Things have changed and stayed the same.

I was making Father's Day cards this morning and looking through pictures from our families life together. Life these days looks a lot different than it did when I just had babies. I am not the very same person. I am not the same Mom. That is surprising to me. I didn't know how much motherhood, over years, would change me and I didn't realize how much, over years, the role of mother would change for me. It makes my heart ache. I think it's part of being a mom. We change with and for our kids, and for ourselves, and even though it's changed, it's the same. 

Ten years ago I was the mom of two little blonde babies. Our house was small, our schedule was simple, but exhausting. My days were long and we felt happy when we made it out of the house. I was always trying to think of things that could fill up our time and keep my little people busy and happy and me sane. I thought it was crazy that I had two kids in diapers at the same time. I needed my husband every night to immediately take over when he came home from work, at least for a little while. I loved watching my little babies grow into toddlers and then preschoolers. I couldn't believe it when my daughter started to read and I couldn't get enough of the funny things my kids would say when they were learning to put words together. I worried that I was not enough for them. I worried that I was not doing things right. I worried about what other people thought about the way I mothered. At the end of those long baby days, I sometimes felt like I had not done anything that really mattered all day long, but in my best moments I was in heaven. I loved being a mom and it was hard at the same time. 

Now, there are bedrooms full of kids in our house (and all their stuff, you know?). We have a dog and a lizard. We juggle schedules between four schools, church activities, appointments, sports, dance, and piano lessons. I have kids who can talk about national news, their feelings, and social issues. I have kids who can play the piano better than I can and bake a batch of cookies. I still have kids whose favorite activities are bubbles and play dough. I clean up after people more than I ever have. I juggle the needs of kids in different stages with very different needs. I still have two kids in diapers. My husband and I are still a team, but I am used to him traveling and can mostly keep things going at home on my own when he's away. I love the hilarious things my kids say as they experiment with their own senses of humor.  I love watching how different my children are from each other and how they interact with their teachers, friends, and each other. I love watching the slow, painstaking growth in development for Si and Lou. A lot of times I love the chaos around me, Sometimes it's too much. I worry that I am not enough for the people I love the most. I worry that I am not doing things right. I worry about what other people think about the way I mother. My days fly by and at the end I sometimes feel like I never did anything that really mattered, but the best moments are heaven. I love being a mom and it is hard at the same time. 

Things have changed and stayed the same.  



Charlie got a new animal friend--a Bearded Dragon named Soda. Soda used to live next door, but now he lives in Charlie's room where Charlie takes good care of him. I don't know how this boy of mine knows so much about animals--my appreciation for them has increased about 400% just watching him and his love for them. They make him happy and connected and alive. They make me a little crazy, but that's cause I'm a mom, I think. 

Also, our first adventure of summer was going to Goblin Valley together as a family. It was a bad night and a good morning. It was so windy when we got to the campsite, that we could barely set the tent up for the three big kids to sleep in. Simon was running around being a crazy little man and red dirt was blowing in Louie's eyes and making him cry. Taylor was trying to get the four big kids to cooperate in setting up the tent in the wind, but they were all a little distracted and excited and feeling really silly. I was holding Louie and chasing Simon around and trying to get out the dinner food we brought and I was feeling so overwhelmed. So I told my whole family that we were never going camping again and then I cried in the trailer because I really don't like camping with six kids. It will probably be a camping trip that will be remembered by my children forever because of this episode. The night was crazy because of the wind. In the tent trailer it was so loud that I couldn't sleep and stayed up almost the whole night wondering if the kids were blowing away, but not daring to move and go outside to check because by some miracle Simon and Louie were sleeping. In the morning we went to see the Goblins and there wasn't wind and the sun was shining. I decided maybe we could go camping again, but ugh. We are looking at trailers now. 

