Change

Happy New Year! As we welcome 2015, it seems as though so many have made their resolutions, setting goals, and striving to live a “better” life this year (which can be translated in so many ways). I know I’m a bit behind the curve, but I’ve been reflecting a lot over the last few weeks, reading mommy blogs about goal setting, financial blogs about getting out of debt, foodie blogs about simple ways of eating cleaner, Christian blogs about setting a one-word goal for the year…

It’s that last bit that has sparked my interest: a one-word goal. Hmmm? What exactly does that look like? Focusing on one word throughout the year and really embracing all that it might mean?

And rather than choosing a word for myself, it seems as though one word keeps popping up on my radar:

CHANGE.

Change has chosen me. Yes, I realize that change is a part of every single year. It happens constantly, like it or not; we are all subject to it. And yet, I keep getting this nagging feeling that this year I’m supposed to recognize it, accept it, and even (gasp) embrace and welcome it. Sounds so cliché. But I truly sense the Holy Spirit nudging me to notice changes in myself, in my marriage, in my children, in my circumstances. Some of these changes will simply happen, some will hopefully be the work of the Spirit in me, and some I must proactively seek.

Change.

It’s already happening all around me. My heavily pregnant belly has changed rapidly over the last few months. In just 3 short weeks (or even sooner), we will welcome a tiny new addition into our family. Eager with anticipation, I can hardly wait to meet her, but I know that she will bring about so much change in our lives and the lives of our children. A family of 7 to a family of 8. Five girls to six. The little sister will become a big sister, no longer the baby herself. And the biggest sister will take on more responsibility as she tries to help me care for the baby. (And believe me, this is self-imposed, not mommy-imposed; it’s just how she’s wired, just like me.) Our lives will grow messier yet again, burp rags galore, pacifiers abounding, blankets everywhere, and bouncy seats and baby gear to stub our toes on once more.

Change.

And just as our house will get a bit smaller, so has our mini-van! We no longer all fit in it! Yes, we’ve moved up to a 12-passenger van this year. Can you believe it?! Can I believe it? According to my title and registration, I officially drive a bus. A BUS! And you know what? It’s really great. The girls have tons more space, we can haul other people around with us (like grandparents and friends), and it rides really well. Did I ever, in a million years, think I would be saying these words, especially given our infertility history? Absolutely not. This is one change that I certainly wasn’t looking forward to, and here I am realizing how much better it is already for my family. A huge blessing.

Change.

There have been some other major changes in our household recently as well. The triplets turned 4 at the end of November. Annabelle, Madelynn and Chloe have grown up so much, even in the last few months. I can’t believe how big they are, how just one year of growth makes such a difference. In preparation for the new baby to arrive, we needed to upgrade the cribs-converted-to-toddler beds that the girls were still using. On the last night in their little girl beds, I snapped this picture.

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How wonderful and precious is this? Daddy can get them laughing like no one else on earth!

As I snapped shots of them all together, I couldn’t help but feel reminiscent. I left the room full of utter joy and at the same time, crying. Small, quiet tears. Because I remember bringing the triplets home, so tiny that they all fit into one crib quite easily. Because my babies are growing up so fast. Because I don’t want to miss a moment of it. Because I am grateful to experience these moments.

The next day ended with this:

Triple Bunk Beds

Still a bit rough with a few boards to paint and screw holes to fill in, but really fantastic!

Brand new big girl bunk beds, perfect for my girls who could not even fathom the thought of moving into separate rooms!

This meant a change in the nursery as well. Lydia’s room now houses her crib and another, awaiting the child growing in my belly, the one that she and her sisters kiss repeatedly throughout the day! And with the arrival of a second crib in her room, Lydia has learned to climb out of her bed and into the baby’s bed. Oh, the time I’ve already spent trying to teach her not to climb in with the baby, and the baby isn’t even here yet! It will most certainly be interesting to see how she adjusts to a roommate, especially one who wakes up to eat in the middle of the night. Will this work?

Just yesterday after intently watching our sweet Lydia (who is about to turn 2), my husband said to me, “It seems like she’s grown 6 months in the last 2 weeks!” And that says it all.

Change.

How could I speak of change and not talk about our oldest daughter, Emily, too? She’s six-going-on-sixteen. A first grader. She lost her front teeth early in the school year, and they have been nearly fully replaced already by her big girl teeth. I can’t believe it! She is still a sweet, innocent little girl, unashamed to laugh and love and be silly. But I see glimpses of a much bigger, wiser girl coming out of her. Sometimes she says the most profound things, and I am amazed. Yet within five minutes, she may have a sudden teenage-like hormonal response to something petty. It’s maddening and hysterical all at the same time. I see her changing before my eyes, and I am so hopeful for her future.

