Friday, May 25, 2012

...I didn't even look back

I remember the day that I pulled out of our driveway in Maine for what we thought would be the last time for a long, long time, if ever. I kept looking back, sulking, and sad with tears. The house Kevin and I poured our hearts and souls into, painting every inch, laying every square foot of flooring and countless other upgrades in our home making it our own, was no longer ours to live in. I pulled out of the driveway, gazed into my rearview mirror and turned left down the road and past the marsh. The girls yelled "good-bye house"...."good-bye water"....Memories kept flooding my mind remembering all the memories we had of this place, then turning out of our road and crossing the marsh for one last time. I never once took the beauty for granted. I looked back. And I kept looking back...We didn't want to leave.

Little did we know that we would be back. And that we would be back less than one year later.

But yesterday in Virginia, we packed up our van with four kids, two dogs and some clothes to get us through the next few days until our things would be unpacked in Maine. I put the car in drive and drove off like any other day. And it wasn't until I hit Maryland that I remembered that we would never be returning to that house again.   There was no "good-bye" house or any sulking or sadness and no looking back. Of course, happy memories of our family were made, met great friends and had experiences we never could have in Maine. I will admit, I felt a bit guilty about not closing this chapter of our lives appropriately with the girls because our life in Virginia wasn't horrible, but it just wasn't home and when we left, the excitement of going back just completely overtook everything about that moment...and I guess that is why I didn't look back.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Add in a little bit O' fun!

As if moving with four children 500+ miles wasn't fun enough, maybe try...

....taking away all the kids toys first.

.....Ok, maybe not all of them, just leave a few, but be sure you leave less toys than you have kids, to be sure they all fight over that same exact toy.

.....taking apart all of their beds, putting the mattresses on the floor and expecting them not to jump on them as if their bedroom turned into a trampoline zone.

.....leaving some boxes open to be sure your 13 month old can unpack as necessary.
.....adding in two puking children and two with mild diarrhea.

.....Oh, but be sure that you pack away all the extra bedding and towels so at 1am, you hardly have anything to change the bed with or put new clothes on....

....adding a crazy amount of laundry to your already long load list to be sure your children have clean clothes and beds for the last night.

The packing has been going amazingly well despite a few road blocks! Life would be boring without all these roadblocks! Hoping all the "fun" will all be worth it in the end!

Monday, May 21, 2012

BIG Changes ahead...

Because it seems as though Kevin and I aren't satisfied with status quo, we thought it would be fun to move our family back to Maine. And because I haven't talked very much about our very impending move, you can read all about the background here.

So. Yeah. Where was I? Oh yeah. Status quo. Moving.

In less than one week Kevin and I will be putting all of our crap back on a moving truck and moving into our cute little house back home in Maine. Four kids. Three bedrooms. It's gonna be a good time.

Yep. You read that right. We're moving back to Maine. We thought it would be fun to do a non-military move sandwiched between a real military move. I mean, who doesn't like moving? And who doesn't like moving 500+ miles with four kids??? That's right. We are doing this ourselves. With a U-HAUL, and if that doesn't make you jealous, we're getting two because we have that much crap. Jealous yet?

No? Well, we will have two U-Hauls and we will be packing up our crap all by ourselves. Yes. You read that right. We are not hiring a soul. We are doing this alone and with the help of my parents and some amazing friends. There will be no watching people pack for me.

I'll admit, I am actually enjoying all this packing. It's kind of exciting. We will be embarking on a completely different way of life for our family and I look forward to sharing (or bitching about) the ups and downs with you all. Don't get me wrong. I am not completely excited about our new arrangements, but Kevin and I feel as though this is the best thing for our family and we will do everything in our power to make it work for the better and to provide a happier environment for our family. Quality over quantity, right?

You see, Kevin will continue to work here in DC. He will fly back and forth weekly from Maine to DC with the ability to work from home a little. It's definitely going to be an adjustment, and I am sure there will be plenty of bumps in the road, but, we've been handed some pretty hefty bumps in the past, and we've come out stronger. We've been planning and thinking and obsessing and talking about this move for months now, seriously, it's been too long, and we're both just ready to execute our plan. The good news? This situation is temporary. Kevin and I are determined individuals. We aren't afraid to make a change.

