Let’s Get Real about a Larger (than average) Family

When people say this: “You have your hands full!”

I often say “thank you” or “don’t I know it!” with a huge smile on my face. I never want anyone to get the impression that I don’t love the fact that I have been so very blessed to have five children beyond the womb (current ages 12, 10, 8, 5 and 2) and our baby, Gregory, who is in Heaven.

The reality is that it’s not always easy to have that huge smile. And sometimes I want to say, “Yes, I do…why don’t you take a couple off my hands?” Or maybe I want to say, “My hands! My house! My car! All of it is FULL!!! FULL, FULL, FULL!!! There is NO more room at the inn!!!”

Over the years, I’ve thought about how I publicly show my face with regards to our family. We used NFP and I wanted people to know that we (and God!) intended every single one of them. No “mistakes” around here. No “oopsies” or “method failures” or any of that. We went in fully aware babies could come from our union and we were fine with that. We welcomed them all!

There seems to be a tremendous pressure, especially in Catholic circles and especially on-line in the blog-world where everyone can read the things we write, to enjoy every minute of this great big family we procreated and to never let it show that it’s difficult, at times. We must always “saddle up” and ride on through the path we have laid by accepting this gift of children into our marriage and never let on to “the outside” that there might be times we question our former sanity. And that’s a shame because in reality, there are some difficulties that come with having more than 2.2 children (or 1.9 or whatever our birth rate is these days) in our society that should be acknowledged and validated without it seeming like we regretted having the children we have.

So, this is a “get real” post. This is the post that perhaps women like me are afraid to write. And I’m writing it. And I want to state for the record before I get going that I don’t want you to think, for one second, that I don’t love and adore my beautiful family. I can love them and I can love all the sufferings and hardships just as much as I love the joyful and fun times.

The Struggles of a mother of five…

·         Oh, the Insecurity! I often feel like the discernment to add to my family was the easy part (it wasn’t really…in my saner moments I know that) and I’m failing one or more of these precious children at any given moment. My oldest got 100% of me when she was a newborn. Not one other child of mine was afforded that opportunity. And not one of my children will ever get 100% of me ever again. (The pressure to tout the awesomeness of siblings is often what gets thrown at this one.)

·         The Diapers, the Wipes, the Pull-ups, Oh My! So, we’re out of diapers and potty-training now – but that was hard. Changing diapers in the household for almost 13 years – wow! Ever since our youngest potty-trained a few months ago, I’ve marveled, while reading the grocery ads and being able to skip over the Huggies or Pampers specials. We don’t need any of that anymore and WOW!! It’s been almost 13 years since I could say that!

·         Tantrums to Teens – Maybe I really AM crazy!We’re now balancing the parenting of tantrum-throwing toddler with clingy young elementary-aged kids while we’re also working to get the older kids ready to be adults – added responsibilities, teaching personal accountability and the like. It can be draining. You think dealing with the tantrums is hard, until you’re saying “shut up” and yelling at a kid who thinks they know everything so that you can assert yourself (again) as the sole parent in the room. Then later, you feel guilty that you yelled at your teen who is just trying to figure things out. (There’s that insecurity again…)

·         Just wait until they get older, it will be easier! When the children were all young, people would say that it will get better. And that is true, to an extent. My life feels better with my kids who are older because they do help me out in many ways. I have a babysitter in my oldest now and even my second child can be “in charge” for short periods of time. But the reality is that the struggles take on a different flavor. Monitoring internet usage and phones and text messages but also having the time to have the talks with the kids that they need to have at that time – the pressure can feel suffocating.

·         “That’s so great, I bet you get a lot of use out of everything!” I had three girls first and then I had my two boys. Sometimes “hand-me-downs” worked and sometimes they didn’t. All three of my girls have very different tastes and body types, so unless it was A-Line (yay for a great A-Line First Holy Communion Dress!) I didn’t get as much use out of true sibling hand-me-downs as I did from just getting second-hand stuff from various friends or consignment/thrift stores.  But to be honest, getting and giving “Hand-me-downs” all the time gets old. Shopping in Thrift Stores get old. Yes, I love to save money. Yes, it’s a necessary thing when you have five children that you do some second-hand stuff. Brand-new for all kids all the time is just not going to cut it. But, I’m not going to lie – it’s not all that much fun.

