Tuesday, February 11, 2014

She walked into Publix a baby, and came out a big guwl


It's no secret, the Bitty Princess (who we refer to as Queen Bee around our house, and the above picture explains why perfectly) has struggled with bottle addiction for the past two years.  We've tried on numerous occasions to break her habit, but the 3am fits always seemed to win out, causing me to cave, and hand her not one, but TWO "babas" in hopes of getting her back to sleep as quickly as possible, without waking anyone else in the house.  

I had become an enabler.  Wanting so badly just to sleep through the night, clouded judgment and life in survival mode kept me from putting an end to her problem.   
She demanded her apple juice straight, followed by a milk chaser. 
Finally, after a rough night of dealing with Queen Bee's all night antics (read: SHE WOKE ME UP SEVEN TIMES FOR HER BABAS. SEVEN.  AS IN, MORE TIMES THAN SHE DID WHEN SHE WAS THREE DAYS OLD.  SORRY, I'M SHOUTING AT YOU.  BUT I'M SO SERIOUS. SEVEN TIMES.  I COUNTED. AND NEARLY LOCKED HER IN THE CAR.) she and I had a come to Jesus moment the next morning.  We discussed how big of a girl she was and that most two year olds don't have bottles anymore.  She agreed to help pack them all up, so around the house we went, looking in all her usual hiding spots. 

Given our history, I knew the only option was to get them OUT of the house, and I knew exactly where to take them.  I told the Queen Bee we were taking her beloved Babas to a place they could live happily, a place I could live happily too.  My home away from home.  My safe place.  PUBLIX.


On the way there, I turned around to find her like this.  Part of my heart ached.  These had been her best friends and comforters for so long.  Her only pacifiers. Was I weaning her too quickly? (Don't laugh.  Her Highness sucked her thumb until she was 4 1/2... Thunder took a bottle until he was 3, Lightning and Hail fought over passies until they were almost 4 and 3, and Flash Flood still sucks his thumb at 4. I'm not a huge fan of taking away the ONE thing that calms them quickly and makes car trips peaceful.) Would she end up in therapy one day because I was too hasty in this decision?  She is my BABY after all.  Is giving her what her heart truly desires the worst thing in the world?  I quickly snapped out of it when I caught my reflection in the rearview mirror and saw Tommy Lee Jones' worthy bags under my eyes. 

We reached our haven, and she squealed, "PUH-LIX!!" I prepped her once more... "Remember, we're going to take all your babas into Publix and LEAVE them here.  So little babies who need them can have them when they come grocery shopping.  Got it? And you get to pick out a new cup! Because you're a BIG GIRL.  You don't need a baba! Those are for babies." "Otay! I gib dem my babas." Was all she said.  She insisted on walking in by herself, refusing to be carried.  My baby was already slipping away. Taking a deep breath, I headed in behind her.

I can't say enough about how much I love my Publix.  We were greeted immediately by our favorite bagger, Justin, who helped talk up our big girl's big move.  She marched on over to the cup aisle and chose her new cups. 

After picking up a few other things,  (in other words, a couple hundred dollars in groceries. We keep Publix electricity turned on, I'm certain.) we headed to the checkout.  Queen Bee proudly walked her bag of babas over to the check-out clerk as I explained what we were doing.  Sweet lady grinned ear and bragged on the Bitty Princess for her willingness to share with all the babies who come shopping there. 
The Bitty Princess took all the bottles out, one at a time and told her what color each was.. "Dis one PINK!... Dis one YEW-OH!" As usual, the sweet Publix employee went above and beyond my expectations.  She patiently listened to the Bitty Princess, even though a line was beginning to form.  She looked up and smiled at the customers waiting behind me and said, "This is going to take just another minute." The Bitty Princess finally finished and told them all bye. 

"Bye-bye babas.  Mmmwaaah." She said, blowing a kiss as she took them away.  She then hugged the college aged girl bagging our groceries, who said to me, "Awww, I'm tearing up! I can't believe you're not!" I made a joke about not sleeping for over ten years, and looking forward to hopefully finally getting some sleep, but I had a huge lump in my throat. 
The Bitty Princess handled it like a champ.  Her lip quivered as we left the store, but she quit the moment I reminded her about her new cups. "Otay. I a big guwl!" That first night she only had one complete melt down, where she wailed, "GO BACK TO PUH-LIX AND GIT MY BABAS!" but that was it.  Since then, she's done great.  As usual with taking away their lovies, I think the anticipation was harder than actually doing it.  Harder on me than her, that's for sure. 
Unfortunately, old habits die hard...
I suggested we put either the apple juice or the milk back in the fridge.  It didn't go over well.  Queen Bee can only handle so many changes at one time.  As long as she keeps sleeping through the night, she can have what she wants in those cups during the day. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Comparison is to joy, like Pinterest is to simplicity.

