Monday, January 19, 2015

Mood Swingin' Monday

I gotta say, I kinda have a thing for Mondays. It certainly helps that I don't have an office job or that I'm not going to school. But we keep our Mondays pretty low-key around here. And today's is extra-special since it's a holiday and my big guy is home from school. (Sidetone: We had a spectacular school behavior this week, which even I'll admit was absolutely compliments of a Lego bribe.) We're sporting the jammies for an extended length of time and drawing out breakfast over several hours.

Night shift mornings, where I discover new and creative ways to brew coffee for one.
We're also in the middle of Jon's night shifts. Which means I'm trying to keep things quiet and calm while he catches up on some sleep right now. Trying is the key word here.

His new game is "Transformers." In this instance, he's transforming into a plane.

Night shifts always come in two-week chunks, so we're in the middle of this current one. And I think I can say that we're finally starting to find our groove with this new lifestyle. I hate to complain about these funky hours, because even though they've been a challenging adjustment for our entire family, the long stretches of days off are just too rewarding. Honestly, I think we've had more quality time with Daddy since he started this new job than we did during his "normal" office job.

Don't worry, I'm not getting my kid wired on caffeine. She just likes to lick up the leftover milk froth.
There's still a lot of uncertainty, but it would't be the military life if there wasn't. We don't know how long this schedule will last, what Jon will do when he moves off this schedule, and especially what will come after this tour. It's strange, only having a two-year assignment. We'll actually start making up our dream sheet this fall. And by this time next year, be making plans for our next move. Which naturally has this thinker/planner on edge. I prefer to take my nervous energy out on Zillow--scanning and researching local housing at all our "top" destinations. I may have even found a dreamy little 15 acre homestead in Colorado that I'm hoping no one will purchase for the next few years ... Granted, it's all a waste of time. Because as we've seen, the Coast Guard has a knack for knotting up our plans and redirecting our adventures. But at least it gives me a way to focus my anxiety.

Have you ever heard of a cocky chin? Me neither, but I think this girl's got one.

The truth is, I've had a lot more time for thinking these days. It's been very weird. Joci turns 18 months old this week. When Jack was 18 months old, I was two weeks away from having his brother. When Jude turned 18 months, he was already giving kisses to his newborn sister. So this is all very new to me. My youngest is 18 months and not only do I not have another baby, or even the prospect of another baby, but I've also got a doctor-ensured notice that there is a 99.8% chance there ain't never gone to be another baby. And I'm stuck in this weird phase of "Wow, what am I going to do with all this extra time?" and "Gosh, I really miss snuggling a newborn."

Brother practicing his alphabet.

Sister practicing her sisterness.

Annnnd she runs off with the letter B between her teeth.
You lose a lot of freedoms when you have a baby. In a very good way. It's amazing how it helps you to focus on what's essential. But it's not like you just get all those little luxuries back at once. They slowly, quietly creep up on you. Until one day, your 18 month old is off examining the family toothbrush collection and you find yourself scrubbing the stovetop. Or wiping down the fridge shelves. Or reading in the middle of the day, with two hands! Or here's a big one for me this year--exercising!! And it suddenly dawns on you--I can't remember the last time I did this!

This kid and his faces!!

This girl and her giggles!
Other changes are more obvious. This month we got back into cloth diapering (after a several month teething-poop/holidays/can't-keep-up-with-normal-laundry hiatus) and I've started taking on work again. I gotta admit, both are financially motivated. Cloth diapering can shave a few bucks a week off my grocery budget (or more if you consider the fact that I can't use "diapers" as an excuse to run to Target) but editing is a bit more rewarding. And I find that I'm highly motivated by something substantial. For instance, last week I made enough to possibly fix up my garden and add a fence to keep the animals away. If I keep up that pace, we'd soon have enough to pay the adoption fees for a dog (in theory.) And if you multiply that by a few weeks, maybe it'd cover the cost of a few nights at a resort in Aruba for our anniversary. Just sayin'. It certainly helps to have little goals in mind.

