazing group of ladies and I learned so much there. I learned patience and I learned how to turn a room over quickly. I learned how to keep my cool when the going got tough and I learned not to spazz out when things got a little crazy. I learned that “family” goes much much deeper than blood because to this day, I have an amazing family of friends that taught me everything I needed to know about being a mama before I was a mama.

From my nut house to yours… toodles.

blog signature

 

The “Adkins” Diet

minion

This morning I had 2 LARGE cups of coffee {as is my norm} black…. no sugar… fat free and a hand full of caramel rice cakes, because they were on sale and the idea of eating “cake” for breakfast is always appealing…. although my taste buds were greatly deceived when I ate said CARAMEL rice cakes. I also had a nibble of my kids pancakes this morning because I had to make sure they were OK to eat  [wink wink]

Already my heart was racing… mostly from the sugar high. But you are supposed to get your heart rate up… yes, you are, I read that somewhere, either way I was already burning calories… I could feel it!

Then for lunch I did drink water because I am really trying to be more healthy… OK, seriously, I just didn’t want soda and I had already exceeded the legal coffee drinking limit, so I loaded it down with Dasani Coconut-pineapple enhancer {fabulous for masking the tasteless, filtered stuff} and chugged away. I also had a handful of salt and vinegar chips because, again, I read that apple cider vinegar was great for the body and thinking of it this way justified my indulgence.

I also had 3 mini corn dogs that were left over from the boys lunch. Because “waste not want not” like my mama taught me.

I’m a grazer. At 31, some would say that I should eat like an adult and have 3 meals a day and small healthy snacks in between…. {pish-posh}.

A friend once told me that if you graze like a cow, you may end up looking like a cow…. I’m not there yet so I will continue on my path to enlightenment.

For cardio I moved around the living room furniture … again! I do this about once a month, mostly because I rarely go anywhere exciting or to someone else’s home and moving the furniture gives me a shock factor when I go get the kids and come back home. The kids do an “eye roll”, followed by an exaggerated “agggain” and then they run to there respective after school zones. I, on the other hand, stand back and think that I hate it and that I will get a great work out next month when I move it again 😉

Cardio…. consistency people CONSISTENCY.

Oh! Yeah!! And I managed to work in a 3 minute dance break with the boys… Nothing gets your heart pumping like trying to keep up with the choreography of a 3 and 5 year old… don’t believe me??? Try it!!!

I believe in taking care of yourself and making sure that you are healthy enough to take care of your family. BUT, if you are happy with you and your health is not at risk, be just that …. HAPPY. WITH. YOU!

I won’t lie…. I am connected to tons of healthy guru people, my sister is one of them.  I follow them in awe, usually as I eat a cupcake or a pack of gummy snacks I found in my purse, but still in awe. I know that I will never be a “gym rat”, I have tried to be that 6 am workout gal…. it lasted a week. I have tried taking the kids to the childcare at the gym (which they loved by the way)… lasted about 2 weeks and I have tried all those home exercise programs and those lasted about 6 weeks, until the awe factor wore off and I slowly 86-ed it.

minion2

I WANT to be those people but my ADHD just will not have it. And it doesn’t help that I still eat like a teenager and I ENJOY it VERY much. Y’all, I get palpitations just standing at the gym door… I suppose if I stand there and watch others work out my heart will race and my nerves will kick in causing me to sweat hence … cardio! BAM!!!

You may say “Amanda, when you eat right you teach your children to eat right”…. yes, that is probably right, but I have only offered them healthy choices since birth and so now without prompting I don’t have to beg them to eat fruits and veggies.

We LOVE to eat and me personally, I refuse to go my entire life “dieting”. Counting calories …Ugh that sounds like math … yeah, NO! To me it looks miserable. And I have a strict policy never to be miserable if I can help it. I watch what I eat, usually as it goes in my mouth, but still I watch it. And I am lucky enough that it doesn’t take much to fill me up. Given it lasts for about 30 minutes until I am on to my next victim. Kudos to all of you who can diet and go to the gym… one day I want to adult like you! For now, I watch you and pretend that the cupcake I am eating is a whole grain muffin.

Love you! Don’t let what others look like, or what Hollywood says you should be govern how you feel about you. Dress the body you have, not the one you wish you had…. Feel pretty, refuse to compare yourselves to others. If you feel bad about the way you look then, yes, makes some changes. But if you wake up in the morning and you know that you are happy and you can look in the mirror and say “girl, you look GREAT” then go on about your day. Smile and hold your head up high and have a great day.  Usually when someone says “I wish I looked like you”, my response is “you are beautiful, you don’t want to be me”.  I think that as women we silently  body shame ourselves looking at others. That gal that you said you wished you looked like may wish that she could put on more weight to avoid the stares. You never know.

PS… I am not “skinny” by any means… again I dress the body that I HAVE. After 4 kids, I feel like I have done decent sticking around a “goal” wait and I am OK with that. I don’t set goals that I can’t reach, mostly because I usually forget the outlandish goals. I don’t believe in standing around in the molly grubs because you are not where you want to be either. If you know that you are not what you want to be and you  are NOT happy… suck it up buttercup and get to moving. There is NO excuse not to be happy with you.

And if you really don’t have the time for the gym… call me I will loan out my 4 rugrats and you can keep up with them for a day and guaranteed you will have some cardio, a few squats and a couple of crunches in before you bring them back. And you will be out of breath and most likely sweating…. The “Adkins” Diet.

Who knows maybe when they are all in school, I may join a gym… MAYBE!

Love YOU! BECAUSE YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

blog signature