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).


Lunches...How I Hate Packing Lunches

There are all kinds of chores around my house that I love to complain about. If you've ever read my blog, you know that the laundry pile comes up about a million times. But, there is nothing quite like packing lunches. 

Here's where the fact that I have five kids really comes into play. Anything times 5 can be pretty dramatic, but lunch making has to top the list. By the time I've come home after work, made and served dinner, and thrown in yet another load of laundry, the last thing I want to do is start packing lunches. So I wait until the morning. And then I wish I had just buckled down and done it the night before because it really is a chore. Now, if I could just get an assembly line of Nutella sandwiches going, that would be awesome. But, each of my darling children thrives on their individual personality and it really shows when it comes to what they eat.

One morning last week, I made Sean a Nutella sandwich. He's pretty easy because he only likes two things: sugar or chicken. Usually it's in the form of a Fluff or Nutella sandwich or popcorn chicken that I recently found out his poor teacher was heating up for him every day. Charlotte wanted a ham, cheese, & mayonnaise sandwich. Lucy likes tuna. But not on bread. So I whipped up some tuna with mayo, salt, and pepper, and found a container and a fork for her. Patrick likes ham, but also not on bread, so I rolled up individual slices of ham in a sandwich bag. And Sophie decided she'd really enjoy some sliced cucumbers (sliced the long way, not round) with a side of hummus. I don't know when I became a short order cook. 

I'd happily get up before the children to make these sandwiches (because I don't sleep all that much anyway), but these fools change their minds and tastes almost daily. And believe me, the hot lunch at school is a savior sometimes if not for the fact that it costs $5 per child (& I don't really have an extra $25 per day to fund my laziness) and they don't have Taco Tuesday every day (because that's the only day Sean actually likes the hot lunch).

Sadly, I will never be that Pinterest mom who turns her kids perfectly healthy lunches into adorable little animal faces. And if you're struggling with Christmas gift ideas for me, sign up for a week of packing my kids' lunches. Today was Taco Tuesday (amen and hallelujah), but we're wide open tomorrow!


 I just Googled "adorable kids' lunches" and now I have so many questions. Like how? why? and WTF?
Found this on Pinterest from Bentos on the Bayou. I'll never have that kind of time on my hands.


What Was I Thinking?

Tomorrow is the big day. My first half marathon. I didn't buy a clever t-shirt to wear, but one of my favorite ones that I've seen says, "This seemed like a great idea 3 months ago." Truer words were never spoken. I set this crazy goal for myself simply to see if I could do it. I'm still not sure if I'll even finish. And I'm a little terrified of the potential disappointment I'll feel if I can't make it. But I know that I've busted my ass training and I'm certainly going to try. In order to confirm my status as a total lunatic, I've already registered for my second half in May. So, if I don't finish this one, I've got another goal to shoot for. And if, by some miracle, I make it to the finish line, I can use May's half marathon as a way to beat my time (if only by a minute). 

I'm a slow runner. But I've plodded along for 185.31 miles since July. (But who's counting?) And even though this task still seems insurmountable, I can look back at all the runs I've logged over the summer and realize that those runs got longer and longer. Without me even seeing it, I've been getting stronger and increasing my endurance. 
So... Ready or not, here I come. I'm going to channel my inner superhero and try to make my it all the way to the finish line. 

Damn, I miss my WonderWoman Underoos...

If all else fails, at least I'll get to test out my sister's version of advice: 
(That middle finger emoji is perfect.)
So, wish me luck... I'm just hoping to make it to the tent with the beer and lobster rolls - even if I have to crawl!



The Rhythm Is Gonna Get Ya

Last week, I wrote a post about the fact that I've been training for my first half marathon. One of the challenges of training is keeping myself motivated for runs that are getting progressively longer. And, on those days when I can't get outside to run because I'm the only adult with the kids, this can mean running for 80 minutes straight on the treadmill. Ugh. I've done the whole "watch Netflix on the treadmill" thing, but I find myself getting so into whatever I'm watching that it actually becomes too much of a distraction. (I almost fell off during an old episode of The Office that cracked me up.) The only thing that really keeps me going, whether on the road or on the dreadmill (see what I did there?), is really good music.