·         Minivan Rage! Driving a minivan forever sucks. We own two minivans because that way, no matter which parent/driver has the kids, they have a vehicle large enough for everyone. But, I find myself daydreaming about the day I can drive a compact car to work again. (Truly)

·         Nuclear Family of Four, Please! All the “family packs” or “family” anything refers to two adults and two children. It used to make me mad back when I had three children…but now, it’s just silly. Who decided two adults and two children make a family? Of course, I know my family qualifies as a family and I no longer feel like I need everyone else in the world to acknowledge that fact. But that doesn’t mean the ugliness of this situation doesn’t rear its head every so often. And usually it is when I’m forking over an extra $50 for something so that my entire family can do it together.

·       Oh! The expen$e$! Let’$ discu$$ the expen$e, shall we? Having a large family is expensive. That’s not rocket science. Raising kids is expensive all the way around. Doing anything fun with a family of 7 (2 adults and 5 children, thank you very much) is going to cost an arm and a leg. I literally have to “put money away” in the savings account specifically for a night out to dinner or to an activity. When our family travels and finds the need to spend the night in a hotel – we must to get a suite or something so we can all fit in one place. And, because life, in general, is expen$ive, when you have a larger-than-average family, your kids don’t get to do everything they see their friends do. Expensive club sports, music lessons, extra camps in the summer, travel – all of these things are simply out of reach for most of us with larger families. I’ve worked in activities with moderation, but it takes some a lot of sacrifice.

·         Catholic families want to provide a Catholic education? Hahaha This brings me to … Catholic Schools – this one is mostly for us large Catholic families who desire to send our kids to Catholic schools. Many of us large families of the Catholic variety expand ourselves right out of the ability to provide Catholic education for our children. I know of an example of a mother with child number six on the way who lives in the southeast U.S. It got to the point that the parish and/or school couldn’t give her family enough financial assistance to continue to educate her children in the Catholic school once she had three enrolled (Grades: K, 2 and 4). She looked and looked at it, but realized the next year would be an even bigger struggle and financial balancing act because she would have four going to school (Grades: K, 1, 3, and 5th) and it wouldn’t be long (just about 2-3 years) before her fifth would join them and she’d have five in that school (Grades: K, 3, 4, 6 and 8th). She had to face the fact that she would never be able to afford it. Some schools provide a “cap” (I think in this particular case, the school stopped increasing tuition after the 4th child began attending school), but regardless…even WITH financial assistance it could run (for her) $30,000/year for ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. Check it: that is NOT high school and NOT college; that is the cost of one year of elementary/middle school for her children.  (For a frame of reference that amounts to about 45% of the household gross income, as she is a stay-at-home-mom and her husband works full-time.)

As for our family, we are blessed in our situation that we have a parish supported, K-8 school. I hope that never changes, but it might. And if/when it does, I may be in the same predicament. Right now, our personal discernment with regard to high school has led us to accept that our children will attend the public high school. We were looking at having to pay for Catholic high school for a long time (our oldest enters high school in 2015, our youngest would, God willing, graduate high school in 2031). But let’s face it…have 2.2 kids (or 1.9…) and there’s a much higher chance you can make the (relatively) short-term sacrifices necessary to educate your children in Catholic school. 

Many Catholic families who have chosen to be generous in their discernment of family size are often the same families excluded by that discernment from providing Catholic education for their children. How ironic and sad.

And here is where I close this post with a final disclaimer. Because, the pressure!!

I love each and every one of my children. I’m so happy they are here with us. I’ll sacrifice much in the rearing of all of them.  Even the almost-13 years of diapers were so worth it! I’ll sock away the money to provide a vacation once in awhile. I’ll say no to some things in order to say yes to others. And through it all, the fact that we have each other will triumph over all hardships that come with being a large family.

