Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wrap it up with a bow and send it off with a kiss

Today is the end of the always amazes me to write that out  It feels like the Y2K scare was just last year doesn't it, and here we are bracing for the start of 2012.  Gosh, thinking back to Y2K and all the "fear" is almost funny.  I was pregnant with Haven around that time (she was born in May) so I really only cared if there would still be popsicles if all the world's computers stopped working...popsicles helped with my morning sickness :)

So here we are, the end of another year and as I have stated before, I don't do resolutions because they get tossed aside like a prom dress.  So instead I will wrap up our year with a tidy little bow, and feel content that I think we did the best we could in our endeavors and we tried to live life to the fullest and appreciate what we have been given, well, at least most days we did!

This year had it's trials, mainly dealing with Finn's health issues and trying to figure out what was going on with him.  Now we know and have begun working through getting him what he needs, such as therapy and visits to specialists.  I will say, that he has come so so far, and back in July I would not have imagined we would be where we are.  He is still lagging in some areas, but I am watching him make progress every day and I am excited to see what he will accomplish in the coming year.  This year Grayson finished Kindergarten and started First, Brittan finished Third and started Fourth, and Haven finished Fifth and moved into Middle school.  They are great kids and doing well in school and they make me incredibly proud daily.  Teagan turned two and holy smokes she is a riot!  This kid is destined for something big, I can't explain it but there is just something about her personality and her wit (yes she has wit at two!) and she is smart and sweet and just naughty enough to keep me hopping. Oh and my Finny, he is such a sweet boy, smiley and happy and lately he has been showing a bit of a temper which makes me laugh.  These kids, without them our lives would be sad and lonely and boring, I am so very thankful for all they bring to us and for being lucky enough to be part of the team that is parenting them and hopefully raising them into five fantastic adults.

Personally work has been great and I am lucky enough to have my FT gig and PT gig.  I feel appreciated and respected at both and given that so many people are without work right now, I am thankful every day that I have my positions and that Ryan has his job and that we are both afforded flexibility in our schedules so we are able to be here for our kids.  I completed the first three chapters of my dissertation this year and had my first defense a few weeks ago and was approved with just a few small happy that I am moving forward!

Looking ahead I think this will be a big year for us.  We are meeting with a developer soon to discuss building our dream house.  We are also beginning to search for land to build that house on.  This summer we will either be moving or finalizing the house for us to move or rent it out since our cut off to move away is Summer 2013 due to the kid's ages and stages in schooling.  It is a scary and exciting time here as we begin these final steps, but it is time to make these changes for our family.

I wish you all a Happy and SAFE New Year, remember it is not about today or tomorrow, but all the days that follow.  Make resolutions to be present, open, joyous, and truthful as those are easy to keep, and remember to tell the people in your life that you love and appreciate them, you can't say it enough.

See ya on the flip side!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A disaster of epic proportions

I had a bright idea.  I thought we could load the kids up on Monday and head up to a few areas in West Virginia to see if any of the houses I saw online would be a good fit for our family.  I also wanted to see how the areas "felt" to us.

It started off badly and we should have stayed home, but we went anyway leaving late.  That meant we got to WV late, and stopped for lunch late, and the place was reaaaaaaaally slow, and the kids were restless and well, we should have come home, but we pressed on.  Then the houses sucked.  Well they were beautiful big houses on huge lots, but they were on the side of a mountain...not ideal for our needs.  Then we almost ran out of gas in my huge van in the middle of nowhere.  Disaster.

So we have come up with a different plan to look for houses and I think this is a better idea.  Hopefully within a year we will own new land and be on our way to building our dream home!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Very Merry

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, Hanukkah and holiday season.

The week was a whirlwind.  I had my first dissertation defense on Tuesday and was approved with only a handful of small changes...woohooo!  We then began holiday overdrive.

My parents arrived Thursday and on Friday the big girls went out for a special Nana day and Grayson had a special Papa day and well, the babies and I went to the grocery store :)

Saturday my sister and her family came and it was a total blast.  We were supposed to then go out to dinner for Ryan's birthday but we were beat so we ordered in and everyone watched Elf :)

Today was as mad as anyone can imagine Christmas morning with five kids would be.  The children were overwhelmed with their presents and completely overjoyed.  We had a nice family breakfast and then basically laid around all day and it was wonderful.

So thankful for my beautiful family, and the love and joy they bring me.  Hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season thus far...onward to new adventures tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cram in that holiday spirit

When I was a kid, finding the holiday spirit was easy.  Everything was done for kids, the displays, the songs, the cookies.  What I did not realize then was that someone actually had to make those things happen, and now as a mom, I have come to realize, sadly, that it is on me.

So I bake the cookies, a bazillion different kinds and 12 million dozen of each.  Then when the kids raid the freezer where they are stored and eat them all up, I bake a bazillion and one.  I wrap...and wrap....and wrap. Five kids plus lots of prezzies equals hours upon hours of wrapping, like 6 hours of was insane.  I have about three more things for my kids and then my parents, my niece and my nephew to go and we are officially done. and I can hang up my scissors and tape for another year.

So today I got up and out the door at 9 so I could run to the bigger town south of us and get the last few errands done.  I had three stores and the farm to go to and even leaving at 9, I would be lucky to be home by noon. Left the kids with the hubby and off I went.  Then I got to Best Buy and grabbed my stuff and wallet was missing.  Crap.  I then remembered that I put it on my end table last night before I began wrapping (again) and I didn't grab it on my way out the door.  I also did not have enough gas to get home since gas is cheaper in that town and I planned to fill up, if you know, I had a wallet.  The only saving grace was that I had the hubby's car and he had the big van, so he had to load everyone up and drive down to bring me my wallet.  It took them an hour, since they weren't dressed and well, they are slow, and by then I was in tears and stressed and I hadn't even had any coffee!  When he pulled up, I burst into tears like a baby because I had so much to do, and the hubby kindly offered to go to the farm for me to save me the extra drive and stop.  So off I went to the three stores, got what I needed and made it home to clean like mad and bake those replacement cookies.  Now getting ready to serve dinner and then work so that maybe, just maybe, tonight I can watch a festive show or movie to get more in the spirit.  Seriously, we need to get on that whole "elf" idea!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Being grateful

I am trying to see things from a new light since it can be so easy to allow "hardships" to get us down. See, we don't really have real hardships, we are never hungry or cold or unable to afford the things we really need...want yes, but need, those are always covered. I went to the foot/ankle doctor since the ankle I sprained in October when we were at Disney is still hurting.  The negative view-poor me, my ankle hurts and I have to wear a brace and may need surgery.  The positive view-How lucky am I that we got to go to Disney with the kids and that I have excellent health insurance so that I could go to the doctor when the pain got to be too much.

I, as usual around this time, am stressed about money after paying for Christmas.  Negative view-why don't we have more money so that I don't have to be stressed for no good reason.  Positive view-how lucky are we that we worked hard and saved and this year made enough to get the kids all their needs and most of their wants paid for in cash so we don't accumulate debt.

I also wish we could move, but sadly the market is just not there yet.  Negative view-Stupid housing market, we want to move and are paying an absurdly high mortgage for a house we don't want.  Positive view-How thankful I am that we bought a big, yet in need of major work, house when we only had two kids in a great school district.  Then we fixed the house up and made it a home, and while not ideal, it is ours and we are comfortable.  Also we are not terribly underwater like so many friends and even though our mortgage is very high, somehow we manage to pay it.

Another huge stress right now is work since it is the end of the term.  So much to do, grading out PT school and getting FT school tucked away for the week off.  Then there is my school that is demanding and Ryan's job that has been on the edge for two years.  Negative view-I am so overwhelmed, there is too much to do.  Why don't we know about Ry's job will they ever tell us if layoffs are happening?  Positive view-We are so lucky to HAVE jobs!  I have a FT and a PT that are consistent and reliable.  The PT gig even has me developing online courses for them so I can teach more, so very lucky!  Ryan has a job still two years after layoffs started and we know that if he gets laid off we get a good severance package and I can switch us over to my company for benefits.

These last six months with waiting on Finn's results and navigating the possible outcomes have taught me to look at all we do have, and when I do, we are very lucky and blessed.  I hope you are lucky and blessed too and can see all you have and not what you don't.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

As if I wasn't busy enough this week

you know, with closing out classes at PT school, kid's events, the FT job and oh, you know, Christmas to prep for...I now have my first dissertation defense on Tuesday.

The first three chapters are done and ready.  The outline for the presentation is ready.  I am just not sure I am ready!  I have to put the powerpoint together tomorrow and finalize it Friday.  I will then write my "script" so I can be prepared for the presentation.  I am beyond nervous, not because I think it will go badly, I mean, my committee has seen everything up until this point, but because the presentation includes a defense and one of my committee members can be really hard to deal with.

So very nervous, but also anxious to get over this hurdle!

Monday, December 12, 2011

What a week of ups and downs!

Oh last week, you were a bear to deal with!  It started with one of our blow up decorations being stolen on Monday night, then two days of horrific rain, one kid's bus hitting a mailbox, another kid's basketball game and then Thursday night the people came back and stole our awesome Santa plane and in the process destroyed almost everything else.  Poor kids were destroyed Friday morning.  We pulled it together the best we could, I gathered what we could save and moved it and then headed out to get the groceries for a get together we were having Saturday.