So, I spent a bunch of time working on a playlist of songs that would keep me going. Some of them are just good songs that I like. Some have inspirational lyrics that keep me going when I want to quit. (Beyonce is right. Girls do run the world. And if Florence & The Machine are going to tell me to run fast for my mother and fast for my father, then that's exactly what I'm going to do.) And others aren't necessarily by my favorite artist (I'm talking to you, Macklemore), but they have the exact tempo that matches my rather slow running pace.

I thought I'd share my playlist here in case anyone else is looking to add something different to their running/workout mix. But, I'd also like some suggestions. These runs are getting longer and I need to mix it up once in a while. So, I'm putting it out there for input:

What are your must-have songs that really get you moving?

Share in the comments. I really need the suggestions!

Here are a couple screenshots of my playlist. I just hit shuffle and hope something gets me moving!

There will be no judgement of the fact that I just love me some Flo Rida.

Phineas & Ferb Are Pissing Me Off

If you have school-aged kids, or have ever flicked past the Disney channel, you've probably seen an episode of Phineas & Ferb. The premise of the show is cute, in that the boys try to invent wild things to do each day of summer vacation. I'm fine with all of that. It's the theme song that pisses me off. In reality, it's not even the whole song. It's like, the first two lines.

One hundred and four days????

I relish every single day of my summer vacation. I love the fact that most of my kids don't even wake up before 9am. Or the fact that they pretty much just live in their bathing suits (which seriously cuts down on my laundry). And they can serve themselves their own breakfast. It makes for some really relaxing mornings. Mornings that I just wish there were more of. Because there sure as hell aren't 104 of them. Come on, Disney! What school district do you come from?

I know I'm extremely lucky in that my career affords me all kinds of time off to spend with my kids. It makes up for how completely insane my days get during the school year. But, I got out of school on June 29th, and I head back for a week of professional development starting on August 21st. Now, I'm no genius, but I'm pretty sure there aren't 104 days between those two dates.

So don't mind me, I'm just over here bitching that my summer vacation is about 50% of the magical one mentioned in a cartoon theme song. {sad trombone}

And for those of you who work all year round, please put away your torches and pitchforks... I am well aware of how fortunate I am. ;)



Run, Forrest, Run!

Running is not something I've always done. Hell, when I was one of the captains of the crew team in college (& in the best shape of my life), I'd still weasel out of the run to the boathouse because I had to head straight to student teaching after rowing. 

After I had some of my kids, I found the Couch to 5K plan and used that to work my way up to running a 5K. I've restarted that plan a million times because I've stopped running for so long in between. Before I had baby #4, I really got into running. So much so, that I ran into the 8th month of that pregnancy and had my best 5K race time just five weeks after Sean was born. But, I let it go again some time later. 

Last fall, for the first time in forever, I completed the Couch to 5K training. It was the first time in ages that I'd actually gone past week 4. I've been running on and off since then.

In May, I ran Boston's Run to Remember in honor of fallen police officers. The race is either 5 miles or a half marathon. My aunt and I ran the 5 mile race (my longest run ever) and my cousins ran the half marathon. I was so proud of myself for completing the 5 mile race. But, I was totally inspired to run more. 

That brings me to this summer. I've set a new goal for myself. I've been running for weeks using a new training program. It's helping to prepare me for what I've done...
That's my registration for my first (ever!) Half Marathon...

Yup. This fall, I'm running my first half marathon. I know there are a lot of runners out there who have no problem running a half marathon (or even a full one), but for me, this is a huge deal. I've never done a run this long and I've never had the follow-through and willpower to spend this much time and effort training. As far as races go, the Smuttynose Rockfest is supposed to be the flattest course in New England. It's also finished off with beer, lobster rolls and clam chowder. So, if I'm going to kill myself doing my first half marathon, I may as well be rewarded by beer and shellfish.

What's not to love about this course? Flat and ocean views! (Let's just hope the weather cooperates.)
So, wish me luck. I'm really excited (and just a little freaked out)!



Summer Vacation, Baby!

