Monday, July 29, 2013

No Longer Sappy, Just Sticky.

Remember in my last post how I was reminsicing about my sweet babies and how they're growing without my permission. Well, I'm completely over that today. 100%.

It all started on Thursday night. Chad got home late from work, my parents had dropped off a load of furniture to store here, and everyone was wound WAY up. So bedtimes were like 2+ hours later than they were supposed to be. By the time I crawled into bed, it was about 11:30 which is an hour and a half past my own bedtime. The last sound I remember hearing was the rattle of Chad popping a benadryl because something had gotten to him. That was the last sound for about 4 minutes, when all of a sudden, I hear Jack screaming and wailing. I quickly got him and put him in our bed, and I'm pretty sure it was night terrors of some sort. He was cantankerous and not to be calmed. I finally turned on disney junior and rolled over. About an hour later, his eyes were good and glazed over, so I turned off the tv. He promptly went to sleep right in the middle of my pillow. And from there, all 3 boys were in and out of sleep for the entire night. No one was sick. There was nary a boogie man to be found. Yet they all needed my attention in the middle of the night. The only time I got solid sleep was from 2a-3a. That's an hour folks. That's also about 8 hours less than I normally get/ need.

I should've seen the signs. This is so abnormal that I should've kept us in pj's all day and started a fresh on Saturday. Shoulda, coulda, woulda... that's all I can say about that.

So instead, I got up Friday morning on an hour of sleep, and got the 3 boys dressed. Gabe had gone with his Granny for a week-long staycation to end his summer, so it was just me and the littles. I decided breakfast prep was beyond my abilities and offered up Cracker Barrel instead. But no, they would only hear of donuts, and quite frankly, I wasn't in the mood to coerce about which type of sugar they were going to be getting, so I gave in. The was bad decision #1, because taking a dieting donut lover who is desperately trying to lose baby weight to Krispy Kreme when the light is on is like taking an alcoholic to an open bar. It wasn't pretty.

Next, I ran a few errands- took back a picture to Homegoods, mailed at package at the Post Office, ran to the bank, and fed the baby in the car. None of these are for the faint of heart if you're a mom to a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and a newborn. Namely because of those ages, approximately zero of them can buckle themselves and load themselves in and out of the car. But I had a little touch of "I am woman, hear me roar" and "can't nobody hold me down" going on, and I told these errands what was up!

Then I showed up at the Regal movie theater. (Insert laughter here). The plan was to meet 4 other girlfriends and their 8 children and see "Turbo". We had bought our tickets early, planned to arrive before the show started to potty and get popcorn and were all excited for the show. (It's ok if you're still laughing.) My girlfriend Jolynn who is pregnant with #4, and has a 4 year old, a 3 year old, and an 18 meh old even said to me, "you're lucky you still have one in the carrier". I just nodded and smiled because I was under the impression that this was going to be a good experience. I'm an idiot.

We went our own way when we got into the theater-- going potty while everyone got snacks. By the time we were in the snack line, it was long and my little guys were really excited and running amuck! I ordered a medium popcorn for us all to share,  a medium cherry coke for me and Jack, and a small fruit punch for Max. $17 dollars and 95 pounds of sugar later, we headed into the movie. I had the baby in his carrier on one arm, my diaper bag on the other, a bag of pop corn, and a huge coke in my hands. Max was behind me with his cup, and Jack doing his waltz behind us. But Jack has never been to a movie before. And he's kinda skittish right now. And we entered the theatre once it was already dark and after the loud previews had started... Jack flipped, but I had no hands to help. So I went up to the middle, set the baby down, and then snacks and bags, got Max in his seat and went to rescue Jack. I got him comfortably settled in my lap, the popcorn helped him calm down quickly, the baby was on my right, buckled in, freshly fed and changed and ready for his nap, and Max on my left. I was sweating, but breathed in a sigh of relief- we were here, it was a cute mom-moment, and I was relishing my boys.

This lasted for 4 minutes.

