Some Truths About Having Older Kids

It seems but a few short years ago that we were the family “with all those little kids.” Maybe right now you are that Mom, or maybe you are just starting to shift into the strange land of “older kids.” Well, before you know it you will look around at your crew and wonder what the heck happened to all those little, sweet bodies that once inhabited your house. I know it was a gradual process here (after all, they’re not ALL the same age), but it sure seemed to happen FAST. I once wondered what it would be like to have kids all in school, or even all potty trained for a start. Now I know. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows like I once dreamed, but there are some pros and cons to having all older kids. Here’s what I’ve observed…

There will be smells. Notice that this is at the top of the list? For years our bedroom (the main baby changing area) was all Eau de Diaper Pail. Alas, it is finally stink free, but the odors have shifted to other areas. My boys’ bedroom, for example? Imagine a locker room aroma all the time. Can’t get rid of it. And just wait until your precious one suddenly develops BO. Shocker for the senses, y’all.  My 12 year old, who is really good about wearing deodorant regular, forgot to put it on for about a week just recently. It must have slipped his adolescent mind to also WASH under his pits while showering. It was bad, friends. So bad that his Dad even noticed and ordered him to scrub one night after driving him home from an outing. Start stocking up on Febreze and deodorant now. You may scoff but I’m serious.

You will become a taxi driver/chauffer. I hope you like your current ride because as soon as your kids are in ANY activities you and your vehicle will be like one. Sad but true. Even if you limit their extracurricular activities (we do), if you have multiple children you will find yourself driving—a LOT.

You can sometimes grocery shop all by yourself. This is a definite perk! At first this may seem like a vacation. Then you get kind of used to it. I think it took me a solid 2 years before I stopped shifting the cart back and forth whenever I stopped to look at an item. I was so used to keeping a little one calm while shopping that the movement was like muscle memory. Now I actually sorta like taking an older one with me so they can help me carry everything in the house!

Speaking of grocery shopping, you will be doing it OFTEN. No joke. Even up until a couple of years ago I could do a main grocery haul every few weeks and just do a fill-in here and there. I even did a little series about once a month grocery shopping. There’s no stinking way that could happen now!! It’s ridiculous how much can disappear in a few short days, especially once you have a teenager or two. A couple of days ago we had a big cooked lunch where everyone had plenty. Maybe an hour later I heard a package crinkling in the kitchen. There stood my 14 year old with a giant gross sandwich made of multiple Pop Tarts and an inch thick of peanut butter in between. He shrugged his shoulders, gave me a sheepish grin, and stated that he was hungry.

There’s lots of crap to keep track of. BIG one here, my friends. Once anyone is in school it begins. You’d better have a good paper-keeping and calendar system in place now or it could go south quick. Lots of papers to keep/toss, reading logs to sign, homework stuff, permission slips, fundraiser crap, snack sign-ups, and the list goes on forever….There’s been many a time that I’ve accidentally thrown a paper away and ended up digging through trash to locate it for a crying child. On the scheduling note, once upon a time my life revolved around preschool days and naptime. Now? Not so much, but just about a gazillion other things to juggle and generally keep track of in a day’s and weeks’ time. Moms, you will still be busy, just a different kind of busy. Though having lots of littles was all consuming, I feel like life was generally simpler than it is now.

The laundry increases. Sure, you may not be washing multiple baby outfits and nappies or whatever, but here’s the truth…..the clothes get BIGGER and therefore take up a lot more laundry space. The clothes get closer to adult sizes and therefore you just have generally more laundry mass and volume to keep under control. I know that for sports Moms the whole uniform thing can be a pain.

You can play more games together. A fun plus as they get older! We honestly didn’t do a ton of board games until recent years because now they can all understand rules and play on their own without Mom or Dad having to supervise. My youngest guys just turned 9 and we bought them Settlers of Catan. (Some of the best money ever spent!) We’ve had a blast learning it and were quickly and oh-so-nerdily addicted!! It’s been too fun just being engaged together in this way.

They get more adult humor. I’m not talking raunchy or anything like that. Just more grown-up humor in general. One evening my oldest just “had” to show me something online and we ended up looking at and cracking up over pictures of Pinterest fails. He also comes up with the greatest one-liners that are so witty.

