A Friday in the Life: one picture an hour (or so)

Today I am going to try to take a picture or two each hour and give a snapshot of the whole day.  Forgive the pictures, please, most are just quick shots with my phone.

7am. Coffee and kindle. Yes, I really do have that much cream in my coffee, it’s not just a trick of the light.


8am. Kids playing in the family room I cleaned last night. It’s so much easier to play when the floor isn’t a minefield!


9am. Finish the great backpack hunt, laundry is moving along, Now kids are on to Kinectimals.



9:30. What’s this wet stuff falling from the sky? And in the daytime too!


10am. Still raining! Lily’s turn on xBox. Molly following Posy around.


11am. Posy leaves for work, the desert rats play in puddles!

12pm. James plays piano. Peanut butter sandwiches for everyone.



1pm. Tessa reads the kids a pre-nap book while I nurse Gus to sleep.


2pm. Molly’s still napping. The kids are taking turns with Gus while I fix and arrange the bookshelves.


3pm. Sew buttons on two pair of James’s pants. Then off we go to Costco!

4pm. Finally made it to the store. Settled on Safeway since it took us a full 45 minutes just to get shoes, go potty and get out the door. Thus, there is no picture for 3pm. But by 4, we were busy at the store. I forgot ice, as usual.


5pm. Gus naps while I make dinner.


6pm. Dinner is done, time to clean up and get ready for company!


7pm. Molly has been coughing that tell tale cough all day and has been prone to melt downs. Time for a breathing treatment while she plays on my kindle.


8pm. Swim time.

9pm. Saved the best for last!  Friends are here and the music is flowing freely. We finish up with Mumford and Sons done by Jay and sons. Jay and max are on the piano, Ben on mandolin, and James on guitar.  Poor video quality, I know, but hang in there after the first minute and the sound gets a little better (and Molly stops drumming.)

Jay and Sons play Mumford and Sons


The Children’s Museum (A Picture Post)

We bought a membership to the children’s museum this year and have been enjoying it so much.  On Friday my mom went with Max, Lily, Molly, Gus, and me and we all had a very fun time.

Max and Molly, high up in the climber.


Really high up!


Even Grandma got into the climbing action.


The whole crew, about two stories up.


Gus crawled around on the floor while the kids were perched up high.


The girls picking flowers. You can see both of their curls so well here. Molly has big soft waves. On this day I had twisted Lily’s hair into big ringlets instead of the wild tiny ringlets she usually sports. This helps to keep her hair from tangling as easy.


Max went up to these chimes and started playing Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring to the astonishment of many of the parents around. He walked away frustrated because it wasn’t a true scale and he couldn’t get the song in tune.


Gus is old enough to start enjoying the exhibits as well.


Molly painted ricks with water while the other kids ran through the noodle forest with Grandma.


Next up was the Fort Room.


We ended the morning in the Art Room. Molly painted the rocketship.


Lily and Grandma made letter art and a collage, and Max held his very own puppet show.

And then we headed home, tired and hungry for lunch and naps.  But we will be back another day!

Clumsy Jesus

During Holy Week, the 8th grade class at our parish school puts on a dramatic presentation of the Stations of the Cross.  It is beautifully done, and a nice way to bring the children into the Triduum.  At the stations when Jesus falls, they drop the cross very loudly and dramatically.  They definitely got Molly’s attention with the loud, sharp noise.  In the weeks following Easter, Molly would often point out that “Jesus always falls.  It hurts.”

A few weeks ago, Posy was headed out to the 11am mass by herself.  Molly wanted to go with her.  So this loving big sister brought her 2 year old sibling to mass with her (on purpose!).  Molly fell asleep during the mass and Posy let her lay down on the pew.  At one point, a nearby parishioner let a kneeler fall, making a loud noise.  Molly sat up and asked, groggily, “Did Jesus fall?”

The Large Family Age Shift

The Age Shift: it happens every couple years. The older kids are a huge help around the house and with the younger children.  They fill in when Jay is out of town and even babysit at a moment’s notice.  They really are great about sharing the burdens of being a large family.  Family life flows smoothly during these times,  or at least it feels smoother to me when I can get a break now and then and have someone to hold the baby while I make dinner.

