The 4-6 Shift

Ya know how jobs are hard and stuff?  This month my job has been killing me, specifically the 4-6pm shift.  It's finals this week for both me and my right hand woman.   The weather has been garbage so the kids are inside and underfoot and feeling cooped up all day.  Utah Springs are the worst.  They swing back and forth between glorious and depressing and it makes me angry.  I think it makes a lot of people short tempered.  We're ready to be outside.  As I write this it is the last day of Spring Semester for college and Summer Break begins now.  It's snowing.  This is lame.

Part of my struggle with the 4-6 hours this month is my fault:  I dialed back my kid's activities this year so that I didn't have to rip babies out of beds and drive people places.  Despite scaling back we are still fairly busy:  Mimi has Girl Scouts, Jude has Boy Scouts, Jude and Si have baseball, Mimi has activity days.  Everybody has homework and chores.  

Rather than letting this stupid weather get the best of us we focused on different projects around the house and built some skills.  I believe that all mother's have their strengths.  Some are runners and that's their thing, some are good at reading with their kids, some are good at playing toys with their children, some are good at organizing everybody's lives and getting everybody to a million activities. Right now my strength is encouraging creativity in my kids.  I'm not the mom who is going to get their kid to have 1000 hours of violin playing, but I'm trying to make my kids confident with a paintbrush or a spatula in their hands.  So we create using art and food.

This picture shows Lou doing exactly what Mimi did when she was little:  waffles and peas.  They just fit together so nicely and it's fun to watch in horror as she eats them.  Whatever you want kid, just eat.  Wide berth to be creative about it.

 Mimi recently participated in a teen's baking challenge where she learned how to make cupcakes and then invented her own twist on the cupcake.
 She created a chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache, strawberry icing and a dipped strawberry on top.  And she won!  I love watching her carefully plate whatever she's making.  It's the best kind of art to me:  art I can eat!  She makes so much food I have trouble keeping up with the eating of all of it but I certainly do my best.
 I've also been working with the boys on their cooking skills.  Silas took a cue from Mimi and I found him watching Martha Stewart intently.  This kid loves to eat.  He recorded the recipe and then made this chocolate tart.  When I say made, I mean made.  I coach but my hands are hands off because I have a babe in arms.  I love how proud they feel when they make the whole thing themselves from scratch.  I love their confidence when they share what they made with other people.  And I love that I trust them to make things correctly so that I can serve it to other people.

LouLou is in a very creative phase.  She loves to paint and play with play dough.  I feel like a great mother when I actually get all the stuff out and let her make the mess she wants to make.

Having a vegan around the house means new recipes.  Our whole family LOVES these weird cauliflower tacos.

Philo has been developing his feelings.  He gets so mad at me some times!  In this case he was losing it because I wouldn't let him climb into the shark tank.  I'm obviously the worst.

During Spring Break we went up to the new indoor aquarium/animal place up in Layton.  They let you in the bird room to feed them and they land on you.  It's scary having all of those birds flitting around on you but the kids dug it.

You know how every once in a great while all of your kids are engaged in the same activity?  This was one of those moments.  I'd bought them each canvases and they were planning what they were going to do with them.  They're still in progress.

Nobody could be more pleased with herself than Lou when she's painting.  She lives for it.  Her canned smile lights me up.

IDK what's up with me these days but being a single parent of five kids has been testing my patience this month.  I'm working on it.  But sometimes it feels like they're all out to take me down.  

I want this.

Philo is about 15 months and that kid is everywhere.  He's so curious about the world and needs to interact with everything and everybody.  I love days when we can just play play play and I can follow him around being amused at whatever he gets himself into.  With these two it's literally cleaning up one room while they trash the other.  I can't remember if my other babies were this effective in creating giant messes as these two darlings.  I brought a rake inside to cope and I just make room by room piles until I can handle cleaning everything up at the end of the day.

New find: mama's lipstick.  It's a right of passage.

They're both pretty good eaters.  I'm even able to indulge whatever weird food I'm craving because they're willing to scarf it down too.  Oh Mai Pho is the very best.

Philo on the move is very risky business.

For teacher appreciation week Mimi brought three of her teachers dinner to take home to their families.  It was a hit.  

My girls on Easter.  M10 BL2

My favorite kind of creations are ones Mimi makes while I'm taking a nap.  These were for our little Easter party.

I am so taken by this little boy and his silly self that I take pictures instead of wiping him off.  Dirty faces are the type of thing only a mother can appreciate.

Blue haired Jude has taken up Rubik's cubes. They're challenging for me so we downloaded the instructions and we work on them together.  He's smart.

Here's my squad.  Five kids 10 and under.  Love my bigs, love my littles, love how they interact with each other.  

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