Saturday, March 27, 2010


I remember thinking to myself, ' There have only been two other times that I have asked Arik to pick me up Pepto Bismol'. As I swallowed the plastic capful of the thick, pink, bubblegum tasting tummy tamer, the realization hit me....'Oh my goodness, what if I am pregnant?' The possibilty definitely existed, but nontheless, it was still the farthest thing from our minds at the time. Maddox and Jaxon were finally getting to the point where we recognized that they were becoming more self-sufficient, our sleep at home was excellent , not to mention I was just under a year at my new job with the Fire Department.

I kept my thoughts to myself, not wanting to sound the alarm prematurely, but the time had come to find out. I'd been through this routine before. Every parent will tell you, waiting for "that line" truly feels like hours. Tick.....tick....tick. Ding ding ding!! I think I momentarily blanked out as that line whooshed right off the stick, did a little dance in front of my face and mockingly whispered to me, "Here you go again lady!" I swear it laughed at me as it danced back onto the stick and I regained my mind. My first thought of course was, 'What is Arik going to say?' Several emotions entered my body, but I knew that in the mix, excitement was pounding through my veins.

"Seriously Nicole?" Poor Arik still had trouble decifering between sarcastic, teasing Nicole and the not so joking Nicole. I looked at him and nodded, "Yep." We had become pretty good at this conversation by now. We talked about how things were going to change, the boys, transportation, work, us. But we knew then that we had another little blessing coming our way, ready or not.

My 9 week check-up was there before I knew it. I casually left the house, Arik in charge of the boys. " I'll be back soon" I assured him. I had told Arik not to worry about coming, we had already done the first appointment thing and knew that it was pretty routine and there wasn't a lot for him to do. It was more of a help for him to stay home with the boys over nap time.

My Doctor looked at me and said, " Welcome back!" I laughed as I teased, "Atleast I gave you a year break this time!" Let me just mention that I lucked into the best OB EVER ...period. He put me at ease through each of my pregancies and was there to constantly reassure me that I was doing a great job.

Sitting in the small room, looking out the window, with my comfortable and stylish paper gown barely covering me , I thought about everything that Arik and I had been through together, I reflected on the couple years we had with our boys and the love I had for them and then a thought crossed my mind. Up until that point I had not seriously ever considered it, 'What if I'm having multiples? Haha, can you imagine Arik's expression?' Then as quickly as the thought had come, it left.

The nurse walked in a few minutes later and I set the magazine down that I had been breezing through. We exchanged a little small talk and I summarized life at home with Maddox and Jaxon. I noticed however, that she had wheeled in a primitive sonogram machine. I didn't recall having a ultrasound so early on in my pregancy before. In hindsight, maybe they saw elevated results with the ol' pee test and had their suspicions! My Doctor walked up and my nerves kicked in, 'This is really happening,' I thought. Eventually he wheeled the small black circular chair up to the end of the exam table and sat down. The nurse was at my right side and the sonogram machine sat between myself and my Doctor facing away. I layed there quietly, focusing on the shapes on the ceiling. The room became very small and I switched my concentration to what my Doctor had to say. I quickly sucked in a breath of air and cringed a little as he squirted the bottle of cool goo on my abdomen. ( I think they secretly get a chuckle out of doing that!) Within seconds he was circling the ultrasound wand across my belly. I listened to him let out a couple of "uh huhs and mm's and okay" and then came the next words from his mouth that I will never forget..." Well, everything looks per.....whoops " Panicked, I thought of everything that "whoops" could mean. " Is everything okay?" I could hardly get it out. He looked at me and then glanced at the nurse. " I think you should lay back", he said. He turned the monitor around to face me. Now I'm no expert at ultrasounds, but at that moment I knew I didn't have to be. There might as well have been two giant neon signs with fireworks going off in the background that read 'THERE ARE TWO OF US HERE!!' It took me a second as I studied what was clearly two dark circles on the screen. The nurse chimed in, "You're having twins!" I laugh now, but the first words out of my mouth were, " You've got to be shitting me!" I quickly covered my mouth embarassed and then immediately the tears began to fall and those turned to sobs and I felt myself losing control of my body as I shook from head to toe. It felt like a good minute had passed when I looked up at my Doctor and meekly said to him, " They are happy tears" as a smile welcomed itself onto my face. Up until this point the expression on their faces had been blank as it seemed they didn't know what to make of my emotions. The tension in the air relieved itself as they simultaneously let out sighs of relief and then, "Congratulations!" Once I had fully regained myself I looked at my Doctor and attempted my most serious face, " Are you SURE that there are only two in there?" He laughed and reassured me there were just two and finishing his earlier statement let me know that everything looked perfect. It was all starting to make sense. So that was why I was so stinkin' sick this time!!

