Spring Break ’16 and I Am a Hot Mess

Have you ever had one of those pedicures where you stick your feet in a tank of water and let tiny fish nibble the dead skin off your heels and toes?

I haven’t either, but I watched friends do it and I’ve never quite been the same for it.

I find little appeal in letting small water creatures nibble away at my calloused feet. Can we just agree that that’s gross and call it a day?

Here’s the funny thing, though – sometimes motherhood feels like you’re living inside that tank being nibbled to death by tiny fish.

We’re on day one of spring break, and I’m already exhausted. We chose to stay close to home this year both to save money, but also so that we could host two players from the FC Liverpool team who are visiting the States for a tournament. Sounds fun, right?

Except I basically tortured my children today by forcing them to clean on their spring break. It seems I’ve obliterated my chances for that Mom of the Year title…maybe forever.


They scrubbed toilets, pulled weeds, cleaned gutters, and made a half-hearted attempt to help me get some of the fallen leaves out of the flower bed.


In between these torture sessions chores, I forced them to turn off electronics and move their bodies. You know…interact with the real world. Enjoy the perfect Florida day. Anything that didn’t involve a screen.

By noon we were all basically sick of one another. I was annoyed with their attitudes, and they were devastated at what can only be chalked up to a loss of all their freedoms.

This was when I gave my mom speech. That super motivational tome about all their many privileges, and how disappointing it was to be met with such ungratefulness. A real pep talk. I laid it on thick, then let the words sort of hang in their air for a few minutes until one of them skulked over with a weak “Sorry, Mom.”

The other two followed suit somewhat reluctantly. And Annika went on screaming because it was past her nap time, and she doesn’t give a flying flip about my disappointment.

The rest of the afternoon found the children much sweeter, but it seemed my mom speech backfired somewhat as now all the children wanted to be with me. Like, physically on my person. They wanted to be held and snuggled and played with and SWEET MERCY I HAD THINGS TO DO!

Little by little, though, their “I love you’s,” and “will you play with me’s” wore me down. Like the fish in those tanks, they nibbled away at my frustration until they’d all but smoothed it out. (Well a couple of them, anyway. One of those kids of mine is more like a leech, latching on and sucking the very life out of me most days.)

So all that to say, spring break is off to a great start. This staycation thing was a super idea. Saving money is just so much fun.

My fingers might be dropping a little sarcasm right now.

The rest of the week should prove to be more enjoyable. We have plans – real plans. Actual plans that involve leaving the house!

And so I shall continue to swim in this tank of my life, being slowly nibbled at by all these small people living with me. It’ll either smooth me out completely, leaving me refreshed and renewed…or it’ll kill me.

Jury’s out.

Yay spring!

(Who else is on spring break right now? Are you having fun, or are you choosing to torture your kids like me?)

The Stories They’ll Remember

We are coming down off the mountain of Spring Break this week. It’s been a truly lovely week together as a family, and I’m grateful for every moment of it.

I’m also grateful for the return of our routine.

One of the things Lee and I are working on is living life with intentionality. We have a lot of goals for our family – things we’d like to do and experience with the kids while they’re all living under our roof.

Unfortunately, neither one of us are planners, so we tend to fly by the seat of our pants more often than not, and life is screaming forward full speed ahead. I’m starting to feel like we’re going to miss it.

We have eight summer vacations left before Sloan goes to college.


Just typing that makes my heart nearly burst with trepidation. I don’t want to miss a single opportunity to make memories with my kids, because the time is so short, and it goes by so quickly.


So we made a plan this year for Spring Break. Rather than sit around the house and kill brain cells watching the Disney Channel, we booked a few nights away in St. Augustine.

We ate too much, laughed a lot, broke up fights (apparently vacation is not a magic formula for keeping the smaller people from tearing each other’s eyes out), and simply enjoyed being together as a family.

And now it’s time to go back to school.


Vacation is fun, but so is routine. The return of routine is necessary to maintaining the peace and order inside the home. In the absence of routine, the natives become restless. And in the presence of all that togetherness, restlessness leads to mutiny.

I always have these fantastical ideas of what family together time should look like. And, indeed, most of the time our togetherness truly is fantastical. This past week, despite the arguments and the little sleep, we had a grand time. But was it fantastical all the time? Well, if you follow me on Facebook, you might think it was. But the truth?

All that togetherness was actually exhausting. It was a happy, poured out sort of exhaustion.

I returned home from St. Augustine feeling tired in a way that words can’t really describe. It was a down deep in my bones sort of tired; an I’m-gonna-need-you-people-to-give-me-some-space sort of fatigue.

Here’s the thing, though. I don’t take pictures of those crazy moments when taking a family vacation seemed like a bad idea. I’m not going to take and post a picture of my children having a knock down, drag out fight. I won’t post video of the multiple times Annika woke through the night because the room was cold, and the Pack ‘n Play uncomfortable.

I don’t talk openly about the rickety pull out couch I had to sleep on so I could be near the baby, while Lee had to try to sleep with a child who flails violently when she slumbers.

And I definitely didn’t photograph the moment a glass got broken in the hotel room because people were fighting…again.

Those things happened. The few days were exhausting. But the fun outweighed the challenges. There was more laughter than there were tears. We were happy to be in one another’s presence more than we weren’t.


That’s what it’s like being part of a family. You love one another fully in the fun times. You tolerate one another in the challenging times. And you document the smiles and the laughter, so at the end of the day when those children leave the house and head to college, they can look back on the photos and remember the good times above all else.

Unless they read this blog post, the kids probably won’t remember the broken glass, the tears of fatigue, or that moment when one of them climbed on top of the wall at the top of the Castillo de San Marcos, and I yelled in horror for him to get down prompting tears of embarrassment for yelling in front of all those people.

(Sorry again, kiddo. Mom panicked when she pictured you plummeting over the side to your death. Some day you’ll understand.)


With any luck, our kids will look back on Spring Break 2015 and they will remember only the laughter. It will have been the best, greatest, most fun time we’ve had as a family. Because that’s the story that the pictures tell.

The photos document the majority, and they shape the memories. Through them all the stress of family trips will fade away, leaving the good times highlighted.

This is part of intentional living.

Spring Break


Isn’t that an amazing quote?

I love C. S. Lewis.

We are on Spring Break this week, taking a much needed time away from the daily grind of an over-scheduled life. We will be on a bit of an adventure as the six of us share one hotel room.

This could either be miraculous or a total disaster.

Either way, I will be taking a few days to enjoy my family, to read books (the kind with paper), and to make a few memories. I’ll pop in online now and then to share photos and the joys of family travel.

Blessings to you all as you head into this next week. Spring is upon us! Rejoice!

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