Friday, September 30, 2016

Twins, Triplets and A Single...Driving and Forgetting

That moment when.....

You just dropped off a random child and you are driving along but there is a lot going on in your head.  You are actually scheduling in your head and almost taking inventory of everything as you are driving.  Those are the moments when you pull into your driveway and you don't remember the drive.  Not because you were texting or even calling anyone but because the route you travel is so mundane and so routine that your wheel takes over making it automatic.  The sudden shiver that goes through your body as you remember that orthodontic appointment.  "Did I miss it"?  I shiver for a few more seconds and then realize ...oh that is next week.  It is only moments later when the shiver returns and I realize that I forgot to send in money for the field trip.  I think the shiver is adrenaline and then at that moment I start analysing how crazy my body is and how a thought can trigger a full body reaction.  I dwell on that for awhile and then I seem to snap back to recognize my surroundings and realize that I was going to run an errand but missed the turn so heck I will just go home and hit it up later.  This sums up my life in a nut shell during the 1st month of school.  A constant shiver and constant referrals back to my calendar.

I have decided to keep a small note pad in my car.  I can jot a note as I think of it.  I for sure spend enough time in my car to solve the worlds problems driving in circles picking up and dropping off.


The husband has been gone for 2.5 weeks and with his return last night I must say I need to again adjust to now....a different schedule.  The school year is now beginning for me.  I have all my little ducks in a row and the daddy duck is back in action.

So here's to all the mom's out there who work inside the home and out.  We work endlessly to keep the ball rolling, the house rockin, the children alive and the husbands happy.  We rock!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

High School..Middle School and Elementary School..Uncharted Territory

It has been awhile and boy have I been busy.  Tomorrow we become parents of a couple of Freshman in high school.  If you have been through it than you probably sit back, snicker and think no big deal and if you haven't been through this than you probably don't really care because it is not your time.  I didn't pay much attention myself before now because it really didn't affect me.  Well here we are and today it does affect me.

Some could call these past several days a full time job.  I have been loading ibooks onto school issued ipads, reading up on etext books and figuring out how to keep everyone in our family on an apple family share plan.  We finally got the boys iphones and that was a feat within itself.  I spent, what I thought was a long time, on the phone with verizon setting up new accounts and deciding between plans, data and type of phones.  So many questions to ask and so many fees and programs.  We were the hold outs as far as iphones go and I don't really know why we held out so long but I think it came down to several factors for us. They each had an itouch and today nearly everywhere they went they had internet so I could get in touch with them and they could easily contact me. I didn't always like they way they contacted me though.  I was never able to blow up their phone with calls on an itouch.  I would send texts and hoped they would eventually answer me.   Secondly is the monthly cost.  They will now each pay 40.00 per month for their phones and will continue to babysit for us when needed.  This was part of the deal and they were on board.  I must say that Eamon did hesitate a bit at first because of the monthly commitment that he was getting into. He considered a flip phone to cut down on the cost.  I love that he thought about it in his head before committing.  I enjoy being able to call them at anytime but I don't think they have called anyone other than their Dad so far.  

School supply shopping this year was quite the site.  We checked the sale ads and decided we wanted to go to Target for as many cheap items as we could and then we would finish up our search at Walmart.  The older ones requested this path as they wanted some more specialty items that Target offered and Walmart did not.  Anything that was off the supply list and not on sale was an item that they would pay half.  Eamon set up his world with certain binders he felt would keep him organized.  He has put some thought into it before we went.  Liam bought into some of what Eamon was getting but he was more of basic buys.  Mairin was all about the look and color of the notebooks and folders.  She was into the accessories more than any of them.  The trips were just happy to be there and threw whatever I told them into the cart.  "Declan we need 30 folders ok and 6 need to be red, 6 yellow, 6 blue etc".  I had a purse full of crumpled up supply lists that we had used to compile our full cart and I hope that we got it all.  That was hard work so we treated ourselves to lunch a Red Robin for such an accomplishment.

We are also moving our new Freshman from a public school to a private school and this has brought on a whole new set of rules that I need to dive into.  I ended up going into their rooms last week and asking the family to leave me alone in there for the afternoon.  It was time to pull everything out and see what fits and what doesn't.  I will not be ironing everyday so I insist we have at least 10 dress shirts to get us through the week.  Luckily I had my wits about me in May when all the uniform clothes went on clearance and I stocked up.  No iron shirts please....I will take a dozen.  Belts...Can I have 2 brown and 2 black.  Pants...time to pull out the khakis that have been shoved so nicely to the back of the closet.  We have gone from wearing them as our Sunday best to becoming a staple of their daily wardrobe.  I called the boys up to try on several pairs for me and then immediately sent them out so I could get back to my mass organizing.  Three hours, 2 garbage bags full of salvation army donations and 1 bag of garbage and they were organized, stocked and ready for school.  The anticipating of my boys coming down in the mornings with ties, button down shirts and khakis does make me smile.