Then the baby, my angel baby who never fusses, lost it. And I don't mean started with an easy fuss and worked his way up-- nope, he freaked! I got him out of his seat and moved to the end of the aisle to bounce as quickly I could... and it didn't help one bit. All of a sudden, the theatre of about 40 people morphed into 400 people and then 4000. I was dying. So I set the baby down on his blanket ON THE STEPS and ran back to my bag that was positioned behind Max to help him sit upright and hold the seat down and grabbed my Moby Wrap. The baby loves to be tied to me and it would certainly put him to sleep. During this, Jack decided he was going to the end of the aisle with me and nonchalantly picked up the full-to-the-top huge cherry coke that happened to be bigger than his head and dropped the entire thing. The whole theatre gasped- all 4 million people, and it had nothing to do with the movie. At this point, I was covered in cherry coke, Jack was covered in cherry coke and very upset that he had nothing to drink and my baby was on the floor at the end of the aisle, screaming his brains out.

I grabbed them as fast as I could and ran out of the movie. Without Max. Without my bag. Without my phone. Without my keys. Without the baby's seat. When I got out in the hall I just prayed that Max was ok and that he didn't feel abandoned although that is what he must certainly was! Now of course he was sitting right behind my girlfriends and his little friends, but he's my shy one who only likes to talk to me, so I just pictured him weeping silently. When I got outside, I put the baby back on the floor, no joke, to put my wrap on, and got the baby in it and waited for his instant settling. It never came. I bounced and walked and swayed and held the paci in his mouth, and still he cried. And honestly, I still have no idea what was going on. I eventually crept back in to check on Max with my still crying baby and saw that he was fine and ran back out. Jack was following along, and really as happy and complacent as could be, even though the circumstances were much less than ideal. We walked up and down every hallway, pointing to movie posters and discussing whether each person had a grumpy face or a happy face. We found squares on the floor to leap over. We used the mirrors on the ceiling to talk to and fake laugh at... and yes, we were the only ones in the whole lobby. The movie started at 11:45 and so at 1p, I asked the ticket attendant when Turbo was going to end, certain that time was almost up. He responded "at 1:35". I almost gave him my baby and left. Forever.

I was stuck. Stuck to the floor because of the cherry coke. Stuck because I had none of the things necessary to get me to my car and back to my house. Stuck because I didn't have my phone to call in back up. And stuck because my first born was still in the theatre (with all of my stuff!) enjoying the movie. I couldn't feed the baby to calm him down because there was no where to sit and no leash to tether Jack to me! I couldn't get the stroller because it was locked in my car.  And I couldn't go back in the theatre for fear of my fellow movie goers who might not appreciate paying for a movie with the soundtrack of a screaming baby to go along with it. If the baby would've calmed down for even just a few minutes, I would've gone in and retrieved everything and ran away. But instead, I had to put my big girl panties on and continue bouncing around an empty movie theatre hoping my baby would fall asleep while trying to entertain a very busy 2 year old.

Finally, with 10 minutes left to the movie, the baby fell asleep. By this time, Jack was beside himself with his need for popcorn and of course I had nothing, so I couldn't buy him anymore and he was dying for a drink. So I decided to tiptoe back in and see what would happen... the baby stayed asleep... Jack got his rations... and I leaned back in the seat just in time to........ see the credits. When the lights came back on, and I collected my stuff, I apologized to Max for leaving him and he said "it's ok, I didn't say one word while you were gone." He also said it was the best movie he had seen yet.

Thanks for rubbing it in.

And as I drove home, I went over ways in my head on how to do it better next time. Where to position people, how to manage. I planned and thought and planned some more. Until it dawned on me. There will NEVER be a next time. I hope everyone enjoyed the last movie they will ever see in the theatre.

And by the way, my shoes are still sticky from the cherry coke incident.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I just left Gabe's new school- he will be going back to public school this fall and I registered him for 5th grade. I'm getting a little sappy over here as all these kiddos are hitting milestones, at the same time. Someone hand mama a brown paper bag, she's about to hyperventilate!

I remember picking Gabe up from kindergarten once a week and he would fall asleep before we were out of the parking lot- like mouth open, drooling, asleep. And now, his feet are bigger than mine, he makes his own bed daily and cleans his own room and bathroom weekly. He does his own bible study each morning, showers and dresses himself, and fixes his own breakfast. And really, that's a brief list. He's 10- that means we're over half way to the point that we'll be dropping him off at college instead of just the school around the corner.

To make matters worse, I came home and got to work on my to do list, which included making Max's 4 year check up. That's right, my baby Max is turning 4 next month. And really, he's just grown up so much all of a sudden. His brain, thinking process, and communication are that of a little boy, no longer a toddler. There is very little chub on his body- come to think of it, there may not be any left... I've been examining his legs and feet lately, and there just so long and lean, that I can't stand it. He is still my little buddy, and wants to go wherever I go, but the problem is that he's just not as little as he used to be.