I'll never forget my Mom's reaction to finding out we were having another child. We had just left a benefit for a friend of mine who had just had quads! Merging onto the interstate ( I know, great timing) I casually had asked her, " So what do you think would be harder having quads or 3 under the age of three?" She paused, thinking about her answer and then whipped her head in my direction, " Nicki, are you? Are you pregant?" One down, rest of the family to go. So driving to the office where my Mom worked, I played out how I was going to reveal to news of twins.
Mom was sitting in the breakroom getting ready to eat a beautiful salad. I sat down next to her to tell her about my first official appointment. She asked how it went and again I nonchalantly pulled out the ultrasound pictures and said, " Well the Doctor says they look great and told me that I am roughly 9 weeks along" My poor Mom had her first bite halfway up to her mouth as she looked at me and said, " Did you say they?" She laughed and cried and eventually pushed her salad towards me and said she couldn't even finish her it now:)

I was a little more anxious to share the news with Arik. After all, he was just easing into the fact that we were going to be welcoming another little bundle to our household. I tiptoed up the stairs and saw that he was peacefully sleeping, bundled under the covers....Oh so unsuspecting. I gently shook him, " Arik, Arik.....wake up." He grumbled a little and rolled towards me. At this point the originality had left me and I decided to use the same, 'they look great line' . I waited, his eyes never opened, he responded, " yeah right, whatever" and heaved himself back over facing the other direction. Honestly, I think once again I had cried wolf too many times in the past and he found it hard to take much of what I said seriously! And that was that. To this day, I would pay to know what his immediate thought was when the reality hit him. One thing I didn't have to guess about was what kind of father he was going to be or if the babies would be loved. I knew from the boys that Arik was a natural at being a father and you wouldn't find a man that loved his kids more than he did.

The next few months were a whirlwind. I continued my job and felt so blessed that they allowed me to continue in my line of work and blessed that I was healthy enough to work. Preparations were endless, I mean, come can you really prepare both physically and emotionally for the addition of 2 more children. I believed that I was as prepared as I could be, however.

I have to admit, I was extremely excited to find out what we were having. I automatically assumed we would be having identical twins seeing as how those are typically "flukes". I clearly remember the night we found out for sure that we atleast had one more little boy coming our way. Our friend was doing an ultrasound for us and she looked at me and said, " OH HO, that's definitely a boy in there!" We were still too early to see baby B, so we had to endure the anticipation a few more weeks! But, before we knew it the day came that we found out a little Princess was joining the crew. I have to say I was a little skeptical at first, but after several visits and further confirrmation I was as convinced as I was going to be! 3 boys and a girl!!! What amazing gifts God had given and was giving us?

My pregancy as a whole was extremely uneventful, atleast as far as I was fortunate enough to avoid any early complications. However, it was slightly eventful in other ways. The twins can officially say they fought their first fires before they were born. We had 2 fires during my pregnancy while I was at work. I knew my limitations and my crew knew about my pregnancy and they were all supportive of me on scene. I also completed a confined space training obstacle course when I was about 5 mo pregnant. I was always very cautious to monitor my health and my safety, but as long as I continued to get the green light from my Doctor and my job, I decided to continue working.