Mairin decided to do some organizing herself these past several weeks.  It is almost like she went from little girl to young lady overnight.  She is asking persistently for new wall paint.  She is done with pink and green and has picked out a very light grey.  She parted with her stuffed animals and everything else that was little girl.  She organized her drawers and literally had 4 large bags ready for Salvation Army.  She wanted her chandelier replaced with a normal ceiling light and she wants new bedding that is just plain white.  Who is this girl?  This is going to look like an adult room.  She doesn't ask for much so I will go ahead and make it happen. 

The biggest happenings for the triplets this year is the possibility of them being split up.  I'm going out on a limb here and willing to try this.  We have yet to receive our class lists so I don't know what the end result will be but my guess is that they will be in different classes.  Think about the amount of educators the 6 Mott children will come into contact with on a daily basis?  I honestly wonder how I will keep myself organized.  3 schools, 6 little people, 3 cafeterias, 6 emergency cards and lots and lots of patience and lots of writing things down.  Oh and lets end this with ....the older 2 no longer have a bus to take and the husband starts a new job on September 1 that will require more travel and more often.  Pray for me! 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Pack .. Unpack .. And Repack!

We are in full swing and we have started our marathon.  School is out and we are settling into our routine and I am wiped out.  "Are these really the first signs of aging?" I ask myself.  I like to stay busy and keep the kids busy but by 9pm or so I am tired.  Tired of what you ask.  Tired of "hurry up and wait".  Tired of trying to be one step ahead of my crew and anticipating their next move.  They are little beings with endless amounts of energy and they crave more.  When the temperature soars to the mid 80's and I am outside for 8+ hours I have completely zapped all of my circuits.  I sit in the shade most of the time and yet I still seem to get more sun that I want.  The kids are in some sort of water everyday so my towel and swim suit laundry pile is big.  Lake to pool.....pool to lake.....

I really don't cook much these days.  Lots of portable sandwiches and wraps.  Chicken breasts are cooked in advance and available for quick heat up.  Large bags of frozen berries for smoothies fill my freezer.  Popcorn has been a favorite dinner option and I am agreeing with most everything.  These are the days though right?  The days that I will look back on and will quickly forget the tired but remember how we were on the go and lots of laughter.

Mondays are our catch up day.  A day of laundry, sleeping in and chores.  I schedule these carefully as I really can only count on 1 day a week to do all of my home chores.  I also find myself living out of bags.  My husband always has a look for me when I pull out a bag he claims he hasn't seen.  Does he not realize that I am living out of bags and I need all sizes depending on my activities.  Here is how it really goes down.

I keep a bag in my car full of a spare set of clothes for the littles.  I make everyone pack their own bags every morning but we will surely forget something one of these days.  The kids need to have swim gear, tennis gear and then gear for golf so they are packing several outfits daily.  It is much easier to run to the car for a collar shirt than it is to frantically run home.  I have a bag in case we go to the beach.  This bag has my stash of sunblock, band aids, hats and visors and of course....a spare set of swim suits for all.  There is another bag in the back that is full of momma stuff.  My change of clothes for when I get the opportunity to hit the gym while the littles are busy with an activity.  Ear buds, tennis shoes and socks finish up that bag.  Last is the bag for the hubby.  I am ready for the late afternoon call from the hubs when he may want to swing by but wants a suit or a change of clothes.  Yep don't worry ...that bag is in the back too.  So maybe just maybe it is ok for me to have a fun selection of bags since I am the packer of the family.  Hey ...It used to be even worse.  I had a porta potty in the back for years.  I was ready for anything.  We could stop and go on demand.  Laugh..laugh some more but with 6 children..some one always has to go big bathroom..always.

By the time we get home at night everyone has thrown wet towels into various bags and there are wet suits stuck in the corners and it is not until I tell everyone do they pull out the rotten, smelly towels and we start yet another laundry pile.  The system is very simple .. Pack...unpack and repack.




Monday, April 25, 2016

We Are Going To Tip Over-Camping with Twins, Triplets and A Single

I tried to ignore my thoughts and just fall into a deep sleep but it just wasn't happening.  The wind would come in and ramp up slowly but very loud.  I felt like I was laying there counting the seconds until it would max out.  Almost like when you were a kid and you counted the time between the thunder and the lightning.  Once the gales got strong it was slowly die back down and then the trees would quiet for a small moment and then the process would begin again.  Over and over all night long.  I kept thinking, " we are going to tip over".  My first mistake was opening up the weather apps throughout the day.  "Winds up to 50 miles and hour expected this evening". 

