Best Halloween Tradition

For four years now we have enjoyed a great Halloween tradition. Which was the brain child of Beck Realty Group (#BeckRealtyGroup). The site of Cornbellies, a fall carnival, is something we look forward to every year. We get to catch up with friends, paint faces, roll in the corn, get un-lost in the maze, buy pumpkins, race plastic ducks, and generally enjoy the mayheim.

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It is one of the few events the children don’t face with stress and follow with resentment. It is a time we lean into joy, and love one another. And frankly I am beginning to love the holiday again, which is a big deal for me. We need to create this kind of tradition for every holiday. It took four years, but now it is a known happy time for the WildScottKids.

So enjoy some of the fall fun from us to you. May the beginning of the holiday season bring you less stress, more joy, more family, more friends, more peace.

With love, the Scotts.

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To Halloween or not to Halloween

As parents we are faced with so many choices, and so much input on what is and isn’t good for our kids on Holidays, and let’s be real, I dread a lot of holidays.

halloween-2009We have to think about sugar consumption, over-stimulation, allergies, appropriate costumes, road-side safety, etc. Isn’t it a heavy burden? So let’s simplify.

For the last four years we have engaged in two awesome traditions. The first is Team costumes. We made Halloween a chance for attachment and belonging. So for the last few years we pick costumes out as a team. So here are a few versions of team costumes by us.

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But for me all the holidays bring up the issue of being enough. I know they shouldn’t I know none of these days are really about me. But it is so hard to face holidays without some comparison. Did I make enough treats? Am I still a good mom if I don’t make it to even one of my kids Halloween parties? Is it okay that I bought all my costumes on Amazon because I don’t have time to sew them? I want to move through this day with a little grace, and if I fail am I still okay?

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On days like today when I fell out of bed at six, kissed the little kiddos who climbed into my bed, got my daughter going on breakfast, and got in the shower. Only to realize I forgot a towel, and conditioner (Because it was out and I hadn’t refilled it), then growled through breakfast, and mended a few costumes with hot glue, before running out the door to work, it is hard to think that is enough.

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I want to be the mom who made cookies, warmed cider, read stories, cuddled them closer, shared romantic smiles with my husband around the teenage eye rolls.

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I missed the costume parade. That one hurts the most. And it’s stupid that it hurts.But I know they wanted me there. And I have honestly only ever helped with One, yep just one, school party in my whole life. And I loved it. But I have to be at the office, typing these things on my breaks, to take care of my little people. They forgive me. I just don’t as well.

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So to myself, and to you working mommies out there, and you stay-at-homes who are swamped, it’s okay. We didn’t make it this year. WE ARE good, we love our kids, we hope the best for them. They are our team. And even if I never make it to another class party, I am good enough. Even if I only get to make warm cider for my grandkids, it’s enough. Even if I growl more than I should, we will laugh about it later.

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For now, let’s simplify, they went to school in a team costume, knowing they belong together, with us. And that momma is enough. That is extra ordinary. I don’t care how much sugar they eat today. I will feed them good food tomorrow. And give them vitamins, because I am a good momma. Extra-ordinary is enough for me to love myself. And by loving myself, and forgiving me for what I haven’t done, I will be a better mother, and a better person.

Be unapologeticaly who you are

It’s late at night, and i should be sleeping.

All my small minions sleep in their beds, and my handsome guy is asleep next to me. But it was another exciting day, and my mind is still spinning with unfinished things.

It’s Sunday, usually a “day of rest.” For me it is a day of “Run a little faster with a smile plastered to your face.” But not today. Today there wasn’t normal church. Today was a longer meeting where our small people haven’t been welcomed the same because they can’t sit quietly for two hours. So instead of enduring the shame that came with last year and the technology we only cave to once a year, we chose not to go at all. Instead we had hard emotional talks.

Also not restful. But important.

When life has so much heavy emotional content, like raising special little people, sometimes our own mental health fall by the wayside. Not on purpose of course, but it happens. And misunderstanding build.

So we started a talk, knowing we were diving into the deep end of the pool, while laying tile, while the kids watched show after show. And the pool was deeper than we guessed.