And all of this happened the same week Jack put on undies for the first time. We are at the very beginning of the potty training process with him. I learned like 57 million things from the last time I did this, so I'm in no hurry, I'm not following any dumb formula, and I refuse to lose my mind over it. But seeing my little man in undies KILLS me! It's so grown up. As I looked through the pictures on my phone this morning, it just rubbed it in... at the beginning of May, Jack was my baby- this is a picture Chad sent me when him and Jack were running errands 2 days after baby Sam was born...

And then here is my little man now. 

How can one baby lose all the chub and grow up in less than 3 months? He's like 2 going on 10. And he is DELECTABLE! 

And speaking of baby, as if I didn't have enough milestones in the past 48 hours to send me into the fetal position, I started breaking the baby's swaddle, his little cacoon of safety, bit by bit. Saying goodbye to my sweet Paco Taco is rough. It feels like it marks the end of the newborn stage. Please, no! Do you know what that means? Sam's heading right on over to the baby stage and before I know it, he'll be bouncing in his jumparoo. And I did the math the other day- he's been here for 84 days. That's a big number but in my heart, it's only been like 5 minutes and I just can't get enough of him.

It's such a blessing to be in this place, with these healthy and happy boys, all hitting wonderful milestones. I know that it is all a gift from God. But that doesn't mean that I'm happy about the pace. If I could, I'd freeze time and drink all of this in a little longer. So boys, from here, let's do these things one at a time... with about 10 years in-between to give me time to adjust, ok my little men? Mama isn't a tough as she likes to think!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm In Trouble, BIG Trouble!

So I realized recently that I'm in trouble in a big way. I always text my mom about things that happen in these parts and she's responded more than once with a "I can't wait for the blog on that one". And the fact that "it" was blog worthy, never even crossed my mind until she mentioned it. Did you catch that this has happened multiple times. I really must be going numb to the boys, their liveliness and (mis)adventures! It appears to be normal, daily life, when it reality, the things I've been encountering are  anything but!

Here's a list that is in no way comprehensive or exhaustive, but it should give you a taste of "normal"these past weeks...

I regularly hear myself say things like "if you want to stand on Mommy, take your shoes off" and "don't drive trucks or motorcycles on the baby." If I had a nickle for each time I told Jack not to yell, I'd be rich-- his volume level include ear piercing, brain rattling, and asleep.

Max regularly starts a sentence with "Hey Mommy, can you come here? I peed on the wall because..." and honestly the ending doesn't matter. There is never a good reason, son, never. Why is it so hard to hit the bowl? It's like 1000 times bigger than the pee stream.

The other day, I was fixing water bottles for the boys and noticed something in Jack's lid- like the spout that lifts up and attaches to the straw. I always take them a part to wash each thing separately, so it was like peanut butter had gotten up in there. I couldn't think of how, but I took it apart again nonetheless to examine and it was a ROACH that had crawled up in there and died. Either Jack would've been drinking roach water or he would've sucked it into his mouth. Gives me the hee-bee jeebeez!

Max and Jack now share a room which could basically be an entertainment show each night. This includes jumping on beds, diving into the corners, cackling, singing every song they know at the top of their lungs, and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" multiple times and at multiple speeds. It also includes different "levels" of night time... at first, the rule is no screaming (this is for Jack, mainly.) And then within 20 minutes or so, we go back in and add on level 2... keep your head on the pillow... and then before too long level 3: no talking. But really, fun with your brother is worth any cost, so it also usually includes a spanking or two for each boy. Now we can see them on the monitor and watch their every move and Jack can go from having a ball, the time of his life really, to flat on his back yelling "I no want spanking" in under .002 seconds at the mere sound of the door knob twisting. And how am I supposed to keep a straight face?

I've been working out again, post-baby, doing BeachBody's Focus T-25, and Jack likes to sit with me while I do it. I literally cannot breathe and he's offering me apple sticks, doing squats and giving a loud "whew" each time I'm sucking wind and moaning.

At least once a week, I cook dinner with the baby tied to me in his moby wrap and do all kind of yoga maneuvers to make sure nothing hot comes near him. I also get "help" with my bible study each day and even managed to get a special drawing in my bible when I wasn't looking. I tried to discipline and reinforce that we draw only on paper, not books, but let's be honest, this page will be my favorite in about 20 years when my nest is empty! I've recently said "aw man, the baby has toothpaste in his hair" and in one lunch, fed Gabe a completely pizza from Pizza Hut and an entire protein shake with a banana and OJ, and it was only then that he was full.