Yesterday, a friend shared When Elite Parents Dominate Volunteers, Children Lose (great article, worth the read) and it struck a chord with me. 

Fortunately, I have never experienced the nauseating displeasure of being on a committee with the type of parents Dr. Monroe describes.  Granted, I've never served on a planning committee in person, (because something about dragging all my little people with me to those meetings sounds like punishment to me, and all the others in the room) but have always been happy to serve through emails and sending items in my kids' backpacks on party day.  While I've never been asked to send in a mousse cake for a Valentine's Day party, I have seen sign up sheets that included items young children cannot possibly appreciate, rich or poor.  And while I have never had another mom make such rude and obvious comments to my face, I have had plenty of passive-aggressive comments made in the form of a back-handed compliment...  "I wish I could be more like you, and just not CARE about what my kids bring in for the party/wear in public/which extracurricular activities they participate in." The thing is, I DO CARE about what I feel is most important on their journey to becoming successful, KIND and respectful adults, who the rest of the world has to live with. But you're right, I couldn't care less if they are the only ones in their class to pass out a store-bought Valentine with NO candy attached (GASP!), if they are the only kids wearing Garanimals instead of Gap, (I'm usually just happy they all are indeed wearing clothes) and I seriously doubt making the rule of only one extracurricular activity per season, and it being an activity that he selected for himself, is going to mean he won't go to college (if he even chooses to go).

Let me ask you something... How fun and exciting was it as a kid to know on Valentine's Day, we were going to pass out our own cute paper valentines, the ones WE selected at the store, the ones WE chose that showed our own personalities and interests that year, the ones WE wrote our classmates' names on, then got to "deliver" into the shoe boxes WE decorated OURSELVES, with paper doilies and heart stickers. And to go along with the excitement of our sweet and silly valentines was usually a small cup of red Kool-aide and a plain, yet delicious, (usually baked from a box mix by a classmate's mom) cupcake, or maybe something just as simple as an Oreo cookie. And if you were really lucky, Ruffles potato chips and dip were served as well.  That was it.  No catered nugget trays, no homemade cinnamon rolls, no Pinterest-inspired desserts covered in fondant icing that took 12 hours to bake, decorate and set over night, all while it took the children all of six seconds to inhale or toss in the trash can, because let's face it, fondant doesn't taste good, no matter how cute it looks.  Children (at least the ones I've had the honor of loving) don't really care about the custom designed valentines that took their mothers three hours to assemble.  I'm not bashing those of you who do it.  I'm just gently trying to tell you, those adorable Valentines you slaved over still end up in the trash a few days after Valentine's Day, right next to the Transformer and Strawberry Shortcake ones.
Our generation of parents has gone overboard with the elaborate themed class parties, customized goodie bags, and spreads we are serving.  I have seen sign up sheets that include as much as 8-10 food and drink items.  My children have come home with as many as 12 goodie bags from other children, filled with small toys and candy. I've done my own personal study on this subject, and made sure to always ask my children and their friends later what their favorite thing about the party was that day.  Never, not once, did any of them respond anything about the food, decorations, or gift bags that were given.  Always, they commented on the fun story the teacher read, game they got to play, or neat music played during the party.  I have even made it a point to ask them directly about how yummy those foods must have been and pointed out how cool a certain Valentine looked, and almost always gotten a shrug and a nod.  My point is... It's not the STUFF we're giving our children that matters.  It's the EXPERIENCES in which we should be more intentional and focus on making great.  

We have got to relax as parents. We are creating a whole generation of children who have much too high expectations, and not enough insight into the real world in which they will be forced to live once they move out from under our helicopter propellers.  It shouldn't be about what item you send in for the class party. Or how your children are dressed. Or even if they're already taking French horn lessons, tae kwon do, and ballet at the age of four. 

