Friday, June 9, 2017

The Dynamics Of A Road Trip

In 2008 we became a family of 8 and we had to rid ourselves of our Honda mini van.  The 6 car seats and boosters needed at that time would not fit.  We expanded to one of the few choices available, Ford Expedition XL.   The vehicles that we have to choose from are few and can be a very bored process.  We are on our 3rd Ford Expedition and although I would consider going to a GM vehicle.  It is very tough finding a used vehicle with a second row bench seat.

Arms need to stay next to your body and if they float away from your body be warned that a nasty look from a neighbor is the only warning you may get before you receive an elbow to the ribs.  You have only the space your rear end takes up and the feet area below you.  Anything else is someone else's space and if you even think you can lay down, you are clearly not prepared for our type of a road trip.  

I usually start off driving and David briefly goes over the rules.  "What word is off limits kids"? Everyone almost in unison respond with, "Stop".  This word is the biggest bad mood trigger of any road trip.  You all know the word.  It is a simple word but can be drawn out into the familiar "sttoooopppppp'.  Or the snotty "stop".  My kids always say it loud enough for me to hear and I know they secretly do it to get the sibling into trouble and to get me involved.  There are not many rules but if your electronic makes any noise you need to have a headset.  The driver controls the music and although you may not like the music choice you can request that the music be moved to the front speakers.

The Mott's have all been blessed with large and hearty bladders.   Our stops are few and my riders are hardcore.  We have had to use an empty McDonald's cup  until we could safely exit an expressway.  We have had to pull over on side roads and open up a door for someone.  Team Mott always seems to stand behind the Mott who is in distress and will support them with jokes and anything to make them laugh.  

We do not have anyone who gets car sick on Team Mott and that has proved to be very valuable when traveling through mountains and the winding roads.  Snacks are always in the very back along with a cooler and they all know that we spread the snacks out and you need a healthy one every once in awhile.  I always pack a bag of chargers and mini ipods that I fill with various kinds of music.  The little's share them and enjoy listening to music.  If the road trip is long enough I will load up the portable movie players and set them up in the far back row.  2 screens that play the same movie and you can only watch movies if you sit in the far back.  Eamon and Liam have their laptops and they are often doing homework, reading or watching a movie on their laptop....if they have enough battery.
Outlets are a premium with all who need them.  We have a regular plug in the second row along with a cigarette lighter plug that can light up 2 phones.  The front seat has 2 cigarette lighter outlets so we often have several of the 8 foot cords coming out of the front row and trailing to the back somewhere. Mom and Dad get priority charging and will share their outlets when necessary.  When stopping for gas David will always ask, "what credit card am I using today"?  I am always strategically using cards based on what incentive they are offering at the time.  When we traveled out west Gap was offering 10x bonus points for gas in August.  Upon arrival home I received 300.00 in Gap gift cards for the kids fall clothing line up.

David will usually pump the gas and the kids know it is housekeeping time.  We will collect all trash and move it forward and out.  The cooler is opened and drinks are offered along with a fill up of ice and a plug pull to empty out all the water.  We usually get coffee so I will run in and get 2 coffees. The stop is quick but very productive.  The snack bin is also raided at this point and everyone is ready to hit the road again.

The kids make their own choices as to where they sit and to whom they sit next to.  The most desired seats are the second row window seats.  I usually will not get involved in seating assignments. I tell them to figure it out and they often do.  I also do not give up the front seat.  I am the mom and I have earned my seat in the front row.  I'm not into the equal opportunity idea and share the front seat.   

I do a good amount of the driving on our road trips.  I don't mind driving but more importantly, David is a much better navigator than I.  I will do all the city driving while David gets us to where we need to go.  Our trip to Washington DC was especially stressful because of trying to navigate such a busy city.  We drove into the City each day we were there and he did an amazing job finding the sites and places to park.  

It is how we roll!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Twins,Triplets and A Single Take West Point, NY

1700 miles round trip and a sweet experience was had by all.  We blew out of Metro Detroit after school on Wednesday to make our trek to see our nephew/cousin, Michael Mott graduate from West Point Military Academy.   We went via Canada so that we could add a stop in Niagara Falls.  We spent our first night in Niagara Falls only to wake up to pouring rain and cold so we completely bailed on our plans to ride the Maid of the Mist and get the up close and personal view of the falls.  It was another 7 hour drive to get us to the Westchester Marriott in Terrytown, NY where we would check in for the weekend.  We got 2 adjoining rooms and the kids were in heaven.  They spent endless hours in the pool and ate the Marriott out of every plate of sweet treats that they would set out for guests.  The adults congregated poolside or the lobby where we filled it with Mott's and conversation.  

