Baby on Board

11 Aug

For years I did not understand the “Baby on Board” stickers that people would place on their vehicles.



OK, I understood the fundamental that yes, there is a wee babe somewhere in the said labeled vehicle. I had visions of babies crawling around the back seat, across the front console, plastered to the windows waving and drooling on the glass, or even Mission-Impossible-ninja-style lowering themselves from the roof of the car to retrieve the long lost Cheerio on the floorboard.  But still, I was trying desperately to understand the significance of said sign.


Perhaps it was merely parental pride and joy over new wee babe, and blissful, happy, well rested parents — because all new parents are well rested — that wanted to share such news with the world when they traveled the great highways of America.  Or to another doctor’s appointment.  Or to the grocery store at midnight for more diapers and formula.


Or there is the speculation that they are to warn emergency service employees, in the event of an accident, that there is a child in the vehicle. Although when a series of emergency service providers were questioned about the stickers, they themselves thought the intent was to simply warn other drivers of the young passenger in the car.


But something in me suspected it was something a little shadier than that.   Perhaps it was these parents’ subtle hint that somehow what was in their vehicle, was more important, even, possibly, more special than what others had in theirs? So rest of the world, slow down and back off, Momma Bear and her brood are coming through.


Now, don’t misunderstand me.  I think it is one of those universal truths, that any wee babe is truly something special!  They represent that innocence of a new beginning, that hope in humanity, that we can continue, we can improve.  I have never been able to look at a little baby and not feel the stirrings of something so much greater and special in this world than the rest of us.


But, I was still a bit mystified about the bumper sticker and elevated status these vehicles seemed worthy of by the parents.  And one day I happened upon a sticker that summed up my feelings.




And then, it happened.

It took about five kids before it happened, but alas, I finally received that moment of clarity where truth rings out for a moment, and understanding dawns.  I was driving on the highway with what would be deemed as said “special cargo,” Mr. Finn, and his four siblings. Who were no longer babies and probably had gone down in value according to said sticker company.



Well, my “special cargo” was screaming his lungs out.

And Mr. Sawyer had some glitch in his cute little blond head as he was on a continual loop.

“Mommy?  Mommy?  Mommy?” 

“Yes, dear?” 

“Mommy?  Mommy?  Mommy?”

“Yes, dear?” 

“Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!” 

“Yes, dear?!” 

And Mr. Skywalker and Mr. Little Big Man were fighting over something.  I don’t keep track anymore.

And Miss Firecracker was pressing the buttons on the radio as fast as possible, raising the volume and trying to drown out the noise from the four monkeys behind us.


And then the moment of clarity came.

“Baby on Board: AKA, wee babe is screaming at driver, sibling 4 is on broken loop, siblings 3 and 2 are going nuts, and sibling 1 has given  up.  Chaos rules.  Driver under extreme amount of stress.  For YOUR OWN SAFETY, keep back a minimum of 50 feet!”

But that’s just too long.  So, “Baby on Board,” will do just fine.  Sums it all up right in those three words.


I must say, I do feel this sticker may in fact be the cousin sticker to “Student Driver.”


Don’t we all take pity on the stressed out new driver?  And steer clear of it? And allow for erratic speeding up and slowing down?  And stay our hand from our horn?  Yes, I think I just might have to invest in a “bambino on board” after all.




Why I Blog

14 Jul

Why do I blog?

It is simple really, two reasons.

The first:  Because Mr. Little Big Man asked me the other day why I never spend time with him.  This was after I’d taken him and his siblings to Chuck E. Cheese, swimming at a friend’s home for 2 1/2 hours, and I’d played a game of checkers with him.  This is my family’s journal.  I want them to remember the things that we did together, and that we did in fact do things together!



The second reason:  A few months back I went out in the evening to run some errands, and when I came back, I glanced through the front window and saw Mr. Sawyer, with his messy blonde hair and Spiderman pj’s sitting at the island on a stool with his little legs dangling, talking to his dad.  It was one of those moments that just seemed so fleeting and full of so much that my heart actually ached.  I glimpsed all the memories of all my kids at that stage, and in the next minute I glimpsed where they will all be 10 and 20 years from now.  And for a moment I was angry at the Lord that it all has to pass so quickly.  But in the next, I remembered that it really is ok.  It is a part of this whole crazy, amazing, wonderful cycle of life.


So I blog to slow it all down just a little bit, to hold on a little longer, to remember that these moments happened, and to prepare to embrace the moments of tomorrow.




You know you’re offspring #5 when. . .

12 Jul

. . .your older sister, #1, had 3 maybe 4 M&M’s max in her entire life by the time she was 18 months old.

And yet you are able to down several handfuls with your amazing speedy hands and mighty chompers before Mom walks in on you.



But that’s not what means you’re offspring #5.



The fact that she gives that tired sigh and let’s you finish the handful because she knows you’ll scream bloody murder if she rips it from your death grip fist, that is what means you’re #5.


Do you realize what this means for the future?!  Oh, the possibilities!!!