Yesterday, Kevin moved some furniture into his new "un-bachelor pad". He will live there midweek along side with another Coastie who is also leaving his wife and four children behind in Milwaukee. It will be nice for Kevin to have someone to commiserate with. This house was a blessing for us and we are so lucky to have had this opportunity for Kevin to live here while he finishes his tour here in DC.

The kids are extremely excited to go home. They are excited to see their friends and my parents. They're excited for their swingset, and big backyard, and the beach and everything in between. Mairead is going to try 1st grade in public school and Lilah is going to try preschool at Our School where Mairead attended. There are changes coming ahead for everyone, but I'd like to think they are all changes in a positive manner!

I am just hoping the move goes smoothly! and everything else just falls into place...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My sleep is more important than yours...

Do you ever have this discussion with your husband? And more importantly, do you ever have this discussion with your husband in the middle of the night?! (and have you ever argued about it in the middle of the night???)

The baby is crying. Okay, screaming. It's 2am and you don't want to get out of bed. You lay there quietly pretending to sleep while hoping that your husband will get tired of hearing the baby and jump out of bed to rock the baby back to sleep. You just want a few more hours of your bed to yourself.

Sound familiar?

Except. It just doesn't happen once in a great while. It happens almost every night. And after 13 months of getting up in the middle of the night, you've hit a wall, you realized you need more sleep. And not just one night of decent sleep, but a more consistent sleep pattern? (I am not talking 12 hours straight, but more like 6? 8?)

Then your husband realizes after a few nights that getting up in the middle of the night is the mammas job. And then you both wait silently in bed waiting for the other to get up. I know Kevin is just laying there praying I am the one who jumps out of bed, grabs the baby and brings him back to our bed to nurse him so he can go back to sleep. But, What. About. Me? What about my sleep? Yeah, sometimes I fall back to sleep with Callum nursing with an open bar of milk, indulging himself for an hour, sometimes more, but I can't always fall back to sleep.

Please tell me I am not the only one??? Hello? Anyone... 

Don't get me wrong, I love my snuggle time with my babies, but I also love my sleep. And I need more. 

Do you ever get into a "heated" 2am conversation about how your sleep is more important than his, and he says his sleep is more important than yours. Yeah. He has to work. (but don't I, too?). I give our babies a year of my patience with multiple nighttime wakings, and I am realistic about my expectations, but Callum, you slept 8-10 hours as a very small infant can you please, please, please sleep more than you have been sleeping??? All I need is help for a short period to get him sleeping longer stretches!

I am not quite sure what it is. Teeth? (my guess since he only has two teeth) Growth spurt? the sheer fact that he is still in our room (albeit in his separate space, but he can still see us) or the fact that he just wants to suck on B@@by. You see, all the girls had a  roller coaster first year of sleep. Sleeping through the night by 6-8 weeks followed by crap sleep starting at 4 months through about 10-12 months, but then sleeping 10 hours by one. Well, not this cat. His sleeping is just not cool. And since we do not do "cry it out" it takes a little bit more of an effort on my part, but in the end, all the girls end up being great sleepers!

But of course, last night he proved to me that he can sleep until 4am (8 hours)!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

You know it's spring when...

Each day there is a new battle scar from biking....running.....



and ending the day with a new battle scar to show off to your siblings...

I love this time of year. The kids want to be outside and it shows. They start the day clean and cute and end the day dirty and grimy... but my motto is a dirty kid is a tired kid, and if my kids are dirty and all beat up by the end of the day, they must be having fun. And as long as the scrapes and bruises don't turn into anything else, I can handle that. It means my kids are active and outside in the shining sun having fun. And I love that. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Those who inspire Mothers.

Instead of talking about my mothers day, I've decided to take a different spin...

