Thursday, October 2, 2014

Early Mornings and Lots of Lunches!

What do your mornings look like?  I bet if you have children, you can relate to the crazy rat race of a morning.  I cannot even imagine what a morning is like with multiple children and a working mom.  I can at least run around and get everyone out the door and then go put myself together.  Working mom's out there...I have to hand it to you..You require even more organization and time management than I am exhibiting in this post.  Cheers to you!!!!!

I have been meaning to post pictures of my morning lunch production.

My alarm goes off at 6:30am and I head downstairs to prepare 7 lunches, 3 snacks and help out with 6 breakfasts.  I pack lunches for all 6 of my littles and my wonderful husband. I let the older 3 pick 1 day a week where they buy lunch.  My reasoning for packing lunches is because I fear that everyday they would pick junk for lunch.  There are so many lines now and so many junk options that my kids would be the ones who pick the chips and strawberry milk for lunch.  Not to mention a little bag of chips is 1.50.  It doesn't take long for those to add up.  What happened to the old lunch lines where you got into 1 line and got 1 option?  Anyway...I don't necessarily like packing lunches but it gives me peace of mind knowing what they are eating.   I am up anyway so why not be in my normal spot...the kitchen.

I have found that in the past couple years I have been able to send leftovers with the older 3.  I will cook chicken breasts for the week and send in chicken breasts with ranch (they love this and can it be any healthier????).  My theory on this is that if I send them a lunch and they are not crazy about a certain fruit or vegetable...if that is all there is ..they are sure to eat it if they are hungry.

This morning the older 3 got pork loin strips, roasted potatoes and carrots for lunch and it was all from dinner last night.  On days like this I throw in a Cheetos or CheezIt to make the lunch fun.  It is also a great way for me to cook at night and be able to spread out a meal into several.  The banging of the backpacks and grabbing of the lunches occurs at 7:15am when the 1st batch heads out the door for the bus.  The triplets gather their lunches and pack their bags for the bus by 8:15am.  The hour gap provides me with a break for a cup of coffee and time for any emergency that may arise.

The triplets are new to the whole lunch stuff since this is their first year at all day school. I am easing them into their lunches by packing mostly sandwiches or wraps.  I am still figuring how much to send for them and what they are willing to eat and what they are not touching.  Every kid seems to be a little different when it comes to eating away from home. I love hitting the dollar store and finding a cool container that will fit certain snacks.  I know..its all about the little things that keep you coming back for more.

There are the mornings when the 1st batch leaves and there is a lunch that is left behind but hey it happens.  There are the evenings when they tell me about a lunch option that I failed miserably at.  Most recently I made smoothies and put them in the silicon tubes and froze them.  I thought it would be great but the kids informed me that they melted before lunch and turned black and then they separated and tasted terrible.  Eamon had a day when his yogurt exploded in his lunch box..."Eamon go ahead and grab a hot lunch when that happens".  Liam will not look at his lunch ahead of time because he wants to be surprised.   Mairin is constantly hanging over my shoulders wondering what I am putting in her lunch.  Eamon is the picky one and informs me that he does not like pudding but he really likes the carrots with ranch.  "mom we don't have lots of time to eat so we need things we can eat kind of fast".  Good to know Eamon....good to know.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

5 Boys and A Girl

I received a wonderful email the other day from a super mom of 8 year old twin boys and another set of twin boys on the way.  She reached out to say how she enjoyed reading my blog but also to inquire about life with so many boys.   I was so excited for her and went on to respond to her with all of the wonderful things that a big family of boys offers.  I was blessed with 5 boys but I cannot completely relate because I was blessed with my Miss Mairin who is my mini me in every way.  I love her to pieces and she often gets thrown into the mess of boys but she never complains..well rarely.....

It really made me start to think about how my life differs from lets say...a family with all girls.  I have been to the play dates with the pretty girls.  The pretty dresses and the girls that sit nicely and quietly and color.  Mairin has friends over and you don't hear from them until they are hungry.  They are up singing in their rooms or making videos.  They make getting ready for bed a production and packing for a sleepover a monumental event.  The boys...not so much.