Gabe also found a frog of some sort in the back yard and it was their pride and joy for about 24 hours. They put him in the baby pool on our back porch and constantly had their hands in that water... and then came in my house flinging them all over the place like I don't have OCD or something. Hello boys... keep your frog germs outside lest you want your momma to lose it! And so what did they do after this lecture? Came in with frog hands to the paper towel roll, rubbed their hands all over the whole thing, before tearing off a tiny towel. Is this sanitary? The proceeded to name the frog "Toady" and spoke often of him, until Gabe noticed that he was "taking a stiff nap"... oops, they killed the little thing. Darn.

There are balls flying about 24/7, indoors, often coming off of a bat and I get hit at least once a day. At least one boy also gets a bump or bruise worthy of an ice pack daily as well. Blood is present more than I'd like to admit. These are things that once would've caused me to panic, and now, when I hear "the scream" it doesn't even do a number on my blood pressure. I get there when I can, ice in hand, and dole out kisses as necessary, and off we go, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Gabe gets hung up semi-regularly on "keeping score" with his brothers so I asked him to make a list of the responsibilities of being 10 versus the rewards of being 10... I was trying to point out that while he may have more chores and have to fix his own breakfast, that he got to go to his friends house without me, have sleepovers, stay home alone, etc... but in his eyes, the rewards for being 10? Getting to read chapter books and not having to take naps. Hilarious!

So as I sit here and search my brain and text messages for reminders of all these funny things that are happening around me daily, things that I want to remember in 20 years although the seem like no big deal now adays, and as I get nervous that these things don't even phase me anymore, I can't help but also point out the things that will get me each and every time... I will never get over pudgy baby hands... I will never not appreciate "Mommy hold Jack"... I will never get over hearing any of the boys utter the best phrase ever, "I love you, Mommy"... Max will outgrow our naps times and hand holding long before I will, and hearing the boys tell each other "You're my best pal" will melt me every. single. time. Looking at their faces while they sleep will always be one of my favorite pastimes and just listening as they all play together and giggle will always be music to my hears. Watching Gabe, Max, and Jack scramble to find a paci the second Sam begins to fuss will always cause my heart to swell, and driving my extra full minivan will always be a source of pride and joy.

I may be growing numb... moreso each day... and the mud and muck is just a part of this life. But I can assure you that raising these boys, being entrusted with their hearts, being chosen as their mom, well now that is my treasure, my gift from God, and I will NOT get over it- it WILL get me every time. Man, I LOVE BEING A MOM.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

House Guests

Chad's brother, his wife, and their two teenagers arrived at our house last Sunday night and stayed until yesterday. And you know what they say about house guests...
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days. -Benjamin Franklin 
Well in this case, that was completely NOT true. Which really, to have that many people in our house- half big grown people and half little high maintenance people, is more than amazing. Now if you've ever been a house guest of ours, don't take this personally, but they are my favorite house guests I've ever had! Let me explain:

First of all, it doubled the amount of capable people in the house who love our boys. And it also doubled the entertainment. My boys always had a playmate and I always had help. Like I was left standing wondering what to do with my hands multiple times. That never happens to me. My arms are always full of babies, their stuff, their clothes, their food, their bags, and countless other items. I didn't push a stroller, clean the kitchen, load 47 children into the car, or have to pitch a baseball once all week. Technically it was their vacation, but I'm certain I got the better end of the deal! My kitchen was always cleared and cleaned after meals and I was never involved in the process, I had help with laundry, they helped clean up the playroom multiple times, and they even provided us with lots of donuts... my love language :)

We went to the food trucks for dinner, we had a day at the big aquatic center, we went to the grand opening of the new outlet mall, we spent the day at Stone Mountain, shopped downtown, there was LOTS of baseball and comics and beyblades, and we ate a lot! Guess that's what happens when you have a family consisting of mostly boys! Chad and Jeff fished a couple times, Zach went on the hunt of skate parks but never really found any that were open, Carrie got to see an old friend at Fort Gordon in Augusta and we even played at the kid park some. The only thing we (I!) forgot to do was to take pictures of all this as it happened, bummer!

