Archived: A Tale of How to Travel Awesomely (with 3 kids)

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{{I just stumbled across this story again, and oh my. Had to re-share. Do you all remember when this happened??}}

This is Pin-able. Do you hear me? PIN THIS. Pin it now. And tweet it. Because I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about having an amazing, easy, germ-free trip with your family. This is of course, complete sarcasm. Because that of course is never, ever possible.

But, we traveled from Wisconsin to New York by plane, train, taxi, and car with three little kids, 7 pieces of luggage, no naps or baby wipes.

And we are still alive.

One child might have E.coli, but for now, we’re still alive.

Want to hear my awesomely easy secret? It’s this: Share your story. Laugh about it. Because if you can’t laugh about it you will be dead by the end of your trip.

That is if most of you have travel days like the one we did. Which if you have kids under 18 I’m going to guess you have. Or you will (heh heh heh)

Here’s what happened.

We were leaving for New York on Friday morning. At 6am. On Thurdsay, our mini-van was declared totally incapable of driving to the Milwaukee airport (3 hours away). So we rented a squishy full size car for the trip. Everyone woke up around 5:30 am central time.

Things were looking good on our morning drive to Milwaukee. No traffic. Squeaky clean kids in coordinating and very cute outfits. Everything packed into the car the night before. Banana’s and waffles in the car. Beatles music on.

At this point in our trip we were smiling and anticipating the train ride up to our hotel, and some New York pizza by the pool with the grandparents. The kids were almost chanting “Hotel! Pool! Pizza!”

We nailed our check-in at the airport, breezed through security, and enjoyed the sparkling clean play area while we waited for our plane.

Still fresh as daisies!

Still fresh as daisies!

The first thing that happened was a delay with the flight. By an hour. We laughed it off. A delay? Psh! At least no one is melting down.

Then we got on the very teeny, tiny, plane. The one with the super grumpy stewardess. The one that had extreme turbulence for almost 30 minutes. The turbulence was so bad in fact, that Princess starting getting motion sickness, I started weeping silently, Camera Guy was practically frozen in disbelief. Oh, and the LOST plane crash scene was running through my head on hyper-speed. Did I mention we were flying over a  huge body of water at the time? It was easily the most scared I’ve ever been in my life. Aside from that time I found two spiders dancing in my hair.

Well, at least the plane ride came to an end on time. Er, sorry, it hovered over JFK Airport for an hour trying to land because there was so much air traffic. And we were the family trying to restrain our 18 month old who had pretty much lost all his patience with the  “table in upright locked position” rule.

After we landed in glorious JFK airport, and we dismounted the plane on the tarmac, in the pouring rain. With all our carry-ons and children…we proceed to make our way over to Avis to pick up our rental car which only took 45 minutes of dragging suitcases, children and ourselves, up, down all around the airport terminal.

Necessary stops had been made at the filthy airport bathrooms. Hands had been sanitized. So far, we were a little tired but still nailed it. In two hours we’d be “Hotel! Pool! Pizza!”

After Camera Guy stood at the Avis counter for the better part of an hour. The kids began to get really tired, and really comfortable while waiting. So comfortable they starting chasing each other without their shoes on. Then I started chasing them. Then one of them knocked over a sign. Someone started screaming, the baby pooped his pants and I realized we had no wipes. Also, the baby with the poopy diaper suddenly realized that he had been restrained long enough all day and angrily refused to be held or coaxed to doing anything aside from running.

This is when the fun began. Apparently you can’t rent two cars in the same day on the same credit card from Avis. That was a big pickle. So next option was to call the grandparents. Ah, but then travel tradgey numero uno happened: the cell phone was dead. And you guessed it: someone forgot to pack the charger. (Ahem, I say someone because this part of the argument has yet to be solved who the guilty party is)

In any case. We only had $1 on us to use a payphone to make a quick call for help. When we waited for them to call us back, of course, each time we picked up we couldn’t be connected probably because we had run out of quarters.

Finally we gave up and decided to head back the 45 minute trek through the airport to hail a cab and somehow get to a train station.

By this time it was around 5pm eastern time. The time we were supposed to be having “Hotel! Pool! Pizza!”

