Thanks for the reminder, Facebook!

“Congratulations on the anniversary of your engagement!”

Well, that is not something you hear every day. Especially when your engagement was 5 kids, 2 cats, a dog, 60 pounds and 14 years ago.

But, Facebook, the all encompassing tool, wanted to remind me.

Even though Facebook was still a few years away from it’s own inception, it wanted to remind me of that day, 14 years ago, at the Franklin Park Zoo. That day when my boyfriend searched the entire zoo for the monkey exhibit, planning to ask me to spend this rest of my life with “this monkey” – only to realize at the last possible second that the monkey exhibit was closed, and that he was running out of zoo to propose in. That day, when he would say (ever so romantically) as I jumped on some stepping stone type rocks leading to the exit, “Hey, can you get down off of those rocks so that I can ask you to marry me?” That day when I would say yes while gazing over his shoulder at the last exhibit of the zoo, a giant, looming Condor who seemed to want to join in the excitement. Or have a newly engaged couple for lunch.

That day, which was pretty much a premonition of the years to come.

Our home is essentially a zoo. “Stop climbing on that” is repeated like a mantra. And an hour before dinner time, I can gaze over my husband’s shoulders and still catch glimpse of those vultures, circling with the hope of dinner.

By the way – I’d still say yes. animated-vulture-image-0009

Happy First Day Back from April Vacation!

Sunday night/last night of school vacation Deanna: “I have all of the school stuff organized, the kids are in bed at a normal time, and tomorrow morning is going to go smoothly.”

Monday morning/first day of school after April vacation Deanna: “Fnjiuagntfneuhagft.” (this roughly translates to: “Why do you get out of bed at dawn during vacation, but suddenly need beauty sleep on a school morning? Where did the backpacks go? How do you only have one shoe!? Yes, I need to do your hair, you look like Don King. Where is the bab….GET THE BOX OF CEREAL AWAY FROM THE BABY BEFORE HE DUMPS…someone clean up the cereal from inside the couch. Did you change your underwear? Yessssss this has to be done DAILY. Why is there chalk on the dog?”)

On the positive side, I am certain that I dropped the right ones off at school. Slightly less certain that they were all wearing socks, but – you can’t win them all. As long as the girl child doesn’t remove a sneaker and take out her teacher with the stench of her feet – I count it as a successful school drop off. (And if she did take off a shoe….well, I am sincerely sorry. And I owe you air fresheners.  And potentially therapy.)

I did get a chance to stop and smell the flowers this morning. Yes, actually. Fleeting reminders that life is beautiful. Even when it does involve stinky feet.

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“What a beautiful picture!”

One of my big parenting goals is to have pictures of all of my children together. I am admittedly horrible at keeping up with baby books, so these myriads of pictures serve to document my children’s youth alongside their siblings, and to see them grow together. As the years have progressed, I have come to the realization that I am not just watching them grow physically, but I am also capturing the growth of their bond with each other. Chubby toddler hands clinging to tiny infant bodies have slowly morphed into the grubby, protective hands of a pre-teen firmly grasping the wildly wiggling toddler, lest he slip out of his grip and fall…

Sentimental? Yes. Easy? Hahahaha!

For every picture I share with my friends and family, there are easily a dozen outtakes.  (And by a dozen, let’s just say that I currently have over thirty thousand pictures stored on my external hard drive. My kids don’t call me the Mama-razzi for nothing.)

Though I would love to tell you that I always lovingly guide my children to smile at the camera lens to document holidays and random, silly occasions….well, that would be a lie. For the most part, I am cheerful in my attempts to get them to look at the camera, and they dutifully indulge me. But, there are five of them. Five wiggly, active, silly, often uncooperative KIDS. Undoubtedly, “someone is touching me, looking at me funny, breathing too loudly, or just existing in a way that makes me angry!” These times happen most often when I am trying to get a picture that I desperately want. In my frustration, I find myself snapping at them. “JUST LOOK HERE! AT THE CAMERA! FOR ONE SECOND! ALL I WANT IS ONE PICTURE!”

Because of this, there are some pictures that I have shared that come with a twinge of guilt. Pictures where my children have been super uncooperative, and I have ended up snapping at them in frustration. Pictures that have, in turn, turned out to be rather beautiful.

My beautiful children, hugging each other and looking out at the ocean?13767216_10153743448688663_8939927236115441036_o

This was taken after a memorial service, on the year anniversary of a dear friends passing. Weighing on my mind was the fact that my friend’s brothers were standing on the beach together, without their beloved brother. Gone unexpectedly, and far too soon. There would be no more sibling pictures. Their family would be forever incomplete. I was emotional, still crying, and desperately wanted one picture of my children together on that beach, in that moment.

They were having no part of it.

One was crying because he had sand in his eye. One was complaining that the sun was too bright and squinting like Popeye. One was eating sand, and crying because his big sister wouldn’t take her hand out of his mouth. One was angry because nobody would let him sprint into the ocean fully clothed.

I finally snapped, swore under my breath, and angrily told them through my tears to sit down and face away from me. Forget it. If they wouldn’t cooperate, I would just take a picture of their backs and call it a day.

They dutifully sat, clinging to each other. Still upset, but bonded together, and desperately trying to appease their now sobbing mom.

I got my picture. With a little side of guilt.

Perspective. It changes everything.

 

 

Where the heck did that blog name come from?!

My nine year old son.  This probably needs no further explanation, but this is my darn blog, and you are going to get one anyway, whether you like it or not. (Imagine that said in my firmest of mom voices.)

When I was expecting kid #4, I was poking around on a mom site, reading the forum discussions.  I was at the point in pregnancy when everyone was finding out the sex of their babies, and there were no less than 4.5 million posts about #TeamPink and #TeamBlue. And then I came across the post that would shape my future.

“I went to my ultrasound this morning, and it was awful.  JUST AWFUL. I have two boys already, and was PRAYING to be on #TeamPink. And then the tech put the wand on my belly for the money shot and there it was.  Another freaking boy.  I am heartbroken.  I haven’t stopped crying since. My dreams of dresses and bows are smashed.  EIGHTEEN MORE YEARS OF BURPS AND FARTS!”

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I hold some sympathy for this woman.  I get being disappointed when you don’t get what you have been hoping for. And the reality is, her entire life was shaped in that moment. I genuinely hope that 5 months later, when her beautiful baby boy was handed to her, all was well with the world.

But that quote.  THAT QUOTE.

Two days later, I was at my own ultrasound. The tech went in for the “money shot.” And my husband and I both burst out laughing, and blurted out “Eighteen more years of burps and farts!!!!”

When we gave our older kids a box filled with blue balloons to let them know a brother would be joining the family – they all shrieked “Eighteen more years of burps and farts!” while giving each other gleeful high fives.

When boy number four joined our family two years later – blue frosted cupcakes were met with joyful shouts of “Eighteen more years of burps and farts!”

So, yeah. That is where the blog title comes from. And it couldn’t be more true to my life as a mom.  With four boys, and the classiest little girl in the history of daughters (read: dripping with sarcasm), my life is a side show of bodily function.

It is messy. It is sticky, stinky, and rarely quiet. But it is pretty darn fantastic.

Oh, except for the stink part. That isn’t too fantastic. I am not kidding when I say to hold your nose if you go near the boys rooms. Feet and farts. The smells of their people.  #JoysOfBoys