Sunday, December 1, 2013

How to Talk to Parents: A Toddler's Guide to Communication

Ten Laws of Parent Communication:

1. What you have to say is infinitely more important than whatever is happening. Period.

2. The BEST time to express your deepest fears, hopes, desires and views on life, is when your mother is on the phone.

3. When you are asked to talk, e.g. for a family video, a program at church/pre-school, or to demonstrate your vocabulary for a doctor, you MUST remain silent for a period of time. Only respond to their requests once they have offered you sufficient rewards for your efforts. Remember your worth. Do not settle for a sticker when you can get ice cream.

4. The middle of the night provides the perfect opportunity for one-on-one communication with your parents. Please note that results may vary. If your mental faculties are not entirely present, simply crying or whining will usually get results. Remember, above all, you must be consistent in order to see the best results.

5. Find new and interesting ways to pronounce words. You may get exciting results. For example, if you want a strawberry, make you sure you alter the pronunciation enough to elicit guesses. At some point they may ask you if you want, say, a cookie. If you just came out and asked for a cookie, they would likely say, "no". But if they have to guess for long enough, they will be so excited to have (supposedly) discovered the answer, they will more often than not, give you the cookie. This is known as up-selling.

6. When words fail you, throw yourself on the ground, thrash and scream.

7. Change your mind rapidly and without warning and expect your parents to keep up. If they incorrectly assume that you still want what you said you wanted ten seconds prior, please implement the method discussed in number six.

8. It might seem difficult, at times, to get your point across. They are only adults after all. But you will have greater success when you utilize these tried and tested methods: volume and repetition. If you feel your point is not getting across, try repeating yourself while increasing volume until you elicit the desired response. For example, if you want your mother's attention and she is on the phone, you would start by saying, "mama" in your normal voice. She will probably ignore you. Try not to lose your patience. Remember, she is still learning. So use a little more volume and repeat, "mama". If she still does not respond, then you need to implement the aforementioned technique, ie. "MAMA! MAMA! MAMA! MAAAAAAMAAAAA!"

** This method does not have conclusive results with dads. They have a highly-developed ability to block out the sound of your voice. The louder you get, the less they hear. For best results with dads, turn off the television or simply hit them with a hard object. We recommend the remote control for added emphasis, though be warned, your point will likely be lost on them.

9. If they express frustration with your communication techniques, carefully project the lower lip and shed two to three small tears (do not over-do it). Make as little noise as possible. This will guarantee you snuggles and kisses.

10. If you are still struggling to communicate effectively with your parents, try writing your feelings down. We suggest a wall, an important document or high-quality bedding. Permanent markers are the preferred medium but work with what is accessible. Don't feel limited. Crayons, pens and makeup are all perfectly acceptable substitutes.

Friday, September 27, 2013

What Just Happened?

I remember back when I was on the horse scene. We used to all talk about the cushy life that a racehorse lives. Seriously. Have you met a racehorse? Spoiled bunch of punks. They eat better than I do. They have servants, people who come in and brush their hair, clean up after them, clip their toenails, bring them snacks. They work really hard for about one to two years, usually leading up to one big huge event and then, after that event, they retire. They get to keep the servants. Like I said...punks.

But something happened today, something that makes me think I may have been a little too judgmental about the racehorses. Today, I sold my baby clothes...all of them. I've sold baby clothes before but it was different, it wasn't the last of my baby clothes. I kept my favorites, ya  know, for the next baby. I never really thought about what would happen when there was no next baby. When I was done. When life, as I knew it, packed up in a big Rubbermaid container and high-tailed it into the back of some stranger's crossover and drove away. But I've thought about it now. And now I want to apologize to the racehorses. Because I wonder if this is how they felt when their last race was over.

Did they go back to their stall and think, "what do I do now?" I mean, they knew it would come eventually. You can't race forever. There has to be a last race and that race has to come to an end inevitably. But still, did they really know that?

I didn't. I mean, I knew but I didn't know, ya know?

No one can have babies for forever. I knew that. I may not have set a certain number that I wanted to have or not have, but I knew that, at some point in my life, I would have to stop getting pregnant and having children. What I didn't know what how I would feel about that. That, I was completely unprepared for.

I used to laugh a little at the moms who used to say that "lost themselves" when they had children. They forgot about their spouses, their interests, their careers and ambitions. They were so silly. They obviously didn't have a good grip on who they were. They clearly just weren't good at keeping it all in check. So silly.

Today, when I came home and deleted my craigslist post for that last batch of baby clothes, it hit me. I have no idea who I am. Okay, that's not totally true. I know who I am right this moment. I know who I've been for the last ten years. What I don't know is who to be going forward. I don't know how to prepare myself for never buying another pregnancy test, never going to another ultrasound, never packing that hospital bag, never listening to my husband's voice counting during a contraction, never have that first smell of newborn baby skin, never experience that first kiss between those sweet eyes. I don't know how to not be having babies. Because for my entire adult life, I have been in the business of having babies. That's been everything. My planning for the future was centered on when we'd have the next baby. My day-to-day living was focused on how to raise my children while simultaneously nursing or lugging around thirty extra pounds of belly. I know how to do that. It's what I've been doing every day. I've trained. This was my race.

And now the race is over. And it's good. I get that it's good. I know that I've run my best. I know that the time has come for me to focus on other things, like raising this pack of crazies and teaching them to be productive human beings. There are good things ahead. And I'm excited about them. But still, I feel a little like a racehorse who has been stuck in the stall. No more races. No more roses. And where in the heck are my servants?

So yeah, today was an emotional day. The baby clothes are gone. I did what any reasonable woman would do in my situation...I ate four chocolate chip cookies and went to Sweet Frog. When the crib goes, I'm going to the Bahamas.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

So Long, Farewell...

I remember almost a year ago, I was sitting on my bed crying (when I say crying, I really mean sobbing huge snot-sorting sobs) because I was scared to move to Florida.

"What if the people there don't like me?" I wailed.

My sweet, ever-patient husband sat next to me, rubbing my back.

"They will. You can't help but make friends wherever you go."

I think I probably wiped my face on his shirt sleeve and cried a little more and then convinced him to go get me some ice cream to make me feel better. But my fears remained in tact. What if I couldn't make friends in Florida?

We have been in Florida for seven months and I can say that my fears were totally unfounded. The people here have been so welcoming and amazing. As soon as we got here, we had phone calls, visits, people bringing us dinners, helping with our children and inviting us to birthday parties.

In the short time that we have lived here, I've been blessed to make some wonderful friends. Friends who have impacted my life in amazing ways.

Which is why moving again is really hard.

Yes. The Ramsey Clan is moving...again. We are heading back to Richmond in a couple of weeks.

Part of me is elated. I am a Virginia girl. I am so excited to go home. I am excited to be back with my friends and family, back to familiar doctors and schools and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

Then there is the other part of me, the part that didn't exist until seven months ago, that is so terribly sad to leave Florida. More specifically, I am sad to leave our friends here.