Star Wars. . .need I say more?

8 Jul

Growing up, my parents weren’t terribly discriminatory on what television shows and movies us kids watched.  My mom tended to just view what she liked, and I would watch with her.  Hence, every Friday night, after grocery shopping at Ralph’s, I’d curl up on the couch next to her with a brand new bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos and eat half of it while watching Miami Vice.


I didn’t understand a tenth of what was going on, and I didn’t need to.  I got the gist of it, and that was enough.  Drugs – – bad, gangs – – bad, night life in a big city – – usually bad, bad friends – – bad, jail – – definitely bad, drugs and gangs and big city and bad friends all together – – really, really bad and here comes jail.  Done.


But what I mostly remember, were the movies.  We loved action.  We didn’t watch rated R, but we watched the iconics.  Star Trek, James Bond (Yes, yes, the continuing of my education. . .real spies have cool gadgets, even cooler British accents, and be sure to cover your eyes during the opening credits, or perhaps for about half of the movie for that matter),  Superman and Batman (before they became a dime a dozen), and Indiana Jones.


But I think my favorite, of all the series, was Star Wars.

For some odd reason, Episode 4 was my favorite.  To the extreme annoyance of my brothers, I watched it nearly everyday on our VCR for about three months straight.



It is a story of redemption and hope.  I even named one of my kids after it!  Of course it helped that said chosen name is also an apostle, hence I could conveniently hide my infatuation for the films behind the Good Book.


Maybe it was because Miss Firecracker had her hair in a braid reminiscent of Princess Lea, or because it was just one of those nice, lazy days of summer with nothing on the calendar. . .but either way, today we decided it was time to continue the kids’ education of something very American and very iconic.  They had seen episodes 4-6, and had been begging for 1-3.



So, we watched 1 and 2, and they loved it.










Mr. Skywalker had his reference book ready and gave his siblings a running commentary on what was happening, lest they were confused.  The kid new stuff I hadn’t even picked up on. SONY DSC

And Mr. Sawyer tried to hold on to the end, but finally threw in the towel.  I think it was the kissing scene that pushed it over the edge for him. SONY DSC

A First

4 Jul

A monumental change is coming to our home tomorrow. It probably will have already happened by the time you read this.  One of those changes where things are never quite the same again.  The kind that you can mark other events from.  “Oh yeah, that was the year Uncle Brian took ice skating lessons.”  (not true)  “Oh  yeah, that was the year Uncle Brian froze water on the back porch and tried to skate on it with his skateboard without a helmet or any protection.”  (true)

Yes, change of the permanent kind is coming to our home.




























Sometimes I think God chuckles when he sees parents oohing and aahing over their little babies. They can’t get enough of them. They adore them. They hover over them. They take an insane number of photos of them all in one day.
So with all this adoration, the Lord watches as the couple decides to have another one.
So we did have another one.
And another.
And another.
And another.

And then I started calling the first child by the second or third child’s name before I came up with the correct name. And I began running a total in my head of how many comments I could get for how many consecutive weeks in a row at the grocery store about either the size of my cart, or the size of my entourage.


But, I think it was when I began making the occasional phone call to the Mister – – dialing the number, and then immediately noticing the dishes in the sink or the laundry piled in the laundry room, or hearing the child cry yet again, that I would place the phone down, which was still ringing and subsequently answered by the Mister, whilst I’d moved on to my next task of the day – – that we realized, oh we may have our plate full!

Let me tell you, suddenly hearing a voice from your phone as it lays on the counter is quite the fascinating, or disturbing thing.


SONY DSCNeedles to say, The Mister was concerned.  I said he needed to be a little quicker on the draw.


Anyways, really, it was after baby #3, Little Big Man, that it dawned on me, this funny little joke that I think the Lord occasionally enjoys seeing play out.  We have these beautiful babies, and keep having them, and then BAM!  The realization suddenly hits!


The babies grow up.


And they leave.


But before they leave,. . .(cue Jaws music please). . .they are teenagers.


img_0784So, if this realization does not dawn on young parents soon enough, they may find themselves with a gaggle of cutie patooties before they realize the cuties must become independent, unselfish, well behaved, educated, and compassionate people.  All in 18 short years.  Ready?  Go!


But I digress.


Honestly, I can’t even begin to say how much I love my girl.  A sentiment that I know most parents fully understand.  There are books and songs all dedicated to the pain and joy of being a parent.  I am so proud of my girl.  She is beyond anything I could have imagined.


SONY DSCI took a picture of her today, as a “before” photo.  Tomorrow morning, after 6:25AM, when she is officially 13 years of age, I will take another.  To see if she’s changed.    No, I won’t wake her up and snap a camera in her face.

Although I did consider it for a moment.


Yes, a teenager.


I am thrilled and scared to death at the prospect.  But that’s kind of how every day of parenting sometimes feels, right?  An amazing adventure where you team up with your best friend, the Mister in my case, and try to have the best attitude and a lot of faith and patience and humility in your pack.