The nice thing about cloth diapers is they help bulk up her frame a bit!
In this photo, she is going through her drawer, pulling out clothes, yelling "no" and shaking her head as she throws them on the floor behind her. Oh, hello, opinion, where'd you come from??
And for those of you that can't fathom "doing work" while parenting these 4 littles, I really don't do that much. I don't work every day, and when I do it's only 1 to 3 hours, usually when the kids are sleeping. I'm trying to be very careful about how much time I devote to outside work. If I ever start to feel like my kids are an interruption, or if I'm starting to choose a job over laundry or spending time with my husband, then I need to step back. It's just a little something to exercise my brain, provide me with adult-level dialogue (or monologue might be the better word), give me something to do when Jon is away in the evenings, and occasionally foot the bill for when we take our massive family out to Chipotle.

A gloomy morning and the boys snowflakes that they cut out and hung them all by themselves. :)
So yes, little bits of extra time here and there these days. They say that 18 months is when babies start to shift their attention toward Daddy. Jocelyn is still very much mommy's velcro baby, but just this past week she's started actually yelling "Dadda's" name throughout the house and seeking him out when he's in another room. She still screams whenever I walk out the door, even if it's just to run to the mailbox. And she still has somewhat long stretches of time where she just wants me to give her lots of snuggles, but it's nothing like what we were dealing with a few months ago.

Her signature move--throwing herself on the floor when she doesn't get her way, and then using her heels to push herself across the room until she hits a barrier.
I think we're in a good place. A little more sun would be nice. Or snow, if we want to go to the other extreme. And a few less pillow and blanket forts to clean up each day would also be appreciated. But for now, I'm enjoying this little life-lull before all of those small uncertainties and new "phases" come rushing back up at us again.

And with that said, Velcro is taking a nap and the other three just started a movie, so I'm going to go do whatever I want ... starting with a shower.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Single Parenting Saturday

Another Saturday, another day of Daddy working and me trying to figure out how to keep 4 kids occupied in the house I'm thinking an obstacle course will be in order. Perhaps we can all generate enough body heat to give the heating system a break for a hot second, because we've dipped into the single digits a few times this week. And if you spend a few seconds studying the paper snowflakes, you'd quickly realize where 98% of our heat goes--right out the front window.

That front ponytail silhouette--it's my favorite.
That's right, our traditional snowflakes are up and dazzling all passersby. This might be the first time that Mother Nature beat me to it though, sending a little storm on Tuesday morning. The school officials dropped the ball on this one and failed to call a delay in time. So the frosty flakes and slick roads were nothing compared to the icy backlash from parents on social media this week. You know, I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be "when I grow up," but the list of jobs I don't want to do continues to grow. You can go ahead and add "person who decides if schools should delay or close due to weather" to that list.

It wasn't that she didn't like the snow. She just couldn't move an inch without falling over in her snowsuit!

All this kid wanted was a snowman. Unfortunately, the snow wouldn't cooperate. So we settled for this Flat Olaf.

But anyway, back to Single Parenting Saturday. The kids have taken it easy on me.  Which is good, because I definitely just tried to finger scroll my Bible, and I'm not talking about the version on my phone! Apparently they all schemed ahead of time to wake up at 30 minute intervals, you know, to give me some time to adapt to mothering this morning.

This is our version of Saturday morning cartoons.
 First up, always first up, is Jocelyn. 5:55am to be exact. Which is good. You all know I've had a goal of "waking up before my kids" for the last 6 years. Well, I'm not quite there yet, but thanks to this girl, I'm now up before three-quarters of them, and that's something.

 But you know what the best part of all this is? Girlfriend is sleeping through the night. All the time. And it's beautiful!! She's also taking a minimum 2 hour nap in the afternoon and, wait for it, doing it all without crying!! She actually lunges for her bed and contentedly lays down while I leave the room. And I feel like a new woman! I actually get a little break in the afternoon and I don't have to deal with that tense bedtime routine.

But then there's that funny party of parenting. The part where you just can't wait to get over one mountain, and then you look up and there's another one in front of you. Despite being my fourth go-round, I still convince myself that all will be right "once she starts sleeping through the night" or "once she starts entertaining herself" or "once she is able to walk." Right now we're at the everything-will-get-better-once-she-starts-communicating stage.

Because while I'd like to tell you that I'm generally awoken at zero-dark-thirty by giggles and maybe a singsong voice, the reality is more to the tune of loud variations of "HEYYYY!!!" coming from the baby monitor. I wish I could record it for you. The best way I can describe it is as a high-pitched growl, one that she's straining to get out. Every once in a while she throw in a "MOM" but typically, I'm referred to as "HEY" these days.