We were spending the day at the Smithsonian Zoo that day in Washington DC.  This was a sort of last minute trip for us.  We decided a month or so before spring break that we would do another camping road trip.  We reserved the pop up camper and fortunately the campgrounds were full of vacancies.  We sort of repeated the preparation of the our August trip out west and headed the other direction for a much shorter drive.  This trip took us about 9 hours to get there and we were able to set up camp for 7 nights and not have to move around.  We stayed just 15 miles from the Capital and enjoyed our little campsite with minimal campers around and lots to do for the kids.  It was a very densely wooded campground that provided us with electricity and by the end of the week we had used up a tank and a half of propane keeping us warm at night.

We took a risk with the weather and it was probably the coldest April that Washington DC has had in years.  We hit 32 degrees and below at least 3 nights and probably averaged between 40-50 degrees for the week.  I slept in my 3 layers and a coat most nights.  The kids didn't notice the cold at all and seemed to love all of it.  I was putting the layers on at night and all the boys were whipping the clothes off to sleep in their underwear even on the coldest nights.  




We enjoyed the sights and I believe we hit all of the "must see" tourist recommendations with reason to come back to see more.  Museums, The monuments, The White House, Arlington National Cemetary,  GeorgeTown University, Naval Academy to name a few.




The evenings of rain afforded us to visit to a family favorite..Dave and Busters.  Several bitter cold mornings made us by pass the typical breakfast at the picnic table with the little propane tank and paper bowls and take on a luxurious approach...the local diner.   Another 9 days of no TV and minimal internet connections rounded out our Spring Break for 2016.







On our way home we made a small detail and ended up visiting the grave of David's great great grandfather in Shelby, Ohio.  We also drove by the old homestead.  The kids jumped out and ran around the cemetery and quickly located Peter Mott 1827-1862.  Everyone received a short genealogy lesson and we moved on.






The night that left me tired and thinking we were going to tip over ended and we never tipped over.  I spent the night thinking and planning in my head what we would do if we tipped over.  My thought process, looking back was not completely reasonable but in between sleep and dreams it seemed very real and reasonable.    I should grab the keys to the vehicle and keep them in my pocket so that when we tip over and it is dark we can at least get in the vehicle and leave.  Oh wait, I should have my purse next to me too.  We wont get hurt if tip over because it is not a big fall but ......It will make a huge mess.  Should I get the kids to put their clothes on so that they don't have to jump in the vehicle in their underwear.  I mean if we tip over everything will be everywhere and I will have no way of finding stuff.  

That was the longest night of the trip and I guess this is what being a mom is all about....worrying and praying all would be well....and it was.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Multiples Illuminated ...... A Must Read!

It was a regular morning and I was off to visit the doctor for an ultra sound.  It was still early, at just 9 weeks the doctor wanted to check on the 2 heartbeats she had discovered just 3 weeks prior.  I already had a set of twins and a single so although the thought was a bit daunting it was nothing I hadn’t done before.  God had given us a gift and I was going to embrace it.   Stepping into the chilly exam room was all too familiar to me therefore I had no reason to have my husband take the morning off of work to come with me.  I had it covered.  The doctor started some small talk as they always do while they attempted to find the heartbeats.  “Oh there is one, yep and the second one….wait...hold on hmmmmmm.  Let me grab another doctor because I believe we have a third one”. 

Needless to say that was a shock and I think the office was just as surprised as I was.  My husband was blown away and we went from a family of 5 to a family of 8 in just 9 short months.  Who goes through this?  I remember even though I had a set of twins I still headed right to the library to see what I could get my hands on in order to read up on what was going to happen.   I found lots of books on facts and how to take care of babies but nothing about the emotions and all that goes along with Multiples.  I spent 9 months scouring the internet for stories.  I needed to hear about others and how they dealt with the news. I wanted a real book from real people who were in the trenches and lived to tell about it. 

Multiples Illuminated is that book.  I was given this book and devoured it.  My triplets are 7 years old and my twins are 14 years old so although I am not yearning to know what it is going to be like I still loved the read.  It took me back and made me laugh and brought back some of the moments of worry that I had forgotten.  This book brings together a group of women from all walks and different backgrounds and throws them together with 1 thing in common.  What is it like to have Multiples?  It shares stories of outrageous comments in public, internal thoughts, late nights, emotional swings and all things that come from Multiples.  It is real.  There is no sugar coating and no political correctness.  The writing is superb and honest.  The book is laid out into many short stories from many mothers and fathers.  Following the story is a snippet of who the writer is and what the background of that person is.  I was fascinated to read about working moms and stay at home moms and how parents with different backgrounds dealt with news of Multiples. 

The Editors, Megan Woolsey and Alison Lee are household names in the media streams because of their ability to write about their daily family happenings in a funny and very relatable way.  They often appear in my face book feed under Scary Mommy or in a Huffington Post article.  The writers that they gathered for this book, Multiples Illuminated are spot on in their writing as well.  I hope that if anyone is expecting, already has or wants to know all about multiples that they reach out to Amazon to purchase this book.  I will personally get this book for anyone who is having multiples in the future. 