You get to watch them blossom. I am getting more and more glimpses of the adults these guys will become and it’s pretty awesome! I love seeing the personality differences and watching their individual interests and talents come alive.

So I’m sure there’s more that can be added to this list, but those are some of the high points for me. I loved having a house full of littles and all the wonderful things that came with that. Looking back I do believe we enjoyed that stage very much, and I’m glad we did. However, there are so many neat things about each and every stage that a parent can enjoy.

40 Bags in 40 Days: Wrapping Up

Well, this is it. My 40 days are over and I’m DONE!

If you have missed my earlier posts, last month I had challenged myself to get rid of at least 1 bag of trash or donated items a day for 40 days.

The final tally? 15 bags and a whopping 32 boxes of stuff.

Some of these were just plain trash and others were donated to a local thrift store.

Would I do this again in the future? Absolutely.

Honestly, I think it would be beneficial to do it at least once a year. Sure, I’ve done purges before, but not quite as intentionally as this one. There were several areas I hadn’t even fully touched in a few years (hello, Christmas decoration area). Others I’ve gone over here and there, but stuff just accumulates, you know? Especially when you have seven bodies in one house. I can candidly say that I didn’t have to invest a huge amount of time to this project, just a bit every day.

Now, some of you may be wondering if I had heard of or read the Marie Kondo book (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up). I did pick up a copy over this time and read it. Obviously I did not follow her method, as she recommends tackling categories like all the clothing all at once and doing one giant purge within a very short time frame. Some of her recommendations were good, like only keep what you love and discard everything that does not bring you joy in some way. A few other things in the book were a little too new-agey to me and I found myself kind of rolling my eyes a bit.

So, all in all, I am sort of proud and glad that I followed this thing through. I would recommend it to anyone feeling the creep of “too much stuff.”

 

What I’m Into: March 2016

In like a lion and out like a lamb. That’s the popular saying for March, right?

Well, this year has been quite the weather roller coaster where we live. One day it’s feeling like early June and the next it’s calling for snow. Crazy.

Whether it’s a lion day or a lamb day, this is what we’ve been into this past month:

*Trailblazer Books. This is a book series that my kids discovered in our church library and have been reading on and off. They are all adventure stories that teach Christian values and each one highlights the story of a Christian hero from history.

*Street Food Around the World. We discovered this series on Netflix one night and tried watching it on a whim. Very educational, interesting and my whole crew was entertained. The host travels to different cities around the world and tries out a variety of street foods from that region.

*Stamps. A few years ago a nice older lady from our church very generously gave my oldest son a box of random US and international stamps. We hadn’t had them out in a looong time, and then one day my twins rediscovered it in their closet. We spent a whole evening looking up different ones and enjoyed finding out where each was from.

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*Purging my house. I’m almost completely done!! I will have another post soon about the 40 bags challenge and what I’ve learned.

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*Line drying laundry. I thank the Lord that I don’t mind doing laundry, because you know I have lots of it! One of my favorite tasks is to hang laundry out on our line, and now that we’ve had good weather for it, I’m able to do so again.

*Making wreaths. As Spring is approaching, I’ve had the urge to make some bright new wreaths. You have to know that making anything with my hands is like my love language, so I am one happy camper when I can create something new & pretty! I love creating all styles–grapevine, yarn-wrapped, burlap, fabric…..

Well, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading and have a blessed weekend!

Rachel

40 Bags in 40 Days: Week 3 Update

15 Bags and 11 Boxes.

That’s what I’ve gotten rid of so far in this little challenge.

This week I lost steam for a couple of days so it could have been more than that by now.

The only areas I have left to finish are my basement and my garage.Those are biggies, so I know that there will be plenty of tossing and donating taking place from those areas.

Since the weather is supposed to be warm and spring-like, this should make at least the garage much easier to conquer.

What I’ve tackled this week:

Cleaning supplies-1 bag

Toys-1 bag

Upstairs Hall Closet-1 bag

Heidi’s closet-2 boxes

Boy’s closet-1 bag, 1 giant box

Seasonal Decorations-3 boxes

Areas I plan to tackle this coming week:

Basement

Garage

Once the basement and garage are completed, I will have gone over the whole house!

What a feeling:)