Friday, May 28, 2010

This weeks mommy meltdown moment brought to you by...

Lovely, sweet smelling liquid fabric softener...
... in a trial size
... that Joshy found in my (newly purchased) purse...
... and opened... in my purse...
... and dumped... in my purse...
... all over the contents... in my purse...
... including my cell phone... in my purse...

pretty much the only thing that kept me out of the loony bin is that I had enough foresight a few months ago (remember the 'breaking of the digital camera story??) to purchase a 'tasmanian devilish 2 year old proof' cell phone cover, which also happens to be water (and come to find out, fabric softener) resistant.

... You may now return to your regularly scheduled lives :).

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Buried Alive...

... in boxes, that is.
Well, not so much boxes, as box contents...
... compliments of my own personal box-dumper-boys
... especially loved it when they made it to our 'nuts and bolts' box... yep, dumped. right in the middle of the office room. with shag carpet.

My whole zen-like attitude of white space is right now feeling more like a white blizzard, and I'm sucked in the middle, trying desperately to make it to some sort of quiet shelter to just breath.

This house (is great) but is about to do me in. I have in my mind a huge grid of organization for each room. I have yet to have a single room resemble my minds plan. Maybe it's because I spend 1/2 of the day in the car, and the other 1/2 feeding, changing, cleaning, cooking, laundering, and generally helping these little souls to survive to see another day. I swear when I finally have the kiddos down for the night, there is some sort of mommy melt down that occurs, and the only functioning bone in my body is the remote control-finger for the tv.

I truly hate soccer season. Especially when it involves 3 separate kids, on four nights out of the week and most of the day on Saturday. I sat at the games on Saturday literally too exhausted to cheer. I had to reach WAY down into my latent cheerleader genes to get the 'raw raw' to sound genuine, and even with lurching into my reserves, still found myself at times too exhausted to even do a 'go team'...
... or maybe that's because I was dealing with 4 other hungry, tired, and cranky kiddos on the sideline. Yep, nursing one child while grabbing another off the soccer field (who wanted desperately to be with daddy who was coaching/reffing on field), and holding the 'baby-hugger' boy at bay was enough to throw me over the edge.

Mom and dad, once again I am in awe at your patience and cheerleading capabilities. I truly had no idea how tedious and repetitious the hours upon hours that you spend supporting 7 kids through countless sporting events was for you. I get it now. Oh boy, do I get it now. And I am still 2 kids shy of you. Wow. You are amazing!

Anyway, back to my whining...
so I feel like from the moment the eyes open in the morning, (usually open to a small human pulling/tugging/poking somewhere on my face) it is either running to something, or getting back home to reload and run somewhere else.

All the while, I look around my house at the utter chaos that envelops every room. When I do have a moment to tackle a task, it seems like there is suddenly some urgent need with the kiddos to attend to.

Inside of me there is an organized, calm human being just waiting to emerge...

... but right now she is buried alive in constant chaos and nuts and bolts embedded in shaggy carpet.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


around our house never cease to amuse me,
touch me,
at times frustrate me,
and at times make me laugh right out loud as I realize the innocence of youth all wrapped into the utter desire to serve and love this human that they call mommy.

Here is an excerpt from this week:
We had taken our van into the shop (yet again...), and got the call that it was ready...

Me, "Okay, boys let's go, it's time to pick up the car."
Ben, (eyes huge)... "pick up the car?!"...
Then starts walking toward the garage, pulling up his sleeves, "that's going to be hard!"
..."do we have to pick it all the way off the ground?"

And just like that, I am suddenly laughing out loud at his literal interpretation
... and humbled at his exact obedience and desire to pitch in and do all he could in the "Picking up of the car" activity.

I love my kids!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

White Space...

... is my new mantra for life.

In the past few months, our crazy schedule has really gotten to me.
Throw in a move and now making our crazy schedule plus extra driving time, (since we haven't finished up all of the activities we started on the complete opposite end of town) and I have about gone over the edge a few times. Okay, so I have gone over the edge a few times (just ask my kids, they'll tell you!). At times I really have become the "mean mom miss Hannigan" from Anne (as one of my children ever-so-bluntly puts it when I tend to get a bit "edgy")
... But in my defense, this was one of our days: up and out the door - yes with all FIVE dressed and ready at 6:45 AM to get to 7:00 violin lessons (again, don't ask me where my brain was when I thought that would be a good time to schedule lessons way back when!), during which I got to try to feed a baby, wrangle a 2 year old, and keep a 5 year old quiet for an hour while trying to listen and take notes during the lesson to know what to practice the next week...), to drive back home, reload for 15 min, take off again across town to get the kids to school, then to the gym to teach 2 classes, then home to get Ben changed and get him to preschool, and attend their annual 'family picnic' (read: trying to feed baby again, while wrangling 2 year old and put on my happy face for Ben to show off his school), back home, then back to school (which is now across town) to pick up kiddos, to come back home and start dinner, to then load everyone up again and take Sarah to soccer (AGAIN, clear across town), run to old house to clean, to pick up Sarah, head back home, finish dinner, put kids down, and crash. C'mon - even Polyanna would struggle singing a happy tune at the end of that one, right?!

