Monday, March 31, 2014

Balancing Act...

Ok, I've made an executive decision...

Someone needs to write a book on balancing the lives of a family of 7 (aka: 5 kids).

We Stegs need help.

We can't seem to motivate our 5 kids to do what needs to get done around this house, but I am the first to admit that this is not only their fault, but the example being set (Kev and I are too busy and unable to get stuff done too). It seems soooo easy to say "let's carve out this time to do this" and "let's say 'no' to this so we can do that"...but the reality is that it's hard to stay "on task" even for adults especially when we are exhausted. 

Kev and I are just finding ourselves majorly frustrated....on oh-so-many levels. 

1.  It's nearly impossible to get anything done with a busy toddler in the house.  I can't even go the bathroom lately w/o him banging on the door crying (he's a serious mama's boy lately, especially since being sick the last week).  Not only is he always under foot, but he's just on a rampage lately.  I can clean up a room and about 5 mins later her is like a tornado wreaking havoc....DVD's, toys, tupperware, pots and pans, markers, pencils...all over.  He is the king of mess!  This wouldn't be nearly so frustrating except that we are actually needing to get our house in order to possibly sell.  Sometimes I think God gave us Logan as a sign that our timing may not be right on this one :)

2.  The kids don't do tasks when asked.  This got them in a heep of trouble yesterday (no treats for the day...which was torture for them!) It was "shoe-sort-Sunday" and the job was supposed to be a kid-one.  It really wasn't that hard and I even labeled the floor with sizes and gave them careful instructions.  I think you can guess who did most of the work and who did most of the crying when treats were gone for the evening.

3.  Nobody helps each other.  This is a major issue.  Shelby asked Ashley for help tonight doing something simple and Ash refused.  This is not surprising b/c Ash asks often and Shelby refuses.  We had a big talk about the example we set to each other.  But, lately their are few people in our house that selflessly just give.  I think this should be something our kids strive to do...to help others. 

4.  No down time. Even on "slow" weekends like we've had lately...there is no down time for Kev and I.  I long for grandparents to be in town to help us.  We just feel like we have no support.  Even though we might not be at a sporting/extra curricular activity our days are filled looking for things...looking for equipment for D's baseball season, taking SAB pics for ID, going to the store, going to the library for book reports...and this doesn't even include the other jobs like laundry, dishes, homework, baths, etc.  It's just never-ending. I know this is the norm for any family and moreso for a larger family....but to never get a break from it...it's exhausting for Kev and I to not ever get any time to veg out that isn't before 10pm at night.  It's really hard to get anything accomplished during the week, when we are so tired even from our weekends.

Anyway....I know this is all just part of life and this busy season we are in.  I just long to take a deep breath sometimes and it feels now that I'm hyperventilating.  I would love words of wisdom from someone out there who has conquered this kind of life successfully. I am feeling like I am flailing and even failing.  And I don't like how I feel at the end of the day. Right now I feel like I have an ulcer.  Mentally I am actually good right now (good weather is a huge bonus for me!).  I just want to do better at all this and lead a more "free" life. 

On a happy note...I might have gotten nothing tangible accomplished today, but I did have a great, great, great time hanging with friends at the park and walking the trail/creek area.  Logan got to walk around with his two buddies, Isaac and Kinsey...last time we went to the park/trail he was stroller-bound.  And Ash loved being with her two buds, Sydney and Audrey.  It's a blessing to be able to enjoy nice weather again even when nothing gets accomplished in the home. :) 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My gang :)

 Just a few pics after a full weekend...of my sweet (sorta crazy) gang :)  Hailey above on her bday...looking like the beautiful 14 year old she now is :)
 My crazy, spunky, funny, sweet Shelby on spring break enjoying her freedom :)
 Dylan's got a bit of craze in him too...check out those Steg eyes :)
 Ash ain't far behind on the craze-dept.  She is all about fashion these days as we shopped on Hailey's St. Pat's Day bday. 
Oh-my-sweetness.  There is still some beautiful blonde hair under that icky helmet :)  He's a doll baby and looking more like a little man than a baby :)

Love them all...so, so, so much! 

I am off to veg before another crazed week hits!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

15M

Just a lil' post tonight in honor of my big "lil" boy :)  The time is just moving way too fast in his lil' life and I cannot believe that he's already 15 months old.  I held him tonight and looked at him in the mirror...and I couldn't believe how big he's gotten.  It just doesn't seem real to me that he's grown so fast.  I ran after him today around the violin dept...he's so fast now that he was actually outrunning me (and loving' ever second of it, might I add) :)  He's just such a sweet blessing to me.  He keeps me young, yet he makes me feel so old! haha :)  Love this little man and his busy little self.  Before I know it, it'll be summer and he'll be 1.5 years and then it'll be Christmas again and he'll be 2.  And then he'll be 14 like my Hays and I'll be nearing my empty-next years.  Crazy!  Time needs to truly sloooooow down.... 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Busy vs. Full Life

I was listening to my fav. radio station (Air1) this morning when I drove the kids to the bus stop.  I was feeling very run down and a lil' grumpy about life...then this discussion came up on the radio and I felt instantly convicted. 