We truly had such a great visit and all of my boys are convinced that the other Bowmans should move to Georgia. I explained that their jobs were in Texas to which Max decided that Uncle Jeff could certainly drive a police car in Georgia and that we had lots of cakes for Aunt Carrie... the simplicity of little minds :) We finally reached some peace when Gabe explained that they had to go back to Texas to see Grandma and Grandpa and Max and Jack decided that they'd be ok with that if necessary. 

Thanks for the visit Bowmans, we miss y'all already!

Friday, July 5, 2013

2 months already!

We need to freeze this baby right where he is! I've said this with all my babies, but Sam's first few months are flying even faster than the others! And I wanted them to slow down, so he needs to just freeze altogether for like a year. Seriously, I'd like him to be just like he is for another year or two. Anybody know anything about making that possible?

Sam is such an easy baby, filled with smiles and coos- he loves being held and cuddled but will sit just fine in his swing or bouncy seat when I need my hands. He's a great napper- even if the naps are on the go- and an even better night time sleeper-- we're talking at least 9-10 hours at night without eating, whaaaa??!! He sleeps swaddled tightly in his swaddle blanket and he also sleeps on his side most of the time, in a positioner. He really wanted to sleep on his tummy, but I'm too much of a rule follower/ worrier for that, so I opted for the "middle" which was side sleeping. I really do have a lot of fear around SIDS but I know it's not something I can control- I just have to do what I decide is best for my baby and trust the LORD. I know it it my head, it's just easier said than done! Anyway, he is starting to sleep on his back more, but before I know it, it will be time to break the swaddle and he'll probably find a way to end up on his tummy anyway, ha! He also sleeps with a sound machine, as all the boys still do, which is primarily so they will keep sleeping despite house noises and brother noises... which are at a high in these parts all the time! And he is my most hot-natured child to date and sleeps with his fan going and his room really chilly. It makes me happy too... wonder where he got that? :)

Sam's hair is always a conversation starter... mainly because he has so much of it and it's stark white AND it tends to stick straight up or out, depending on the day! If we let it get dirty enough, it will lay down, or if Jack gives him enough sloppy kisses then that seems to do the trick too. But I do love running my hand over his head and smelling him and just altogether nuzzling his head, so I can't say I blame Jack :) Jack is still the most affectionate with the baby, always wanting to see him and "hold it" and "Kiss" "one more" etc.... and this is multiple times a day and has not let up since birth! Max is great with the baby, very helpful and loves to be "put in charge" while I run to do something. He always tells me that he will take care of Sam and then he's quick to bring him his paci or find it in the swing if it's popped out. Gabe isn't all over the baby like the other two, but when no one's paying attention, he chats with the baby and is on paci brigade in the car. Really, Gabe has no tolerance for the baby crying so always wants to jump out of his seatbelt to fix the problem, but I won't let him unless we're stopped which is hard on him! But again, there is not an inhabitant in this house that doesn't ohh and ahhh over the baby- he's quite popular in these parts!

Sam's typical schedule starts around 7am when he eats, and then goes straight back to bed. Then he eats at 9am, noon, 3p, 6p, and 9p each day. About an hour after each feeding, he heads for a 2 hour nap, except for the 6p feeding, when I don't let him nap, although he'd like to! He may doze in our arms or in his swing, but no more than 20 minutes before I move his position just because I don't want it to get to a deep sleep. He gets a bath around 8:30 every night and then some cuddles and whispers from me or Chad until his last feeding. He is such a doll baby that just typing this makes me excited for bed time tonight- ah, love him! I am trying to move his bedtime up a little bit, without dropping any feedings because he still needs to eat 6 times a day, but I haven't figured out the best way to do that yet-- especially because we're all so used to these feed times, it makes it easy. It's hard to mess with something that's working so well!

Sam is slowly but surely outgrowing all his newborn clothes too! I really need to pack up a bin and get out the next, but I'm delaying as much as possible- I just need this baby to stop growing. On his 2 month day, we went to his pediatrician for his well check. He was perfect and they oogled him as expected :) Unfortunately, when you are well, that also means you get shots- boo. I have yet to do the vaccines the same way for any of the boys, but won't get into all that! Basically- I just do what I have decided is best at the time, for each of them. I am all in favor of vaccines, I just spread them out a little here and there and opt to wait until later on a few, etc... and we have a great doctor who talks through it all with me and helps me arrive at my decision. Here are Sam's stats from the visit:

Height: 22 3/4 (almost 75th percentile)
Weight: 11 lbs 3oz (50th percentile)
Head: 40cm (50th percentile and our smallest head to date in the family!)

