March 28, 2015

Egg Hunting We Go

For the last couple of years we have gone to our local mom's of multiples Easter egg hunt. The first year the babies were still little and just laid on a blanket exactly where we put them. Last year they were a little more mobile but manageable. And this year it was 7 kids running in 7 different directions and it was fun, except for the part were we had to tell the oldest 2 that they had to go put eggs back because they misunderstood how many 5 eggs were. This was also the first year that I realized my oldest are really growing up and next year they will be too big to be a part of the egg hunt. How have my first born gotten to the age were they are too old to participate in festivities?

2013
2015
A bit sad but when I was going through the group pictures I had to keep counting because it just didn't seem like that many kids in the picture. Much to my surprise they were all there. Not sure what it means when one does not think 7 kids seems like that many. 
Next up: a birthday celebration for 2 very excited girls who say they are turning 7. I am not ready for them to be 7 because right after that they turn 17 and I am so not ready for that. Oh and in case you were wondering it is exactly ONE month until I am once again reunited with my quad mom bff's. I may just be a tad excited!!



I have no doubt this girl will have a career in helping people, especially children. She is the biggest helper and almost always loves helping them. She does it in more of a teacher type of way than a second mom. 
Pure joy over a stretchy man.

This girl has more teeth missing in her mouth right now than in. She has officially started the journey with the orthodontist who will hopefully work magic over the next year.






This is what daddy's do with their kids.
Love this picture. I can literally hear Rylan saying, "Hi Daddy" which is a favorite phrase whenever he sees mom or dad.
Always jumping...
As close as the Tank would get to the jump house. He certainly has some fears in life he needs to overcome.



March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patty's Day

St. Patrick's Day was never a 'holiday' we celebrated before kids. It was just another day on the calendar except it was a day we tried to wear green. This all changed though when the girls were about 3 because then it became the day that the leprechauns came and turned their breakfast green. Luckily for me we do not have leprechauns that like to mess up my house because I would have put an end to the holiday very quickly.

Aubrey's letter she left for Paul and I before she went to bed the night before St. Patrick's Day.

The problem with starting things with my girls is they NEVER forget so if the leprechauns would not have turned their food green today we would have had major tears. Probably just as big of ones we had last week when we forgot we had five teeth waiting under pillows for the tooth fairy. Natalie had 4 teeth pulled that day and Aubrey had lost one the night before but had left a note for the tooth fairy to wait an extra day before taking her tooth knowing that Natalie was getting hers pulled. Amazing how fast parents can come up with excuses of why these make believe people never showed up! I knew excuses wouldn't cut it this time so last night at 9pm I was wondering the aisles at Target looking for new green outfits for the twins since they had a free dress day at school and food items that were easy to turn green.


Thank you Grandma & Grandpa Lesnau for our leprechaun hats.

But it was so worth it because the first thing they did after coming downstairs this morning was run to the fridge and pull out their lunch boxes to find out if the leprechauns had once again messed with mom and dads packed lunch. Sure enough there was green waffles, green apples, green pea crisps, and green yogurt. They were even kind enough to leave lunch for the other 5 of the same thing and they also left a box of Lucky Charms for breakfast. That box of cereal earned us brownie points for a year since sugar cereals are a big no-no in our house. We did a much better job of playing sneaky leprechauns than tooth fairies as you can see!

First Lucky Charms and then a surprise stop at McDonald's for their very first shamrock shake. I would say it may be their new favorite holiday.

It wasn't until today when my first graders came home from school that I really learned who Saint Patrick was. Did you know he was kidnapped at age 16 by the pirates and then later became a bishop who was sent to Ireland? He used the shamrock to explain the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that is why the shamrock is part of St. Patrick's Day. Yup I knew none of that and was very impressed that my girls could give me a history lesson today. So there is a reason we celebrate March 17th each year and I was glad to learn it wasn't just so we had an excuse to have corn beef & cabbage or green beer. I know the tradition of adding a little green food coloring to our foods will continue on this day for many years because it is so worth it to hear kids get excited over something as little as that. And if we the leprechauns ever decide to leave us a pot of gold next to those Lucky Charms Paul and I would be a tad excited too.



