Getting My Sh*t Together

So I was all proud of myself that I made a daily schedule to keep with the kids, thinking they’d be less destructive and, well, obnoxious, if they were busier and tired out. I hadn’t done a thing with it past creation, until yesterday, when Brian asked me, “so when are you going to start that schedule with the kids?” Part of me wanted to tell him to shut up, but a larger part of me knew I needed a kick in the butt to get going! So I bit my tongue, and answered “tomorrow. ” And so I did! I kept the Excel spreadsheet on my laptop so I could reference it throughout the day. The first part of the day consisted of breakfast, getting dressed and getting Easton on the bus. The next half hour was for cleaning up, emptying the dishwasher and starting the laundry. After that, I brought out the dot markers, and printed out some free fall- themed dot pages for the kids. They did some beautiful work! Thank you to The Resourceful Mama!

Next was the dreaded music time. Shockingly the transition was smooth and I brought out the instruments next. (Tip: Keep earplugs in the box too!)

Here’s what we have:

Melissa & Doug Band-in-a-Box Clap! Clang! Tap! – 10-Piece Musical Instrument Set https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00005RF5C/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_q6r6zbFBH8KF9

Thankfully music time ended before a migraine began, and it was snack time! I had a special snack planned! Fall Snack Mix! Each kid had one ingredient, and they took turns adding them to the bowl, then they mixed it up. We used Chex Party Mix, mini marshmallows, peanut M&M’s in fall colors and chocolate chips. Another big thanks to The Resourceful Mama for this idea!

Getting to eat the snack was the motivation they needed to finish yesterday’s chore they refused to do, so they cleaned up the backyard in record time to enjoy a bowl of the snack mix they made.

By then it was time to bring the chalk outside to draw on the driveway and play tag with Daddy while we waited for Easton’s bus.

Then it was back inside for homework time for Easton. So I quickly photocopied letter tracing pages for the other 4 and we all sat around the table together. They love homework!

That brought us to lunch, and then quiet time with Easton’s iPad. The kids love watching their big brother play Minecraft!

We had a 3:15pm meet up scheduled to purchase a bookshelf off the Letgo app, so we left early as bc went to a big park that was on the way. It has a great playground, and even a small zoo!

Off to our meeting, where we scored a dollhouse bookshelf for 30 bucks! I think that’s worth a half hour trip!

Then some traffic on the way home, but thank goodness for the tv in the van and the Barbie Spy Squad movie! (Yes, they all love Barbie movies!)

The kids wanted to make paper hearts and decorate them with stickers when we got home. I agreed, feeling optimistic. Big mistake! After the hearts were done, there was sixty minutes of “cleaning up”, tears, yelling, marker on the wall, bits of paper everywhere and a broken pair of scissors.

And one frustrated mama.

It’s clear that the late afternoon/early afternoon time period needs some adjustment. The kids are tired, and not quite cooperative. Any suggestions?

Aside from the latter part of the day, though, I think it went really well! Putting more structure in our day really made a difference for all of us. With a little more tweaking, I think this can really help reduce the destruction and frustration!

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Changing my Ways

Well…the behavior of the children, detailed in my last post , got better, then a little worse, and then we had a couple days of pure torture. Like, questioning my life choices and parenting skills kinda torture.

Ready for this? I really thought we couldn’t sink lower, but these boys, they know how to be boys!! My oldest child, who shall remain nameless, decided to go #2 in the flowerbed. It didn’t all make it into the flowerbed. Fun times washing out pants (because the kid wasn’t wearing underwear of course) and giving him an impromptu shower. Immediately following this mind-blowing event, the younger kids were investigating the crime scene, and my older little girl stepped in the mess.

What else…let’s see…oh yes. My DARLING quad boys have continued their work redecorating their room. Their mediums of choice? A large DUMP on the rug, one on the shelf, a drizzling of pee, accented by stolen address labels and forever stamps placed “just so” on their bunk beds, and finally, the pies de resistance, sprinkling the floor with chunks of the inside of their memory foam mattress.

Sadly this isn’t even the extent of the crap. It’s just never-ending, every time I turn my back, another catastrophe happens. My head spins with lots of curse words, and phrases like “What the hell is wrong with you?” and “What the f*@#% are you thinking?” Sometimes these things come out. Please don’t judge me. Sometimes I just sit on the toilet and cry.

So needless to say, life has been pretty stressful lately. 6 & 4 are not my friends so far. Here I was thinking it all would get better after the Threenagers turned four, but little did I know the shit was all going to hit the fan instead.

Something had to change. Many things probably had to change. We had taken away everything from the offenders, toys, tv, beds, nightlight, snacks. It didn’t seem to matter. So I reached out to my fellow SuperMoms, my Quad Moms and More Facebook group. I was (selfishly) hoping that my kids weren’t actually spawns of Satan, and that maybe this was a somewhat normal phase. I was also hoping for suggestions on how to deal with it.