But then March came. I knew at this point that I was ready to tap out. I was very exhausted at this point, physically and mentally. In the beginning of March I finally went on leave. I thought I was good to go a few weeks longer and during a routine exam I found out that I was dilated. Not extremely uncommon, but it raised a red flag nontheless. I certainly didn't want to go yet I was only about 30 weeks. Another week passed and every so often I would feel small contractions. The process had started and all I could do was attempt to slow it down. My Doctor put me on strict bedrest. Ha yeah right. My bed on the couch lasted all of .....hmmm...2 hours and next thing you know, I am up fixing lunch, changing the kids etc.. No fault to Arik, I mean he did what he could, but I really think that unless you have hired help, strict bedrest with a 1 and 2 yo was near impossible!

I was going in for weekly check-ups by mid-March and it was a Friday. I just knew something was different. My back was killing me, I couldn't get comfortable and the contractions would not stop. I was pretty sure it was going to be the day. Try as they might, the nurses couldn't stop the labor. After several attempts via drugs, my Doctor said, "Nicole these babies are coming whether we like it or not!" I breathed in a sigh of relief/fear. At that moment I felt so ready, yet so ...unready.

Labor and birth with the twins was fast. Everything from being wheeled down the hallway, to my Doctor suiting up to hearing them coax me into a push. Holding Arik's hand we welcomed our precious Ty into the world. I saw his little head and face and was overcome with emotion. Before I even had time to think any further I was being instructed to push again. There was going to be No time for a break in between, she was ready to come. My beautiful, pink little bundle of love Olivia came to us so quickly. The look that Arik and I shared at that moment will always be in my mind. We knew our lives had once again been changed forever.

I got to hold my babies briefly before they whisked them off. I remember looking at how perfect they were and how small! I felt like I had never touched something so delicate before. I kissed them both and handed them to the nurses. What a strange feeling it was, knowing that I couldn't hold them for sometime. Knowing that my babies were going to need extra care and attention because they were born at 34 weeks. I immediately felt lonely for not having them at my side.
The next two weeks were quiet possible the longest two weeks of my life. Arik and I shared and experience that only a parent who has had a child in the NICU would/could understand. I have to admit, there were several days that I felt extreme guilt that they were there. Could I have done more to keep them in me? But how silly of me to question God's plan. He certainly knew what he was doing. And let me tell you, those nurses in the NICU are angels. They taught me how to be a mother of premmies, what to expect, what to look forward to and many how to's. Even though I was not a first time Mom I still had a lot to learn.

When the two weeks were up I was able to bring my little Ty guy home. It was certainly bittersweet I thought as I placed a little bow on Olivia's head and set an easter egg next to her "crib" in the NICU. "You will be with us in a few days my sweet Olivia", I whispered to her.
The day after Easter our family felt complete as we brought Livi Bean home to meet her brothers.

This year has been surreal. I mean....I have 4 beautiful amazing children. I ask myself and God all the time, " Why do I deserve this?" I still can't believe it has been a year. I look at my little babies and they are not so little any more. It's amazing to me to watch their personalities take shape and how COMPLETLEY different they are already. Life has changed drastically, the attention that I get with the four kids is a little embarassing. I have people stop me on a daily basis. It's usually the same questions and of course my all time favorite statement, " Boy, you sure have your hands full!" ......'Yes, Yes I do, thanks for noticing'

Unfortunatley, today I am at work and we are to celebrate the twins birthday tomorrow, oddly enough I had my first delivery today. A young mother delivered her child on the bathroom floor and we literally arrived onscene just after. I had to suck in a big breath of air to keep from tearing up at the beauty of a new innocent life. As I wrapped the little baby and held him in my arms feelings of this day one year ago rushed back to me. I looked at that tiny little wrinkled face and thought of Ty and Olivia. How appropriate I thought.

To my sweet babies Ty and Olivia, I love you both more than you can imagine. You have brought such a joy to my heart. I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for us. Happy First Birthday!
Your Mother and your your friend forever

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

DISNEY 2010!!

We made it!!! We successfully accomplished our first Disney trips without and major meltdowns or regrets. As most of you know, we decided to take the boys to Disney World over our anniversary ( 4 years woo-hoo!!, and as Arik would say, " it felt like 4 minutes.......UNDER WATER!! :) to celebrate. I had always said that I would not take my kids until they were atleast 4/5, but considering our double delivery ( Ty and Livi :) we figured it wouldn't be fair. By that point the twins would be ready to go too. So yes, some may say we were crazy to attempt it, but I like to think we are.... ( thought ) ....adventurous:) Obviously I could write a book about our day so I will just summarize it instead....well, you know what I mean;)

DISNEY BUS FROM HOTEL TO PARK - Put it this way, the boys won't stop talking about it. Heck, if I'da know how excited they'd get over a bus ride, I would have shelled out the .50cents to take the local SCAT bus!