As my dear friend occasionally reminds me.  “Little people, little problems.”

And so, whether or not we are ready, this next step is coming.  So I take her hand, I take the Mister’s hand, and we step in together.


Truth be told, I’ve seen it coming.  She has been becoming an amazing young lady already.  Whether it’s helping her brothers without me asking, taking care of her school, music, and home responsibilities without being asked, or walking into the room and asking me how she can help me.  She has already begun the road.



For Miss Firecracker’s birthday, she chose to go clothes shopping.  All budget for her presents from Grandma and Abuelo and Mom and Dad were set for a clothes shopping spree.  No toys anymore.  So the Mister took the boys, and Miss Firecracker and I spent the day shopping.

The. Whole. Day.


Now, I like to run.  And on three or four days per week, I crank out 8-11 miles.  In fact, I placed first place at a 10K this past Memorial Day.  Yes.  I can hardly believe it myself.  And I probably should never run the race again because I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pull that off again.  And I must admit that the number of entrants seemed to be a little less this year.  But somehow I pulled off 1st for all women, and 9th overall.  There were 200+ entrants in the race.  I was kind of excited about the other 100+ men that I beat.

Now, my reasons for sharing this are twofold.

First, it will never happen again and I want my posterity to know Momma could do something other than household duties.  The Mister was helpful in this as he wrangled the brood during the race.


And secondly, because running 11 miles is far and away easier than shopping for 11 hours.


Hour 1:  So many cute clothes!

Hour 2:  Really, A LOT of cute clothes.

Hour 3:  Do they need to have this many clothes?  Maybe we could all switch to uniforms.

Hour 4:  I’m sitting down.

Hour 5:  I’m starving.

Hour 6:  Miss Firecracker to me:  “Let me carry another bag.  You look tired.”   Me:  “No, no, I got this.”  Miss Firecracker:  “Give me the bag Mom!”

Hour 7:  Text to the Mister: “I’m going to die.”


The rest is a blur.


But honestly, despite my embarrassing lagging, it was a wonderful day.  I got to spend the entire day with my girl.

And she is something truly amazing to me.













3 Jul



For some reason it is a term often fraught with peril.  Or, at the very least, the subject of many jokes.


My dad used to call my maternal grandmother his “mother-out-law.”  It was a term of endearment, meant more in the John Wayne style than the urban dictionary sense, and he and my grandma had a good time razzing each other.


I hope to be a mother-in-law someday.












Even the definition kind of makes me chuckle. . .

In-law: a relative by marriage, an agreement enforceable at law

Enforceable at law?  Something tells me they knew they might have to occasionally be a little strong with all involved parties on this one. . .”You all behave yourselves because you’re family now!”



I don’t know, but maybe this is why it’s always kind of felt to me a little like, “Well, you can say you’re one of them now, but it doesn’t mean they have to like you!”


But thankfully, I have been very fortunate to be blessed with a very talented and wonderful mother-in-law.


She can play the piano even better than the Mister.


She can soothe an angry baby.



She plays with her grandkids.


A lot,



all the time,







She shares her traditions with me.



And, she accepts the traditions I share with her.



Of course, I occasionally feel like my mother-in-law and I have a variety of differing opinions.

And other times, I think those same differences may in fact be commonalities more than either of us realize.




But, each year, I come to understand more and more, that any little differences that may arise, really are negligible, because I do know that at the core, we have in common the thing that matters most.






And I am thankful to be able to say, that the more I get to know my mother-in-law, the more I am grateful to be a part of her family, and to have her be a part of my family.


She is irreplaceable.



She is strong.



She is intelligent.


She is thoughtful and compassionate.




She is always trying.



She is mom.


The Things I Will Miss

24 Oct

1. Singing in the car together to really cheesy 80’s songs and looking in my rear view mirror to see them “rocking out” in their car seats.

Continue reading

Something that Works. . .Kind Of

19 Oct

Sometimes, some things as a parent click into place, and the Mister and I find a tip, trick, bribe, or threat–I mean “strong persuasion”–that works for our family.


And what shining, very brief, moments they can be!

This is something that works for us. . .for now.  We’ll check again in a month or week, or hour or two.  You see, they unfortunately have that “I’m-going-to-keep-you-guessing-and-never-let-you-have-a-worry-free-night-of-sleep-again-in-your-entire-life-ENTIRE-LIFE!-muwhahahah!” component that all children come with.

But for now, this is something that works.

Continue reading

Something that Doesn’t Work

16 Oct

My children’s hearing.

Or at least at one time I thought it didn’t.  I would ask them something, then I’d ask a little louder, and then I’d ask with my super serious no-nonsense-voice, and then I’d just plain out yell.

Phew, they heard that.

But after awhile, for some unfathomable reason, they didn’t even hear the yell. Continue reading

Life Management Skills by Baby: Tip #52 Taking Care of Your Business

13 Oct

You are the baby of the family, and as such, excessively photographed.
Do not expect privacy,. . .for all that you do is deemed free game.

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