I got a suggestion to use a jar for each kid, and use a system of warnings to lead them up to an activity they have trouble complying with. For example, “in 30 minutes we will clean up and go to the table for lunch.” Then a five minute warning. Then finally the time comes to comply and they get a candy in their jar if they do so nicely.

So off I trotted to the store today to buy the cutest mason jars, which I labeled with their names, and some candy to start with. I sat them down and explained to them the whole process. They were excited! So we decided to start today. A couple hours later, not a whole lot of success, but fingers are crossed and hopes are up that they will embrace it.
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I also busted out my Excel Spreadsheet skills, and created a weekly schedule to add more structure to their day, as well as activities to tire them out more. I’m not usually great at sticking to a schedule like this, but at least I have a guideline for what to do. I know that some days I’m just not going to feel like doing certain things like hiking!

I’m really hoping that these things, plus time, will get us through this phase. Otherwise, you may find my next post sent from a secluded beach hiding spot.

On a more personal front, I’ve been working on improving myself as well. I’ve started a ketogenic diet, which is essentially low carb, moderate protein and high fat. It’s helped me to lose 10 of the pounds that have slowly been creeping up on me in the last 15 years. I plan to blog more about that, but I just wanted to share that it’s worth checking into if you are looking to work on your health. I of course recommend starting as I did, with a professional dietician, who can help you safely navigate this new way of eating. I’m also beginning to add back in exercise to help build strength and endurance. My goal is to play indoor soccer this winter, which I’m so excited for, after 2 years off for a concussion.

That’s probably it for now. I do have lots more to share so this might become my personal journal, a way of releasing the stress. Haha I’ll throw it all at you!!!

I feel bad leaving this post without giving you pictures of the rugrats…

 

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And my big kindergartener Easton!!

This is Real Life

I’m walking back and forth in my bedroom, not able to think of what I’m supposed to be doing right now. I feel the anxiety bubbling up inside of me, wanting to be released as a primal scream or outright sobs. I’m on the edge and afraid of going over. I feel a need to put this down on pen and paper, so to speak, so here goes.

Here’s how life has been going…

Brian has been travelling a lot for work. Like away for a week, home for a few days, and away for another week. That’s really not too bad a thing; I can cope. But compound the everyday life stresses that I have, with the extraordinarily awful behavior of five little kids, and it’s a recipe for breakdowns.

I started out ok; I planned activities for each day to hopefully tire them out and make some memories. We went to parks, out to lunches, hiking, friend’s houses and had so much fun. But whenever we are home, it is out of control. They are crazy. They climb, throw, beat eachother up, ignore me, argue with me, destroy things. It’s like full-moon kids every day of the month.

So after a few days of being out and about, it’s all caught up with me and I was hoping we could hang out around the house and have a lazy day today. I’m exhausted, mentally and physically. But the kids weren’t having that. I let them goof off while I sorted through the playroom. I had that room all organized and purged! Seriously, within an hour, they had trashed it again. Nothing was working to get them to clean up. Their idea of cleanup was throwing toys at eachother. I offered to take them to the park if they’d clean up. No dice. So this went on for hours today. Everything they asked me for, I said “Yes, if you clean up the playroom.” So they got nothing this afternoon. No snacks, no park, no shows, no video games, no kindles. Mommy decided to empty the playroom. Maybe that would sink in. I really don’t know what else to do.

FINALLY, bedtime approached and I tried to use video time to get them to clean up and get in their jammies. Apparently, this translates to “Hit eachother with your jammies and practice acrobatics on the furniture.” Holy crap. At this point, I’m like almost in tears and I can feel the shakes coming on.

I just said, “Get your jammies and everyone go to your bedrooms.” Despite cries and attempts to convince me otherwise, I got them all in their rooms, and started to bring them one by one to brush their teeth and use the bathroom. The little boys I locked in their room to get changed.

I have to share the next sequence of events leading to this moment because, well, I just have to. It’s rather unbelievable.

