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  1. Surviving 5 Kids and the Long Car Ride

    This weekend my husband, Brian, and I went to Columbus Zoo, which involved a seven-hour round-trip journey that marked our first long car ride with all five of our children in tow. Before this trip the longest my crew had ever been confined to a car was the hour-long ride to Grandma’s house. The zoo trip required us to pile into our old Suburban together for hours on end, elbow-to-elbow and head-to-head. I was apprehensive to say the least, anticipating numerous potty breaks, backseat fighting, and boredom. But we were long overdue for a family vacation, so we were getting to zoo even if it killed us—and at times I thought it very well might. Read More…

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  2. Surviving 5 Kids and the Pool

     Swimming in a pool is a rare and coveted treat for my household. Periodically, I ponder the idea of getting our own pool but a few things have stopped me: (1) they cost money and time, of which we have neither—if the state of our fish tank is indicative of anything, we would be swimming amongst lily pads and cattails within weeks; (2) our back yard is marginally larger than a postage stamp, so installing a pool would require us to train our Shepard to use a litter box; and (3) the mere thought of all eleventy-billion neighborhood children simultaneously cannon-balling into the pool makes me want to drink—a lot—which negates my life-guarding abilities considerably. Read More…

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  3. Surviving the Audition

    As a teenager and young adult my entire world revolved around the theater. It was my passion, my talent, and my career goal at one time. I only spent about four years involved in the performing arts, but that was enough for me to realize that performing just felt right to me. I felt at home on the stage; I loved the rush of a live performance and the power of a room full of eyes waiting for my next words and the heat of the spotlight (both literally and figuratively). It forced me to use multiple facets of my brain, to memorize lines, control my voice, and coordinate my body with motions that were sometimes awkward. When a show went poorly it was the ultimate humiliation, but when it was a success there was no feeling like it in the world. Once I left the theater and abandoned my less-than-stable career aspirations I lost a piece of myself that proved to be a larger than I realized. Now, more than a decade later, I have reclaimed a place on stage and rediscovered a part of myself that I thought was gone forever. Read More…

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  4. Surviving Brian and High Cholesterol

    Recently my husband, Brian, was diagnosed with high cholesterol—so high, in fact, that the doctor said that he has the cholesterol of a man twice his age. The news was upsetting to me but not surprising; Brian’s eating habits are horrendous and he’s a smoker. Under the circumstances, I’m just glad cholesterol is the worst we’re dealing with. I’m shocked that Brian allowed his blood to be drawn in the first place. My big tough guy readily admits that he is terrified of needles, though I’m fairly certain that the ink covering his arms and back was not injected with silly straws. I’m even more shocked that he fessed up about his condition to his overbearing nurse-maid (that would be me). Being a typical wife, I have now assumed the role of preventing my husband’s heart from exploding into gravy-coated bacon bits. And, being a typical husband, he has resisted my concerned needling with the veracity of a toddler avoiding nap time. Read More…

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  5. Surviving 5 Kids and the Beach

    Nothing says summer like a day at the beach. After living in Florida for many years, the rocky patches of sand around the lakes of Ohio do not quite meet my definition of “beach,” but I’ve learned to make due with what is available. Plus, the kids don’t know any better and think the lake shores are a veritable tropic paradise. However, my days of lounging lazily in the sun are long gone: with five kids in tow, a trip to the beach is anything but relaxing. Read More…

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  6. Surviving 5 Kids and Vacation Bible School

     At the risk of losing my membership to the “Large Family Club,” I must admit that I am not especially religious. I wish I could claim that the Lord led me to be fruitful and multiply like my more notable large family counterparts, but in reality my plentiful offspring are more attributable to our love of children combined with shoddy birth control practices and cheap wine. Read More…

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  7. Surviving Brileigh and the Song

    Today my 6-year-old daughter Brileigh approached me with a request that I write down a song she created. I’m not entirely certain why she needed me to write it down considering that she already had it memorized (since, essentially she was making it up off the top of her head) never mind the fact that she doesn’t know how to read yet anyway. But I did my duty, carefully transcribing each heartfelt word onto the paper, making sure to take it all as seriously as she obviously did, even when she belted out such gems as: “When you sing, very just like you, just like you.” From what I’ve gathered, the foundation of any good love song penned by a 6-year-old is to use the word “love” as frequently as possible, talk about eyes in every line, and repeat verses often to allow for soulful bellowing. She then thought for a moment before carefully choosing the title “Songs Very Much”. Perfect. Read More…

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  8. Surviving 5 Kids and Football

    Around this time last year I signed up my 6-year-old son, Tony, for his first year of tackle football. I gripped the pen and hesitated before submitting the papers and forking over a painful amount of money. It felt as if I was sending my boy away to boot camp or prison, not peewee football. All summer I had second guessed my decision to let him play; I feared for his safety, I worried that my baby would be scared out of the field with those big tough 7- and 8-year-olds running after him, but most of all I was worried that I’d cry and charge the field the first time he got knocked over. Which was exactly why I needed to let him do it.

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  9. Surviving 5 Kids and a Walk in the Park

    After a particularly frenzied week, my husband and I decided that we needed a relaxing activity to soothe our fried nerves, reunite our family from the pulls of multiple activities and exercise our poor stir-crazy dog, Ozzy. A simple Sunday afternoon walk in the park seemed to fit the bill; what better way to get unplugged, in touch with nature and refreshed?

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  10. Surviving 5 Kids and Summer Vacation

    The asphalt is beginning to steam, pools are opening up, lawn mowers are chugging to life—summer is finally here! When I was a kid, the anticipation of summer vacation was almost as excruciating as the countdown to Christmas. I couldn’t wait for end-to-end days of playing outside, running through sprinklers in my bare feet, and eating salted watermelon. However, now that my children are the ones looking forward to endless summer days, I must admit that my feelings aren’t quite the same. While I love the idea of more quality time with my school-aged kids, realistically, 87 days without reprieve from five bored children is a sentence more painful than natural childbirth… to a colicky newborn… while being forced to watch a Calliou marathon.

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