I truly do believe that Heavenly Father has a plan for my family, one that I don't always understand (okay, I rarely understand it) and important work for us to do in this world. I don't know when or where He will want us, but I can only pray that, wherever we go, we will be blessed with friends like the ones we have found here in Florida.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

From the Mom With All Those Kids

Dear Person Asking Me Why I Have So Many Children,

The truth is, I don't know. I didn't sit down with my husband when we first got married and set a number goal. I mean, we talked about it. We would fantasize about having two girls and two boys and oh how perfect that would be, etc. We talked about names we liked. We talked about names we didn't like. But we also talked about the giant heated, stone, in-ground bathtub we were going to build in our dream home in Ireland.

Likewise, we didn't sit down before each child and make a detailed budget sheet. We didn't examine our finances. We didn't look at assets and the stock market. We didn't calculate the cost of college tuition and dance lessons or how inflation would factor into Friday night pizza delivery charges. I guess that's irresponsible. But the bottom line is, it wouldn't change anything.

I still think it's a little funny when people comment on how many children I have. I don't feel like I have a big family...except when we have to take potty breaks on road trips, and then? Oh boy do I feel it. But just the every day thrills and spills? It just doesn't feel like a huge number of people. Okay, maybe that's not totally true. Sometimes it feels like a huge number. When everyone is crying and the laundry is up to the sky and dishes are overflowing and I haven't slept in four months, then yes, it feels overwhelming. But right now? In this moment? It doesn't. And actually, there are probably more of these moments than I even acknowledge.

As for how we afford it, well, I don't really know. We just kind of do. We buy what we can afford and we don't buy what we can't. There's a lot of stuff that falls into the can't category. There are a lot of gadgets we don't have, a lot of trips we can't take, a lot of things my children have to do without. I'm not sure if that's fair. I was an only child and I had pretty much whatever I wanted. It was great. I had a good childhood. But that nice car I drove my senior year? It got totaled. And that JCrew sweater that I just had to have doesn't sit next to me at the Thanksgiving table and tell funny stories about the time we got into trouble sneaking out of the house. Those things were wonderful and I am thankful that my parents worked hard to give me the things I wanted. But they are just things. I know there will probably be times when my kids feel the sting of having less money than their friends. Maybe they'll resent me. Maybe they won't. I hope, though, that one day they will sit with their siblings and tell stories about the time they painted the walls with finger paints the night before an open-house. Or the summer they spent running through the sprinkler and catching frogs and eating popsicles for lunch. In those moments, I hope they'll realize that some things are better than money.

I don't have a magic answer for "how I do it". We get up in the morning. We go to bed at night. Most everything else just sort of happens in between. It's not always fun and it's not always tidy. We can't afford it. We can't organize it. It's tiring and it pushes me to my limits. Honestly, I have no clue what I'm doing. The more kids I have, the less I know about parenting, and life in general.

But ya know what? It's pretty amazing. I see miracles every day. I am challenged every day. I am humbled every day. I'm the villain, the hero and the bystander every day. I say things I never thought I'd say. I feel things I never thought I'd feel. It's not perfect but it's good, really good.

Your Friend,

The Crazy Mom With All Those Kids

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mom Tired

When you're pregnant, everyone tells you that their best advice is to sleep when your baby sleeps. When you have a new baby, the first thing they ask is how he or she is sleeping at night. With babies, it's just assumed that you're going to be tired. What no one tells you is that it's actually not about babies. It's about motherhood. Yes, it begins with pregnancy and no, it never ends. Moms are tired. All the time. Forever.

I've decided there are levels of tired. There's "dog tired", which I imagine is just a step above plain tired. Then comes "bone tired", meaning you've yawned more than once in an hour. After "bone tired" comes "exhausted". This is somewhere around the vicinity of a car that is getting low on gas and starting to sputter. Then there's "dead tired". At "dead tired" the average human being requires sleep or, ya know, they die. But it keeps going. Below "dead tired" you have the "walking zombie tired". This is where I spend a majority of my life. I'm alive, I'm moving, but there is very little reasoning going on in my brain. And unlike normal zombies, sleep zombies don't crave brains...they crave pillows. And just a tiiiiiiny bit below "walking zombie tired" is "mom tired". "Mom tired" is when you have been "walking zombie tired" for so long that you don't care if the world itself stops turning, you have GOT to have a nap.

Today, I was "mom tired". I wanted that nap. I needed that nap. I knew, in my heart of hearts, that it wasn't going to happen but sometimes you just can't help but dream...oh wait, dreaming requires sleep.

But then, miraculously, it looked like a nap might be in the realm of possibility. Child 5 was napping. Children 2, 3 and 4 were outside playing (in the back yard that is fully enclosed by a six foot privacy fence and pad locked on the outside), Child 1 was playing the Wii and Child 6 was ready to snuggle up and nap with Mama on the couch. This is going to happen! I'm going to do it! I'm going to NAP!

I get comfy on the couch. Child 6 falls asleep. It's peaceful and pretty quiet. Life is good. Until...

The alarm goes off. Not the fire alarm. The child alarm, the one they all have inside of them that goes off when their mother is trying to rest (or pee alone).

All of the sudden, the children who were outside come running inside (loudly) demanding a container for a frog. "What? No! Put the frog back where you found it!" Discontented sighs, a few "but mom"s, heavy footsteps.

It's quiet again...for about twenty seconds.

Then the children come back in and run up the stairs, loudly. This wakes Child 5. Child 5 then comes down and demands everything. A snack, a binky, a rag, a spatula, a walrus, a private jet...oh, and his Mickey Mouse cup. This cup is like a stray dog. It turns up everywhere. It follows us on walks and then waits at our front door. I think I've tried to throw it away like thirteen times but it just keeps finding it's way into my cupboard. And the thing is, Child 5 isn't even attached to this cup. He doesn't even use a sippy cup, we have to take the lid off. But today? Today, right now in fact, he wants the "Mee Mows" cup. JUST the "Mee Mows" cup. And where is the "Mee Mows" cup? Your guess is as good as mine. Under normal circumstances, Child 5 would just accept another cup. But his alarm has gone off. He knows that mom wants a nap. This must.not.happen.

After placating him with a green cup and a popsicle, every other child needs a snack, a drink, and answers to every question that they've ever had in their entire lives. I think they keep a list stored in a compartment in their brains reserved for when I'm "mom tired".

After meeting their requests, Child 4 starts doing the potty dance and completely forgets that he actually knows how to walk the whole five steps to the bathroom alone.

I manage to close my eyes again, just long enough for Child 5 to rip a pancake to shreds on the living room carpet and Child 4 to feed part of a banana chocolate chip bar to the dog because "him love it". Great, now I can plan how to console them tomorrow.

At this point everyone was loud and playing this game where they stack themselves on each other and roll down the stairs or something like that. I was actually afraid to go look.

I finally gave up. I'd say I'll try again tomorrow but I'll probably be busy burying the dog.

This is how we started out. This is how things should look.

This is how things actually looked. See that nice Jenny-shaped spot on the couch? That's where I should be.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Do or Do Not, There is NO Try...

Whoever told men that it was acceptable to pee while standing up should be taken and beaten with a large plank of wood covered in barbed wire. The wood is to smack some sense into them. The barbed wire is to poke holes so the stupid can drain out.