We are blessed! My children know that.

And even if we had the means to provide for every wish with ease, we probably still wouldn’t do that because it’s not good for us.We live for Christ and His Kingdom, not for the things of this world. Most of the struggles I list are because of a human desire for material comfort in this world, I recognize that. And most of the benefits of a large family that I’ve written about in the past and will write about in the future are not material things we can touch, but supernatural benefits that make us grow into the Saints God intended us to be.

Mother’s Day with my crew

 

7 Quick Takes – 78 (Picture’s Worth 1000 Words Edition)


Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting! 


Lots of things to share in pictures this week!

— 1 —


Helen received First Holy Communion for the first time on Sunday. A friend was at the perfect angle to get this photo:

I made this the wallpaper on my computer at work. LOVE it.
— 2 —


After Mass, we got pictures of Helen with two of her close friends. What a special day!

Helen and her BFF, Chi Chi
Helen and her friend, Mary
— 3 —


Here are some other photos of note from the day:




All dressed and ready to head to the Church
Helen with her Daddy
all Five of ’em!

— 4 —


I’ve been doing #100happydays on Instagram and on Thursdays I can combine with a #tbt photo. I got this one yesterday — from when Dominic was 3 years old.


My Dominic is such a happy guy — always has been. We have Dentist appointments today and that kid was jumping around in the kitchen this morning and he said, “I’m just so happy we are going to the dentist today!”

— 5 —
 
Oh and I snapped this one when Helen was getting her hair done before First Holy Communion Mass:




I love how her whole face smiles 🙂

— 6 —

Well, as I mentioned last week…I was ready to cut the hair. And, I did! So…here’s the before/after pic:

Holy Moly!

 

— 7 —

Here are some pics I’ve snapped so far…


At the salon before I left

Trying to get a profile view that worked…

I’m super happy with the way it turned out. I can’t believe I went this red, but I have toyed with the idea silently for years. YEARS. And I finally decided to just do it! And I’m glad I did!!

Have a terrific weekend and be sure to go check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes Posts!

PS: I am going to read Jen’s book, Something Other Than God, but won’t get to it in time to participate in her giveaway. I just got the book I put on hold from the library to read and then SOTG is on my list soon! I can’t wait to read it and join the rest of you in your “ooh’s” and “aah’s” at our great friend Jen. 🙂

 

Monday Mumbles – 70

Happy Easter Monday! I have been looking forward to writing this post for a couple of weeks. Just to get back into the flow of blogging again. I am not sure how frequent I will be, but I’m going to try and do at least three posts a week. So…happy Monday and here goes…with some mumbles!!!

1. We had a great Easter. I never got into the Easter Egg Hunt mentality, myself, so I haven’t ever made that a priority with my kids. It’s just as well. They like getting their Easter baskets filled with some candy and other little things. I think.

2. As they’ve gotten older, of course, they are more aware that other kids get bigger type gifts in their Easter baskets. *sigh* I just tell them, “Well, this is how WE do it.” I know that someday when they are raising their families, they will get it. (And “it” could be…the financial balance, or “it” could be … the materialism bent and trying to avoid it with your kids, or “it” could be … the fact that there’s no way possible to do a “big” thing for all five kids at Easter AND Christmas and do it well. Whatever “it” is…I do hope they get it someday.)

3. Many prayers of thanksgiving going up as I found out that a dear friend has beaten breast cancer. That’s two for two of dear friends in the past couple of years, so I am very grateful.

4. I am hopeful that the weather has finally turned the corner for the long-term and we’re going to have spring and summer now. It was a long, long, long, … long winter, I tell you. And I’m ready to kiss it goodbye!

