I’m a wife, mama to 5 lil men, and a nurse (on the side to keep my hand in what I love!). I’m mainly a stay at home mom and I work on call as an RN. In my free time I craft or read or watch my trash TV in quiet. I’m energetic and always on the go with a smile to go with it. You can’t miss me when I’m out with my brood in tow.
My biggest strength as a mom is to just keep going and get through the tough times because there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel! When I escape our crazy house I usually go out to dinner with the hubby or grab a girlfriend and get a pedi.
So… Mama… I’ve wanted to be a fly on the wall at your house for some time. And I haven’t met your youngest #5 yet! Please tell us the tale of your family; what you dreamed of as a little girl, how your boys came about, how your pregnancies were.
Well, when I was a little girl I always said I’d have 2 kids (a boy and a girl of course!). I dreamed of being a physical therapist and going away to college, then meeting Mr. Right and settling down and having some cute kids to go along with the fun of being a grown up. Well, I married my Mr. Right and we’ve been married for 11 years now. When we got married I wanted 2 kiddo’s and my hubby said 4. Well, we were both wrong and we have 5, yes you read right, 5 BOYS!
Once we got married and we settled into our jobs we started our family. Our oldest son Tyler is now 9 and he’s the lil man who made me a mama for the first time! He gave me a wild ride during my first pregnancy. I worked full time as an RN in the ER, and I remember thinking I didn’t feel right. I ended up in preterm labor and was put on strict bed rest. Well, if you know me I can’t sit still at all! I’m always on the go, so that was a true test for me. Needless to say he was a week overdue! He is my scholar. He LOVES to read and draw. He has the biggest hear and will hug everyone he meets. He’s also the one I struggle with because he has ADHD with and issue with impulsivity. We’ve had our ups and downs with him, comments from the peanut gallery, but at the end of the day our choices with our son are just that, ours. He’s now thriving after years of working on how to control himself at school in a social setting. It’s been harder as a parent to watch your child struggle. But as Dory says, “Just keep swimming!”, and we do. Our second son Trevor is 6.5 and is my all around athlete and could live off the land child. Full of energy and a dashing smile with dimples. He is funny and full of life! Our 3rd son Trent is 4.5 and is in TK this fall. The dimples and eyelashes wow everyone we meet. He’s my princess lover (yep, he’s my Halloween baby and yes he loves all princesses). He’s my rough and tumble who will sing “Let it go!” at the top of his lungs and stop every trip to Target to check out the Princess aisle. We’ve had comments about us letting him like Princess stuff and letting him play dress up in dresses and crowns. But our philosophy is that we are his parents and if he’s happy we are too, and guess what?! We all have one life here so live it to the fullest. But even will a tiara atop his cute head, he’ll chase you down with a sword for a sword fight!
Our 4th son is where our story changes a bit. Tucker is now 2.5 but has had a rough start to life. He was born 3 weeks early and the hefty weight of 8lbs 3 oz (by far my smallest baby!). When he was born I kept saying he didn’t look right and he’s breathing hard. Everyone kind of blew me off and told me that I was “overreacting” and “you’re tired” or “baby’s just do that”. Well being a nurse and a mama to 3 other kiddo’s I knew it wasn’t right and my mama gut told me to stick to my guns. When I was pregnant with Tucker I kept having dreams of graveyards and ICU hospital rooms. Morbid right? I kept telling my husband about the dreams and he thought I was morbid too and that he knew everything would be ok.
The first 2 weeks home with Tucker were horrible. He slept 22 hours a day, was losing weight despite me meeting everyday with our amazing Nurse Practitioner, his breathing was getting worse and we would take shifts to stay awake rocking hime because he could only breath “quietly” on his side in our arms. Tucker got the nickname “Billy goat” because when he breathed he sounded like a goat. Little did we know that when he was 2 weeks old our lives would change. I went from being a nurse taking care of others to being the mama to a baby who was now a patient. At 2.5 weeks old he was diagnosed with Laryngomalacia. Basically the upper part of his airway collapsed every time he took a breath. You cannot detect this at the 20 week ultrasound and it is not detectable on genetic screenings. We watched them do a bronchoscopy and I lost it right there in that hospital room. I knew my dreams I had when I was pregnant were coming true. Tucker was a severe case of Laryngomalacia (LM), he also had Micronathia (small lower jaw). Tucker couldn’t keep his airway open so at 6 weeks old our son had a tracheostomy tube placed and had jaw distraction done. Basically he had a tube in his neck to help him breath and we lengthened his jaw through surgery. Since then Tucker has also been diagnosed with Tracheomalacia (TM) and Cliedocranial dysplasia. Tucker has had 13 surgeries/procedures to date.
I’m happy to say he’s a moose and running around like a normal 2 year old does. He has not tubes in his body and just had his last surgery to close the hole in his neck this last June. Going through all of this I felt robbed. I felt robbed of the baby snuggles, breastfeeding, wearing my baby around while out on walks with my other kids. I felt like how does God let this happen? This is our last baby and I didn’t get these things. Well, sometimes God hears you. I went to work one day and thought the protein shake I had didn’t agree with me…. NOPE! I was preggo with #5 despite all medical interventions on my part. Trace joined our brood in December and he has been nothing but an answer to my prayers. I’ve gotten baby snuggles, breastfeeding and smiles for days! Sometimes we get things when we least expect them but when we need them the most.
Working and momming 5 active boys with a husband who is gone for days on end seems to have some challenges! What are some of your daily pains? Or if you had some and solved them, what was an example of that?
