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One hundred and forty-four days

One hundred and forty-four days.

When I say it aloud, it feels like a lot. And a short amount of time, because I know it should have been longer. It should have been longer because my husband had to stay behind and finish a school for the Navy, PNEO (Prospective Nuclear Engineering Officer). The timing of his class meant he had to stay behind and finish PNEO for a couple extra weeks after his crew had already left.

Those were weeks of bliss. I'm sure for him it was challenging-- PNEO is a lot of studying. But, from my perspective, the PNEO schedule was much better than the boat schedule. He would study in the morning, come home for lunch, study in the afternoon, and come home shortly after I picked the children up from school.

It felt like I actually got to spend time with my husband. It was the perfect way to spend our last couple weeks before deployment.

Because, in the blink of an eye, our lazy mornings in bed together were gone. Our family evenings together were gone. Our wee…

Breakfast

You know what never gets easier? Breakfast. And heading out to school in the morning just makes the mornings even CRAZIER.

One of the biggest problems that I have with my children at mealtimes (outside of the kid that can make mealtime a 10 hour event) is that they suddenly will STOP eating something. Why? I don't know. We will go weeks with all 5 of our kids eating breakfast well and then suddenly breakfast is a battle ground again! For instance, for awhile our boys really enjoyed eating cereal in the morning. Then I started having the problem that halfway through a bowl of cereal, one of them would burst into tears saying he didn't want Captain Crunch, he wanted Mini Wheats. Or one of our boys would eat a whole bowl of cereal, ask for a second, eat two bites out of it, then say he was done.

So here are my tips to make breakfast a little less crazy.

1. Establish routines

During the week when I have to get 5 children out the door in the morning for school or daycare, I do &quo…

Conversations with my best friend...

I've been having a lot of conversations lately, mostly with my best friend, about parenting. I think her and I are both at this point where we are moving from one phase of parenting to the next. For my best friend, she's been adjusting to life with three children. Her oldest is a year away from kindergarten. Her youngest is approaching her first birthday. For me, we've been adjusting to life with five children. This is my second year with three children in elementary school. Our oldest is in 3rd grade and it's his last year in the single digits. He turns 10 years old next year! (10 years old! I've been changing diapers for a DECADE.) Our twins are in 1st grade. My youngest recently turned one and our fourth is becoming a full-fledged preschooler. I had a hysterectomy earlier this year and so, for the first time after our youngest child turned one, we aren't considering when we should have our next baby.

I had a conversation with her the other night and she was …

Confessions of a military spouse

Something that I have struggled with my entire decade as a military spouse is to find meaning in military life. When we first got married, I talked to seasoned spouses in our FRG and they would have these stories about how, "Oh, I remember this one deployment right after our first baby was born... He was deployed after our second was born as well..." Or, "That was the move that the movers broke half our furniture and the moving company was refusing to pay us a dime for it..." They all had these stories to tell about their misadventures as a military spouse.

As a newlywed, I would come home and (attempt to) make these elaborate dinners. I remember the night I made gravy with dumplings and he never came home until I was in bed that evening. I was so disappointed that I couldn't even eat any of it myself. I would tell this to the seasoned spouses and they would say, "Oh, yeah. My husband couldn't be reached when one of our kids broke a bone" or "…

Mentor mom

I had a bit of a weird experience today. I went to my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group and each table has a mentor mom. Some of the tables had mentor moms like you would expect-- grown children, grandchildren-- but most tables had moms like me. Moms with 9 year olds. None of them had babies in the house anymore-- my youngest two are 3 years old and 1 year old-- but one gal, her youngest was 4 years old. I feel like I should have been empowered seeing that I could be a mentor mom. Instead, I felt like, oh crap. WHY DON'T I HAVE MY LIFE TOGETHER.