Sooooo here’s what we did. We made our way to Penn Station where there were two trains heading our direction. By “made our way” let me be clear, it was more like trying to run a race with cinder blocks on our feet.

We had Little Guy on Camera Guy in a back pack. Then Camera Guy was wheeling two suitcases, and carrying a laptop.. Then followed Princess carrying her own backpack . Then Mr. Chubs had his guitar case on his back. I brought up the rear with a duffel, a backpack, a purse and a suitcase. We were like a tiny parade of sweaty people. Taking escalators, climbing on train shuttles, and getting in elevators (we even rode in one that someone peed in! Yum!) were excruciatingly panic-striken moments of “Hurry! Jump over the gap! DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING! Get over here or someone will grab you!”

So somehow, without having a child disappear, still hauling around a really stinky baby we found ourselves in Penn Station. With both trains we needed to be on completely sold out.

Hmm. Also, the hotel would not refund us our money so unless we wanted to loose $200, we had to make our way up to our destination somehow.

It was then 7pm and we needed to eat. So we got the best New York pizza ever and also thoroughly patroned their dirty bathrooms too. Little Guy let me change his diarrhea diaper in this bathroom which conveniently had nothing but a toilet, a sink and toilet paper. I’m not even going to describe to you what changing that diaper was like. Without wipes. Or a changing table. With diarrhea. Although we used 5 dirty bathrooms that day, I was proud that all of my kids did not have hand contact with anything in any of those bathrooms. Somehow, amidst all the annoyances of the day, that one little fact just made me so proud. At least we nailed that!

A New York Slice

A New York Slice

Mama Mia! That's a pizza!

Mama Mia! That’s a pizza!

Since Penn Station was ruled out, Camera Guy announced we had to catch a cab to get to Grand Central. So we stood, all five of us, with our 7 pieces of luggage in the pouring, and I mean pouring rain for a good five minutes until a cabbie was kind enough to actually pick us up. (One did stop to pick us up, but then changed his mind and sped away leaving me utterly shocked and very wet)

Yay! At last we got to Grand central station. We had to fall out of the cab, grab our luggage fast, and the kids and practically RUN across the street into the station because of all the rain. I was really proud of the kids because of the way their survival instincts kicked in:

ME: Chubs! Get the backpack! Princess you take a suitcase! GO! GO! GO! FOLLOW DADDY!

I ran behind them, lugging the remaining luggage (omg. I just realized why they call it luggage). And through blaring horns, pouring rain, tons of people, we made in into the station.

Princess was sobbing loudly “I AM ALL WET!” This was definitely a far cry from “Hotel!Pool!Pizza!”

Soaking wet Mia

She was kinda wet.

Jack giving us the thumbs up for making it to Grand Central

Jack giving us the thumbs up for making it to Grand Central

By the time we got on our train, the kids had been awake, nappless for 15 hours. Camera Guy was so soaked with rainwater and sweat he said that he couldn’t  even stand the smell of himself. I thoroughly agreed.

Our seat on our train ride upstate was the one next to the bathroom. And if the stupid college girls who missed their stop and pulled the “Emergency” brake weren’t enough of a cherry on top of our day..(Because you see, you can’t pull the brake unless it’s an actual emergency. So we had to wait a half hour for the police to arrive. That means the train was at a standstill for 30 mins. Which in precious baby-needs-to-be-in-a-bed-now-time it feels like a hundred years) I probably should go to confession for wishing all those girls to have triplets someday.

So if that wasn’t enough of a cherry…and believe me, it was…Chubs announced in loudly stressing tones:

“Mom! I have to really, really go poop. It’s coming!”

Inwardly I screamed “You have GOT to be kidding me!!!”

For those of you who haven’t been in a Metro-North Train bathroom. Let me inform you, that my husband, who pees on my toilet seat daily, purposely avoids using those bathrooms because of how filthy they are. They have a stench. They have a reputation. You have to be either really wasted or really busting to use that bathroom. It’s kind of like that outside bathroom at a gas station, but dirtier.

So, very, very, reluctantly… I escorted my son to the train bathroom. Still tauting my record of clean hands in my head. Even though I was exhausted I knew I had to be on my game for this one to complete my day of no gross bathroom germs.

