I Am Mother.

Today I woke to a bath of barf that soaked my sheets, courtesy of my 4 month old baby.
Dosed him, fed him.
Cleaned up, 6 year old sets off the house alarm.
Blitz cleaned house while getting three big kids ready for school.  We had cake for breakfast because I only got around to frosting it at midnight the night before.
Remembered as the door slammed that it's Teacher Appreciation week and they were supposed to bring some treat.  Oh well. Taking that loss today.

Changed some poops, dressed some babies, threw in a load of laundry, caught a glimpse of my body while getting dressed in clothes that don't fit right now, shuddered and swallowed some self loathing.  Did both my hair AND makeup! It doesn't make me feel skinny.

My wonderful cousin showed up to troubleshoot my half-done downstairs family room.
We started a project much too big for my life right now but that will be a happiness boost when it's done.  Provided relationship advice that, considering the source, is probably exactly the wrong counsel.
Putty.  Paint.  Toddler fending.  Infant wakes up.
Knock on the front door.  A friend from school said Jude is in the office.  Can't call because toddler locked my phone.  Scooter over to school to collect Jude who barfs on the walk home and continues to do so hourly.  Sometimes he makes it to the toilet.  Sometimes he doesn't.

Lunch!  Must feed all the babies who are hungry at the same time.  Nursing grounds me for 20 minutes while 20 month old rubs up against the newly painted nearly dry wall.  More fool me.
Ate only brown rice for lunch. Must get skinny, dontcha know.  No sugar.  No soda.  Bad day to start clean eating but too late, trudge forward.

Blessed be the toddler's nap, followed by the infant's second and hopefully lengthy nap so maybe maybe maybe I can nap too?
The infant's nap is a mirage.  He's still sick so he wakes every twenty minutes to remind me.  Poor little guy.  Needs extra love.  More nursing.

Big kids come home, 6 year old carrying a Mother's Day gift that I needed right that second.  9 year old sweeps up a baby, for a few minutes at least.
More barfing from Jude.  Philo's fever back in business.  100.9, 102.9 respectively.
Dose, dose.  Barf, barf.

Steal a few minutes to make progress painting so husband doesn't come home to a hideous half done wall.  He still does.  But that doesn't happen for another few hours.
Silas off to breakdancing, cheers to me for setting up a carpool.
Nursing, dinner prep, feed toddler.
Ditch barf boy at home, take others to collect carpool and do drop offs.
Baby finally sleeping.

Back home, take sleeping baby in the house in his carseat.
He treats me to a massive poop explosion.  Yes, it got in the buckle.
Extract baby.
Surgically remove onesie, clean child.

Toddler will not get out of the car.
Assign Silas to play his iPad in the car while BL plays in there.  Deliver him a corndog as payment.
No time to finish dinner before soccer practice, and why bother anyway if there are barfers?
Touch and go scavenging for dinner.  Kids elated!

Shuffle Silas off to soccer practice.
Get Mimi out the door for church activity (Mama, can I bring the cake?  Yes.  Here is the whole cake and some forks.)

Three children crying for me,  Jude barfs on the couch.  Yes, it got in the cracks.
Husband arrives and has had a very busy day.  Listen, console the best I can.  Wife game decent today. 
Some relief provided with toddler.

Hustle toddler into bed, move her temporary lodging out of the barf room.
Nurse, put not sleepy baby down.
Drive to the church to pick up Mimi. (Why is our building driving distance when we live in Utah?)
Head to store for diapers.
Get harassed for 30 minutes by Mimi at the store for whatever item she absolutely needs right now.

Return home, baby awake and shrieking.
Dose, feed, comfort for 45 minutes.
Turn to see 9 year old unloading the dishwasher.  Burst into genuine tears of gratitude.  Swell with pride that my head is still above water.  Didn't scream, didn't feel mad all day. Chaos in my world, peace in my heart.

Read to Silas.  Bribe Mimi with iPad time if she changes over the laundry.  Tuck Jude in on the bathroom floor.
All in bed.
Clean up.
Feel grateful and proud.


Warrior Hair

A buddy of mine sent me this photo this week:
Fun fact, that isn't me. At least I don't think it is.  The pic is from SLC comic con, but even my sisters and I can't figure out if it's another person or just a photoshopped picture of me.  My hair isn't purple right now, but it has been. Even the freckles by my hairline are the same. But those aren't my teeth nor my eyebrows.  It's a mystery. Please solve.

There was a hair change this week, however.  And that's kind of what this post is about.  
As I adapt into being a mother of five by nursing a new baby, chasing a toddler, soaking up my kindergartner, marveling at my 7 year old and bonding with my 9 year old I feel like I'm in a particularly challenging parenting moment.  So I needed to feel the part of a Warrior.  Hair always helps me look the way that I feel.