My 12 year old boys have friends over and all they want is some food that they can take to the basement along with cans of pop (not always allowed here..more for special occasions) and permission to rent an On Demand movie.  They want to pull out the couches and sleep down there and they really would rather the adults stay upstairs.  They are never doing anything bad (yet)  but if you do listen in you hear 12 year old boys talking lots of smack.  They don't care about special pillows or enough bedding for everyone.  They just want to hang.

The triplets and a play date..Watch out... It usually begins with a fight.  The fight is always over my 3 boys wanting the undivided attention of the friend. (no I don't usually have a friend for each of them or I would have 6 little 5 year old boys running that would send me over the edge.) These play dates are loud, busy and destructive.  Call me crazy but this is why I don't do a lot of triplet play dates.  My house becomes a maze of obstacles and making my kitchen and living room a circular track to run.  I am constantly suggesting activities outdoors.

The life of boys.....It happened today in fact!  I looked out the window to see 2 boys playing in the sandbox and 1 standing and peeing.  Boys just stand up..pee and then go back to playing.  Staying on topic...drips in the bathroom.  Boys are rough and quick.  They fly into the bathroom and they fly out.  They leave a trail where ever they go.  They brought me a snake the other day and spent a long time playing with it, making a home for it and holding it.  They named it "boney" because it felt like bones.  This is what I love about my boys because they do know how to take life back to the simplest form and run with it.

Dirty hands don't bother them and the more mud the better.  They have healthy appetites and someone is constantly hungry or thirsty.  I can always make a casserole and not have to eat it for a week.  We have dinner and then we have after dinner..dinner.  (This is really for the 12 year olds and especially after a long hockey practice).  

We never go anywhere quietly and usually when we do go out someone spills a drink or dumps something on the floor.  It costs just over $40.00 to hit the McDonald's drive thru for the 8 of us and the snack packs of 12 that you purchase at the store only lasts for a short minute.  My life revolves around....where are we going? how long will we be there? and if food and drink is needed to be packed.  Stopping off at restaurant or convenience store is not cheap for the Mott family.  I try to keep a case of water in the back of my vehicle and a box of various snacks in the glove box. Something to tide over a hungry or cranky kid can be priceless.

I love my broad of boys and my 1 little girl.  Mairin surely knows how to get dirty and she is rough and tough but she also loves getting dressed up and going out with mom.

Friday, September 12, 2014

I'm Home Alone! All 6 In School

Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone that I am home.  Don't tell anyone that I can go back to bed at 8:15am when the last batch of kids get on the bus.  This is a world that I do not even remember.  I have had someone little at home and in my house for the past 12 years.  There has always been someone who is younger and not in school yet.  There has always been the juggling of babysitters if I needed to do anything during the day.  I almost don't know what to do and how to react.  Everyone asks me what the heck I am going to do with all of my time and I just answer with a blank look of..."I don't know"?  Do I need to know at this point?  I mean haven't I put in my time?  Don't I get a couple of weeks off?  Come on..what about that Lifetime Marathon on TV from 9am til 4pm that I used to dream about when I was home with my 2 year old triplets.

So far I have done nothing but catch up.  I have been going from one appointment to another.  I have been driving kids to get glasses repaired, braces adjusted, dental cleanings and the most appointment for me.  My Aunt Myrna had a knee replacement yesterday and I just couldn't bear not being there to support her.  It was the first time I could be there for her and not pay for a babysitter. The day went so fast that before she was out of surgery recovery I had to head home to get the kids off the bus.

My world is really consumed by food.  I am constantly trying to come up with new lunch and dinner ideas.  I am now making 7 lunches every morning, 3 snacks and then preparing dinner for 8.  My refrigerator is full, my dishwasher is constantly full and these kids are always hungry.  This will take a couple weeks to get into the groove.  Oh and did I mention that 6:15am comes way too early after spending 3 months sleeping in.

