Wednesday, December 4, 2013

To The Moon

I know this beautiful girl who is incredibly special. She's strong and funny and talented in too many ways to even count. The world is a better place because of her. My world is forever changed~for the BETTER~because of her. Happy birthday Ruari, you are loved to the moon and back!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This and That

Hmmmm....Just a little bit of this and that.

He's a sumo wrestler you guys. He is rough and tumble and he LOVES it. I really hope this next baby is another boy so that they can be rough and tumble brothers together. That's sexist isn't it? Totally.

It's cold here and time for footie pajamas, which are pretty much the best. 

We got this great game for the twins this year, it's called "You've Been Sentenced" and the trick is to use your cards to make sentences. Snakes sneeze coldly but under the petting zoo fish build tissues. Oscar.

He's finishing up Redwall right now. It's pretty serious stuff.

Look at this little missed gem from last spring. My boys. Well, two of them.

It was Feast day at school last week, and the kids were so excited all week long and were not let down one bit by the actual event which was fabulous.

Snow. Ugh. Time to dig out the snowpants and buy more boots, unless of course they're already sold out all over town! Booooooooo.

Monday, November 11, 2013

One More Kiss

It's a rainy grey Monday and I'm home from the morning school rush. The baby is fast asleep and I'm sitting here with a piece of toast and a glass of ice water looking through some of of my photos from the weekend wondering when I will really learn how to take the type of family photo that I can envision in my head but can never bring to life on my memory card. And I know, I know all the mistakes I made with our "shoot" this weekend. I know what went wrong, what I should have done differently and so that's a good thing, right? Except at this very moment those mistake just sound like excuses in my head and it's quite frustrating to know the mistakes you might be prone to and then make them anyways. Interestingly enough I have been feeling really good about photography lately and noticing all this progress like I'm going through a growth spurt or something, but honestly attempting to take a more formal shot of all 9 kids just made me realize that no matter how far I've come there is still a long way to travel. And so much more to learn.

Next year I'm hiring someone else to do it. 

But, back to the morning rush....Oisín is up at 5:56am on the dot pretty much every single day. Unless it's daylight savings in which case he will get up at 4am for nearly a week until you finally put your foot down because the idea of getting up at 4am every single day has sent you into a mid-life crisis one decade ahead of schedule. I'm so happy we've adjusted back to 5:56am. He doesn't really cry when he wakes up, he just calls for me to let me know that he's ready. I pull him back into bed and we curl up and cuddle together while he nurses. Sometimes if I'm lucky he'll drift back to sleep for a little while, but usually by 6:30am he is ready to get up and Brendan is on baby duty at this point.

Finn and Micah are the first of the big kids to get up in the morning, usually by 6:10am I can hear them shuffling around upstairs. Micah's bus picks him up at the front door at 6:32am and Finn has to leave by around 6:45am. Meanwhile Nuala is up at around 6am every day while Oscar and Saoirse prefer sleeping in. Saoirse especially loves to stay tucked under her covers for as long as possible each morning. If I'm having an organized week I will remember to lay out their clothes each night so that they are ready to go first thing in the morning. I wish I could say this happens a lot, but as I type this there are 2 clean loads of laundry laying in baskets on the floor of their bedroom and I'm pretty sure kids were digging through them this morning trying to find clothes to wear. It happens. Saoirse is adamant about picking out her own clothing each day and is very particular about what she chooses. I can't tell you how many times we've already wasted precious minutes each morning arguing about her wardrobe. And I've learned over the years to pick my battles, I'm not a crazed wardrobe control freak (like I once was), but she just really likes to push the limits somedays. Most of it was due to the change of the seasons and the fact that I took my sweet time going through her closet and removing the summer dresses, which in turn meant bickering about sleeveless dresses on cold autumn mornings. Lesson learned.

Maija is usually up by 6:35am, while Ruari and Sidhe don't need to get up until about 7:10am. All of the older kids, including Micah, have their own alarm clocks and are responsible for getting up in the mornings. But I am pretty in tune with their movements and so I listen to make sure they are up and at em. I can't believe how familiar I am with the sounds of the house and the way our family comes to life in the morning. I think it will be strange one day to have a quiet house.

Brendan ushers the little kids through the morning routine and let's me sleep in a little bit. This made sense when the baby was still getting up multiple times a night, but now that he's sleeping through again I feel like I should probably start pitching in a little bit more each morning. Once I do get up, I have to pack lunches for the little kids and usually help throw a few things together for the older girls as well. Then Oisín get's changed/prepped for the car ride and it's time to head out. My goal used to be a 7:30am departure, but nowadays I'm lucky if we're pulling out of the drive way by 7:45am. Getting 4 little kids into the car each morning seems to be the black hole where we lose time off the clock each day. It doesn't make sense even! I mean they are fed, dressed, brushed by 7:15am every single day. So what exactly is happening for the next half hour? Where does the time go? Seriously, I need to know......