Every summer, I write a post like this, but I have to do it. (It's tradition, now.)

I freaking love summer vacation.

I enjoy my job (most days), even with it's challenges. But I really don't enjoy being a working mom. All the little things that I have to do just to keep my day running smoothly during the workweek/schoolweek make me slightly insane. But this is my pay-off. These amazing weeks where we don't have to go anywhere at all. I can do whatever I want with the kids without rushing them out the door at an obnoxiously early time. It's incredible. 

I also happen to be blessed with kids who are (for the most part) pretty low maintenance. As long as I throw them a meal or a snack once in a while, they don't need too much from me. That's why they're so fun to hang out with. We get to take a stroll at the Arboretum, go to the zoo, museum, or aquarium (everyone buys us memberships for Christmas - best family gifts ever). And some days, they just want to hang in the house and play in the pool. The beauty of having an entire basketball team for children is that they can entertain each other when we are at home. 

Best money we ever spent. This foolish pool has been up for three summers and it has entertained them for countless hours! 
I intend to live every minute of this vacation up. I've got grand plans for relaxing. I've already finished three books this week. Anything that involves me not hunting for uniform socks (where do they go??) and packing lunches sounds pretty awesome to me.

So, here's to summer vacation!



Here are a few highlights from our Martha's Vineyard vacation...

Happy Fourth of July!

Seriously, my kids can sleep anywhere
Sophie & I biking to the beach. Tandem!
My partner in crime!
My beach babies

Can't wait until next year - we love Martha's Vineyard!


Rite of Passage

Growing up, my parents never censored me too much. I've written about it before. They definitely indulged my thirst for scary movies and books (or passed it on to me at a young age - I'm not sure which). Either way, it seems to me that I remember watching my fair share of scary movies very early on in life. This may also be why I never slept in my own room (even though I had one) and I'm still afraid of dolls and clowns. 

Oddly enough, I have fond memories of watching Poltergeist as a kid. I was probably 5 years old and I'm sure I begged my folks to let me watch it. I'm sure I also cried and never slept alone again, but I still think of that film as one of my favorites. Because Hollywood insists on recreating every movie from my childhood, my kids have seen the trailer for the new Poltergeist movie. And they have been begging me to let them see it. I'm guessing that 2015 special effects will have a major advantage over those from 1982, so I have no intention of letting them see the new movie just yet. But I decided that last night, as a family, we would watch the original movie. I was so excited. This was going to be my kids' first scary movie. PJ was a little concerned that we'd traumatize the children and they'd all be sleeping in our bed forever. But, since Charlotte has informed me that she's still going to be sleeping there when she's 6, I don't really see what the problem is. (She's kind of a jerk. And a nightly visitor in my bed. But that's a story for another day.)

So, we busted out the popcorn machine, turned out the lights, and put on my favorite scary movie. And my kids were not scared. Granted, Charlotte slept through most of it, but the rest of them really weren't scared. I have had a lifelong fear of clowns from that one scene in the movie. (Side note: for those of you sending me pictures of people dressed as clowns - NOT scary. It's dolls. Dolls dressed as clowns that scare me. Because they come to life and strangle you under your own bed. People dressed as clowns? They just have questionable fashion sense.)

Seriously - this scene only lasted a few minutes, but it stayed with me for life...

They definitely jumped once or twice, but they didn't seem to be overwhelmingly scared. Not that I wanted to actually traumatize my children, but there were a few times when they laughed. I was highly disappointed. And now I can see that I'm going to have to wait for the 2015 version to come out so that I can really try to scare the pants off them. I'll have to get tips from my mom and dad on how to do this right.


What about you? Are you a fan of scary movies? Leave your story in the comments below...


Snowpocalypse Dinner

For the fourth weekend in a row, my weekly grocery run has coincided with another monster snowstorm. As these snowstorms also mean hubs has to be at work managing snow removal, that leaves me alone with five kids. As much as I love my kids (who are generally well-behaved), I really didn't think I could handle a trip to the store with all of them and ALL of the lunatic storm-peppers who are still buying all of the milk, bread, and eggs. 