Compared to Jack who was 10 lbs and 12oz and 21.7 inches at his 2 month appointment, and Max who was 11 lbs 15oz and 22.75 inches long. Jack is our little guy, but he was also 5 weeks early and had actually doubled his birth weight by 2 months!

Oh our dear Sam- we love you like crazy and the addition that you are to our family is perfection! You have melted me in way I didn't know was possible and I thought your brothers had already taking care of this completely. I love how my heart always has enough room to love a whole new person completely and crazily! I love talking with you and how my face makes you smile always- I wish I could clone you and pass you around to anyone having a bad day, you would cheer them up instantly! I'm so grateful that God gave me you- you are a gift! I love you more than you'll ever know, and that's true of your Daddy too! But what's even truer and bigger and perfect is God's love for you- I can't wait to tell you all about as you grow! Happy 2 months my baby Sam!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Quick Rewind

So about 2 weeks ago, Chad went on a mission trip for a week-- lots of things happened that needed to make the blog but he warned me not to post anything anywhere about him being gone so I basically remained silent for the week. All I could think was that if I posted something, I might accidentally post something about being a single mom or something and then the boogey man would read it and come sneak into our house in the middle of the night and I'd be all "seriously? I'm so tired, come back later." But he wouldn't so I'd be grumpy and wow, it was just too much. So I chose silence and picture-less instead.

So let's rewind. On Monday of that week, we dropped Gabe at Camp Highland in Ellijay, GA. It's the camp I worked at years ago and let's just say it has gotten quite the facelift from my days! BUT still the same great stuff and same great God working and moving there. He was SO nervous about it- it was his very first time at an overnight thing like that and it was for a whole week- Monday to Saturday- but I pushed because I knew he'd love it and that's exactly what happened! When I picked him up on Saturday, he was exhausted and hoarse and said three things to me immediately:
1) I can't believe it's already been a week, I feel like I've been here for like 2 days
2) When I come back next year.... yadda yadda
3) Can I go to sleep as soon as we get in the car?

It was a hit! And anytime we're on a woodsy road Jack shouts "Gabe, had fun at camp?" And we all says "yes Jack, Gabe had fun at camp" in that for the "1000 millionth time tone".

So it was just me and the younger 3 for the week. I knew that dinner would consist of cereal, mac n' cheese, and the likes, and that Max would sleep with me all week which would make bedtime much easier, and I set my goals really low for the week- for instance: feed the children. Keep them alive. Have some fun. And we achieved all my goals.

On Monday, Maddie, the family dog from my childhood who has lived with us for the past while got old and sick really quick, like overnight, so we had to put her to sleep. I am not/ was not attached to her at all and yet is still made me so sad I couldn't even stop thinking about it. My brother was so sad- she was his dog- and my mom, too. Oh- I am SO bad at loss- and it's not even my heart-- blah! Remind me to avoid feeling that way- I'll stick with joy and butterflies and giggles- I'm way better at that.

On Tuesday our church has mother's morning out- the first one ever- and it was just because and for free. Um, now that's the kind of joy I was referring to! Max and Jack were stoked to go play and made sure I understood I was to leave- funny. It was nice running errands and only loading the baby in and out. That afternoon, my mom came and kept al 3 boys and I even left her a bottle for the baby (I've never been away that long!) but it was for a great cause... getting my hair did! I had hombre going and not the kind you pay for... um, skunk roots! Then we met Danielle and her kiddos for dinner- Matt was on the same trip with Chad and she was doing the single mom thing as well.

Then on Wednesday, a skating rink near our house had what's called "Tiny Tots" which is only for 5 year olds and younger and they get to bring their own riding toys and take over the place and ride all over the skating rink. It was so great because the set up meant I actually got to sit and chill and chat with mom friends because they boys were loving it and right out on the floor in front of me. They're doing another next month and we will SO be there!