Here's a pic right after I got it cut.  Looks normal, right? (Ps, I am terrible at selfies)
Here's what it actually is: shaved on both sides and underneath. It's a legit Mohawk. 
It feels so amazing to be free of about half of my hair! But I still have to brush it and style it.
I was of course worried that I'd hate it as soon as I did it. I don't. I love it.  It feels hardcore because I feel like I'm living hardcore.  
I also kind of look like my dead brother Nate with shaved sides. That's cool.  But mom is coming to town and she will not like it.  Thankfully I planned for that!
Here are all of the people I'm managing somewhat successfully. I'm kind of getting my ass handed to me having two babies again.  How on earth did I do three, and alone? I was probably a basketcase. Oh yeah, I absolutely was.  This month and next are peak hardness because of lack of sleep. I firmly believe that when you get to months three to four with new babies you become a literal zombie from never getting a full night's sleep.  Then when they sleep more normally you recover for a month and become more normal.  But Lou still has some residual sleep issues (my least consistent sleeper) and I was blessed with a little Jude visitor last night because he was having a bad dream.  So we rock, we rock around the clock, we're tricky! 
Powering through. 
Blogging cutting into my sleeping time. Warrior Mama out for at most two hours.


Everyday Changes

Every day changes: 
Every day is a slightly new schedule as we move through the crunch time of baby sleeping.  Lou is changing into being a one nap a day babe, but sometimes she needs to sleep earlier.  Philo has started sleeping 9pm to 5 am.  He's always slept for at least one six hour chunk (usually when I am awake so does me little good) but now he's getting even better.  But his naps keep changing.  And trying to get them on the same nap schedule changes every day.
Philo 2 months, Lou 18 months

Every day changes:
Every day I change a million little diapers. There is often a line for the changing table. I don't mind at all. I never get tired of it. In fact, the only part of taking care of little children that I dislike are car seats. 
Everyday Changes:
There are commonplace daily developments. Philo's face changes. We adapt to life with an infant and a baby girl. We all get to know each other.
These everyday changes I have to document or they will slip past me.
My boyfriend Philo taking over his dad's spot. It works for us for me to have solo bedroom reign while the babe is waking up during the night still. D is a light sleeper and it stresses me out if I have to worry about waking him. I learned the value of sleeping alone when I have a tiny baby when Silas was born and I didn't have a husband around.
Attempting face imitation.
Mimi multitasking. She may be capable and responsible but man, she is a force of nature. If you know her, you know.
Baby Philo in Uncle Phil's 30 year old jammies! They're the best, soft material.

Phi's first funny face selfie. With cleavage. My shirt cracks me up.  It says "so far so good" but when I wear it with a hoodie it looks like it says SO FAT, which is how I feel.
(Note to self: how do you never remember how fat you feel post partum? Why is every post baby having experience, 1-5, always an impossible wardrobe problem? How have you learned nothing about post baby clothing fits? Nothing fits, everything slides down bc of garments, too fat for everything, stretch pants for life, goodbye.)
How's this for a weird mom picture? Phi's newborn hair came out in chunks this week. It was very satisfying gently pulling it all out so he didn't look like patches o'hoolihan for too long.

I call this one "Feelings by Betty Lou."
And this is baby girl getting up close and personal with the fish at City Creek. She's an interesting and adorable little person and she's wearing Mimi's jeans. Gah. Dying of the cuteness.

Bring the Spring

All the events, all the holidays.
Mimi was invited to participate in her first DCMT play this Spring 2016. The show was Mulan.  We planned to be there en force but Philo was still recovering and we weren't able to go.  Mimi flew as an "unaccompanied minor" which is a massive racket. But the experience of the play was the highlight of her year, if not her whole life.  Many thanks to Grandma Pam for making it happen.
Mimi and Alice, both 9.

All the Eastering:
Dying eggs with Aidan.
BL having a run in with Robert as the Easter bunny. He was friendly but she was creeped out.
This is my favorite picture of Si to date.  He's so handsome and his enthusiasm shines.

Marchoween. A grand success even in the rain.
April Fool's Day:
Each of the children manage to erect pranks around the house. They all worked. Skylanders hidden in all of mine and D's shoes was effective.
And for Jim, this year was the Inaugural Meeting of the Fan Clubs.  Jim has been obsessed with his new Stake President and he talks about him all the time.  The President Clark is a really great dude so it's pretty justified, but rather amusing how Jim gets stuck on one thing.
I got Clark onboard for a lunch meeting on April 1 and then shipped out the Fan Club t-shirts.  Jim, annoyingly, tried to figure out what the prank was the whole week, even accusing Pres Clark of being in cahoots (which he was).  And then, to top it off, Jim bailed on his lunch date!  Late on April 1 Jim did a house call and found Pres Clark in a coordinating fan club t-shirt.  So basically it was the kindest most harmless prank to date and Jim was hellbent on screwing it up and preventing it.  Why?? 
Well, no more Mr Nice Prank. Good luck Jim.
April is recovery month. We're just hanging out and enjoying the glorious spring with our millions of children.