And that's how we start our day. It's usually followed by me getting her breakfast, her refusing to eat it, me getting myself breakfast, and her insisting on sitting on my lap and eating all my breakfast. We follow a similar structure for lunch and dinner as well. But it's all good because I've officially got myself a napper!

6:35am and Big Sis is up. She immediately starts crying because she woke up in her bed. Yup, Lia is very annoyed that she fell asleep in the glider in our room and we didn't allow her to stay there--curled in a ball, neck at the most awkward of angles--all night long. So I gave her a redo. She crawled back into my chair and finished waking up snuggled under her "pincess" blanket.

Julia is in the informative stage. Or perhaps it's not a stage, but rather than just an integrative part of her personality. She tells me everything. (I think I have an idea of from whom she inherited this trait from. My husband may have accused me of reporting too much useless information to him this week--the printer's not working, the toilet is clogged, the downstairs light switch is making a strange sound... In my defense, I'm not trying to be annoying. I'm just happy to make "adult" conversation every once in a while, even if it's entirely one-sided.)

So anyway, this trait most often manifests itself in Julia through her potty activities. She will come find me on the complete other side of the house, just to tell me her "pee pees are coming out!!" before running right back to where she came from, next to the bathroom. I find myself repeating, "Julia, I don't need to know each time you go to the bathroom!" about 5 times a day.

Speaking of time, she has a very limited understanding. Aunt Rachel got her a watch for her birthday--a pretty, pink, lights-up watch. And ever since then, everything happens in intervals of "20 minutes." When she's not alerting me of her bathroom habits, she's commanding me to "put 20 minutes on the clock." I usually just nod my head and say "okay." And apparently that's all she needs.

If something is not in "20 minutes" then it occurred "lass night." As in, "Marmie took me 'a Chick-a-lay an' I play in 'a play place lass night." (What she really means is 6 months ago.) So this morning, after she had a chance to properly wake up in her desired location, she set to work making a "booty trap" (another word of the month) for "fwend Raegan" (another noun that makes it's way into conversation at LEAST once a day,) and then a few indecipherable sentences about jumping on the guest room bed with fwend Reagan "lass night."

It's now 7:00am. Jude is next. I can tell because I hear the click of the door, and then something akin to the sound of a dozen baby elephants running down the steps. One half-second later and Jude is nuzzling under my arm seeking out his good morning kiss and hair ruffling. Jude is our little philosopher. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have heard his latest question, "If there's fireworks in the sky, and you throw corn, will you get popcorn?" I was silent for a second, and then just said yes, definitely yes.

And so if you happen to hang out with us this 4th of July, just be aware that I'm hatching a scheme that involves popcorn falling from the sky during fireworks.

Our little philosopher loves to learn. I was getting concerned that his preschool time was all play and no work, but he wanted to "play school" yesterday and I was fairly impressed with his letters. Phonics are another story. We were doing flashcards and got to the letter U. Jude says, "Hambrella! Hambrella starts with "ham" just like you eat on a sandwich." Well, yes. Yes, it does.

This is also the age of games. And this time of year kicks that hobby up to a whole new level. "Hoot Owl Hoot" and "Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel" have made their rounds over, and over, and over again. And I think we've played Memory about 20 times this week--the Planes version, the Frozen version, the Richard Scarry version, and just the plain old alphabet flashcard version. It gets really interesting when Joci starts stealing the cards and throwing them around the room. So we've adjusted the rules to include a bonus point whenever you pick a card that Joci happens to be holding the match to.

Last but not least, our eldest makes an appearance at approximately 7:30am. He's generally the last one up because of those long days at school. It's been an adjustment, this first week back after Christmas, and these past few days were less than stellar. I won't say too much, as I want to protect my kids' privacy as they get older, but let's just say it feels like back when he was just a little guy, and I used to come home from the playground and cry because his exuberance was just too much for the other kids.

Being the oldest is tough. You get to be raised by two complete novices in parenting. I've got diapering and nursing and Memory games down pat, but this whole raising a Kindergartener thing?? I'm completely out of my league. And Jack's not the only one having a tough time. I've been beating myself up these past few days because watching my kids struggle, in any area, seems to bring to light all my own bad habits and the ways I've failed in parenting.