They all think they can do it. Little boys think they can do it. Older kids think they can do it. Grown men think they can do it.

As a mother of five boys, a wife to a grown man and having had the pleasure of cleaning the men's bathroom at Church a few times let me tell you something...THEY CANNOT DO IT!

That is all I have to say right now.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Turning Thirty

This weekend I turned thirty. Thirty is a big number. I mean, think about it. How many things do you honestly need thirty of? If I came home from the grocery store with thirty eggs, my husband would think I'd gone crazy. If I put thirty tic tacs in my mouth at once, I would probably choke to death. My point is, thirty is a big number.

As a surprise for my big 3-0, my friends in Richmond orchestrated a birthday weekend getaway for me. They got me a plane ticket, hosted a dinner, a brunch and an open house. They housed me and fed me and drove me around. It was all pretty fantastic. I imagine this must be how Reese Witherspoon feels on her birthday. My friend and hostess extraordinaire, Carol, even got me a custom cake. It had the state of Virginia on it. Well, we're going to pretend it was the state of Virginia. It was definitely not a big hill with the words "Over the Hill" above it. No, definitely not that. If it were, Carol would have some explaining to do.

The weekend started out with the one negative aspect of my airplane. I do not like flying. Not at all. AT ALL. I withheld this information from my friends for two reasons: 1. I really, really, really, REALLY wanted to go home. 2. I sometimes like to pretend that I'm a grown up who doesn't freak out over things like air travel. But in real life? I freak out over things like air travel. Every time I tell someone that I don't like to fly they tell me things to try to make me feel better, except their advice is stupid. They say things like, "more people die in cars than airplanes". First of all, now I am freaking out about the drive to the airport. Thanks guys. And secondly, let me just explain the difference between a car and an airplane. Cars are on the ground. Planes, if you haven't noticed, are 38,000 feet IN THE AIR. People also tell me about how people fly all the time, blah blah blah. People also voluntarily stick needles through their body parts. People eat raw fish and pay money for it. People cannot be trusted to make wise choices. I think I scared the girl sitting next to me, who happened to be a 2nd year medical student. The good news? She's well prepared for her rounds in the psych ward.

Once my plane landed I spent a good hour lying on my friend Elisabeth's floor, trying not to die. It worked. I didn't die. Are you impressed? I am.

After hanging around with some friends, we headed to dinner at my favorite restaurant, Baker's Crust. Perhaps Florida's greatest downfall is its lack of Baker's Crust. Well, that and the pants-loving cockroaches.

Let's talk about Baker's Crust. It's actually really about the mushroom and brie soup and the crepes diabolitin. That's what I get every single time I go and I could stick my face in the plate, swim around for a bit and then slurp it up until ne'er a trace is found. I usually have people with me so I try to eat like a human so I don't embarrass them. I'm not cool enough to find new friends. I'm darn lucky to have the old ones and they, for some odd reason, are okay with being seen with me in public. I'm not messing that up. But it's tempting sometimes because those crepes and that soup? Manna from Heaven.

Dinner was great but the company was better. I had good friends from Richmond, a friend who drove up from Charlottesville and my beloved Pediatrician. Yes, my kid's doctor came to my birthday dinner and gave me the most fantastic book (it's like she knows me, which is weird. I mean, it's not like I'm a hypochondriac with six kids or anything strange like that.) and even brought her stethoscope to listen to a wheezy baby Chase. Don't you wish your doctor was as cool as mine?

After dinner we weren't quite done, so we went back to my friend's place and stayed up late doing what we do best...telling hilarious stories and acting like idiots.

The next morning we had breakfast with a few more fantastic ladies and went to Target. No birthday is complete without a trip to Target.

After an afternoon of hanging and watching "Duck Dynasty", which I am now hooked on, thank you Elisabeth, I went to dinner with my "best and dearest and oldest" friend. This friend is days away from delivering her baby girl. We were hoping to coax her out with a nice dinner and our monthly Godiva chocolate but alas, she was not interested. I remember what it was like not wanting to be seen out with your parents. It's okay Mary, I get it.

On Sunday baby Chase and I ventured to Church to see some peeps and then had an afternoon cake party. I like to pretend this weekend was for me. Let's be honest, it was not about me. It was about baby Chase. It's okay, I'm just glad I have mammary glands and therefore get to be his automatic plus one.

After staying up way too late and sleeping through my alarm, I managed to make it onto my plane and again, not die. And now I'm back home with my family.

I've had a lot of birthdays. Remember how 30 is a big number? But this one, well, it was pretty awesome. A huge thank you to every single one of my friends and family members who made this birthday so great!




Thursday, May 23, 2013

Can We Pretend that Paper Airplanes in the Night Sky...

My kids are really into paper right now. In my last post I made my feelings about massive paper usage known. Before you go giving me props for my environmental conscientiousness, don't. It has nothing to do with my concern for trees and everything to do with my concern for the $3.73 per 500 sheets. You might think that 500 sheets is a lot of paper, and in the normal world of household paper usage you would be right. But in this house? 500 sheets of paper is child's play...literally.
Usually I get all fussy and hide my paper or lock my bedroom door or tell the kids that they get 3 sheets of paper each, etc. It sometimes works, but usually it doesn't. But lately my kids have figured out that if they use the paper to make "gifts", it makes it harder for me to say no. Kids are sneaky little things and they manipulate in such ways.
So I have been getting a lot of paper "gifts" in recent weeks. So has everyone who steps foot in my house. Child 1 got a Star Wars Origami book from the library (I am seriously considering sending them a bill for $3.73 to compensate me.) so his paper gifts look like this...

Allow me to introduce "Fortune Wookiee", "Han Foldo", "Origami Yoda" and "Darth Paper".

Child 2 is all about paper aviation. So he has been making lots (and I do mean LOTS) of these...
That's a model C189Turbo and it flies quite nicely...all around the house...all the time...including into my face while I breastfeed a baby.

Child 3 likes to cool down the family with one, or fifteen, of these...
We keep getting bulk requests from China. The design is patent pending.
Child 4 and Child 5 want to play with paper too. They are perhaps my biggest mass producers of paper "gifts". They watch their siblings color and fold, so OF COURSE they want to color and fold too. So we get plenty of these...
If you have any requests, send them on over. Ramsey paper gifts a plenty in this house. Please send $3.73 per 500 paper "gifts".

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Typical Day

The internet is a deceptive little twit sometimes. Someone recently made a comment to me about blogging and how do I ever manage to find time to blog with six children? It must look like I just sit around blogging all day. It made me think. How do I have time to blog? I suppose it's a little like having to pee on a road trip. Sometimes you pull over and take a legit potty break. You time it out and you stop and you go. Sometimes you are in a hurry so you just have to hold it until you have some time. Of course, once you have children sometimes something happens, you sneeze or cough or laugh and it just happens. In other words, sometimes you know you need to hold it but you just can't hold it.

That's what blogging is for me. Sometimes I try to schedule time to do it. Sometimes I have to wait until time comes. And sometimes it just happens in spite of efforts to stave it off a little longer.

