February 2016

S.O. and I have decided it’s time to take the family on a weekend vacation.  Keeping in mind that we have a limited budget and limitless children, we picked Chicago.  It is within easy driving distance, it has free museum weekends, and we never have managed to all get to Chicago as a family before.  Ever.

Even a weekend trip is not easy with seven kids.  Only five of the seven are going. One could not (one would not) get the time off.  So we are only going to have 5 kids with us.  Sounds easy enough.  If two of those kids were not toddlers.  With short attention spans.  And small bladders.  I will not have to worry about the teenagers, they have smart phones and tablets to keep themselves occupied during the drive.  Until they die.  The electronics, not the kids obviously.

Finding the hotel was easy-ish.  I relied on adult friends to tell me which hotels were kid friendly and budget friendly.  I think that some of my friends must have way more disposable income than me because the idea of a hotel that is only $256 a night and includes a free breakfast is not budget friendly.   One of our friends had the brilliant idea to use a hospital discount.  As in, we say that we are in town because a family member, child, or spouse is in the hospital and therefore you get a discount.  Forgive me Father, but I have committed many sins and lying to get a hotel room at a hospital discount just seems sketchy even by my standards.   Found a great hotel within budget and not in the south side or Gary, Indiana.  Score!

I tried to be organized.  I really did.  I had all intentions of having a printed itinerary  for our trip, looking up Groupon deals for restaurants, having everything packed and ready two days before the trip including semi healthy snacks.

But than life happened.  We had a snow storm which meant the children got to be home with Mommy for the day.  No work done.  I had a math final due.  No trip planning.  My S.O. took a day off to go to doctors appointment and in general mess up my routine.  Definitely no trip planning done.

Here it is, the day before our trip.  And I sit typing this out because I actually did get packing done.  I had to do about 5 loads of laundry to accomplish it, but it is done.  I ordered bathing suits for #6 and #7 because I forgot till the last minute that they had outgrown their bathing suits from last year.  They came in today.  And they fit! Had to borrow a stroller from a friend because, lets be honest, a stroller left out in the winter season here is not going to be a viable alternative to harnessing #6 or #7.

Now all that is left is running to get snacks for the road trip (screw healthy, Little Debbie is in store), making sure that the boys have packed everything that they need (extra reminder on socks and underwear), packing up shampoos, soap, razors, deodorant, sippy cups, and diapers.  And packing the car.  And remembering to program the GPS.  And our relaxing family weekend vacation can start!

I can’t wait.  I am sure that we will have a great time.  And if you don’t hear from me again, it might just be because I forgot the chargers for all the electronics and the kids have mutinied!

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Look how cute the middle one is!

I was not a good sister when I was younger.  I was the middle child but I was not the “typical” middle child.  I was bossy, headstrong, and determined that I could make my sisters do whatever it was I wanted.  It didn’t always work out that way.   But sometimes it did.  I got away with drawing on the basement walls because I blamed my older sister and faked bad hand writing.  I cut my little sisters bangs off and made her wear a headband for two days straight so Mom wouldn’t know.  I also was the first person to defend my siblings even if they were wrong.  We might fight each other, but woe to the person who tried to be against them!

My older sister by 4 years was the “good girl.”  She was a good student, never got in trouble for talking or swatted by the principal (I still remember that incident Mr. Winkler!) listened, and even bought my mom cards on her own birthday to thank Mom for having her.  She was a class A rump kisser.  She didn’t rock the boat so much as make sure the boat was almost perfect.  She was the “pretty one.”

My little  sister by 18 months (way to go parents!) was of course, the baby.  She was sweet and spoiled and cute and cuddly and of course, the deserved focus of many of my terrible pranks and just all around orneriness.  She never complained that she always had to play the sidekick.  She always let me have the top bunk.  She did not rock the boat either, she made sure that the ride was enjoyable for everyone.  She was the “baby.”

I do have a brother, too. He is 6 years younger so he was automatically “the boy.”  There is not a lot to say other than, he was, in fact, the only boy.  He froze his G.I. Joe in cups, burnt them on fires, rode his Power Wheel like he was auditioning for the Fast & The Furious, and never had to do chores like we girls did.   I don’t hold it against him.  His future wife probably will though.

I was loud, stubborn, got in trouble for talking and arguing, a tomboy who cut her own hair off on one side only by 4 inches and thought Mom would never notice (this may be a recurring theme and reason I still suck at doing my hair.)  In my own defense, I was in kindergarten and still thought if I hid that I was invisible. I not only rocked the boat, I swamped that bitch.   I was the “rowdy one.”

I hate putting labels on kids.  I have tried my best to not do it with mine.  I don’t blame my mom for labeling us.  We all had such different personalities that it was hard not to label us.  I do blame ourselves though for believing in those labels.