I very rarely ever talk about my past life as a nurse. I guess it is because it feels like it was so very long ago and it just isn't part of my life now. The truth is, it will always be a part of who I am, and that part of me is tucked way deep down in a special spot in my heart. Some days, I miss my job. And not the job as going to work everyday to escape my kids and the politics that go along with it, but what I did. I love helping others. I loved ending my day with a sense of goodness in my heart. And helping mammas birth their babies was an amazing thing I was able to do, and someday, I will go back to that, or at least in some aspect of helping new mammas.

Very recently, I lost a good friend after a very courageous battle with Leukemia. She had beat the leukemia, but months after a bone marrow transplant, she developed pneumonia that was just too strong for her weakened immune system to handle. This friend is an amazing woman and I had the honor of working with her in my past life. She was an amazing nurse and lactation consultant, and a mother and grandmother herself. And I can only imagine how many mothers she has helped in her lifetime, including myself. And someday, I hope I will be able to follow in her footsteps.

You see, when I worked with her as a nurse, I had no children. I wasn't even married. I was a single, white female working for a living and loving what I did. Jolenne taught me so much about new motherhood and breastfeeding. I always knew when I had children I would breastfeed, but that's all I knew. I pretty much thought anyone who nursed longer than a year was....weird. God, I don't even think I knew what tandem nursing was and if I did, I probably would have said it was gross. Ok, back to my friend...She was so passionate about what she did and it showed each and everyday in her job and her life. She was an advocate for new moms and she helped those who struggled to nurse their little ones. Her love and passion shined each and every day, and she instilled her knowledge into each and every one of us. And she won my love of nursing and helping mothers to succeed at a very early part in my nursing career.

I remember having what I called "breastfeeding nightmares" as a nurse and I remember I could always count on her to help me, help a mamma who was struggling to nurse her baby. And when I had my very own baby, I put everything I learned from her into use, and even that wasn't good enough, but this amazing women would help me whenever I needed help. Mairead hated to nurse in the beginning. She would scream at the breast. Refuse to latch. It was awful. But, she kept me sane. She kept me going and reminding me that nursing is a work in progress. And I nursed Mairead until she was well past two years old. And then there was Callum. A critically ill newborn who was on a ventilator and unable to nurse. Completely outside of my realm. What do I do exactly? Call Jolenne. She helped me survive pumping breastmilk while my baby was in the NICU. She answered all my questions. And when things sounded "shady", she set me straight, kept me focused and helped me and Callum establish a very strong nursing relationship that continues today, all without setting her hands on me. That's how she was.

And in between children, she was always very happy to help any of my friends with their questions regarding breastfeeding whenever I was unable to answer questions. She never even knew these women, yet, she took time out of her day to help these women succeed with breastfeeding. She was that passionate.

I have to say when I grow up, I want to be just like her. I want to educate women on childbirth and someday I would love to be a lactation consultant. This isn't new news, and if you know me, you will know just how much I enjoy helping new (and seasoned) mammas how to nurse, or anything having to do with childbirth and breastfeeding children. I love talking about pregnancy and childbirth and beyond, and I hope someday, I can follow in Jolenne's path and make an impact on the lives of other mothers all over.

Happy Mothers Day to all the amazing mammas out there who strive everyday to be the best mamma they can be. This Mother's Day post is dedicated to Jolenne, who will be missed by many...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

American Girl Party

On Friday, we celebrated Mairead's 6th birthday at the American Girl store. And needless to say it was a success!

Mairead showing off Kit's new earrings! 

Lilah & Kanani 

The birthday girls! Did you know Kit's birthday is on May 19th?
Neither did I... 

I have to say the AmericanGirl did a really good job with the party. It was organized, the food was good and all in all, all the girls had a really great time! I can't believe my baby girl is 6!!!

AND the WINNER is.......

Happy Mother's Day, BETH! #27

You are the winner of the beautiful Red-Eyed Quilt! Congratulations and please be sure to share photos once you receive it!

We had 59 ENTRIES! Stay tuned for more giveaways planned for the coming months! 
Thank you to all who participated, and don't forget to use your Red-Eyed Quilt Coupon code to purchase anything from her store at 10% off! And also, if you are looking for something special, Heather would love to do any custom ordering!