Just that morning my oldest son (in 3rd grade) was in trouble for fighting with one of his 1st grade brothers. After breakfast, I found packed lunch pails strewn about the dining room instead of put in backpacks, like I specifically said. Our 1st graders went in their room and pulled out art instead of brushing their teeth and getting socks on. The baby spent the morning climbing furniture and emptying drawers. And our 3 year old ran ar…

Today I'm going to hug my kids

I have been failing a lot at parenting lately. Not just the little things, like yelling when all the kids start talking to me at the same time and dinner is burning and homework isn't done. But on big things, like what do I do when my children are struggling? What do I do when I don't know the answers? The other night one of our boys was in trouble for something and I had him get ready for bed while his siblings cleaned up their art supplies and tidied their room. I went in my room and cried. I have no idea what I am doing.

I think a lot of times that's why we as parents struggle so much with all this mommy judgement. People tell us how horrible our children have been lately and we know. We are there, day in and day out and we see the bad behaviors and we are trying. We don't want our kids to do that. We don't want our kids to be "that kid." We don't want to constantly have a wrinkle of worry between our eyebrows and a creeping tension headache, waiti…

The World's Best Parents

I love my parents. Not even a little bit, like, a lot. As I've grown up, they have gone from being the World's Best Parents to The World's Best Parents AND My Closest Friends. They are so supportive of our Navy family and welcome us with open arms and an open door anytime we want to visit or even move in with them in between duty stations or during deployments. However, as great as they are, living with family can be a sticky situation even with the closest and most understanding families so I wanted to write this blog post to air some of my complaints that I have with my family publicly without consulting them first (best way to handle family drama, right?).

1. My mom always has laundry for me to put away.
She comes around to all of our rooms, finds and collects the dirty laundry we have stashed in corners, washes, dries, and folds it and then puts these HUGE piles of clean, folded laundry at the foot of my bed for ME to put away. Like I have ALL THIS TIME to put away lau…

Princesses can be bad ass

NOTE: I do want to start by saying that our kids' ages are 9, 6, 6, 3, and 1. I know that as they grow, there will be more and more differences between boys and girls. I want our children to be free to like a "boy" activity and be free to like a "girl" activity. That doesn't mean they have to and I'm not pushing any of those things on them, but I think it is important they aren't shamed for their interests and, even bigger, they don't shame others. That doesn't mean they never tease each other over "something is for boys" or "something is for girls," but when they do, I address it. Because I feel it is an important lesson that girls or boys do not get boxed into behaviors or activities (or jobs or roles) solely because of the gender they were born with. THAT is how we are going to make positive changes toward gender equality. I also want to add that I was over the moon thrilled when we found out we were finally having a g…

Kimber's Navy Family

When I have sat down to think about my blog and the direction I want it to go in, the first thing I think about is, "Why did I start blogging in the first place?" The question is closely tied to my life. I started blogging because I like writing. I like writing and felt that I couldn't do a lot of it with a toddler and infant twins. I felt like we had a busy life that was somewhat different than the civilian friends I know because my husband is in the military. I felt like we are a military family trying to put a lot of emphasis on family, because we do know that my husband is going to be career military, staying in until he retires. I felt like in the community of military families, it is good for us to talk about our search for "normalcy" and to stick together with our unique set of challenges. I felt like talking about these challenges in a public way-- on my blog-- would help shed light on our community and to overlap the similarities as a military family w…

Midsummer post

Hello, friends! I've taken a break from blogging this summer. It felt like the right move with 5 children out of school and home all day. We have lots of summer plans and so it has been go, go, go all day! I've loved that. I've also needed a break from my blog to figure out the direction I want it to go in.

I thought a midsummer post would be a good plan to let you all know that I have been thinking about my blog and my blog readers this summer and that I am excited to resume blogging come August/September!

So, for now... here's how the first half of our summer has been going! We've been traveling. We've seen my parents, which has been the best thing for my soul. Omigosh, I soak up my time with them. The last 2 years have really been a struggle for me. On top of all the random things life threw at us, we also had the Navy schedule and my depression to contend with. I finally broke out of the depression this past spring, but my mental health and self-esteem st…