You can purchase this book at the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/Multiples-Illuminated-Collection-Parents-Triplets/dp/0996833501/

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Month Of Christmas with Twins Triplets and A Single

The weather is cold.  The days are shorter and Christmas is over.  The decorations are put away and the last of the sweets in the house are being slowly eaten.  I think I have seen enough sugar to last me awhile.  The last of the glitter and pieces of tinsel are being vacummed up.  My house is free from any signs of Christmas, except for the bar counter that is full of the remote controls for the drones, cars and helicopters.  Oh and there are still some lego villages set up around the house.

The kids are back to school and I am caught up on laundry and returns.  Now what? I ask myself.  I am at a very organized and peaceful place and I am asking myself  Now what?  I am a product of my surroundings and my environment.  A product of the crazy schedule of life.

Instead of "Now What".  Let's spend a minute reliving Christmas 2015.  It was a good season and although I often worry about the amount of "stuff" that comes with the holiday season I think we did well overall with not going too crazy.  The triplets turned 7 on December 17th and we surprised them with a birthday party at the local middle school gym.  We enjoyed floor hockey, flag football and soccer for 2hrs and of course some pizza and cake to check the box and move on.  I promise my kids a party every 5 years and I kind of skipped the triplets until this year.  I had a lot of anxiety about inviting kids to a party for 3 kids.  That is a lot to ask for people who are so generous these days to think they have to bring 3 gifts.  I struggled with this for a couple years on how to handle it.  I decided that I would let each triplet invite 6 friends and I did 3 different invitations.  The invitation only invited you to a single child birthday.  It really worked out marvelous.  We had close to 20 kids and each of the triplets came home and were able to open 6 presents.  We are so blessed that we really didn't need 20 presents for each kid and I think it took a burden off the parents too.  We did receive a couple of gifts for all 3 boys from really good friends and we were flattered by everyone's generosity and thoughtfulness.


I spent the month of November doing a ton of research on the latest and greatest holiday craze...The Hoverboard, Swagway, Self Balancing Scooter and all the other names that these things are referred to.  I ended up purchasing one from Amazon because it was distributed in the U.S and the warranty reviews were great.  I got it and took it up to my bedroom and rode it around secretly while the kids were at school.  It was awesome.  I describe it like it reads your mind.  You want to turn and it turns and it is all based a slight slight movement.  It was going to be the triplets gift of the year right??? Wrong.. It wasn't even a week after delivery when the news reports were showing houses and apartments being burned down due to these boards catching fire.  I ignored it for awhile until everyone was talking about it and then I went online and read the reports.  I read enough to start the return process.  It was the first time that I felt the sinking feeling of wanting a gift for the kids but also thinking about all of us sleeping and the possibility...even very slight ....of losing a child or anyone due to a house fire.  Amazon pulled the Swagway's off their website and were no longer even selling them so I knew I had to proceed.  Amazon exceeded every expectation I had.  They paid for return shipping and helped me get in touch with the actual seller of the Swagway.  Swagway took it back and refunded me.  I did keep the board until Christmas and let the triplets ride it in the basement for a couple hours before we packaged it up and sent it back.  It was a huge bummer but I am proud to say that I had 3 little guys who understood and accepted the explanation for the return and were good with it.



The family enjoyed 3 days up north at my parents house and we were able to break in the new addition.  My mom and dad added a 3 car garage to their home with a large living quarters above that sleeps 10.  This is our new B&B when we go to Stanton.  It is pretty sweet and very nicely done.  We all enjoyed a solid 2 weeks of together time.  David had the full 2 weeks off as well so we did some open skates, took a family trip to Frankenmuth for some winner winner chicken dinners.  The kids all spent some Christmas money buying shoes at the Nike store and we were home in time for a Netflix movie.  We attempted to see the Wayne County Light Fest but the line was crazy long.  We saw many movies at home and ventured out to the new Chipmunks movie one afternoon.  I made everyone go through closets and clean them out after watching David do the deepest closet clean out I have ever witnessed.  We had the Mott family Christmas which is always a huge hit and ate and ate and ate.  This was the first year in a long time that the pond was not frozen so it forced us to do some other things that normally we would not do.  This past Monday was rough.  Getting up early and getting everyone back on schedule has taken us most of this week to catch up.  






