Some people wanted to judge me harshly for not letting my kids go trick-or-treating this year. I’m sure some of you may want to now as well. But let me explain.

This past Thursday night, there were crazy high wind speeds where I live. Also, there was so much rain, our front sidewalk was flooded. If we had let them go, all of us would have gotten soaked and at least one of us would have gotten sick.

Instead, the kids all got dressed in their costumes and CJ and I set up trick-or-treating stations around the house. At our manned stations, the kids were asked math or reading questions in order to earn a piece of candy. At unmanned stations, they had to preform a physical activity (like jumping jacks) in order to earn candy. As an added bonus, this also helped tucker them out for bed.

Everyone had tons of fun and no one got wet. Win-win as far as I’m concerned. Just because you don’t participate in the “norm,” doesn’t make you a bad parent. As long as your kids are happy, that’s all that matters.


Excuses. I’ve got plenty of them. But that’s all they would be.

I attempted to plan the summer as much as I could to keep us on the go. It was my first summer with four kids and I wanted to do things instead of just being at home all the time. Each week had a theme and events go along with it. I took a road trip with all the kids, by myself, to see the in-laws. Then summer exploded when my sister got a job and I ended up with seven kids all day, every weekday.

Now that school has started, I have my nieces and nephew in the mornings before school and all day whenever there’s a day off. I joined a new committee and was settling in to that. I was working on an event for my kids’ school. It’s just been constant. But that’s my life now with four kids and I have to stop using that as an excuse to do the things I need to do for me; this blog being one of them.

So, in an attempt to return to normalcy, here we go.

A Few Weeks Ago

I started writing this post quite a while ago; before we found out about Riley. I decided it was finally time to go back and share this story because I have to still be able to see the bright things in my life. 

Yesterday, I witnessed one of the cutest things I have ever seen. It was one of those moments where you wish you knew what was going to happen ahead of time so you could record it. 

MJ had just gotten home from school, but he was already involved in playing with his sisters. I got his attention in order to inform him he would be spending the night at his aunt’s house, so he could play with his cousins. He dropped the toy he was holding, fell to his knees, and said, “thank you.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen him just so overwhelmed with emotion. This would have seriously been an amazing moment to record. (And to maybe lord over him later.) 

Of course, once we were at my sister’s house, I attempted to say goodbye to him. He tossed a hand over his shoulder and called out, “yeah, bye, mom.” He didn’t even bother turning around. So good to know where I rate, kid. 

I called my sister a little before bedtime to see how he was doing and to say goodnight. He talked so fast that between the speed and his speech impediment I could only catch a few words. But I knew without a doubt that meant he was having fun. My sister said he was also being good, so that was a plus.

The girls where home alone with their dad since I was working, so when I called to check up on them like I always do, I wondered if they where asking for their brother. They were not. Apparently those girls are just fine without him. I’m sure they appreciated the break, lol.

As hard as the past few weeks have been for our family, I try to continue seeing life for these moments. Simple bliss. Pure joy. Unconditional love. I know that they will get me through. 

A Broken Jingle Bell

For the past few years, I have had a very hard time getting into the holiday spirit. This year, I didn’t really at all. The only Christmas songs I listened to were when CJ turned on a Christmas playlist for the kids. I avoided it in the car. I avoided it if I was home alone with the kids. It just feels so broken and disjointed. I feel like the family of the little boy in The Polar Express who can’t hear his bell from Santa’s sleigh ring. I’ve lost the spirit.

I stress over gifts I can’t afford, but feel obligated to buy. I dread the multiple family gatherings. What ever happened to everyone coming to celebrate together? I mean, I could celebrate Christmas any random day in December and my kids would never know the difference because there are still two more Christmases for them to celebrate this season. This is part of the reason it doesn’t really mean anything to me anymore. Christmas is not about gifts. It is about family. And I miss them. I know they always come to celebrate with us, but it’s just not the same when it is a week or two after.

There was one, brief moment on Christmas Day – before church and before I had to go to work – that made me remember that child-like wonder of the season. Q was the first up, was is not normal, so I said I would wake up MJ. I jumped on his bed and said, “Santa was here.” His eyes got real big and he pushed me out of his way to lunge out of bed. His bare little feet slapped against the floor in the hallway until he arrived in the living room. I then watched him drop to his knees in front of the Christmas tree, raise his hands in awe, and whisper “Santa.” It was a beautiful moment and the only time I really felt the spirit. I can’t wait until the girls are a little older and able to enjoy Santa as well. I have hope that their belief will restore mine.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year.


These past two weeks have been intense. And it’s not over yet.

We went on a really nice family vacation and I can’t wait to share pictures and stories about it. But as soon as I returned to work, a co-worker went out for surgery and I’ve been picking up full-time shifts to cover the holes in staffing. It’s been exhausting and I haven’t had time to upload all my pictures.

Besides being tired from all the extra shifts, I have felt really bad for the kids. They are definitely not used to me working so many hours. Even my least snuggly one has been all about the cuddles and the baby cries when I leave.

There’s one more week of this, starting tomorrow. Next week we can finally return to our normal. There will be time for babies and writing and sleep. Can’t wait.

The Boy Who Lived

I know the kids may still be a little young for this, but last night I began reading them Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time. We only read one chapter, but CJ and I were really impressed with how long they were able to sit and listen before getting distracted. What I would really like to get is this illustrated edition. It is the entire, originally published story, yet there are gorgeous illustrations on every page to keep a younger audience interested longer.

I really hope to share my love of this series with my kids (besides just my love of reading). CJ may not be as big of a fan as I am, but at least he doesn’t think I’m crazy. He has supported my habit a bit by taking me to midnight showings when we were dating and by taking me to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as part of our honeymoon. (And it was only part. We went other places, too.)  🙂

I am anxious to read more with them, but I know I shouldn’t overwhelm them with the current version I have if I really want them to pay attention to the whole chapter. Then again, MJ just had a birthday last weekend, so maybe I can convince him to buy the illustrated edition with his birthday money so the whole family can enjoy it.

This afternoon, I overheard the tell-tale giggles of a tickle war happening without me. CJ was in the playroom with the two older kids and they were having obvious fun.

We ended up in a massive pile on the floor; even the dog got involved by licking any exposed faces. CJ hates his feet being tickled, but I somehow managed to pin his feet between my legs. He was going to lose! MJ had CJ’s underarms, Q has his ribs and belly. Poor Daddy.

Our downfall came when Q decided to stop what she was doing to pick up one of the toy phones. She starting yelling “hello” into it and I informed her that “Now is not the time to make a phone call.” She took this to mean I also wanted to talk on the phone, so she began holding it up to my ear so I would talk as well. With this distraction, CJ was able to shift the tide in his favor.

Needless to say, CJ won. Another tickle battle lost in our eight years together. One of these days, I swear I’ll win one. Oh, who am I kidding? I probably won’t. But it sure won’t stop me from trying.  🙂