They were talking about how we run into people every day and ask, "How are you?"  And most people these days say "busy" or "very busy".  I am quite guilty of this.  And it's not a brush off...it's just how I feel.    Sometimes I think we as a society feel we "need" to be busy to feel fulfilled.  I am guilty of this, I think.

Do you live a busy life or a full life? 

They are not the same.  And honestly for me I think a busy life makes my life feel somewhat empty.  Does that make sense?  The only reason I know this is that when I had a chance at a less-busy life last week during our break I felt much "fuller".  I am starting to slowly learn what is important in life...it's only taken me 15+years of marriage and 14+ years of parenthood to realize this.  And for me, in this season, what's important it is not being so busy and cherishing the little, quieter moments.  It is being home more. It is doing simple things like sitting on the floor playing games with my kids, playing outside, making dinners and eating together as a family, not having every second of the day planned out and on-the-go (or like today it was playing basketball with my toddler in the snow :)).  I know having 5 kids just instantly makes for a busy life...so for me I think I have to be extra vigilant about finding this "full-ness" of life I long for.  I think this is my struggle lately.  Just saying "no" to busyness and really focusing on living life to the fullest and showing my kids how to do this too.  This needs to be a new goal... 

So today I am saying "no" to busy and "yes" to full-ness :)  I am counting on this post to hold me accountable :)  Being "full" needs to be the new cool...and not being busy! :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ick

It's the Monday after Spring Break and I just feel "ick" on so many levels. 

There was nothing particularly exciting about our spring break, but I could have used at least another week to feel rested and accomplished.  Instead I just feel "blah".  I feel like we started lots of things, talked about lots of things and did very little.  I'm trying not to be hard on myself, but I really just want to feel like we are making bigger dents in house stuff than we are.

And the reality of "break" being over is that now the craziness of our sched. is back. I have known for awhile that I loathe our schedule, but having a break from it made me realize all the more how much I would love less busy-time. 

I really dug my heels in today.  I did not want to run kids too and fro and be back on my mama-game.  God must have known this too b/c not only did I have to get back at it, but I was thrown into it more than the norm.  Kev is sick.  Not good.  This means I'm pretty much a single parent now.  He is quarantined b/c I don't want any of us sick with what he's got.  It's nasty upper resp. stuff.  This all meant that I was on my own for taxi service from 4-10pm.  This is not the norm.  That's a lot of driving around especially on Monday, our busiest night.  Ugh.  I am one worn mama here at almost midnight.  I am trying not to complain...I really am.  I am just not a Monday person to begin with and especially not a Monday-after-spring-break person.  Please send energizing good vibes my way this week as I continue to barrel through the basement and our bedroom and hopefully finish up what we've started.  I have been thinking more and more about moving and I think I am ready to really make that a reality....but it's gotta start with reorganizing our house, which is more overwhelming that I am really letting on. Baby steps, I know...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A successfully productive (yet tough) day! Phew!

Well, we did it!

We actually made some amazing progress in our very scary basement.  I wish I had pics I could post.  Though pics won't do it justice.

What will do it justice is knowing that we just sent....

5 huge garbage bags to Kev's trash heap at work...
8 bags of clothing to Goodwill
10 boxes of household goods to Goodwill

and

3 bins will to go to Once Upon a Child next week

Kev's Yukon was filled to the brim with stuff.  It was pretty rewarding to see that go bye bye.  I almost wanted to keep it in the garage and save it til our community garage sale in May.  But, honestly, it just needed to leave the house and be forgotten.  And you know me and garage sales anyway...a waste of time and energy all for piddly money.  Not something I enjoy at all.

So it was a "tough love" kinda day.  All seven of us dug in (well, six....but I will say Logan was a trooper and to the longest nap ever....and he played happily downstairs amidst the clutter when he was awake :)).  But, all the kids lent a hand.  Just about everyone was in good spirits and happily sorted and discarded stuff.  Poor Shelb. She is our emotionally-attached-to-things-girl.  She had a mental breakdown over daddy tossing her Scooby-Doo.  It was major hysterics and garbage diving.  All over something she already thought was gone anyway (he'd been lost for a year or two or more).  Anyway....after that it was all downhill for her.  She was crying over everything.  She couldn't believe I was parting with some of my wedding stuff, clothes, toys...you name it.  The day was obviously emotionally taxing on her.  She loves her stuff...and even other people's stuff :)  Bless that girl.

I was proud of myself though. I didn't hardly look or think about things. I just tossed them.  I got all our clothing organized and in bins.  I gave a good portion of it away to Goodwill.  I didn't even go through paperwork. I just dumped it in the garbage. I got my mom's room all cleaned up.  It's ready if she wants to come now! haha :)  I even got the storage room all cleaned up and organized.  I got all my party stuff organized.  I've wanted to do this for ages.  It's all in a big bin now.  All the dress-up stuff is organized (Ash and her friends will be thrilled when they play now!).  I think I can even let her friends play down in the basement.  It's not as embarrassing now.  Kev can almost get started on taxes down there too. There is actually room to walk.  I took some funny pics of me in my good ol' FLCS letterman jacket...while also wearing part of my wedding attire. Hailey was laughing at me :)  I almost threw it out, but she talked me into keeping it all.  We did part ways with LTS and MLP (Littlest Pet Shops and My Little Pony (old) stuff).  Now we need to part ways with half our books.  We could host a library in our house right now with our reading material.  We think and hope and pray the kitty mess is just at the bottom of the stairs.  Kev is cleaning that up now.  I think they were just mad about the mess down there and confused about the litter box.  I hope it's nothing more.   They seem pretty happy today...sleeping on Nina's clean bed :)

So, we still have lots more to do down there (going through paperwork and making a 2nd round through the toys.  But, I have full confidence that by the time my mom gets here in May we will have it pretty well done.  We also got our bedroom moved around a couple night's ago (back to how it was when I went into labor with Logan).  I forgot how nice it is to have it this way with Logan's area in the corner. 