March 12, 2015

Sugar Coating

It's been a month since I have blogged and I have thought about sitting down many times to write about what has been going on but then this little voice asks me if what I am about to write is sugar coated. A couple weeks ago someone mentioned to me that between my blog and facebook I make everything seem like my life is perfect and not hard. I have tried to be completely honest over the last 3 years that I have blogged. I thought I wrote about our day to day struggles of being a family, of having many young kids and just the reality of living in today's busy world but after this comment I started questioning how I was coming across and so I stopped blogging altogether until I figured out the direction I needed to take 'The Littlest Lesnaus'.

Nothing like a little 'sugar' cookie to make lots of smiles.
I enjoy writing and always have. I am absolutely not of book writing materiel though because I have awful grammar and am sure I have lost a handful of followers because of it. I started the blog to keep our out of state family updated on my high risk pregnancy which then turned into keeping them up to speed on our nicu journey and after we were home it was a way for everyone to continue to get to know our little family even though we are miles away. I enjoy knowing that our family back in MN actually know what our kiddos look like besides just the annual Christmas card but I don't want people to think our life is perfect.


So lets talk reality for a little bit. First I want to say that I LOVE having a large family with lots of little kids. Is it always easy? NO. But in all honesty Paul and I do well with numerous little people. We have this 7 kids thing down. Our house is loud pretty much all the time but other than that our house runs smoothly. Our kids help around the house and for the most part enjoy it. Just tonight I had Natalie and Aubrey arguing over who got to help get dinner ready and the table set. We know what has to be done each day and we get it done. Our house is always picked up at night (the toy room not so much but that is the exact reason I needed that specific space for the contained mess), the floors are sweeped nightly and a couple times a week washed, and the counters are clean with dishes done. If you walked into our house on any given day you would question whether 7 kids actually lived here. It is one of the ways my life seems totally in order when most often I am just trying to do the best that I can. With that said here is my non-sugar coated life:


Fleas: I hate anything that resides in hair or fur
You may remember last summer when lice took over my house and I prayed that I would never have to endure that adventure again. Well my prayers have so far been answered but apparently I have not been specific enough with them. My cats have FLEAS and I have decided they are maybe even worse than lice. I started noticing bites on my ankles and assumed they were mosquitoes since we have been outside more at dusk. Then I started noticing them on my back and I told Paul I thought we were dealing with fleas and I got a roll of the eyes. About 3 days later I literally saw a flea jump off of me and after trying to kill the thing with my fingernails and having no such luck I drowned the bad boy. I pulled up google images and sure enough my drowned friend was the same thing that stared back at me on the computer screen. I was at the vet in under thirty minutes getting flea treatment for our two cats. This is when I was thinking we would treat the cats and eventually all of the fleas would die in our home over the next couple of months. No one else was being bitten but me and although I have greater reactions to all bug bites than most and was extremely uncomfortable I could deal as long as no one else was wanting to scratch their ankles off. This was my theory for about 5 days until the dang bugs found Isabella and decided she tasted as good as I did. And the poor girl has the same kind of reactions to bug bites that her momma does. The next day our house was bombed and will continue to be every other month for a while. I seriously want to become a hoarder and never clean because that is how I feel now after having lice and fleas all within the same year. My prayers now are to never see another creature that lives in hair or fur...ever.



Laundry:
Luckily I don't hate washing clothes but I do hate putting them away. One thing I have learned this winter is I will take summer washing over winter washing any day. Washing swim suits and towels is so much easier and faster than jeans and sweatshirts. I literally am keep up by doing a little every day. Some days I decide to skip but that always ends up back firing. If you stop by don't be surprised if you see folded clothes on our kitchen table or island. If I did it anywhere else in the house I don't think it would get put away. At least if it is on my table I must clear it before we can eat. I am very fortunate that our babysitter washes, folds and puts clothes away after the kids are in bed. Almost makes you want a date night a couple times a week. When we redo our laundry room you can bet that there will be two sets of washers and dryers because I know the clothes my kids wear are only going to be getting bigger which will require more loads to get caught up on laundry. Swim suit season please come quick because I am over winter laundry.


Two working parents:
Paul and I are very fortunate that we have two great careers but with both of us working full time and not using daycare it leaves us as single parents a lot. Days home with both parents are the best but unfortunately don't happen as often as we want. Paul is crazy busy right now and puts in long hours. Thankfully he is also willing to get up at 3 or 4am to leave the house so he can be home mid afternoon to be home with us. He will then work on emails and other work items after the kids are in bed and will often be working til 11pm. My shifts are 12 hours and I will often stay for an extra 4 which means I leave the house at 6:15am and return home at 11:45pm. The bonus of working the hours we do is our kids are always home with either mom or dad. Fortunately we both love what we do but there are often times I wish I could be a stay at home mom so that we could have more days home as a family of 9 instead of 8. Someday...