I’m absolutely stunned at how blessed I feel to have been given the privilege of raising these children, and yet I realize the weight of this heavy burden to raise them all well, showing them love, teaching them how to be loving adults, pointing them to a Savior who is so much better than me.

I don’t want to change who they are, but I hope to help shape them into who God created them to be.

THIS is an important job. THE MOST important job.

Change. I realize that I do have a choice in this. Change will happen inevitably. (I’ve even talked about change here.) But my choice comes in how I respond. This year, I am going to consciously choose to recognize change and, cliché as it is, embrace it. I want to see my children, each one for who she is now and for who she is becoming. I want to actively change my marriage for the better. (Not that it’s bad, but we all know things can always be better!) I hope to find ways to change some of those nagging habits that I don’t like so much, and replace them intentionally with better things, like more prayer, daily Bible study, caring for others, writing more, developing my business… Now I’m starting to sound like I’m making resolutions.

Perhaps.

But the point is, I can choose change for the better. I can notice change around me. And I can change, through grace, in love.

I find so much hope in this: my God, who never changes, longs to do something new in me.

21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

-Ephesians 4:21-24 (NLT)

And this:

Behold, I will do something new,

Now it will spring forth;

Will you not be aware of it?

-Isaiah 43:19a (NASB)

I intend to become aware of it this year. Will you notice with me?

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A Little Wall Art and Some Corn Muffin Mix

Hey there! Been a while since I’ve talked with you lately.

Here’s just one little reason why:

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Beautiful Wall Art

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And it even wraps around and flows down onto the crib slats!

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We can’t forget those closet doors and adjacent walls, right?!

These beautiful blue designs were created during nap time. Well, the girls were supposed to be napping. I heard some movement and laughter about 15 minutes after I put them in their bedroom. Hmmm… When I peaked in and saw the scribbles, I immediately asked who did it. Madelynn was quick to confess, especially since Chloe and Annabelle simultaneously yelled, “Madi did it! Madi did it!” Hysterical! They all jumped right back under their covers and tried to be as quiet and still as possible as I cleaned it all up!

At least this lovely masterpiece was created using washable crayon, evidenced by one tiny remnant left on the floor. I am so glad that daddy and I chose to pay the extra dollar a box to get the washable ones for their stockings! Worth. every. penny.

The girls have really been living up to their Five Messy Babies name recently, especially the 3 three-year-olds. Let me tell you about one day in particular.

The morning started out jerky. You know, those days that are just not smooth sailing out of the gate? Everyone was arguing over breakfast, leading to a large spill of cereal all over the kitchen floor. Chloe got a tiny spot of milk on her shirt in the process, so of course, she had to change clothes. She’s going through a major dress-up phase right now, so I see her in a minimum of a dozen outfits a day. Yes, you heard me correctly. Doesn’t seem to matter how close I keep her by my side, she can sneak away and change clothes in the blink of an eye!

On this particular day, I had a little mommy talk with her about keeping the same clothes on for the whole morning. She nodded and agreed and promised not to change clothes again. So while I was feeding baby Lydia, guess what Chloe did? Yep, she changed clothes. But not just that. She emptied every single dresser drawer onto the bedroom floor looking for that perfect outfit, flinging those clothes over her entire room! One large dresser houses all of the triplets’ clothes that don’t need to be hung. That’s A LOT of clothes! The floor was covered.

So, I brought Lydia into the triplets’ room with me while I put the clothes away. She loved rolling in the piles! Meanwhile, the triplets asked if they could jump on my bed. Our bedrooms share a wall, so I agreed since I was close by. (Yes, I just admitted to you that I let my children jump on my bed sometimes! It’s cold outside, and they have to get their energy out somehow, right?! And I did put pillows on the floor around the bed, attempting to make it safer.) They were jumping around, laughing and squealing with joy, having a grand old time while I was folding and putting away all those clothes for what had to take at least 15 to 20 minutes.

When I finished, I walked next door into my bedroom and gasped in horror.

Yellow powder covered every inch of my bedroom.

Every surface. Every ledge. Every shelf. Every sheet. Every blanket. Every pillow. Every nook, cranny, and crack. Even in Matt’s shoes, inside our tower fan, and smashed into a few pieces of clothing that had been on our cedar chest at the foot out bed. And ground into the carpet.