Two major things done over spring break. I am happy.  It's not all complete or perfect, but I'm ok with that. It's honestly more than I thought we'd get done, so I'll take it.  Now to relax a bit and gear up for our last day of Spring Break, which also will be a terribly busy Sunday.  Soooo not ready for break to be over.  I wish we had a week off every month!  I think we'd be so much more rested and organized!

Friday, March 21, 2014

I'm realizing...

that even on vacations...or "stay-cations"...it's nearly impossible to get things done!

I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to realize this, but our reality is that life will always be busy with 5 kids.  There is no down time even when you think there should be.  I hope I remember this for future "stay-cations".  The moral of this story is not to make a list, not to have any expectations.

We are now nearing the end of our spring break...a break where we had very little "out of house activity" planned. And I really have nothing concrete to show for it.  And ya' know what....I'm ok with that.  I think that's progress for me to just be OK with it.

So instead of focusing on the negatives today, I am choosing to focus on the positives...

1.  Hays and I had a mother-daughter first today. We both had massages at a spa for the first time.  It was fun to be pampered and to relax a bit. It's not something I wouldn't normally do for myself but I was grateful my sweet friend gifted me with this.  Hays had a lil' 30 minute one...and I had a 60 minute hot rock one (though I honestly don't think she used rocks on me...I swear I didn't feel them).  So...that was an experience...

2.  We played outside a lot today. It was amazing outside...70 degrees.  We could not pass that up to stay indoors and clean. I am ok with this.  It's so hard to keep Logan indoors when it's nice out. He loves, loves, loves being outside....just running and laughing and playing.  I love watching his joy.  I love watching all of my kiddos just enjoy the outdoors. I was afraid a few weeks ago that spring would never be here.  Now to be enjoying the warmth and sun...well, it's a gift!  We played on the swings, we played on the deck, we played basketball, rode scooters, etc.

3.  We have been enjoying yummy meals.  We just never get to do this when we are so busy.  We rarely all eat together and rarely have nicer meals...like fajitas and grilled chicken.  We even ate on the deck today.  Love that!

4.  Hays saw Divergent with friends today (or as Shelby likes to call it Deodorant :)).  She's read the trilogy and enjoyed it. She loves those dystopian novels!  Though the movie was nothing like the book apparently.  Ash spent her afternoon at a Frozen movie party.  She had a ball wearing her Anna costume while her best bud was Elsa.  We even made Olaf cookies in about 5 minutes flat.  I was proud of us. 

5. We got Hailey's SAB stuff all squared away.  She's officially registered.  YAY!  June will be here before we know it!

Now it's time for early bedtime so we can have early-rise time for our "tackle-the-basement" day.  So wishin' we had some hard-working Ninas and Poppy's in town to help us or at least to watch our busy boy.  This job might take a team of individuals greater than our fam. of seven!  I will have to take before and after pics to show you. It's almost to the point of being on the show "hoarders".  Wish us tons and tons of luck! :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring has sprung...

...and ya' know what that means in the Steg house....

...yep, spring cleaning! hahaha :) 

Not exactly the fun spring-break-y thing most people are probably doing on their sunny, ocean-y, beachy vacations....but we Stegs like to mix-it-up a little...so in honor of the first day of spring today, we cleaned :)

The best part of the day is that while I went out to a lovely lunch with one of my bestest buds, Jill...my kiddos toiled and sweated around the house :)  Hailey was in charge and not only did she get Logan to nap almost the entire time I was gone, but she got all her sibs to do their chores.  This tells me that not only is Hailey awesome...but I need to go away more often :)  I was pretty proud by their hard work and their motivation and especially their lack of complaining (or maybe they did complain, but Hailey had to hear it, not me!).  So, bravo to my children!  I actually came home to a mopped floor (Shelby rocked!)...and a hallway cleaned up of a mound of Ash clothes (thank you Hays...tackling Ashter and her clutter is a big job in itself!).  And Dylan was the king of vacuuming :)  I was happy with my kids today (especially after their lack of help/motivation last night during laundering). 

So, all in all...the first day of spring was good.  The sun was shining, I got to have a scrumptious lunch with a wonderful friend...and we ended the night seeing our wonderful old friends, Chad and Cor, and meeting their new little boy bundle.  He was simply adorable and I could have held him forever.  He was a little snuggler.  It was Logan's first time meeting a baby and I think he was mostly fascinated with his head which he thought was a "ball", of course :)  The girls all adored holding him.  Shelby is convinced we need a few more babies in our house...I think "12" was her request?!  huh??