As soon as we stepped in the bathroom, I picked him up and was placing him on the seat instructing,

“Ok, so just make sure you don—“

He stuck his hands under the toilet seat to hold on. UNDER. As in the sweaty, slimy part where thousands of people’s festering urine has not been cleaned! It’s like a petri dish of E.coli under that!

I gasped and shouted “JACK! What are you nuts?!!! Get your han—“

His knee jerk reaction, for reasons I will never understand and he will certainly never live down was to yank his right hand out from underneath the seat

And stick three of those fingers in his mouth.

I think I blacked out after that.

But Camera Guy told me he heard me yelling in there.

Epic. Epic fail.

“At least we didn’t crash” we consoled each other around midnight, which is when we finally checked-in to our hotel…a whopping 19 hours after waking up.

Which is true. Considering the alternative of floating on a plane seat cushion in the middle of Lake Huron, I am easily glad to have had a disgruntled long day of mishaps and exposure to bacterial infections. At least we were all together and safe. Tired, sweaty, but able to hug each other at the end of the day. And sometime in the way far off future, when my middle child, my special son gets married- I cannot wait to give his lovely bride a piece of advice for traveling with kids.

“Forget the hand sanitizer, sweetie” I’m going to tell her, “Doesn’t do squat if they touch the train toilet seat then stick their hands in their mouth. The two most important things to bring with you on your trips are a sense of humor and extra quarters for a payphone.”

Happy Summer Vacationing!

Cranky, tired, and confused but alive and well.

What the heck happened yesterday? Is that normal?!

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Keep Swimming!

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I just got back from a silent retreat this past weekend.  It was so beautiful, and so refreshing and so wonderful I couldn’t help but think of how much I just wanted to blog, blog, blog while I was there and share all these fantastic moments which each of you! As if somehow, by my mere writing here, I could pass on the gifts and sprinkle the seeds of refreshment to all of you who stop by for a read and perhaps, need your inner wellspring tapped up a bit like I did!

It was a silent retreat and there was practically perpetual adoration. God is SO good. One of the nuggets of wisdom a very holy nun shared with all of us was what I wanted to share with you all here.

I think Lent is a good time anyway for me to share something a bit more edifying than usual!

In talking about maintaining peace and discerning what is truly of God and what is not, Sister challenged all of us women,

‘Don’t dialogue with disquieting thoughts’

Disquieting thoughts. It hit me so much, who of us doesn’t get those? Don’t they usually come as your trying to fall asleep? Or when your running late? Or sometimes the minute you wake up? Or when we’re visiting people’s homes? Or getting dressed to go out?

I know I get disquieting thoughts. And I know I often fall so far into the trap of entering into a dialogue with them.

Not talking here about temptations, but rather ‘disquieting thoughts’. Those thoughts that rip away your inner peace, that rip away the love of a Savior from our hearts.

Thoughts like when we replay arguments in our heads, and think of things we could have said better. Or when we hear those questions in our souls, about whether or not feelings we had in prayer were really God’s promptings or if we just made them up ourselves?

What about when we revisit memories of past hurts? Do you ever do that? Do you find yourself getting so entangled in that memory and feel those feelings so closely again that you could cry?

Are we ever offended by people? Are we bothered by what someone said?

Disquieting thoughts.

I love that phrase because it grabs that process by the throat and says, “I know what you really are“.

And I love Sister’s advice don’t dialogue with them because now we know what to do when we catch those thoughts bubbling up again.

This too, is the essence in progressing in our relationship with Christ. Harnessing those thoughts as a barometer for discernment.

In the Ignatian method of discernment there is a lot of reflecting on your ‘inner barometer’, namely, when you have a thought, or an urge in prayer or maybe in the midst of your day… deep down there inside your inner spirit how do you feel?

Do you feel more peaceful when you ponder the situation or idea? Or do you feel ‘disquieted‘ ?

Essentially, is this bringing you closer to heaven? Or farther away?

Do I feel more at peace from this thought/article/conversation or less?

How is this helping my vocation?

Maybe I’m being super basic here. But this is how basic I need things for my own prayer life. I’ve found these points to be so fruitful and so helpful for everything from what I’m watching, what blogs I am reading, conversations I am having, and even places I go to.

