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
2011
2013
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!!

October 01, 2015

Somehow I Missed the Summer

Yes we are in October. No I have not written since August. Yes I have thought about it but at a complete lost for words. Actually know exactly what I want to write but it doesn't have my usual upbeat attitude that I try so hard to have. Need to write it though so I can move on....But first going to bombard you with summer shenanigans because this is as good of scrapbook as my kids are going to be getting these days and I am failing pretty well even with that. 

Let's go back to June, told you I am really behind, June 21st to be exact. Drew's birthday and Father's Day. A day that we celebrated 2 awesome guys that us girls are smitten over. Drew loved the attention but had no problem sharing with his daddy. To be honest I really can't remember what he did but I am sure it was fun!! (Reason #458 of why one should not wait 3 months to write a blog post).

Helping make his birthday breakfast.



It was our second year of letting the big kids pick out daddy's gifts. I gave them a little direction but it wasn't long until they figured out what they wanted and found good reasons that daddy needed it (except none of them wanted the beer, they just know their daddy well).
And sometimes this is reality. Who needed a good family picture anyways?
I do know that Drew's one and only gift was a triple slip-n-slide. Don't worry he made out pretty well in the gifts he gave his dad. The kids all had a blast on the slip-n-slide even though I have decided they have totally changed since I was a kid. I swear they use to be a mile long and one could actually slide the whole way down. The ones they sell today are junk at $30 a piece. Anyways the kids have no idea what I am talking about when I say our neighbors was so much better because they enjoyed many hours minutes of going down Drew's slip-n-slide this summer. 





A little better photo of kids and dad but we definitely have room for improvement.

Since Drew was 3 he has loved soccer and is actually fairly good at it. His hand eye coordination has always been better than mine. The last 3 summers he has participated in a summer soccer league. Paul and I don't feel our kids need much more than that at such a young age. Once he turned 5 we told him he could join fall soccer and he was so excited. He loved his 2 weeks of summer camp and kept asking when school was going to start because he knew soccer would start at the same time. Fast forward to August and the kid totally changed his mind and decided he wanted to do swim just like his sisters. Paul and I both asked him individually multiple times to make sure swimming was what he really wanted. The answer was always swimming over soccer. I know he will still be in soccer camp next summer but it is fun to watch him move from the field to the water because he is a fish just like his sisters. He also looks so dang cute in his little Speedo briefs. Sorry no pictures of the cuteness because I am a tad busy keeping the other 4 from jumping in who also think they need to be on team!

They may not have been official team members but they found ways to play for the 30 minutes until we had to leave to take them to swim practice. 



And she repeatedly tells us her size will not stop her from doing anything in life.

I smile every time I see this picture. He loves life.

And sometimes life throws you a lemon and you must drop everything to let the whole world know. Three year olds are SO much fun and I am blessed to be able to multiply that times 4 (that was said sarcastically encase you thought anything different).
We officially became a swim family this summer. The girls had swim team everyday Tuesday-Friday with meets every single Saturday. The first time trial way back in June we weren't so sure if the girls were ready after watching them come in dead last in all of their heats. It was bad but at the same time they had never swam in a meet before and had no idea what it meant to be competitive in the water. Before that time trial, swimming was always practice and finishing whatever the coach told you to do. It was amazing to watch how they improved over 2.5 months. They loved their swim meet days and though they often swim in the same events they don't get upset when one of them beats the other. After the summer program ended the girls asked to do year round swim and Paul and I decided we were ready to commit to the huge undertaking it would be for our family. We are now at the pool every night Monday-Thursday from 6:30-7:30. It has been an adjustment since the babies use to go to bed at 6:30 and big kids at 7 but the one thing we have found is bedtime is so much easier because all of the kids are completely worn out by bedtime. They literally fall asleep the minute their heads hit the pillows. No more million questions or trips downstairs to tell us just one more thing. Now if only we can combine Natalie's stroke with Aubrey's endurance we would have two phenomenal swimmers.

Aubrey


Natalie


Aubrey

You have no idea how many snacks it took to keep the babies content during meets and unfortunately we usually ran out about three hours before the meet was over. 



We have begun our process of buying our orthodontist a vacation home!
I have two siblings who are closer in age to my kids than to me. The last 2 summers we have been lucky enough for them to spend sometime with us. All of my kids love it and though it is two more kids it really is easier having all 9. We spent most of the time hanging around the house and most of that was spent outside. 



Busted playing in the kiddie pool!
Teasing her mama that she had peanut butter m&m's
Why yes our pool is green. I kept blaming it on the pool boy, aka husband, until we found out that the drought is to blame for stirring up extra minerals which apparently eats off algae and then produces more or something like that. Short story is it wasn't the husband and we got chemicals that fixed the problem and saved me from calling a competent pool boy.

Kenzie loves her Uncle and I think he loves on her a little more than the others too.


Class Family field trips are sometimes for educational reasons and other times because mom doesn't want to cook. Who doesn't every once in a while want donuts for dinner? And for the record I did not eat a single doughnut, instead I ate all the last bites of the kids who decided 2 was more than their tummies could hold. It's all about not wasting food.








This summer we decided we were ready for a dog and because we never seem to do anything just simply, we got two. One night while scrolling through my facebook feed I saw two boxer puppies on a dog rescue site that I had been following for a while. I quickly showed them to Paul and got the okay to find out more. The following evening we brought home Mia and Lucca. Fast forward another 24 hours and we found ourselves with 2 dogs in the emergency vet who both had Parvo. Lucca was doing okay but Mia was basically dead. Short story is the "rescue" is not what they make people believe, they do not care about the dogs they bring in and instead buy puppies off  Craigslist and sell them for a profit as fast as they can. Our dogs were not the first of their dogs to have Parvo. Ten days later after a huge emotional toll on the kids, a financial burden on Paul & I and two vets who worked endlessly to save our Mia we had them both home. Mia and Lucca are inseparable and it is so fun to watch them interact. Most people say we are crazy for adding more chaos but the kids all adore their puppies and it has been a great addition. Now if they could only figure out the no peeing and pooping in the house because after potty training quadruplets by patience has run out with accidents.

Mia


Lucca
The day we never thought would happen; home from the vet.
This shows you how sick she got. I was afraid she would die in her sleep every night for the first week. Luckily she showed us she had some fight in her when her brother tried to steal her bone.



Love this picture.
So that was summer 2015. In pictures it was amazing. My kids will tell you it was awesome. For the most part I would agree but I have struggled and that is where the I could keep this blog all rainbows and unicorns thought has come into mind but that isn't life. So hopefully before Christmas I will explain the season in life I think all mothers have but sometimes we sweep it under the rug and pretend it isn't there.

Goofs!!


She has mastered tandem  nursing which in our house is a very good skill to have.
And some days one just wanted to crawl back into bed...

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