So, it was a well-balanced day of accomplishment and friendship.  I'll take it!  Now we move on to our biggest hurdle of spring break...the basement...nothing like saving the best (or is it the worst?) for last!  Wish us luck on Saturday!  We will need a miracle to get that thing cleaned up!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Not-so-stellar (yet not surprising) news...

...so far the big blue helmet is not really doing any good.

Not surprised at all.

Yet, still disappointed b/c it's been such a nuisance to deal with (and I'm not even the one wearing it!).

We had Logan's 1st helmet recheck today and while there is a chance he's made a small change in head shape, it's not very likely (the orthotics guy said he thought Logan mostly just got more hair, which I disagree with).  There is a possibility he made a "mm" or so change (he was not real thrilled about getting his head scanned which meant he was not real still during the scanning), but we are not holding our breath that any big changes happened (or will happen).

So we are moving onto month two of hoping and praying this works...even a wee bit.  B/c I think I will be mighty disappointed this summer if there is absolutely no change at all and we've endured this thing for all this time.

Just feeling sorta bummed out today about this news. I wasn't really expecting change at all, much less the first month...but I still trying to be optimistic, which is not really my nature in this instance.

In happier news, it's been another lovely spring break day.  Kev took the day off from work.  He let me slept in...and I actually did.  I think it was 10:30 when I rolled out of bed. I am not even sure I've slept in that long since before Ash was born.  It was nice.  We took care of some hassle-y things (mail stuff, insurance paperwork, dishes Logan's appt and violin lesson) and now the kids are just playing bball outside while I sit here with Logan snoozing on my lap.  Gosh I could get used to days like this!  Best news of the day is we got a big ol' gift in the mail today...Frozen DVD is here!!!  Which means it's Steg movie night!  That's just about enough to drown our helmet sorrows away!  Yippee!!!! 


Monday, March 17, 2014

Fourteen!


Just a small bday tribute to the 14 year old tonight.  I am too plum tuckered out to do more.  I love the two pics above b/c it just makes me realize all the more how fleeting time is...seems like she was just born...and now look at her.  My pride in my oldest child just oozes over.  I cannot even begin to say how much I love her and admire her.  She is more than I ever dreamed of in a child and I can't wait to see where the next 14 years lead her.  I love you, Hays!

I think she has a good St. Pat's bday....full of sleeping in, good food, relaxing times, games of Uno, lego-playing (yes, even 14 year old girls play legos!), mall shopping, bday basketball, yummy steak dinner, ombre ruffle/chocolate ballerina cake, lots of card and gifts (truly...all you who sent her things were amazing...she has a mound of goodies to open...it was so fun!)....and she even ended up the night lighting her hair on fire while blowing out candles (not every 14 year old can say that!) :)  We had lots of laughs and smiles.  Love you, Hays, and I enjoyed a wonderful St. Paddy's Day/spring break/bday with you at home. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

14 years ago...

...I was in labor...I'd been in labor since the day before...about 30 hours...and little did I know I still had 10 more hours to go...

...also little did I know I'd deliver the cutest, crazy dark-haired little St. Patty's Day daughter.  We really anticipated we'd have an Alexander or a Nicholas on our hands (funny how those names never even panned out for our real sons :)).  I still remember sitting in that Grand Rapids delivery room waiting for our 1st Baby Stegs to arrive...wondering what kind of parents Kev and I would make...wondering what our child would look like, what he/she would become.  And now all these years have gone by in the blink of an eye...she's become this beautiful, intelligent, confident, fun(ny), talented and independent young woman...someone I admire so incredibly much for her drive and her sweet nature and for the ways she uses her God-given talents and abilities.  When I was in labor all those years ago I never dreamed God would bless us with such an incredible child.  Happy Almost 14th to our Hailey Nicole.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Break is here!

Well, in just a few hours our Spring Break officially begins.  Never have I been so happy to have a week of freedom come our way!  In honor of the big week of "nothing" ahead, I thought I'd post some fun pics of our last Spring Break...where we did things much differently...in the fun and sun of Ft. Laud!  While I am sad we won't be down there again this year enjoying the family, pool and beach, I know that this season of our life is really calling us to be home and not travel.  I am ok with this and actually looking forward to it.  But....looking at these fun(ny) pics of last March does make me miss my family all the more.  A year ago, we were packing our bags (and our new beach towel) for some fun in the sun...Logan was ready for his 1st time in FLL at just 2.5 mos old!
He was ready for his first road trip...even down to his clothes... :)
Finally after the long 24hr drive, we were there....doing what we love most...spending time with Nina and Pops....just chillin'...taking walks...
...taking naps...
...chillin' by the pool and getting some sun on our white, pasty, Indiana bodies :)
...I must say the pool does sound good right about now...love this house, love this pool, love the memories we have built here...our first family of seven pool pic :) (it was a tad bit cold for Logan and I to go in so we did a "side of pool" pic :))
Nina's the best about having tea parties and good ol' laid back fun :)
Hailey before her big "adult-like" bday lunch with us ladies.  My Aunt Mary took us out to a yummy lunch...Hailey didn't know it at the time, but she had calamari for the first time :)  It was a special day with the Gritz ladies and a great way to celebrate Hailey entering her teens :)
Fun in the Garden's condo pool...our fav. warm pool!  Pops and Hays look like Olympian water dancers don't they? lol!
One of our fav. treasured things to do on our FL trips is shop at Sawgrass (outlet mall)...and Sewing/Shopping Sharon almost always goes with us!  Don't let the face fool you...this is a highlight for Shelby! :)
Our first family shot at the beach :)
Enjoying a very windy day...
My rendition of a baby tent...not sure Logan was impressed.  He did not like the sun and sand.  It kinda ruined his first beach trip :)
Nina and Pops threw a very fun 13th bday bash for Hays...even the big kids had fun :)
Gosh, I still remember them holding her when she was just born...and somehow she grew into this beautiful young lady...with wonderful, supportive grandparents :)
Love...love...love the view out my parents back porch...I will miss seeing the palm trees this March...
My sweet 13 year old...and now almost 14
Somehow she grew almost as tall as great-grandma G :)
Me and my babe chillin' in the pool and sun...best place to be!
We took our first train ride on Amtrak...
...and some fun at Bass Pro Shop!
...and more fun in the pool with crazy Uncle Jeff. I think this was his workout for the day :)
lol!  The kids loved it...he's a great uncle :)
sweetness chillin' by the pool in his flip flops :)
Playing cards (while having ice cream)...always another highlight...
And my Hay's St. Pat's bday...at a rest stop on our way home...thankfully this year she will actually be home...though not sure that's any more fun :)