Today has been the kind of day I think I would have imagined if I would have had a good imagination about motherhood when I was younger. It's summer. The big boys are trying to figure out how to make a system where they can tap Morse code on their bedroom window from the playhouse with string and a stick and some blue tape. Georgia is at the neighbors in the sprinklers. Anna made cookies and ate many of them. Also, she went on a bike ride with Max and their friends. The little boys spent the morning doing what they do--running around like little tornadoes and then watching movies and eating in their high chairs and now taking naps. I folded laundry and made pizza dough and cleaned off my dirty flip flops so I could feel better about wearing them out in public. Good summer life. I'm ready for more of this. 


Summer and our Pop Up

I really love summer. I'm so excited that the kids are home all day, every day, all of the kids, every day. I am just so tired every night and they eat so much. I love our summer days together, though. I think I make the big kids feel a little smothered by my enthusiasm and I'm trying to back off, but I just get so excited to have them to myself.

One thing that we thought would be fun, and still might be, but right now just feels mostly burdensome, is that we bought a pop up trailer. We did. We'd been thinking about it for a while and we just looked on craigslist and bought one. And we bought a trailer hitch for our car and had it installed, and we bought fabric to recover the cushions in the trailer, and we bought a lot of flashlights because you need them when you camp, and we bought bedspreads because we're going to "GLAMP" and we bought fabric to replace the old curtains, and we had the hitch rewired because we didn't know what we were doing the first time, and we put the trailer up and down about 7 dozen times, and we cleaned it out really well and then filled it up with a bunch of "camping stuff" and bought a couple kayaks to go on top. I'm just ready to actually go camping with it so that we'll know if this was a really good idea or a really bad one, and that is going to happen in two days. We are taking our little pop up for it's maiden camping trip to celebrate Father's Day and my birthday. I will have to report on the whole experience. I'm trying to remain calm.

Here are some pictures of our summer adventuring so far--Dripping rock trail, Manilla Pond, and lots of backyard time.


Six Months

It's been six months since Louie came home. I cannot believe how seamless this adoption has felt for me. He is the piece of me and of our family that I didn't know how much I was missing. He is calm, sweet, and cuddly and loves his big brothers and sisters, but also his personal space. He loves to be read to and sung to and rocked. He has the best I'm-about-to-cry-face and that's usually all it takes to get what he wants from any sibling and plenty of attention too. He loves the sand box and being outside. He has words for all his family members and asks about whoever is missing. He loves baths and can hold his own when splashing with Simon. He is walking and running a little toddler run. He loves cars and bikes and anything with wheels. He wants to ride a school bus! He is such a gift and I'm so thankful we didn't let fear keep us from him. I cannot believe how lucky I am to be these six kids'mommy and I cannot believe how lucky I am to have Louie be my baby.


It was a cotton candy kind of night because my grandma and grandpa had a cotton candy machine at family dinner. What? We convinced Simon to try some, which was difficult. It doesn't look like food, and it's kind of not, but he was okay with eating it anyway after one taste. The kids with blue mouths played by this red house that I love. This home is a precious place to me. 

This boy was told he could not go inside to wash off and washrags and a bowl of water were brought outside for him. It's just really hard to eat this stuff and not get incredibly sticky when your a six-year-old little boy. Good night.

We went to visit Grandma and Grandpa this past weekend and had the best time. Our favorite part of the whole thing was a field trip to Bear World in Rexburg, ID. The animal viewing was awesome and so were the free kids carnival rides at the end. Also, we loved the petting zoo. I took about no pictures except for these while we were all piled into our new big van, named The Bus. I guess I thought we were even cuter than the bears. 

It was a much needed weekend with family that was good for our souls, and now we're back to Summer for two more weeks. I'm not ready for the end. I'm ready for a schedule because we really lack in that department during summer, and I'm ready to get on top of a lot of things we let go during summer break, (laundry, cooking, cleaning)  but I'm not ready to have these kids in school all day again. I like them a lot.  

Just a reminder that Charlie is an Animal Expert.