5. Yesterday, I began wondering where the sentiment came from that the only way to appreciate a hostess’ hard work was to eat the food prepared. I am sure it is an old fashioned thing. But as a grown woman who has taken on the tumultuous task of overcoming a problem with over-eating and such, it bugs me when people force my kids to eat something they don’t like by throwing out, “I worked hard…you better eat it!” or something like that. *sigh* I am so much more aware of stuff like this since I’ve been doing the Weight Watchers thing and losing weight. I don’t want to be made to feel as though I have disrespected someone if I don’t clean my plate. I also don’t want to start this horrible food issue in any of my children. Further…I have learned not to eat things I don’t really appreciate (not worth the points, you know?) and so I can completely sympathize with my kids when they don’t like something and would rather not eat it. Oh well, guess I’ll need to mull that one some more.

6. I’m just going to share some photos from Easter and wrap this up, with a final note about how quickly my children are growing up. Sarah is quite a young lady (most of the time) and Dani has really started establishing her own “grow-up-now” pattern. Helen receives First Holy Communion in two weeks. Dominic is such a smarty-pants sweetheart. Vincent…well, Vincent WANTS to grow up faster than he is. Of course, he’s still growing up entirely too fast, but it cracks me up to see how badly he wants to be bigger and be allowed to do big-boy stuff like Dominic (whatever that may be).

This girl — pretty
My Dani-girl. This dress looks good on her!
She is excited to receive First Holy Communion in 2 weeks!!
This boy cannot do pictures. At all. But he is still cute.


Brothers!
This is what I get when I ask them if they love each other…haha


Vincent! This about sums him up
The kids with their Grandma
All Five of ’em…
Craig and me

Throwback Thursday Reruns: The Decisions I Won’t Regret

Last week, on Thursday, I posted an old post as a re-run and I kind of liked doing that. 

So. I am doing it again. I wrote this post as I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with Vincent. The only thing I could add to this post is that I still don’t regret the decisions since then. We were open to another child and God blessed us with Gregory. Of course, we miss him terribly, but on some level, I feel honored that God asked us to bring the soul of a saint into the world. It hurts that Gregory’s time with us was so fleeting, but it humbles me to realize I am parent of a soul so loved by God that He saw fit to bring Gregory into His presence so early in his life.

Without further adieu…my reflection from May 2011, on the Decisions I Won’t Regret.