CINDERELLA'S GOLDEN CAROUSEL- The boys would have been content riding this sixty more times. It was a thrilling adventure for them to pick out which white horse they were going to the way, they were all white.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN- Okay so I may have told Maddox a little white lie. I may have told him the Pirates lived next door after he told me midway in the line that he didn't like Pirates. I may have told him that we weren't going to see any Pirates. Ummm, bad idea mom....BUT HEY, gotta love their new Johnny Depp Captain Sparrow addition..mmm mmm mmm!

COUNTRY BEAR JAMBOREE ( Several life-size animatronic good ol' country bears singin' and puttin on a half hour show for you ) The boys really didn't get it but they sat through it. I'm pretty sure Maddox thought the bears were going to come off the stage at any moment.

HAUNTED MANSION- Maddox: " Is this going to be dark? " .....maybe a little....Jax was patient and curious and really not frightened by any of it. Maddox on the other hand in the cab behind us with Arik crying his head off. Okay Okay, I talked to some other moms who said their 3 yo did fine.....Another bad idea

IT'S A SMALL WORLD- While it didn't have the "pee the pants" factor it had on me when I was 4, both boys really enjoyed it. " Thank you Mom for taking us on a bright ,age appropriate ride!"

PETER PAN'S FLIGHT ( Sit in a small cartoonish pirate ship and "soar" over scaled down scenes of Peterpan's Neverland ) Jax was in awe...and by awe I mean he must have been because he sat expressionless the entire ride...Maddox was angered that there were Pirates.

MICKEY'S PHILARMAGIC 3D SPECTACULAR- Poor Poor Maddox. He did the classic reaching for objects that weren't there, slamming into and glueing to the back of the seat and whipping his head sideways when a 3d picture came towards us. Apparently Jaxon had similar worries, but he figured out that if he burried his head into Dad's arm it would all go away.

POOH'S PLAYFUL SPOT- Passing up the opportunity to wait an hour in line to take a picture with Pooh and Tigger, the boys decided to play in pooh's playful Spot. Proving once again, that playgrounds do not need to be intricate or complicated for a child to enjoy. Running over logs and

sliding down fake wooden slides kept them plenty entertained.

THE MANY ADVENTURES OF WINNIE THE POOH ( Takes you on a ride in a honey pot through one of my favorite Pooh stories of all time, the Blustery Day ) The boys enjoyed it, but weren't begging to go again.

TOMORROWLANDS INDY SPEEDWAY- Handsdown the boys favorite ride. Maddox insited on driving and pressing the gas pedal, even though in order to press the gas he had to practically lay flat and peer over the side door to drive also. It's nice b/c the cars are on a track so while they get the feeling they are really driving we were really just taking a 2.5 mph cruise around the area...with frequent...very frequent stops. Jaxon looked adorable driving with Arik by the way.

BUZZ LIGHTYEARS SPACE RANGER SPIN ( You sit in a 2 seater car with a mounted laser gun and travel through several neon rooms lit with a blacklight and attempt to shoots as many "Z's" as possible. The boys got a kick out of Buzz and were more entertained that they could make the buggy spin with a joystick. The real competition was between Arik and me. I'm positive I had a faulty laser the first go-around and on re-match wouldn't you know the ride shut down 3/4 of the way through and we lost our scores ( I was winning though;)

SWISS FAMILY TREEHOUSE ( Walk up 800 steps to look at what The Swiss family lived like ) Maddox and Jaxon + Swiss Family Treehouse = Bored

THE MAGIC CARPETS OF ALADDIN ( sit in/on your flying carpet and go up and down in a circle ) The boys loved it b/c they had control of going up and down. Pretty basic, but enjoyable.