We decided that being so close to New York we had to hit the city.  A 40 min train ride into Grand Central Station was fun.  Finding the subway line that would take us to Battery Park for a boat tour of the Statue of Liberty.  We swung by the 9/11 Memorial and wanted to go into the actual museum but it just wasn't going to work.  The day was fleeting fast so we had to dredge on.  We detoured Canal Street where I thought I might fall prey to something counterfeit but nothing blew my socks off.  We headed back up to Central Park where the kids wanted to play and climb on rocks.  A train ride home and kids were ready to swim and we were ready for a cocktail .... 15,000 steps for the day made a drink ok.

 The Cost for a Day in NYC for 8
The underground world
-12.00 to park at the train station

-105.00 Train ride into the city
- 48.00 in Subway fare for 8
-155.00 for lunch in lower Manhattan (TGI Fridays)
-30.00 for an ice cream break mid day
- 90.00 for tickets to ride a boat to see Statue of Liberty
-Sales Pitch for carriage rides through Central Park for 180.00 but Dave Mott was not falling for it.

Saturday was graduation day and required all of us to be up and out the door by 7 am to secure our places on campus for the big day.  Graduation promptly at 10 am and by 11:30 am we were on the field greeting Michael and congratulating him.  One of the West Point traditions is for the kids to line up and after the cadets throw their hats the kids run to collect them as their souvenirs.  The cadets often put money and notes in the hats.  David took the triplets down early and they all scored a hat. 2 of the hats had 20.00 and Colin got a note and 5.00.  

A campus walk with Dad

Enjoying the cool campus

The Triplets couldn't get enough of cousin Michael

 Pinning Ceremony

Last Picture with The Hudson River in the back

It was just 10 years prior that we came to West Point for yet another Mott.  Kevin Mott graduated in 2007 and with a little uniform differences everything else seemed to be the same.  What an honor it was for us to attend yet again for another Mott.
Kevin Mott with his parents - Kevin and Kathy Mott

We all enjoyed a big pizza party that evening after all the graduation activities were complete and the Mott's all slowly checked out the next day and headed back home.  

We were one of the only ones who drove so we began our 7 hour drive back through Canada with a stop in Niagara Falls. 

Another Mott Family Adventure in the books.
Spring 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Remnants of "I'm Bored"

The Monday morning shuffle begins and while I am in between batches of children getting ready and getting out the door I come across all the piles of the "I'm Bored" moments of the weekend.  This time I grabbed my phone to capture the piles of creativity.

I have become accustomed and very comfortable with the typical comment of "I'm bored".   Every mom I think can relate to this.  It is when they come inside and throw their lifeless bodies on the kitchen floor or across the table and take the deep breath, sigh with what sounds like exhaustion and use the phrase."mom..I'm so bored".  The voice even takes on a tone of pain or discomfort.  Such a painful feeling for a young, over entertained 8 year old (insert lots of sarcasm here).  I have used many responses over the years to combat this comment.  I offer toilet cleaning or bedroom clean up as an alternative and never get a response that is positive.  I used to get mad at the phase as it made me think of spoiled, over indulged children who were somehow ungrateful for all that I do for them.  I still think of that but I also take some responsibility for the phrase.  I am the one who keeps their schedules busy with sports or activities.  I am the enabler of play dates, outings and places to go.  I have finally become comfortable with boredom and I think it is a good thing.  My approach has completely changed as batch #3 of little people are making their way.

I would be lying if I didn't admit that I look forward to the phrase now.  When I hear this phrase now it takes on a whole new meaning to me.  It means that the kids have been home long enough to where they are free enough to have to dig inside their little bodies and come up with something to do on their own.  There are no orders being barked at them to change their clothes, do their homework or time for...something.  No adult to facilitate a craft or activity and no electronic to keep them in a coma state on the couch.  It has taken some practice on both of our parts but the results have been all that I have wanted and more.  It is also a time for me to work in the kitchen and get some of my stuff done.  Days like these require very minimal from me.  I provide light snacks at the kitchen table per their request as they transition from idea to idea.  I also am the monitor of the electronics and make sure they stay at 100% charge (aka..not used) I do not participate in any of the play as this is all about them and what they decide to do to keep them busy.

All of my amazon deliveries come in all sizes of boxes and they are a hot commodity during the "I'm Bored" time.  I find a pile of box pieces, scissors, glue and tape and markers in different rooms of the house.  They made a shadowbox type creation of their own hockey rink the other day.  I love the tape on the carpet floor in the basement to show the goalie area or the tape paths that make their roads to play with their cars.  The tape belongs to their older brothers for taping hockey sticks but I am willing to purchase more for their creativity.  They spend time in the bathroom trying to float their handmade boat creations that they make out of straws and duct tape.  Yes I will buy more duct tape for this kind of work too.  They will pull out the old trucks and take them outside and build ramps in the dirt.  Not even a sand box but just an area with no grass.  I head into the woods to get a picture of the campfire they made all with places to sit.  This is a direct copy of the big fire pit in the yard but it is the one that they made.  There are piles of stuff in the woods that include some trash or bushes, sticks and stuff from the garage that they have collected and made into a so called fort.  They tell me about how high they go up the trees deeper in the woods and how they climb across a board and it protects them from the animals in the forest.  I think...sweet keep creating.  They ask to go out into the forest when it is raining.  Yep ..go ahead and have fun.