The triplets immediately stopped jumping and laughing. They slunk off the bed and quietly tried to sneak out of the room. Oh no! I stopped them and asked who did it. Again, Madi did it!

In the middle of the piles of yellow dust on my bed, my eyes were drawn to pieces of torn up cardboard. I picked up several pieces, enough to decipher that it had been a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix. When I asked Madi why she’d opened it, she said, “I wanted to eat it, Mommy,” and then she stuck out her lower lip, looked down, and sniffled. She was hungry. She must have snuck out using the other door to my bedroom, gone to the pantry, and picked up the box with pictures of “cupcakes” on it. Then she brought it back to share with her sisters, ripped open the box, and discovered that yellow powder is much more fun than cupcakes! No wonder they were squealing and laughing!

It’s really sweet and funny when you think about it, but my, oh my. What a mess! Amazing how one small box in the hands of one mischievous toddler caused such damage! I locked the doors to all the bedrooms, put a movie on in the living room for the triplets, put Lydia down for a nap and headed to my bedroom for an overhaul cleaning. After 45 minutes of vacuuming, moving furniture, vacuuming more, dusting, vacuuming more (plus four loads of laundry that day), my room was clean again.

Meanwhile, Madi was up to it again. She must have been needing an extra amount of attention that day. While I was running the vacuum (therefore couldn’t hear her), she had to potty, then she must have decided she’d like to find out what was behind the cabinet doors under the sink. I don’t keep any cleaners there, and the girls have never bothered it, so there are no child safety locks on those cabinets. What was I thinking?

Somewhere in the depths of the cabinet, she found an old bottle of manly body wash. And she opened it. And she dumped it out. All over the bottom of the cabinet. On the bathroom floor. In the toilet. In the sink. All over.

Am I sensing some deja-vu? Yeah. At least it wasn’t carpet, I suppose.

But the bubbles. Oh, the bubbles. They filled my sink and toilet for hours! And the masculine scent. It was so strong that it burned my nose! Took me another 15 minutes to clean up that mess, plus another load of laundry.

I could tell you about the rest of the day which follows the same pattern, or about the girls getting into Nesquik strawberry powder a few days later (very reminiscent of corn muffin mix, but pink, and in the living room), or about…

But instead, I’ll stop here. You see why I haven’t written a post in a month?!

Insanely Messy + Insanely Busy = Insane Mommy (with lots of funny stories to tell)

🙂 Hope you’ve had a great holiday season and you’re getting back to normal, whatever your normal may be! A little less messy than mine.

I’ll be back tomorrow to show you what I’ve been up to lately with soap, including my newest Soap Challenge Club creation!

Thankful

I am most thankful for this.

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My sweet five messy babies

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And one with Daddy!

God has so richly blessed us!

Not only did we celebrate Thanksgiving last week, but also a very special birthday! The triplets turned…

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Putting up just three fingers is so hard! 🙂

…THREE!!!

And a few more pictures just for fun!

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They were so excited to have a berfday pawty! What they don’t realize is that it’s a party everywhere we go, every day of the year!

A Soap Massacre

In honor of Halloween, I bring you a soap massacre for your viewing displeasure.

Warning: The following content may cause you to cringe.

Massacred Soaps

Several Pumpkin Soaps and one sad White Tea & Ginger Soap met their match when the triplets found them!

Slashed White Tea & Ginger Soap

Slashed White Tea & Ginger Soap

The triplets struck again! Sometimes I forget that I can’t leave ANYTHING within their reach that I don’t want destroyed! I really blame myself.

Soap Massacre

Pumpkin Soap cut in half after a few practice slices.

You see, I’d cut five loaves of soap at about midnight when I was completely exhausted. Rather than haul them all out to the garage to cure, I left them on my kitchen counter where I’d cut them (it was too cold to cut them in the garage). I planned to take them out first thing in the morning.

But the triplets had other plans. They found the soap the next morning while I was changing the baby’s diaper! After climbing on the stools at our breakfast bar, they found the soap cutter. Thankfully it’s not sharp at all; at least I remembered to put away the large knife I used the night before! Within three minutes, they’d cut through two bars completely and managed to partially slash several others. And boy, were they having fun! Shavings all over the floor. Chunks of beautiful soap strewn about.

Soap Massacre

At least I got to see another view of the cool swirls in the soaps!