Just a few of the things we did last spring break....great times, great memories!

I am sure this spring break won't be quite as exciting, but hopefully will be full of rest, relaxation and some decluttering. This mama (and family) need to return in 10 days in a much better frame of mind!

Why is this so hard?

My question of the day..

Why does life have to be so hard sometimes?

And honestly I know I have nothing to complain about.  Our "stuff" is minor in comparison.

But, lately it just seems like I get knocked down by something every single day and that is making life seem hard.

It's hard b/c we can never seem to catch a break...never seem to get a breath.

No secret that I have been worn for a long time...but now I feel I am near breaking point.  I would like to say it's just me, but I think Kev is near the end of his rope too...and I know one of our children is as well.   

I am grateful spring break is here today, but I fear the week will fly by with no rest for the mind and body...and that will be disappointing.  I am just so used to being knocked down that I can't even get my hopes up.

I think God is trying to teach me something about life right now.  I am stubborn so I am not quite certain I am listening. I think He knows He needs to knock me down in order for me to rest.  Why do I have to make life so hard? Maybe that is the real question.

Praying for change...and my willingness to relinquish control.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Yay for no more white stuff! :)

In celebration of no more snow (hopefully til next winter!)...I thought I'd post a few old pics from last month of our snow time.  As much as we've grown weary of the white stuff, we did have mounds of fun in it this season!  Here's the gang obliging me for a group photo.  Logan wasn't too pleased at this point :)  And Hailey thought it was too bright out, so she just shoveled the driveway for us and then went back in the warm house :)
The wee one and his French mama :)  He's about to say, "Something's missing off my hand, mommy!?" :)
He needed a friend to sled with and there is nothing better than a ball!
Blurry, but you can still feel/see the love!  No doubt the boy LOVES sledding especially with his sibs!
Who needs snowboards when you can "board" on your sled.  Even Ash was a pro after our many countless snow days!
D was the sled-boarding man!  If this were an Olympic sport, he'd be a medalist :)
Shelb's pretty good too!
Love this sweet girl :)
Ash trying out the new bear print snow boots from Nina and Poppy Stegs.  Very cool for making "paw" prints in the snow.
We had to mark D's territory with some red water (that looks like someone vomited koolaid now that I see it :))...he had just turned 8 a week before this pic was taken.  He's growing too fast!
My lil' handsome...too bad I didn't check for crusty boogers before I took this :)  He's still a cutie-pa-tootie though--boogers and all!
Ash having a snow snack :)
And this was Log before going out to play....he was all bundled up and then decided he wanted a snack...so we put some puffs on the floor...not realizing he couldn't use his hands....after batting at the puffs....
...he finally found a way...smart kid....
...snack success!

So, there ya' go...a few pics to pass the time....

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Nice weather+lack of time/motivation=no time to blog :)

Well, I'll be honest. I had no idea it'd been a week since I blogged.  Time just seems to fly by at warp speed.  I think about typing every night, and quite honestly sleep and rest seem much more enticing.  Plus the fact that I have very little access to my photos makes blogging even less enticing.

But the good news is that...spring has sprung in Indiana.  Well, it HAD sprung before we got more snow today.  But, the warmer temps and glorious sun have been good for this mama's heart, mind and soul.  I know I've said it before, but winter (especially this winter) have made me S.A.D.!  I am grateful the dreariness is just about over.

Here's a wee bit of what's going on here...

1.  The park---hurray that weather is allowing us time there again!  We went with friends last Friday and enjoyed every second!  Logan was in ALL his walking glory!  I wish I could capture every second of the joy he finds in being "uprightly mobile".  It's the best and most fun thing for me to watch these days. And he was in heaven on Friday racing (and I do mean racing!) around the park. He is Mr. Speed Walker now.  He falls about every 10 steps, but it does not slow him down. He gets right back up.  He walks like he's been riding a horse for a few days and it's the cutest thing ever.  He just went nuts stumbling all around the park, going up and down ramps and stairs and up and down the slides.  He is by far my busiest toddler.  I love (and would love to bottle!) his energy!  Cutest thing ever!

