Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Our family has become a road trip family, and I love it.

Every month we get away for five days or so with just our two boys. Some months we stay in town at a small house that is available to the house parents in our company. But more and more, we have been finding excuses to drive someplace new and get out of the familiar.

There is something about being far removed from what I do and see and hear every day, that helps me “check out.” My mind more easily turns off the business-chatter and switches into play and rest mode. In a small way, I feel released from our daily routine and free to let days fit our whims, rather than keep our routine ridged.

This month we decided to drive to Texas to visit Andy’s mom. She rented us a little bungalow with an adorable loft for the boys to sleep in and a perfect little club house with a pool and park for the boys to burn energy at. 

The trouble with vacations, is that so often they are a beautiful mix of “perfect” and “awful.” 

The freedom of being away from the familiar also translates to some inconveniences. 

It would be more than easy to construct a post about the sweet moments we have experienced, and there have been many (don’t worry, I will tell you about those too), but I’ve been suffering from a growing need to celebrate (catalogue? Share? Not sure of the right word here...) “real” life. 

The trouble with blogs, and don’t get me wrong, I am a blog junkie, is that it is so, so easy to make your life what you want it to be. Or at least give others the impression that your life is what they want theirs to be.

If my word diet is too full of happy-go-I’m-perfect posts and how-to’s about simplifying and beautifying and strongifying, I get out of balance. I start to think that everyone cleans their house with one perfect product and that every mom plays with her children endlessly and cheerfully all day long and that every crossfit woman’s goal is to make it to the games and it should be mine too.

I’ve gone back and forth in my mind for many months about blogging. When I first had Jack, blogging was an outlet for me. A chance to say what was on my mind, when it was sometimes hard to find faces to talk to. 

My enthusiasm for blogging has ebbed and flowed and sometimes I have had a lot to say, and sometimes not much. And sometimes I have had a lot to say and haven’t said it, because, well, some things just shouldn’t be available to everyone.

But in the last six months or so, as I have found beautiful blogs that distract me from my daily duties and that inspire me and make me feel like it is good to be alive, I have wondered if I would like to have a pretty blog. 

As I wrestle with wondering if I should or could or would ever have a “real” blog, I remember that whatever my answer. Real life has to be shared. Too much perfect makes everyone feel out of balance.

So, in the midst of our cheerful vacation, here are the places were I completely and utterly failed:

  • I scheduled events the entire day prior to and day of leaving, so that instead of getting out of town early we didn’t leave the city until 7:00pm.
  • I didn’t pack enough underwear for myself or enough pajamas for the boys.
  • I forgot to tell Jack’s teacher he wouldn’t be in class for a week (she probably hates me now and will take out her frustration on Jack, equating to an inferior preschool experience for him, leading to his dislike of school and more significant educational struggles down the road. This is ridiculous of course, but not to far from how I think sometimes.)
  • I was brutally grumpy to Andy the second day of driving, which happened to be his birthday, which I did nothing to celebrate, except to sit at a restaurant with our family (that Andy didn’t want to go to anyway) and storm out with both boys as the service took far too long to produce food and the boys, and I, melted down. (Probably the worst scene I have ever made)
  • I forgot the camera, which means that I won’t have pictures of Jack’s first big boy roller coaster ride, Joey’s adorable face painting at Sea World, the boys feeding ducks or riding a train, or playing in their loft beds, or any of the sweet moments that I want to remember the trip for. 

Sometimes I just plain mess up. Sometimes in spectacular fashion. Sometimes, in small annoying ways. Regardless of the magnitude of the mistakes, it happens. And that is my life. I will always have small disasters neighboring my triumphs. 

That’s the thing about blogging. Some people love to harp on their failures. Some share only their successes. I hope, that whether I blog a bunch, or keep this random pace, my life is always a celebration of... life... Wonderfully up and down life. 

Monday, August 6, 2012


I have been anticipating this day for three months.

Summers are tiring in a house full of 10 kids. There isn’t enough to do to keep everyone busy and out of trouble for months on end, and in a state that is kill-you-hot during the summer, that means a lot of long hours in the house...

Luckily we made it through the vacation months with fantastic kids and very little real drama. 

June and July had me looking forward to today, the first day of school. In my mind, school means hours and hours of free time during the day. And more than free... Quiet... Ahhh...

But school brings its own kind of work.

Let me run you through what the first day of school looks like in our unique family.

Wake everyone up
Direct traffic
Scrambled 16 eggs
Send two boys back to change (orange striped polo with blue plaid cargo shorts? Please try again)
Produce one ponytail
Pack 8 lunches (prepared the night before)
Take multiple “first day” photos
Hug, Kiss, Cheer

Andy walks six elementary schoolers, and one Joey in a wagon, to school

Two high schoolers walk out the door to their bus stop

Blend up a green smoothie (my new favorite thing) and wiggle into my gym  clothes

CrossFit with Andy - spent a lot of energy working on my push ups (in other words, I'm horrible at pushups and tried to not be so horrible at them), but showed off my awesome pistols (one-legged squats)

Chase down Joey, who has stripped himself naked while Andy and I were working out and is running wild in the parking lot (don’t worry - it is a closed parking lot and big kids were playing with him)

Blah, blah, blah

Lunch for Jack and Joey
Put dinner in the crockpot

Naps for everyone!

Andy walks back to school to fetch kids

Chaos ensues
Papers to sign. Oh the papers to sign.
Make snack (popcorn and chocolate/peanut butter/banana/kale smoothies with coconut milk!)
Handle THREE meltdowns over reading
Listen to Joey laugh hysterically as he played “school” with our 1st grader
Sympathize with tears over missed friends (five of our kids had to move to a new school this year)

Run to Target for additional school supplies needed
Wonder why I thought school would be easier than summer

Andy plays tee ball with Jack and the kids at home
Get kids started on showers

Dinner on the table
Remind everyone AGAIN about table manners

Noise, noise, noise
Almost scream a number of times

“Go brush your teeth!”
Hide in the bathroom for three minutes, until patience has been calmed and prepared for the last few minutes of the day

Bedtimes stories for all! 

Send to bed
Tuck in Jack and Joey
Prayers and back scratches for the girls
Head scratches and more prayers for the boys

Find Andy for a brief hug and high-five
Quickly get the day on paper
Marvel at the sweet exhaustion of family life

Snap the laptop shut
Get out the ice cream
Watch the Olympics

Collapse in bed

Realize that I didn’t make lunches for tomorrow and decided, oh well, what’s one more thing to do tomorrow?
And that is it.

Tomorrow is another day. Another series of hours connected by joy, frustration, crazy and serene. Another day to love and make mistakes and do my very best to... do my best. 

And now, to my sweet dreams. Minus the remembering that I didn’t make lunches part.