raising kids

Visions of Grandeur – Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom

I love my family. I love my children. I love that we, as a family, have the opportunity for me to stay-at-home. I never want to take that for granted. That said, I have more to give! Ok that’s an overstatement, I’m exhausted. Maybe it is more accurate to say I desire to do more.

I don’t want to quit my day job. I don’t want to give up my nights and weekends, sacrificing our only all-member family time, for a part-time job. But I do want a connection to the outside world. As of late, that yearning has lead me down a path of expression through blogging; writing and dabbling in the art of photography- specifically food photography. I’m inspired to write short stories, mostly in the form of plays and dialogues- but first I need to get the kids on the bus. It’s the regular routine of changing the baby’s diaper, making breakfast, packing lunches, cleaning up breakfast, getting the kids dressed (or checking what they have dressed themselves in), inspecting teeth, braiding hair, etc. It’s a sigh of relief when the oldest two out of four are on the bus and on their way fully prepared.

Now would be a great time to enjoy a cup of coffee and jot down that funny thought I had earlier! What was that line again? …But realistically, first I should probably start the dishwasher anyway. That reminds me I have a load of dish towels in the dryer. Crap, the dish towels are still in the washing machine. I need to bring this load of boys clothes upstairs so I can dry the dish towels. “Kids, we’re going upstairs.”

Laundry, my nemesis. They say write about what you know. How can I personify laundry? A dark, looming presence always growing in strength, a force my heroine has to face head on. A little dark maybe, but not untrue. Meanwhile in the real world, what is Noah playing with? It looks like he is in his sister’s jewelry box.

“Oh no, mom, you have to see this!” Elijah yells. Ah! Noah has painted his bangs with nail polish. Oh Noah, I’ve already cleaned up two large spills from you this morning! (Which meant his sister wasn’t on the bus fully prepared, because her baby brother swiped her water bottle -that he poured all over my comfy chair- as if I was going to sit down anyway).

“Noah, No!” I say realizing that at this point it’s not going to make a difference. Let’s get you into the tub. Where is my nail polish remover without acetone… “Stay here.” Okay, I’m back let’s get off that diaper. Plop! Are you kidding me? I just changed a poopy diaper 20 minutes ago!

“Don’t move!” Thankfully it’s in a tub right? (Optimism gets me through the day.) Poop has been transferred to the toilet, now to disinfect. Joys of motherhood. And finally, let’s get to that hair. That is not coming off. I can’t use acetone, this is too close to your eye. What am I going to do? Shave your head? Well, looks like you are going to live with it for a while.

I have a headache. “Everybody downstairs.” I am not doing laundry right now, someone has to keep an eye on the baby. Drats laundry, you win again.

“Yes, Elijah you can have your snack now.” While we’re in the kitchen I should get started on dinner. Crockpot dinner tonight! We need to eat early because Naomi has gymnastics. 

Still, somehow I know these are the best days of my life. I want to cherish every moment. A couple weeks ago, my then still 3 year old said when it was raining “maybe the clouds are crying” -a theory he discovered all on his own. A couple days later, my 5 year old daughter was not feeling well and misquoted a popular saying by explaining “I’m feeling over the weather.” People always say it goes by so fast, and I know it’s true. In the midst of it, it feels fleeting.

So, I am by choice a stay-at-home mom. Coincidingly, I realize the importance of “mommy time”, the need to preserve my sanity and identity. I still have goals! However for me, right now, it’s a necessity that takes a back seat to the priority of “being mommy”. As for my writing career, my prospective coffee shop, my strategy du jour; I’m still dreaming.


