I Would Choose The Power To…

Owen: “What power would you choose if you could have any power you wanted?”

Me: “Hmm…the power to not forget anything!!”

Owen: “But then you’d never forget ANYTHING and your mind would be too full of all the little stuff that doesn’t matter – plus you’d NEVER forget all the bad stuff.”

Me: “That’s true…well how about the power to never be tired? ”

(Can you see where I’m going with these? Overworked, worn out mom here…)

Owen: “But then you’d never sleep , and if you didn’t ever sleep…

…you’d die.”

Sheesh. I just can’t win.




This. This picture says it all: normal. OUR normal.

I grew up in a house full of girls and one younger brother (who turned out to be awesome, I might add; we raised him well). Now I’m raising a house full of boys with one little sister.

And she’s sitting in the middle of the fort-building, lightsaber-weilding, swimming-noodle-war. Just looking at me.

I wonder what she’s thinking.

Mama? Are they ever going to calm down?

Mama? Why are they SO loud?

Mama? They’re kind of fun to watch.

Mama? They’re crazy.

And probably Mama…I LOVE them.

I always wanted older brothers. When I married into the Larsen family, I got tons of awesome brothers instantly. But starting out with all these boys of my own, from babies to now, has been quite the adventure.

I’m always asking Mike, “Should they be doing that?” And usually his answer is, “Yep, yep, they’re boys. That’s normal.” I once saw a sign that said ‘Boy (noun): a noise with dirt on it.’

Normal for us is things like:

Going out and digging in a huge hole daily in our backyard for a trampoline so it can be as safe as possible — because we already had two broken arms last year (and they were completely unrelated to trampolines)…

Levi not having a volume control button…EVER… ‘nough said…

Zachary asking for his vitamins every morning (he wants his ‘Kiddie Boost’ immune system drops because he thinks it’ll make him more like his cat)…

Pillow fights, sock wars, gun duels, nerf battles, and even who-can-throw-the-other-kid-the-farthest…

Mike asking things like, “Is there any blood? No? Well, then he’s not hurt.”

Owen walking in circles around you while he talks to you because that’s usually the best way for him to vocalize and communicate effectively (sensory processing — and yes, sometimes we feel like owls)…

Hearing a constant barrage of homemade sound effects for every sound you could ever imagine…

Squawking, squawking, and more squawking from Bria…and then more squawking…

Somebody walking in and seeing me *trying* to do a Yoga Booty Ballet DVD, taking one look at the TV and exclaiming, “Mama, those girls are NOT modest” and then having me fail at explaining how some girls exercise in sports bras…

Kicking, punching, jabbing, smacking, and pinching to show brotherly ‘love’…

Puddles of yellow on the toilet seat, next to the toilet seat, on the wall, on the floor — pretty much everywhere BUT inside the toilet bowl…

Benjamin yelling, “Aaaaaaand ACTION!” as he directs his siblings in all of his movies, which almost always end up about zombies or monsters in some way…

Zachary crying…again…because of something nature calls The Pecking Order…

Me ‘ooh’ing and ‘ahh’ing over the adorable, girly things Bria gets to be dressed up in on Sundays for church — and then presenting her to all the boys and having them do the same thing…

Laughing fits over Just Dance competitions on the Wii… (You don’t want Mike on your team…shh…I didn’t say that; to be fair, you don’t want me on your team, either)…

Yelling… Yeah, we yell…dangit…

Benjamin wanting to pull all-nighters and thinking he can sleep way in just because he’s homeschooled (“That’s the whole reason we homeschool, Mama.” Um, no, it’s not, Squirt.)…

Lots of happy tail wags from the dogs and loud purrs from the cats…and messes to go along with…

Bandaids. LOTS and LOTS of Bandaids.

Bloody noses…yep, lots of those too…

Me wishing I could have some Me time…and staying up too late at night to try to fit some in…

Vacuuming, sweeping, and vacuuming again, but having Bria STILL be able to use her pincer-like thumb and forefinger expertise to pick up the teensiest, tiniest speck of something off the floor — and of course snacking on it…

Mike pulling muscles in his legs — twice — when he tried to race one of his boys…

Things breaking — ALWAYS things breaking — glasses, toys, dishes, furniture, windshields (HOW many times did we say to not climb on the car??!!)…

Levi making EVERYONE laugh — A LOT — generally when doing something or saying something kinda naughty…

Minecraft and Roblox and playing with friends…

Everyone wanting bedtime stories read to them, and even the kids reading them to each other (melt)…

Dirty dishes, dirty diapers, dirty tables, dirty windows, dirty laundry, dirty anything and everything…

Owen mastering some extravagant new block-building creation program on the computer (that he spent hours and hours making)…

Food. The absolutely insane amounts of food eaten in this household (2 dozen eggs for breakfast — easily. We need chickens.)…

Running to play practice, running to a homeschool field trip, running to a dentist appointment, running errands, running to church, running to scouts, running to a play group, running to a singing event, and of course Mike always running to work or Rotary and Scoutmaster stuff and volunteer stuff and community stuff and everything else…

Trying to slow down and not run so much…

…and tons, tons more, filled with a combination of hugs and kisses and I Love You’s and I Don’t Like You Right Now’s and smiles and tears and laughs and screams and energy and exhaustion and everything in between…

Yeah. That’s a start on what our Normal is.