1st Day of School Picture.  2 - 7th graders - 1 -4th grader - 3 - kindergartners

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summer Vacation-Upper Penninsula-Chapter 2

The first day of our trip is always exciting.  We arrive and everyone starts exploring.  David and I explore a little bit too and we are all a little giddy.  I quickly put everything away and get the cars all emptied out.  The kids are running around and I cannot find their bathing suits fast enough.  We make a great dinner and we have a campfire.  Sm ores and a cocktail for mom and dad and we are all good.  The 2nd day seems to resemble the first and all is good.  My mom is close by for a conference so she drops off Dad to hang out with us.  David decides to charter a boat and the men all go deep water fishing in Lake Michigan.  The Little's and I stay back and enjoy the day.  They come home with a king salmon and we have a great dinner on the grill.  The rain has arrived by this point and I make the call that we are doing our Upper Peninsula road trip the next day.  We drop off Dad at the resort and we head out mid day.  Our goal is Pictured Rocks in Munising, MI and then to Tehquamenon Falls.  While at the falls we decided to hit Whitefish Point and tour the "Shipwreck Museum" and learn all about the Edmond Fitzgerald.   We spent 2 nights in the Upper Peninsula and had some great visits.

Pictured Rock

The 2.5 hour round trip to see the pictured rocks.  It was a very cold day and quite windy.  We covered 30 miles on the boat that morning.
Hotel Living

Yes we had to get 2 hotel rooms each night.  We took turns on who slept with the triplets and who got the older kids.  I usually got the older ones and had Mairin share a bed with me.  We quickly started searching out Motels rather than Hotels in this situation.
All of my littles at the Falls
Now to the highlight of my Upper Peninsula experience.  I remember my grandmother taking my sister and me around Lake Superior as a child.  We traveled several weeks in a van and made lots of stops.  I specifically remember stopping at the Mystery Spot.  It was a hole in the wall small little side show in St Ignace.  You stop because you are curious.  It is just a small tour of illusions.  I told David that we had to do it.  He thought I was crazy because his mother would never stop at places like that.  I told him that mine did so we were going.  He kind of made fun of me driving there and laughed at me when we left.  They explain the location as sort of a mystery piece of land and it all happens because the land is unique.  Davids first question in the car was, " know that is not a magical place right".  "You know that it is all an illusion".  "Yes David I do but wasn't it kind of cool"?  He was more interested that someone thought of the idea and that the sign says there have been 3 million visitors so he was doing the math and giving the creators a lot of credit.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Summer Vacation..Northern Michigan-Chapter 1

No TV for 2 electronics play dates and lots of together time.  Hours spent in the car with knees touching and the occasional falling asleep on the sibling next to you.  Sitting in the seat that requires distribution of sandwiches to all parties and knowing that that job requires you to eat last.  Seeing a movie in the car twice..maybe 3 times because the little ones wanted it and it is just easier to keep them happy.  Going right to the edge of your sanity because the noise will not stop.  Feeling the blood swell into your neck and taking a deep breath because you can't imagine hearing "stoooopppp touching me" again.  Enjoying the board games at 10pm and teaching the kids how to play.  Campfires at night and the questions that come out.  I specifically remember one night when David said, "ok ask me anything".  Eamon asks, "why did WWII start" and "why was Hitler so bad"? David loved that and I the conversation began.  I think that was a late night around the fire.

When there is no electronics or TV it is amazing what the kids find to do.  They all played in the sand and buried each other for hours.  They made up tons of games in the yard and collected rocks and painted them. They would go diving in the lake in search of treasures and ended up finding an old pair of Ray Bans. They collected craw fish and skipped rocks.  They must have opened every board game at the cottage we were staying at and figured out to play them all.  It was lots of fun.

We took a family vacation these past several weeks.  I believe it to be the 1st trip we have taken for a long period with all of the kids.  We left Metro Detroit on August 9 and returned on August 22nd.  We stayed at a cottage on Torch Lake that belongs to David's aunt/cousin.  They were so gracious to open up their cottage to us.  We had 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and plenty of room to move in.  I packed a ton of stuff so that we could go and not eat out everyday.  We drove 2 vehicles so we could divide and conquer.  We took many road trips and have so so many memories of our trip together.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

They DId It...