2.  We survived a weekend with daddy working.  After the stress of last week of Hailey being sick and me not feeling well...I was dreading last weekend with Kev gone and all we had going on that I had to tackle by myself.  We somehow made it through and it felt monumental in some ways :)  I had some odd energy on Sunday and I even got us all to church at the normal hour even with the time change.  I was proud of myself :)  Funniest thing about church was how Logan just sauntered on into the baby nursery. It was like he owned the place.  He really is the funniest walker ever.

3.  Dylan finished up his Upwards basketball this weekend and had his big ceremony last night at church.  A great season for him. He really did awesome.  I know you are not supposed to keep track of who wins and loses and the points in Upwards, but D is my numbers man and he knew the score of every game and how many points he got.  His team won every game, but one...and tied that one.  We think (this was per Dylan's mental math).  This last game he got 10 of the 24 points.  I love his energy and his competitive nature; and watching him celebrate after each basket he's made has been priceless.  He jumps high in the air with the biggest grin in his face.  Now I think he is moving on to baseball.  We haven't fully decided...but he is pretty set on it.  Kev and I are not big baseball fans, but ya' can't deny that an outdoor energy release for a busy boy would be a good thing. I do dread trying to keep track of busy Logan at a ball field though!

4.  Spring Break is 3 days away for us!  Super yay!!!!  Best news of all.  We cannot wait to do a whole lot of nothing.  We may take Hailey on a surprise trip to a surprise city (which I actually told her about so it's not really a surprise), but other than a fun, short bday trip, we have nothing else planned.

5.  Speaking of the bday girl....in 5 days she'll be 14.  How can that be?  I will have a high schooler soon.  This is pure craziness.  I am not sure what we'll do on her bday since it always falls on spring break, but I think she hopes to sleep in (easy enough!) and I think she and I might go get a massage.  Neither of us have done this ever, but my sweet friend, Jill, gave me that as a bday gift and I can't wait to use it.  And I'm sure we'll go out to a yummy steak dinner. Hay's loves her steaks...like her daddy :)  I think she hopes to have a "green" St. Pat's party too with a few buds later this month.  We'll have to solidify those plans over the break.

6.  I became a scientist for the day yesterday and did a fun experiment for D's 2nd grade class.  I am soooo not a teacher and it was a very last minute thing (change in date due to change in weather)...but it went well.  I would recommend the mentos and soda experiment to anyone...very cool geysers!  Things blowing up like that is always fun for kids! We finished off the experiment making root beer floats.  I love that I can take part in my kids' classrooms.

7.  Happy Bday, Dr. Seuss.  D and A have had fun with all their Seuss activities this month. You should see Asher now.  She had Wacky Wednesday today and I think she wins the award for her crazy outfit and hair.  She's a corndog!  Dylan wins the award for craziest socks. He wore his sister's pink knee-highs. He has no problems wearing pink apparently :)

8.  Loving playing outside again.  Loving using the basketball hoop finally (after getting it last year and not using it yet!)....D is loving shooting hoops and Logan loves running around in the front and back yard.  Even Shelby is out there shooting hoops.  Ash is up and down the block on her princess scooter.  Logan is loving trying to join in all the big-kid fun. His giggles are infectious as he's realized how fun it is to be running all over.  He loves swinging too.  Nothing like watching a baby's smile and hearing those deep-voiced giggles :)  Love being outside again.  We are all sleeping better these days thanks to getting our energy out!  Though I have realized that with the nicer weather comes a new challenge:  Logan wants to be outside all the time with his sibs.  I can let the older ones play outside with the door open so I can hear them.  Well, that won't work for the wandering toddler.  I usually have to keep him inside with me as I'm doing homework with Shelby or making food.  He hates this. He stands at the gate to the door and throws everything over it to show his frustration.  Yesterday he not only threw stuff over the gate, but he got all the DVDs out and all the tupperware out and all the books.  He likes to make messes when he's mad. He does have a little toddler temper sometimes...but it's a quiet temper...a mess-making temper :)   The screaming temper might actually be better...and more cleanly!

9. Quirreling kids--we have a few of them lately and it's wearing the mom and the dad of the house down. I am thinking of calling a meeting over spring break so we can find some solutions for peace.  We've had way too much whining, standing in the corner and sibling "spats".  It's exhausting.  I've starting the "jar system" where I give them a quarter for everything nice they do (and take one away for each unkind thing they do). So far no one has any money in their jars (and one has "I owe mom money"...and it's been a week.  Hmmm.

10.  Ballet:  Hailey's going to see Alvin Ailey perform tonight at the IU Auditorium.  So exciting. Wish I could go but tickets weren't cheap and she'll probably prefer going with her ballet teacher and all the ballerinas anyway.  I'm sure she'll have a blast!