So, yesterday, I made a quick trip to the CVS down the street for a few snacks to keep them quiet and decided to wing it from there. Hence this tweet:

We made it through until tonight when I realized that I was pretty much, officially out of food. So, I called the kids into the kitchen and informed them of what I had left. They got to pick from those choices. Dust off my Mother of the Year award because this dinner was just about completely devoid of any nutritious benefits.

In case you're wondering, I had a beer and some ramen noodles. Hopefully, we can venture out tomorrow and stock up on some French toast ingredients (and maybe even some real food). There's another storm coming Tuesday and we're scraping the bottom of the barrel (or back of the pantry).

Whatever I do, I need to avoid the crowds. I can't take another trip to the grocery store surrounded by these people:

Think warm thoughts for us... surviving Snowmageddon 2015 is getting old...
The view from our window this morning. There are streets there somewhere...


What about you... how are you surviving this winter? Share your story in the comments below...


Playing Possum Isn't Just A Saying, You Know...

I used to use the term "playing possum" when Lucy was little. Lucy was painfully shy as a tiny one. I could almost never detach her from my hip. One time, my sister offered to babysit her and Patrick so PJ and I could go out. Lucy then proceeded to spend the next three hours not moving and not making eye contact. She played possum. I think in her little brain she thought if she stayed still long enough, they would all go away. Luckily, she grew out of that by the time I had to pry her off my legs to go to preschool.

I know that the saying stems from a possum's defense of playing dead to avoid prey. I had just never witnessed it, myself. Back in October, I wrote a tip for Tuesday reminding you to lock your dog door (if you have one). This is because I walked through the living room one morning and almost stepped on the slaughtered possum that my asshole dog left on the rug for me. It was completely disgusting and I made PJ get rid of it. I stop my wifely duties at carcasses.

About two weeks later, we were all sitting down to dinner in the dining room. Our dining room and living room share a big space, so when the kids were done with dinner, some of them moved over to the couch. A few of us were at the table and a couple of kids were hanging on the couch. None of us saw the dog come in from the dog door by the slider. All of a sudden, Sean started shouting, "Mommy, mommy, mommy!" in an increasingly panicked tone. Then he yelled, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT HE'S EATING!" This foolish animal has eaten so many toys and baby dolls, I just kind of assumed that was what Sean was so upset about. I should've known better by his panic. I walked over and the dog was very busy playing with a bloody mess that was, in its better days, a possum. How he even managed to walk right by all of us and drop that in the middle of the living room is a complete mystery. Ninja asshole.

I quickly ushered the kids out of the room so PJ and I could deal with it. Possums aren't small, by the way. I've dealt with the cats leaving gifts of birds, mice, and even snakes. Possums are not tiny critters. PJ went and got the shovel and asked me to hold open a large trash bag. As he scooped up this poor, dead thing, it moved. Not only did it move, but as PJ lifted the shovel the damn thing STOOD STRAIGHT UP. It wasn't dead. It was playing possum! At that point, we couldn't stick a live possum in a bag, so I held the front door and PJ walked straight through the house balancing a possum standing up on the end of his shovel. I'm so sad I didn't get a video of that.  (Stop for one moment and close your eyes. Please picture my husband walking ever so gingerly through my house with a shovel held at arm's length and a full-grown possum just standing straight up on the end of said shovel.) Those were some impressive moves.

Thank you Opossum Society of the US for this handy explanation!

Since the great live possum of 2014, we haven't had anymore animal incidents. I can only hope we get to witness the origins of some other popular English idioms in 2015. Maybe someone will actually let the cat out of the bag. Or, perhaps, we will hear something straight from the horse's mouth. Like a neigh. Or a whinny.


-->What about you? Have your pets left you any awful "presents"? Were they still alive?? Leave your story in the comments below...


And Then This Happened...

I think enough time has passed that I can write about what happened over the long weekend. It took me a good week to get over the trauma. (Disclaimer: If you have a weak stomach, this post is NOT for you. Go read something else.)

The weekend before last, we decided to take a little ski trip for the long weekend. PJ & I each took a personal day on Friday with the intent of getting a good ski day in. Naturally, things didn't quite go to plan. Sophie woke up in the middle of the night getting sick. We spent so much time dealing with that, we decided to sleep in a bit and leave later. By noon, Sophie was back to her old self and we headed north.