The only hard part about blogging is finding something "blog worthy" to write about. Sometimes  my kids do something insane and the words pretty much write themselves. But most days are pretty typical. Which is, ironically, what inspired this post. This post is about my typical day.
It usually starts with conversations. Conversations with myself and my husband and my children. They usually go like this:

Myself: Sooooooooo tired...
Husband: Do you need to get a shower before I leave?
Me: Yes
Myself: No
Husband: Okay, well I have to leave in little bit...
Me: Okay
Myself: So if he needs to leave in a little bit, then I can divide that little bit into halves and shower with one half and sleep with the other.
Me: Mmhmmmmmm...zzzzzzzzzzz...
Husband: I have to go.
Me: (sleepily) Uh-huh
Kids 1-3: Mom, we don't have anything to pack for lunch.
Me: I'm coming.
Myself: Funny how they can find a piece of candy hidden in your sock drawer under three layers of foot coverings but they can't find anything to pack for lunch in the entire pantry and refrigerator.
Kids 1-3: Mom, we can't find any clothes to wear.
Me: I'm coming.
Myself: They could always try the closet, okay fine, the laundry basket...OKAY...the dryer.
Me: Good morning sweet baby.
Myself: It's a good thing you're cute you little creature of the night.

Then I feed the baby, change and dress the baby, change the Nugget, drag kid #4 to the potty while he screams that he doesn't need to go, give a nebulizer treatment or two, drill the kids on whether they have eaten, packed lunches, packed a snack, gotten dressed, brushed teeth, etc.

We typically leave 10 minutes after we should. We then hit every single one of the ELEVEN stoplights between our house and the school. So then I go in and sign the kids in at the office and make some lame joke about us being late all the time. No one laughs at it and I vow that tomorrow I will not make a lame joke about us being late.

On the way home I start mentally preparing my to-do list and my internal monologue starts up again:
Me: I need to take a shower, get the boys ready, eat some breakfast and then I can nurse the baby, throw in a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher, run to Target, stop at Home Depot, blow my husband a kiss as I drive by his office...
Myself: Sure, you could do that but...
Me: But what?
Myself then gives me a list of alternative things to sit and not do anything. Myself includes lots of great excuses and rationalizations. If we tear a paper towel into pieces we don't really have to have toilet paper right now. We can send husband later. Myself is very convincing.

I usually get home from dropping the kids off at school at about 8:50 am. We walk in the door and the little boys instantly start crying about how hungry they are. I panic for a second wondering if I fed them this morning...or yesterday at all...or ever. Oh my gosh, I haven't fed my kids! Oh wait...they ate cereal this morning with their siblings, a whole 45 minutes ago. I hand them fruit snacks so they will stop yelling at me.

From 9am to 1pm the boys wrestle. Wrestle. Cry. Laugh. Repeat.

They occasionally interrupt their wrestling if I leave the room to do something. Then they follow me. Have you ever been to a dr. and they have someone following them around with a clipboard taking notes? They call it "shadowing". Do you know how these people learned how to shadow? By being children. If I go to the bathroom, they come too. If I go sit on the bed to nurse the baby, they come too. If I decide it's one of those days where I absolutely have to shower, I put baby in the bouncy seat so that I don't have to listen to him scream. (He likes the sound of the water. I may or may not leave the water running while I get dressed just to keep him happy. I admit to nothing.) While he sits in his bouncy Nugget plays his favorite game where he puts his hand on the shower door and waits for me to put my hand there too. It is super cute...until I need to use my hand for something like, oh say, bathing. Then my hand is busy washing and can't play. Then Nugget gets angry and bangs and yells until I play the game.

Usually at some point in the day I beg my children to watch television. Ya know those moms who have to turn the television off and drag their kids away to be productive beings? I am not one of them. Also, I'm jealous of them.

We eat lunch.

Then Nugget naps. During his nap #4 likes to color. I remember in high school, I had a friend with a little sister who was about ten years younger than we were. She loved to color too. It used to bug him that she would use so much paper. One time he said something to his mom about how she shouldn't let his little sister waste all that paper. His mom told a story about how, when she was little, she used to have to color along the edges of a newspaper because they didn't buy drawing paper and how she wanted her kids to have all the paper they wanted. I remember thinking that I wanted to be just like that. Let my children explore their creativity and scribble to their hearts content. Now I have to buy the paper so I hide it under my bed and ration it like it's Elf bread and I'm going to Mordor. Kid #4 draws a bunch of pictures and asks me to draw the characters of "Peter and the Wolf" about 13 times. Oh and snakes..."Draw a snake for me mommy. Now a biiiiiig snake. Now a tiiiiny snake. Now a baby snake. Now a fluffy snake." So we draw while Nugget naps.

Then we go to pick up the kids from school. I answer 17,002 questions on the way home. "What would win, a cheetah or a bear?" "What is for dinner?" "Guess what I saw outside the window at 10:24 am today?" "Do you know what 18 x 84 is?" "Can I have a snack when I get home?"

Then we get home and the big kids evaporate into snack and wii land. They have figured out the glorious mind-sucking powers of television and video games. It's a beautiful thing.

The evenings hold a little more variation than the daytime. Soccer practice, football practice, cub scouts, boy scouts, family night, dinner, prayers, baths, pajamas, bed...

Throw in a couple dozen tantrums, a few bloody lips and lots of baby rocking and that's it. That's my typical day.

I was recently talking to a friend about how, before you have children, you know that it's going to be hard but that it will be worth it. What you don't know is the ratio of hard to good. You think it will be like 75% good and 25% crappy. Maybe even 50/50. But we were saying it is probably more like 98% hard/crappy stuff and like 2% amazing/awesome/worth every bit of it. But we both agreed that there is something about that 2% that overrides the other stuff. I can't explain it mathematically. I mean, in no other scenario does this work. Think about it. If you have a gallon of milk and 98% of it is sour but 2% is good, you don't drink the milk. If you look at a house and you only like 2% of it, you don't buy the house. But there is something about that amazing 2% of parenting that honestly and sincerely overrides the 98% hard stuff. That 2% really is that good.

And the proof is in the pudding, so they say. Here are a few 2% pictures...

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It's Raining, It's Pouring...and Pouring

Ya know how sometimes people say things and you think they are full of it? Or at the very least, they are seriously exaggerating the situation?
For example, if someone says, "my kids scream all day long", obviously their kids don't literally scream all day every day, else they would not be standing upright.
Or if they say, "all I ever eat is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches"...okay, that's kinda true for me. But you get the point.
So before I moved to Florida someone told me that they hoped I liked rain because it rains a lot in Florida. I did that awkward thing where you smile and open your mouth just a little bit but you don't actually say anything. Please. It's the SUNSHINE state. Rain. Pft.
When we got here (in December) it didn't rain much. In fact, it rained less than in Virginia. Ha.
But I started to hear rumors...rain rumors. People, actual Floridians, started telling me about how in the spring and summer it rains every day. EVERY day.
And I thought they were exhibiting those extreme exaggeration techniques we were discussing earlier.
They were not.
It rains every day.EVERY day.
Not just rain like, "oh look it's raining." This is more like "batten the hatches, get to higher ground, someone round up two of each animal, we're going to need a bigger boat" type of rain.
It is insane you guys.
So I'm going to go eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while my house floats away.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Some Days...