I have decided that this is the week that I'm going to move Jack to his new bed in Max's room- it's a big room so they both have their own beds in their now- and then move the baby out of our room into the nursery. My reason for doing it this week was to surprise Chad- he isn't a fan of the sound machine and baby noises in our room and plus, I was going to bed when the baby did in our room which meant Chad had to tiptoe to bed whenever he was ready- kinda like he was a visitor in his own room. Well Jack had done great all week and was so proud of his big bed and so it was time to move the baby. But I was DREADING it. Mainly because he's such a cute and easy baby and since I'm not going back to work, I just don't give a rat's patootie about his schedule or if he wakes me up or if he wants me to hold him all day, so I was LOVING him in our room. I loved his noises and just watching him and smelling him, and oh yummy. But I did it nonetheless. Aren't you proud? Well his first night in his crib was Wednesday which also happened to be the first night in his entire life that he woke up twice in one night to eat. Which reminded me why moms of newborns are tired. Once a night after pregnancy is seriously no big deal, but twice, umm, things get a little more hairy...blurry... foggy! So Thursday is when things get a little interesting. Mainly because I'm sleepy and this was my day that had a plan that mattered...

My mom was coming to get Max and Jack for the night because I needed to clean my house and decorate for a 30th surprise party... Danielle's 30th surprise party... the same Danielle I was hanging out with and checking in with all week... I was SO nervous she was going to stop by so I faked exhaustion and a 7pm bedtime and went to work. And all afternoon and evening as I worked like crazy, pausing to feed the baby every 3 hours, I just laughed at myself. When I just has Max, I could seriously get NOTHING done. It was not an act or perceived- it was just how it was. I could take care of a baby. That's it. But now, after living in my world that includes a big ole' bushel of boys, a whole afternoon and evening with only the baby produced incredible results-- I'm talking deep cleaning, mopping of floors and wiping of baseboards, dusting, vacuuming, and lots of decorating! After confirming with Danielle that she was staying over night at her parent's Thursday night, I even hung the decor and started setting out stuff on the tables, knowing that Friday I'd be busy retrieving my boys from my moms and Saturday we'd be picking Gabe up from camp... perfection.

Friday morning I continued working and cleaning and doing the last grocery run for the party- Danielle is a very loved lady so the party we going to include about 45 of her favorite people including kiddos. I had made lists and lists about my list and by Friday afternoon, everything was basically checked off except for the things that had to be done on Sunday. That afternoon, I drove to my parents for dinner and got Max and Jack and we headed home. I pulled in the driveway in time to put everyone straight to bed which was totally on purpose so that my house could stay in tip top shape. And I collapsed into bed too, exhausted, as well.

Saturday morning we had to hurry out of the house to pick up Gabe. YAY-- another way to keep the house clean :) I fed them an easy, neat breakfast and we were off.  Now, to tell the truth, this part of the week got a bit rough- I'm not sure if it was because I was loading all the boys in and out and driving 3+ hours round trip, retrieving luggage and trying to feed a baby on his schedule, in public, while keeping the others alive and well, or if it was just because I was ready for Chad to be home, but I started wearing down. We had to eat lunch on the way home and got home just in time for naps... which left me only 24 more hours of keeping that house "ready" before the party. At this point, Danielle and I were planning to get together so I just had all these reasons why I had to get out of the house to make sure she didn't suggest playing at our house for the evening. Thankfully, it worked, and the plan was to meet at the park with dinner, let everyone play, and celebrate her last evening in her 20's, It was delightful, for the most part, with the exception of some bugs and a heat stroke while I had to feed the baby, but I'm not complaining, because once again, we made it to another sleep session without messing up my house!

Sunday morning included church, a great balloon pickup... I'm talking 4 boys, a mom, 30 latex balloons and 2 mylar balloons in one minivan. We were all laughing and giggling so hard, I had tears coming down my face. There was some lunch and then more naps and when we got up, CHAD WAS HOME!!!!!! Par-tay!

And then it was time for the actual party! It went off without a hitch... well except for the part where we left the garage door open to "look natural" and so they came in that door like all friends would, but the party guests were all posed by the front door for the surprise- oops!

We had such a wonderful time celebrating such a great friend- I loved every second of the prep and the party. She is such a joy to be around, I'm so grateful that God crossed our paths!

All in all the week was a great success- I enjoyed low key time with my boys and was totally fine on that front, I just missed Chad like crazy at the end of each day, because, hello, he's my person and who was I supposed to talk to?? It's really weird when you're used to knowing the in's and out's of a person's day, and then all of a sudden it's like you live separate lives for 7 days! I also always have great help/ relief/ back up from my mom- the world's best grandmother, so it's not like I'm ever roughing it by any means! So by the time Chad and Gabe got back home, we were super ready, but the nice part was that we weren't run down-- and that's a good thing, because after the party on Sunday evening, a new week started again bright and early the next day!