GOOFY'S BARNSTORMER ( A rollercoaster for kids ) Maddox refused to even get in line. Jaxon had his hands up the entire ride. The mother behind me said at the end noticing his tears, " Oh did it scare him?" I replied, " No he's ticked it's over and he wants to go again."

STITCHES GREAT ESCAPE ( you are a "ranger" attempting to corral Stitch ( the Alien from Lilo and Stitch) set in a circular theater type room with a giant "teleportation tube in the center ) This ride should come with a warning "No children under the age of 10". Seriously! You are in individual seats with a lockdown bar that comes over your shoulders and across your chest. It's pitch black for the bulk of the "show" and oh by the way, that's after they show you the huge Stitch alien that is breaking free into the room you are in. So you can imagine the kids screams as the seats shook and hot air blew on the necks. Maddox was practically begging me for Pirates of the Caribbean halfway through ( not really ). I truly felt sorry after that ride and I am certain they will have nightmares about it at some point.

MEETING MICKEY AND MINNIE- I made a point of atleast getting the boys to take a picture with them. And guess what, not only did they take a picture, they hugged them both and Jax even got a kiss from Minnie!!

Really a great day. I was very impressed with how smoothly it went. I think Arik enjoyed watching the boys and I definately did. I still think they were a little young, but for the deal we got, I wouldn't change a thing.....well, maybe I'd have stay'd away from a few of the rides;)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Our Busy Life

I'm an "almost there" kind of Mom. Unfortunately, "there" doesn't really exist. Let me explain. Come with me to "there".

"There" is a place where you wake up in the morning and slowly stretch, reaching your arms into the air as you let out a final yawn for the morning. Turning over, you switch off the dial to the baby monitor silencing the low static humm and occasional thump that it emits. Making sure that you don't wake your peacefully sleeping husband who is curled next to you in a pile of soft fresh sheets, you tip toe to the other side of the bed and quietly flip the switch on the other monitor. Breathing in a scent of fresh carpet that is still lingering from the night before's vacuum , you check to make sure the fan is on high as you leave the room. ( Your husband and you always playfully tease as you decide what speed to place the fan on throughout the night. You like a low speed, just enough to keep you cool, while your husband prefers a higher speed so he can bundle under the covers and feel the circulation )

Gently, you creep down the hallway, taking careful steps so as to not wake the sleeping children with the creaky floor. You successfully make it to the kitchen. Ahh, your trusty timer never fails. The aroma of fresh coffee fills the kitchen as you pour your morning cup of joe, topping it off with french vanilla creamer. ( You've bought the pre-packaged kind just like they carry at the convenience store. ) What's the morning gossip? You decide to turn on the news as you lean back on the couch, propping your feet on the table in front of you. You can feel the energy and life begin to run through you veins as you contemplate your activities for the day.

In the background you begin to hear a little giggle and squeak. You smile as you stand and walk towards your daughters room. Her little smile lights up when she sees you peer through the door. She is very proud of herself, she has learned to pull herself up and stand at the edge of the crib. Waiting for you to pick her up she awkwardly bends her knees to bounce, still trying to test out her new found balance. The second you have her in your arms she clings to you tightly and lays her head on your shoulder. "Time for diaper change!", you exclaim walking back to the living room, your little attachment oblivious to the comment. She is just thrilled to see you again.

After changing her diaper one by one your kids continue to wake up. Each one just as special and bright-eyed, ready to begin a new day. You receive gentle kisses from sleepy eyed little boys with their bodies curled in a ball on you as you sit on the couch with them easing them into their morning routine.

Your well into your day now, you're feeling tired, but accomplished as you reflect on all that you've done today. The gym in the morning, random errands, nap time for the kids and the park in the afternoon. You gloat as you are reminded of the frazzled mother of one, who looked up to you with admiration, " I don't know how you do it with 4, I've got my hands full with one and you make it look so easy!" You smile as you think of your response, " Well, I am just fortunate that they all just happen to be so well behaved." She nodded as she frantically searched for her keys, yelling as her child wandered off, " Junior, get back here", she screamed. You sighed as you buckled the last latch of your boy's car seat, ' Boy, she just must not know a thing about organization or discipline', you think to yourself.