We got up to Bretton Woods around 4pm. Even though it was freezing out, we figured we could do a bit of skiing with the kids. We worked up a good sweat wrestling all five of them into all of their gear and then promptly froze our damn asses off. After the second run, the kids wanted to quit. We managed 2 more runs before we actually had a few of them in tears and called it quits.

The Accurate Weather app always pegs it. Much Freezy.
The next day, as it was still "much freezy," we decided to hit up the local indoor water park. The kids had a blast, didn't freeze their tails off, and were looking forward to a full ski day on Sunday. Or so we thought. {cue foreboding music}

Aren't they adorable? You can't even see all of the disgusting germs they're harboring.
Saturday night at dinner, I wasn't feeling all that well. I ordered some soup for dinner, but decided not to eat it because I had a feeling that I'd be seeing it again. When we got back to the hotel room, it started. I was officially ill. I knew I couldn't possibly be lucky enough to dodge the stomach bug after staying up Thursday night with Sophie, a.k.a. Lady Barfs-A-Lot. So there it was. I was sick. Dammit.

Our hotel room was a suite with a bedroom, a bathroom attached to that, and a living room with a pullout that all of the kids were sleeping on. I was laying in our bed, feeling sorry for myself and not really resting, because I had a pretty good sense that trouble was coming. Right on cue, Lucy called out from the living room that her stomach hurt. I rushed her into the bathroom just a second too late. So now I was sick and cleaning up after someone else with the nice hotel towels. As she was getting sick, PJ started, too. Those two were in the bathroom together (a bonding experience that should never happen), when I felt another wave of nausea and promptly used the trash bin. We were officially a frat house after a really big night of binge drinking.

After that bout, PJ, Lucy, & I climbed into our bed. I kept the trash bin nearby in case Lucy couldn't climb out of the middle of the bed fast enough. Over the course of the night, I barely slept because I was either sick or sleeping on high alert waiting for the next kid to start. My only concern was keeping the beds clean. We weren't home where I could wash sheets or clean beds (or even send them to another room). We were trapped with only a few clean towels left and one set of sheets in the closet. God help us.

The three of us continued to get sick over the course of the night. Around 1am, Patrick announced that he didn't feel well. Luckily, the hotel is environmentally conscious, so I gave him the recycling bin to keep next to his side of the pullout.That way, we didn't risk him running through the bedroom and not making it to the bathroom in time. I don't think I really slept the rest of the night because I knew the little ones were next. Sure enough, Charlotte woke up around 2am. She told me she was very thirsty. I got her some water and kept asking her if she felt alright. She assured me she was fine and let out a little burp. But, I knew better. All of a sudden, she started, too. The poor kid. She didn't know what was happening. All I could think was that I needed to keep these damn beds clean. So, I slapped my hand over her little mouth and carried her like a football to the nearest trash barrel. For the rest of the night, the five of us were getting sick sporadically in our disgusting little germ factory. Right on cue, Sean sat up in bed and threw up, too. For those of you who believe in Hell, I believe I've had a glimpse of it. Hell is two adults and four kids taking turns barfing in a little hotel suite with one toilet (and, thank the Lord, two trash barrels and a recycling bin). All while the fifth kid, who started it all, talks about how she's totally fine and wants to know when we're going skiing.

Luckily, the getting sick part only lasted a few hours. But then we stayed in bed all day feeling like death. That may be the first Patriots playoff game I've ever watched without food or beer. You know my kids are really sick when you can trap five of them in a hotel room for an entire day and never once have to ask them to be quiet. It was kind of amazing.

The next day was the last day of our long weekend and we all woke up feeling perfectly fine. Sadly, with a three hour ride home, we didn't really have time to do any skiing.We'll have to try again, soon. Hopefully, the next trip will go off without a hitch. Or at the very least, without any vomit.


(And before you ask, I did what I could to clean up the room. We also warned the maid and tipped her well.)

--> What about you? Any stomach bug disasters in your house? Feel free to share your story in the comments below...