I stayed up all night Friday to keep an eye on things so that the kids would not have to wake up to something upsetting again.  Thankfully nothing happened and Saturday we went to the pancake breakfast at the kid's school, which we do every year, and then came home and cooked and cleaned and prepped for the party that night.  Time came and guests arrived and the yucky stuff from the earlier days disappeared as kids had fun with friends, ate tons of sweets and had a blast.  The adults all seemed to have fun too and after everyone left we all collapsed into bed!  Sunday was quiet, we cleaned up some more and basically hung around the house to recover from all that fun.  Around dinner the doorbell rang and out next door neighbors were there with four HUGE blowups that they no longer used.  My kids were thrilled and I was so touched.  It was so sweet to bring them over and the kids felt so loved and we were able to tell them again that while there are terrible, Grinchy people in the world, we choose to surround ourselves with amazing, kind and wonderful people and that is what the holidays are about.  So thankful for the kindness of friends for lifting my children's spirits!

Today was quiet.  Britt had a sore throat and stayed home andFinn had his first day of therapy. It went really well, he was cooperative and seemed to react well to the therapist.  Today was educational therapy, basically we are working on communication and cognitive skills, tomorrow the physical therapist will come and I think she will be thrilled to see some of the skills Finn has been working on.  We are so thankful for access to excellent doctors, services and support through this whole process.  Finn is such an amazing little boy, he is so determined and that overrides the limitations his condition provides.  We watch him work daily to fight against the weak muscles or poor coordination to get that toy or climb up that item, etc.  He will not be held back, and that is amazing to watch.

Today, today is a good day.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Here is the thing...

I love my family. Like LOVE them to bits and pieces and think they are the best people in the whole wide world.  Don't get me wrong, they have their faults, but I really, really love them.

So that is why I get so damned pissed when people screw with them.  Like, seriously pissed the hell off.  Finn turned one on Saturday and not one.single.member of my husband's family even called to wish him a happy birthday.  Is calling expensive or hard?  Nope.  Oh, did I mention that not one.single.member of his family has SEEN the baby?!  Yep, not one.  So how do you think that makes my husband feel, that his mother, father and brothers have not seen his youngest child yet?  Yeah, makes him feel pretty crappy.  How do you think that makes my kids feel, that their grandparents and uncles have nothing to do with them?  Yep, pretty crappy. How does that make me feel....angry.

But see here is the thing....all those people are the ones who are missing out.  They don't get to know my amazing, smart, sweet, funny and kind kids.  They miss all the cute stories and all the accomplishments.  They will not be invited to graduations and weddings and they will have no place in the lives of these children when they grow into adults and go on to do amazing things with their lives.  See, you don't get to miss calling for first days of school, birthdays, dance recitals and award ceremonies and get included.  You don't get a place in their hearts when you don't care that they almost died from an allergic reaction, that they needed an MRI, are hospitalized or that they have been going through major genetic testing and scaring their parents out of their wits.  See, in the end, you lose.

WE are fine.  WE don't NEED you, heck, at this point, we don't WANT you.  See, we are stable and successful.  We pay our bills and do just fine. We educated ourselves, we worked hard, we built our lives around our kids and know we will be parents FOREVER, because it takes that kind of commitment.  We have a support system and we know that when OUR kids are grown, we will be in their lives and we will have a place in their hearts.  WE know that when we are old, our kids will take care of us.  WE know that we are doing a damn good job of raising good people, it is too bad YOU don't get to know how they turn out.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

One year old!

I cannot believe it, but today our sweet Finny turns ONE!

We are so lucky to not only have been blessed with five children to love and raise, but with some of the greatest kids around.  So thankful that Finn joined our family, our life and family is complete with his addition and I am so happy to welcome him into his next year!  Happy birthday Captain!

Friday, December 2, 2011

What a day!

It was quite the day today.  It started off innocently enough, the three big kids left for school and I planned to get some cleaning, laundry and Christmas baking done since I just had the two littles.  I was feeling a bit rough since both babies and I had colds, but I figured it was because it was morning so I brewed the coffee and got down to business.

Then the babies fell apart, at like 8:30 am.  They were two mini meltdowns, both sobbing all the time, Teagan screamed at me incessantly about nothing, they wanted to be held, put down, carried, sung to, read to, backs rubbed, didn't want to be touched. it.was.awful.

Somehow we magically made it through lunch, during which poor Finny fell asleep in his highchair.  I put them both to bed, started to make my lunch and put a batch of cookies in the oven to bake and was looking forward to sitting on the couch for an hour and just being still.  Then the phone rang, and it was the genetics counselor from Children's Hospital with Finn's tests results.

We found out that he has the dominant form of cutis laxa, which surprised us a bit since I don't have any symptoms except my heart and none of the other kids have the symptoms.  We were relieved because this form tends to be more mild, but it is also incredibly, incredibly rare as in only a few families are known to have it worldwide. So, now we need to get everyone else tested to see if we just have the deletion that causes the heart condition or if somehow things changed for Finn and that is why he has more organs involved and other issues.  This is going to be quite the ride, we already have the ball rolling on physical therapy, but now we need to be aware of other health concerns.  Only time will tell us how Finn will be impacted, but I hope that the information they have is correct and that the form Finn has is less damaging.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So fast yet so slow

Four days.  In four short days Finn will turn one.  I can't even believe I just typed that.  One.  Where did this year go?  It seems like yesterday that I was laying in bed, hugely pregnant, playing games all night long the night before my c-section.  I remember being nervous about the surgery, after all it was my fourth c-section and it was so close to Teagan's that I was scared that something could go wrong.  I remember worrying about my doctor, this was the first birth I had without my old OB who I trusted immensely and had a fantastic relationship with, and this was going to be in a different hospital as well so I wouldn't know their procedures or how everything would work.  I was also excited.  I couldn't wait to see Finn, hold him in my arms right up next to my heart.  To see his sweet fingers and toes and finally get to see the little person who I had gotten to know through kicks and squirms.  There is something surreal about those nights before a scheduled delivery, staring at a clear cut threshold of moving from pregnant to new mom that makes the night sort of magical.

Here we sit almost a year later.  It feels like just yesterday, but it also feels like we have had Finn so much longer.  It has been tough at times.  He scared the life out of me on my birthday when he had the episode that kicked off all of the testing and examinations.  That day is etched in my mind forever, there is nothing like seeing your little baby unresponsive and so very still.  I am thankful we had a pediatrician who saw us right away and who got the ball moving.  The first stop was cardiology since we knew he had a murmur, and then blood work.  Cardiology revealed a more significant heart defect than we had suspected, the same one I have although his is in a different location on the aorta and is impacting his valve a bit.  Blood work was pretty normal which was a good sign at the time.  Then Finn decided he was over the growing thing and just stopped.  Didn't grow at all, didn't gain an ounce, didn't make any developmental gains and generally he was floppy.  We called him snake boy or rubber boy because he could bend all sorts of strange ways and he never felt solid in our arms, always more like a newborn and not like an infant of nearly 8 months.  It was frustrating since he was eating like mad and not sleeping at all and the pediatrician kept telling us to feed him more even though he easily out ate my bigger kids most days.  Genetics had come up a few times in conversations with cardiology, so we decided it was time and took him to Children's Hospital.  The team there was great and immediately saw that he had some characteristics of an elastin deficiency.  The loose skin, poor muscle tone and hypermobility being key, as well as the heart defect, potentially a hypermetabolism and a few other things keyed them in to a fairly rare disorder.  We began the testing and are still waiting for results to see if we have founded which form of the disorder he may have.  It is hard because the prognosis is unknown and the range is everything from normal to fatal.  He seems healthy, happy and aside from some delays we believe he is doing well.  He is a bit behind in some areas and seems more like a 9 month old than a 12 month old so we have begun the process of early intervention to see if we can get services for physical and/or speech therapy to help him catch up and work on some of the muscle tone issues, and once we are sure of the diagnosis we will see a pulmonalogist to ensure his lungs are doing well.  This part of the year, the medical unknowns and the process we are working through has been hard emotionally, but day in and day out, that is not our focus.

Our sweet Finn is an amazing little boy.  He is bright and determined, strong willed and happy, snuggly and sweet.  He rarely cries or fusses, is quick with a smile and engages anyone he meets.  Our family is better for having Finn.  He has captured our hearts and is loved so deeply by all six of us.  Finn is fought over by the big kids, they love to kiss on him, hold him, play with him and snuggle with our easy going boy.  Teagan is his biggest fan.  She loves him whole heartedly.  She lights up when she sees him, loves to be silly and make him laugh and says at least 10 times a day "My Finny loves me!"  She loves to hug him and help him, so much so that she stole the spoon out of his yogurt today to feed him when Ryan turned away for a moment.  I love that they have each other, I was a bit sad for her when I realized that she would not have anyone close in age, but fate knew better and just 16 months later she had a buddy and a friend.

Four days.  Again so close and so far away. I cannot wait to sing Happy Birthday for my boy and help blow out his candles.  He can have the wish, I will be taking that moment to be so very thankful.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Truly Thankful

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with their friends and family!

We enjoyed the day at my sister's house with her family and my parents, it was a wild start and end of the day but the in between was perfect!

I am thankful for my husband who deals with my special brand of crazy and who works his rear off for our family.

I am thankful for each of the five special little souls we have been blessed to call our own.  I am thankful that we are able to be present to parent them, and that they are each their own unique little person.

I am thankful for our health and stability and that have jobs and a roof over our head.

I am thankful for friends and family who support us and hold our hands and lend an ear when we need it.

I am thankful that I do not have to worry that we have enough to eat, or that we have heat or that are safe, so many are not so fortunate.

