Dear Public Breastfeeding Mom,

I noticed you tonight in a packed restaurant. I glanced at you a few times. And I smiled. You caught me glancing at you. I think I made you feel self-conscious. I’m sorry.

I wasn’t looking at you for pervy or judgmental reasons. Not at all. I glanced at you because I was a breastfeeding mom a long time ago. Because I still mourn that I just had the one child that I *could* breastfeed. Because I saw a beautiful mommy loving her baby. Because you are brave. I wish I had been more brave like you. Any time I see a parent being an amazing parent, I kind of want to sneak a peek. I want to cheer them on. I wanted to tell you these things, but that might have been awkward. So instead, I made you feel uncomfortable and then I left without you knowing why.

When I see a Grandpa tickle his grandkid, when I see a Daddy carefully put his little girl’s hair behind her ear, when I see an older sister grab the hand of a little brother to walk across the street before her mother tells her to, and yes, when I see a mommy breastfeeding her baby… those are just some of the beautiful moments in life that I want to actually notice.

You shouldn’t have to be brave to openly feed your child in public. But you are brave. May you continue to be brave no matter how many glances you get. ❤

This never happens.

First of all, what’s up with all of this recent blogging, right?? I don’t know. I think I’ve finally decided that I need to actually start photographing my kids again.

Anyway, I decided to *try* to take just a few decent pictures of our kids at the local pumpkin patch. I don’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve done that with the “real camera.”


I bribed them with cookies. I begged them to be cooperative. And guess what?! THEY WERE!!! I was stunned.


We were in and out of there in about ten-fifteen minutes. And nobody cried. And I didn’t get mad. Amazing, I tell you.






I honestly don’t even know how this happened.

I wanna hold your hand

We’ve always had to, or *felt* like we had to, hold Mikey’s hand or at least be in reach of him at all times in public. I still feel this need even though he’s older and more trustworthy than he used to be. It’s been hard for me to shake this feeling that he’s going to disappear.

Last weekend, the kids and I went on a weekend trip to the Galleria area in Houston. We stayed in a hotel and just went lots of different places and goofed off. On our little trip, I held onto him quite a bit because there were crowds and traffic and he just makes me nervous. Jackson kept up with Katie and Brittany is really great! She just stays right with us and I don’t worry about her running off. He asked me for the 100th time why I had to hold his hand and not Brittany’s. And I told him for the 100th time that Brittany stays with me without me holding my hand. I really don’t have to worry about her disappearing on me. He hates that answer and has never liked it when I give it to him. And is always resentful to have to hold my hand and resists having to do it.

Then he said, “I think you just like to hold my hand. I think you just love me so much that you want to hold onto me all the time.” And I just decided to go with it and tell him that is exactly right. That is the real reason why I want to hold his hand all the time. The rest of the weekend and several times since, he has very willingly and proudly held my hand without protest.

With him, it’s all about equality, unless *he* is shown favor. He’s fine with inequality if it’s in his favor. In other news, I’ve been trying as often as I can to hold both of the middles’ hands when go places. And you may see me twirling them both, one on each hand, if you see me walking with them.

Mom of many

*just in case you don’t want to read all of this, at least check out the cute kids at the end of this post.*

I am a mom of many. Three or more kids qualifies as many to me, although it may not to some people. You know, like those crazy people that have five or more. Anyway, just for fun, here are some things that moms of many do or don’t do. Or at least I do. Don’t judge. Unless you’re a mom of many. And I’m in no way saying that any of this stuff makes moms of many any better or whatever, so you one or two kid moms, just settle down. You’re equally awesome in your own right. And you probably have a much cleaner house.