Part of it is just getting through things, but part of it I have realized is my inability to say "no" to volunteering, or added things at (my supposedly very part time) work. Since I wear two hats at the gym (the aerobics instructing and the dietician), things can get very hairy just in that arena if I'm not careful. And in the past few months, I haven't been very careful.

I had a little epiphany when I was flying home from a quick weekend to attend my parents mission report. As I was holding Elizabeth and reading (not really being able to believe that I could actually travel and READ, instead of trying to man a plethora of children), I came across an article in one of the dietetic journals about a dietitian who lost her job, and then realized how busy she had been and how much she really needed the 'white space' that this job loss had created for her. (as in, not over-filling the 'page' with words - letting the 'white space' highlight the few words on a page...)

The light bulb suddenly popped. (and it wasn't just seat belt light...)
That's it!
White space.
That's what my life has been missing.
That's what my life needs.
That's what the mother of my children need.
White Space.
Free time.
To just BE.
To be able to be a mom.
To be able to be a mom IN THE MOMENT.
Not just the taxi driver, nurse, judge and jury, policeman, maid, cook, homework monitor, laundress, crazy, fly-off -the-handle stressed out woman that they have become accustomed to.
I need time to not have anything on the calender, but my children, myself, and some goals.
Time to be able to say "Okay!" instead of "In a minute," "not right now," "Not today," "No, we don't have time," "Hurry, we have to leave now!"
Not only to be a mom,
And a wife,
But to find Jen again.

Ahhh, white space.
Not blank space (if you know me well, you know I would go completely crazy without something on the agenda)
Just less chaotic space.

This theme has been running around inside my head ever since that plane ride back.
Partly wondering if I could do it
Partly wondering if I really wanted to do it (would clearing out too much business make me go crazy in other ways?!)
Partly wondering if I could really make my lips form together to say the word, "No."

I started by putting on a shirt my dear friend gave me:

ahhh, Sue, you know me too well :).
Then I started practicing: "Nnnnn..." "N..." "Oooooo..." "Nnnnnoooooo" "Nnnnoooo," "Nnnoo," "No."
I did it.
That wasn't so bad!

... now all I had to do was actually say it to someone when asked to do something that I knew would cause me great amounts of grief (and therefore cause my children great amounts of grief).

Could I do it?

A few days later I got our summer schedule for the gym.
When I looked it over, I knew the time had come.
I was on the schedule about 6 times just for aerobics (coming in every day m-th), plus the two nutrition classes (16 week courses) I am currently doing, plus the other 16 week course they want me to start (in spanish...). (All very flattering... but not conducive to my new mantra)
Which meant I would be loading my kiddos in the car for trips to the gym 2 times a day, 3 days a week.

That was the straw.
The back was officially broken.
I knew I had to actually say my new-found vocabulary to someone other than my mirror.
I admit, I balked a bit.
I tried to reason, "well, it wouldn't be too bad, I could probably make it work..."
and then sat at the computer and repeated my mantra:
"White space"
White space does not include a carload of kids heading back and forth to the gym everyday.

So I did it.
I picked up the phone.
I got the answering machine
Phew! I didn't have to actually say my new word to another human... just a machine!
Then I followed it up with an email, just to be sure.

And then the magic happened.
She responded.
And said they could work it out.
My 6 classes suddenly got cut back to two - back to back, on the same day, which meant 4-5 days of mandatory gym time suddenly got cut back to 2 (with the nutrition classes).
And Spanish nutrition class - we will hold off until at least next fall.

And just like that
My summer suddenly transformed from cramped calendar to wide open white space.
I think my heart rate even went down a few notches!

My summer suddenly has become a blank canvas.
My kids get to wake up and play in their pajamas!
Swimming time
Down time
Hang out and read time
Picnic in the backyard time
Get back into studying the scriptures time
Reading the ensign time
Tiring the kids out so I can finally finish my book time!

Family space
Mommy space
Hubby space
Jen space
White space.
My space.

And that is my "deep thought" for the day :).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Musings...

Hubby and I were talking yesterday and he was telling me about a program he had heard on NPR about happiness of people, and the program was stating some statistics about how couples who never had children were happier than those who did have children.

Whoever measured the happiness scale on those studies was WAY off.

WAY, WAY off.
Motherhood is hard
Motherhood is repetitive (don't sit on the baby. I said don't sit on the baby. I SAID DON'T sit on the baby... don't hit him. I said don't hit him. I SAID don't hit him!!... you get the idea)
Motherhood is dirty (how many bodily fluids can a human being possibly be covered in during the course of 24 hours?! Only a mother could answer that without kicking in the gag reflexes... and with a perfectly straight face... and be completely unfazed by the astronomical number).
Motherhood is slow (come to the car. Please come to the car. I said come to the car. COME TO THE CAR RIGHT NOW... ) (Did I mention repetitive?!)
Motherhood is fast (just incase the scream really IS for real this time...)
Motherhood is painful (nursing a newborn infant. Need I say more??!)
Motherhood is squishy (why is it that when you sit down to nurse, 4 other kiddos suddenly want to snuggle with you?!)
Motherhood is tiring, no fatiguing, no exhausting (3 am feedings, 4 am "I'm scared" snugglings, 6 am "Is it morning yet?" breakfastings)
Motherhood is gutwrenching (try holding a 6 month old down for shots, look into her pain-filled-what-are-you-doing-to-me-eyes and not want to cry yourself! Or watching your little ones skip off to school for the first time and try to keep your own tears from falling)

Motherhood is... well... pretty much indescribable.

