November 04, 2015

Fall Traditions: Trick or Treat

I am so happy this holiday has left us. It is one the kids love and I despise. Who ever thought it was a good idea to have kids wait all. day. long to be able to put on costumes and knock on doors asking for candy never had kids of their own. Maybe I would enjoy it more if we went trick or treating at 8am so that I wouldn't have to answer 49 times in one day that we would go out after dinner. Yet then I would have to deal with crabby sugar high kids all day so really it is just a holiday that I will continue to find silly.

I love when the calendar turns to October because it means I can decorate for fall. I love all things orange, things that smell like pumpkins and just the warmth that fall decorations bring. This year one of the twins asked if we could put skeletons at the end of the driveway. The other twin was quick to answer with 'no because mom only does cute Halloween decorations not scary.' In years past I have tried to get into the Halloween spirit by coming up with themed costumes for the kids. Last year I probably spent over $200 in completing our Frozen theme. It was fun and they were cute but in the end it rained and the kids spent less than 3 hours in their expensive matching outfits. This year I vowed we were not wasting money on garb for one evening. Instead we rummaged through our dress up box, borrowed from neighbors and only ended up spending $6 on clown hair. No one complained and everyone was excited for their costume. Aubrey even wore a clown outfit that was mine. I was trying to tell her how old it was but I decided saying it was 25 years old made it old enough without stating exactly how old it was!

Even though I don't get into Halloween the kids had a blast and Paul & I enjoyed hanging out with our friends. Nothing like adding 9 more people into a house who already have 7 of their own. We enjoyed a fast pace meal of pizza and salad and when all the kids started getting to antsy we moved everyone outside to start trick or treating. Not a one complained! The best part of the night was hearing the homeowners responses when they opened their door to 13 kids all under the age of 10. Just when they thought they were done handing out candy Isabella and Tate would make their way to the front for two more cute "Trick or Treat" and "thank yous" which often got said in the wrong order. We knew it was time to call it a night when kids started shedding costumes, buckets got too heavy to hold and kids were tripping on one another.

After candy was checked the babies each got one piece and they were totally content. The big kids got to eat until their tummies were full. I think Drew kept expecting me to tell him to stop so that boy was shoving candy in his mouth as fast as it would go. I don't think he liked the way a Sugar Daddy slowed him down so he did come and give me a partly eaten sucker. It always amazes me how many empty wrappers I find in their still full buckets of candy when the night is over.

This year was the year of mix-matched costumes, Reeses peanut butter cups and day light savings which had my kids up way too early the next morning. Though Halloween is a tradition I could easily do without but I don't think my kids will let us skip this fine day. So until next year we will continue hiding and sneaking this years candy as I decide if Halloween 2016 will be themed or hodgepodge.

The first house the quads ever trick or treated at. They really had no idea what we were doing but after 3 pieces of candy got placed in their bucket it didn't take them long to figure it out. Kenzie was down the drive way in no time heading to our other neighbors. 
Our neighbors who spoil our kids. All of the houses in our neighborhood are on at least 3 acres which means we get no trick or treaters. Our two neighbors had stopped us earlier in the week to let us know a treat would be ready for them!

October 30, 2015

Fall Traditions: Painting Pumpkins

As the kids have gotten older we have definitely  started creating some fall traditions to enjoy each year. I actually enjoy the small things the kids start asking to do once school starts more than the fall holidays themselves. Some things we try as a family but they just don't stick and they don't become traditions. Others we have done since the girls were little because Paul & I  felt it was our duty as parents to do them. Now there are things we will continue to do each year because the kids ask for them and they have become family traditions/favorites.

Aubrey 2010
Natalie 2010
The kids Paul's final creations.
2014: 1st Annual Redneck Pumpkin Carving
Since I have been majorly lacking in the blog posting department the last several months I will have a "Fall Traditions" series over the next couple of weeks. Don't worry they will be short and sweet with little words and lots of pictures!

First up was the tradition we started last year which would make this year the 2nd Annual Lesnau Pumpkin Carving Redneck Style. I gave up carving pumpkins last year when I started thinking about the mess 7 kids would create gutting pumpkins. And actually I saved Paul a ton of time because this was his event and I watched from a far. I don't do mess and I get bored with carving of pumpkins after I mess up the triangle nose. Paul use to go all out and cut out these amazing characters but it usually meant the kids enjoyed it for 10 minutes and it took him til 1:00 in the morning to finish. And that was with only 3 pumpkins to carve. Can you imagine how many days it would take to do 7? The first ones would be a rotted mess before the last one was done.

Redneck pumpkin carving is awesome; takes less than an hour, each kid does their own work, clean up includes a bath and a fold up of a plastic table cloth and the best part is I will have them until almost Thanksgiving as porch decorations.

I may buy a pumpkin as they go on sale after Halloween to cut up just to allow each kid the experience of pumpkin gooeyness running through their fingers and because we all enjoy the pumpkin seeds but one will be more than enough for this family. So with this project completed we can check family tradition #1 off our fall bucket list.

Why is it so hard for them to all look at me and smile?? Someday I will laugh at these types of pictures, correct?

October 27, 2015

All together on the outside but struggling in the inside

There was a time not to long ago when I found myself totally at peace. I was content in almost every aspect of my perfect little world. I remember exactly how I felt and the last couple of months I found myself almost craving to have that feeling again.