– Moms of many will take the shirt off of the child, wet it in the sink, and use it to clean the child’s hands and face after dinner.
– Moms of many yell. They have to yell over the thoughts and sounds of many kids. Moms of many will yell even when they have company over.
– Moms of many rarely use hand sanitizer. I don’t think I even own any. Seriously, what is the freaking point??
– Moms of many let their kids watch too much t.v., according to the stupid Surgeon General or American Academy of Pediatrics or whatever.
– Moms of many don’t care what their children wear around the house and to some public places.
– Moms of many have lots of boundaries and rules, some of which may seem arbitrary or unreasonable to outsiders.
– Moms of many cuss. That’s right! And it’s a good day if they don’t slip in front of one of the kids.
– Moms of many use the same scanning technique that lifeguards use to make sure all of their kids are reasonably safe and accounted for.
– Moms of many pick their battles. But we sometimes pick stupid ones.
– Moms of many let their children suffer natural consequences. “You don’t want to wear shoes outside and it’s 50 degrees? Whatever. They’re your cold feet.” “You don’t like this food? Don’t eat it. I don’t care. It’s your hungry tummy.”
– Moms of many say “not my problem” 100 times a day.
– Moms of many yell. Did I already say that?
– Moms of many may say things like, “You’re making a really bad choice doing that. If you knock your teeth out, I’m just throwing them away.”
– Moms of many apologize a lot!
– Moms of many have certain things down to a science. Like going out in public. I believe that I’m the only person who can single handedly take our four kids grocery shopping without incident. It’s not fun, but it’s very doable.
– Moms of many can bathe three children at the same time in under five minutes.
– Moms of many have to say, “Yep. They’re all mine.” I usually add “sort of” at the end just to confuse people.
– Moms of many don’t give a rip about the dust on the ceiling fan. Seriously. Don’t. Care.
– Moms of many pray a lot, but sometimes it sounds like, “Oh, for the love of God!!” (Don’t judge)
– Moms of many lock themselves in the bathroom and take much longer than they need to just so they can have some time alone.
– Moms of many eat standing up.
– Moms of many are blessed, but it’s so easy to lose sight of it amidst the demanding chaos.

I could go on and on and on and on. But it’s time to make these kids clean up their messes and get on to bed. Moms of many love bedtime and they don’t let their kids stay up late.


Politics and kids

I’m not a big political person. I’ve been more informed this election than in years’ past, but there are topics that I remain uneducated about. When I voted, there were LOTS of candidates for non-presidential offices that I know nothing about. I just say this because I don’t want to give the false impression that I’m something I’m not.

I’ve involved Jackson in as much as the process this election as I reasonably could. He watched two of the debates with me. We’ve talked a lot about the election process over the last few weeks. He went in with me to vote and pushed the final “submit my vote” button. And he wants to stay up with me tonight and watch the election coverage. He’s very interested in the whole thing. But he really doesn’t know a whole lot about what each candidate stands for. He is innocent to the most pressing “issue” on my heart, which is abortion. I thought about how to bring it up to him in a way that he could somewhat grasp it and I decided that that’s not a load for him to have to bear yet. But in spite of his lack of understanding, he still wants my candidate to win.

I started to feel a bit burdened by that this morning as I heard my boys state my opinions as their own regarding the candidates. I felt a bit guilty…for about five minutes. But it’s a natural thing for us as parents to project our beliefs and preferences onto our kids. I think that’s a good thing. We put team jerseys on our kids…well, we don’t, but most people do…, we tell our kids that such and such college is better than another, we tell our kids what music is worth listening to and what shows are worth watching. Our kids are filled up with their parents’ opinions. That’s just the way it is.

The problems lies when our kids reach the age or maturity level where they decide that perhaps they don’t share their parents’ opinions. It becomes a problem if the parents are disappointed that their child’s views are different. At this point, my kids hold my political opinions because I’m their biggest influence. But I’m also being careful to give them the tools to make their own decisions as they grow. That’s why Jack watched the debates. That’s why I tried very hard to keep my biased opinions to myself. That’s why when I voted with him I said, “Now when you’re old enough to vote, do you have to vote republican?” That’s why I was proud of the answer he gave, “No. I can vote for whoever I want.”

And whoever they grow into, regardless of religion, career, university, sexual orientation, or political affiliation, whoever they decide they need to be, they will always have my respect and adoration. I’m not raising clones. I’m not raising me. My hope is just that they will make wise decisions and be respectful of the opinions of others who are different than their own.