Baby Blog

My blog reflects my camera roll and these days my days are filled with little people.  There's a saying that goes "If you want to know what somebody fears losing watch what they photograph." You know me: I fear losing my children's littleness. So here's the documentation.
This is the nursery.  I love having tandem cribs.  Philo doesn't sleep in here much yet because I haven't really sleep trained him yet.  He is 10 weeks yesterday but his adjusted age is 7 weeks. He has been sleeping 6 hours a night off and on since about 3 weeks, which is a small miracle. But I am also breaking all the rules: I nurse him to sleep then put him in his bed.  When he wakes up in the wee hours I nurse him while I sleep and then I wake up at about 7:30 with my snuggle baby cuddled up to me.  It's bliss.
This is Philo demonstrating how I will feel when real sleep training begins in a few weeks.  Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child is my baby sleep manual.  I have an amazing sleep coach in Cathryn Gus. She's rigid but sympathetic.  I know how to sleep train but it feels much better to have someone encouraging you when it feels like all is lost.  If you need baby sleep help, she's a guru and I'll hook you up. She should charge!
Baby Lou is in the throes of toddlerhood. My kids hit the "terrible two's" at 16/18 months and it doesn't last far into their actual two's.  Lou has it bad because she doesn't speak yet.  She's slightly speech delayed but she certainly isn't a mute.  The only words she has at this point are Dad and Mama, Mimi (her first word and well earned by Mimi -- MehMeh as she calls her) baba and hi. I think she added Juju today.  Anyway, not speaking is frustrating for her so she compensates with a lot of high pitched shrieking and tantrums punctuated with a maniacal laugh. 80% of the time she's delightful, the other 20% she's a little beastie. All to be expected.  The family rule is "don't touch her, give her whatever she wants".  She's the boss of us.
My life right now is holding, nursing, smiling at this baby with a side of jobs.  I'm getting to the end of my childbearing and for the first time I'm cuddling a baby wondering if it is my last.  If he's my last baby I need to make sure to really soak up every minute.  It's weird not knowing for sure.  I may be at my kid limit, but I won't know for sure for at least another year.  I'm trying to fill my newborn tiny baby bucket just in case.
Oh! This is my other new hobby: car shopping. And by car I mean school bus. We currently have a 7 seater SUV which fits all of us but not all of our stuff. Plus, two kids have to jump over the seat every single time and it's hard to access the middle car seat.  I used to have a minivan but I anticipate always having to keep the eigth seat in and still having issues with the car seats and access to the back.  So I'm finally looking at my dream cars: giant vans.  I'm talking Econoline field trip sized vans.  Airport shuttle style vans.  I love the idea of being able to load everybody I feel like into my giant pimpin' van.  We've driven the Nissan NV, the Chevy big fat van, the Mercedes Sprinter and the Ford transit.  Leaning heavily toward the transit, but I want it in black!!

St Patrick's Day is an excellent easy holiday. Very little required for a good time. Small investment, large return. Easy costuming and corporeal punishment for nonparticipation. The leprechauns set fire to their traps to escape and tattooed mustaches on the children. 

Just one of the dozens of Philo pictures on my phone. Gray brings out the blue in his eyes.
Lou's first mustache.  The candy the leprechauns left was a chocolate disaster all day long. There are smears all over my linens in every room.
Cubby (7) with HIS baby.  He's a good diaper changer. 
Baby snugglers.  This picture makes me nervous and the posted lasted less than five seconds before Miss Wiggles wormed away.
The Bernie rally!! My children are totally interested in the presidential election. I described it to them with a baseball analogy: red teams versus blue teams are currently in the playoffs. We're blue team of course. It's fascinating to hear what trickles down to them through school.  They are horrified by Trump and think he's Darth Vader level evil. Sometimes they come home with weird Hillary impressions and I have to set them straight. If not Bernie then Hillary will be an excellent president.
The lines for the Bernie rally were miles long so we crossed the street and went to the Hogle Zoo where we could hear Bernie while we looked at the animals.  This was a parenting success day. Politics and animals with all five kids.
In case you wanted to see an elephant nursing. Pretty cool. I didn't realize it would have to get down on all fours. That's a lot of effort for a little milk.
Dressing BL is one of the highlights of my day.  I only do her hair once a day though and she rips it out.  Here she is crying because I left her hood up. Don't care, looks like a little gnome.
Baby I love love love you!
Fashion. Lou in our family colors.  Is it normal to have family colors? Pink, black, white and gray just work for us.  
We did temple square on Sunday rather than go to the Provo temple dedication.  This is a rare all seven of us photo.  Good children arrangement demonstrating our blended family. Remember to replicate.
For spring break Mimi is in California at Grandma Pam's play! It's her debut. I'm dying because I don't get to see her in it. If you see her please document and send to me!  She got to fly as an Unaccompanied Minor.  (It's a giant racket. They charge you $50 extra both ways but you still have to walk them to and from the gate. For $50 they should escort them from the curb and carry their luggage. But no. I had to take five kids through security unexpectedly. Was so annoyed.)
The lost Cr@ven brother. We love william over here. Silas in a bunny suit because it's Spring break so why not? I am on the lookout for more bunny suits for the rest of the children.  I like them more in costumes.
My sister wife Lacy with her buddy Philo. Betty Lou calls her mom too. Lacy is a force who deserves her own lengthy description. Love her dearly.
Mr. Smiles
Jude on baby duty.  He's a good snuggler and once a day bottle feeder. We all have baby Philo fever.