And I wouldn’t change one ounce of it.


Can You Blame Me?

In a family of 7, of which 5 are boys, we go through lots and lots and lots of dishes. Add to that the fact that we make most of our food from scratch because 1) It’s healthier, 2) It’s less expensive (well, sometimes) and 3) We have several different food allergies…and add to that the fact that all of my kids are home almost all day, every day…and that we make almost all of the baby’s food from scratch, too…

Now add to THAT the fact that we don’t have a dishwasher.

Anyway, you get the picture. And in this picture, you can see how I’ve so artfully stacked upon stacked the freshly-washed dishes upon dishes.

My family can’t stand it.

They think it’s really annoying how many dishes I cram into that biggest-I-could-find dish drainer. But when we go through as many dishes as we do every day, you HAVE to cram it and stack it or you would be able to keep up even less than we already can!

My three oldest boys are on a revolving chore chart which we rotate weekly. We lump a few chores together for each. Being on the Dishes section is the most disliked chore by far, and they dread it. I usually help them do their dishes because I know how daunting it can be — and how quickly it can become overwhelming if you don’t keep up. And sometimes I’ll make a trade with them, like: I will do a load of dishes for them if they do laundry for me, or something like that.

Once in a while, we will use paper plates. This morning, Owen was majorly complaining about having to do dishes, and he said we should just use paper plates every time we eat. I told him that is like throwing away trees, and his response was: “Mama, just because YOU are a hippie doesn’t mean EVERYONE wants to be.”

Hippie comments aside, aren’t you impressed with my dish tower? I’m getting pretty good at it. 🙂



There was this little boy, Patrick, at the library today when I took Bria and Zachary for storytime/craft time — and he would NOT. Leave. Bria. Alone.

He was about 15 months old and couldn’t get enough of her. Giving her loves, patting her head, touching her arm, smiling and jabbering and getting in her face, sharing her books.

The whole. Entire. Time.

She was a good sport about it mostly. It was cute until he sat down next to her and grabbed her over into his lap, hugging her and holding her and then grabbing her nose. She’s used to getting mauled by her big brothers, but she didn’t like that.

He was smitten. VERY smitten.

And we’re in trouble.


My Just-Barely-Teenager Diaper Hero

He just turned 13 two weeks ago, but some days he acts twice his age (and of course sometimes he acts half his age, too 😉 and yesterday was one of those days.

I had to go run some errands “in the city,” which means just to travel there and back tacks on an extra 65-75 minutes to my absence from the house. I took Zachary with me, but Bria was taking a much-needed nap, so I left her with Benjamin, as well as Owen and Levi, who “NO WAY” wanted to come with me to Costco and Ross.

Now, Benjamin babysits for us all the time. All the time. He’s very good at it and has been doing it for quite a while. We live in a safe, gated community in the country, removed from everything else and surrounded by good neighbors.

But I was a little concerned about the baby. Lately she’s been super fussy — teething. Ugh. Nights have been awful, and days not much better. She’s been really clingy to me and cries a lot. But she needed that nap badly, and he hesitantly said he was up to the challenge, so I left her with him.

The first time I called to check on things, it was all good. Benj reported that the three boys at home were finishing up their schoolwork, and Bria was still asleep. I reminded him that she needed to have her diaper changed as soon as she woke up because I had forgotten before putting her to bed. “I know, I know. I will.”

The second time I called, I got an annoyed Owen who didn’t want to discuss the jammies I was trying to get at Ross for his role as John in their Peter Pan play (“I don’t know, okay?! YOU’RE the girl — you should already know what works without having to ask me!”); when he handed the phone to Benj, Bri had woken up and was mad. He was in the process of giving her a bottle, thawed from the freezer. I again reminded him to change her diaper, which he hadn’t done yet because “she needs her bottle first because all she wants is mama.”

The third time I called, I relayed that he would please need to make dinner because I was running late, having hit traffic on my way home (and having gone to Costco at the wrong time…although there’s never really a good time to go, as it’s always extremely busy, but that’s what you get when it’s the only one within 60 miles or so). Benj is on the Meals chore this week, anyway, but I’m usually there to help make them.