So, here it is, late at night. I love my husband, more than the sky. You can tell because, well, we have 7 kids, we own our own business, we’ve miscarried 6 babies, we’ve had major ups and downs, and I am still here. So is he. But those aren’t the things that either of us needed to know.

My small scared heart needed to know that with 50 pounds more than when we got married, a bum knee, and not always the best attitude, I was worth loving. I needed to know I was enough. That he saw me, The whole me, all the ugly stuff, all the pretty stuff, all the scary stuff, And he liked me anyway.

His teenage heart needed to know I think he is cute. He makes my heart excited when I see him. That I want to run away and make out in the car all the time even when there is no way we can really do that right now, because we are laying tile in our bathroom…But i want to.

So friends out there, remember: You are enough.

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Right now.

Right as you are.

Without any changes. Or excuses.

At the exact weight, height, strength, endurance, hair color, hope level, that you are.

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You are perfectly enough. Nothing you have done, or can do, will change that.

Even without a shower. Without a job, without a husband or wife. Without the deepest need of your heart . You are still enough.

And I am here to remind you to go out and be authentic. Be vulnerable. Be creative.

The world needs you. Right now.

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When we began

For starters, I want you to know I believe in Radical honesty. I am not going to sugar coat my life, and probably I am going to offend a few people in the process, so before hand, I am sorry to hurt your feelings, this is my life as I see it.

A day in the life at the beginning.

It’s five am and my husband’s phone begins to ring, vibrating my bed, where I am sleeping, kinda, with my two littlest kids. I glare in the direction of the man who is snoring next to me and doing nothing to stop it… After a few minutes I grumble meanly at him that he needs to turn off his phone. He informs me that his is not certain where it is. At this point I want to strangle him, really, and tell him to look in the middle of our split King bed because it is giving me a massage right now. And tada there it is.

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The side effect of the whole thing being I have now woken up my two littlest kids. Sigh. So again the day starts before the sun. I tuck them back in and go make bottle and protein drink, known in toddler speak as the “Bannama bobbie”, pick them up and plop them on the couch, to see that the ruckus has also woken up my five year old, who has PTSD. Some people would be livid. There are days I have been, but this is my life, and I know my husband had the best of intentions, he was trying to get up and shower early so as to stay out of my way with what is next to come.

At six, after working on too many things to name, I have to get all the kids up, all four who are still sleeping for a grand total of 7 under age 8. Jayden is less than a morning person and glares at me under her shock of blond hair, and freaks out whenever someone looks at her wrong. We look over our morning chore list and the countdown to school begins. To me it’s like the timer on a bomb. Tick tick tick, mom’s gonna freak out if everything is not done before the clock says time to go. Yes, I freak out. After so many mornings doing the same picture list of chores to get ready for school you would think the kids and I had a clockwork system down, but it seems we don’t. Unless you count them playing and me yelling as a standard. And I would love to yell less, but unfortunately it works.

So, the big kids get dressed. I dress the little kids, change diapers, and look at my ugly pink robe thinking, I am looking fabulous (Did you hear the sarcasm?) And then I look at the bombshell that is my kitchen. It was clean this week, but not today. I have had to do therapy, back to school night, dental appointments, dad working late, and my normal schedule this week. I just didn’t get to it last night before I passed out in my bed. We scramble through cleaning, making lunches, checking backpacks, and then the blissful moment when I get to shower…. I love my showering time. It’s almost as good as bedtime and naptime. That is until someone interrupts myblissful revire by slamming open the door and screaming. “MOM! James poked me so I punched him in the face!” I admit I hear shocked silence for a moment, wishing I could rewind for a moment and just pause my life so at to enjoy my blisfull shower just a moment longer, but then sigh, I have to deal with it again, “Well, since you punched him, I can’t help you, you meted out your own justice. I think you were a little too hard on him and I need you to go appologise.”

Which is naturally followed by the shrieked reasons why he was being fair and I am not. I hate the word fair, nothing in life is fair, I can tell you for certain. So I growl at my eight year old, “Go appologise and I will deal with this when I am OUT of the shower!” He sculks out, I get dressed and it’s almost time to head to school.