Sunday, November 22, 2015

What Do I Do All Day

I ask myself this question often.  I remember the words of mothers who walked before me in the beauty of all day school for their children and they would always say, "the day is not as long as you think it is".  I never could wrap my brain around how 8:15am -4pm was not that long. I spent 12 years with kids at home.  Mondays were hard because it started another week of ...what will we do this week.  I did enjoy all of the road trips to the zoo, parks and movies.  I have spent endless hours having tea parties and picking up little pieces of play dough out of my carpet and rugs.  I miss the play lands that we would frequent in hopes of tiring out the kids so they could take a good nap that day.  A play date?...that rare occasion they would get invited over (not often because who invites 3 boys over...no one) and I would wonder what I would do with my 90 min of freedom.  The anticipation of the free time was better than the actual 90 min because I would catch myself daydreaming of what I could possibly do for that precious time.  I would dream about hitting a craft place or a market and just slowly browse.  The reality was a quick trip to Costco.

Back to what do you do all day.  The days go fast and they are just busy.  As of lately I am slowly updating my home from all of the damage of having kids home all day..everyday destroying  my world.  We are slowly replacing all of the shoe molding that was taken off the walls and broken at nap times.  I am repairing window sills from the holes that were poked in them with the door stopper that was unscrewed during another nap time.  I walk around the house with my drywall mud and I repair the divots and holes in my walls.  Someone was trying to play hockey in the hallway and missed the ball..caught the wall though.  Lots of painting and scrapping of dried buggers that were wiped along the wall.  The trim needs new white paint because of all of the spilled stuff on them and how badly they are beat up.  It is truly amazing at how badly stuff gets torn up with 8 people living in a home.  Some new carpet to rid ourselves of the vomit stains that have accumulated over the years.  We even added some hardwood in the upstairs because lets be honest...the vomit is not over and hardwood hallways is much easier to clean up at 3am.

The early years are somewhat of a fog so I am going through closets and sorting and boxing clothes.  This is a full time job within itself.  I just went into the triplets room and pulled out their jeans that were stuffed in their closet.  I made a pile of 6 pairs of hole ridden, faded, dirty jeans to be thrown out.  I shutter for a moment to think "did I let them go to school with these on".  I proceed onward, deeper in the closet to find a pile of clothes that I forgot about and are now too small.  I am notorious for stuffing things in places (and forgetting where I put them) because the right box is not accessible or I don't have the time at that moment.  Time to put away the shorts and t shirts and get out the warm clothes and this is tough because now I need to unload boxes in order to refill them.  My home has boxes of clothes stuffed all over.  My older boys are in a size 16 and I am searching for the boxes marked size 7.  These boxes have been put away for quite sometime and often they need to be washed before they are ready for use again.  I digress......

The hampers always seem to be full and the main floor always seem to have pieces of clothing or items that need to go upstairs.  The kitchen is in constant need of sweeping and something is always in need of repair.  The older boys had a bar mitzvah the other night to attend and they arrive home with suit coats minus the buttons.  How do you lose buttons in that short of time?  "I don't know mom, we were just hanging out and a friend grabbed my jacket and it fell off".

Oh shoot I forgot I still need to make the 2 dozen treats for the 8th grade bake sale tomorrow morning.  Oh bummer..Need to ask David if he can take boys and Mairin to school tomorrow and get in line early to turn in the ski club form..first come first serve.  Thanksgiving is approaching and I need to gather the supplies for the craft.  I really need to get that new carpet cleaner out of the box and get the basement carpet cleaned this week.  Oh I almost forgot that peanut oil is on sale this week at Gordons..must get for the turkey fryer.  My appointment is today to get my ipad looked at and I almost forget that I need to be at the elementary school at 2 to volunteer for the book fair.  Oh and lets find some time in there for me to grab some more milk..we are out. Dinner?  yep that slipped my mind....Oh and lets take a look at my calendar...Let's round out the evening with a hockey game.  Clearly I have stuff to do.  I must go.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

6:30am - 8:09am A Small Window But Very Busy Window!

By 8:09am I am ready for a break.  I am amazed at how much has to be done before these 6 little bits of bones and skin can leave the house.  I bring most of it on myself but it is only because it is important to me.  Why is it important to me?  Not really sure but we all have a "things" that we pay attention to.

The alarm goes off at 6:30am and I head down the hall and flip on the light in Eamon and Liam's room.  I make sure they answer me in some sort of a way even if it is just a grunt.  I move back down the hall and walk into Mairin's room.  I have to turn on the light for her and find her.  She is never in the same place in her bed.  She can be hidden under a mound of pillows or scrunched in the corner.  She doesn't say much so I usually lay with her for a quick minute before I leave her to get ready.  The walk down the stairs in my final opportunity to wake up before I enter the kitchen for a full on meal preparation.  It is early but I pull out the 7 lunch boxes and prepare my mind for what I will fill these rectangular canvas zip up to go bags with.  There are those who like ham and not bologna and some who prefer chicken breast over turkey and I do make some mistakes but most often I can put together some mean lunches.  Liam is by far the easiest of all.  He doesn't really care what I pack and never complains about what I pack.  Eamon is pretty laid back but he is more particular about including healthy items.  He likes certain bread, needs a bag of chips and will go without yogurt.  Throw him an apple and carrots and he is good.  Mairin takes some creativity at times.  She wants the salami and cream cheese roll ups or the little cups of ravioli or something completely off the wall but she is 100% mood based (haha just like me...)  Colin likes ham but not bologna and Finn prefers bologna.  Declan will eat almost anything and Colin has to have green apples versus red apples.  Plain vanilla yogurt for Finn but any flavor for the others.