Your concentration is broke as you hear the bedroom door opening. It's your husband waking. His footsteps make a distinct thud as he heads down the hallway in your direction. As he turns the corner the your babies eyes light up as they see their Dad. He softly pats them each on the head, scooping the boy up recognizing a pat wasn't going to suffice. You lean up to receive your husbands kiss on the forehead. " Hi Honey, thanks for letting me sleep a little longer today." your husband states. "Oh, no problem Babe, I know you had an exhausting night at work and needed to catch up on your rest" , you let him know.

The evening continues with a bit of family play and then dinner and baths. After bath time you ready the babies for bed. You lay them down without a hitch and are left to enjoy a little more time with your older two. You give in and play one more game of Memory promising to read them each a story after you're done. They cuddle next to you as tightly as they possibly can, eager to hear the book they've chose.

"Time for sleep little guys", you say. They race off to the bathroom to see who can get their toothbrush out the fastest. It's a tie. "Brush em Brush em Brush em", you sing as they thoroughly scrub their pearlies. One last potty for the night! You pick each of the boys off and "zoom" them into their beds. They quietly laugh so as not to wake their sleeping baby brother in the crib next to them. " Mom, do snug as a bug" one requests. "Okay Mister, snug as a bug in a rug", you tell him as you tightly tuck the blanket around his body. He smiles, pleased with you and whispers, " I love you Mommy". The other asks you to lean down and give him a kiss. " I love you Mommy", he tells you as you begin to walk away. " I love you too boys, sleep good."

You walk back into the hallway as you yawn. Sitting down on your couch you glance around at the order. Ahh, you think, 'how nice to go to bed with such a clean house' and just think, I don't even have any laundry or dishes to do' Propping your feet up, you reach for your melting glass of iced tea and the remote control. It's American Idol night, " I love Casey James you think as you listen to him belt out Heaven.

End Dream zone.....That was " There" this is "Here":

"AHHHHHHHH!!! WAHHHHHHH!!!DADADADADADADA!!!", the yells blair out from both sides of the bed. Quickly you roll over to pull the plug from the monitor to your left. Brief moment of silence. Ha, you thought to soon. "WAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" You hear another wail from the other side of the bed. Clumsily you stumble out of bed and make your way to the around to shut down the monitor. You don't know which is louder, the monitors or you snoring husband. You wait a minute to make sure you see him rustle a little in bed, ( you want to make sure he's aware that you are getting up at such a ghastly hour in the morning ). Click, you switch the other monitor off. At this point you have to move at a brisk pace, knowing that if you wait to long to quiet the yelling you will have all four on your hands at once in the morning. You take one final yawn, breathing in the scent of sweat and pee stained sheets. Darnit, your son wet your bed again! Note to self..must change sheets and wash bedding today. 'Where the heck am I going to fit that in? I'm already down 20 loads' you think to yourself. As you leave the room, you make sure to turn down the fan. After all you don't want your husband to sleep too comfortably, then he may never wake up and goodness knows you count down the hours until you have that bit of extra help.

Quickly you go into the boys room first. You scoop him up, hoping that he doesn't let out a shriek that would wake he other boy left in the room. AANNND you made it successfully out of the room, but "OH, NO! " Your hand sticks to the back of his pants and a warm sensation envelopes your midsection. You're being peed on.

After cleaning both you and the baby up, you go back for round two. You peek slowly into the door studying the quietness. Perhaps you've got lucky and she's fallen back asleep. But alas, no such luck. Up bobs her little head, a mischievous grin spreads across her face and she yells out for you to grab her. As you scoop her up she clings to you and lays her little head on your shoulder. Suddenly the morning brightens...." OwwwwOWWWWW!!!!!", you yell. " Let-Go-Of my HAIR!!" you say back to her. Your head is tilted to the side as her little fingers curl into the smallest hairs on the back of your neck as she gleefully screams out.

After you free your hands, you travel back out towards the kitchen. You hurry to change your daughters bulging diaper so as not to have a leak-through repeat and then quickly set her into her highchair next to her brother. You do this in hopes that you can keep them occupied long enough with their breakfast foods so that you may get in a few sips of coffee . ( Which by the way, you hadn't made yet. ) After your coffee is finished brewing you salvage the last drops of your milk jug to add a little cream. (You will probably reheat your coffee in the microwave 7 times before the morning is done. So much so, that you will have to scoop the film layer off the top the last several times. ) But for now, you sit down running through the list of things you need to get done today, hoping somewhere in the mix you can toss in an activity for the kids.