I heard the giggling coming from the kitchen and knew something was up. When I walked in, the girls just looked up at me and got very quiet. They knew! It amazes me how that filter develops. They immediately started to pick up the chunks of soaps and hand them to me. “Look, mommy! We cut the soap! We’re picking up now! We’ll help you!”

Needless to say, I immediately hauled all of the soap out to the garage!

Oh well. Worse has happened. Much, much worse. Now I just have several pieces of bars that I’ll get to use! Or, I can turn them into samples I suppose. Another lesson learned!

Bathroom Disasters

It is Friday, the 13th. That typically means absolutely nothing to me. Nothing. But, today, somehow it means…another bathroom disaster. These happen very frequently at my house. You see, it’s rather difficult to keep track of what every one of my kids is doing at any one moment, especially the three two-year-olds. And like most children, they are absolutely enthralled with the bathroom. The toilet. The sink. The bathtub. The soap. It’s like an amusement park in there! Here’s what happened at Bathroom Adventure Land today.

While I was feeding the baby this morning, I heard intermittent laughter coming from the kitchen. I knew that couldn’t be good! They were up to something. I put the baby down and ran into the kitchen to find all three girls sitting on top of my kitchen counter with a beautiful floral arrangement dismantled all around them, all over the floor, and on the bar stools they’d used to climb onto the counter. You see, hubby dearest sent me a gorgeous red vase filled with perfect red roses, daisies, and gigantic white lilies earlier this week (completely out of the blue, gasp! He’s so sweet!). My girls, in their love for all things pretty, apparently decided to smell the flowers and then to play sword fight with them! Ugh.

I got them all off the counter, put them in time-out for climbing up there, and proceeded to clean up flower petals. When their time-out was over, I put them in the living room with a pile of toys and got them started playing. I returned to the mess and attempted to think like a florist as I rearranged the flowers they’d nearly destroyed. I hid the half-headed daisy swords as best as I could.

So, how long did that take? A matter of minutes, right? Not that long, right? I glanced in at the baby who was happily playing away in her exersaucer. All good there. Then, I went to check on the triplets. Uh oh. One was missing.

And then I heard it. The sound of water. Lots of water.

I ran down the hallway to the bathroom, opened the door, and there stood Chloe on the step stool, in front of the sink, faucet running, surrounded by water, wearing one of her older sister’s swimsuits. I guess she wanted to go swimming. The floor was covered in at least 2 inches of water. The vanity was flooded as well, and there were waterfalls spilling over the edges, into the crevices of each cabinet door and drawer. Ugh again.

How did she even do that?!

The large rug in front of the bathtub was completely saturated, so I threw it in the tub. Then I methodically began to clean up the flood. We’ve had so many messes in the bathroom that I am an expert at cleaning it top to bottom. (I know what you’re thinking. No, I will not come to your house and clean yours. Just because I’m good at it doesn’t mean I like it! 😉 ) I checked on the kids frequently as I cleaned up the water, trying really hard to bite my tongue and not mutter anything I’d regret! Even the floor of the linen closet was flooded. You know, the place where we keep the extra toilet paper? I had to remove every bottle from under the sink to mop up the cabinet. An entire bag of cotton balls that I just bought was saturated. Somehow every bow, hair tie, and headband was sopping wet. I used several giant towels in the process of mopping up all that water. I even ripped the tip of a fingernail off while I was handling one of the heavy soaked towels.

But the worst part: the soap dish was full of water, too. I had several lovely soaps in that dish, including a couple of soap balls from Great Cakes Soapworks and the last bar of a favorite batch that I made. Alas, all was not destroyed. I drained the soap dish and aired out the soaps. They are still usable, albeit smaller and a bit misshapen now. And on the bright side, my bathroom is sparkling clean right at this moment.

And to be very honest, I realize completely that a wet bathroom certainly doesn’t qualify as a disaster! There are many worse things. Like that time they flooded the bathroom when they tried to flush down an entire roll of toilet paper. Haha! I’ll tell you about that one some other time!

Just another day in the house of Five Messy Babies.

The Messes Before Noon

Here’s what just half a day in my life looks like right now.

6:45am: Triplets up and into the bathroom. Messy pull-ups off and big girl undies on. Emily up and getting dressed for school.

7:00am: “Mommy, mommy, MOMMY! Will you get my breakfast?!” Lots of hanging on my legs and asking for various assortments of foods (which always includes chips for some reason). Everyone at the table. Massive cereal bowl spill. Mushy apple jacks everywhere along with milk splatters up the legs of the table and chairs and covering at least a four-foot radius of the dining room floor.