And today I am especially thankful for Finn's continued development and growth. While he is a bit behind in some areas, others he is right one track for, because today...on boy took his first steps! Not only did he take a step or two, he did it again and again and again and got up to SIX steps today!  So very thankful for sharing that moment with my husband, parents and sister.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'll post the "thankful" post tomorrow

Today I am thinking...WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

It has been a crazy few days.  Ryan ended up working Monday night which totally threw off both our schedules since I teach that night too.  The Haven's EEG was cancelled for today which really was a blessing in disguise since we have been crazy busy.

Yesterday I worked and poor Ryan tried to catch a few ZZZs.  I took Gray to Cub Scouts only to find no one was there, so ran him home and grabbed Haven to hit the grocery store.  Got that stuff home and put away, kids shuffled to bed and then I sat up until 2 am working on the changes to Chapter 3 of the dissertation.  I would have made more progress if my Excel had not been going wonky, but progress was made.

The hubby let me sleep in until 9:30..woohoo.  Got up and managed another hour on the dissertation, then lunch for kids and we headed to the farm and the hubby headed to bed since he works tonight.  Farm run was rough since it was crazy windy and we drive a van the size of the Titanic so staying on the road where I wanted to be was an adventure.  Came home and whipped up a yellow cake so we can celebrate Finn's upcoming FIRST! birthday tomorrow with the family.  I, of course, decided to make a turtle shaped cake, so I have to figure out when I will assemble it tonight.  Dinner was put in the crockpot before we left, but the dial was turned from High to Low by some small person who will not admit they did it. so I am not sure what we will do for dinner!  I have sweet potatoes boiling for tomorrow and still need to make the dough for the cinnamon rolls we are bringing.  Oh did I mention I have about 2 hours more work on my dissertation!  All in all it will get done and tomorrow I will be truly thankful!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting in the holiday spirit

So we are gearing up for the holidays around here.  I already set out the outside decorations and just need one more thing and then we will have everything set to go the day after Thanksgiving.  I have made three kinds of Christmas cookies which are tucked inside the back deep freeze and will make at least three more kinds this weekend.  I usually make 6-9 kinds ahead and then have about 3 that I need to make the week of Christmas as they don't freeze well.  Most years we average a dozen kinds of cookies, which may seem crazy but every time I try to pare it down, someone remembers a favorite that I have to make and I hate to disappoint them. I don't mind making the cookies, while it can be a lot of work, I love the traditions we are keeping alive.  My mom always made a bunch of cookies, and I remember helping her in the kitchen and loving being a part of it all.  Now that my girls are getting older, they are helping out too and they get so happy when I call them in, assign them their task and they get to tell everyone that they helped make the yummy cookie they are eating :)

This week we have a million things going on, but the end of the week will be great with Thanksgiving at my sister's house and then a quiet Friday here at home with the family.  Then Saturday and Sunday we will rake the backyard, a HUGE undertaking, but the three big kids can help and hopefully it will all get done.

Now I need to get back to my busy day.  Babies are napping and so is the hubby who is working tonight to help out a coworker (overlapping with my teaching at PT school, THAT will be interesting!) and I still need to finish making the chicken and wild rice soup for tonight and some biscuits to go with it.  Oh and the bathroom needs cleaning, just being honest :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Life has been full lately.  Work calls.  Science Fairs.  Basketball practices.  All those little things that add up when you have a brood of kids, plus all the cleaning and cooking that takes place daily.  I have been appreciating the mundane, it distracts my mind and does not allow me to have extra time to Google and research the medical journals.

Still no news from genetics.  The poor receptionist was so sad when she had to tell me this week there were no results yet, I think she could hear my angst on the phone and did not want to be the bearer of bad news. I get it, it is a process, but I am still having a hard time waiting.  The funny thing is, even when we get the results, it doesn't mean we will have any more information.  I mean, we know he has this disorder, the tests may or may not tell us which form, and even if it does, there is so little information we still won't know his prognosis.  Yeah, so I am waiting and stressing for no real reason since I won't learn anything new.

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving.  The small reprieve from work Thursday followed by what I am hoping will be a quiet day Friday laying around watching movies with the kids.  Fingers crossed I can avoid a cleaning frenzy :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Just cook

So when I am overwhelmed or stressed I cook and bake, which is funny because when I am overwhelmed and stressed I can't eat.  Basically in this situation, the family totally benefits from elaborate homemade meals and baked from scratch goodies.  Two days ago it was cranberry, white chocolate, cinnamon bread for snack and crab cakes for dinner, yesterday it was from scratch chocolate mint brownies and lemon chicken.  There is something about cooking and baking that is calming to my soul, the act of putting all these pieces together to make something delicious is very satisfying.  It speaks to the control freak I am, when I cannot control a situation, I find something I can have total control over and manipulate into what I want it to be.

Oddly enough I have not begun the holiday baking.  Usually by now I have at least four kinds of cookies tucked away inside the freezer (I make a bunch that freeze really well ahead) and have my list for the last 8 or so kinds and the schedule.  No list has even been made yet, and no plan to start baking.  Maybe I will find inspiration later this week, or maybe we will just not have a dozen kinds of cookies this year, I will have to see how everything turns out.  I have purchased about 75% of the gifts so that is a relief, but this year I am having a hard time getting ready for the holidays.  I can't seem to wrap my head around the fact that Thanksgiving is only two weeks away, it just seems unreal right now.  I have become one of those people with that far away stare when they are out and about, glazed over and huddled deep inside myself, the holiday spirit may be hard to drag out this year but somehow it will happen and I am sure no one will know the internal struggle it took to achieve holiday magic.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I associate a lot of life with certain songs, as I am sure many people do.

When I think of my husband, I think of "our" song that we danced to at our wedding and many nights in our first apartment when I was expecting Haven and scared out of my wits.  That song is "Yours" by Blues Travelers.  Every time I hear it I smile, knowing that even nearly 12 years later, I know that I can put it on and he will dance with me and the world will melt away.

Each of my kids has a song that I sing them regularly, "Good Morning Starshine" from Hair for  Haven, "Where are You Going" from Godspell for Brittan, ""Sweet Baby James" by James Taylor for Gray (although I change it to say "Sweet baby Gray") and "Castle on a Cloud" from Les Miserables for Teagan (I change the name from Cosette to Teagan). But for Finn we always sang one of our repertoire, sometimes "Edelweiss" or "Your Are My Sunshine"-the extended version, but nothing ever fit as his song until now :)

Lately the song "The Story" lyrics speak to me when I think of my sweet Finn.  I have to remember that no matter what, regardless of the hurdles we face with him, he was meant to be mine and he is perfect as he is.  The song makes me cry, but in a good way, because when I hear it I know there are no mistakes in life and that I was meant to be his mama and he was meant to be my little boy, and together than means more than any diagnosis or test.

Finding the peace today with it all, it may only last the day, but I am doing what I can with what I have.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Guilt and Fault

I have been avoiding coming here, writing here, because I am afraid to say too much, share too much about how I am feeling right now.  Blogging has always been a good outlet, a place to put it all down, but I never dealt with the strength of emotions that I have right now, and I have been unsure of how to process it all.

I am terrified.  I am terrified for what is to come and what it will mean for our family.  I don't know if I can do a lifetime of waiting for the bad to happen.  I don't know if I can deal with waiting for my baby's lungs to fail, and then have to wait and hope for new lungs for him.  How do you do that?  How do you wait and hope for something that has to come at the expense of another?  How do you prepare for a future that may hold that kind of distorted hope?  I don't have patience, I need to do something, try something, fix something, but this situation I can't.  If we get the best case scenario for Finn we will still need to wait to see when his heart needs to be repaired, wait to see if he gets emphysema, wait to see if any other organs have issues or fail.  It is terrifying.  I have researched, read, reviewed every article I can on the disorder they think he has, the positive and negative of access to a university library system.  It is never good news.  The incidence of this disorder is so low that there is minimal data which means we have no idea what will happen long term.  Terrifying.

Then there is the guilt.  The guilt sneaks up on me in my long rides to and from PT school.  All that time in the car thinking about this sweet little boy of mine and what the future holds leads me straight to guilt. Why my Finny?  I cried when I found out I was pregnant with him, is that why?  Teagan was only 9 months old, I had just been told I had to rewrite part of my comp exams for my doctorate and I cried.  I was trying to find my footing as a mom of four and then five was coming.  I was scared, and worried and so cried and wished the test wasn't positive.  I was selfish and didn't want to be pregnant again so soon, lose my body for 9 more long months and then face another year of nursing.  I cried then, and now I cry for the guilt I feel for ever thinking that our lives did not need Finn, that he is not exactly what we all needed.  I think, on those long rides, was it because I was not happy he was coming?  Am I being punished for that? Am I being punished for choices I made years ago? Why my Finn, why is he going to have to deal with this if I was wrong?  He is an innocent happy baby, why is he paying for my actions?  Oh how the guilt comes in and takes over on those rides, the tears come while I am alone and no one can see and when I pull in the driveway it takes all I have to push through the door to face this life that is terrifying me right now, but I do.

Change for us is coming.  We are standing on the line right now as a family, hands held tight, one force ready to take this on.  We will change our entire universe for this boy, we will move, quit jobs, do everything we can to help him.  When that phone rings and we get results, it will be a new life for all of us, a new reality and focus.  When we find out, guilt will need to be banished so we can gather our strength as a family and fight for our boy.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I lied

OK, I meant to post more but I really have been busy...sorry to the one person who checks in here :)

So anyway, kids had a great Halloween.  I wasn't home since I teach that night but they looked super cute and they came home with a load of candy, so I call that a success.

I am almost 2/3 of the way through my Christmas shopping for the Fab Five.  I cannot express how happy that makes me.  Having all of the "stuff" tucked away early allows me to actually enjoy the holiday season, so by the end of this month I want each and every item off my list.