Pinterest has killed the art of simplicity. (And before all my Pinteresty people unfriend me, hear me out..) I see so many women pin things such as  photography ideas, crafts, healthy meals, desserts, even room d├ęcor, and while I think all of this can be fun and harmless, it's also another avenue in which Satan can open a door and begin to work in our hearts.  Often, we as women look at the beautifully edited portraits of what appears to be a perfect family, and we wonder why and how the others do it all... Why won't my kids be still and smile during a photo shoot... How can I make my child's baby book that crafty... Why can't I get my kids to eat raw kale... How can she afford to decorate her house like that...
I don't believe Pinterest itself is the problem.  It's what it can create with in us that is the problem.  And it's those feelings of inadequacy and the need to compete and "one up" each other that is harming the generation of children we are raising.  Instead of stressing over the perfect class party, how about volunteering to find a fun book that relates to the holiday instead, and read it to the class that day, or an easy game that would include the whole class, which would help to entertain the kids and allow the teacher a quick break as well.

We need to think more about the experience being provided and the time spent WITH the children, not just the time spent ON them.  Children are like a sponge.  They learn so much more by what they witness in their own lives, than they do by what we tell them.  Our kids need to witness our acts of love, to see us with their own innocent eyes, serving in the community, and it can start with something as simple as loving on ALL the children in the class, especially those whose parents couldn't attend the party.  More than our children need beautifully crafted sweets and custom goodie bags, they need to be loved and engaged. 

Love is simple.

Monday, January 27, 2014

On laundry and Housekeeping.

One of the most asked questions Bert and I get when people see us with six children (aside from the usual RUDE/nosey/annoying ones) is "How do you stay on top of ALL THAT LAUNDRY?"
Short answer: I don't. And, I would like to point out that asking Bert this question is like asking me to solve a linear equation.  He has no clue because as far as he's concerned, a magic laundry fairy appears and puts clean underwear in his drawer, or (keeping it real) in the laundry pile at the foot of our bed.  Which I'm actually just fine with, since the few times he's attempted to do the laundry resulted in shrunken sweaters and whites dyed a strange shade of pink.  In no way do I claim to be an expert, but I have finally found my groove, and have a pretty good handle on the laundry for the most part.  I do realize by posting this, I will inevitably become horribly ill with a stomach bug or another round of the flu, and the laundry pile will reach mountainous heights in a matter of three days.  (But by typing that sentence, I'm hoping to have jinxed my jinx.)  So, here we go...


1.  Join a nudist colony.
Just kidding.  Between the streaking that goes on here, and still having to wipe some of their bottoms, I see enough nekkid hineys as is. But, we do have a serious "NO midday wardrobe changes" rule, unless there is an accident that left you soaked.  This mostly helps in the winter months when layers are worn by all eight of us, doubling the loads compared to summer. 

2.  Bigger is Better. 
At least when it comes to washer/dryer sets.  Last Spring, my Mom (Aka: Cookie) scored a great deal on an LG- XL front load washer and dryer set, and gifted me with it. The day it was delivered was like a thousand Christmases all rolled into one. 
 I've read lots of reviews from people who detest front loaders due to the mildew smell.  To avoid that, I've simply left my door open when it's not in use, and especially over night.  "But Holly, I don't have room to leave the door open in my house." Me neither. We have a laundry CLOSET, not a room, and it's located right next to the garage door, so it's a high traffic area. If we're home and not going in and out, I leave it open.  Before I go to bed, I open it back up too.  Which is something I always did with my top loader as well, because that's just what Cookie taught me.  I also make sure and only use HE detergent.  Almost a year in, and I can honestly say I've never noticed any kind of mildewy smell.  My baby sister has had one for years, and she also practices the "open-door policy," and said she's never noticed a funky smell either.  I puffy heart love my washer and dryer.  It can wash an entire bedding set, without getting off balance, and in this house that's something done almost daily.  (I could cut liquids off at noon, and there will still be a wet bed or two the next day. Sigh.) So if you're in the market for a new set, I highly recommend you find your own Cookie and have her buy you this set. 
3.  Lower your expectations. 
This applies to all things housekeeping. Now, how ever low you just lowered your expectations-- take it down another two to three notches.  I consider the day a success if at bedtime each child is told "I love you" and they're all wearing (semi) clean underwear.   There is no reason for the house to be spotless or for their clothes to be ironed.  The house will be trashed in a matter of hours and their clothes will be wrinkled in less time than that.  Something my Daddy told us many times over the years, "It's not the clothes that make the kid, it's the kid that makes the clothes." Slightly (completely) wrinkled or not, kids are adorable because of who they are, not how they are dressed.  If ironing their clothes is stressing you out, stop doing it.  I'm proud to say my children think our iron is a tool used only for crafting projects.  I also quit ironing Bert's clothes many years ago.  His arms aren't broken, and last time I checked, you don't need to be a Certified Public Accountant to operate an iron, though if you did, he would have that license as well.  Another great thing about my dryer is the steam function, which takes the wrinkles out. Granted, Bert couldn't care less about wrinkles, which is why half the time he shows up practicing the "It's not the clothes that make the kid" rule as well. 