The surest way of discernment, at least for me, seems to be that simple quieting thought of

‘Where is this leading me to?’ ‘Is it aiding my journey at all?” ‘ Is it uplifting to my soul and truly nourishing to my spirit?’

These were all points that were made this weekend to me, and that really drove home what I needed to understand. Our need for nourishment. Good, real, whole, nourishment of our souls.

And disquieting thoughts are anything but nourishing. They only serve to distract us, get us all riled up over frivolity and change our focus point onto ourselves.

Sister Shirely Ann looked right at all of us with a big smile on her face, but a very firm voice and advised each of us to cut it off, whatever it may be that is junk food for your soul. Even if it’s just People magazine, even if it’s just a reality TV show… she practically shouted,

Don’t enter into that dialogue! Don’t do it! Because guess what? There’s no treading water in the spiritual life. You are either going forward or backwards.”

Which way are we going? What will it take for us to snap out of it?

It is moments like these that I am so grateful for the lives of Sarah Harkins and Paul Coakley, to further fuel that flame of desire and bring back into focus the things that really matter.

Let us use the remainder of Lent to encourage one another to stop treading water, whatever it may be… and instead nourish our souls with things that will truly propel us forward in our spiritual journey!

 

 

 

 

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#truth

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#thisiswhatIkeeponmyphone #writeasyougo  #sallylouwho #truth

 

  • You are only special if I had to move the furniture to vacuum before you came over.

  • A hairless dog wearing a faux fur coat is the epitome of oxymorons.

  • Stockings will always have runs in them, the one day you shave your legs to wear them.

  • All men produce 3 outfits worth of a laundry a day.

  • When you put up your hoodie hood at night, standing in front of the mall, you look like a gangster.

  • Poop in the tub always happens on days with not enough wine.

  • Talking dolls and sneaking through the kid’s rooms at night reek havoc on your urinary tract.

  •  Crayons and new furniture should never be in a one mile radius of each other.

  • Neither should nail polish and new furniture.

  • They will always pee their pants when you are running late.

  • They will always pee their pants when you are at an event where peeing your pants is frowned upon.

  • THEY WILL ALWAYS PEE THEIR PANTS SO STOP ACTING SO SURPRISED.

  • Always bank on one child loudly repeating your personal opinion about Sally Lou Who the next time you run into her.

  • If you don’t trim your facial hair ladies, you can’t blame my kid for noticing.

  • Always remember to flush the toilet during your lady time of the month. Kids are very, very easily scared.

  • Trusting a 3 year old with running water is stupidity.

  • You’re lying to yourself if you bought the cookbook ‘Deceptively Delicious’

  • Forget the phrase ‘kid in a candy shop’  holla if you’ve seen ‘kid in a Target’

  • You can never really write what you want to write on your blog, if everyone you know is literate.

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The Big Buzz Lesson

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All month in December leading up until Christmas I routinely would ask the kids what three things were on their ‘list’.  I knew what was going to be the top item on Charlie’s list, and every time he never disappointed, “A BIG BUZZ!”

He had been given (by us) a 4 inch Buzz toy from a yard sale in Wisconsin two years ago that he played with more than anything else, but since this past summer he had been nagging us and starry eyed begging us for ‘a big Buzz’.

I wasn’t surprised when he stayed the course, and no other distractions or lures could change his mind about it. He was determined, certain that the best thing in the world that he could have was the Big Buzz. I tried to coax him to look at trains or what about pirate stuff or even… nope. He needed it. He was convicted this would make his little 3 year old life so much more awesome: Big Buzz.

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This is taking forever!!!

 

Why though, I kept trying to talk him out of it? I just kept feeling certain that he wouldn’t play with it. You know when that mom-tution kicks in…you just…I don’t know. You just KNOW your kid.

Despite his desperate pleas, I knew deep down he wouldn’t really want it. And he didn’t really need it. I knew what he did need: a new bedspread. A nice, fluffy downy blanket for his bed this winter. Big Buzz wasn’t going to be as fulfilling as that down comforter would be.

Yet, I also knew if he didn’t see Buzz in that pile on Christmas morning he would be so disappointed and continue to ask for his birthday, and the following Christmas and his next birthday and etc. Not really but you get the point.