We are still waiting for Finn's test results and I am all out of patience.  It has been 7 weeks today and I just want to know what the findings are.  We talked to the genetics counselor and she told us to be prepared for more testing after this round, so we may have more waiting in our future.  Of course, being proactively crazy, I used these last 7 weeks to obsessively research the conditions they are testing for.  The hard part is that the best case scenario is his current heart condition and eventual surgery, his low muscle tone (which will mean various therapies in the future) and a high likelihood of his lungs being impacted and him suffering early emphysema.  This is the good outcome, so you can only guess what the worst case scenario is.  I am focusing on the here and now.  Now he is a smily, happy, easy going baby.  Now he is meeting most milestones on time or only slightly behind.  Now he lights up when any of us walk in the room.  Now he seems healthy and he is growing well.  Now is what matters.  However....should his results come back less than desirable I plan to sell our house ASAP for whatever we can get and move to the country where we can totally focus on family and not have our crazy work schedules.  Just saying, I have one foot out the door because I will not waste one more second on the trivial should something really be wrong.

OK, that is all I can spew today, off to play with my littles!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Just the beginning

Oh how I love Fall.  There is something about the shorter days, the crisp air and all those pumpkins and apples that make me swoon.  When Fall begins to really hit here in Virginia, like it has this week, it makes me almost giddy.  Even though we had a long week full of sick people and no sleep, the air has gotten brisk and I can feel it one true love, winter.

Fall is great because it reminds me of growing up back in NY.  The smells, the rituals of the holidays and the simpleness of it all makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Fall then gives way to Winter which is my favorite time of the year, hunkered down in a house with a roaring fire, baking bread and my favorite people...throw in snow for a super bonus!

We have begun welcoming Fall this weekend.  Today the kids and I did a big clean then we broke out the Halloween decorations and even went out to pick up some extra decorations.  Teagan is that great age where she is super into the holidays, so we went a bit overboard decorating the inside of the house, but she is beyond thrilled screaming "My Hallo-eeeney" when she sees everything.  I also made the kids cookies and let them frost them with orange icing and decorate with Halloween sprinkles...they had a blast.  I have been baking more this week and today made a batch of dough that we will use to make pizza pockets for dinner.  Tomorrow will be our first real Fall feast with roast chicken, stuffing and acorn squash for dinner and then apple turnovers with pumpkin ice cream for dessert.

Bring it on, the crunchy leaves, the cool air, bring me Fall so we can get to Winter!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I never thought I would fall off the daily blogging wagon, but it has happened.  It is not for lack of things to say, we have plenty going on here, but more that I have taken to keeping a lot very close to myself and not allowing many people in.  Right now is hard for me.  Right now we are waiting for Finn's genetics results and I am working through a lot of fear and guilt.  Right now I am still reeling from the cardiologist visit a few weeks ago and my fears that we are approaching surgery way sooner than I had ever imagined for Finn.  Right now, a lot is going on in my head, and it is just too much to put out in a post, and the stuff that is more bloggable  (is that a word?) seems minute compared to what I am running through in my mind.

We did have an exciting week last week...we were in DISNEY!  I must say a week at Disney with the fab five was a welcome, but exhausting, change of pace.  The littles were awesome, they seemed to have a great time and took nice naps in strollers and on rides.  I am so thankful those two are easily adaptable.  The big kids had a great time too, and the best part was my parents came down with us and helped up with dinners, kid sitting and park fun.  It was such a good trip that Ryan and I finally broke down and bought a timeshare.  Travelling with the kids is tough unless we have at least a two bedroom suite, and timeshares are the best choice overall, so this was a smart move for us.  I am hoping to use the timeshare for one of our summer trips this year and I am looking at renting a beach house in the Outer Banks for our crew for summer as well.  The beach trips are the best, super relaxing, no running around, just hanging at the beach and sound during the day and sitting on the deck at night.

Anyway, that is where we have been.  I will try to update more often and will post a story on my sprained ankle at Disney soon...anyone that knows me in real life knows how embarrassing that was for me!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Yesterday Ryan and I needed to bring the two youngest to the cardiologist for checkups.  Teagan had a pulmonary valve that wasn't working perfectly when she was born, but the doctors believed she would out grow it by two.  Her doc could still hear the murmur so we had to go check things out and thankfully she was given a clear bill of health and we were told that the sound persists, but the valve is working perfectly! I was so relieved as out of the five kids, four have had to see the cardiologist and now all the girls are cleared.

For Finn we are monitoring a more significant defect.  We are thrilled the little guy has grown even more, pushing 20 lbs at long last!  We told the cardio that he was being tested for elastin deficiencies related to his heart defect and cutis laxa which impacts multiple organs in the body including the skin, heart, lungs and gastrointestinal system.  She examined him and noted the same things the geneticist saw, his skin texture, his hypermobility and low muscle tone.  The form of cutis laxa they believe he has is very rare, and seeing it combined with his heart issue which we believe to be genetic is even more unusual.  I am glad we are getting the testing done so we now what might be coming down the path, sadly elastin is in almost all our organs and when multiple organs are impacted, we need to be vigilant in our care for him,  and proactive in his health.

Sadly when they did his echocardiogram we did not get the same good news that we did with Teagan's.  They measure the severity of his narrowing in his aorta using a gradient which correlates to pressure.  There are different levels of SVAS and while his is still in the mild range, his gradient as a whole increased 5 full points in less than 4 months.  With the rapid growth babies go through, we are anticipating this happening again and we may be looking at stepping up into the moderate range of his blockage when he goes back in February.  As I have the same heart condition, I know the importance of the gradient and had hoped his had remained stable, seeing such a big jump in such a short time frame worries me.  While I knew that surgery is more of a when and not an if, I really hoped he would be more like me and get to wait until he was well into adulthood to face the surgery, but it is not looking as promising.  The good part is he is still considered mild and there is the possibility that we will not see a change in February, but I believe we may be facing surgery before his tenth birthday and possibly even sooner than that if the gradient continues to rise or further impedes his valve from opening and closing properly.

The surgery he would need is pretty invasive.  It is open heart surgery and has all the complications and healing issues associated with that type of surgical intervention.  The surgery works well and is performed enough that I am confident he will be fine once it happens, but it just stinks knowing it is coming.  Add to that his other concerns, one of which is if the cutis laxa will impact healing for him, or if it will affect his lungs in any way (emphysema is common in kids) makes me a little scared, but we are focusing on the positive and will handle the rest when it comes at us.

Developmentally Finn is on track.  He pulls up on everything and cruises the furniture.  He self feeds, he plays well, he is reactive and silly, so the rest is secondary.  I wish I could express the joy he brings us every day, he has a huge smile with big squishy cheeks, he laughs and hugs and loves to be played with.  He is my snuggly baby, happy in my arms at any time and he finally, finally, FINALLY is sleeping a bit better!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

This week on Raising the Tribe

I have never been at a loss of stuff to blog, but lately time and appropriate, ie non-whiny blog fodder has been lacking. is what we have been up to.

Dad seems to be feeling better today which is a big relief, I am hoping this is a new trend because he is never ever sick and we were getting worried that the surgery caused more damage.

I took Finn for his blood test Friday.  He was less than cooperative.  We now get to wait 6-8 weeks for the results which we expect to confirm his diagnosis.  Then we wait to see how the disorder affects his body.  Oh and both babies have check ups at the cardiologist Monday, we know how to party around here.

Work has been busy, but they are finally giving us real vacation time which equates to five weeks off a year for me.  That is crazy since I am used to working on every vacation we go on, one of the many "joys" of working from home.  Needless to say, we leave in a few weeks for a trip to see a cute mouse and I will not be working for the first time in SIX years of family vacations.  I am already looking at what we can do next spring and summer, it is liberating!

Kids are all doing well, so well in fact that they are loud and crazed most of the time they are home which is making the mama have to work really hard to find the good parts of the day.  I know it is a phase, but they seriously need to stop fighting and being loud or I am moving into the shed out back.

We are again exploring places to live.  We like the idea of staying here for the kids, but to maintain the lifestyle we enjoy, and to keep five kids in clothes, food, activities and the general good life they enjoy, it means I would have to keep working as much as I am now.  I really would like to find somewhere cheaper to live, so we are trying to see if there is anywhere that will work that will make me, the kids and Ryan happy.  Still waiting to see what happens at his job, he says it is very quiet which may mean they are getting closed down soon which will give us more choices in where we go.

So that is it in a nutshell.  I have a wicked headache today and need to go out later to get an orange shirt for Grayson and make campaign posters for Haven who is running for a school officier position, and it is gloomy as heck.  I am dealing with the dinner issue by throwing a pork roast in the crockpot to make my favorite gloomy day pulled pork, and hopefully I can get motivated to make biscuits.  Happy Sunday.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Getting old sucks

Ugh.  That is what I have to say.  My dad had his surgery Friday and is home but still not feeling great so they are trying to see what might be going on.  We also got the paperwork for Finn's blood test from the geneticist.  Boy am I glad that they included all the information on what they are testing them for, nothing like having every possible complication laid out in black and white to make you feel at ease.  Scheduled the blood test for after playgroup this week, and then we wait at least 6 weeks for results to confirm the diagnosis. Sometimes being a grownup sucks.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apple of my eye

I slept last night.  I slept a lot.  All the stress of stuff with my Dad, Finn, work crap, school stuff....all of it faded away last night when I went to bed at 8:30.  Yes I had to feed Finn through the night, but holy cow, sleeping from 8:30 until 7 was pure bliss even with the four or five wake up calls from the little man!