Summer activities are just that...summer activities.  Having the triplets swim on the swim team is merely my way of creating an event that happens everyday at the same time.  We get up and we have somewhere to go and it keeps them active.  I know that the Olympics are not in our future and if we miss a practice...oh well.  

This past Wednesday I was gushing with pride as we had our first swim meet (time trials).  The triplets had never been to a swim meet before (always left them home with a sitter while I would go watch the older ones in their meet).  They have been swimming for the past several weeks..5 to 6 days a week.  I did all I could do to pump them up and get them excited for the day.  I didn't know if I would actually get all of them into the water and with triplets you really never know what will happen until the very last minute. We came with our racing suits (that is what they call them) and the swim caps.  They had to complete all 4 strokes so we could get times for them.  Obviously they are not very fast...good lord we are just thrilled they have the basic stroke concept down and can make it to the end of the pool.  They put the trips in their own heat so it was very special for me to be able to watch my little nuggets all at once experience their very first competitive swim.  I am happy to report that they completed all 4 strokes and we only had mild tears from 1. When they had to swim the breast stroke they all got up on the blocks and after 3 belly smacks I knew at least 1 was not gonna like that.  Finn comes to me at the end and with a tear says, "I never wanna get up on those things again".  "Ok buddy we don't have to. You can jump in without getting on the blocks".  Then after Finn finished the last stroke...his favorite..freestyle he came to me and said, "Mom I don't like this".  Finn is not a fan of the attention all being on him.  So many people are drawn to him that he has quite the fan following.  This kid will have a group of young ladies and young men falling over him at practices.  The girls all say..."Hiiiii Finnnnnnnn" with their wave and the boys all are "high five me bro".  He is the popular one (not by choice at all) and he doesn't even want it....well I think he is getting used to it.  We talked and finally I got out of him that he didn't like it that I was not at the end when he finished.  He didn't like all of the attention on him and having to get out of the water and come to the other end to get me.  I smiled and told him that I will be at the end for him next time.  The time trials were a great success and I was so proud to see them exert their little independence.  I stopped off at the candy store after the meet for a treat for all.

This was Mairin's first year of having to do 50's (that is down and back).  She was sucking lots of wind but did well.  Liam is well into doing 50's but with his growth this past year it was fun watching how much faster he got this year.  My eldest, Eamon swims in practice everyday but is not competing this year so he cheered on his friends and siblings during the meet.  

This summer has been fun.  The kids have their stuff to do and I even manage to get an hour and some days even 2 while they are in their activities.  This will be Eamon's last year of swimming I am guessing.  I have encouraged as long as I can.  He has been a great sport this year and I am so proud.  Heck I am so geeked and proud of all of them.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer..Full Swing

We are in full swing of summer and I am proud to say that I have yet to hear.."I'm bored".  We have been on the go since school let out and so far so good.  The summer schedule is now the norm and I can already feel the pain that September will bring when that early alarm goes off.

The washer is constantly going with wet towels and swim suits.  My mornings are usually full of opening up swim bags and pulling out the wet....stinky, wrinkled clothes that were left in their bags from the night before.  I specifically remember as a kid that my mom would get so upset when I would leave towels in a heap on the floor all wet.  I always thought,"what is the big deal". Yep now I know what the big deal is.

My house is staying clean because we are never here.  We constantly have drying swim suits on our front porch along with towels draped everywhere.  There are at least 6 open cans of sun block floating in the various bags that we take with us.  The grocery bill is somewhat smaller and basic because we are not here for meals.  I haven't cooked a family dinner in a week.  There is no fighting bedtime because we all seem to just fall into bed.  Mom and Dad are getting their play dates in as well with golf leagues.  The toy closet has been opened on the past several rainy days and the kids are building kinex.  The summer reading program has begun.  Eamon and Liam have to read King Arthur this summer and they also have to read to their little buddy often. ......Ahhh the joys of summer.