********************************************************************************

I had the opportunity to talk with my husband’s uncle and aunt at a party recently.  They have two beautiful daughters about 15 months apart who are now grown-up, successful adults (one is a doctor, but chooses to be home to mother her four children and the other is an attorney with her own practice).  Craig’s aunt mentioned that there had been times she had wished they might have tried for one more child.  Through the discussion, I mentioned that when Craig and I have discussed our family, God’s plan for how large it should be and such, one thing we’ve tried to keep in mind was that we would never regret having another child…but we might regret not being open to another child.  Both his uncle and aunt nodded and said that was a wise way to look at it, based on their experience.  These two people were/are very successful in their own careers and about to retire.  They enjoy their four grandchildren as much as any grandparents ever did and I’m fairly certain that they don’t have much to regret, but even if they did have a slight regret about their family size – it is just that – slight and most likely fleeting. 
But as I think about our family and where we stand today, with four active children and number 5 kicking away at my ribs, I think about my chances to regret….and am surprised to find that I really don’t regret much.
I do not regret my nervous discussion with Craig just about 11 years ago when I said I thought maybe we should try to have a baby.  Having children wasn’t really on our radar when we got married, and I was relieved that the most resistance I received from Craig was, “But…I thought we weren’t gonna do that.”  
When Sarah came along, our lives changed dramatically.  What was important before her took a back seat to what was important now.  Particularly, Sarah’s baptism into the Catholic faith was a major turning point for Craig and me to get down to business on knowing our faith so that we could pass it on to her.  I am not sure I could ever convey to Sarah just how very important she has been to her parents.  I’m quite certain that our acceptance of her was the catalyst to our acceptance to all the Grace and Blessings that could be bestowed on two people in the Sacrament of Marriage. 
I could probably write a post per child explaining the non-regret I have for each of them.  They have all brought something new and necessary to our family.  Watching them grow up together brings me more joy than any earthly experience I could ever imagine.
I do not regret my nervous discussion with Craig just about 10 years ago when I broached the subject of learning Natural Family Planning (NFP), which opened the doors to learning the Church’s unwavering teaching regarding marriage and sexuality.  I do not regret tossing those pills, learning how to read my body’s signals through its ongoing cycles, and giving a gift of my total self to my husband in our marriage.  That decision has been a waterfall of love and grace pouring down on my life, blessing me in my husband’s love and devotion, showering me in plentiful hugs and kisses from my babies, and gifting me beyond measure as my children grow up into people who continue to teach me.  Without a doubt, the blessing of NFP in our marriage has been a savior of sorts…much like I cannot imagine where my life might have gone without Sarah entering into it, I cannot imagine what my life would be without NFP.
I do not regret putting our children in our parish’s school.  While every education choice and decision comes with its ups and downs, our school has been a place of spiritual growth and cultivation for our children.  Our parish is a place I flee to when I need to confess and cling to when I need to pray.  We are so blessed by everyone we encounter at Mass, social gatherings, meetings and school functions.  There was a time in my life when if I had been asked if I would place my children in a Catholic school, I probably would have answered doubtfully.  (Maybe someday I’ll write about that.  Maybe not.)  Truth be told, it took a VERY special place to turn my heart around on the subject, and I thank the Lord every day, for our parish and school, providing a place for my children to grow in love of Christ, learn beyond perceived potential and a place where they can daily express the deepest desires of their heart to be close to our Lord and His Blessed Mother.
When we moved 5 months ago, I was going through a closet and found a piece of paper on which I had written goals over the next five years back in 2001.  Of course, we’re now 10 years past that, but it struck me funny how even in 2001, while I was expecting my first child and much of my worldview hadn’t changed from before her conception…that the path I constructed with these goals still lined up with what had happened over those five years.  
One of the goals was that we’d have three kids.  That one made me smile…because apparently, as soon as I grasped the idea of a blessing of one child, I jumped immediately to three (but it was clear from the goals I wrote, that three was the max…in 2001, at least).  One of the goals was to have completed my MBA.  One of the goals was to have met a certain salary requirement.  
Amazingly, even though I’d forgotten about this slip of paper with these 5-year-plan goals…I had met all of them.  We had Dani in 2003 and Helen in 2006 (3 kids in 5 years).  I graduated with my MBA in 2003.  And I had attained the salary that I had set out to attain by the year 2004.
My only sort-of-sad observation was that none of these goals I had written had anything to do with my spiritual life or growing deeper in my faith.  
Maybe what I should take from it is this:  It was never up to me in the first place.

Even though I didn’t set out at any one point in time to get closer to God, I was still pulled in that direction.  And quite possibly the reason I don’t regret anything I have written about here, is because I can see how it’s all led to the one place I want to be more than anything…closer to being in union with God.

A Seventh Day Post

It’s Sunday and I rarely post anything on Sundays. But, I’m linked up with Jennifer completing the challenge of writing seven posts in seven days. So here I am.

Today was a relaxing sort of day. Since we went to the Vigil Mass last evening, we weren’t required to get up this morning for that. The whole house slept in until about 8:00 a.m., then we started moving around a bit as the time inched toward 8:30. I got up and went for a 6+ mile run. The weather this weekend has been phenomenal. This morning was no exception; 68 degrees, sunny, a light breeze that hit my face as I came to the crest of a hill — it was beautiful.

Yesterday was Gregory‘s due date and Craig and I took time off work this weekend to just hang out together and with the kids. Once everyone was fed and clothed for the day, we loaded up the van and took a trip out to the cemetery. Craig and I haven’t made the headstone purchase yet (they are pretty pricey and every time I pull out the paperwork, I end up just putting it back…) so it was a bit tricky. We finally settled on where we decided Gregory’s body must lay and I resolved to get my butt in gear with getting a marker ordered.

It was strange to be at the cemetery. The last time we were there was when he was buried after the funeral. I’m comforted to know where I could go to be close to his physical body. I spend so much time asking him to pray for me and thinking about him that I didn’t really feel all that much closer to him there than I do anywhere else.