So far today my day has looked like this...

If this trend is holding true for the eldest Ramseys, I feel for their teachers. Actually, I lied, I'm just happy it's not me.
If you need me, I'll be hiding under a bed with what's left of my bag of mint Milanos (thanks Kelli).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

When Husbands Go Out of Town...

I am a really lucky woman. My husband rarely has to travel. Well, up until this point in our marriage at least. Since we've moved to Florida he has had two trips to Texas. Each has been six days and five nights long.
If you don't have kids you're likely rolling your eyes at me. One week? Big deal! Not even a FULL week! Cowgirl up woman!
If you have kids you are probably doing this...

When my husband travels I go through stages...kind of like the stages of grief. Here's how it breaks down.
Day 0 (the day before departure): This is the "denial" day. The day where I try to pretend like he isn't really leaving. I imagine all sorts of scenarios. The plane won't start because a chicken got stuck in the engine. They call and say they forgot to register him so he is going to have to go another week. He is tricking me and any second he's going to say "just kidding! I could never leave you!". This stage lasts right up until I get the phone call that he has landed in wherever he is going.
Day 1: The "crying day". This is the day where I start to panic. How am I going to do this? What if everyone gets sick and I need to go to the ER and I have to take everyone with me because he isn't here? What if someone breaks in and drugs me and kidnaps all my children to sell as child slaves? What if every single one of us evaporates during the night?
Day 2: The "I can do anything" day. I did it. I survived the first night. No one died. No one threw up. No trips to the ER. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5...oh there's 6! Whew. We're all here and we are all alive! I can do dishes. I can fold laundry. I can get the kids to school on time. Watch me rock this week like Alice Cooper.
Day 3: The "I think I can" day. Okay two nights down. This hasn't been too bad. So the football coach changed practice to the same night as soccer resulting in two hours of carting six children to various fields, running out of water and eating dinner at 9:30 biggie. I got this. I'm a train baby, a train, just chugging along. One day at a time. I think I can...I think I can...I think I can.
Day 4: The "is it really only day 4?" day. We could also call it "groundhog" day, because I swear it repeats itself at least seven times before it's over. Seriously. It has to at least be day five. Only four? Really? Okay. I can still do this Just think, tomorrow I will be able to say that he's coming home "tomorrow". I can sing the song too! This is going to be okay! I think I can...I think I can...I think I can.
Day 5: The "I am so over it" day. This job isn't worth it. No amount of money is worth it. I can live in a tent and take a shower in a river of giardia and last month's spotlight creature on "River Monsters". What I cannot do, is go one more day without him home. I haven't showered since...never mind. Dishes are piling up, my kids wore dirty clothes to school and if I don't have five seconds by myself soon someone is going to die. I'm this close to sitting in a corner rocking back and forth singing to the musical creatures who hide among the flowers.
Day 6: The "tranquility" day. We have lived. He's coming home. Everything is beautiful and bright. And have I introduced you to the musical creatures who hide among the flowers? They are so pretty. Come meet them...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Best Conversation I've had Today

Conversation I had this morning:

Me: Boy, last night was rough huh?
Myself: Sure was. How many times did the kids get you up?
Me: I think five. You?
Myself: Don't know, lost count.
Me: This is going to be a long day.
Myself: Yeah, I could go for a cup of coffee...or ya know, seventy eight.
Me: You don't drink coffee.
Myself: Oh right.
Me: You could try a soda?
Myself: I don't really drink caffeine and I don't like soda very much.
Me: It might help though. Just this one time?
Myself: I'd have to take the kids to the store. I'd probably use up more energy than the soda would give me.
Me: Fair point. Chocolate?
Myself: Meh, it never works.
Me: Tastes good though.
Myself: That's true, it does taste good.
Me: It makes you happy.
Myself: **giggle** yeah, it does.
Me: Chocolate it is then.
Myself: Okay.
Me: Although you really don't need it.
Myself: No, I really don't.
Me: And it will probably just make you feel icky later.
Myself: You're right, it...hey wait a minute, it was your idea to eat the chocolate in the first place!
Me: Well I know but I just think maybe you can do without it.
Myself: Well of course I can but you brought it up and now you're trying to talk me out of it. I hate it when you do that!
Me: I'm just trying to help you make a good choice. Leave the chocolate alone.
Myself: But I wants it, I needs it, MY PRECIOUS!
Me: Eat the chocolate.
Myself: Thank you.

So I talk to myself. I'm sleep deprived and I'm a little crazy, so sue me! Actually, better yet, have me committed. I hear they put you in a nice white room, with a bed, and encourage you to sleep a lot. That could be just what we I need.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What is a Princess made of?

Any of you who follow me on Facebook had to know this post was coming. Everyone has issues that they feel are important. And we all have our soapbox moments. But me? Well, I like to perch up on the soapbox and make myself comfortable. I like a nice, long stay. It's cozy up here, after all.

So here is a soapbox moment(s) from yours truly...and it has to do with Princesses and the modern notion that it is somehow subservient or old fashioned to believe in these fairy tales. I disagree with this idea. In fact, I am not sure there is anything more feminine than our Disney Princesses. They exemplify everything that is beautiful, strong and pure in womanhood.

Let's take Cinderella. Here's a girl who spent the better part of her life as a servant...practically a slave. She was afforded very little by way of material things, yet she sang a song every morning, optimistically hoping for better times to come. Most of us would just wallow and complain about all the things we didn't have. Not only does she refuse to succumb to that mentality, she is patient and endures the criticism of those who should offer her love and support. She forgives. She demonstrates self control and poise in the face of her adversity. And when the opportunity does come for her to break free and find a new measure of happiness, she takes it. She doesn't stubbornly shun it, playing a martyr. She doesn't allow her resentment and her past to hold her back from a happily ever after. She is offered a happy ending and she embraces it. Good job Cinderella...oh, and Prince Charming has a horse. SOLD!

Okay, how about Ariel. Now here is a headstrong girl who has never been satisfied with living the life her father has planned. Talk about being a liberated woman! And of all things under the sea, the thing she loves most is to sing. Yet she is willing to give up her voice (read: her dream to be a pop star) in order to be with the man she loves. After rescuing him from a hurricane at sea (no small word, Katrina), she falls for him and is willing to sacrifice her family, her voice and the life that has been planned for her, to be with her love. Sometimes loving someone else means giving something that means a lot to you for something (or someone) that means more. Since the present day sixteen-year-old is mostly preoccupied with texting and twittering, I don't think that taking a page out of Ariel's book would be a bad idea. Just sayin.

Belle. I love Belle. Belle is probably my favorite. Belle doesn't follow the crowd. She loves to read. She longs for adventure. Seriously, you want to see a brave woman? Show me one who is more concerned with being true to herself than being true to the trends of society. Belle isn't out there looking to land a nice cushy life complete with a cookie cutter home filled with pottery barn furniture. In fact, she turns down the town hunk because he happens to be a total doopy. After this she takes off to rescue her father facing down wolves and talking kitchen utensils. I don't know about you, but that would about do me in. Then she not only looks beyond the image, she also overlooks an awful temper (confronting it only when needed) and through patience, tolerance and long suffering, she finds her truest love. Not every prince comes in the same package. Relationships take patience and forgiveness and time. Belle knew that and exemplified it.