This summer I really struggled but as I carted my kids to swimming or showed up with a smile on my face at work or stood at mass each Sunday no one would think I was stumbling on the inside. I am great at hiding how I am really feeling. Even towards the end of the summer with tears in my eyes because once again, for probably the 10th time that week, I felt as if I was failing Paul was surprised to realize how much discontent I was dealing with. Unfortunately there wasn't a quick fix and I wasn't depressed but just felt as if I had too much on a very full plate.

I love being a nurse and especially a nicu nurse. My experience as a nicu mommy allowed me to understand exactly what the parents are going though when their babies don't get to go home with them right away. Cuddling babies and getting to know the families is something I love. I also enjoy being able to think critically at times besides just deciding what's for dinner. The problem right now though is I love thinking about meal plans and grocery shopping and being in my kids classroom. As much as I love working I struggle with having to be a working mom. I want to be home with my kids. I want to never miss an event at school. I want to spend every day at the pool and to only go home when we are tired of the water. Work gets in the way and this was a huge struggle for me this summer. As of right now I have to continue working but I pray in the near future I will get to be that stay at home mom because work is an inconvenience for me!

Lots of kids in one home means lots of noise. Our house for the most part stays tidy, my kids get along most days and we only occasionally run out of clean underwear but the loudness of just everyone wanting to be heard is too much for this mama to handle on even the best of days. And don't get me started on how many times I have to hear the word "mama" in any given day. Just as an example whenever we pass the urgent care a baby tells me it is their doctor, then 3 more times I hear the same thing. This wouldn't be bad except at this point they then all start yelling at each other that no it is not the other child's doctor but theirs. And we pass this urgent care multiple times a day! The babies speech is improving but at a snails pace which means we still have a fair amount of whining then add in the big kids who have come to the conclusion that anytime they do not like an answer from me they must whine. Seriously this summer almost had be coming unglued by 9 in the morning. And right now you are asking me why I want to stay home full time with my kids?? No clue myself! Some days I stayed some what calm and would just turn on music louder than them. Often I would go on my phone and pray there were more facebook updates so I could zone out. And some times I simply tried to yell louder than them. When your neighbor tells you that because she knows exactly how loud kids can be since she did daycare she just smiled but if she didn't know better she would have called cps. What?? I know they are loud but are we really that loud? No wonder why when everyone is napping I don't turn a single noise on. The quiet is so nice because the decibel level in our house is out of control.

Daddy is a working a lot. This is awesome and he loves it but this mama enjoys when daddy leaves early and gets home mid afternoon to be with us. This summer we still found daddy leaving early (like 4:30-5am) but not returning home til 7. On the days I work I am gone the entire day and somehow Paul does amazing but by dinner time on the days Paul is gone I am ready for us all to be together. I do not do single parenting well and this summer we both did lots of it which made me sad way too many days.

I have struggled with the fact that I get nothing done except what needs to get done by the end of each day. Nothing extra. I have so many projects I would love to work on or even just sit mid-day and read a book. This past spring I had it in my head that once school got out I would have way more time to do these things but in fact I had way less. Between swim practice each day, swim meets on the weekend, laundry, paper work, feeding 7 kids 3 meals a day plus the constant "I need a snack", and just the catch up of being gone on the days I worked there was zero time for anything extra. Even just finding time to get to the library was a struggle. By the time the kids were tucked in bed I was exhausted and had no energy except to sit in the bath. Of course I could have enjoyed my book while relaxing in Epsom salts that were scented with peace & calming essential oils but by then I was done and even concentrating on words in front of me took too much effort. How do people who work 5 days a week ever feel caught up?

I want another child and I still feel it is in my heart to adopt but this summer I really struggled with how I could have such feelings to add another when the 7 I have were driving me crazy most days? I do not feel sadness that I will not have another biological child but whenever I begin reading of another family beginning their journey to adoption I long to be announcing ours. I see a child and wonder 'are they ours' but at the same time am stressed because I can't accomplish what needs to be done in one day with the family I already am blessed with. Then there is the fact that my husband went from yes we will probably adopt to nope we are done. It takes two to be on the same page and there are days I am pleading with God that when the time is right that He will work miracles on Paul because there is no way I can be the only one who says yes.

This summer left me feeling anything but content. Most days I was just trying to get to the kids' bedtime without too much stress and yelling. It wasn't a bad summer by any means. We had lots of fun and I don't think Paul nor the kids knew that mom was struggling with her role as Mom. When school rolled around I was not sad one bit for two main reasons. First I knew routine was coming back into our life. I thrive on this and knew just having this back in my daily life would help me so much. Second my girls need school. They enjoy being home and they love being with their siblings but just like I thrive with routine they thrive being at school. They need their friends. Natalie needs the challenges of school work. They and I need a break from each other. And in August they were just as happy to be taking those first day of school pictures as I was.

Now 2 months into the school year I can say the content feelings I had back in December of 2013 are beginning to resurface. I am finding time to work out for me. The girls are having a fabulous year as 2nd graders and they find homework enjoyable. Some great opportunities are right around the corner for Paul's career and we are excited for another adventure. My house has periods of quietness when even the dogs are asleep on their beds and everything just seems perfect. We have found our routine once again and it feels so good. Now if those feelings can continue as we get into the busy holiday season when we all try to fit in more than the calendar allows.

This kid has been wanting to go to school since last year. Not much longer Tater Tot!!

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