My older sister is more than just the “pretty one.”  She is also funny and silly and smart and what we call nasty/nice .  She will argue politics and sweetly respond, “bless your heart” instead of calling you an idiot to your face.  She has a big heart and a big mouth to match.  She is loud and outgoing and definitely makes you take notice of her.

My little sister is more than just the “baby” or the sweet one.  She has a temper although she works very hard to keep it in check.  She is a huge animal lover, well mainly dogs but I don’t hold it against her.  (Just joking:  I love dogs.  Not as much as she does, but almost as much as cats.)  She is genuinely one of the nicest people I know and I don’t normally like nice.  She is smart, kind, and has a weird obsession with way older men.  Like Sean Connery old.

My brother will always be the “boy” to me.  He still plays video games with his nephews and can talk about any Marvel character under the sun.  He also still gets out of chores.  I did not understand him when he was little until I had boys of my own and realized that they are destructive and odd and smelly creatures.  And he is a terrific single dad.  He co-parents with his daughters mom in a way that I could have only dreamed about with the EX.  But that’s a whole other story, for a different post.

I never minded my label of being the “rowdy” one.  I enjoyed it.  I reveled in it.  And I sometimes painted myself into a corner because I felt like I had to  live up to it.  I can be loud.  I can be blunt.  I have cooled my temper so much that being in a rage seems foreign, like having someone else make the Sweet Tea instead of myself.  But I can also be quiet, I hold things in (not for long but I am capable of small amounts), and I can be sensitive.  And it’s okay for me to be these things.  Just not in front of anyone.

The point being, labeling a child isn’t just some cute turn of the phrase.  It can cause damage when done even with the best intentions.  All of my kids are smart, funny, loud, sensitive, beautiful, handsome, and unique.   Some do great in school, others are forced kicking and screaming to the finish line.  So  in a way, I do label them:  they are individuals who all have different strengths and different weaknesses.  And when they are going great, they are 100% mine.  The rest of the time I blame Dad.





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(Disclosure:  this post talks about adults having consensual sex.  If by this point you do not want to read further:  there are cartoons on Disney Jr to entertain you, you prude!) Sex.  It’s a pretty serious subject.  We have already discussed the sex talk in previous posts so, my lovely readers, you know how serious I am about it.  Obviously with 7 kids, I kind of have had sex before.

Sex with kids.  Not having sex with kids.  That is a serious and illegal subject but not one I am going to give credence to at this point. I’m not a paedo for gods sake.  I am talking about how parents are able to still have sex with children in the house.   It’s like an Olympic sport.  Not the sex part, although it can be.  I mean the planning of said activity.

In our house, it starts out several hours in advance.  S.O. will give me the side eye and make charming subtle comments like, “Hey, can we get it in tonight?”  I melt.


lily%2520liam%2520eggsSo you thought you were going to do what, Mommy?

I start planning out the timeline.  Feed kids dinner. Get kids to complete chores without having to result to violent threatening and loss of freedoms.  Bathe small children.  Attempt to shave legs and other parts in bathroom sink while bathing kids.   Answer questions from #6 about why mommies have to shave.  It involves a lot of  “you’ll understand when your older.  You can thank your grandmothers Eastern European genes for the necessity.”   Meanwhile, S.O. is watching t.v in the living room, completely oblivious to the pregame activities taking place.

Kids bathed. Check.  Kids in jammies.  Check.  Kids tucked into bed.  Unchecked.  #6 has a sixth sense when mommy and daddy need some alone time.  Her entire mission in life is to prevent said alone time.  She will complain that she cannot sleep in her bed because it is: lumpy, haunted, too small, too big, too cold, too warm, scratchy, not mommy’s bed.  She will request me to read her a story. Fine. Reading is fundamental after all.  She picks out a tome.  Not happening.  We read a book about Taylor Swift.  Followed by Q&A from #6 about everything we just read.  Now we need a drink.  Now we need to potty.  Now we need Daddy.  S.O. comes upstairs and sits with her until she falls asleep.

I decide to make sure the sheets are halfway clean, brushing off the crumbs that #7 and I managed to get everywhere from eating chips in bed earlier, as you do.  I spray some Febreeze to set the mood.  And to hide the smell of S.O.’s work clothes that are so tauntingly thrown NEXT to the hamper.   #7 whimpers over the baby monitor.  It’s okay, he is not crying so no need to check on him.   I start the shower and jump in, expecting S.O. to come in at any minute. Try to look sexy with shampoo in eyes and half shaved legs.

Get out of shower, wrapped in semi-clean towel from kids bath earlier.  No S.O.  Tiptoe to #6’s room to check on them.  He is snoring in the rocking chair, T-Swift book dangling from his hand.  #6 has her finger wrapped in his other hand.  Gently wake him up while he exclaims in a still-trying-to-sleep tone, “Huh, whhat?”

Maybe tomorrow night it will happen.  For tonight, I will guide him to bed (crumb-free) and let him sleep.  All the pre-game activity has worn me out as well.  But definitely tomorrow.  Maybe the day after.


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