Mulan...not a princess, but a pretty tough chick. For real. Risking your life to save your father? Most of us struggle to remember to call our dad's on their birthday. Not only that, her dad had pretty much told her he was ashamed of her because she hadn't landed a guy or won over a crabby old woman. And she STILL risked literally EVERYTHING she had to save her dad. Color me impressed. PS. Her man also rides a horse...bonus points.

I'm sure that Snow White has many amiable qualities (not the least of which is that her Prince rides a horse) but her voice annoys the ever loving daylights out of me so we will skip her...Rapunzel and Jasmine both fell in love with a poor man on the run from the law. Aurora's true love was enough to wake her from a coma and Tiana worked her buns off, only to realize that nothing can be more fulfilling than building a family.

The bottom line is that Disney has given us a legacy of amazing ladies for our daughters to respect and admire. I am not sure when it became so sub-par to simply choose love over living the "dream". When did we decide that a girl has to be single to be strong? I haven't been married for a long time. I still consider myself a newlywed (11 years, in the grand scheme of things, is pretty small) but I can say that, in my limited experience, it's not always an easy thing to be a wife and a mother. Sometimes love, even true love, is hard. It takes strength and patience and forgiveness and sacrifice. And THAT, my dear friends, is what princesses are made of.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

An Uncommon Post...Sort of

I typically don't blog about food that I make...which is sort of weird, because I love to cook and I love to eat. Also, I love to blog. You'd think that those things would make a delightful pairing. I love to read food blogs but I rarely write them. I think it stems from this post that my brother-in-law once wrote on facebook about how it's so obnoxious when people post pictures and comments about what they are eating. He's cool and I always get nervous around cool people...middle school haunts me. No judging.

So anyway, I don't typically blog about food. Today, however, I am breaking free of my fears. I am pushing myself to the limit of self-discovery. I am unlocking a new side of bravery. I am...okay, I'm actually just blogging about these amazing life-changing muffins.

I found the recipe on Pinterest. Pinterest recipes, and any recipe really, can be a bit hit or miss. This is especially true when they try to combine sweets with "health" food. "Healthy" sweets is another way of saying...gross. Sorry, it's true and you know it.

BUT, in the interest of trying to force anything that is even remotely healthy into my incredibly picky daughter, I decided to give these muffins a try. They look yummy right? Then I started to read the ingredients. I tried to stay optimistic but a muffin that requires a blender? And no flour? And no oil? Okay, what are they trying to pull? I was skeptical.

BUT, I am a mama on a mission. I will totally make blender muffins if it means my daughter will eat something containing applesauce...which is a derivative of apples dontcha know. Apples are a fruit and therefor, these muffins are like eating a fruit, as far as I'm concerned.

I did make a few small changes. The recipe calls for artificial sweetener, which I am avidly against. Before you go patting me on the back for my devotion to living the organic life, it has nothing to do with that. I buy the cheapest sugar I can find, mix it with water and drink it for breakfast...and I don't think twice. I just think artificial sweeteners are a. disgusting and b. cause cancer. Need less to say, I substituted with real sugar instead of stevia. Also, I added a splash of almond extract just because I can.

I mix up the batter and my skepticism grows. It's the consistency of syrup. Not even nice thick, viscous Hershey's syrup. It's like liquid you guys. No kidding. And this is the part where I pat myself on the back. See? I told you that you couldn't make a good muffin without flour or oil.

But I've made the batter, might as well bake it. So I dish up the muffin syrup and stick it in the oven. And then something amazing happens. Something magical. They fluff up and become delicious, chocolaty, food of the gods muffins. They are pretty little things. And even more amazingly? They taste good too. Like GOOD...not "healthy" food good, but honest to goodness, promise-you-on-my-southern-soul good. Mind. Blown.

And here's the part where I eat a big ole piece of humble pie muffin because my skepticism was completely biased and un-founded. So sweet muffins, I apologize. I misjudged you. I was wrong. I admit it. Please forgive me as I eat you all.

So do yourselves a favor and go make these muffins. You will not be sorry.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


This morning something happened. I asked my oldest child if there were any songs he wanted to listen to on the way to I do every morning. I let them all put in a request for a song and we sing and dance and act ridiculous on the way to school. Because we they are kids and kids like to sing and have fun. But this morning my oldest didn't pick a song. He said he didn't care, that he didn't like listening to music.

First of all...what? Everyone likes music. Toddlers and grandparents and athletes and serial killers and fishermen...EVERYONE likes music. Second of all...WHAT?!?!

I didn't push the matter, even though I wanted to drop him off on the side of the highway and force him to sing his way home. I just thought maybe he was grouchy. That's where the thought train left its station. Then it went something like this...ya know, he has been kinda grouchy lately...actually he's been REALLY grouchy lately...he refused to tell me he loved me when I dropped him off at school the other day...he always gives one word answers when I ask about his he doesn't "like" music...

And this is the part of the story where my thought train slams into its destination...

OH.MY.GOSH.   ...  My son is growing up.

Not growing up like, "aww, he says 'puppy'!" And not growing up like, "man, he can tie his shoes all by himself!" But like GROWING UP!

Growing up as in away from me. Away from being a kid into being a young man. Away from "I love you" at the carline. Away from picking "Elevator" or "Firework" to sing on the way to school in the morning. Away from giving me a detailed description of his day.

Up until this point, I've always thought that I loved every age and every stage. Each one has had its own challenges and its own excitement. But the thing each stage had in common was ME. I was still a major part of every stage. That is changing now. It's not all about being with mama anymore...and that just plain bites. It bites hairy monkey tails...STINKY hairy monkey tails.

I think I'm finally starting to truly understand this notion of "enjoy them while they're little because it goes by so fast." We ALL say it. We say it ALL the time. I've said it thousands of times..."they grow up so quickly." But I never really GOT it, because mine were still small. Growing, changing, developing but still just little kids. Little kids who needed and wanted me, no matter what. That kind of growing up is fun. It's fun watching them learn to crawl alone, walk alone, get dressed alone...going potty alone is SUPER fun. It's exciting the first time they get on that big yellow school bus. It's exciting when they give their first talk in Primary or when they play in their first soccer game. Milestones are exciting because they are growing up...but not away. They want to share every new development with you and it is so freaking fun and incredible.

This new growing away thing? I do not think it's freaking fun or incredible.

Now I know this is going to happen and I know it's the way it works but I am not sure I was ready for it and now that we are on this path, I am feeling pretty sure there aren't any U-turns. We are in it now...the growing away stage. And all I can say is...WHAT-EVER!

***PS. I decided, after having an adequate pity party, that I wasn't just going to roll over and take this. Who's driving this bus anyway? That's right, I AM! DAGNABIT! I will decide when this little wolf cub leaves the den, ME! And I am happy to announce that I got an "I love you more" this afternoon. Yes, I did. I am still in the game. Bow-chick-a-wow-wow!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Baithing Suit Shopping and Johnny Cash

Today I took my kids...all of my kids...bathing suit shopping. This was the worst idea I've ever had in my entire life. Ever.