'SLAM' 'STOMP STOMP STOMP' " Time to wake up" You realize that your 2 yo is awake an making sure that his brother gets up with him. 'Well, here we go!' you think. Your day has officially begun. Any chance of sitting down, eating, sleeping, showering, brushing your teeth, heck sometimes you even wonder breathing, are now all out the window for approximately 13 more hours.

You're well into your day now. Thinking about all that you've done, the fatigue slowly starts to travel through your body. The cleaning, errands, running one of your children to school, the cleaning, the laundry, the grocery, the cleaning.....the cleaning.....the cleaning. Try as you might, you just cannot seem to keep up with all the chores, they are always one step ahead of you. You are reminded of the mother you ran into earlier in the day. She was chasing her daughter through the parking lot as you attempted to keep your kids in a uniform line as you walked to your car. Today, you'd forgotten your stroller so you were lugging a baby on each hip and urging the other two repeatedly to stay close to you, " It's a busy parking lot and there are a lot of cars boys!!" You briefly watch each other and share an understanding glance, ' I feel ya sista', is what both of you are thinking.

Your thought is interrupted as you realize with horror that your two year old is tracing the entire length of your brand new coffee table with a stick of chalk. "NO NO!", you exclaim. "We don't color on the coffee table" You grab the chalk from his sneaky little hands and he peers up at you with a broad smile, "Tee Hee", he jabs. In the background you hear your oldest son whispering, "Tell Mom Poop.....say butt....say it!" You let out a sigh, 'Pick your battles' you think to yourself.

All of a sudden the room erupts into a den of screams and yells. The babies are hungry again and your boys have gotten into another fight over who gets to play with the new green sports car. You take a deep breath, insincerely apologizing to your husband, in your mind, about waking him early. You walk back to the room on a mission. You know very well that if you attempt to wake your husband now, it will be a good 15 minutes before he is an effective functioning member of the household. Or before he even gets out bed for that matter!

Finally, you hear him coming down the hallway. He lets out a large fart as he walks into the living room. Patting the kids on the head he walks past you asking, "What's there to eat?" Defeated, you reply, " I just went grocery shopping, the fridge is full...really?" He grumbles as he sifts through the fridge. "Why did you wake me up early? I had a really long night at work last night, I'm just so tired" He isn't really angry, just making a statement. "Oh, I'm sorry, it must be really hard to work a full time job and get up with the kids all day long without stopping...Oh wait you don't do that, that's me" Okay, you think....that comment may have been uncalled for. Not missing a beat, he calls back to you, " Oh and by work do you mean sitting in a recliner all day?"

The rest of the evening is a whirlwind of dinner and baths. You have to stack your children's bedtimes, knowing that with them all going to bed at once you will be up for an extra hour reminding them to stop talking to each other. After brushing teeth, you manage to squeeze in a quick story for the older two boys. You set the older one up in you bed explaining to him he can watch one more cartoon. ( This is his privilege for being a little older ) Tuck ins and I love you's are exchanged and you drag yourself back out to the living room to catch up on your weeks worth of DVR'd shows. Plopping down on the couch, you glance to your side, 'the dishes can wait till tomorrow'. It's the latest episode of American Idol and you can't wait to see what Casey James is singing tonight. Just when he opens his mouth to sing you hear, "MOOOOMMMMMMM!!! I've gotta POOO-OOOOP!!"


Maybe this sounds familiar to some of you? "Here" is where I am. My life is busy, chaotic, challenging, exhausting and rewarding and I love it. I wouldn't change my kids or my life for one minute. Some days when I feel like I don't know how I'm gonna get through the day, I remember that God doesn't give anyone more than they can handle and I know there is a reason that God gave me the responsibility and gift of this life. I may not be "there", but each day gets easier and easier and I constantly think to myself, "Keep going Nicki, you're "almost there" .