Well being a wife to a firefighter has it’s ups and downs. You’re on your own for at least 48 hours or longer depending on what they are working. Most of the time it’s trying to get everyone ready for the day, keep the peace and make sure everyone has eaten and is where they need to be. I run a tight ship for sure. My calendar looks insane, but I know what each day holds for the kids and for my hubby and I. I try to prepare the night before. So I pack snacks for school and get lunch boxes out and partially filled, backpacks out and lined up by the door. I have clothes put out for my younger one’s since they tend to be my challenge in the morning since they can’t dress themselves. But what I’ve really tried to do is give my kiddo’s a little more responsibility. I let them dress themselves. Yep, you read that right. I may not like what they put on, but they did it. I may not want to claim that I let my child walk out of the house looking the a crayola box of crayons spilled out all over him. But I can say he did it, and walk away knowing that someday I hope I’m teaching them something for their adult lives.
I think my biggest pain is the sibling bickering. We use 1, 2, 3 Magic in our house. And we also have a chart for how you can earn screen time. I use both of these constantly to help correct behavior. Some days I win and some days its better to let it go and know tomorrow is a new day. My biggest saying to my boys everyday is, “Tomorrow is a new day”.
On an outing in Coloma
Is it true what “they” say, that sometimes they truly entertain themselves? Are they getting old enough to be helpful or is “helping” really in big air quotes?
They are actually all pretty self entertaining, crazy right?! Everyone loves to play together until sides are taken. Then I usually try to separate to keep the peace for a while. But I’ll find them all in the same room playing independently and quietly and that’s rare in a house of 5 boys. They all help when I ask them too, sometimes willingly and sometimes with a big “Ugh!”. I just remind myself I was a kid too, and putting dishes away isn’t too exciting. I try to reward with an extra 5 minutes of screen time or some extra snuggle time at the end of the night. I try to make chores fun and remind them that we are all a family and as a family we all need to help each other.
You are a truly bubbly, energetic, non-stop person. I didn’t know you before children, but this doesn’t seem to have phased you at all. Where do you get your energy?
I think I’ve always been this way! But kids keep you going for sure, and of course my cup of coffee helps.
Do you ever have a down day?
It’s hard for me to take a down day. My hubby offers all the time for me to go out for the day or for the weekend. But I just have a hard time leaving my brood. I like leaving for a few hours and coming home feeling refreshed and hearing my boys scream, “Hi Mommy! I missed you!” and get smothered in kisses and hugs.
Yes we just gotta keep going and being there for the littles, but you truly have the energy and pace down. Do you ever crash? What happens? Do you ever face plant on the mattress?
I try to have the energy and pace down, but some days it just doesn’t happen and I’m trying to not be so hard on myself when it comes to that. Because like I tell my kiddos, “Tomorrow is a new day!”. I do crash and most of the time it’s while I’m crafting away on the couch watching my horrible trash TV. Our couch is so comfy that if you are the least bit tired it’ll get ya, and BAM! you are asleep on the couch at 1 am!
You are also a great crafter! Can you share some of your items you make and sell?
Thanks for the compliment! I craft when my kiddo’s are in bed. I’ve found it to be a great outlet for me for stress and just a great way to get lost in something that I really enjoy. I crochet anything really! From blankets to hats to scarves and all things in between. I have a FB page called Christy’s Comfy Creations. I sell my crocheted items, and items my Mom has sewn or knitted. I also do custom orders. I’m not looking to make a living off this so I sell just to buy a treat for my kids or a cup of coffee out with my hubby. Mainly it’s been a great way for me to destress and recharge for the next day.
adorable baby bib
What do you do for self care? Do you have anything set up regularly or just go for it when you can line it up?
I love getting a good pedi or a massage. It usually happens whenever I can line it up between our schedules and the kids activities. But I try to make something happen regularly so that I’m taking care of myself and not just my family.
How do you prioritize seeing your spouse? having 2 children is hard enough to finish a sentence and then plus three is three times the energy and conversations, and of course love!
We really try to get date nights in at least once a month or even go on a walk while we are at the gym and the kiddo’s are in daycare. We really feel like we need that time to connect and just not have 5 lil men asking us questions while we try to talk. We’re just getting back into our date night routine since lil man #5 arrived.
Smaller families are in literal awe of larger families. Do people ever say things regarding that? I am one of those people, who tend to hug women who tell me they are moms of 4, 5,6 etc. I just can’t help myself, it is just awe and I know that there is a little less love that they can give themselves because they are giving it away 24/7. What are your thoughts on that?
We hear stuff all day everyday about how many kids we have. I get on a daily basis “You’ve got your hands full.” “I’m tired just looking at you with that many kids” “Didn’t you want a girl?” and then somedays I hear “You are truly blessed” “Your boys are so well behaved and handsome. Good job!” “Keep up the good work, you’re doing great!”. The best is when we walk around and you see everyone’s eyes staring at you and you hear the comments. But you know what? I wouldn’t trade my life. God put these 5 lil men in my life for a reason and I’m going to try my hardest to enjoy these years because they are flying by, enjoy each hug and each slobbery kiss, and muddy hug. Hoping and praying each day that they know how much I love them.
Cheers to each mama out there! The struggle is real, but we are all here for each other. Encourage one another and be there for one another. We all have good days and bad days, and that’s ok! Dory has it right when she says, “Just keep swimming!”.
Great advice, Christy! We’ve gotta remember that one. Love these photos of the kids with their heads up, swimming!