You made it! Here it is... the blog where you get to sit back and laugh at - or be completely horrified by - life with 5 kids, 2 parents, some frogs, a cat & a rabbit (and those are just the creatures we know about).


Who Am I Kidding?

I'm having a really hard time getting into a proper routine this school year. I just can't seem to get my act together. All of my good intentions of getting organized this summer very quickly fell by the wayside. Needless to say, I just haven't been getting out of the house fast enough in the morning to get the kids to school on time. Poor Patrick is in a right state when we arrive 3-5 minutes late. When it comes to school, he is a strict rule follower (at home is another story).

Imagine, then, how proud I was feeling on Wednesday. My mom, Lala, arrived at 7 am to take care of Charlotte. I got the rest of the gang into the car and headed out in record time. We were sure to not only be on time, but actually arrive early to school. I would even have time for a little coffee break between dropping off the kids and getting myself to work. (In my next life, my children and I will all be at a school that is close to our house. This "three separate towns" thing is a real pain in my behind.)

The whole time I was driving, I was having that nagging feeling of having forgotten something. I kept going over the possibilities in my head:

I have my purse.
I have my work bag and computer.
I have all four backpacks.
I packed their lunches and waters in their backpacks.
{glancing in the rearview} I have four kids in the car.
{totally relieved} I remembered to leave Charlotte with Lala.

I felt like I had run through all of the things I could have forgotten during the first 15 minutes of our drive. And then I looked at the road and realized the problem. Of course, this realization was accompanied by a loud shout of "what the fuck?" (Please, hold my Mother of the Year Award application for next year.) 

When I actually stopped thinking and paid attention to my surroundings, I realized what I had forgotten. I had forgotten that I was DRIVING THE WRONG WAY! For 15 minutes, I had been heading straight to work. Now, I had to reroute and hope to get the kids to school only a few minutes late. Gah! 

The kids' school has an automated system where you check in when you are late. After you press "Tardy" on the touch screen, it gives you options for your tardiness (doctor's appointment, traffic, etc.). I told Patrick to look for the button that says, "My mother is nuts." If they don't have one yet, they should probably add it soon. My kids are going to need it.

I feel your pain, White Rabbit...

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Tuesday's Tip (#22)

Here's a tip for you:


Because it's important. And because you care. And because every little bit helps!

Click here for Mikey's story and to donate.


Cure JM!

UPDATE: Ann's 5K that inspired this post has passed, but there is a current fundraising link that she has that benefits the CureJM foundation. Please read the story and consider donating here. Thanks!

One of our babysitters during the week is my cousin, Ann Marie. She watches Charlotte (& sometimes Sean) two days a week when I am at work. She is one of our army of caregivers who makes my crazy life a lot easier every week. Ann is married to my cousin, Mike, and they have three wonderful boys, Ryan, Tyler, and Cameron.

In addition to their terrific boys, they had another adorable son, Mikey. Here is the beautiful piece Ann wrote for Mikey's memorial website:

Mikey was a beautiful, smart and healthy little boy. At the beginning of 2005, everything changed. First, Mikey started with a rash on his face. We went to see Mikey’s doctor and he said it was Fifth disease. We went back because Mikey was getting muscle weakness. He couldn’t sit on the floor to play with his toys or even go upstairs to see Papa and Nana - which he always did. The doctor kept telling us it would go away. 

We went to another doctor's office. They told us the same thing. They even told us "I would send him to a rheumatologist, but they will laugh at me because he is walking." I decided that wasn't an acceptable answer. I took him to the ER. After all of that, we got referred to a rheumatologist. We went a few days later and they told us that Mikey had a rare auto-immune disease called Dermatomyositis. When we were told this we were very upset. We had no idea what to expect. We told ourselves that we would get Mikey through this. He was one strong little boy. That’s when something went wrong. 

Mikey went into the hospital for 3 days to start his treatment (steroids and methotrexate). But, during this time, Mikey developed possible pneumonia. The doctors weren’t sure so they treated it as pneumonia and continued with his JM treatment. One month later, on April 2, we were back in the hospital. Mikey was sick again. (We told the doctor he was sick again, during his infusion, but we were told he was fine and continued with the infusions.) He was admitted into the hospital because he couldn't breathe and his heart rate was through the roof. 

It took over a week to finally know what Mikey had. He had PCP pneumonia. At this point Mikey was in the ICU on a ventilator and in a drug-induced coma. He was then put on ECMO because his lungs couldn’t handle the pressure of the ventilator anymore. ECMO is a lung bypass machine. It would give Mikey’s lungs a chance to rest. About a week into being on ECMO, we saw some improvements. We thought he was going to come off ECMO. But when it came time to wean him off, he couldn’t tolerate it. His lungs were just too sick. We were finally told he could be put on the lung transplant list. It was a very tough decision to make. If he did get the transplant in time, he could suffer a lot. Lung transplants are the most difficult to do. We decided to at least put him on the list, then we would see how things went. We wanted him to have every possible chance. 

Mikey’s condition started to get worse. He was already on ECMO for 40 days. That was the longest that they had had any patient on it. So, if anything came up they weren’t sure how to handle it. He was already starting to have some complications. We didn’t want anything to happen that could cause Mikey to suffer. We had to come to the decision to let him go. This is a decision that no one should ever have to make. How could any parent make this decision? We put it off for a few days. 

Finally, that day came. I think that Mikey told us that it was time. He fought so hard the whole time, but his numbers were starting to drop. We called our family and friends to come and be with us. Mikey was with everyone that he loved. Later that night, Mike and I were able to be alone with Mikey. We talked to him and told him how much everyone loves him. I held him while the machines were turned down. It was the first time I was able to hold him in almost 2 months. At 2:20 am on May 27, 2005, Mikey passed away. 

As a mother, I cannot even begin to fathom the pain Ann and Mike must feel every day missing their little boy. I have to say, though, that they are two of the nicest, most positive people you could ever meet. It really puts things into perspective for me, when I let stupid little things get me down.

In a few weeks, Ann is running a 5K in honor of Mikey to raise money for the Cure JM foundation. She has been training and fundraising. I am writing this post to appeal to any of you out there who would like to donate to such a worthy cause. No child should have to suffer as Mikey did. And no parent should have to go through what Ann and Mike have gone through. So, take a minute today and make a donation. Any amount is another dollar toward helping find a cure for Juvenile Dermatomyositis. THANK YOU!


Tuesday's Tip (#21)

Here's a tip for you:

Get a sippy cup.

Not for your kids. For yourself. That way, when you're rushing out of the house, you won't be a fool who thinks they can travel with their coffee mug (not a travel mug). That would be silly. And result in at least 8 fluid ounces of lukewarm coffee ending up inside your bra as you try to drink and drive. It makes for a lovely perfume to wear to work, however. Eau de caffeine.

Have a tip to share? Or a travel mug? Feel free to leave a comment below...

...& be sure to check back every Tuesday for a new tip!


Tuesday's Tip (#20)

Here's a tip for you:

Don't procrastinate.

Seriously. Do what I say, not what I do. 
Otherwise, you'll have to send your poor husband to the uniform store with all five children to wait in a line that goes out the door...the day before school starts. You will also realize that no one - anywhere - has blue knee socks for your second grade daughter. You may also find yourself - at 5 in the morning - hemming your third grader's pants. Better still, you'll be packing the newly purchased school supplies into four backpacks well before the crack of dawn. 

So, take my advice and plan ahead. Then you won't be writing your Tuesday's Tips on Wednesday night.

Have a tip to share? Or some lessons on time management? Feel free to leave a comment below...

...& be sure to check back every Tuesday for a new tip!