The older 3 leave on the bus at 7:10am so usually while I am waking up the Blendtec is mixing smoothies and the toaster has a waiting line.  I don't make breakfast and the kids know that they need to stay out of my way so that they will have a lunch.  My counters start to fill up around this time because my mind is going in several directions and if I jump ahead to the triplets lunch I end up having lots of ingredients out.  Throw in some permission slips that need signing along with The Today Show you have a rumbling morning.   "Did you brush your teeth"?  and "make sure you comb your hair".  Peat and Repeat is the standard over here.

I have a 10 to 15 minute gap between the older 3 getting on the bus and the littles coming downstairs  (that is only if the older 3 were somewhat quiet which is rare).  The trips hate it when I make them go back upstairs and change their clothes or when they forget their socks.  They will come down in some obnoxious outfit that is either mix matched, too small or dirty and I simply say, "try again" and they know that means to pivot on the right foot, turn around gracefully and retrace steps back to their room for a redo.  I remember as a kid hating having to go back downstairs to retrieve something that I had forgotten.

By this time I am in full swing of making lunches for the trips and they usually consist of a roll up or sandwich, bagel, hot dog or even a salad.  Throw in a fruit cup and some sort of crunch and they are good to go.  The snack is tougher to figure out.  I often resort to the fruit cup and a cheese stick.  I stack their lunches on the floor in the kitchen and that is their signal to pack their backpacks.  We encourage looking for our shoes and coat at this time so that we don't get to bus time and we can't find our coats or shoes.  When they are complete they can then watch some TV...Oh and they are also on their own for breakfast preparation.  They can do toast, bagel and/or cereal.  I can assist with a milk pour, opening of a new box of sugar cereal or spreading some cream cheese on a bagel but that is the extent of that.  The bus arrives at 8:09am and the house is then quiet.  Time to fill the dishwasher and put away what looks like a complete disaster.  Oh and David was in this mix as well.  He comes down in the midst of all this...kisses whoever is left and grabs his coffee and lunch before he heads out for a day of "breaking rocks for the man" as he would say.

It is not long before I need to get serious about what is for dinner. (I get so tired of food being such a big part of my day but I have not figured out how to get away from it).  Nothing good comes out of 6 hungry kids that jump off the school bus, barge through the front door and say "I'm hungry" and I have nothing for them.  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Rest Of The Story. 8 Motts and A Pop Up

  Finally we were off to Yellowstone.  The place the triplets were anticipating.  They didn’t really know what it was going to be but they were eager to see it.  We arrived and got all settled in and were able to do some exploring.  We received many warnings at check-in about the bears in the area.  Two nights prior to our arrival there was a bear hanging around in our camp area.  They know how to freak out a Midwestern girl like myself.  I had to transfer all of our food to our vehicle or to the locked metal boxes at our campsite.  We were not allowed to wash any dishes or brush teeth or do anything that would leave any sort of smell around our campsite.   At night you had to have everything put away and no food was to be in your tent camper.  I was not allowing much snacking from the kids.  They were not going to leave a trail of Cheetos and risk my life...nope not going to happen.  Nothing like laying your head down at night with 6 lovely children and wondering if you might hear or heaven forbid feel the claws of a bear. 






We cooked all of our meals during our 3 day stay in Yellowstone and did lots of exploring.  The scenery was amazing and worth the long trip.  We drove the entire circle around Yellowstone and it took most of the day.  We pulled up to Old Faithful just moments before it erupted and our timing seemed to be right on track.  









On our way out of the National Park we headed to the Grand Tetons National Park which is just south of Yellowstone.  The view was again breathtaking but the forest fires in Montana and Idaho left us wanting clear skies. 

We kept on our route and drove to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  I was very geeked about this visit.  The town is very cool and is literally in a hole with ski resorts all around.  The town is very swanky and I could have spent a couple days there browsing the stores.  We were stopped by the police on horseback and were issued a wonderful welcome.  We grabbed some lunch and David decided to take the kids to the ski mountain and take them on an alpine slide ride down the mountain.  They all liked it so much that they wanted more more more.  We had to keep going because our destination was a good 5 hours beyond.  