I am finally reaping the benefits of 6 kids when it comes to cleaning.  The kids know when it is coming because I get all fired up and ready for a cleaning moment.  Here is how it goes down.  I go into the family room where everyone is usually in a coma watching TV or playing iPads.  (Let me be clear...coma mode for too long makes me crazy...I get this from my dad.  I can go into a bad mood almost instantly when I see the kids becoming one with the sofa for too long)  

I sit down on the fireplace hearth and say, "Alright guys it is time again....lets spend 30 minutes and clean this house...ok".  I then have every one's attention and I begin assigning tasks.  Eamon-clean up basement and Liam vacuum.  Mairin clean up the garage bins and shoes.  Finn you go clean your room, Declan can you do family room and Colin you get to clean up the entryway.  Report back to me when your job is complete.  It is really funny to watch everyone disappear to their jobs.  Round 2 usually brings.....Eamon and Liam and Mairin bring down all of your laundry and take up the folded laundry and put it away.  Triplets clean up the craft room and take toys from the family room back downstairs (we have to do this periodically because toys creep upstairs).  I often will make the leftover kids my runners.  "Take this to my room, Take this downstairs, Take this out to the shed".  It saves me a ton of time and a ton of running around.  We work hard and we work fast so that not to lose interest.  David usually has some sort of outdoor assigned for the older 3 and it is almost always picking weeds.  He will lay out an area that he wants clean by the time he arrives home from work.  Liam is the 'get it done now kid'...he wants to get it done first thing..before it gets too hot out and Eamon is the 'what is the big rush kid'.....maybe in a little while.  They will usually sputter at each other and Liam will win.  Mairin will just follow.

Welcome To A Mott Summer!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What A Great Weekend! This Is What It Is Really All About.

I am just getting back on track and the laundry is finally done from our fantastic weekend.  I think this Memorial Day Weekend could be labeled as one of the best yet.  We had amazing weather and lots to do.  My mom and dad always make sure the food is stocked, gas tanks are all full and lots of wood for the fires.  How lucky am I!

The biggest anticipation by all, including the triplets was mushroom hunting.  Memorial Day Weekend is always the time for Morel Mushrooms.  Growing up I thought everyone hunted for mushrooms and thought everyone loved them.  My own husband didn't know about them and has since become one of the best hunters. My father is so particular about his woods and protecting his deer that really the excitement is equally about the free pass to go out into the woods and spend time.  He finds the morels in the same spots every year so we have a route that we take and we make our stops. We make sure we only pick the amount that we will eat and leave the rest for another pick.  Walking thru the woods you will hear the kids and their excitement, "Oh my gosh" and "Here is the mother load" or "mom, mom come look at these".  Grandpa taught everyone how to pinch them off so that they will come back next year and we just filled our bags.

We spent a couple hours getting them all cleaned and then we set up a couple fry pans in the kitchen and then some on the grill outside and we let the cooking begin.  It doesn't take long before everyone is full and happy.
In order to take everyone out into the woods we are so thankful to have our golf cart and the 4 wheeler to get everyone out there.  We all pile on and it is kind of funny.
Dad had some work he needed help with this weekend so how could we turn him down.  In the midst of getting the big green tractor ready for the field, he stopped and taught David and the older boys how to drive it.  Everyone took turns while Eamon and Liam drove it across the field while the others picked the roots out of the field.  Oh how I remember chores like this.  Eamon and Liam thought it was fun and I just can't imagine making my dad do stuff like this on his own anymore.  Glad we could help.  Dad also got his digger stuck so they had to get the chains out and pull it out.  The trips really enjoyed watching grandpa spread dirt and make a road.  It is the simple things that they really love.
The unusually warm weekend brought on lots of swimming and even some knee boarding and tubing.  I think the triplets put on and took off their suits at least a dozen times each day.  They would go to bed by 930 or 10pm and they would not wake up until around 9pm.  They would just go and go.
I was just as tired as the kids were at night.  This is a busy weekend and lots of activities.  Mairin was pretty upset that we didn't make it to Anderson Orchards for some ice cream and animals but I kept telling her that we just ran out of time.  We had a great weekend and I got lots of time with my parents and sister.  Lots of the aunts and uncles came over on Sunday for a day of hanging out and my good friend from high school, Tena Hoover even spent the day with me.  It was a great weekend.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I Am So Blessed and I Am So Flattered.

