Friday, March 13, 2015

Mutant Super Bug

No, I'm not going to talk about c. Diff again.

We have had the weirdest, nasty little bug going through our house for the last 3 weeks.  It started innocently enough.  Scratchy throats turned into runny noses.  Then the coughing started.  A deep, croupy-sounding cough made everyone miserable.  Then sudden vomiting, followed by fevers and bloodshot eyes.  Then some diarrhea for good measure.  We wrapped it up with the lingering productive cough.

Again I am reminded of how much fun it is to have young children when they all get sick.  There was so much barf and so few buckets.  The four youngest ones have not yet mastered the fine art of throwing up in a bucket.  There so many times that Jason and I trudged upstairs in the middle of the night as another one was stricken with the virus.  Jason finally had to miss 2 days of work to help me take care of everyone.  The twins each got sick within hours of each other but the singletons got sick on different days and it was a long illness.  It lasted about 2 weeks in each person.

At one point, my bed was full of sick, feverish, weak little people.  Poor kids.

We had a few close calls with Violet too.  She stopped breathing a few times because she just couldn't clear the mucus from her airway.  I don't think I've ever had a baby so young get so sick before.  She was drooling, lethargic, and completely out of it.  I just kept praying that she'd improve before bedtime because there was no way I would go to sleep with her in that condition.  Fortunately, she perked up a bit that evening and began opening her eyes and nursing again.  I still didn't sleep for 5 nights.

We're all on the mend now and I think we might finally leave the house for the first time in 3 weeks.  I am so grateful that one of Jason's coworkers dropped off dinner for us one night.  It had been days since I'd cooked because nobody was eating.  It was so nice to have a hot meal.

Hopefully this is our one big illness for the year.  Thank goodness for homeschooling because we would have just missed about a month of school.  #bigfamilyproblems

Monday, March 02, 2015

This motherhood thing isn't for the weak

As I sit here surrounded by sick children and piles of dirty dishes, I'm really somewhat surprised that anyone survives being the parent of young children with their sanity intact.

Although I love to see the beautiful instagram photos from moms with children that are always clean and cheerful, I'm not sure how much of that is reality and how much is just a glimpse into the finer moments in an otherwise normal life.  I know it sometimes makes me wonder what I'm doing wrong.

Before anyone starts calling me ungrateful, let me elaborate.  I think this blog post sums it up much better than I can right now.  But believe me, I am grateful.  I love this crazy life and my loud children.  I even love the military life... more often than not.  So before anyone starts telling me that I asked for this, please know that I am glad that I've been blessed to live this life.  But it sure doesn't make it any easier at 2 am when I'm up with a baby that is struggling to breathe or when I'm cleaning up barf instead of writing a research paper that I desperately need to finish.

This is tough.  The delicate balance between hanging onto that tiny piece of me that is not Mom is a real challenge.  The unrelenting guilt keeps me awake at night when I think that I should have spent more time doing xyz (fill in the blank, because I worry about it all, from reading to my toddler to snuggling my baby to listening to my tween boys talk about Minecraft).  Basically, I hope that I somehow manage to raise loving, considerate, happy people despite never living up to the impossible standards that exist, either real or imagined.

I think that motherhood can be so isolating sometimes.  When you have more than a few children, you don't get invited to playdates and nobody invites you over for dinner.  Babysitting would cost a small fortune, if you could even find someone crazy enough to want to babysit all of your children.  The military life can be isolating too.  You move frequently and don't have the support of family or old friends.  By the time you meet people that actually like you, it's probably time to move again.  Maybe the strained relationship I have with my extended family emphasizes the lack of support, but I can tell you that it makes parenting much more challenging.  There are few date nights or helpers to call on when you're sick in bed and there are no groceries in the pantry.

There are so many more things I want to say but sick kids are calling.  And laundry.  And homework.
Tell me I'm not alone in feel this way.  What do you moms do to get through those times when you are ready to throw in the towel?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Help for a friend

Things can change so quickly... it's so hard to appreciate every moment we're given in this life.  My heart is breaking for a friend and fellow multiple multiples mom.  My dear friend Briana lost her husband suddenly yesterday in a farming accident.  They have seven beautiful daughters, including two sets of twins.  She is a homeschooling mom as well.