In spite of everything I believe in, I have had to come to terms with the notion that I am pensively displaced. It’s not really pensively depressed or sad so it’s not exactly melancholy. But I like to say melancholy, except I say it like Megamind, pronounced Mi-lon-kah-lee. (Side note: I should do a post called my life as a cartoon character, since most of my references are from cartoons.) A few weeks ago I decided that I was going to get my hair cut short. This was to force me into having to do my hair, because years of being pregnant, nursing and changing diapers, etc. had turned me into the kind of mother who constantly threw my hair back into this pony tail turned half bun thing. I didn’t want to be this person any more. I wanted to represent myself as someone who could handle it all. A mom who also took the time to pull herself together. Clearly it doesn’t come naturally for me, I’d rather wear yoga pants around the clock and never have to put on a stitch of make-up. Which brings me to my next issue. My face. Oh my goodness, when did all of these age spots show up? Grrr. I always thought I was the kind of person that would “grow old gracefully.” And then you see yourself (or I saw myself) in some impromptu family shots and your like (I’m like) is that what I look like? For goodness sake! The next thing I know I’m headed to the Clinique counter to get that age spot remover- the one where they show that spotted egg that turns into the flawless egg. And I’m talking to the lady at the counter who is explaining to me that I have to use this forever or they will come back. To which I’m thinking forever? Using some product (that she assured me is not bleach) to change my face (or rather bring back my face thank you) goes against everything I believe in already! But apparently I’m vain, so I bought it. (However, I am happy to report that has been returned unopened, not that I would judge anyone who has done otherwise, I get it.)
In other inconsistent news I have colored my gray. I had randomly gotten some in the past without so much alarm, but after my fourth child molting (you know that thing that moms go through a few months after delivery where the body goes through crazy fluxes and has a huge loss of hair?), my new growth started coming in solid gray. It was a little ridiculous. I was getting a complete new growth of baby bangs in solid gray. It was undeniable, and for a second I considered just letting it happen. I thought if I go solid gray now, then I’ll be like Steve Martin or Cooper Anderson and never appear to age. Then my younger sister lovingly explained to me that it’s not the same and I had to agree that I wasn’t ready for that yet. So off I went to the salon, and it did make me feel better. Which brings me full circle to my point. 

By the way my hair is currently in a shorter pony tail.

Elijah’s Birthday Extravaganza!

Everyone wanted a horse themed party this summer (well two kids anyway). So how do you plan two parties back-to-back with the same theme and keep them completely different? It ended up being a lot easier than I thought. Elijah, who turned three, wasn’t able to take riding lessons this year. For a couple of the lessons he sat and watched enviously as his older siblings and cousins got to ride around on horseback. I know, I feel like a terrible mother. But what are you supposed to do when you have no baby sitter? I’ll tell you what I did. I rented a horse and pony to come to our house for his birthday party so he could have his very own horse ride.



Look at that face, worth every bit of it!

And you have to let the other kids ride too…


The package also came complete with petting zoo,IMG_9829IMG_9779IMG_9780IMG_9785

And face painting!



I got to feed the horse one of our apples!


Aren’t horses beautiful?


And so are little cowgirls!


I honestly was so busy with the party that I almost had forgotten to take pictures of the food!


Beef brisket, scalloped potatoes, rolls, chips,


the family baked beans (I think they make an appearance at almost every gathering),


and corn on the cob grilled in the husk,

Where is one to get something to drink in these parts?


At the waterin’ hole of course! (And there was pop on ice.)


We had “haystacks” at the last party, so this time we had “Barn Muck,” peanut butter and chocolate. Yummy!


And no birthday party is to be without cake!

I missed the whole part with swimming in the pool, but it was there. Then we had what turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the day. (I’ve shared my love of party photo ops before.) I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a long time. I never knew one could have so much fun turning dollar store mustaches into all sorts of facial hair… (I’d really like to do a whole post on this, and I would like to apologize in advance for the onslaught of pictures coming your way.)

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Overall the party was a huge success because the birthday boy was happy! He told me so! “Me excited about my birthday. Me like my presents!”


Happy Birthday Elijah/Cowboy/Power Ranger/Spiderman! We love you so much!

The Perfect Weekend

I imagined it all going very differently. It was going to be an outdoor wedding. My husband was the best man for his long time dear friend. We rented a house on a lake with my husband’s sister and her family for the weekend. The kids were all packed, from swimsuits to wedding guest attire. I could just envision myself writing stories while the kids played on the beach. At its peak, we would dance on a floor under a grand white tent in the woods. My sister-in-law was stopping at the grocery store to have the house stocked with muffins, pizzas, fruits, veggies, sodas, etc. upon our arrival. It was going to be perfect.


There was a minor set back the night before we were leaving my 9 year old came down with a 104.3˚ fever. Alternating Tylenol and Motrin, we had the fever was in control, and by morning at medicine time he was a steady 98.7˚. Hoping for a fluke, some kind of fast and furious 24 hour bug, we decided to take our chances and head out for the 4 hour journey north. The car ride was as expected; hungry kids, potty breaks, diaper changes, music and movies. I forgot my laptop! Oh well, no work this weekend, all play. Pulling up to the rental was exciting, choosing our beds, checking out the scenery and the kids greeting their older cousin.


We opted out of attending the rehearsal dinner with my husband. We’re kind of a distraction, a traveling circus if you will. Besides, since the fever, Isaiah could use another night of recovery. Everything was under control as my husband left to fulfill his Best Man obligations. Pizza was in the oven, the kids just started a movie and my sister-in-law had gotten the baby to sleep. I got this.