Lots of science experiments and art supplies for Christmas this year, and we are making good use of ALL of them!
Which is probably why I started with tears this morning, sitting at the dark breakfast table, baby on my knee shoveling all my apple crisp into her mouth while her's was thrown about the floor, reading the She Reads Truth devotional that was surely written for me. And realizing that it's not about me and what I've done or haven't done. It's just about God working through me in spite of myself.

Yes, I'm going to try. By golly, I've set those new year's goals and I'm stickin' to them. And certainly, I am painfully aware of the areas of parenting that I need to do better. But  I also want to be a "canvas for displaying God's wonderful works of grace." And I want my kids to see that too.

So this weekend we're going to take it easy. Lots of quiet Lego time. Lots of snuggling and books. I'm sure there'll be some rounds of Memory. And lots of hugs and a few extras "I love you no matter whats." Because we could all use a little more of that around here!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A new thing

It's cold and rainy and Day 4 of Jon's 12 hour shifts. Day 4 is always the worst. And Day 4 on a weekend is doubly so. Which is why I'm already thinking of ways to redeem this day before it even starts--a fire all day long, a second cup of coffee, jammies for as long as you want, homemade donuts for lunch, and a movie for the kids to get me through this afternoon. Mmmm, see? My mood has improved already and breakfast isn't even over!

Showing off his handiwork!

Big surprise for the girls!

Lia was slightly disappointed that she didn't get to keep the "phone" too.
Christmas was good this year. And the amazing thing is, we were healthy the whole week and didn't bring any sickness back to Maryland! There was no snow though, which was a tad disappointing. Christmas posts are always awkward to write, since our time in PA was mainly a succession of celebrations and gift giving. So I'll just share a few pictures here and move on.

So typical right now.

She took the LONGEST time opening her stocking. And then she lined each gift up one by one. 'Bout time we get ourselves an orderly kid!

Jon worked the four days leading up to Christmas so not only did we have our family's celebration early, but we also had all of our shopping and wrapping finished early too. Which meant I had already moved on to casting my New Year's vision while everyone else was making last-minute trips to Target.

So grateful to have Grammie and Grandpa with us this year. Grammie is in the middle of chemo and we were so blessed that they drove down from New York to celebrate Christmas with our family!

I truly love New Year's (even though the only celebrating we did was was some whoops and jumps when the clock struck 7:00--the kids were celebrating 2015. The parents were celebrating bedtime!) And while I believe we can take the initiative to make changes at any time during the year, I appreciate a time to intentionally look at where I am now, where I want to be at the end of this year, and determine what needs to change to accomplish that.

There's that word again: intentional. If I had to pick a one-word theme for this year (as I know many people are doing these days), I think this would be it. Which kind of bothers me because it's been thrown around so much lately, and you all know I like to be different. But when I glance through my goals, I keep coming back to it. Intentional. After spending the past 6 years stuck in baby-land and just trying to survive on a day-to-day basis, this seems like a good transition.

And on that note, mamas of tiny ones, give yourself some grace! I think this is the first year I've actually set specific, measurable goals for myself (remember that one year when my only goals were to read my Bible and drink more water?). And that's only because I know there's no more babies coming. Life with littles can be so unpredictable. And it's a little difficult to hit a target that seems to move on a daily basis!

Anyway, Jon and I used our trip to PA and back to discuss our vision for the new year. I'm sharing my goals here, not to make you question your own, but to encourage you to think about your new year and especially to keep myself accountable for what I'm setting out to do. That's one of the reasons Jon and I discussed our goals together, so we can spur one another on to good works. I personally am inspired by two excellent bloggers: Money Saving Mom and Jess Connolly (from Naptime Diaries). I'm not much of a blog reader these days, but Jess posted an Instagram photo last week that really stirred my heart for vision casting for the new year! One thing I've learned from both these ladies is to identify areas or themes for improvement, and then to write specific goals for each of those categories.

I've typed my goals out because (a) my handwriting is atrocious right now compliments of carpal tunnel and (b) anything I write down ends up scribbled on, wrinkled, ripped, and under the couch compliments of the little people. But mainly I just wanted them written down and in a spot where I can review and reference them often (which is another goal.) So without further ado, shall we take a glance?

This year, I'd like to read through the Bible chronologically (as in based on when each book was written). This is something I've been wanting to do for A LONG TIME. I'm not saying I'm necessarily going to finish the whole book by December, but it's certainly something I want to make a daily practice of this year. This is the plan I'm using and I've already gotten a head start ('cuz I'm gonna need it!)