4.  Accept help as often as you can.
Why is it so hard for us as women to accept help? If you're feeling overwhelmed and don't have it in your budget to hire outside help, be it babysitting or a professional house cleaner (Read: MEEEEE) try doing a kid swap with a good friend.  Offer to take her kids to the park while she cleans one morning a week, and switch kids out another day so you can do the same. Also, include the ENTIRE family when assigning chores.  Husbands are more than capable of sweeping, dusting and mopping. Most of the time, he just needs to be asked.  I've also learned over the years that the kids are able to do much more than I realized when it comes to cleaning.  My kids think taking a baby wipe to the bathroom counters is fun and sometimes fight over who gets to do it.  No, it's not perfect, but it gets done.  (See #3) But, if your OCD is still gnawing at you and causing you to stress, you could always invest in a large dog kennel...

5.  Take it one day at a time. 
Some days even that's too overwhelming and you may find it necessary to take it only an hour at a time.  And hey, that's okay.  The best advice I was ever given was to take a deep breath and focus on what's most important right then.  Some times that focus needs to be shifted to cuddling on the couch and reading a story, even if the kitchen wreaks of dirty dishes and last night's dinner is still on the table.  Other times, cuddling needs to wait because the laundry can't be avoided any longer.   As long as your children feel safe and loved, you're doing a great job.  They won't remember how  high the laundry was always piled or the crushed cheerios stuck between their toes. They definitely won't remember eating spaghetti oh's three nights in a row.  They probably won't even remember you telling them to pose in that specific corner of the house because it's the clean corner and you planned to put the photo on Instagram.  But they will always remember how they FELT, and feeling loved and appreciated isn't something you can make up for once they're grown and things slow down. 

I hope you found my light-hearted tips to be helpful today.  I just see so many moms who daily beat themselves up over not being as "perfect" as the women they see on Pinterest.  I say, if you're home isn't perfect, you've always got a friend in me.
 Love and hugs, Big Momma

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Umm, hi.

My name is Holly. Once upon a time I blogged here on a regular basis.  And then I stopped.  I had a sixth kid, caught a horrible case of writer's block, and an even worse case of post-partum depression.  Then, back in the fall, I finally felt like myself again and tried to make a "come back." That lasted all of three posts.  I kept telling myself I needed to update the pics in the side bar first, and have something worth writing. Not that my kids aren't worth writing about, but we've reached an age where I'm struggling with what's appropriate and trying not to embarrass them.  Although, most the time I feel like turnabout is fair play, since in the last decade I have been a mother, these children have made it their mission to embarrass me on every public outing.  Still, I miss blogging.  I miss the friends I've made here and the connections with all of you who take the time to read about our zany life.  I've continued following most of you as well, though I've been a horribly lazy commenter.  In my defense, it's a pain to do from my phone, and that's where I read most of the time. All of this long boring (I'm even boring myself here, sorry about that) paragraph to say... Posts may seem a bit jumbled for a while.  I'm embracing my ADD and the fact that the pics in my sidebar are outdated (except for the Bitty Princess') and going with it.  Random post introduced... and here we go....
The Bitty Princess' birthday is the day after Christmas.  Worst birthday to have, poor child. When I was pregnant with her, I was so afraid she would come Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  I was thrilled she stayed put and came the day after.  Until I realized the only thing worse than sharing your birthday with Jesus is how exhausted everyone is the day after and no one feels like celebrating you.  Including yourself.  Pretty sure as she gets older we'll celebrate her half birthday and have a party then, and just have cupcakes with family on the actual date.  Bless it. 

We've had quite a bit of drama lately.  And while my siblings may disagree, drama is not something I enjoy, unless it's watching Her Highness on stage.  Lightning nearly lost his eye while hiking in the woods at my parents' house.  (The sparkler he's pictured with below has absolutely nothing to do with his eye's near death experience. It's just a cute pic of Lightning.) He bent down while holding a "hiking stick" and gouged himself, causing multiple lacerations to his left eye, and possible permanent damage to his eyesight.  A trip to Children's Hospital ER and follow up visits to an ophthalmologist, and that kid has nearly met his deductible for 2014 already.  Thanks to the Affordable (snicker) Healthcare Act,  we get to enjoy a higher family deductible AND a higher premium.  Good times.  And then a few days ago, The Bitty Princess fell off my bed and we thought she'd broken her leg.  A trip to the pediatrician, then the orthopedic office, six x-rays and 12 hours later, we learned she was fine and had no broken bones.  So very thankful she was okay, but I'm pretty sure I  heard our wallets' sobbing later that evening. 