This will not last long as they will soon grow out of some of this creativity but until then I will continue to rub my hands together and hope for my new favorite phrase of "I'm Bored".

Trucks and Ramps

Collection of Stuff for a fort

The firepit with seating for friends

The goalie area for mini sticks

Boxes ready for a creation

Monday, April 3, 2017

Twins..a Single and Then Holy Triplets!!!!!!

Long ago are the days where the hours go by slow and the feeling that the dinner hour will never end and bedtime seems so so far away.  The whining and the crying from a cranky toddler because a nap that was cut short due to the Fed Ex man ringing the doorbell.   The endless time spent cleaning up small toys and putting puzzle pieces in their spots and the endless sorting of games that all have the wrong parts in them.  I always say, the bigger the kid...the bigger the problems.

We spent this past week with what I would call a pause week.  The week that happens only in the spring for us when the sport season ends and the gap before the the next one starts.  I made dinner all week and none of the meals had to be mobile friendly.  No wraps or buns required.  The kids spent some time playing outside and I was able to spend my evenings at home rather than in my car.

I feel like I am in constant alert mode.  Always asking myself if I have forgotten anything.  I will often wake up in the morning with the same reoccurring dream.  It is mostly a dream that makes me wake up thinking I was supposed to be taking some sort of pill everyday and I keep forgetting to take it.  I parlay that dream into my life and my sub conscious thinking I am forgetting something.  I spend my spare moments scrolling through my google calendar looking at the upcoming activities.  I will often look ahead far enough to find an evening that has nothing listed.  Maybe a date night or a time to make a call to that couple that we haven't gotten together with in awhile.

This week brings a spring break for half of the bunch and then we will proceed full speed into spring chaos.  The triplets minus 1 are playing hockey.  Finn retired his career in hockey after this past season.  He would rather play with Lego's and build stuff.  Colin and Declan are full speed ahead and are doing the spring league with Birmingham.  The triplets (all 3) are also participating in baseball.  They are on a team with many of their school friends and I think this season will prove to be fun for both kids and parents.  Mairin has ventured out and is trying out track.  We get up extra early every morning to get her to practice by 6:45am.  Spring swim tune up will round out her activities.  Eamon and Liam are attempting to fit in some hockey conditioning and we received word last week that they made the Brother Rice golf team.  Never a dull moment over here.  Oh and did I mention that David will be visiting Europe, Mexico and China in the next 8 weeks as well for work.  My biggest panic is the driving.  I am in the process of hiring a driver to help me out with getting everyone where they need to be for the next 8 weeks.

Amongst the chaos and the crazy schedules we found ourselves with a Saturday with nothing on the calendar.  We spent the day working in the yard, golfing and out to dinner as a family.  Cherished moments of course.  The putting green was taken over by Mott's......

Friday, February 10, 2017

Enjoying Small Moments

I have never been one to stop long enough to smell the roses.  Everything is never done.  The house is never clean enough,  the laundry is never all done and the kitchen is rarely perfectly clean.  I have been trying to slow down and enjoy the moments when I can.  I have discovered that the older my children get the more emotional I have become.  My brother-in-laws always think I am without much emotion at times but I have to tell you that tears come much faster than they ever used to.  A sappy commercial or just hearing Finn tell me that he loves me more than I could ever love him is enough to choke up.  Eamon and Liam are freshman in high school and seeing them as men can send me into a cheek biting frenzy at times.  I bite the side of my cheek whenever I feel the quiver of my chin come and the possibility of tears.   A wedding..forget it...Standing there and the music starts, everyone stands up...I'm done and the biting starts.  A funeral is always hard but as I get older I notice everyone else and how people deal with grief. Seeing others sad often makes it hard for me to keep it together.   

I'm ok with the house not being perfect as long as I have some time to give hugs and kisses.  Colin likes a long morning hug and Finn likes to kiss me on my forehead as he heads out the door to school.  Declan will always yell, "hope you have a better day that I do mom".  Mairin is mostly smiles and will always kiss me and tell me some sort of story from her day.  Eamon and Liam...well they are getting older so when I pick them up from school I say it is an electronic free ride home and they have to tell me about their day.  You go from the little ones who don't stop talking to the older ones where you have to bribe with food or activities to get them to really talk.  

The moments are endless and I am taking them all in. 