Luckily we live very close to their school and if we hit the lights just right we can get there in less than 5 minutes. I love driving them to school. I love being in their hallways every day and seeing their teachers and friends and all the other parents. I love being welcomed into their classrooms every single morning. This was a huge factor when I was debating whether or not to send them to Micah's school a few years ago. I love Micah's school too, I think it is absolutely fabulous, but it is sooooo far away you guys, it would be impossible for me to drive them there every morning. When I have to go pick Micah up from after school activities is takes me no less than 70 minutes round trip. It is simply too far. Micah didn't start there until 2nd grade and even then it was a big adjustment to put him on a bus each morning. I can't imagine little Saoirse commuting that way right now. Anyways there's always a trade off, and I want to stress that I love Micah's school so much and think it's the perfect fit for him, and even though he has a long commute each morning there are so many other wonderful things about his school that more than make up for it. But. I just knew I wasn't ready for the little kids to have a commute yet and I'm glad I listened to my instincts. Dear moms everywhere, do not be afraid to listen to yourself, to listen to that little voice inside of you, even if it doesn't make sense or seem logical. Your instincts will not steer you in the wrong direction, so trust them and trust yourself. I wish I could do that more often, but I'm still learning too and I love to second guess myself and agonize over every little thing and lay awake at night wondering if I made the right choice or what I should have done instead. Let it go. Your instincts will carry you through.

Maija rides with us in the mornings, and walks the twins to their room while I take Saoirse over to her class. She had a rough adjustment at the beginning of the school year, with too many changes in a short period of time, and still has a rough time in the mornings once in while when I'm dropping her off. She is so sweet though and just needs a few extra hugs and kisses usually. Some mornings I'm a bit rushed and going through the motions. "Oh, okay, fine, one more kiss, one more, okay now get into your class child" but then I'm reminded just how fast she will grow and how she won't always want to kiss me one more time, or even just one time, as we say our morning farewells. I have teenagers, I have learned this the hard way. But right now? Right now, this little blue eyed four year old pretty much thinks I am her whole world and she loves me unconditionally and she doesn't want me to leave her because she is going to actually miss me and so she wants ONE MORE KISS DAMNIT. And wow, that is pretty much a freaking honor if you ask me and I sort of want to cry a little bit just thinking about it, remembering that one day last week when I was rushing and getting annoyed and didn't have the time to stay one second longer and so I impatiently passed her off to her teacher and didn't look back. One day soon she'll be the one brushing me off and I'll be the one left wanting just one kiss. And, cue pregnancy hormones. Phew. 18 weeks already?!

Once Saoirse is settled, I walk around the corner to Miss Susan's classroom where the twins are transitioning into their day. Maija has overseen the hanging of the coats, the unpacking of the book bags and has usually signed them in as well. She greets me and Oisín in the hall, takes him from me and heads downstairs where we'll meet by the coffee cart in a few minutes. I get to spend a few moments in their classroom where they are either having a second breakfast or deciding what work to get out. This morning Nuala was pulling out rugs and setting up the 5 chain, while Oscar was pondering what he might like to start on. Miss Susan came over to him with an idea she had over the weekend and of course he was intrigued and with that I was off. Dropped Maija at her high school, which is about 4 blocks away from their school, and was back home by 8:20am. 

Okay, well, happy Monday. The baby just woke up and wants to read some books. He's currently obsessed with The Wheels On The Bus. Dogs are sooo yesterday, it's all about buses now. And in a few minutes we'll be heading out to go pick little Miss Saoirse from school so that she can have a quick lunch and then get ready to go to her other school for the afternoon. It's sort of a long story and definitely deserves a post of it's own. We sure are asking a lot of her this year, but so far she seems to be handling it very well, even if it means one more kiss again and again and again.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Suddenly Six

 I remember when the doctor told me that I was having twins and I thought he was joking and so I dismissed it and went ahead with the appointment like nothing had happened. I think he was a bit confused by this and so a little while later he back tracked just to make sure I knew he was actually quite serious about the fact that there were two babies growing inside me. I sobbed hysterically, the loud kind, surprising both the doctor and Brendan with my reaction. I wasn't sad though, I was worried. We were there, at a special appointment~ you know the kind you make when something is wrong, because I had been bleeding and was terrified that I was losing the baby. I didn't cry because I was sad about having twins, nope, I did all that ugly face open mouth sobbing because I wanted them. I instantly loved them both and wanted them safe in my arms. Love is a crazy thing that way and such a powerful gift.