I don't think I've ever felt so many emotions during the course of a single day. Or a Single Hour. Or even a single minute.

But one thing is at the base of it all: and that is Happiness. Yes. Pure undefiled Joy and Happiness at the thought of seeing my children all around me.

At the end of the day, with all of the ups and downs,

Yes, Motherhood is HAPPINESS

Especially when you can see yourself for a moment through they eyes of your sweet daughter...
and you really like what you see:

Okay, you really have to enlarge this one and look at the blue line...
Yep, I LOVE motherhood.
NPR studies got it wrong.
And that's all I have to say about that.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happiness is...

Having your 'not-so-vocal-about-his-feelings-son' practice his cursive writing by giving you this note:

Happy Pre-Mother's Day to all of you moms out there :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Oh Fudge!

Yep, we love us some fudge around these parts.
Though we usually limit it to the holiday season,
There are some rare occasions in which brownies just don't cut the chocolate craving.
Sunday was one of those days.
Jerry was in the middle of his second trip in 2 weeks time
We were in the middle of moving
Had just started soccer season for 2 kids,
And had picture day for said soccer kids
And watched two soccer games in the bitter cold freezing wind
And still having car issues
Yep, come Sunday, it was a 'we need more than chocolate' chocolate days.
It was a fudge day

I must have felt the premonition coming on, because throughout the week, I made sure that we had the ingredients on hand for our "better than brother-in-law's-fudge" (yes, John I said it, and yes, it really is :) ).

If you've ever entered the realm of homemade fudge making, you have learned that fudge tastes the absolute best right after it's mixed, (yes, we have had a few burned tongues in our house over not being able to wait even 60 seconds longer for this deliciously delectable moment)
the kids have at times come to near blows over who gets which mixing tool to lick clean

It is not beneath them to find a little hide out to indulge in the spoils in solitude
(which I only charge them a few licks in order to keep my silence about their hideout - hey when it comes to fresh fudge, even I will sink to new lows :) ).

And some will even try to sneak snatches of the motherload before it's yet set

Joshy got a bit perplexed when he went for his 3rd snatching, and it had been moved...

... and soon discovered the new hiding place...

Yep... gotta love fudge.

Have you had your fudge fix today?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Reason 457 why I love the house...

Yes, this is a toilet.
More specifically, it's MY toilet.
As opposed to the EVERYONE'S toilet (aka little boys with fire hose power toilet).
It takes a few extra steps to find it,
But it is SOO worth the the extra steps to not have that 'ewwww something is wet on my legs and I have a suspicion that it's not water' sensation. (c'mon, you can't tell me this has never happened to you if you live with a houseful of boys!).

Yep, I love MY toilet :)

... It's the little things, folks.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

If you have your kids help you move...

... and you don't have boxes labeled really well
... and have them just grab whatever they can load and unload
... and they happen to look in some of the boxes
... they may just find the "presents to give" box
... and the action figures that were on the docket for the next winterland holiday
... have suddenly become "movingland holiday" presents...

Hey, it kept them busy while I got some of the boxes unpacked - it's all good :)

Your Cell Phone...

Don't leave home without it!

Seriously, Don't. Stop. Turn around. Be late. Just don't leave without it.

The day you actually think, "oh, it's okay, I'll just be a couple of hours at the gym and then come back..." is the day that you will come out from the meeting at the gym...

Load the kiddos in the car...
Thinking you have the (very busy) day planned out to the T...
and find that you have a flat tire...
so you tote all kiddos back into the gym
and try to remember some numbers (that are all stored in your cell phone)
to re-arrange the preschool car pool
and get a ride from fellow instructor home
(on which drive, also find out how un-childproof the car is when Joshy opens the back door enroute...)
to call and join AAA, to then schedule some car help...
only to be told, "Oh, your membership won't show up for 3 days..."
then grab a ride with the re-arranged preschool car pool (Thanks Marissa!!) back to the gym to try to change tire yourself...
only to realize after getting there (and having the rain start)
that you don't have any way to get the lug nuts off...
so you call AAA back, and get a different (more customer friendly) helper, who tells you she can help you (rain clouds suddenly get a silver lining)...
... and 25 minutes later, tells you she can, indeed have someone come out to help you...
... you just have to wait for them to come when they can...
... and when they do come to get enough air to get to the tire place, you are told that they are completely booked and can't get to the car for quite some time...
... so you get to once again re-arrange car pool home from school (Thanks AGAIN Marissa, and Sarah!)...

... all while hubby is out of town...

Yep - The cell phone.
Don't leave home without it.
Consider yourself warned...