11.  I am proud (and relieved) to say that our Logan is an AWESOME eater...with NO texture issues! I wasn't confident of this a couple months ago as he ate some textured baby food and then threw it up....but since then he has become our best toddler eater.  He truly eats anything we give him.  He is so easy and I am so thankful for this.  His FAV thing is cheese.  Leave it up to my child to LOVE cheese :)  The kid eats about 6 string cheeses a day.  He can't get enough.  And I am loving these Gerber squeezable foods.  Great invention, especially for busy mamas on the go.  So thankful for a good-eating boy.   He can even eat 3rd foods with chunks in them.  I am so not used to a boy that does this but it's much nice than gaggy, puking boys.  On a cute/fun note, Logan's new fav thing to do at night is sit with his mama in bed and share ice cream. It's very cute how excited he gets and he comes running when he sees my bowl of yummy dessert :) 

12.  Plugging away on the basement.  It's a long process and when I'm done I'll post pics of what it looked like before and after. I am appalled we've let it get so bad.  Way too much clutter/toys/clothes down there.  I think the cats have gotten confused about their litter box too. It's a sad state of affairs. But I have lots of bags to give to Goodwill and more of garbage.  And Nina's bed is visible again!  Here's to hoping we can tackle this more over spring break!

13.  Helmet:  Hard to believe it's been on 1 month tomorrow.  I really have to say that I can't wait til it's off this summer.  We are used to it for the most part, but I find that it's sooooo hard to cuddle my boy with it on. And he just LOVES to cuddle up next to me....he's a mama's boy. It's just so hard to snuggle a big hard plastic head.  It's just not the same lovin' :(  I hate this...but I will take head-butt-cuddles over no cuddles :)  I miss his soft head of hair.  I can't help but sometimes just take off that helmet and rub his little head.  I miss it.  He looks so different to me already when I see his long hair.  He's got a mullet going on in the back and I can almost put a pony tail in it :)  He just looks so grown up to me now.  I don't like that the helmet pushes on his eyes too. It's like he has to lift his whole head to see what's above him.  He also just scratches at the stupid thing when he's tired.  It's like he's frantic to get it off.  Kev thinks it's just that he likes to touch his hair when he's tired.  Whatever it is I just miss his head full of hair and helmet-less head.  Praying there has been some change in head shape at our appt next Tues.  Not confident there is.  On a funny note, it  interesting what you'll let a kid in a helmet do.  I don't really fear him getting hurt much and it might be a good thing he has it while he's learning to walk/run.  He falls all the time and hits his head and not a tear falls from his eyes :)  Though last night he had it off and fell badly and bruised his head and cut his ear.  Go figure :(  On a nice note, people have been very sweet about the helmet.  Most say he's adorable as ever and a few people even have chased us down to say they have grandkids with a helmet and want to know he's doing with his.  It's been an ok transition.

14.  I have been staying off the computer...very little email, no facebooking and obviously no blogging.  This has actually been lovely and once you get used to it it's actually hard going back. The one thing I don't like   about this is talking to my mama :)  I miss her!   I also missed knowing that our friends had a baby.  I do think Kev was sorta proud he found out this info before me though :)  Congrats, Chad and Cor...on your handsome little man, Joshua...and welcome to family of five-dom :)  So happy for them and so thankful Joshua is out of special care nursery and cuddling with his family!

15.  Mr. Chatty.  Love the babbling of toddlers.  Logan is the king of babblers.  He can say (and prefers) anything that starts with B...especially blocks, books and (his FAV!) BALLS!  He is also saying funny things like "do dah, do dah, do dah" and "shhhhh".  He's seriously so funny.  He cracks himself up too and he has this funny deep-voiced boy giggle.  He loves to point and wave and even dance :)  He's a hoot!  And I must say...as much as I used to melt when he'd crawl over to me and snuggle...there is nothing like him walking/running over to me and melting in my arms. Love, love, love this!

And there is much more going on.  Stuff I don't really want to put on the blog...our struggles and our exhaustion.  I am trying not to make the blog an outlet for my worn-down-ness :)  I have really had a heck-of-a-time the last couple weeks.  I think just not feeling well and not sleeping have been major contributors. And as much as I LOVE having a busy toddler around the house and love my busy kids...it all just means I am extra exhausted at night.  I am really praying for peace to find me...not only in our active lifestyle but in my heart.  I need to find more moments of "be still" time.  It is going to be really hard to say "no" to things. Even now people are asking "let's get together over spring break"...and all I really want/need to do is "be still" and not go anywhere for 7 days.  Just pray that I can work on this.  It's so hard for me to say "no" to fun activities and friends.

Hope everyone is having a lovely March!  And here's to us getting our photo program in order over spring break next week...I am much more motivated to blog when I can post pics and not words :)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I prayed for this...

I've been doing a lot of thinking and praying in the "peaceful" hours lately of sickness and snow :)

And maybe I've been dwelling more on this subject b/c my Hays is almost 14.