Rebecca wrote a lovely post yesterday. When I saw the title of it, my breath caught. I guess I should have known she would have saved something for Gregory’s due date. After all, when I sent her a text thanking her for the beautiful Rosary she had sent, she replied saying that she had hoped it would have arrived on Gregory’s due date. In the end, I’m glad I got these wonderful symbols of love and friendship in doses, because I am pretty sure my heart might not have been able to handle it all at once. I am so touched by what Rebecca wrote, because I feel the same. So many times over the past almost five months, I have read her words describing her pain in her infertility struggle and understood for the first time what she was talking about. No…losing a child and suffering with inability to conceive a child are not the same things. But the pain that she spoke of, the loss of innocence around childbearing and fertility…it was a small glimpse, emotionally, into what she goes through.

After we went to the cemetery, we went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for a couple of hours. The kids behaved pretty well, I thought. Craig took some good pictures of the kiddos…

There’s my big boy…

Playing around…

Dominic and Vincent

Trying to do what Daddy says….

Craig and the kids

Why does she have to grow up so fast?

My sweetie-baby girl

Love getting pics of all 5…

Dani-Squirrel

 Well, it’s been fun posting every day, but don’t expect it again for awhile!! 🙂

Ramblings

The Estimated Due Date (EDD) for Gregory was July 26 or July 27. Somewhere around there. Rarely have my children arrived on their due dates, though, so we’ll never know when Gregory, had he been healthy, would have graced us with his presence.

I took a couple days off work, Craig took a couple days off work. We really didn’t have anything planned, but didn’t really want to be at work. I have a feeling that over the years, March 1 will have more significance for me as that is the days we truly said goodbye.

I have realized how many babies I will watch grow up that would be Gregory’s age. My sister’s baby boy, who was born in April, would have been best buddies with Gregory, I am almost certain. But I guess he and I will just be best buddies. The Royal Baby was born this week…I suppose there will be enough coverage of him over the years that I’ll realize Gregory would be that size or something when I see him on TV or in the magazines. Of course, we’re not royalty, so there’s that. A woman at our parish had her baby last night. She also has a son in Helen’s class, so surely as I watch her little girl over the next several years, I will have reminders of my baby boy and what new adventures we would have experienced.

Surprisingly, I am coming to a point where I am okay with this. I remember early on that I didn’t want to hear about babies being born or see pictures. There’s a friend on FB who is almost exactly where I would be pregnancy-wise with Gregory and I did have to hide the bump updates for a bit. But lately, I have been able to handle it again and I’m glad…it means that I’m healing.

Healing is good, right? I don’t cry all the time. Stuff doesn’t always hit me so hard that I break down. When I hear of women having trouble with pregnancy or losing their babies, however, my chest tightens and I sometimes lose my breath. Yes, that still happens. Part of me wonders if it will always happen. But I am happy again at the news of a new baby entering the world. I find joy in my other children and in the children I see running around at church or at the park. I don’t spend so much time thinking about what I’m missing and instead try so much harder to live in the moment and enjoy what is happening in the here and now.

Something Craig said to me recently resonated. He said that losing Gregory helped him to see how truly fleeting the time is that we have with our children. And I agree. Sarah is already twelve. In 6 years, she will have graduated high school and will embark on an adult life. And it will be a snowball really because shortly thereafter, Dani and then Helen and basically all of our children will join her. When a new baby comes into our family and into our lives — it feels like we have forever. But Craig and I are reaching a point where we see that it’s not forever and raising our children is the most joyful and enriching blessing of all and we don’t want to miss a day of it. I think we could have figured that out without losing a child — but, I guess it was just time for God to make sure we understood it right then.

The last few days I have prayed and asked my baby boy’s intercession, along with our Blessed Mother. I asked for a sign of sorts and I asked for acceptance of God’s will in all things. I’m so grateful for all the prayers we have received for our friends and family here on Earth and the ones I feel certain we’ve had from our son and from others in Heaven that care about us and are in the presence of God. 