Coupon Code: CLPQN456 

The coupon expires Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 at 11:59pm EST. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

My baby is 6......

You read it. Our baby girl, Mairead is 6. And as Kevin puts it, she is 1/3 of the way OUT of the house. Daddy may think of it that way, but to me, it is so bittersweet! A 1/3 of the way?!? Really? That seems so crazy, I mean, the last 6 years have just flown by, and to think that another 6 years brings us to 12, a tween? No. I can't even think about that without my head spinning and me wanting to faint.

So, for now, we'll focus on 6. And what a fun year this has been for us. Mairead has matured so much in the last year and it's been so fun watching her evolve from a "mature" preschooler (if there is such a thing) and now an almost Kindergarten graduate! While Mairead never attended Kindergarten and was homeschooled, it's still hard to believe she will be entering 1st grade next year. In the last year, Mairead has learned to write beautifully, and read at an amazing level. She loves to count money. She is such an active learner and so unbelievably motivated. She keeps me on track most days. I have absolutely no doubt that she will do wonderful in 1st grade!

She has a love for her dolls (particularly her American Girl, Kit) and loves to pretend her babies are her children. She frequently talks about them as if they are her real, live dolls. It is not uncommon for her to come to me and tell me she has just given birth. She is such a big help with Callum when I need it and it is really great to have her ready and willing to help out. Of course, she will flaunt a newly found attitude and can still throw a fit like the best of them. Somedays her behavior is so amazing and others, well, not so amazing. The last few weeks she has really been testing her limits with me and Kevin, but with a lot of changes coming home, I think she is just as anxious as we are to move and get back into a routine again. But most days, she is a very caring and compassionate little girl who loves to play with her sisters and brother and of course, her friends.

Mairead is at such a fun age where she is really able to participate and play and have fun with me and Kevin. For example, in Mexico, while the youngest three took naps, Mairead and I went snorkeling together. It was so much fun to be able to do those types of things! She is so fun in the pool and is such a good swimmer, too! It only makes me and Kevin really excited for the years to come when all of our children will be able to participate in the same activities!
Modeling her new Birthday dress

She looks so BIG in this photo...sniff....sniff....

This past Monday, Mairead and I went out for our "annual Mommy & Mairead" birthday shopping trip. We went to the mall, shopped for her new birthday dress and enjoyed Churros at a local Mexican restaurant. I just love doing this as a tradition with all of my kids! For Mairead's birthday yesterday, she requested a day at Daddy's work. So, we woke up and met daddy at his work. It was fun because they were having a cookout, so the girls were able to run around and have some fun. After we got home, Mairead requested we go to the "cook in front of you" Japanese restaurant for her birthday dinner! Then of course, we stopped at Coldstone and picked up a cake ($25 frickin' dollars......what a RIP OFF0 and sang happy birthday when we got home while we skyped with Nana & Papa (my parents).

Since we moved to Virginia, Mairead has wanted an 'American Girl' birthday party, so tonight, our family and two of our neighbors will be joining us. I am actually quite surprised Mairead chose this option because it only included two of her friends. We gave her the option to have her birthday dinner at the American Girl Bistro with us, and then a party at home with friends, but she is a girl who knows what she wants, and she poo-poo'd that idea and said No thanks. Hey - makes my job easier! Though, it's kind of sad not preparing for a birthday party here at home for her!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Red Eye Studio QUILT giveaway! [ENDED]

Hi there!  I’m Heather. I’m a married mom of 6 kids, and the owner/operator at Red-Eyed Studio LLC.  My youngest child is 18 months old, my oldest child is 18 years (he graduates high school in 2 months! gasp).  We are big, busy family! 

I have always enjoyed sewing.  There wasn’t much time to focus on sewing while I was busy having babies, but it’s been great to be back behind the sewing machine!  I do most of my sewing during nap time and in the evenings, after everyone has gone off to bed and the house is nice a quiet.  It’s wonderful to start and finish a project, and be able to stand back and say, “yeah, I made that!” 