A certain 6 year old:
I have a child who is exactly like me and boy does she make my life hard. My greatest fear is that I will not have a good relationship with this daughter later in life because of our relationship today. She has always needed me more than any of my other children. Even as a baby she would stay in my arms while her twin was passed around because otherwise there would be a whole lot of screaming going on. As she has gotten older she has become harder and harder for me to parent. I love her so much and she will always choose me over Paul and that is why it pains me the way our days often end up. Usually both of us are crying, doors have been slammed and I am left questioning how I can get through to her. She is so smart, so helpful but so opinionated and always right. Oh and did I tell you she turns every 'no' into an opportunity to cry? The problem is she is not this way in school or around other people. Why does she have to be like this around home? To say I don't know what to do is an understatement. I have read books. I have implemented their ideas. I have praised her more. I have allowed her to help more. I have ignored her meltdowns. I have taken away privileges. I have let her know how her words affect me. Yet nothing has helped. I recently told my mom and Paul that I think I need to find a counselor because at this point I literally wake up waiting for our first confrontation each morning and have come to the point that I always have a shield up with her. I struggle with a relationship I have with my 6 year old daughter and it scares me because we have not even reached the teen years yet.

Notice the laundry in the background folded on our table?
Exhaustion:
Ever since the new year I have been plain tired. As in if I could get pregnant I would be taking a test. I get everything done that needs to be done but nothing extra. I am in bed before 10 and I sleep til the very last minute that I can. I am keeping up with the day to day stuff that I need to do but I have no motivation to do more. Painting needs to be done, a garden needs to be planted, pictures need to be ordered for our house, a quad mom get together needs to be planned, I need to work out. But who has energy to do all of that? I use to and I need it to come back to me. I know I do a lot during the day and so wish I could video tape just one day of it because in 50 years I will never believe I actually did everything that I needed to do to raise my family. A little extra turbo sure would help this momma out.


A little boy I am in love with:
In December I fell head over heels in love with a little boy half way around the world. He lives in China and has spent every day of his life in an orphanage. Paul and I have always talked about adopting and assumed it would be from Ukraine because so many of our friends have adopted from there but in early December my heart was stolen in China. He was so close to becoming our son. All I needed to do was hit submit and the paper chase would have started. But Paul had reservations, not about adopting but about this specific little boy. I felt over and over that God was showing me that B was ours. I have never felt so strongly about something in my life but even though Paul told me we could move forward I couldn't. Paul was not ready and I never wanted to push him into this decision. Though I knew with every fiber of my being that B was my son I needed Paul to know it too. So I waited and waited and waited. And while I waited I cried more than I have cried over my own children. And then just when Paul was ready to say 'yes' we got more information about B and both Paul and I knew that though we would love to have this little boy be a part of our family his medical needs were more than we could take on with the ages of our other children. My heart ached and at the same time there was such an empty space in my life for weeks. I questioned God why he gave me so many signs if B wasn't ours. Why did God not work faster on Paul before we got the updated information? Why do I have this need to have more kids? Months later I still have a hard time when his picture comes up on the adoption groups. I still see him as mine. I keep praying that his mom and dad find him soon because there is nothing that would give me more happiness than to know that he has a mom and dad coming for him. At the same time I will be jealous that they get to love on him because for a month B was ours. The kids still talk about B and often offer money they get or earned to be used to bring B home. I now believe God used B to open our eyes to adoption in China. China was never even an option before and now we know we will be bringing home a son or daughter from there and I often wonder who God has planned for us. Who is he/she? Are they being take care of? Are they still in the womb of their mother who loves them fiercely but will have to make the decision to abandon her baby when the baby she gives birth to is not 'perfect'? So many questions; some will be answered some day and some never will be but what I do now is we will be blessed in so many ways when we finally meet our son or daughter.

The beginning of a journey that I often wish had a better map and timeline fore me to follow because I am impatient .
Our life is not perfect. It is not boring or dull. It is chaotic yet organized. It is the life I have chosen and though I try not to sugar coat it I have to say we have more awesome moments than any other kind. Will I continue to blog? I am not sure to be honest because I feel we are living life just like everyone else and so some days I find myself unsure what I am being called to write about. And now I think it is time to open a box of girl scout cookies and fold some laundry!!