7:30am: Still getting big sis ready for school. Trying to do hair in the bathroom leads to much whining and crying. Brush thrown on the floor shatters to pieces. Much more crying ensues. Baby awakened by crying. Big sis calmed down, hair done (in a simple headband for the sake of sanity), and off to school. Feed baby.

7:45 -10:00am: Many, many more messes occur. Large glass of water is spilled in the kitchen. New crayon artwork mysteriously appears on white wall. While that’s getting cleaned up, another masterpiece is being created on the white closet door in big sis’ room, this time with markers. While changing baby’s poopy diaper, a triplet misses the toilet just after pulling down her pants. (Yes, little girls can’t hit the toilet either!) Lots of running, laughing, jumping, playing, squealing. Feed baby again, during which time triplets conspire, steal chips from kitchen counter and eat them in “secret” hiding place behind living room chair. Crumbs everywhere. More potty breaks, squealing, running, playing. Sippy cup malfunction on living room carpet. Game of picnic leads to throwing of Melissa and Doug cuttable wooden foods all over the sunroom, someone hit in the forehead, much crying…

10:00am: Let’s go outside! Slather kids with bug repellent. Lots of playing in the sandbox, garden, water table. Kids covered from head to toe in sand, sidewalk chalk and dirt, matted and caked on their skin and scalp thanks to the combination of sweat and bug repellent. Several trips inside with various girls who need to potty or poo, only to discover that once we’ve wiped off enough sand to come inside, they don’t really need to go after all. Better to go outside anyway! One potty accident followed by chasing of naked girl around the yard.

11:15am: MUST take a BATH! All girls hauled inside, wiped off at the threshold so as not to track sand through the entire house. Sand still tracked through the house and promptly deposited all over the bathroom floor as they undress. Enough sand washed out of their hair to build a sand castle in the bathtub! Girls out of tub and fresh undies put on. Forget the clothes. They’ll just get dirty. Clean the bathtub as quickly as possible before the girls make any new messes.

Noon: Lunch. Why, oh why, did I give them applesauce???

Is it time for a nap yet???

Hello???? Where have you been?!

It’s been nearly 11 months since my last post! Oh my! Where have I been??? Well…you may have noticed that I changed my blog title a bit. We are now FIVE messy babies! Yep, you heard me. F.I.V.E. And as you’ve probably already guessed, number five is also a girl, Miss Lydia Jane, born at a healthy 7 pounds 5 ounces. My oldest is in preschool, the triplets are in their terrible, terrible twos, and our sweet addition is 2 months old. That’s 5 girls under the age of 5 living in my house!

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Isn’t she precious?

So are we crazy?! Yep! In the best of ways, I like to think! In all honesty, we didn’t even think #5 was possible. I have polycystic ovaries, so I typically don’t ovulate without help from medication. At one point, we weren’t sure we’d ever have biological children and were seriously considering adoption. It took us over 2 years to conceive our first miracle baby.

When she was just 6 months old, I started medication again, thinking it would take quite a while to conceive again. After a year and a half, I was still not ovulating, so my doc wanted to change medications to newer drugs that did NOT increase the chances of multiples. We found out we were pregnant after only ONE dose of the new meds. Much to everyone’s surprise, it was triplets! The nurses, techs, and doc were actually almost apologetic! They told us it was nearly impossible to get triplets without in vitro. The chances were less than one percent. We told them that God had other plans! I think we skewed their data!

Even after that happened, the doctors told us that we would probably never be able to conceive without medication. Yes, my ovaries are really that crazy. So imagine our surprise when I discovered that I was pregnant the day after the triplets turned 18 months old! God really does have a sense of humor. We prayed and prayed that He would give us a child, and now look at us!!! Be careful what you pray for, because you just may get it in LARGE amounts!

So, here we are again, going through more diapers and dealing with new schedules, sleep deprivation, and spit up on everything we own. And I must admit that it’s absolutely heavenly! A pain at times, always messy, but wonderful. As we adjust to life changes yet again, soap making has been put on the back burner for now. While I was pregnant, I was busy making other (less dangerous) things, like crochet baby hats and headbands and flowers! I’ll write again soon to show some of the fun things that I’ve been making. It’s so fun having lots of girls to play dress-up with! Lydia is an incredible addition to our family, and our other girls love her to pieces. There hasn’t been an ounce of jealousy. Only kisses, kisses and more kisses. I have to be very careful not to leave her in a room alone with them because I’m sure they’d squeeze her silly! And oh, the stories I have to tell now…