I’ve made many things for around my home: curtains, pillows, blankets, clothing for the girls (I love making skirts and cute little dresses!), Christmas pajamas for the whole family, etc.  So, if there is a project that you’ve been thinking about, shoot me an email.  I’d love to help you! 

You can visit my shop at:

And follow me on Facebook at:

This baby quilt throw is pure love! All of our quilts are unique and hand-made and constructed with attention to detail to ensure long-lasting quality. I love the way these rag quilts become softer and softer with each wash. Your child will love to snuggle up in this beautiful blanket .

Blanket specifics:

-- Description: This rag quilt has a 100% cotton fabric on the front and the back, with a layer of soft white flannel in the middle. This quilt is reversible, with the same pattern on the front and back.. It is soft to the touch and truly unique.

-- Measurement: This rag quilt measures 31 " X 31"

-- Materials: The top and bottom layer are made from 100% cotton fabrics. The center fabric is a soft, white flannel.

-- Care: All of our quilts have been pre-washed on gentle cycle prior to shipping to begin the ragging process. At home, use warm or cool settings for washing and drying.

This blanket retails for $38. 


Giveaway will start TODAY!

Only U.S. entries only, please.

All entries must be submitted by Thursday, May 10th at 11:59pm EST

So, how do I do this?

You may enter up to three separate times by doing the following (remember each comment submitted is equal to one vote):

1. Submit a comment below stating what you plan on using the quilt for. Yourself? Your child? A friend? Etc.

2. Pop on over to the Red-Eyed Studio on facebook, "LIKE" the page and/or post a comment there about the giveaway. You must then return here and post a comment saying you did so or we won't be able to count it as an entry! Facebook is in no way part of this promotion. 

3. Submit a link on one of the following: 1) your personal facebook page, 2) twitter account, or 3) your own blog/website linking back to this blog giveaway.  Then return to THIS blog and post another comment and state what you did. Be sure when you share this link, that you are sharing the correct post. Just below is a "share" button!

Remember, you can submit up to 3 times by leaving 3 separate comments! If you don't leave separate comments, you won't get credit for all of your entries! 

The winner will be chosen at random by on Friday, May 11th, 2012. Be sure to leave contact information in the event you are the winner!

In the meantime, head on over to the Red-Eyed Studio and take a look at all the great stuff Heather has to offer!

If you are not a winner but would like to purchase something from her store, use the coupon code for 10% off your purchase! CLPQN456 

The coupon expires Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 at 11:59pm EST. 

Good luck, everyone!

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability. Winner(s) will be contacted by email 48 hours after the giveaway ends. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send us an email!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Special Blankets...

I don't know about your kids, but all of mine have a special blanket. When our children were babies, I swaddled them and swaddled them tight. Each of our kids blankets come from special places, some were given as gifts, and others were purchased by me before birth, wherever they came from, they are all very much loved.

Some of our blankets have traveled a lot of miles with our children and have received a lot of use and abuse. They provide comfort to our children when they are in a place that is not their own.

You can see both Callum and Lilah snuggling with their blankets on our most recent trip to Mexico. Callum snuggled right in with his while he took his naps on the plane, and Lilah used hers to keep her warm, Whatever the reason, every child needs a blanket. I tend to look at blankets and remember certain memories of our different children using them.

I've always wanted to make blankets, but I just haven't gotten to know my sewing machine on a very personal basis yet, and have always admired those who are able to create such treasured items in a child's life, so for now, I will admire from afar, but some day, I will embark on a challenge to create special blankets made out of special clothing I have set aside from our children's infant wardrobe.

So, where is this going you may be asking yourself? 

Well, a friend of mine (and mamma to six children) has embarked on her own journey to start a business selling homemade quilts and other awesomely created items! I envy her talent and would love to help her business take off and this is why I am sharing her with you! Any mom who has 6 children and can create what she does is special, and that is why we will be hosting a giveaway for one of her fantastic items. For those who read my blog, this will serve as a thank you for being faithful readers!