He wasn’t even fazed, even though I could hear a really fussy Bria in his arms. He put her on the phone for a minute (which made her more fussy after her first, momentary, happier jabber), and then, super sweetly, “I have to put you down for a minute, baby, so I can look for the food for dinner, okay?”

With the Trader Joe’s Macaroni & Cheese successfully located in the pantry (not a staple, but saved for situations like this), I hung up, telling him again how good of a job he was doing and that I’d be home soon. Did I mention how awesome it is that my big boy will still — every single time — say, “Love you, Bye” when he hangs up the phone? And when he leaves the house, or the car, or I leave the house? Or when he goes to bed?

I love it.

(And of course I tell him he can never stop.)

Anyway, Zachary and I finally get home with just a few minutes to spare before Mike arrives and he and Benj have to take off to scouts. Once inside with a big load of groceries, I spot my oldest whisking my youngest up the stairs — naked. Uh-oh. That can’t be good.

Next, I see her clothes on the kitchen floor, along with an extremely full, nasty diaper, not all of which is still in the diaper (guess those prunes finally worked). I hear the bath water turn on as I start putting away groceries that have to get in the fridge/freezer before it’s too late, and grab some veggies, etc. to go with the noodles for dinner.

A few minutes later, when Benj returns downstairs carrying a freshly-cleaned baby sister wrapped in a towel, his first, matter-of-fact words are: “Sorry the macaroni and cheese isn’t very cheesy; I couldn’t mix it very well. Her diaper was up to her neck.” Not “Look at me — I just had to change the world’s grossest diaper,” or “I can’t believe you weren’t home yet and I had to do this,” or even “You owe me, Mama.”


Mike had walked in during this, and offered to clean up the floor/diaper remains if Benjamin would get her dressed so they could hurry and eat and run. Benj took him up on his offer, of course, and got Bria dried and diapered and onesie-d and pajama-d, singing her little songs and talking to her in a happy voice all the while.

Of course there were lots of Thank-you’s and Great job’s. And when I asked if he had changed her diaper beforehand, he admitted that he had forgotten. I explained how an already-wet diaper can’t really hold any more, so where’s it going to go? “Ohhhhh. That’s why it shot up to her neck.”

Maybe he learned a lesson about changing diapers/listening to his mama.

But I learned that my son is even more epic than I had already thought — and that’s saying a lot.


Cake Leftovers

Owen wanted the last piece of cake — I said, “You’ve had more than enough already; you shouldn’t eat that.”

“Yes, I should.”

“No, you shouldn’t.”

“Mama, you’re not ALWAYS right, you know. Usually. But not always.

THIS is one of those times.”

~ chomp ~



Heard something cool on the radio:

The windshield is a lot bigger/better/has more perspective than the tiny little rear view mirror. In other words, look forward, not back.

I like it.


And if we’re looking back, we really end up missing a whole lot that’s right in front of us. Plus, if we’re not paying attention to where we’re going, chances are we’ll get off course and end up where we don’t want to be.

It’s just plain better to look forward, with bigger perspective, through the windshield. You can SEE so much more than you can through the rear-view mirror. Even if sometimes your windshield gets a little dirty, or may have a big crack in it like mine does right now, or sometimes fogs up a little, or even sometimes gets smooshed bugs on it — and basically is never 100% perfect — it’s STILL better to look through your windshield.

Having said that, you still want to be aware of what is in your rear-view mirror, and in your blind spot. But focus ahead. Focus forward.

And enjoy the view as you do.




I was doing ‘airplane’ with Zachary and I was about to put my feet on his tummy to boost him up in the air. He stopped me, looking all concerned, and said, pointing at my bare feet (full of dried cracks), “I can’t go on the airplane! It’s broken!” Then he said it needed a bandaid.

Everything needs a bandaid these days with him. Smash your fingers in the door? Here’s a band aid. Your brother pushed you down on the floor? Go get a bandaid. The kitty scratched you? Put a bandaid on it. Your tummy is owie? A bandaid will fix it…and if you’re crying, your eyes need a bandaid because of the tears coming out. Even his basketball needs a bandaid on occasion.

I love how simple a 3 year-old’s mind is, and how a bandaid or a kiss makes everything better.


They Learn So Young

Zachary: “I want you to get me another hard basketball at the store.”

Me: “Why?”

Z: “Because the other one is lost.”

Me: “Where did it go?” (knowing he had just sent it shooting over the couch)

Z: “Um…behind the couch.”

~ pause ~

Me: “So…can’t we get it out from behind the couch?”

~ longer pause ~

Z: “Yeahhh…….”

Me: “So then do you really need a new basketball?”

Z: “Yeah.”

Me: “Why?”

Z: “Because.”

Me: “Because why?”

Z: “Because I WANT one. Okay??”