I knew that until he held it in his hands, he wasn’t going to give up. He’d thought about it too long, asked for it so much, he had convinced himself this was the answer.

There wasn’t any harm in getting it for him, except maybe a waste of $40. (yes folks. Big Buzz costs $40.) But, we knew one thing was for sure, he’d be delighted on Christmas morning. And the thought of his happiness sealed the case.

Christmas morning came and what a reaction we got!

We’ve never seen a kid so tickled, so joyous and happy! What a feeling to know that we gave him that gift and he enjoyed so very much. His thank you to us was his sheer delight in that toy. For almost the whole day. And he hasn’t played with it since.

This is why I’m writing. This story was an incredibly eye opening moment for me. This is not about Christmas! Though you may choose to analyze our horrible secularized Christmas traditions however you like… sadly you’d be missing the point of this tale.

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This is the first week of Advent. Judge me. 😉

The point is, through all of this,  God revealed a beautiful, smack in the face,’oh I get it’ image to me of His Fatherly love for each one of us!

You see, we all have ‘Big Buzz’ in our lives! We have that one thing we keep praying for, that one prayer request we just are determined is the answer. Nothing will change our minds and we stay the course.

And God, in all His Fatherly wisdom knows, you really need that down comforter. In the long run, you’ll appreciate that more especially when it gets cold out. But at the same time, He, as a Father, wants to delight his children! To give them the desires of their hearts! Even, sometimes, when it’s of no real benefit to them. We should allow Him to bless us with small delights, what joy it brings a parent to see their children happy. And the best way we can thank him is not to feel guilty, or hesitant but to rejoice in that tiny gift with sheer delight!

I like to reflect on this, especially when I can convince myself I should only be praying for the necessary and important things. Sometimes I feel guilty for praying for ‘frivolous’ things like my skin to clear up, or the kids to sleep in, or to win a raffle.

But Big Buzz reminds me it’s not silly. I wasn’t bothered by Charlie’s asking, and it brought me great happiness to give him the desire of his little 3 year old heart.i-wphdXTG-L

Sometimes, God the Father gives just for that moment of happiness. For that half a day of sheer joy.

Just because He’s a Father, too.

 

 

 

 

 

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An Advent Reflection

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This comes courtesy of Magnifcat. I found this meditation profoundly moving, and I hope you do too.  May we embrace our deserts (and find them amidst the chaos) this Advent as we prepare our hearts for the blessed day to celebrate Christ’s birth! That day which is truly a great reminder of just how much we are loved.

 

In the Desert

by Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel
When you are in love
you like being together
and when you are together
you like to talk to each other.
When you are in love, it’s tedious
to have a lot of people around you.
When you are in love
you want to listen to your beloved alone,
without the irritating background
of other people’s voices.
This is why those who love God
have always loved the desert
and why it has been impossible for God
to with hold it from those who love him.
And I am sure, O my God,
that you love me,
and that this life of mine
cluttered as it is with so much,
hemmed in with family,
friends and other people,
cannot be kept empty of deserts
where I may meet you.
It is never possible to reach a desert
without passing through many things,
without the tedium of a long journey,
without having to tear our eyes
from their normal constant horizon.
Deserts, like wars, have to be won,
they do not lightly surrender…
Whenever we find ourselves eagerly waiting
for someone to come or something to happen
we will notice the sign of a desert.
But our deserts have rugged defenses:
our impatience,
our wandering daydreams,
our torpid lethargy
with a watchful eye for some distraction.
For we are so build that we cannot
prefer you without a battle;
and we cannot avoid constantly
weighing you, our Beloved,
against this particular fad or fascination
or that corrosive obsession with various trivia.
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Phases of Life

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So lately I’ve really had to stop and just shake my head. Sometimes it just hits me, I can’t believe the phase of life I am in.   Didn’t I always just have widdle preschoolers, toddlers, who were cutesy wootsy bumbling little bambinos? Who were the reason I started blogging in the first place? Their crazy toddler shenanigans made me go “OMG” and the never ending age of toddlerhood was my life. Things like cloth diaper crazes and introducing foods, and teething and nursing and vaccines consumed my thinking. And now, it’s more of an afterthought.

“Huh. I suppose one or two crayons won’t hurt the baby….it’s just wax right?”