I’m not sure what went wrong first. I guess it started with the baby waking up as soon as everyone left the house. He was starting to have some sort of reaction, and the preexisting rash on his face was getting inflamed and starting to ooze. All of the sudden the house felt cold and damp. I started coming down with an upper respiratory thing. Isaiah’s fever was back and his nose was bleeding. Elijah began a cough. By the time Owen got home I was spent. Things seemed to go downhill from there. Needless to say, there wasn’t much sleeping. By breakfast Naomi had an upset stomach so badly that she had two clothing changes. I was completely overwhelmed, and missing the wedding was inevitable. Owen of course had a commitment, but I would have to take one for the team.


Maybe it was because Elijah was licking up his spilled water off of the basement carpet? Maybe it was because Noah was in a constant state of scratching and my arm was exhausted before we even had lunch? Perhaps it was because Naomi was out of clean clothes? I felt like the walls were caving in. (Although that could have been the sinus pressure in my head.) I needed to get some fresh air and a moment to myself. I decided to walk down to the lake and take in some of the calm. Naturally as soon as I got to the dock, the next door neighbor needed to cut his grass with a jet powered lawn mower.


My precious niece opted to stay with me and the kids in lieu of attending the wedding. And I am forever grateful, because it was her optimism and suggestion of duct tape and one of her shirts that kept me going when I realized Owen had taken the diapers to the ceremony. At this point things were so ridiculous; all I could do was laugh. So much for the perfect weekend! Hey man, sometimes that’s how the cookie crumbles. Of course, I’m home and reasonable now, so I can say that.

Congratulations Lee & Amy! Wish I could have seen it in person!


It has been brought to my attention that there may not be enough drama on my blog. Somehow this has equated to being not relate-able. You want a little more reality? Here it is…
My throat hurts, bad; like on fire! I’m pretty sure I was running a fever last night, I know I had the chills. If I had a job that required attendance by employer, I would call in sick. But I’m a mom. I don’t have that option. My arm feels like it’s going to fall off. My infant has a crazy skin rash condition. It makes him want to scratch his face off and remove both of his ears. He has to be under constant surveillance, usually held in restraint. I should have biceps like Angela Bassett.

My two year old is never full. He is constantly asking for snacks. He’s hungry after he eats breakfast. (And I mean a breakfast that would fill you). I make him wait an hour, full of begging mind you, until I let him have a yogurt. And then he’ll ask for a snack. I’m not kidding this is my day. He also poops as much as he eats, which means I ask my four year old daughter to watch the baby (to keep him from removing his cheeks) while I change at least 4-5 poopy diapers, on a child who by most standards should be potty trained. (This doesn’t include his wet ones or any of his brother’s.)

My infant who is now 7 months old, still doesn’t sleep through the night, so neither do I. I’m exhausted! And every time we take him out people stare at him like he’s a freak. Honestly, you should have seen him two months ago! We have taken him to over a dozen doctors, including the University of Michigan, Motts and Children’s Hospital in Detroit. I’ve had my fill of suggestions and unsolicited advice. (Actually if you had a good idea, I’d consider it. Don’t mind me right now.) I’m tired of explaining the situation at the grocery store. And because I’m a mom, I still have guilt, so I rationalize with things like “at least they see the other kids look ok, so I hope they don’t think we are totally neglectful.” He’s drinking goat’s milk now, so I get to carry another bag around to keep it chilled. Awesome.

My third grader learned more about anatomy and life from friends this year than I think I knew in high school. Thank you parents for being so open with your kids! Could you ask them not to share until the other kids parents are ready to talk to their own children? My kids don’t believe in Santa, I’ve asked them not to tell your kids. (I believe I do owe an apology to one family member that comes to mind, very sorry.)

Talking about food on a blog makes me think about food more. I also want to try more food when I’m out for inspiration on new recipes. I can see this wreaking havoc on the waistline. I’m certain that’s why I read so much about fennel greens topped with lemon juice and fitbits. I get it, but I’m not there, yet. That’s not how my family eats. Am I frustrated that my pants are tight? Absolutely. And I’d like to have a doughnut, please.

I don’t like the #hashtag #game. I’d rather #read an #article than all of your score signs. But I suppose that’s how to #getahead in the #blog world? Hey #mommybloggers #nominate @sadiesnest for #keepingitreal

My husband is great in the supporting department. He’s a great dad. Just know while he’s making ‘dude perfect’ videos, I’m making dinner or cleaning it up, or catching up on dishes and laundry, it’s a vicious cycle. But that’s okay, because they come with my husband and kids… and I love my family!

Well I hope you enjoyed my venting session, free of charge. Is this relate-able? The truth is I love my happy blog. I take every picture, write every story and make every recipe (unless credited otherwise), so it’s very real to me… Except it’s a wonderful distraction from my reality.