I know I must seem overwhelmed and stressed most days.  And there is no doubt I am worn.  But, I've had this "ah-ha" moment lately as I reflect on 12 years ago and how far our family has come in that time.  A dozen years ago I prayed for the life I have now. I didn't necessarily pray for 5 children and the crazy rat race we lead, but I prayed long and hard for a child...another child...a second child.  It was just Kevin and I and Hailey back in 2002.  We had just moved to Indiana to be near family...it was perfect timing.  We were just starting to get our footing in Bloomington after living in Danville for awhile with Kev's parents.  Kev had found a job in downtown Bloomy, that company closed shortly after, and he lost the job, and then he found another.  I was working full-time in Indianapolis as an RN in the Riley NICU.  Making that stinky long drive with long 12 hour evening shifts.  Sweet Hailey was our pride and joy.  She wanted a sibling so desperately and we were waiting for the right time when we had insurance and were more stable. We lived in a very humble apartment (only 5 mins from where we live now).  Those were hard days I am sure, but I remember them well and remember them being so simple, yet joyful.  I don't think we ever worried or lost faith.  Hailey was such a sweet kid. So easy going and loved to play by herself...we had a living room full of Little People and she just played all day.  Finally Kev found his current job.  We felt the timing was right to start a family.  We found our current house in May of 2002 and hoped to bring another baby into our family once we moved.  Days and months went by...finally a year.  We were still a family of three.  I prayed and begged God for one little miracle.  I still remember Hailey's first day of preschool and taking that pregnancy test (it had been one of many in the course of those 18 months).  There was no reason to even think I really was pregnant, but I never lost hope even in my greatest despair.  Turns out our biggest prayer was reality and 8 months later our Shelby was born....20 months after that our Dylan was born....2 1/2 years later our Ash was born...and then almost 4 years later our Logan was born.  It honestly seems like it happened just like that.  Had you asked me back in 2002 if I'd be a mom of 5 in 2014, I would have probably laughed in your face. I am quite certain I never thought I'd have 5 kids.  I am not sure how many I thought I'd have...maybe 3?  Kev thought 2 I am sure.  I guess God added those two numbers together and gave us what we have! haha :)  But, I love how God's plans unfold so differently from our own.  Now here I am wallowing in the craziness.  It is not easy.  The reality of 5 children is a lot of hard work, a lot of exhaustion...I'm not sure why there are days I think it should be easy?  And honestly these 5 are teaching more more about myself lately that I am probably teaching them. God planned this I am sure!  One thing I do need to do more of is thank him daily for answering my prayers...and answering them more bountifully than I could have ever imagined.  Not a day goes by where I can't imagine my life without my Hailey, Shelby, Dylan, Ashley and Logan.  I feel so humbled and grateful that they are my blessings.  I need to remember that the feelings of craziness and busyness that come along with them are all part of God's plan for our life.  And I think I need to continue to remind myself of how great a blessing this craziness is, especially in the moments where I feel dizzy from the busyness :)  I love looking back on old prayers and seeing how God has answered them in His own time and His own way...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why can't a slow week be a good week?! :)

Well, I had high expectations for rest and relaxation this week.  On Monday it looked like that might happen. -an unexpected snow day.  Loved it.  Very little agenda seemed possible.  Tuesday came in like a lion.  Hailey ended up with vomiting virus.  She threw up as she was trying to walk out the door for school.  She still wanted to go b/c it's ISTEP week.  That was a no-go.  We sent her to bed. Good thing we did b/c I think she puked continuously for the next 8 hours.  She was in bad shape.  She is usually our very healthy one...but I am quite certain her lock-in at church this weekend weakened her immunity.  Lack of sleep and a very busy ballet schedule don't match up well.  Poor kid was miserable yesterday.  She got herself up today and went off to school and it looks like she made it through the day.  I give her credit.  Not sure I could do that. I am down and out today.  So far I've not hoovered the toilet, but the stomach is churning and the head is pounding.  This mama cannot get sick.  Logan is either sick or teething or both.  He has been a bear.  All he wants is to be held and when he's held he can't get comfortable. He head-butted me bad and with that helmet it felt like a brick wall hitting me.  Not cool.  Shelb's not been herself either.  She gets anxious about standardized testing and has been getting picked-on at school.  I told her tell those bullies to "bug off"...but I just don't understand why people have to pick on her and call her ugly.  She's such a beautiful little girl.  She has so much strength in her so I hope she stands up to those pain-in-the-rear girls!  I told her I'd go in there and say a few words to them. Of course, that was not an acceptable mom-thing to do :) 

Just feeling very worn by things this week.  On the bright side my Ash has been helping me tear through the basement slowly.  It's a monstrous mess, but she is not discouraged and we both starting decluttering yesterday. It's an ugly sight down there, but my goal is to have it spic n span by May when Nina needs housing again :)  Here's to some more energy this week and to much less sickness.  And to better weather, which will allow me to air out the place and the germs!  The countdown is on to spring break....9 more days and counting!

Monday, March 3, 2014

My Last One

This mom's blog post sums up a good portion of my thought process since 12/27/2012.  I sat here with some sad and happy tears rolling down my cheeks as I read it.  So much to look forward to with our growing boy...17 more years of having a "baby" in the house, but I also see so many of his milestones as "finalities" for me.  I do still cherish every day and every moment...but there is something about knowing that your last baby IS your last baby at least for a sentimental mama like me...

http://suburbanturmoil.com/the-last-one-3/2014/02/20/

 On a side note, I am LOVING this day.  It the first snow day (NO school, yet again!) that I have been able to truly enjoy and do whatever I want.  Kids are playing with legos (even the almost 14 year old!)...and my Logan and I just sat and did laundry.  I can't remember the last time I felt relaxed sorting socks.  He made me chuckle b/c his enjoyment was finding a big hairball on floor and putting it in every thing he could find and then dumping it out.  Who needs toys when your mom lets hairballs roll around the house?! lol :)  Love days like this...and love all my "babies"! :)