Big kids means big laundry piles

Big kids means big laundry piles

The things that consume my thinking now are loose teeth, homework, choir practice, internet filters, and learning to ride bikes. I look back on my past self and past posts and smile to myself,

” Silly, silly girl. You thought you were tired then…”

How can it be that in 7 short years, our world has completely and totally changed? It’s incredible but it’s a little crazy. I know everyone tells you ‘It goes by fast’ but when you are in the thick of it, it can be agonizingly tough sometimes. Slow even. Especially when everyone needs their diaper changed and no one knows how to read. Or talk.

And now they play cards with us. WITH US. What?

And now they play cards with us. WITH US. What? (Mia is a sore loser)

But dude. Future Annemarie, it goes SUPER fast. Scarily fast! They babbled then, but they’re talking non-stop now. And they want to narrate every freakin aspect of their day,

“And then I opened my eyes and saw it was sunny so I got out of bed, but I really had to pee. Then we went downstairs and  Charlie found where you hid all the granola bars! And then he and Jack ate the WHOLE BOX! Mom? Mom? Are you listening?”

Can’t get a moment’s peace to think for myself without someone interrupting. If I use the bathroom, it’s no longer cries of ‘MAMAAAA” for more cheerios, it’s shrieks of ‘HE JUST PUNCHED ME!” over who gets to wear the Batman cape. This is why I don’t enjoy roller coasters anymore. It’s risky enough just trying to use the toilet on my own.

They’re learning things like crazy, and beating me in checkers, and messing up my stuff….my stuff was never messed up or touched or moved because they were too little. Now, now I ‘loose’ things constantly because they take my things. They go into my closet and find my favorite scarves to use out in the tree house as lassos. They steal my belts to make dog collars on their dogs. Most of our clothing hangers are employed as guns, bow and arrows and swords down in the basement. Then dig through my nifty little pencil holder and loose every last writing utensil we own. They pour (and spill) lots of milk. They absolutely destroy the pantry and have made me want to order a padlock. Now they glom my computer, my phone, heck one of them keeps swiping my novels off my bedroom book shelf. I had to hide all my diaries! I’m pretty sure I used to buy myself 10 minutes of uninterrupted time with a cup of raisins. Now, they are way smarter than that.What is going on? They are turning into…. big people! I’m not quite sure if I’m ready for this.

They take selfies with all your devices

Now they take selfies with all our devices

Happen though it will, and adapt I must.  Jack and Charlie hang over the edge of the choir loft looking down in the pews, and Charlie nudges Jack

” Hey! There’s that blonde girl!”

Charlie comes up to me,

“Hiya, Babe!”

courtesy of his Three Stooges saturation.

Mia corrects my grammar and checks my facts when I retell my day to Tom. She’s mastering the art of rolling her eyes at her brothers frequent and insistent practical jokes like when Jack pulls his pajama pants up to his neck and chases her yelling ‘I’m a turkey!’ She lowered her eyes quizzically at me the other afternoon, with one hand under her chin, leaning in close over the table,

“Mom. What does the tooth fairy really do with our teeth?’

My mind raced into ‘oh shoot’ mode. Actually, I now have to watch what I write here since nosy-pants is always creeping up behind me.

But I snapped back

‘Well how should I know? I’m always sleeping”

She narrowed her eyes, shrugged her shoulders and said

“Well on SuperWhy they said she grinds them up into sleeping dust to give us sweet dreams. But that sounds weird”

I agreed with her and made myself busy with something else.

Mayday!Mayday! Big kids getting bigger! They are catching on to my total un-coolness! Aren’t I still the college kid who had so much fun making people laugh and being goofy and ….and now…. the act is over! How on EARTH am I supposed to be the MOM to actual, big PEOPLE? Especially the ones who are starting to out-wit me?!

It’s on the job training I assume. (I hope)But one thing hasn’t changed with this phase of life. They are pretty hilarious. I mean, kids kind of can’t help it. So, still gotta laugh. Have to laugh, it’s either laugh it off or death by Legos at this point. #laughingisbetter

Also, if todddlerhood is funny, and bigger kids are hilarious, than it should follow that biggest kids (teenagers) are HYSTERICAL? Am I am right? Humor me.

When I started blogging. 5 years ago!