The homemade Creeper costume

Jackson decided that he really wanted to be a creeper from his favorite video game, Minecraft, for Halloween. We had a Halloween “parade” to go to the day before Halloween so we started on this costume…that day. I like to procrastinate. Anyway…here are some photos of the process.

And here are all of the kids. Mikey was Carl Fredericksen from the movie Up, Brittany was a fairy ballerina, and Katie was an angel. Don’t even get me started on how un-angelic Katie can be these days. Two year olds are my nemeses. Anyway, we had a good time and the kids looked pretty darn cute.

The creeper creeping

Dear blog,

Dear blog,

I’m so insanely behind on messing with you that I don’t eve have the desire to look at you anymore. Plus, your photos are too small and I don’t know how to change it without starting from scratch and I don’t want to do that. Whatever. Here are some quasi recent pictures of the kids that are taking up all of my time and energy.

Phillip is home for the summer and I’m so glad, but I’m so sad because the summer is almost over. This is what Phillip thinks of the kids a lot of the time. 🙂

Oh, and do you remember this post??

Well, Ms. Riley went and got herself adopted!! And we were there. It was great. It was very important to me that our kids be there for her adoption.

Toldja she looks quite a bit like my baby…

I love seeing them together. I love that these kids will all grow up together. Oh, and just for kicks, they’ll most likely all even go to the same elementary school. When God pieces things together, He doesn’t screw around. It’s super cool. I will eventually get around to finishing her adoption photos! Can’t believe I haven’t done that yet. Oh, wait…yes, I can believe it because WE HAVE FOUR KIDS!!

Anyway, I also went to Singapore/Cambodia for two weeks in July. Hopefully I’ll get some of those pictures up one of these days too.

And with that, I feel somewhat more caught up than I did ten minutes ago. Kind of like cleaning my house… it’s better than it was.

Stay in your bed.

When we moved Jack from the crib to a toddler bed, all I had to say was “Stay in your bed” and he did just that. He rarely ever got out or whined or cried. He just didn’t. And I thought I was so awesome.

Then there was Mikey. (dun..dun..dun…) When we moved Mikey from his crib to a toddler bed, it was kind of a nightmare. He fell asleep on the floor almost every night. He screamed. He cried. He threw toys. He banged his head on the floor. When we moved him from the toddler bed to a twin bed, it was worse. I would sit in the hallway outside his door so he could see me until he fell asleep. He didn’t regularly fall asleep in a bed until he was probably 3 years old or so. He would fall asleep on the floor or a chair or the couch. He was and sort of still is a huge pain to get to sleep. I stopped thinking I was awesome long ago.

Brittany came to us already sleeping in a big girl bed. She’s only gotten out of her bed a handful of times. She’s cried at bedtime more than a handful of times, but nothing out of the ordinary for a 2-3 year old. She wasn’t easy before she came to us, and not for several months in, but she’s easy now. Pretty much.

And now there’s Katie. She screams when we put her in her bed. She kicks the wall. She throws everything out of her bed and then gets mad because she wants it back. She wakes up in the morning screaming at the world. She’s pretty much done this for the last 15 months. We just took the rail off of her crib last night. She got out once and she got in trouble. She woke up this morning and didn’t scream. She just played until I got them out of their room. Tonight she hasn’t gotten out of her bed yet, but she screamed for about 10 minutes. Now she’s just in there talking trash. She’s temperamental, but nothing like Mikey was at this age. She’s strong-willed, but it’s laughable compared to Mikey.

So it looks like we are officially out of the crib stage FOREVER! Now if I can only get Katie potty trained, we’ll be golden.

Our garden.

We are so proud of our garden and we want to show it off.

My kids are so funny. When I say, “Okay, guys, we need to run outside and take a picture next to that giant weed!” they just do it. They don’t ask why. They don’t think it’s weird. It’s just regular life to them. And Mikey in this picture, well, I just don’t even know what to say.