Then all of the sudden, they get jobs, get involved in ministry at church, or find themselves in very challenging classes at school, or even all of those things at once.  Suddenly I find that I am mostly on my own again with all the small children in tow, no babysitting availability, and no chores done.  I’m overtired from a baby who doesn’t sleep, and I realize that I have kind of forgotten how to do this on my own.  How did I manage before there were older children around to help out?  In my memories I return to that time when I had four children, age seven and under and I realize…


That I can’t remember a darn thing about that time.  In fact, I have little photo evidence that it occurred.  I was thoroughly overwhelmed.  For one straight year, almost all of the pictures I have of our children they are either sleeping or in the bath.  Those were the only times that I could take a breath and think, “Oh look!  They really are sweet!”  But the rest of that time I think I blocked out – either through exhaustion or just the trauma of it all.

Here I am again.  My older children have matured and gotten all responsible and have their own lives.  Sure, they help out now and then.  A couple even do their own laundry.  Jay has quite the work schedule, and even with that, he jumps in and works in the family the moment he walks in the door.  But for the day to day minutiae, I am wading through this on my own.


I keep thinking that as a mother of nine, I should know how to navigate these waters.  I suppose I am doing better than the first time around with a group of little ones, but that isn’t saying a whole lot.  I recently have been working on my bad attitude about some of these issues.  And I have been actively trying to find a way to live through this part of our family joyfully.  Just because we have several small children at once, doesn’t mean we can’t still thrive.  I know other families who can do it, so there must be a way for me to do it too.


I started this journey when a friend posted this article on Facebook: How to be a Good Mom on a Bad Day.  I realized that ALL of my days could be summed up with her definition of a “bad day”.  There was just never a time when I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed and crabby.  That couldn’t be a good sign.  So I started loosely following those steps and trying actively to move myself from that bad attitude into a better one.  In reading that blog and a few others I found a treasure trove of mommy-blogger books and have been relying on them to help me adjust my attitude and reorient myself in the right direction.


Here are a few that have been so helpful: (Some are available only in ebook format. Links follow list, turn off Adblock if you don’t see them.)

  • Maximize Your Mornings: Very specific tools from Inspiredtoaction.com on getting moving towards treating yourself right so you can treat your family right.  This one is free, only about 30 pages long, and available on their website.  I’m not going to give you the direct link because I want you to go to her website and find it.  One of the steps in this program is a morning Bible Study. I have been using reading plans I find on the YouVersion app (free for iphone, android, and Kindle).
  • Loving the Little Years: because I just wasn’t loving these little years.  I was spending all of my time fantasizing about the days when they will all be older, past diapers, past bedtime fights, past carseats in the summer.
  • Steady Days: A Journey Towards Intentional, Professional Motherhood:  Motivation to get my act together and the practical tools to do that.
  • 31 Days of Prayer for our Daughters, and Warrior Prayers: Praying Scripture for Our Sons: Both of these gave me specific ways to pray for my children and helped to open my eyes to them again as something more than work generators.
  • Hope for the Weary Mom: Exactly what it says.  I read this one evening when I had practically run out of the house, desperate to get a few minutes on my own to collect my thoughts.  I was thoroughly weary, I needed some hope.  And I found a good dose of it here.
  • Mindset for Moms:  This is a different author that Hope for the Weary Mom, but feels like a very expanded version of it.  This one has one short chapter for each day of the month, although I didn’t read it slowly.  I may use it to review a little at a time like that though
  • First Steps Devotions for Families with Small Children: This has been a nice way to reconnect to my children spiritually and the devotions are short enough that no one even has the chance to get squirrelly halfway through.  We’ve added these to our bedtime prayers a few mights a week.


By changing some habits and seeking out encouragement I found, not so suddenly, that I’ve been having fewer “bad days”.  I even find myself smiling for no particular reason.  And, as much as I still really need sleep, I am less likely to feel overwhelmed and overworked and more likely to just have fun in the busyness of my days.  Oh, its still a ton more work to not have extra hands to help as often as before, but one day at a time we’ll get through it, and I am very sure I will miss it when this time is past.


The days go so slow but the years go very fast.