When I started blogging. 5 years ago!

They are literally crushing me.

They are literally crushing me. Also, Jack didn’t have an injury (this time) He just wanted to dress like a pirate.

i-2hWLwfr-L

Phase of Life- Circa 2015

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Porch Project

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So I’ve disappeared for awhile, and mostly because we own a home with never ending projects, and children with never ending needs. It’s been a very tiring and busy summer. I’ve actually never been so glad to see summer go. “GO! With all your plans and projects and running around! Leave me be alone at long last! I just want to SLEEP”

Suffice to say, I’ve finally realized the appeal in calling death ‘Eternal Rest’ Resting ETERNALLY? Heck yes that sounds like HEAVEN!  I’m bushed!

No one in this house is more bushed though than the big guy. He’s way too underappreciated for all that he pitches in for. He pretty much is the icing on our cake. We love him to bits and perhaps a little suffocatingly so.

Max particularly is quite attached.

Max particularly is quite attached.

He spent 9 long months completely building, not re-building, but totally demolishing the old porch and from scratch building a brand spankin’ new porch for our home. It took as long as a pregnancy. This porch is his baby. And we all experienced the labor pains together!

Behold!

Our rotten old porch. No really, it was rotten. The house is over 100 years old.

Our rotten old porch. No really, it was rotten. The house is over 100 years old.

Steps definitely not to code.

Steps definitely not to code.

 

First order of business: demolition

First order of business: demolition

 

Then this took about a week. Digging the footer holes.

Then this took about a week. Digging the footer holes.

 

 

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The frame! (people, please, this took about a month. Looks way easier on the blog)

The frame! (people, please, this took about a month. Looks way easier on the blog)

My Dad put in so many hours helping Tom navigate his YouTube flooring tutorials

My Dad put in so many hours helping Tom navigate his YouTube flooring tutorials. Doesn’t he look thrilled?

We had stairs after 2 months! Woo hoo!!

We had stairs after 2 months! Woo hoo!!

Look at them footers. That's my guy! This porch is going to be around long after he's gone....

Look at them footers. That’s my guy! This porch is going to be around long after he’s gone….

Bit by bit, he got the roof all framed out...

Bit by bit, he got the roof all framed out…

Solid handywork

Solid handywork

I never had such an appreciation for carpentry or Tom's OCD measuring skills until now....

I never had such an appreciation for carpentry or Tom’s OCD measuring skills until now….

Trying to help!

Trying to help!

Then banisters

Then banisters

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Everyone pitching in!

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Pretty much every spare moment he had was taking care of his baby, day or night.

Pretty much every spare moment he had was taking care of his baby, day or night.

Shingles. Getting there.. getting there...

Shingles. Getting there.. getting there…

Getting the ceiling up with the help of Uncle Adam and Jake

Getting the ceiling up with the help of Uncle Adam and Jake

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Detail work

Detail work

Railings were a couple day project. But I love them!

Railings were a couple day project. But I love them!

More detail work, caulking every crack of the porch with sealant to protect from rain damage.

More detail work, caulking every crack of the porch with sealant to protect from rain damage.

Sealant on everything. Time, time, time.

Sealant on everything. Time, time, time.

Finally the weekend for painting came! Almost 8 months later!

Finally the weekend for painting came! Almost 8 months later!

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Pretty details, the flag with the stars for the 13 colonies and a Michael's frame I spraypainted to frame our house numbers

Pretty details, the flag with the stars for the 13 colonies and a Michael’s frame I spray painted to frame our house numbers

Finished!!!!

Finished!!!!

Finished!!!

Finished!!!

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This lantern is my favorite!

This lantern is my favorite!

 

Oh my goodness. Can we just all give this guy a huge high five? I am so proud of him!! I love this porch. I can’t believe he did it, and I know, I KNOW I was tapping my foot and rolling my eyes every time he mis-cut a piece or took almost 8 hours to put up one piece of the roofing frame (true) but seriously, I never thought he could build a porch from watching online tutorials.   All he ever built us was a linen chest! Of course, now that I know he can do this….. my honey-do list just got very long!

 

(side note: as he proofed this he informed me he still has to finish the ceiling molding and the gutters. So. Let the project continue!)

 

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