This kid right here... I have no words.  Those lips, y'all.  Gah! And the things he tells me... "Momma, yer pwetty and bootiful and I lub you and when I growed up I'm gonna marry you and take you to da sthore and buy you new shoesth all da time.  And get you sthome new earringsth." He's my baby boy.  And while I love all my children equally, I love them all so differently.  And well, this kid right here has my number and he knows it.  He's going through a terrible stuttering phase right now too.  And as painful as it is to listen to him say, "Mmmmmm MOM, can can can can I g-g-g-g-go outside?' it also adds an element of adorableness to him that I can't quite put into words.  I know, I know.. he's going to end up living in my basement and playing video games while I make excuses for him like, "He's holding out for a management position..." but I can't help it. 
I really can't say enough about how much fun it is to have a big family.  Maybe it's because I don't know life any other way.  I am the middle of five children myself, so having six wasn't much of a stretch for me.  But I will say this.. If you're on the fence at all about having another one, no matter what size your family is now, DO IT.  More noise, more laundry, more crying, more money?? Well, yeah, there's that.  BUT, more love, more fun, more hugs, more kisses, more memories.  Completely beats out all the other reasons not to have MORE children.  And no, this is not an announcement of any kind.  I have absolutely no plans of birthing any more children.  Six was the magic number to share with this uterus and wreak havoc on my body.  I'm just trying to encourage more of you to join the whacky world of BIG family life.  Come on in, the water's fine. 

 Unrelated to any pictures, yet a few thoughts in my brain that I'd like to add... I'm completely OVER winter.  I'm currently obsessed with Hey Ocean's "Big Blue Wave." And trying to get back in shape in your mid 30's is depressing. 
My stinker pots expect lunch soon, so I'll close this for now.  Hopefully I'll see you all again in less than three months this time.  Sticky hugs and sloppy kisses, Big Momma

Monday, September 30, 2013

Ode to Diet Coke

An ode to you, oh diet Coke, 
Which I have sworn off of often. 
Sleek, crisp, calorie-free,
Though science says you're killing me, yet you do it softly. 
Unlike that of all the noise I face daily. 
You judge me not. 
You pick me up, most days around 2pm. 
Nothing artificial about that kinda sweetness. 
And today, diet Coke, when I forgot you in the freezer, you proved yet again, you are a loyal friend. 
No bursting had you done, though you were nearly a frozen one. 
Now so slushy, a perfected sip I take.
My sanity thanks you. 

Popping Tags, Hudson Storm Style

A quick little jam session to get your Monday morning going...

 Why can't I get that to imbed and show a pic of the clip like it's supposed to do with videos?? As you can see, I'm still completely compooter illiterate.  Uggh.  Anyways... Just click the link.

Happy Monday! I won't lie.. Now that I have four kids in school, Monday is almost as good as Friday to me. The noise level goes down 400%.  So, may your Monday be as quiet and (hopefully) peaceful as mine! (I'm raising my coffee mug in a toast to you, sweet friends.)

Love, Big Momma and The Tag Popping Monkeys 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Whimsical Beds, Platinum Edition

The Hudson children have never been huge advocates of sleep.
When I was pregnant with Flash Flood, I wrote this post: Whimsical Beds, A Game Played Just Like Musical Chairs.  The Storm still enjoys this bedtime game, but now it goes a little more like this....

 7:45: From the couch, look up from Candy Crush/Facebook/other mindless distraction you've rewarded yourself with, in effort to tune out whatever obnoxious Disney show is on at the moment.  State in matter of fact tone, "Time for bed. Go potty and brush teeth."

7:50: Look up again to realize no one budged.  Say in teacher voice, "You have approximately three seconds to move your behinds to the bathroom... 3-2..."

7:59: Finally put ipad down and use booming Drill Sergeant voice, "I SAID, GO BRUSH YOUR TEETH, USE THE POTTY, AND GET IN YOUR BEDS!!  Why do I have to practically light my hair on fire to get a response out of you children??! Tomorrow night there will be NO TV, NO electronics, NO FUN of any kind if you don't GO RIGHT NOW!!"
Watch everyone scramble to the bathroom sink.  Remind them to actually use the toothpaste this time.