We finally made it to Vernal, Utah.  Why you ask?  I asked too.  Vernal is a popular location to do some white water rafting and is just outside of Dinosaur National Monument.  It was the first night in a hotel since we left home.  Everyone just wanted to flop, watch TV and enjoy the temperature controlled room.  Hotel staying can be stressful for David because of the cash he has to drop on 2 rooms and for me it is merely the stress of keeping 6 kids quiet so that we don’t risk getting kicked out.  We rarely find the hotels that have the adjoining suites (in the price range that David is comfortable in) so we ended up getting 2 rooms next to each other.  We put all 6 in one room with cartoons and we hung out in the neighboring room with a cocktail and some TV.
The alarm seemed to go off sooner than we wanted in the hotel.  We had to be at the White Water Rafting Location by 8:30am so we got up and gathered all of our crazies and headed off.  Upon arrival we had to sign away our life with the liability waivers and then we were fitted with helmets and life jackets (helmets…ok we are not kidding around here.  This is just a trip down the river on a tube.  The trip began at 8:30 with a bus ride that took out to god knows where but we didn’t see another vehicle for 30 minutes.  We stopped in the middle and took a quick hike to check out some petorglyphs (drawing on the side of the mountains from the Fremont Indians 2000 years ago).  We arrive to the river and it is literally a canyon through Dinosaur National Monument.  Amazing views and wonderful rapids.  We all stayed in the boat, had a rocking guide named Ross and he made sure we all got wet.  They were classified as level II and III rapids and that is the highest we could go with 6 year olds.  We stopped mid day for a picnic lunch and then ended our trip around 3:30pm. The sun was shining and the temp was around 90 degrees.  The kids all loved it.   











We had to keep moving and get to our next campsite in Dinosaur so by the time we located our campsite and toured the Dinosaur quarry it was 6:30pm.  We cooked dinner and we David took the kids to the ranger program.  I needed to catch up on some house keeping.  It was that time when I needed to repack the trips with clean clothes in their backpacks, put things back in order, organize and go thru the coolers and get the camper ready for sleep.  




The evening was hot but cooled down rather quickly.  Of course we were at a campsite that had no electricity.  It was the cheapest one of the trip.  $12.00 got us a slab to park, a fire ring, picnic table and a couple of poopers.  Oh and a spigot for water.  The location of this campground was rather dusty and dirty.  The trips made it their job to climb the hills and search for fossils (they claimed).  They were so dirty that David took two 5 gallon buckets and filled them with cold water and bathed the kids that way.  It was quite the way to bath but at least the little toes were clean when they dug deep into the sleeping bags. 
Pancakes and sausage for breakfast and by 10am we were on the road again…destination Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  Steamboat Springs was on the route and it came just in time to stop, grab some lunch and we let the kids buy some trinkets at the trading post.  

Another 1.5 hours to the next park. 
This trip is going great but honestly I have seen enough nature to last me awhile.  I have cooked enough meals outside with minimal utensils to last me a long time.  I have yet to do anything beyond shower at night (when we have the ability) and wake up only to put the hair in a pony tail and grab my ditty bag that sits in the console of the vehicle and slap on some deodorant, brush my teeth with a bottle of water and use a cleansing wipe for my face and off we go.   The toughest thing is keeping the little ones quiet when everyone else is quiet.  Colin is usually in his own world, Finn is asking what adventure is next and Declan is usually agitating someone.  Mairin is mothering and telling on them while Eamon and Liam are the real troopers in  this whole adventure.  They are great sports and have thanked us throughout the trip for taking them on this adventure.  David reads every flipping sign he can and has been very very aware of when the rest of the family has lost interest or needs a change of scenery.  I am taking lots of driving time too.  It is amazing when you get used to pulling a camper it losses its scariness. 
We have 7 days left before we should be home.  I thought we would be gone until Sept 3 but David needs to be back to work on the 2nd.  Wish us well as we continue our journey. 
At this point in our trip we have no reservations and it is up to the co-pilot to look at the map and decide where we should stay.  I was kind of burned out of National Parks so when I read up on Estes Park (just on the Eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park) I decided that is where my recommendation would be.  The ratings for the campground were great so that is where we were headed.  We pull in and I just knew it was not a typical “Mott” campground.  It had a pool and a playground.  David went in and checked it out and he agreed to book 1 night. (no worries though…we would stay 2 nights if I had any say and I did).  We get our assignment and as we drove to it we both saw another camper literally 2 ft away from where we were to back up and park our camper.  We both look at each other and say, “nope not gonna do this” and we drive back to the front office and get another spot.   We got ourselves all set up and all seemed well.  We slept well and the next morning we walked to the little office where hot coffee was brewing and I took a hot shower.  Guess what..we stayed another night.  