Seriously, a double stroller, a three-year-old wearing a monkey leash and dragging a seriously shnasty "lovie", a shop-a-holic daughter and two boys who daylight as ninjas...what in the WORLD was I thinking?

I was thinking that we need new bathing suits. First of all my oldest's suit is a 5T. My oldest is turning 10 in a few months. Yeah. That's not even the worst of it. These suits need replacing...big time. They have a swimming engagement to attend this weekend so I figure, now or never. I maybe should have picked never.

We stopped first at the boys section, where we encountered our first catastrophe in the form of a dramatic lack of angry bird options. There were none, not a single wingless robin with an attitude to be found. It was tragic. I suggested a few very nice shark suits...they even came with goggles. GOGGLES! That's like swim-time gold for kids. At least, it was when I was a kid and it can't have changed that much...right?

But we don't want sharks, we want angry birds. So I make the mistake of suggesting we try another store. Leave the store WITHOUT a bathing suit that we don't like?!?!? THE HORROR!!!

We got shark suit number one.

Then my second child picked the ONLY suit that they didn't have in his size. Seriously. Racks and racks of suits in his size...he wants the one that only comes in a XXXXL. No amount of cinching is gonna help that.

We settle on shark suit number two...but not the same as number one because matching suits? "Mom, that is so lame, we aren't twins!"

On to the girl. Here's where it gets super fun. While there is one little section of suits for the boys, there are like twelve for girls. This is a big pet peeve of mine by the way...but we'll talk about that another time.

We pick out about seven suits to try on. They have some seriously cute suits. There were some I wouldn't mind having in my size. Some had some precious little ruffles, one came with a matching swim skirt, darling little things. She also insists on trying on a few that are less cute but whatever, I know that ultimately good taste will prevail and she'll pick one of the adorable suits to take home.

So then the real fun begins...the dressing room. Someday, when I've had time to process things and possibly have some therapy sessions, I might blog about that whole scene. But for now I will skip ahead...

After an epic, drag-me-across-the-floor-by-the-monkey-leash meltdown from Nathan because he couldn't try on his bathing suit, the kids FINALLY come out with their proper suits but then it comes time for the princess to make her final selection.

Seven suits ya'll. Which one does she pick? The tackiest bathing suit I have ever seen. Seriously you's like a swim wear nightmare. Neon rainbow leopard print with a neon blue ruffle. You couldn't design something that is more not-me if you tried. Yes, I know it's not my suit but when you have five sons and only one daughter perhaps you'll understand. Don't judge me. So I force a smile, try once more to gently encourage her to pick the paisley one with the matching skirt. No dice. So off we go with Lisa Frank's swim gear, three shark suits, a fussing Nugget and dragging a still sobbing Nathan who is now distraught that we are not buying any toys.

We finally made it to the van, loaded up and headed home with our treasures. I am not bathing suit shopping for five years.

Oh...Johnny Cash has absolutely nothing to do with bathing suit shopping. Mike was singing "A Boy Named Sue" to Niblet, which was actually really adorable. Positive way to end a traumatic trip to Kohl' cream and Johnny Cash.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

How Do You Celebrate a Birthday in Heaven?

With food and cake and balloons of course. How else would you celebrate a birthday, I ask you...

Today is my mom's birthday. My kids call her "Grandma in Heaven", so today is Grandma in Heaven's birthday. And just like every year on her birthday, we celebrated.

First there is our traditional birthday dinner. When I was growing up and my dad would go out of town, my mom would always make the same dinner- hot dogs, baked beans and egg noodles with garlic salt. Turns out this is a tradition from her family too. Mom made her hotdogs in the frying pan, so did Grandma McKenna. I have to boil mine because the kids freak out politely request there be no black stuff on their hot dogs. Other than that, we keep with traditional preparation methods.

Can't ya smell those dogs? Yum.

Next, we make a card and send it to Heaven via balloon. This year was a little more emotional. For me? Probably hormones/sleep deprivation/missing my mom/watching my children send messages to their grandma. For Nathan and Tyler it was the loss of their beloved giant balloon.

Saying "Happy Birthay!" to Grandma...
Then we keep watching it fly off to Heaven...
Until it gets all the way there and we can't see it anymore.

And there is a philosophy that my mother and I shared throughout my childhood. It's very profound and very important and philosophicalish. You might want to get a pen and write this down, because it's just that inspiring. This is it...
When all is said and done, if you can find any reason, excuse or occasion to eat should do it.

Happy Birthday Mama. I'm so thankful to be your daughter and, as you can see, I am as bad at decorating cakes as you were at making pie crusts.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Liebster...Not to be Confused with Biebster

Do you remember how the internet used to be swarming with surveys? Seriously, that was the big thing. I can remember filling out multiple surveys a between my internet cutting out (back in my day we had dial up folks).
Well, the Liebster Blog Award is like that...only cooler because it's vintage now.
Sooo...first you have to post 10 random things about yourself, answer 10 questions the tagger asked, then create 10 questions of your own. Then tag a few people.
So since I got tagged by my oldest friend in the whole wide world, Amanda Panda at , I figured I better oblige! After all,  nothing says love and friendship like a good ole fashioned survey.
So here goes nothing...

10 random things:
  1. I actually have ten random things about me posted on the sideline of my copying these cheating? Yes? Dang it. Ummm...
  2. Until a few years ago I totally thought that jackalopes were real...seriously who woke up one day and said, "ya know what that stuffed rabbit needs? a good pair of antlers."
  3. I think Shepherd's Pie is disgusting.
  4. I think Shepherd's Pie is disgusting...but I totally love the smell of a barn. That is not weird by the way.
  5. I will NEVER get a tattoo but if I ever did, it would be shark tooth.
  6. When I was little my mom would play the record of "Peter and the Wolf" and chase me when the wolf's music came on...I still can't watch the movie alone.
  7. Six weeks ago I moved to Florida and that was my first time living outside the state of Virginia...though I'm not sure it really counts since I still haven't changed my location on Facebook.
  8. One of my children is named after his dad, one after a TV personality, two after Presidents of the LDS Church, one after my mother and a mentor...and one after a vampire.
  9. I love the smell of playdough. So do you...admit it. Everyone loves the smell of playdough.
  10. I have never backed out in a game of truth or don't dare me to do something embarrassing. I play to win.
Amanda's Questions:
  1. What’s your favorite cereal? There is this to-die-for granola that you get at Target. I am torn between the maple pecan and the french vanilla almond...ah-mA-zing.
  2. What’s your favorite time of day? Depends on the day I guess. I do enjoy the evening after the kids are in bed and I can just relax with the hubby.
  3. What are you reading now? I just finished reading "Matched" and I have a long list of to-reads.
  4. What’s your favorite season? In Virginia? Florida? We shall see.
  5. Did you ever wish you had a different name? What is it? Maggie...I just think I look like a Maggie.
  6. What’s one vice you can’t give up, even though you’ve tried? Sweets! I have tried on multiple occasions and resistance has proved futile.
  7. Do you have a celebrity doppleganger? Everyone says I look like Rachel McAdams
  8. What’s one cause that you love to debate/weigh in on? Abortion
  9. Which of these was hardest? Random facts, answering questions or writing questions? Well so far I've only done two...but of the two? Random facts was WAAAY harder.
  10. What do you think the answer to #10 says about your personality? That I'm pretty boring.