In addition, I'm sticking with my She Reads Truth daily readings as well. I think this site is just fabulous and it's been a perfect fit for my hectic, I-take-quiet-time-whenever-I-can-get-it lifestyle.

Finally, I want to work on starting each day with praise. I loved the 30 Days of Praise Challenge I took last year (or was that two years ago?). I think incorporating praise and worship into my schedule really affects the tone of that day, a huge bonus for this mother of four needy little ones!

Okay, this is a repeat from last year because it's one I haven't hit yet--one morning a week to myself to think and plan. This is a hard one, mainly because the counterpart to this goal is Jon planning "one morning a week to watch the kids on his own." It doesn't help that when I'm exhausted and emotionally drained from 4 days on my own with the kids, he's exhausted and emotionally drained from 4 days of stressful 12-hour shifts (and lack of sleep!) So I don't know how this will work. Maybe we'll have to hire a babysitter. All I know is I NEED to take more breaks from my children in order to maintain my mental health!

Take more walks! You guys, I love walks. Walking is my love language. It's no mistake that my husband asked me to go for a walk minutes before he asked me to marry him! My kids need walks too. And so I resolve to do this more, no matter the temperature! (Also, I think getting a dog would be an excellent way to get me out and walking more, just sayin'.)

And now, for the on-everybody's-goal-list resolution of physical fitness. I'm really not a "work out" kind of girl. Nor am I interested in losing any kind of weight at this point in my life. I would, however, like to gain a little strength back so I don't have to ask my kids to help me open the pickle jar. Jon and I are hoping to work together on a little P90X yoga. It's one thing that I think we could both do together and doesn't require me going to the gym.

Finally: diet. Remember that time I cut out sugar and carbs for, like, a hot second? Well, it was a really, really good experience. I felt great (after feeling absolutely miserable for a few days.) I don't think no sugar/no carb is ever going to be a lifestyle for me, but they are two areas of my (and my family's diet) that I'd like to cut back on. So in 2015 I'm going to sharpen the focus on veggies and proteins. Yay, the kids are so excited!! ;)

Oh, and as usual, I plan on drinking more water. But this time I want to cut back on caffeine. This past year has been a doozy! I often find myself caught in that vicious cycle of drinking coffee because I'm tired, which cuts into my water drinking, which only makes me more lethargic. And on that note I'm going to take a quick break to chug this mug of water.

Something glorious happened over Christmas break, Jon and I got 29 hours all to ourselves (it was supposed to be 32, for Jon's 32nd birthday, but family events got in the way!) It was the first time we had an overnight with no kids since our trip to Florida almost 2 years ago. And while it certainly wasn't long (unless you were Joci, who thought it was entirely too long to go without mama!), it was so amazingly good for the both of us to get away, enjoy a few quiet meals with just us, and do something that reminds us we're still young!

We spent the day skiing at Montage!

There's wasn't much snow, but it wasn't to crowded either.

Jon and I haven't been on the slopes in over 10 years. And I haven't been on skis in over 15 (I used to snowboard in my heyday). In fact, I think I've only ever skied once or twice before this. I was a little shaky at first (which is how I accidentally flew into the lift line too far ahead of Jon and we each ended up riding alone) but by the end of the afternoon we were spending our time on the black diamond. 

We spent the night at The Bischwind Bed and Breakfast.

And got a free upgrade to the Teddy Roosevelt suite!!

These windows were amazing!

That all said, one area we'd both like to be more intentional about is a monthly date night. Actually, a weekly date night would be rad, but that's just not possible at this point in our lives. So we want to try to get out of the house and away from the kids one night a month, and then do an at-home date night the other 2-3 weeks of the month. That's actually pretty easy for us. Thanks to the kids' 7:00pm bedtime, we enjoy a lot of movie and game nights together. So perhaps a better goal would be to find a new game that's good for two people and that neither one of us is particularly good (or bad) at!

We would also love to get away for a few nights sometime around our anniversary. Jon has some frequent flier miles to use up, so it's just a matter of working it in to the schedule (and we just found out his work schedule may actually be getting worse this coming year rather than better!) and finding sitters for the kids. Let's be honest, people aren't exactly lining up to watch our Fantastic Four for days on end!