February 15, 2015

All I Did Was Blink...

and I went from 27 to 34. Not exactly sure how I feel about getting another year old. Maybe indifferent is the right word? My 30's have been way better than my 20's so I am okay for the moment but next year I may not feel the same since I will then be closer to the 40's than the 30's. For some reason 40 sounds too old for me to have already reached so for now I am going to enjoy just being 34. Celebrating my birthday has never been a big deal for me. It probably started when I was young since my parents owned a flower shop and you can just about imagine how busy my parents were leading up to my big day since it happens to be on Valentine's Day. Most likely I got to have my cake and presents on the 15th because my parents were completely worn out on my actual day and I kid you not when I say every birthday until I was a teenager I was sick. I don't think there is a picture of me opening presents without a red nose and a Kleenex in hand.

Once Paul and I started dating it was more fun to celebrate Valentine's Day than my birthday. It was a bonus though that we could go out to dinner to celebrate our love for each other and get a free meal or dessert with it! After we got married February 14th once again became a day to celebrate my birthday because Paul and I decided V-Day was a commercial holiday and an expensive one at that. In the end I usually ended up disappointed in how my birthday played out and I always had different expectations on how it should have gone so in my mind my birthday is just another day.

This year it was different though because I have had 3 kids who have been ecstatic it since the month of February rolled around. By Thursday, Drew could hardly contain himself because he knew mom's birthday was only 2 days away. Not sure exactly what he thought was going to happen but he was thrilled. Paul and I had celebrated my birthday/valentines day on Friday with a whole afternoon & evening out together. There were no flowers, chocolates or cards but instead time together watching 50 Shades of Grey (my choice not Paul's!) and eating sushi until we were stuffed.


My gifts from the big kids were their stuffed animals wrapped up. I exclaimed with each one how perfect it was.
So Saturday was all for me and I didn't have to share it with the competing love holiday. I had told Paul the only thing I wanted for my birthday was to sleep in and not have to get up with the kids or have them bugging me to make them their first meal of the day. Of course it was also the one night that not a single kid got up to be tucked back in or to tell me they had to go potty or that their throat hurt. Why does it always happen that way?? And for some reason I was wide awake by 6:30am but it was so awesome to just lay in bed and listen to the kids talk to Paul while he made breakfast. The best part was hearing Aubrey read the birthday card she had just made for me. I wish I could have recorded her voice reading it to her daddy because it made me cry and was the best part of the day. After I got out of bed at 7:30 it was a typical morning of breakfast for 9 with over crabby 2 year olds but then we organized the play room and got the upstairs prepped to paint. I think it is a sign of getting older when that kind of stuff makes one happy. Natalie had also informed me about 30 seconds after getting up that I had a massage to go to at lunch time. Daddy may not have been thrilled that she had already spoiled my one and only gift but she was so excited to tell me what was on my agenda.

Homemade cards. Paul had written Drew's message on a piece of paper and he then wrote it on his card. He has never done letters as well as he did  on the card. I was shocked when I was told he wrote it all by himself.
(Aubrey's bottom left, Natalie bottom right)
(Back of Aubrey's card)
My afternoon went a little like this: massage, iced coffee, picking out a cake that I have been wanting from Whole Foods and then I returned home to a little boy who had pinched his finger in the closet HARD. I hadn't been informed that a run to urgent care was going to be part of my birthday day but a middle of the night emergency room visit for a broken finger didn't sound fun either so we went and waited two hours in urgent care. After about an hour I knew his finger was fine but since we had already waited an hour I figured it was better to get it checked out so I didn't have mom guilt if something really was wrong. We made it home in time for Tate to have bacon and apples for dinner since his siblings ate the rest of the leftovers and it was already way past the babies bedtime of 6pm we decided to forgo cake with them and blow out candles with just the big kids. They had a blast singing Happy Birthday and I think they ended up singing four rounds of it.

Though an urgent care visit isn't the most fun it sure is a blast to have two hours of individual time with a kiddo. One thing I learned about Tate is he only has one voice: LOUD.
They were not happy that they were limited to 3 candles each. They did not understand why I did not have 34 candles in the house. After so many I think it becomes a fire hazard.



The joy the kids got out of mom turning 34 was so worth getting another year older. I am actually really excited to see where Paul and I are at when I hit the age of 35. This could be another adventurous year for us and we can't wait. We've been kind of boring for the last two years so it's time to shake things up again. As they say, 'your only as old as you feel' and thankfully I still feel young and that is what matters.


video

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