Today, in the mail, arrived a beautiful Rosary that Rebecca ordered to be made (by trendy Traditions) and sent to us.


Rebecca and her husband are Gregory’s godparents. We communicated a bit earlier than we normally do with regard to selecting godparents and I am really glad we did. I’m not glad that Rebecca and her husband had to have some grief along with us necessarily, but Rebecca has been such a strong and present friend during this time and I appreciate it more than I could ever express. And we might not have had this opportunity to grow together if not through this experience and if we hadn’t asked them about being godparents earlier in pregnancy.  

So, I guess I am glad the due date is finally here and is passing. No more looking in my planner at work and seeing the weeks tick by that I had written ahead of time. No more thinking about what stage of pregnancy I would be in, or that I would have been waddling. I have grateful thoughts — grateful for friends and family and prayers. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to get running again and set some goals and achieve them. I feel grateful that the door hasn’t closed on my childbearing years yet, though it feels like the door is closing with the passing of each day. I’m grateful for my children here on Earth who hug me the minute I walk through the door, give me kisses, tell me how much they love me and assure me that I am the best mommy in the whole world.

Life can provide Joy to equal the Sorrows.

I am linking to Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary and posting every day this week! Click HERE to see who else took the challenge!

Monday Mumbles – 48

Good Monday Morning. I’m writing these on Sunday night and if all went well, I went running this morning. 🙂

1. Finally bit the bullet and put Vincent in his crib, awake, screaming, kicking, crying — but to bed at the same time as all the rest of the kids. We have been far too lenient with this one…letting him come to bed with Momma, letting him stay up until 10 because he just wasn’t ready to go to bed. I wonder how long I can hold out and do this every night.

2. I hope you all had a wonderful Father’s day.

Craig and the kids

3. 5 minutes after I typed #1 above, I went to the boys’ room to pick Vincent up and soothe him down a bit. It didn’t work. I held him and told him, “It’s time to go to sleep. Big boys sleep in their own beds and go to bed without Mommy or Daddy holding them.” It only made him mad. Sigh.

4. 5 straight days of Crossfit last week will be topped, I hope, this week by 6 straight days. It’s weird. I don’t want to miss because I’m afraid I will lose something in the process. I actually did 20 box jumps up onto 20″ boxes on Friday. Then on Saturday did 15 more! Box jumps are a total mind-job, I think.

5. Sarah has her first summer league volleyball game tonight! I hope they do well!

6. Helen had her ballet performance Saturday night. I loved it! I even asked her if she wanted to reconsider giving up ballet and she said she did and she would like to still go. So I’ll be calling them this week to re-enroll her.  Here I am sitting with Dominic during one of the intermissions:


7. It is now about 8 minutes after I wrote #3 above and it’s quiet. Maybe Vincent is falling asleep?

8. Sarah has been watching the reality show, “Dance Moms.” I’m not sure what the draw is…but she watches it on the kids’ computer which is set up right next to my computer and I find myself watching it for minutes at a time. It’s like a train wreck!

9. We have entered this period of time where we can rely on Sarah to keep watch over the kids for an hour or two if we want. Sunday, this meant that Craig and I took a nap while Vincent napped. I haven’t taken a real nap (like, laid down in my bed and slept) in the afternoon in so long, let alone get a nap in with my husband! That was crazy. But in a good way.

10. My kids are really great. I took Sarah and Helen shopping for Father’s Day gifts. Sarah says, “Mom, Dad *really* needs a new pair of shorts!” so she bought him a nice pair of shorts. Helen says, “Mom, I want to give Dad a new coffee mug that he will use every day.” And, she bought him one. Seriously, Sarah and Helen handed me the money to pay for the gifts they bought their dad, and that was way cool. Dani learned two new songs (that were NOT Taylor Swift!) to play for her Dad for Father’s Day. I helped the boys out and got a couple things I knew Craig would appreciate for Father’s day to be from them.

Have a terrific Monday!!