Finally, I'd like to attend a marriage class together. The last time we did this, Julia was born right in the middle of it. I don't know about you, but newbornhood is not exactly prime time for making improvements to your marriage. Our church is planning to offer something this spring so I'm hoping we can also make this work with our schedule.

Moving on to the other humans in my life: mothering. This is where I really want to get intentional! This also has the potential to be the most difficult goal I've set. I am so tired of fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants mothering. But I'm also well-aware of the challenges that come with raising four babies so close together. One area that I'd like to get back into is character development. My MOPS leader recommended the pamphlet Wise Words for Moms (it's only $4 on Amazon). I'm excited to start implementing more scripture into my parenting and to provide some solid reasoning to my older kids (rather than just "because Mommy said so.")

Also, I want to become a more peaceful and self-controlled mother, especially since this is an area I'm trying to address in one of my kids in particular. I'm going to be honest, the past 18 months of raising four kids has been especially stressful for me. I've found that while having babies gets easier, the actual mothering does not. I'm often being pulled in four (sometimes more) different directions at the same time and it's certainly uncovered more of my sinful nature. At the same time, I need Jesus more than ever before! My children know I'm not perfect, but I want them to also know that there's a Savior who is!

Home Management
And now, towards the bottom of the list, is home management. Because messy hearts are way more important than messy bathrooms! I've re-done my cleaning schedule. It's beautiful and laminated so I can cross off things with a dry erase marker... in an ideal world. I realize that I will probably never keep up with this schedule (at least not while I have kids living at home) but it is my ultimate target. And now that Joci is getting a little older, I'm hoping that's a target that will be easier and easier to hit.

Now if you'll notice, that's my home management binder. Another one of those things I've been meaning to do for years now. I'm still working out exactly what I want it to look like, but for now it contains my cleaning schedule, my Bible reading plan, a check-off grocery list, my weekly meal plan, a freezer and pantry inventory sheet, seasonal produce guide, budget sheets, a family packing list for road trips, a babysitter list, my Wise Words for Moms chart, and Jack and Jude's school calendars and paperwork. This is also where I'm putting my 2015 goals, front and center, so I'm forced to look at them and evaluate how I'm doing on a regular basis.

Check out that new mug! "Bischwind" is German for "gentle breeze" because that's exactly how Saturday mornings should begin this house!

And finally, let's chat finances. My husband is the budget guy. He pretty much runs that show, but the one area of money that I handle is the grocery shopping. I've set a monthly grocery budget and I'm sticking to it. I've already went over last week's goal so this coming week is going to be rather lean. But I want to get serious because there is a tantalizing end goal in mind!

I also want to cut back on eating out. Did you know, eating out is my other love language? So if you really want to woo me, take me on a walk out to dinner. Because most days, nothing sounds quite so appealing as (a) getting out of the house (b) not having to plan, prep, cook, or clean-up dinner. But seriously, when was the last time you went out to eat with 4 kids ages 6 and under? Trust me, we try it all the time, and 9 times out of 10 it's a big failure. So in an effort to save money and our sanity, we're just going to stop. I still would like the occasional free pass on dinner, so perhaps this means more simple meals or take-out pizza is in our future!

Can we just talk about Target for a minute? I *heart* that place. (I should add here that it's a very good thing that I can't walk to our Target because then I'd really be in trouble.) As much as I hate running errands with four kids, I also get antsy being stuck in the house. I mean, there's always walks or the park, but they just don't come with the same high as shopping at Target. They also don't impact my budget in the same way either. So I'm resolving to not only cut back on Target runs, but to cut back on mindless trips to Target. This also means staying on top of our home inventory so I'm not "forced" to make an unintentional trip when the toothpaste runs out. Hold me to it, guys!

Now saving money certainly has it's rewards, but one of my biggest motivations for cutting back comes in the form of our 10 year anniversary in 15 months. We have our hearts set on something big (*cough, cough* Germany). I mean, not only are we celebrating 10 years of wedded bliss, but that whole we-survived-4-babies-in-5-years thing. It would be amazing, and I'm still a little skeptical that it will work out, but we're going to keep dreaming about and working towards it and staying away from Target and restaurants all in the name of the Mutterland.

And now, I think you've heard enough from me. The happiest of new years to your and yours. And enjoy your mild weekend, because this girl is praying for lots of snow this winter!
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