We let them each open up one gift before school, it's hard to wait when you're six. Plus, I knew that Nuala would love to wear her new cowgirl boots on the spot and that Oscar would get a kick out of his new pocket telescope and enjoy carrying it with him all day.

Then I made us late for school by requesting some porch pictures, and as you might imagine they were absolutely thrilled by this idea....

I thought I'd give you a quick behind the scenes look at the editing I did. Below is the original shot as it looks straight off the camera.....RAW and untouched aside from a quick retouch stroke to blur out our address. I love seeing/sharing edited pictures, but it's fun sometimes to see "before" pics too.

Next up was a school celebration where we got to sing a song, share some memories of them from when they were little and pass out a birthday treat of homemade pumpkin bread.

Then later in the day I picked them up early and we played hooky so that we could sneak in a little birthday lunch. They ordered mini hamburgers with fruit salad and stole my fries as we sat in our booth joking and telling stories. They are always fascinated with their birth story and how I had to have surgery in order to have them. Nuala gets extra horrified about it and swears up and down that she will never ever have kids. They are still very intent on letting everyone know that Nuala was born first and is a whole minute older than Oscar. So at 12:59pm we made sure to make a big deal about how she was officially turning six right that very moment and then did the same for Oscar a minute later. Of course if I'm going to be completely honest, I actually forgot to watch the clock and missed their exact birth times by over a half an hour, but hey they didn't know it was already 1:32pm when we sat tucked in our corner booth and celebrated their special sixty second birth moments. harm done, right?

Dear Oscar,
I have been thinking about you a lot lately. You have so many gifts, but this year you have really come out of your shell more. It is nice to watch you unfold and relax a little bit since you are usually very serious. You changed schools this year and have been adjusting to the routine of a full day in the classroom. It's a big change from last year and I know it was tough at first but you handled it with grace and dignity and I love that about you.You are reading Redwall on your own right now and seem to enjoy it a lot. Up until this year all of your reading has been mainly non-fiction and so transitioning into chapter books has been a great step for you. It's pretty safe to say that you also enjoy your comics immensely, there is always a well worn Calvin and Hobbs laying around the house somewhere close by. This year has also seen you blossom as an artist, which is an area that you never really expressed too much interest in before. The drawings you come up with now are incredible and it's obvious that you take great pride and care with your work. I can barely keep enough paper in the house because you have so many ideas and love to spend time crafting new pieces. This was such a pleasant and unexpected surprise and I think you really impressed yourself as well. You still love to play dinosaurs with Finn and of course you are very close with both Nuala and Saoirse, but you and Micah have become buddies this year as well. You are very sad when he is at his dad's house for two days every week and keep constant tabs on him, letting me know when he is coming back and just how happy you'll be when he finally does. You are really growing up. I still think of you as my baby but the truth of the matter is that you are no longer a baby, no longer a toddler, hardly even a little kid anymore! No, you are turning into a big kid now and even though there's a place in my heart where you will always be my baby boy, I'm so happy to spend time with the big boy you are becoming. I hope you always know how much I love you and how lucky I feel to be your mom. I still remember the moment we first met and the way my heart practically ached because it was bursting with such incredible joy. Happy sixth birthday my little otter!
Love, mom

Dear Nuala,
Oh my darling girl you are just too much for words sometimes. I don't even know where to begin. I love your determination and your independence. If there is something you want you go for it full steam ahead and figure out how to do it, how to make it, how to write it, how to spell it, how to play it, how to dream it. Whatever it is, you find a way and I truly admire you for this. You have always had a very silly sense of humor and a carefree attitude but this year you have also been so emotional, so compassionate and empathetic towards others. I see this show through not only at home but also at school where you are adjusting very well. You have a love of learning still that I want to help nourish so that it can continue to grow and lead you to great places. Your reading has really taken off this year and it has been a great boost to your confidence, which is so wonderful. You are such a social butterfly and really like to include everyone, which can be a lot in a large family like ours, but it doesn't slow you down. If you're making a card for someone it usually leads to nine more so that everyone gets a treat from you. You're really into games this year too, and so there is a lot of Go Fish and Checkers happening around these parts, but it doesn't matter too much which game it is so long as you can get others to join in the fun. And on top of all these wonderful changes this last year, you also decided to grow a foot, chop all your hair off and get your ears pierced, so it's been an intense year of transformation across the board. I love you so much sweetie, and I hope you always know that the Universe gave me one of the greatest gifts of all time when it lead us to each other and it's a gift that will be treasured always. Noodle, my Noodle, you are loved.
Love, mom

So yeah, now they're six which is WAY too close to 10 as far as I'm concerned but I'm working on living in the moment so we're just going to try and embrace and enjoy six for all that it's worth. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to be fabulous.