8:10: Get off couch and shoo the stragglers towards their beds.  Tuck each kid in his/her own bed, prayers and kisses included.

8:23:  Tell each child no less than 12 times, "The kitchen is CLOSED. No, you won't starve before morning.  You should have eaten more at dinner. FINE. Grab a couple of carrots and get back in the bed... What do you mean you forgot to potty?? Go to the bathroom, get a sip of water, get back in the bed. GOODNIGHT."

8:30: Carry chubby toddler to your bed.  (Ahem. Which is also her bed.) Hand 20 month old her bottle of milk. (I muttered those sentences while looking down at the floor, trying to avoid eye contact with you.) Lay next to her in the dark, making mental lists of all the things you forgot to do today. Let chubby 20 month old pinch your arm flab while she falls asleep.  Plan to sneak out of the bed, but decide you're too tired and.... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

10:47: Wake up to television blaring ESPN.  Shuffle into living room, turn tv down, throw blanket on husband, who is snoring on the couch.  Check to see if all the doors are locked.  Move 3 year old from the couch with husband, back to his bed.Check on other kids. Remember you left clothes in the wash, move them to dryer.  Play Candy Crush/Facebook/other mindless distraction on your phone for the next 27 minutes because you're now wide awake. But still too tired to be productive. Eventually doze off.

 11:31: 7 year old starts a dry, hacking cough.  Sit up and listen for him to stop.  Take him a cup of water and wake him, prop pillows underneath his head and pray its not the beginning of croup. Shuffle back to bed, pass out.

Midnight:  Hear husband fumbling around in kitchen.Then hear sounds of cereal being poured.  Roll eyes, doze off.

12:34: Chubby 20 month old cries out for no apparent reason.  Feel around for passie in the dark.  Hear it hit the head board, as you knock it to the floor.  Hold out arm in hopes she'll be soothed by squeezing your arm flab instead.  Pray her strange habit isn't the early sign of a serial killer, as you both fall back to sleep.

1:11: Feel 3 year old trying to climb into bed, clumsily, since he has his blankie, set of matchbox cars, and a creepy porcelain clown your sweet neighbor gave him from her thrift store pile she was planning to donate.  Beg three year old to please go back to his own bed, and do so quietly, so not to wake his baby sister.  3 year old begins crying for milk, and insists on making room for ALL his crap. Hand off sippy cup, while tucking the blankie, cars and scary clown (face down, to avoid it's sad eyes suddenly glowing red, as it makes plans to murder you in your sleep) into your spot.  Move to couch.

2:23: Hear sweet 10 year old daughter say, "Momma, sorry to wake you up, but my eczema is super itchy.  We forgot my cream again. Can you put some on my arms and legs?" Coat itchy tween in expensive steroid cream. Make mental note to call doc in the morning to get a refill on the prescription. Fall asleep the second your head hits pillow, while simultaneously deleting mental note from memory.

3:18: Wake up. On your own. No rhyme or reason.  WIDE AWAKE.  Consider punching yourself in the face. What in the world is your problem?? Flip through channels and nearly order one of everything on each infomercial you see.  Decide you need to stick to Full House reruns when the Chillow begins to look appealing. 

4:45: Hear 5 year old digging in the laundry for dry pajama pants.  Hear him plummeting through linen closet for a quilt. Feel same boy wiggle his way onto the couch where you're trying to sleep, even though there are two vacant ones in the same room. Threaten to move him to the dogs' bed outside if he doesn't get still and go to sleep.

5:57: Hear 8 year old son walking around the house in search of the ipad.  (This of course only happens on the weekends.  Because on school days I have to drag him out of the bed.) Use the hoarse whisper version of the drill sergeant's voice to remind him it's SATURDAY and if he wakes anyone else up, there will be serious consequences. 

6:22: Wake up to 20 month old's pitter pattering as she looks for you. "MOMMA! MOMMA! I wanna hold you... I wanna milk baba... I wanna watch Gabba Gabba!... MOMMA! MOMMA! I WANNA HOLD YOU!!!!"

6:23: Stare blankly at coffee pot, and plead with it to brew faster.

6:36: Break up a fight, pour three bowls of cereal, and consider crawling back in bed. Wake up husband and give briefing of his Saturday schedule which includes a karate belt test, play rehearsal, and three birthday parties, two of which are overlapping.

8:05: Put your big girl panties on, grab second cup of coffee, and hit the ground running. You're already late.