Today I woke a different person than I have been for the last few months.  I felt pretty good, calmer, happier, easier and it was nice.  We managed to get it together for the whole family to walk out the door with everything we needed and a lunch packed and hit the road to Apple Country up in the Northwest corner of the state.  We headed to our favorite apple farm, Marker Miller Orchards, for some family apple picking.  This awesome little farm is located a few minutes from my sister's house, and while we didn't plan for it, they were able to stop by the farm for a quick visit before heading off for my nephew's karate class.  My crew had a great time, we picked about 60 lbs of apples which is half of what we normally get, but I was nervous about getting too much since we are leaving on a trip in a few weeks.  Kids played on the playground, we got a load of apples and we had a really nice day out.

Got home, fed the kiddos and prepped for school tomorrow and then Ryan and I broke out the apple peeler/slicer/corer and got to work on the first batch of applesauce, which is cooked and waiting to be canned tomorrow.  This year we will can applesauce and sliced apples in syrup, and we will also dry a bunch of apple slices that we use in granola bars and oatmeal all winter.  Looking back now, I am thinking we should have grabbed another 20 lbs...time will tell if we make the 3 hour round trip drive  again next weekend :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today was not my BFF

I have thought for awhile about posting what it is like to have a larger than average family, you know, the extra cooking, cleaning and laundering, but today I am just not up to it.  It has been a long and tiring day full of meetings, work, little ones, cooking, fighting to get my picky eater to eat, dishes, homework and phone calls.  Finally heard back from Children's Hospital regarding the genetic testing, insurance denied me getting the test but approved Finn so we need to go in for the blood work and then sit tight for 6-8 weeks for results, no sweat right?  Hubby talked to his mom who is a mess and ended up incredibly stressed after the call since she is falling apart and there is nothing we can do at this point to help and not much we will be able to do once everything completely explodes.  Then we topped off the evening with a call from my mom telling me my father's stress test went poorly and he needs to have a catheterization Friday to see what is going on...swell.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Welcome to September!

It has been almost two weeks since I have blogged, that may be a new record!

We have been busy getting the school year underway.  Haven is loving Middle School and has adjusted well.  She is making new friends and is liking the freedom that comes with being a bit older.  I am hoping this is a great year for her full of new experiences, friends, learning and fun.

Brittan and Gray are settling back into school too.  Grayson loves his teacher and is enjoying first grade and Brittan is off and running in fourth.  I expect they will both have great years as well.

I am liking my schedule at PT school.  I was worried about having to be on campus three days a week, but I really like teaching the senior level class and I enjoy leaving after the kids have gone to school and getting home before them, it makes for a less chaotic day for everyone.  The babies are doing well with the schedule too and I feel like I have more time to work and get chores done now, I even have the babies in a playgroup on Friday and they had a lot of fun last week.

Lately I have been working on preparing for Christmas.  I know it is only September, but with five kids and busy schedules, I need to plan ahead.  Shopping is underway and I think the babies will be done by the end of the month.  The big kids are always more of a challenge, so I will start on them after our trip to Disney in October.  I am also thinking of hosting a Christmas Open House here this year, just a get together of friends with yummy cookies and treats and company, sounds like it could be fun :)

Of course I cannot let today go by without mentioning the anniversary of September 11th.  I, like most of us, remember all too clearly the horror of that day and the great sense of sadness and fear we all felt.  Of course in the days that followed we also learned of the bravery of so many, both those in uniform and those regular citizens, and I hold onto that as I explain the significance of today to my older children.  I do not want them to be afraid, but want them to understand why this day is so important and how it impacted all Americans and people around the world. In my care are four children who were not born on that day 10 years ago and one who was just a year old at the time, so to them it is just a day we talk about, but I hope that as they grow and they learn more, they walk away understanding that violence is never the answer and that bravery comes in so many forms and actions.  I am thankful today for those that strove to save others through their choices, I think of the many families for who today brings them great sadness and loss and I hope that we never see something so horrible again in any of our lifetimes.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quick Updates

Tonight was my first night back at PT school and I am tired.  Bonus is that I get to go again tomorrow...and Thursday.

So here is a quickie update:
1.  Earthquake aftershocks suck, but have slowed and are barely noticeable anymore.
2. Hurricane Irene came and went.  Kids and I left town and headed to my sister's as a just in case, but somehow our area did not lose power or have damage. Ryan says the big bands that caused issues in Richmond slid around our town and missed us :)
3. Back to school craziness begins this week, I am back at PT school and we have MS orientation Wednesday and meet the teacher at the elementary school Thursday.  Busy busy.
4.  I do believe Finny has grown a bit, an outfit I put on him today seemed a bit short.  Mind you it is a one piece green striped Mini Boden outfit I got him for around Christmas last year, you know when he was three weeks old.  It WAS a bit big on him then, but he really is a peanut and hasn't grown since March or so.  *sigh*

That's it, let the craziness begin!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Things here have been crazy and busy and emotionally filled with big time highs and just as big lows the last two weeks.

Finn-Saw genetics, posted about it, basically we are riding this one out and waiting to see what happens when the testing is done.  I am crazy worried about his cardiology appointment next month, for some reason I feel like things have changed, but that could be my paranoia.  He has started babbling more and he is still a big, doughy, ball of sunshine.

Gray-He turned 7 last Saturday and his day was negatively impacted by my stupid Father in law.  I won't write much on it since I don't want to upset my husband, but this man is the most selfish person I have ever met in my life and I am tired of him choosing anything and everything over his son and grandchildren, one of which he has yet to meet.  He totally screwed up our plans, but we fixed them as best we could on Gray's actual birthday and then had a great day Sunday, we bowled with his friend's family, went to Cold Stone Creamery and then scoped out some land we were interested in.

Earthquake. We felt it, it was super weird and it was located only about 50 miles from our home.  Being that we are used to crazy explosions, low flying military aircraft and the occasional sounds of machine gun fire in the distance thanks to a local military base, it is saying a lot that this threw us.  Thankfully there was no damage and aside from the aftershocks that are a touch off putting, the earthquake is behind us.

The hurricane.  We are waiting to see what tomorrow brings, but it appears we are in the line of fire here.  Being that we have a very wooded lot with old mature trees that sit on a hill behind our house, we are planning to leave and stay at my sister's house on the west side of the state.  While I am not afraid of a hurricane, I am worried about damage from tree branches and would rather not have my kids be scared for 12-24 hours if there is no need.  I am hoping the house survives with no damage, but this is a crazy storm and we will have to see where it hits and what happens.

So it was a good week of celebrating our son and seeing friends, a rough week of dealing with stupid family and weird weather.  Guessing I will check back in once we meet up with Irene.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Our Grayson is SEVEN!

I cannot believe it, but today our third child and first born son turns SEVEN! Where has the time gone?  Grayson is such a sweet kid, he loves to love on the babies and was so excited when he found out that baby #5 was going to be the brother he had longed for.  He is a funny kid, loves to recite commercials to us and still enjoys being the "baby" of the big kids.

Grayson is a smart kiddo, he did awesome in kindergarten this year and he is excited for first grade to start in a few weeks.  He has recently become a burgeoning video game addict and he loves to play Lego Star Wars and as of today, Lego Harry Potter.  Thankfully he is good about limiting the Wii time and he also really loves his collection of lego sets and can spend hours in his room building and creating.

I could not imagine a day without Gray, he is such an amazing kid!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Our boy

I don't talk much about our kids health as I have said before, but we are in the middle of some stuff with out little guy and I figured I would detail it out here just in case someone else comes across this and it rings any bells.  So here is what is happening with our little Finn.

Finn was seen by the genetics team at Children's Hospital yesterday as he has three distinct heart defects and is not growing properly.  They determined he does not have Williams Syndrome which is the chromosomal defect most often related to his specific heart defects.  They determined this based on his physical appearance and that he did not have the traits of a child with Williams.

Here is his history:
In utero-normal growth, normal fetal echocardiogram, Chroid Plexus Cyst in brain found and then resolved by 25 weeks gestation

At birth-Finn was a normal size for 39 weeks gestation, 8 lbs 7 ozs and 19 inches long

Since birth:
Finn was checked for hip dysplasia, his hip "clicks" when manipulated-x-ray did not show any malformation

Finn experienced an "episode" of either a seizure or passing out-blood sugar when checked was very low, subsequent blood tests did not show anything alarming or out of the ordinary

Finn was seen by two cardiologists, he has SVAS-supravalvular aortic stenosis (I have this as well), bilateral arterial pulmonary stenosis and a leaky aortic valve.  He is being followed by cardiology to see how the defects change during his growth.

Finn is hitting most of his milestones, but not always on time or slightly delayed.  At 8 months 3 weeks he can sit, army crawl, palm items and pass them back and forth.  He can bear weight on his legs.  He is not very good at grasping with his finger and thumb, he does not pull up and cannot when we try to show him, he does not crawl with his belly up, he can not get to sitting, he does not wave but will reach for me and cries when I leave the room or put him down.  He does not babble, no consonants, but makes vowel sounds (ahhh, ooooo), he does not seem to recognize his name or when we say no.

He has not grown at all in the last 2 1/2 months, he has been stuck at 17 lbs and 27 inches this whole time which puts him close to the 10% for height and weight, although he eats a lot still nursing every 2-3 hours at night and eating a lot of solid food.  He cannot eat chunkier solids, like small pieces of banana or cheerios because he will gag, but he has a hearty appetite otherwise.

He is a very poor sleeper, naps OK but up many times during the night to eat.