I head out to the truck (Yep I had to sell my huge van and I have not had time to replace it) to see that it is full of my husbands tools, some that weigh a ton, and all the carseats are in the garage. I glance at my watch. Mr. Incredible had it right, “I still got time.”

I take the ten minutes to fix both problems, march my three littlest across the street to my angelic neighbor who is willing to watch them while I drive to school, in exchange for a nap, and pack everyone in the car.

I admit to loving the silence as I drive home with only the baby, who is babbling and talking in the back seat. I let my mind rove as I drive the memorized route, opposite of commuting traffic. Small break, and then back into the fray. I have one hour until preschool drop off. So gather kids, change the laundry again, change the dishwasher, pick up and vaccumm so that the carpet grubber won’t eat something and throw up again this morning…. Oh time to get the kids in the car again. I run over to the same nieghbor’s house, pick up her little girl and drive down the hill, and back up.

After looking at the clock I see I have an hour and a half until Kindergarten drop off… Huh, what can I get done in that time? Addy needs a nap, Ben need hugs, James needs positive reinforcement so he is nice to his teacher today, oh and an early lunch so he eats before school. And then suddenly we have to go again… I drag myself to the truck, loathe to deal with another run. This time I put on music to make the drive more palatable and as I head home, my toddler breaks down. I hand him a drink and he passes out. Ahhh the peace of naptime. I tuck him into bed and place the baby on the floor where she is amazingly close to crawling. Sleep beckons me and I wish I could give in, but soon it will be time to pick everyone up again for the day. My wonderful neighbor brings home the preschooler and he sits at the table narrating his life and reading books, really looking at pictures, while I allow myself time to breathe. Then it’s time to change the laundry and dishes again, prep dinner and toss everyone, even the slightly sleepy toddler back into the truck for after school pick up, this time leaving the baby and the preschooler with my neighbor knowing the toddler is a mess and needs the time to wake up before he can be nice.

The last drive to school of the day, to the sound of “Too tight!” and “No mom!” while I try to find a happy place. The carpool lines are long and it’s blisteringly hot outside, but I turn around after loading up my four kids and head home. We talk about what they did and we fall out off the car, pulling out backpacks and homework, all over the table. Their shoes inherently land everywhere except where they belong, and make the toddler stumble, and cry. I sigh, time to yell again, talking isn’t working. “Backpacks and shoes do not belong in the middle of the floor!” They scramble to pick them up, kinda, and shove them out of the middle of the room, returning to homework.

I have to go pick up the little kids, and the neighbor kids, and then it’s time for homework, which is it’s own form of torture. We should re-institure homework as punishment for bad parenting. They must do two hour of homework for four children every day and then we will consider forgiving their crimes… I think it would work. There is a fast clean up again and it’s time for dinner. I made pizza, store bought. I know, not terribly healthy, but I managed to get it made, with grapes and salad, it will have to do.

 

We clean up and begin the required reading for school, my homework, since none of my kids are good readers yet, and then get ready for bed. They toss all their clothes on the floor, which I sigh and tell them to clean up for the hundredth time, brush teeth, and flop onto the couch. I wish at this point I could say we did something fun like going to the park, but frankly I am done and want to sleep. I let them pick a couple shows from Netflix, one boy show and one girl show, and then off to bed.

Once the peace of little sleeping bodies settles over the house, my husband gets home. It is the perfect moment to give him a hug, and have him there to talk with on an adult level is awesome. There are more dishes to do, laundry to fold and put away, and life to prep for the morning.

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When I fall into bed at the end of the I pass out.. Hello bed. I have missed you. We should spend more time together… Snore. Only to be woken up at five again, or often before. It’s a hard life, not for the faint of heart, but that is all it requires. Heart. A lot of heart, and nothing else.

 

When Did life happen?

When did life happen?

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A long time ago two people thought it was a great plan to get married. We were young, well youngish. I had just graduated college and Jason was entrenched in a career. We bought a home and had a baby. Sounds like the perfect life. right?

Well it was. It is.