My 10 Questions:
1. Would you rather be able to swim (like a fish) or fly (like a bird)?
2. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
3. What color is found most frequently in your wardrobe?
4. Pudding or Jello?
5. What do you put on your baked potato?
6. Favorite band when you were in high school?
7. Name one thing on your bucket list.
8. What is your favorite kind of cheese?
9. It's 9 o' clock on Saturday night...what are you doing?
10. Who, in your opinion, was the best Batman?

And the nominees for my Liebster Award are:

Kelli at
Maddy at
Bronwynn at
Richelle at

Friday, February 8, 2013

Six to One...Half Dozen for This Mother

I have been a mother of six for an entire week now...let's just take a moment to let that sink in.

... sinking...

...still sinking...

When you're a mother, your life is pretty much nothing but questions. I ask a lot of questions. "Is this normal?" "Is he/she okay?" "Did he eat enough?" "Did he eat too much?" You would think I'd have this baby thing on lock down by now but hand me a newborn and it's like the first time all over again. That excitement and panic and overall "Can I DO this?!?" feeling.

I also get asked a lot of questions. In fact, when I'm not asking myself questions, someone else is asking me questions. I am not sure I'd know what to do with myself if I wasn't answering someones questions... What was that?

I get asked questions by everyone. My kids. My husband. People at Church. Random people on the street. Even in the hospital, when I'm breathing through a contraction someone asked me to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10. I hate that question. I told him/her that. I don't freaking know. It hurts. This was not an acceptable they asked me AGAIN. MORE questions!

One big question I get (rather frequently actually) is "how do you do it?"

I kind of hate this question too, only because I really don't know how to answer it. I don't know what people are looking for when they ask it. Do they want an answer? Are they really meaning to make a statement, like, "I don't know how you do it." or "You are absolutely certifiably insane." ?? Or do they want a list of what I do all day and how I do it? Do they want specific examples? A diagram? A youtube tutorial? Do they even understand that I am terribly under qualified to give any type of parenting how-to's?

Because of this, I've always given really vague answers, ie."We get up in the morning and go to bed at night...everything else just sort of happens."

But I've decided there are a few things that make what I do possible. Here they are:

1. Television---we watch way too much of it. My oldest has probably logged more cumulative tv time in his 9 years than Oprah. Ps. He is in an accelerated reading program and above grade level for writing. He spent his first few years watching Blues Clues and came out unscathed. It's a miracle.

2. Fruit Snacks---not the homemade-pinterest-really-dried-fruit nonsense. I'm talking gelatin, animal feet, preservatives...the real deal. I do not know how parents live without them. Truth.

3. Prayers---I say a million a day. I mean, obviously I need help. My kids are watching mindless brain sucking tube and eating animal hooves all day. I'm clueless and I need help...lots and lots and lots of help.

4. Husband---The man is an angel, sent to Earth so that I don't completely go off the deep end. He is the reason that we don't eat waffles for dinner every single night.

5. Mindless Fiction Novels---These keep me from losing my mind completely...except for secretly wondering if that girl who sold me the earrings at Claire's is an undercover shadowhunter and checking the abnormally tall guy at Target for molnija marks on his neck.

That's pretty much my list. That's how I get through. We love the heck out of our kids, take lots of short cuts and hope it all works out okay in the end. Now do you see why no one should ask me for parenting advice? Maybe number six will set me straight.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Moving is hard. Everyone says that and everyone is right. It is hard. Really hard. Do you know what else is hard? Moving when you're pregnant. I don't recommend doing it if you can help it. Pregnancy makes you grumpy and emotional and tired and sore. On the other hand, it does lend a fabulous excuse for being all those things, which you probably would be anyway BECAUSE...moving is HARD!

We have been here in Florida for about a month now. I wish I could say that it feels like home now. I will have to settle for saying that most of our boxes are unpacked and I can find Target, the grocery store, the zoo and the church building without using my GPS.

It's different here. For one thing, it's been 80 degrees January. It's actually kind of a time-warping thing. I totally forget that it's winter. Some of that might also be that my kids are still not in school. That's another story entirely, one we will just leave alone for now.

Another thing that's different is the wildlife. There are creatures everywhere. EVERYWHERE. This part is actually kinda cool. We have lizards on our back patio all the time. No, I'm serious...all the time. Not like we see lots of lizards, but like, I can go out on my patio and spot three lizards at any time. Lots of cranes too. We see them when we walk to get the mail, they stop traffic to cross the street (no joke ya'll). There are also gators swimming around. Interestingly enough, it's not as scary as I thought it would be. They aren't walking around my front yard or swinging from the trees like I pictured before we moved. You just see them swimming around sometimes in one of the fifty five thousand bodies of water in a three mile radius. Seriously, lots of water here. The scariest part of the gators is being married to Mike Ramsey who has an unquenchable compulsion to catch and play with dangerous animals.

The people here are wonderful. Everyone is friendly and welcoming...although they do have this thing with ignoring anything red. I can't tell you how many people I have seen blow through a stop sign or stop light as if it's not even there. Seriously. I might be nervous except that I drive the largest, most monstrous vehicle on the roads so their measly sports cars don't intimidate me. They'd bounce off like a flea. Florida drivers, you've been warned.

I'm still horribly homesick. I miss my familiar places. I REALLY miss my wonderful friends and my doctors. Oh my goodness, if you have great doctors, please don't take them for granted. In fact, after you read this blog, get off the computer and go write them a note and make them a plate of cookies and take it to them. They are worth their weight in gold and diamonds and chocolate. If you don't have good doctors, move to Richmond, VA because I have some great recommendations. Same with your teachers. Teachers and doctors...for real.

But challenges aside, we have had some really fun experiences in Florida. Actually being away from our social network has forced us to get out and really look for things to do as a family. It has brought us closer together and we have enjoyed this special time.

Some of the neat things we've done in Florida:
* We got an annual pass to the local zoo and have enjoyed a couple of trips there already.
* We went on a "river walk" along Lake Monroe. The highlight was the ducks. I love ducks.
* We went to the Blue Springs State Park and got to see the manatees and the gators. It was breathtaking.
* We went to the DeLand Reptile Center and got to watch them milk venomous snakes. It was actually super cool to watch.
* Gavin went "bungee jumping" at the mall. 6 out of the 7 of us thought this was fun to watch...I'll let you guess who the 1 freaked out one was.
* We went to Target. Target is cool no matter where you go. Period.

So that's been our adventure so far. We miss home but have felt such a remarkable peace from our Heavenly Father. We know this is where we are supposed to be and are thankful for the opportunities He has given us. We are looking forward to welcoming baby Ramsey here shortly and enjoying whatever Florida adventures might await us.