He is "floppy" and the geneticist says he is "doughy" and his skin and muscles are very soft and he has low muscle tone. They also stated that he has hyper mobility and is very flexible.

Finn is a very happy baby most of the time, he smiles a lot and likes to be held, but he seems like a much younger baby not only due to size.

The genetics team suspects some sort of elastin issue and believe it may be genetic and will be testing me first to see if I have it.  If I do, we will then see how Finn is doing and proceed from there with either more testing and/or therapies.  If I do not have an elastin issue, they will then begin screening him for different genetic and chromosomal defects.

As a mom, my main concern is development and growth.  We are not sure why he is not growing when he eats so much, and he is very different than the other four kids who hit all miles stones on time and never fell below 50% for height (most are closer to 75%)

I am beyond frustrated.  I understand that the genetics team needs to do things one step at a time, and that they need to watch him to see how he grows and develops, but it is hard for someone who is a control freak to have to sit and wait.  Regardless of what is going on, we will do whatever it takes to figure things out for Finn, but if you have experience with any of this and want to share, we would appreciate it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Away we go...

The week has begun with some positive and negative notes on the horizon.  Today the crew worked on cleaning things up around here while I worked on, well, work!  Last night I sent off the first draft of Chapter 3 of my dissertation, so that is off my plate momentarily.  Tonight we promised the kids a game night, so after dinner we will sit down and play for an hour or so before my weekly work call.

Tomorrow we will go for Finn's appointment. I am dreading it.  It will be over in 24 hours.

Wednesday the hubby took the day off so we have some things to do around the house and basically I hope to cram in some extra family time and togetherness.  Thursday Ryan's Dad may, or may not, "stop by" as he drives by our house on his way to Florida, where he is moving, and he told us Saturday.  Being that we have not seen him in over a year, and he has never even seen Finn, this should be interesting.

Basically, I was looking forward to this week, and now it is kind of out of control.  Deep breaths, deep breaths....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ripped wide open

So I try to keep things even keeled here, keep my emotions in check, show the brighter and better side of things as much as possible.  While the blog is my journal, I don't put the raw emotion out there much, to be honest, I don't put it out there much in the real world either, especially when it comes to my kids.

Right now I am feeling raw and ripped wide open.  I am scared, I don't get scared when it comes to my kids much and can easily list the few times it has happened (Haven catatonic at ER age 3, Haven shock at allergist age 5, Haven MRI to check for brain tumor age 8, Grayson hospitalization for asthma and tests for leukemia-yeah steroids for screwing up his white blood cell count age 2, and Grayson almost drowning last summer while surrounded by adults age 5).  Considering my 11 years of parenting and five kids, those are the times I have actually been scared, and for most the fear passed quickly once the child was stated to be OK.

Tuesday we see the geneticist for Finn, and I am scared.  Seriously scared, like I want to skip the whole thing and take everyone for ice cream because it seems too big to deal with.  Do I know that it could be much worse, yes.  Do I know that even if he has the syndrome they are checking for that he will be OK and we as a family will be OK, yes.  Does it help, no.

I look at that baby boy and he is so full of love and sunshine and I hate to think that his world may be limited in any way.  I hate thinking that he could be taken advantage of if he has this because he won't understand that someone is trying to hurt him and it makes me sad that certain things will be hard for him, especially learning.  I worry about the health aspects too.  We know about the heart issues, and we already are mentally prepared for what that may mean down the road...let's just say regardless of the outcome Tuesday, he will not be able to play any sports and surgery is a real possibility.  I also know that kids with this syndrome do die from some of the health aspects, not many thankfully, but it happens and that simply breaks my heart in two.  The next few days are going to be trying.  I do OK during the day but the nights are hard especially when I am holding him in the middle of the night, dreaming of what his future holds as I did with all my kids, and wondering if he will have those same choices and opportunities.

Today, I am scared and sad and hopeful that we will be shooed away by the geneticist Tuesday.  That they will tell me to take my boy home, fill his head with a lifetime of dreams, and know that while he will face obstacles as all children do as they grow into adulthood, his will be the run of the mill kind.

But tonight, I am scared.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Um, what did I order?

It has been wacky the last few days.  Our bank was bought out by another bank and everything switched over last weekend.  Then on Wednesday I get a call that someone charged a plane ticket in Australia on my debit card...swell.  Got that taken care of thankfully, because seriously, nobody better be flying around Australia on my dime except me!

Then today I ordered....drum roll please.....running shoes.  Like for real running shoes that should cost a ridiculous amount of money AND I got the sensor that goes in the shoe and syncs with my phone.  In one regard I find it really amusing, and if you could see me run right now, you would seriously consider why I got running shoes, BUT, I really want to keep the program going and well, I got some junk in the trunk so I need to protect the tires, or axles, or whatever the car equivalent is for my knees and feet.

Anyway I have been researching the best shoes for my needs and knew I wanted the Nike+ technology so I found the style shoe I needed and began pricing it and all together it should have been about 160 bucks.  Then today I found them on sale, with an additional coupon, through EBATES with 10% cash back and free shipping!  It was like the stars aligned and the running gods said, "Run tribemama, run with your jiggly rear and order those shoes!"  So I did, and for about 80 bucks I am getting my new sneaks and I'm so stinkin' excited, and the running gods are pleased.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The road ahead

For the first time in weeks, I feel like everything is almost under control. My dissertation is moving along and I am almost done with Chapter 3 and will be sending it for review at the end of this week.  My chair reviewed my survey and had minimal notes which was helpful in meeting my goal, and I have some changes that need to be made to Chapter 2 but nothing horrific.

I have just about finished a big project at work that had been dragging on and once that is done this week, I can begin to organize my course for PT school for Fall term.

Kids have been pretty good, they have been helpful and fairly well behaved.  I am looking forward to some family time next week.  We need to take Finn to see a specialist at the Children's Hospital and then afterwards have some fun plans for the kids, just as long as the weather turns out to be as lovely as it says it will be right now.

School starts soon, PT school for me and regular school for the biggies.  I signed the babies up for a playgroup once a week which will be a fun little outing, plus it should score some good naps ;)  Did I mention that the hubby is taking a day off next week, and it is his short week so he only works two days...yippeeeeeee!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Is it winter yet?

I don't know why I always think it will be easier/calmer/quieter in the summer, it's not, ever.  Something about the heat which coops up the kids or makes going out a sweaty endeavor is just miserable.  While I love not having a set schedule, I am over the heat and I am anxious for it to finally cool down a bit.

Fall is around the corner, and with it comes my scheduled work time at PT school, a kid starting middle school (EEK!) one starting first grade and one starting fourth.  The babies will both be home all year with me, although I am hoping to get Teagan into an activity or two during the day, playgroups or gymnastics, etc.  She really likes seeing other kids her size, and she is very social, so I want to get her out a bit.  Fitting it into my work schedule will be interesting, but I will make something work for her.

Big kids will keep swimming, it is an easy once a week activity, they all love it and I love their teachers and the school. I am sure Haven will find things she wants to join in MS, so I need room for that along with Ryan's crazy work schedule and my jobs.

Right now I am looking forward to cooler days, days where I want to bake all day and snuggle up with my babies in the afternoons.  Days where it gets dark early so we can all hunker down and spend time together and feel a bit less pressured.  Please let it be a snowy, snowy winter full of glorious fires in the fireplace.

Friday, August 5, 2011

PJs and Pots

Today is one of those gloomy, quiet, inside in your PJ type days.  Kid's are being calm, a good side affect of the gray skies, and I have managed to get a lot accomplished this morning.  I have my sitter coming in a bit to wrangle kids while I work on my dissertation all bundled in my polar bear PJ's and dinner is already started.  On a day like today I like to throw a bunch of stuff from the fridge into a pot to see what we can make of it. My theory is, if it tasted yummy the first time, it should taste even better the second :)

Right now I have an diced onion cooking in my dutch oven and once soft I will add some shredded chicken left over from roast chicken the other night.  I also have some left over roasted potatoes that will make their way in at some point and probably some peas later.  I am thinking of adding some Sazon for seasoning, maybe some chicken stock to make a sauce and cilantro if needed for flavor.  Serving it up over basmati rice with cornbread on the side.  Sounds pretty yummy for leftovers!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Country Roads

Today was farm day.  I love farm day, not so much for the nearly hour long drive with five fussing kids in the back, but for the scenery.  There is something about winding country roads, green rolling hills, cows and horses and lush trees that calms my soul.

Even when I lived on Long Island growing up, I used to always head east when I needed to clear my head, east towards the farms and the quieter small towns.  There is just something about the lack of clutter, the space between houses and the wide open breathable air that makes me feel comfortable.  Someday soon I hope to have that ride, down the windy treelined roads, past the fields, to my home where I will look out the door and just see nature.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I know you are all wondering

what I have been up to, what's for dinner, what the kids are doing...or maybe not. I rarely think about who is reading here and I just write what I want, although I do stay well aware that someone is reading here and I am cautious about what I share about our lives, the kids, my husband, etc. as a blog is a mere glimpse into our lives, not a moving picture of every blessed and damned moment.

So anyway, where have I been, well...I have been out to dinner with my husband to celebrate our anniversary. I have been to swim lessons with kids, and the grocery store without.  I have been to a job interview and scored yet another paying side gig...I do believe I may have more gigs than kids.  I have been tired, bone numbingly tired and overwhelmed to the point of drowning in my own internal "to-do" list.  I have also been angry lately, really really angry and while I understand why, and for the most part my husband understands why, it sucks to wake angry and go to bed angry.  I am trying to get over it, get past it and start anew, but it is a tough task when I wake each morning with too much to do, too little time and even less sleep.  Anger sucks the life out of you, and I haven't had much life to give.