It's always amazed me over the last 13 years how some of my best friendships have blossomed from online friendships.  I have been so blessed to meet so many incredible women all over this country because of online friendships.  I haven't yet had the chance to meet Briana "IRL" but I hope to do that someday.  I am still good friends with many of the moms I met back on the AOL message boards 13 years ago when I was pregnant for the first time and a total newbie at this mom thing.  Motherhood can feel so isolating sometimes and it has always been so comforting to be able to connect with other moms online and have support when I really was totally overwhelmed.

I met Briana several years ago through a small online group for moms with two sets of twins.  When I heard the news yesterday, I was heartbroken.  I don't think that anyone is ever prepared to lose a spouse.  I know I thought about it often when Jason was deployed and yet I still couldn't imagine what our life would be like if he never came home.  To wake up one morning and start your day just like any other and end it without your partner beside you... so suddenly... I just can't even begin to comprehend what that is like for my friend and her daughters.

A family friend set up a fundraising page for Briana and her daughters.  If you feel inclined, send a donation.  Say a prayer, send a positive thought, or light a candle for this family.

Monday, February 09, 2015

48 states

Our trip to New York in November gave us an opportunity to visit some of our favorite states at a beautiful time of year.  We drove from Georgia up to the DC area and stayed with family.  From there we headed north and spent a day visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

 Cooperstown is beautiful.  The falling snow and Christmas decorations made it feel even more charming.

We spent a day visiting West Point and Jason became convinced that we need to move to New York.

Violet made her first big road trip and visited 14 states.  She apparently loves to travel, much to my relief.  I don't know what we would do if we had a kid that hated to travel.

 We visited Vermont and New Hampshire before hitting the biggest milestone of our travels...  We made it to Maine!  This was a Big Deal.

We spent the night on the waterfront in downtown Portland.  We watched the sunrise before heading out for a (very long) drive back home.  I greatly miss having a camper (our camper was totaled in 2012 due to a manufacturing defect) and spending weeks on the road.  We'll do that again soon...

Maine was state #48 for me and the big kids.  Matthew, Joshua, Leila, Sarah, Nathan, and Ryan have now been to the 48 contiguous states with me.  Seven has been to 21 states and Violet has some catching up to do since she's the newbie.

If you would have told me 12 years ago that military life would bring me across the continent and back again so many times, I would have laughed.  If you would have told me I'd do it with six (or seven or eight) kids in tow, I would have said you were crazy.  Perhaps I am the crazy one.  

Now I'm contemplating ways to get to Alaska and Hawaii with eight kids...

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Those cheeks

This girl kills me with her chubby cheeks.

And the chin dimple?  It's too much.

Just looking at her picture is enough to make my milk let down.

Love this sweet girl!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The third set of twins

These little girls are my virtual third set of twins... 

Can you tell who is who here?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Catch up

I'm playing blogger catch up!  I have so many (dozens) of posts pending that I just haven't had a chance to sit down and publish.  I'll just start here...

We enjoyed the (slightly) cooler Georgia fall days with a trip to the zoo a few months ago.  It will likely be our last trip after a not-so-great experience.  We really miss the zoo in Tucson!  

And here we have The Twin Sandwich.  They posed like this on their own.  I'm sure they were completely unaware that everyone around us thought they were quads!

Seven was rocking her "still nursin'" shirt and a big, cheesy grin.

November brought a trip to Albany, NY to have four tongue ties revised with Dr. Kotlow.  Yes, I promise I'll post my tongue tie info soon.  (Really!  I promise!)

While in New York we had to stop in Cooperstown and visit the Baseball Hall of Fame.  The museum was basically empty so my kids made themselves at home.

The twins posed next to the Minnesota Twins locker.

Seven really thought she owned the place.  She had a blast.  This was also her first experience using a public restroom.  She wasn't even 2 years old yet!  She's so much fun.

Violet enjoyed her first big road trip.  A few thousand miles and 14 states later, she's feeling pretty good about traveling.  I think she'll fit in just fine around here.

And here is what happens when you try to get eight kids and a husband to smile for one decent group photo.  Hilarity ensues...

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