This will be a great opportunity for you to have a chance to snatch up that special blanket for your child or if you know of someone who is in need of one, you can send them here to enter our giveaway! If you are not the lucky winner of the quilt, you will have a chance to grab an item from Heather's store at a discounted price.

Heather will be guest blogging this week and we will announce all the details of the giveaway - so stay tuned for further details (and spread the word)!

Friday, May 4, 2012


So we survived our trip to Mexico! And we had an absolutely fantastic, really, we did!

The resort we stayed at (Dreams Puerto Aventuras) was probably the best resort we've stayed at in Mexico thus far, and we've gone three times as a family. It was great for the kids, and great for us, and great for our family all around. There was so much for the kids to do and they had a blast. Most mornings we would be down by the water around 8am and we wouldn't get back into our room until around 5pm. Callum and Clara were really great about having their naps on the beach while the big girls played.

Whoever said vacationing with kids (four kids even) wasn't any fun because they are missing out! Big time. We seriously had so much fun. We snorkeled. We drank. The kids had "cocktails". We swam. We met some great friends. We ate a ton. And we made some amazing memories together. The kids did absolutely wonderful on the plane to and from, and it only makes us excited to do it all over again....

Of course, trip preparation is always a pain in the ass, and trying to plan out how to make a long trip to a foreign country successful, here is what we did:
I made a crap load of sandwiches for the plane since we would be flying during lunch time

Pile up daddy with all the bags so he looks foolish :)

and make sure you put the kids to work, too....

because when you have an hour car ride to the resort, it will make them  sleep, and your trip much more peaceful :)

So, I won't bore you with are some photos of our trip!

Our first "cocktail" - while we waiting for our room to be ready, we ate some food and enjoyed some
yummy drinks while overlooking the water. Picture perfect...

Callum was so tired from traveling, he couldn't stay awake in the pool! 

The girls couldn't wait to get their bathing suits on and head to the beach to play!
The water was amazingly beautiful!!! 

Mairead showing off one of her new bathing suits at the beach
Enjoying our "cocktails" - the resort did a fabulous job at having special "drinks of the day" not just for adults, but special ones for the kiddos, too! 

Our kids loved the bar......Hmmmmmm

Callum's very first ice cream cone. He loved it...and was rather pissed off when it was gone!
Our first night in Mexico before dinner

The "Maine man" walking around the resort

Daddy and his crew
One of the bars at the resort called "BARacuda" had swings - they were a big hit with our kids! 

The water was amazing.....yeah, I know I already said that, but seriously, it was! 

Mairead and Callum playing in the sand together

The resort had bungy trampolines going every morning for the kids (and adults, too). Lilah was the first one that morning, and she had absolutely NO clue as to what she was volunteering to do. I will have to post the video of it. She belly laughed the entire time. No joke. I am surprised she didn't wet herself. Mairead enjoyed it, too, but she was a bit more reserved in her reaction to it! 

The resort had so much going on for kids! One night they had a beach campfire, roasted marshmallows and then had a movie out on the beach for the kids! 

They also had catamaran rides which we loved! The water was a bit rough that day, but the big girls loved it! 

Lilah being her cute little self

Callum giving me a beach pedicure :)
They had the coolest "natural pool" for snorkeling that was perfect for the kids! There were
lots of little fish and shrimp! 

Mairead jumping off the ocean trampoline

Lilah jumping off 
We love snorkeling! 

They had some tree monkeys visit the resort. OF course, Lilah was one of the first to volunteer! 

Mamma even got a turn :)

Daddy and Lilah snorkeling in the natural pool 

Even in Mexico, he still has his hands down in my....... 

I am going to go out on a limb here and say I think Callum is going to enjoy the water just as much as his big sisters! 

Swim up bar with the kids :)

Last night in Mexico 

Callum and Lilah before we left for the airport

Last morning in Mexico......... 
*** Check on the right side menu for the Vimeo clips of the bungy trampoline....and yes, I even put a video of me trying it out. Don't laugh too hard now :)