I will add one small bit because I know when I read blog posts like this I alway speculate on why the person feels the way they do.  I will come straight out and say my anger has nothing to do with my husband or our relationship and has everything to do with things beyond our control, schedules, non-sleeping babies, crazy work stuff, school, and kids.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I admit

I admit that I wish I had more free time, but I go a tad cuckoo when I have too much downtime.

I admit that I want to move back to NY or up by my sister, but I will miss our town and the people we know here.

I admit I hate our house, it is just not a good layout for our family, but I am thankful every day that we got "trapped" here and not in our tiny townhouse.

I admit I love my kids, but having everyone here in the summer and trying to work is really difficult.

I admit I like working from home, but I miss having an office to go to where I could work with minimal distraction.

I admit I am sick of my dissertation, but know I need to finish it.

I admit I love my husband, but wish we could spend more time together doing fun things and not chore/work things.

I admit I know that my body can not handle another pregnancy and birth, but I am sad that I will never be a part of the miracle and wonder of bringing a life into the world again.

I admit that we are totally planning to adopt and/or foster, but we need a bigger house first.

I admit I am far from perfect, but I keep trying nonetheless.

I admit I am nervous about Finnian, but I know that we are loved and supported.

With that, I admit the little guy is up to eat to cuddle him and soak up his baby sweetness.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I did not drop dead

I did it.  I did the first day of the Couch 2 5K and I survived.  I did the workout as designed with music in my ears on my treadmill and it felt great.  Even though I am terribly out of shape, I have five baby belly, I am exhausted 99% of the time and my stress levels are through the roof, I still forced myself to do it and I am glad.  It felt great.  I feel great and I am looking forward to doing it again Saturday!  I am hoping that this will help with my stress since we were just dealt a new card with Finn on Wednesday so my levels were topped off a bit.  It will be a hard few weeks, but we will get through like we always do.

I do have to give some credit to my kiddos for letting me escape for 30 minutes to my room to get in my workout.  Teagan was tucked in bed and the three biggies were kind enough to watch Finny downstairs for me so I could have the time I needed.  I am positive that the ice cream I promised them had nothing to do with it :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Time to get a grip

OK, it has been almost a full week since I blogged and that usually means I am stressed, and I am.  I have too much going on as usual, and when things begin to feel out of control, every little thing makes me crazy.  It is time to get a grip, so here is what I am trying.

1. I am getting work done.  It sucks to work all day and all night, but I want these work projects done.
2. I am making time with the kids.  My work schedule is nuts, and then when I have free time I am dealing with everyone's needs (food, laundry, errands, listening to stories, etc.)  We aren't having as much fun as I want, so I have scheduled time for that too.  We went to my sister's last weekend, swam in their new pool and had a great time stress free.  Tonight will be ice cream out.  Ryan's brothers are supposed to come in two weeks so we will go out and have fun with them, and I am trying to throw a camping trip together for the week of the 15th.
3.  Doctors and dentist-Getting the kids in for check ups at both the dentist and ped. in the next few weeks to check these needed tasks off my list before school starts.
4.  I have my new fancy socks for the treadmill.  I have the lubricant for the treadmill.  I have my iPod. I am starting the Couch25K today.  Do I believe I will run a 5K anytime soon, nope.  But I WILL have 30 minutes to myself three times a week with my iPod stuck in my ears and my music or an audio book playing, and I need that.
5. Breath.  I am trying to breath and understand that all of it doesn't eed to be done right now.  The house  tasks don't all need to be done while I am writing a course, writing a dissertation, teaching two extra classes, doing my FT job and all the kids are home for summer.  I have a hard time seeing the small steps, but I am working on it.

So that is where I am.  I know that I need down time to be productive, and I am trying to fit personal and fun time into an unforgiving schedule. Sometimes it just seems so hard to make 15 minutes for myself a day to recharge.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sharing is caring

Like anyone else with a public blog, I struggle sometimes with what to share.  Whenever I share something the kids did, whether naughty or cute, I consider how they will feel down the road if they read what I wrote.  If I think they would be upset, embarrassed, angry, etc, it doesn't get included.  The stuff related to the kids is the easy part, deciding what to say about how I feel, what I am going through or dealing with at a given moment, my true inner workings is harder to balance.  Sometimes I overshare, and sometimes I don't share it at all, and most of the time it falls somewhere in the middle.  For me, sharing the hard, the scary, the frustrating will often come after the fact, after I have sorted and muddled through, I share.

I am mid muddle on a few things...hoping to gain more insight next week so I can share more.

Monday, July 18, 2011

See Mama Run

So I have been thinking of doing the Couch 2 5K training.  Ok stop laughing now.  Really, stop.

Here is the back story....ages ago I used to be healthy and fairly fit, even with my heart condition I could run and would run taking a few minutes of walking to catch my breath only to run again.  I liked running, and while I was somewhat limited due to my heart, I did it anyway and I miss it.

Fast forward and I am not in running shape, in fact I am not sure what shape you would call me.  I look like I have had five kids and well, I don't want to look like I have had five kids.  I still have the heart condition so I will need to work around that, and I have no plans to actually run a 5K, but I want to feel fit again so I am thinking of giving it a whirl.  My guess is, I will do each week for two weeks and hopefully I will get where I want to go.  Now I just need to get the husband to oil the treadmill for me, download some good audio books and find 30 minutes a few times a week to get on the treadmill.  Fingers crossed right?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our Brittan

Our Brittan, kidlet #2, Bubbles and the sweetest child on earth turns 9 today...NINE, where oh where has the time go.  It seems like yesterday she was staring back at me with her huge eyes, smiling from her highchair or playmat or swing, you know a nice safe distance :)  I am happy that she has come out of her shell and Brittan can hold her own in this noisy house.  She is our baby holder and lover, quick with open arms to grab a baby without a request. The little ones adore her and run to her when she comes home from school.  Britt is growing into an amazing young lady, she is sweet, kind, smart and most of the time, a very easy child to be around. I am anxious to see what the next year holds for our girl, and am so thankful that the powers that be sent her to live in our family, she brings an amazing balance to everything and we would be lost without her.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Tornado turns Two

Tomorrow my sweet baby girl, my crazy little mischief maker, my singing and dancing fool turns two!  I cannot believe that it has been two years since we met our Teagan.  She is such a joy, silly and sweet, quick with a hug, so smart and such a happy little soul...except when she's not, because she can be stubborn too :)

Oh my Teagan, we love you so much!  I knew I wanted a fourth child but could not have imagined how much we needed you, how much love and joy you bring us everyday and how blessed we are to get to call you our girl.  The big girls and Grayson fight for your attention, Finn lights up when you walk in a room, you make me laugh every single day and you can make your Daddy's day with a hug and smile.  Happy Birthday Teagie Jayne, we love you so much!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


We have been wanting to move, dreaming of moving, pining to move for years but now that we are actually planning to move I am getting butterflies.  Should the housing market keep moving in the right direction, our house could be on the market in less than a year, and that scares the bejeezus out of me!  Everything looks good on paper.  We know what we need to sell for to move.  We have the very long list of house repairs we need to do before we list the house, from small things like touching up paint or painting some of the ceilings, to big things like replacing the front door and finishing the master bathroom renovation (and this one is BIG).  It is doable, but figuring out how much of everything to do is mindboggling.  We need a new front door, but do we just buy a new door and paint the frame and leave the current sidelights (not expensive) or do we put in a brand new door and brand new sidelights to the tune of 2-4K (VERY expensive).  What will give us the best return on our investment?  Given the rocky state of the housing market, how much should we put in to get out what we want.

The process is frustrating, but also exciting.  We know where we want to go and it is beautiful there.  We have researched homes and think we can get what we want.  My jobs come with us, and Ryan will be looking for a new job or may actually be able to do his current job remotely which would be awesome.  I have run figures and it all works out great on paper, but we are still waiting and it makes my insides feel shaky and I get nervous.  This is a big leap for us.  We are taking three kids from their friends and schools and moving them to a whole new state.  We are changing everything and hoping that we will get everything on our "need" list and most things on the "want" list.  This is what we have been working for all these years, and I just want it to go smoothly and for all seven of us to get there happy and in one piece.  However, there are two HUGE stressers that I must overcome.  How do you show a house when you work from home, your husband works nights and you have five kids AND OMG how do you pack a family of seven!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Great day

We had a great day today, super busy, but great!

The babies got up super early this morning, but Teagan was happy to lay on my bed next to Finny and watch Sesame Street while we waited for the big kids to stir.  Fed the masses and touched base with the hubby who was on his way home and got everyone ready for swim.  Ryan got home and got the new grill assembled before we had to leave and then we were out the door.  The first stop was at Target to get new swim goggles for the girls since theirs have been missing since the NC trip.  I also grabbed an iced coffee for me and iced tea for Ryan.  Then we ran to the pool for swim lessons.  The three big kids had great lessons and we made sure they were set up for August too.  We LOVE the place we do lessons!  They are so good with the kids and the groups are super small, Grayson has 1 on 1 lessons and my girls are the only one working with their teacher, it is awesome.  I offered the kids different activities for Fall, but they all wanted to keep swimming, so we will be there until basketball starts for Brittan.