* A pan of the ultimate brownies ready for them when they get home gives me joy.  
* Getting a call from that amazing fellow hockey mom saying she has a bag for you full of hand me      down gear makes my heart happy.
* My husband being gone on a  work trip and returning home makes me realize how crazy I am for        him
* A call from a friend to take a walk in the morning to catch up makes me smile
* Going up in Eamon's room in the evening when he is loaded with homework and laying on his bed      just to have a 10 min chat about life and how he is doing.
*  Trying to pin Liam down on the floor just to see if mom can still hold him down (barely anymore       and all the kids join in and beat up on Liam)
* Catching David doing an impromptu math lesson at the table "get me a piece of paper" and you           know he is drawing something out to help explain something for the trips.
*  The whole family sitting around the kitchen table for dinner and realizing they are all mine...all of        them.
*Going to mass on Sunday and taking up an entire row and watching people count all of us out of the    corner of my eye.
* Looking out the window on a cold night and seeing steam rising from the hot tub and seeing Eamon    and Liam sitting, chilling and just chatting.  Having no idea what they are talking about but they are      talking. friends..confidants and so much more.
* Getting mad at Declan and hearing him honestly say, "mom I forgot to remember".  

Blessed and Living It..Everyday!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Dynamics of a Box of Cereal

How do they know?  How do they know that I went to the grocery store and that the new stock of sugary goodness is waiting for them?  I hear the pitter patter of tiny feet as they scurry down the stairs.  Their little sock covered feet slip as they go around the corner and they hold on tight to the banister as they are skidding into the turn to make the flight of stairs right at their feet.  I hear the cupboard door open followed up the ding of porcelain cereal bowls hitting together and tapping the granite counter top.  The slight slam of the utensil drawer shutting and the whoosh of the fridge door closing tells me that someone found some sugary goodness.  These are quiet mornings for the most part.  Everyone gathering 1 by 1 into the kitchen to see what cereal is out and opened.  Is there enough for me?  is the biggest concern for all.  The old concern of not getting any is a thing of the past.  The mornings of the Little's eating bowl after bowl until they couldn't hardly breath is no more.  The rule here is as follows... Sugar cereal is 1 bowl only.  A reasonable bowl.  If I see an over the top greedy bowl than that bowl is traded with a sibling of your choosing and you will get their bowl.

Cereal is a very popular morning food option in this house.  I am a coupon and sale shopper so every week we can have varied kinds of cereal in the pantry.  I try to mix it up but I have to say when anything peanut butter goes on sale .... I invest.  I usually will buy a good amount and often will hide several boxes so that they last longer.  We are easily at least a box per morning or even 2 boxes per morning depending on the size of the box.

Everyone plays a role in the sugar goodness.  Usually the older ones, since they are bigger, can snatch a box out of the little's hands faster but just when you think you are set and enjoying the comics on the back of the box....another child wakes up and needs a bowl poured.  David will often come down and attempt to get his hands on some of the sugary goodness but I often intervene and crush his dreams by setting his box of oat bran or shredded wheat in front of him.  "honey you can't eat that kind of cereal anymore..sweetheart". He looks up at me with a look of defeat and disappointment and although he will eat the healthy stuff he looks as if he is depressed that his childhood has gone and he has to abide by the rules of being healthy and conscious.  He wants to go back to the days when he was running daily and could eat anything he wanted and it would never stick.  The old days that everyone wants to revisit now and then.

I grew up in a house where the most exciting cereal was golden grahams and that was at my Nanny's house.  My mom only bought Cheerios,  Chex, Grape Nuts and Rice Krispie.  I would always go nuts when I would come across real sugar cereal.  I decided that when I was a mom that I would allow some sugar cereal.  I do go through my moments of . "no more sugar cereal, I'm done buying it"..but then there is a really good sale on it and I get sucked in.

I keep a couple of boxes of cereal in my cupboard that are open.  The deal at my house is that you have to finish one in order to get another one out.  It forces the kids to eat the non favorites to make room for a favorite.  The question I hear all the time, "mom can I get a cereal out of the garage".  I always answer with, "Is there room for another one"?.  Now lets explain why the cereal is in the garage.  I have a boat load of kids who eat a boat load of food and I live in a 1960s colonial and I lack a walk in pantry so all of my extra dry goods are housed in the garage on shelves.

Disclosure/Disclaimer- Health nut people out there.  Yes .....Yes .....Yes..... I know.... I know.... this is not part of a healthy balanced diet and the amount of sugar they are eating is so NOT healthy but in the end we all have to live a little.  I cook dinner almost every night and pack their lunches so this is a treat they get.  I remember the sugar bowl that sat next to my non-sugar cereal when I was a kid.  How many spoonfuls could I put on those Cheerios?  BTW...I just checked out the cupboard and found a box of Cheerios and Rice Chexs.  We clearly are down to the healthy cereals and the request will come soon as to when we will be stocked up again.  This is when I notice everyone shifts to cheese toast or bagels.  Ha

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.