Easton leaves the bathroom and goes into the boys’ room. As I’m bringing Emerson to her room, I go into the boys’ room. Brody is naked, Deacon is half naked, and Easton is telling me that Brody peed on his bed. Sure enough, there’s pee on the mattress. Brody peed off the top bunk onto the bed on the floor. Holy crap. I drag the mattress into the hallway, telling them they could sleep on the floor, after sending Easton to his room.
As I’m leaving their room again, Brody says “There’s poop on my hand!” After a brief investigation, I find poop also on the bedframe, where he had evidently sat to pee off the bunk. Holy crap. I walk him to the bathroom to wash his hands, while i grab Clorox wipes to wipe the railing. I strip the bed and when Brody comes back, I lay their blankets on the floor and tell them to go to get in their jammies and go to bed.
I go downstairs, let the dogs out, and there’s crying and banging on their door. I go up and Deacon can’t find his jammies. Which are in plain sight.
Ok, back downstairs I go to pour a glass of wine. More crying and calling for Mommy. Brody can’t find his diaper.
Downstairs again. Back upstairs after more calling. “Deacon broke his bed mom.” He had jumped on the Wooden board that sits under the matress and broken it. Holy crap. I wish I could remove the bunk beds right now. But I can’t do that by myself.
Once again I go downstairs and take my wine and phone outside on the front porch for quiet time. Not two minutes go by before there’s more crying. “Mom we want to brush our teeth!” No! Because I’m just THAT pissed by now. But logic prevailed and I took them to the bathroom.
So finally they are back in their bedroom, door locked, and I’m back on the front porch, trying to calm down. I keep checking by the open window for noise, and I see a kid shape running by. Easton is looking for me because he needs a hug.
Ok, sitting back down, drinking the wine, listening for noise. See the boys’ door open. Back upstairs, to find Brody asleep and Deacon not there. Sure enough, Deacon and Easton are in the bathroom. Deacon is squeezing half a tube of toothpaste into the cup. Holy crap. Curses fly. “Deacon did it!!” “But you let him out of his room! He wouldn’t have done it if you didn’t let him out!” “Oh.”
Back outside, downing the wine, wondering if I can hold it together until Brian comes home (hopefully) tomorrow. Googling a therapist who accepts my insurance. Fielding suggestions from my husband to break out the belt with the kids. Um no. Not my thing.
Trying to figure out better coping methods than wine. Feeling disappointed that my healthy diet went off track and I had to suspend my workout schedule. Planning out how I can get back on the wagon with those things. Deciding if I should suck it up and pay the expensive babysitting fees for some peace.
I decide on a refill of wine and a shower. But first, a blog post to let it all out…

Never a dull moment…

So Brian and I got away for a couple days for my friend’s wedding, which was awesome.  The hard part was transporting the girls to my parent’s house, which is almost two hours, then going to our hotel one hour back. The next day was a drive back and forth to the salon, the ceremony and finally landing at the lodge for the reception, where we conveniently had a room for the night. The next day we had to drive back out to my parent’s house to pick up the girls, and then the almost two hours home. It was a lot of running around, but worth it for a couple days away to see one of my best friends get married!

You can tell by our happy faces!!

But what do we come home to? Brody has what looks like a swollen, painful lymph node in his armpit and what appears to be a bullseye rash around it. Yep, the next morning his pediatrician confirmed Lyme Disease. That’s a scary thing to hear! Especially hearing he needs 21 days of antibiotics. Luckily he seems no worse for the wear, and hopefully the meds do their job.


As if that isn’t bad enough, the next morning Emerson woke up throughout the night with ear pain, and threw up a couple times in the morning. And she is not the best sick person! Trying to recover as a family from the weekend, unpack, clean up and reorganize, all on crappy sleep, is tough. The kids have been in cuddle mode all week, fighting over positions next to or on me.

Ems was feeling better later that day. I think I found the secret miracle cure for ear pain!! We’ve used drops of olive oil in the ear the last few ear aches we’ve had, and the pain is always gone within a day. Combine that with Ibuprofen, and the kids are up and running around before we know it. Try it! Let me know if it works for you too!

So needless to say we had a low-key 4th of July, and a slow short week. Never a dull moment!!

My baby graduated!

Easton is officially moving on to kindergarten! I’m so proud of him! 

He asked if we could have a party, so off to Party City we went for some decorations and party stuff. The menu he selected was pancakes and fruit salad. Love this kid!

It was a big party day for us because at 9am we went to his graduation and school party, and we were back again at 12:05 for the younger kids’ performance and party! Then it was home for our party there with some cousins!



After that, of course, we had to roll down the hill one last time!

All of my babies did a great job this year. We are looking forward to next year!!

My little boy is getting so big!

Today I took my first-born, my Easton, to kindergarten orientation! I can’t believe it! I’m so excited for him to take his next step.

He’s been pretty apprehensive about going, and I didn’t know what to expect when we went this morning. The kids were going to the classrooms, while the parents went to the multi-purpose room. Some kids were crying, and there were some lengthy goodbyes. 

Not my kid though! My big boy heard his classroom called, gave me a hug, said, “bye mom!” And off he went down the hall by himself!  Rather than being upset at the lack of tears, I was so proud of my boy at that moment! I know he will be fine, and we’ve done our job of raising him to be secure and confident enough to part from us.

After an hour and a half we meet back up again and got to take a ride around town in a school bus! 

He was so excited!!!

He may be growing up, but he’ll always be my baby!