Then life happened. We had another baby, and lost a few. And by a few I mean 5. For some reason I could no longer have children. Now I know, you’re looking at that awesome picture at the top, thinking all those kids look like carbon copies of me, and you’re right they do…

We barely sold our home, upside down in debt, overwhelmed with all the life that kept happening, and trying to keep up with, well anyone. And I felt broken. Inside and out. It was devastating to lose those babies. I wanted them. I ate well. I exercised. I attended church. I did everything that church told me to and not to do. And the doctors had no answers for me.

So we moved back home. We started a company. We became foster parents. We promised to adopt, and we found out we were expecting. If you go back in my posts, you will see the day Ben was born. I was shocked. Our family grew by 4 boys in one month, two weeks really. And life started happening again.

We had a daughter too. But not before losing another baby. This time I was going to get answers. And I did. I have a genetic condition that only effects pregnancies. Okay. I could live with that. Not my fault. Nothing I could change. I could let it go.

And I did.

Now we run that same company building commercial buildings ten years later. We have 7 kids. They are all ours. Maybe not with the same genetic make up, but I’m a mutant so what did we expect.  And we know that life will keep on happening.

And we love that.

I am not one for freaking out over nothing. I will get a ramped up heart when a mouse goes skirting across the corner of my vision like anyone else, and I will lose my temper when the house looks like an air strike is the best option, but that’s not my go to answer.

So this morning when I got up at five to get two boys off to a ten mile hike, I was prepared, calm as a cucumber, if a little tired. We got breakfast made, last minute items collected, and the biggest boys out the door by the time dad got in the shower.

At that moment I was certain I could get anything done.

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But then, as so often happens, things started moving at an inhuman pace. The others all woke up.

Addy had a raging ear infection which had swollen her jaw. She needed three kinds of medicine, none of which she wanted. Our special needs guys all wanted to eat, but needed to dress, so they were unreasonable. Ben used the chaos to demand video games. Dad needed to leave, but hadn’t eaten, so his words were harsher than normal.

And I started to break down.

“Come on just drink the medicine. I’ll give you a pop cycle.”

But inside I was screaming. Once dad left the room with his own placations, I calmed for a moment and talked her into the yucky medicine followed by the yummy one, and negotiate on the third later. I went to start pancakes, which I had already mixed and made for the boys gone on the hike, so no default to cereal for the littles.

But the first one cracked, breaking into three pieces because I was impatient with a cold pan, and I lost it.

I swore at the pan, snapped at the kids, and burst into tears.

This is not the kind of mom I want to be.

This is not the kind of day I wanted it to be.

I’m too tired already and it’s 7 am.

I tossed the ruined pancake on a plate, and shut the pan off. Dad settled Addy and I talked her into her last medicine while I assigned Ben to watch over her and the pop cycle, and find the remote, my phone will do for now, while I go back to the pancakes.

Dad goes to work.

Deep breath.

The middle boys change the laundry and sweep the floor while I heat the pan.

Again.

The next one breaks, but the third does better.

And then they start holding together. Okay back on track.

 

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We can do this.

Addy is sleepy now. All medications on board. Everyone is dressed. We need to clean up. We can do this.

One thing at a time.

Deep breath.

One drop of awesomeness.

No one died.

I’m a good mom.

Let’s forge forward.

Who Done it?

One of the challenges of having a herd of kids is knowing who really did it. It’s a challenge and every parent of more than one child has been in that moment where you think you know who did it, but there is still a lingering question in your head as you doll out the punishment. So here is my giggle for the day. My kids often accuse themselves.

We had an incident last night between the two baseball games we attended when dad was in charge. He didn’t notice that my drawer was unlocked and that the candy ended up spread across the counter… So when I got home I found the mess. Someone had gotten into the candy and opened it all. I mean every, single, pack. Sigh.

The usual questions followed until I walked into my bedroom and found these two bowls.

Normally that doesn’t solve anything. Two bowls just point to two thieves, but in the case of our family, my children have become deeply ingrained that there is a certain color that belongs to them. Each child was originally given a set of dishes in a specific color to help with keeping track of who cleared their place and who didn’t. Then we added towels in the same color, and so it went. So when I found these two I knew exactly who had taken the candy.

The truth was in the color code. Funny huh? The babies are too small to realize they shouldn’t use their own colors when committing a crime. And it made me smile. Ha ha. I win. I know for certain this time who did it.