When you are that far into a camping experiment it is all about the little things that are important.  I was sold on the coffee,  the dish washing sink outside with hot water, a pool and the playground for the kids.  The second evening we were done with our hike in the Rocky Mountains (a 3 mile hike that lasted 2 hours because we climbed to 10,000 ft elevation.  It was not what I would wake up in the morning and dream about doing but we did it as a family. )  and we thought we would let the kids swim.  I went and got some beer and we did a couple loads of laundry.  We eventually went out to dinner and then called it a night. 
Up and off again the next morning to head south to see more of Colorado.  We stopped by David’s cousins house Ron and Barb Mazur in Highlands Ranch, Colorado for a great lunch.  

They had so much to entertain the kids and quite frankly I enjoyed being in a home, temperature controlled and good conversation.  A couple hours there and we were off to continue South to the Mueller State Park just past Pikes Peak.  It was at that point when we finally found the state park and it was far enough out of town AGAIN and it was raining and as David is checking in for not 1 but 2 nights I check my phone and see “no service”.  I look at David and use my index finger and thumb to make a gun and put it to the side of my head.  Let me paint the picture for you.  It is 6ish in the evening.  The rain is coming down and the temperature has gone from the mid 80’s to the high 50’s (this is what the weather seems to do in those parts).  We just checked into a campsite with canvas sides.  There are 6 children who have been sitting in a car for several hours and it is no where near bedtime.  We have no Internet service to keep myself or anyone else busy …..Yep …Time for the vacation to end.
The next day we decided it was gonna be a good day for the girls.  David really wanted to go to the top of Pikes Peak and quite frankly I had no interest.  I had a hard enough time with the trek over the Rocky Mountains and we only hit 12,500.  Pikes Peak is a whopping 14,111 ft.  Fearful of getting altitude sickness I took Mairin and we spent the day shopping in Manitou Springs.  We had a ball and the boys enjoyed driving to the top.  Finn and Eamon both had headaches at the top and David said breathing was a challenge.  


They came back to town to pick us up and we all headed to The Air Force Academy.  What a cool place.  We took a self guided tour, checked out the bookstore and the famous chapel.  We had to be off the property by 5pm and it gave us just enough time to check it all out and show Eamon and Liam what it was all about.  This was really the ending to all of the site seeing of the trip.  




The next morning we were packing up and heading East.   We stopped off at Walmart and I went in to restock snacks and lunch meat for our 3 day adventure home.  We got back to camp and had a campfire while I made a ton of sandwiches for the trip.  At the campfire we asked everyone what their favorite event was on the trip and we all concluded we had fun but we all were anxious to get home. 
We woke up at 7:30am, threw on our clothes and had the camper taken down and ready to pull out by 8:10am.  Everyone ate donuts and breakfast bars on our way out of the park.  We were off.  The day ended up being much longer than we anticipated.  We drove through the rest of the state of Colorado and made it through a big part of Kansas.  We planned to camp when we drove into thunder storms and so we just kept going.  We ended up driving til 8pm with only 4 stops all day and getting a hotel room in York, Nebraska.  We scored 2 rooms at $47.00 each and enjoyed hot showers and good old TV.   The kids had cold pizza from Pizza Hut for a late dinner and no one complained a bit.  We had stopped at a rest stop mid day and a man told us that when we passed him he noticed that our trailer tire seemed to be bouncing a bit.  Maybe it was out of alignment.  David didn’t think much of it until we got going again and the control panel beeps and says “trailer no longer connected”.  I am driving at this point and my hands just tighter on the steering wheel.  We take the next big exit and we stop at a tire store where they fix the tire (this is when I take the 6 littles to Pizza Hut to eat while David fixes the vehicle).  It cost $5.00 to repair and 40 minutes later we are back on the super slab.

The easiest passengers are Eamon and Colin.  Colin will sit for hours and often you won’t hear a word. Eamon is quiet but make sure when you are eating you are not making noises and please please leave him alone when he has had enough.  Liam is always the one who is revving the triplets up and wonders why he gets into trouble.  Mairin is the one who lets everyone in the car know if Declan is doing something wrong.  She talks to Declan loud enough to ensure that I hear her in hopes of me backing her up and getting after Declan.  Declan is often the one is being devious but we all know he can’t help himself.  David has a soft spot for Declan and while I raise my voice at him, David will talk to him softly and request his cooperation.  Finn is the one always telling us how bored he is or the one who is asking the deep questions.  These kids are great travelers and although I provided a fair amount of movies for our trip, they are the ones that were patient and cooperated with each other and sat in close quarters for endless hours.  Troopers for sure..Hut
We left York, Nebraska at 8:30am and little did we know we would sleep in our own beds that very night.  We made great time and just kept driving and driving.  I made lunch out of the back of the Expedition in the parking area of a gas station.  We pumped as many movies into the kids as we could and by 12:30am we rolled into our driveway.  832 miles for the day but we were home.