Babies were good during swim except Teagan drank almost all of Ry's iced tea :)  After swim we went to Subway for lunch and then headed to the farm where we met up with some friends to pick blackberries.  The patch just opened yesterday so it was tough finding enough berries, I am sure next week will be a different story, but we still picked over 5 lbs.  We also grabbed some fresh corn, eggs and our milk order.  It was HOT picking the berries especially with a sweaty Finn sleeping in the sling on my back, but the kids had fun and we now have yummy berries to eat.  We then headed to Sonic for some treats to cool down and Gray's friend came home with us.  The kids headed off to play and I prepped dinner, colby jack stuffed burgers and some of that corn on the cob from the farm.  (Dinner was amazing, loving the new grill!) Gray's friend's sister came over with their mom, they played some more and after they left we ate and got Teag off to bed.  Poor baby was so tired after no nap and a busy day that she screamed and cried when I brought her upstairs and took her to get a bath instead of going to bed.  She kept running to her room pointing to her crib asking to lay down :(  I bathed her quickly, dressed her and read her her book in the rocker and she practically leapt out of my arms into her crib.  The big kids roasted marshmallows over the warm coals in the grill and then everyone cleaned up and headed to bed.

My sweet husband is beyond exhausted after working last night and then staying up all day today, but he wanted to be with us today and enjoy the outing and he never complained once about not sleeping and played with the kids, helped lug stuff and helped make the burgers. He was super Dad today for sure.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Small moments

I am in this for the small moments, the glimpses, the mere seconds sometimes where you are able to step outside yourself and the craziness of motherhood and see those precious babies growing into people, good people.  No one slept well here last night, most of us were still up at 3 am and while we hung in bed until 8 I was still dreading today since we had outing we had to do.  I couldn't have been more wrong, my big kids totally rose to the occasion and when I talked to them about what needed to be done and how they set the tone for the day with their behavior, they totally got it.  They were helpful, with Britt and Gray working together to drag a box of toys were were donating to the car.  The girls helped get the babies in and out of the car multiple times.  They were helpful at Home Depot while I purchased a new grill, listening, asking well thought out questions and generally being good and kind to one another.  After Home Depot I took them to a little pizza buffet place for lunch since Britt had a coupon for a free meal from a school award.  They were awesome!  Britt helped Teagan with her food, Haven helped Gray, they walked and didn't run, no shouting just good kids sitting and eating their was awesome!

I decided to push my luck and run to the grocery store since we were out and again they were awesome.  It was so easy, we were in and out, Haven helped me pack the groceries while Grayson sat quietly, and if you know him that alone is amazing, and Britt stood with Teagan and the cart with Finn.  Came home and put babies down for naps and the kids cleaned up the playroom begrudingly, but it was done and we had an easy evening. 

I live for these days, when I see they big kids acting, well, big!  When I see all the years of hard work teaching them, talking to them, encouraging them to make good choices actually paying off.  I know they are growing up, I see their faces changing and they like music and video games now, not trucks and baby dolls.  I still have two babies here that have all those years ahead, but seeing my big kids pull it together today was so incredible, I can only hope the two little ones follow their example.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Payback is, well, you know

Holy hell yesterday was unpleasant!  I had a million work calls and I only got word on some new folks late Tuesday so I was trying to catch up with them, get my courses ready, do the coaching thing, be on a committee call and parent five kids and manage a household.  It was a long long day but the kids were pretty good, everyone was fed and everything was relatively organized.  Guess that is what I get for having such a lovely day on Tuesday!

Today is another work crazy day with two more calls and general tasks, but nothing as bad as yesterday.  Thankfully the hubby was kind enough to pick up our Quail Cove order this morning on his way home-just a small order of 36 lbs of chicken, 12 packs of bacon, four jars of juice and 2 lbs of Amish butter.  Add that to the quarter cow we just got and we are stocked full, which is a good thing since the kids eat a TON!  I had been dreading lunches with the kids, but they have been doing well eating the choices I have given.  Yesterday was grilled cheese, day before I used leftover meatballs to make meatball subs and today I am making taco salad bowls with taco meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese....just wish we have avocado which would make it perfect.  Then dinner will be roasted veggies with pasta and baked stuffed clams. Thank goodness I enjoy cooking, feeding these people is a full time job!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A much needed break

Today has been a good good day.  It is one of those calm days where everyone is getting stuff done, but it is leisurely and easy.  I am currently laying in my bed watching TV and blogging at 4 pm!  Dinner is in the oven-BBQ chicken, corn on the cob and baked beans, yum! Ry is downstairs with the babies and the three big kids just came inside after having a lemonade stand with the neighbors, everyone is content and the house is peaceful. feels good.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Give and Take

The last few weeks have been stressful with trips, heath concerns, more trips and schedule changes.  It has been so crazy that even my super even keeled husband was feeling some stress so we chatted about it today and I hope he was feeling better after our talk...especially since I had a total and complete meltdown later in the day. *sigh*  Why can't I ever have a little chat about my feelings, instead for me it all comes out in hyperventilating tears.  Thankfully he loves me when I am sane and when I am crazy, and I love him all the time too :)

We had big plans for the Fourth, we were taking the kids to dinner and then to a local park to watch fireworks.  Dinner went well but afterwards it was starting to rain...and it looked a bit ominous, and well, kids+park+rain=no go for us.  On our way home, we stopped at Target for a few things and let Teagan pick out a potty chair.  Then I ran into Old Navy since I had a Groupon to use and they had their Buy 2 get 1 free promo going on and I scored three shirts for me and three skorts for Teagan and used my 20 dollar Groupon and paid a whopping 5 bucks out of pocket.  That totally rocked :)

Came home and as we brought the new potty in Teagan started trying to get her shorts off telling us she wanted the potty.  Humoring her, we put her on and she peed within 30 seconds!  She will be two in two weeks so I was SHOCKED.  Guess potty training has begun!

Happy 4th everyone, I hope your weather was better than ours, that your kids were good and that you are lucky to have a spouse that loves you no matter what.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I would make a crappy clown

Juggling, lately I feel like all I am doing is juggling, doing the best I can to sort of do everything that needs to be well enough to keep from dropping the ball.  The house, kids and my job(s) are not the main problem, although they do cause me stress and take up a lot of time, they are not what sets me on edge.  The one thing that is making me feel like I am about to drop the ball is my dissertation.  It is just not getting done.  It is taking forever and I don't have the time I need to just sit down, somewhere quiet, and write.  That will change this week because it has to change.  I think about it all day long, and while there are moments I *could* write something, I don't have the blocks of time I need to organize my thoughts.  I need to be able to sit down, reread what is written, review my notes and then write...that can't happen in 15 minute increments.  It is stressful, it is overwhelming and I understand now how people just stop at comps and take the ABD status.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Maybe and Might

Today we are home and not leaving this house no matter what!  I feel like I have been running around for the last three weeks and all I want to do today is clean, bake, cook and relax.  I have big plans to make a double batch of bread/rolls so I can freeze some, plus I am making empanadas for dinner and need to make the yummy spiced chicken filling which cooks all day long. 

I was going to slowly attack the cleaning this week since everything is a wreck from the back to back trips, but my MIL called yesterday and told my husband she *might* come for the 4th.  WTF?  Who says they *might* come to visit, especially since it has been nearly two years since she has come here, and she has not even met Finn yet!  Ugh.  We have a full house so to make room for a guest is a bit of an undertaking, plus the bathroom door upstairs is not on yet and she is a vegetarian which means I have to plan meatless meals and buy the ingredients.  We also had plans for the 4th and the kids will be bummed if we have to miss it because we are stuck waiting for her here, she is less than reliable or timely so we never know if/when she will show up.  I am really hoping she lets us know today if she is coming or not so I can either kill myself preparing or not....what a pain.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Herding cats in hell

I tell my kids all the time that when we are out and about it is sometimes like I am trying to herd cats as we move through a store.  One goes one way, another stops in front of the cart, another might be walking get the idea.  I know it is a bit crazy making when I go shopping with everyone, so I try to go when the stores are not packed, usually during the week.  Sadly we only rolled back into town last night and we were basically out of food except for rice, beef and chicken which I buy in super bulk, so I needed to go to the grocery store.  I then had the swell plan to go today...with all the kids...on the Friday before Fourth of LUNCHTIME!  OK, not my finest hour but I was trying to clean up some this morning and the hubby is in the midst of training/working hell and my brain was not functioning well.

On the agenda was Wegman's and the farm.  Wegman's was pure hell...pure H..E..L..L.  My kids were being good, they were listening and really trying to stick close by but it was so crowded and everyone there seemed to need to stand either in front of the item we needed or stepped between me and my cart with Finn and Britt and her cart with Teag.  Seriously, she is a teeny tiny almost 9 year old pushing a 2 year old, they didn't think maybe she was with someone, like the crazy lady with three other kids that look just like her?  So we kept having to try to get her back with the group or swing kids over people's shoulders trapeze style to get some broccoli or squash, but somehow we made it out with everything on the list and only a few small items that weren't and I wasn't too stressed.  Next up was the farm which is so much easier since the kids just sit in the car with the air conditioning while I  run in.  The sweet corn is in so I quickly grabbed a dozen and will probably get three or four dozen next week to freeze for winter.  Got our milk and cursed the fact that I left three bottles at my parent's house and had to pay the deposit on two bottles today and grabbed two dozen eggs, AKA two breakfasts, in our house.

The pantry is restocked with all the necessities, I just placed our Quail Cove order for 35 lbs of chicken, 12 packs of bacon, 10 lbs or sweet potatoes and two pounds of Amish butter (buying the case next time to freeze) so we should be set for awhile.  There is nothing I love more than a pantry stocked with good, wholesome, real food to fuel little bodies. 

Off to taste test the cheese I made this morning, prep the corn for dinner and make a batch of bread....gotta be prepared to feed the tribe now that school is out!