What a whirlwind of compliments, words of kindness and just a lot of attention coming my way.  This has been a fun couple of days.  The excitement of looking at my phone to see the latest comments.  Thank you so much  for all of your comments and for following.  I am truly touched and flattered by all of the attention.

I have always read the articles written by Marney Rich Keenan and ever since we came in contact 12 years ago I tend to search out her articles.  It is funny how social media makes people so much more accessible and I love that I can reach out and say "hi" to someone without having to drop a note in the mail.  Marney was very kind in the article and gave me too much credit.  She sent me a text after the article came out and apologized that they had to cut a piece out that was all about David and all of his help.  He has been teasing me about this ever since.  Maybe I will have to do a Fathers Day piece all about him. (only if he lets me sleep in on my Birthday).

There are so many days when I get up and I do the same thing day after day.  I get 6 kids ready to go to school, do the whole breakfast thing, clean up and off I go.  By 5pm I am doing the same thing again.  I have my days when I need some attention and I tell my husband, 

"talk to me...I have only spoken to children today".  
"Let me make a decision today, the biggest decision that I have made today is what kind of bread I am going to buy".  
"Tell me about your day and all the details because the details in your day sound so much more exciting". 

Poor guy,   I wonder how many husbands get this when they arrive home from work.  I am pretty lucky on this front though.  David has never let me down when it comes to taking the time to talk with me or give me the pep talk that I need to keep going.  He has a way of making everything ok again.  He is so supportive and is good at pointing out just how important my roll is in this family.  This article has just blown me away with all of the comments from friends and family.  You have all just reinforced that I am normal and that you all do think my job is tough sometimes (easy sometimes too).

The comments from face book really hit home for me

"I have taken hints from you", 
"thanks for being an inspiration"
 "thanks for letting us into your world" 
"You Rock"  

You have helped me to look at my daily happenings in a different way.  I write to remember the details but the fact that you all are still reading is really the very most flattering part.  Thank you all for taking the time to read and to comment.  Thank you for laughing with me in the funny posts and understanding me in the stressful posts.  It is the comments that I read in the middle of the day that make me perk up and think just how blessed I really am.

Here is a link to the article in case you have no idea what I am talking about.  Happy Mother's Day to all those mothers out there.  I admire moms and all that they do.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May 7, 2002 Was The Beginning Of Our BIG Family

It was a scheduled c-section and it was our first experience.  I was uptight and David was nervous.  We were going to do everything  perfect.  We welcomed 2 adorable little peanuts at 8:44 and 8:45am on May 7th 2002.  They were so cute and we took them home really not knowing what we were doing.  We charted bowl movements and  feeding schedules and we managed to make it work.  We had so much fun that we continued to add to our family.  Today we are an over sized family of 8 and we are loving it.  I can't imagine life any other way.
They have gone from needing me every minute to being independent young men.  They are so helpful now and are joys to be around.  They are finishing up their 6th grade year along with spring hockey, tennis and some baseball for Liam.  They are truly the best of friends and often smiling.  Some of my favorite moments is over hearing them at the math chair with their dad going over homework.  When the math is complete you can always bet that Eamon will ask another question that is completely off topic which starts a conversation between the three of them.  They are never in a hurry when their dad is talking about world stuff.  (I wonder when they will realize just how lucky they are to have a dad with so much locked up in that brain of his) Looks like Liam is going to bypass braces all together and Eamon only has until October and he will be free of them.  I look at these two and realize over and over again what a gift they both are.  They make me so proud everyday.  Here is to you...Eamon Mott and Liam Mott...Happy Birthday.