Shredded Wheat

You know…there seem to be two extremes of families with many children. Families that have great systems in place and are very organized, and families that try to establish these systems, only to be thwarted constantly. 

Guess which one we are? 

I love being with my kids. Even when they’re driving me mad, I adore them. I’m honestly happier now than I’ve been in years, and have zero desire to work anywhere else. (Though I also have zero problem with OTHER women working outside the home, just to clarify. I definitely don’t think I’m a better mother, or a holier one just because I stay home.)

I am constantly trying to battle the filth and mess. Trying to simplify. Trying to teach my children to think, problem-solve, work together, and be kind. 

I know what you’re going to say (unless you’re a terrible person). “You’re doing great!” “I see you!” “It’s a season/phase!” And you are right. I know this! These are all the things I would say to you, if you were writing this. 

But today…oh, today. While I tried to finish rotating my kids’ wardrobes, my darling almost-3s broke into the kitchen and got into the shredded wheat container. There is shredded wheat everywhere. And I found a trail of ants in my son’s room. And I haven’t walked or done yoga even once this week.

Right now, I’m putting Baby Wia down for a nap, and listening to my twins destroy the kitchen, trying to put together a plan to clean up the messes, and have them “help” me. Maybe I’ll take everybody to the river for a walk after we pick up the big kids. 

You know what…

I had a semi-decent night of sleep, and made a decision this morning. 

I am going to did a way to make the good stuff happen. And I’m starting right now. 

We usually finish dropping big kids off 7:30-7:45, and if there is good weather, we are going straight to the park or Riverwalk for an hour or so. 

I know me. If I go home, and plan to go do the fun stuff later, I’ll get bogged down with my to-do list. 

The last time we came to this playground was for my birthday redo in JULY. That’s too long ago. 


Thoughts at the beginning of another year

I know that I’m the best mom for my kids.

And yet…I am not the mother I want to be. 

All my energy and effort is used up in trying to maintain some semblance of order in our home. 

I literally cannot leave the dishes in the sink overnight, because my older, not well-sealed home would be overrun with…unwelcome pests…immediately. I can’t skip the laundry, because people wouldn’t have clean clothes for school or work. I can’t wait to sweep and mop, because Maria is starting to crawl and Sarah and Sophia are potty training. I can’t just leave the kids toys scattered everywhere, because there are seven of us, and space is limited. 

Samuel and Rebekkah are both in all-day school now, and I have really mixed feelings. I’m glad that  they’re happy and doing well. But I don’t like the busyness and the effect on our time as a family. I feel like…like I’m struggling to make home a desireable place to be. 

When I was younger, home was a place of last resort. I did not enjoy being home with my parents, and not just in a standard adolescent way. And although I know that I am not my parents, I am terrified of my kids feeling the same way. 

I talked to several people that I love, respect, and trust, about my desire to homeschool. I wish I could make that happen, but I can’t right now. And I know that the older Samuel gets, the harder it will be to start. 

To most people, it probably makes no sense that I am saying I spend all day doing chores, and Oh, yes, I want to add in educating all my children personally. I know that reads like just plain Crazy Talk. 

I feel like I spend every moment tied up with chores and crisis management, when what I want is to create and do crafts with my kids. I want to take them to the park after school, or for walks after dinner. I want to snuggle them and read together. I want to teach them to bake bread and cook. 

I have a cozy vision of family life that I keep tucked away in my heart, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to make that vision a reality. 

All that said, I’m honestly happier (generally speaking) than I have been for a while. Wia is a blessing. My parents closed their business, and aren’t next door anymore. Things are pretty tight financially, but we’re putting together a plan. 

I’m not trying for a gold in Reverse Pain Olympics, but things could be a lot worse right now. 


Miss me? It’s time for me to complain again! Honestly, it’s not anything specific. I’m just feeling low and struggling, and I feel like I complain enough on Twitter. 

So I just came over here to wallow for a while. I’ll think of a plan tonight while I fold laundry, and tomorrow will be a little better. 

But this evening…this evening, I’m frustrated and tired. The weather, my herbs mostly dying, Rebekkah being totally unhelpful during cleanup, our lack of structure,  and just life in general. 



There have been a lot of conversations in our corner of the Internet, about housework, and attention to little details. And tonight, some friends and I discussed my Alma Mater, and I realized some interesting things about myself. 

I am not an orderly, tidy person by nature. But I like order and tidiness. I know I appreciate the effects of routine, but I’m not the best at creating them. 

“Work smarter, Fleming, not harder.” My chef instructor used to say it frequently. I am a hard worker! But I tend to just work on whatever pops into my head, and I would like to be more efficient.

Tonight, I spent a fair bit of time mapping out how I would like my workday to flow. In my bullet journal, I wrote an ordered list for each day this week, with all my regular tasks, a weekly task, and a bath schedule for the kids. There are FOUR of them, and ONE bathroom. They can’t all bathe every night! {editing to say, okay. Technically I have FIVE kids, but Maria is WEE, and does not need regular tub baths. Yet.} I wrote each day on its own page, so I have plenty of space to make notes about what worked well, and what didn’t. 

I’ll say this: writing these lists made me feel good. I sometimes get to the end of the day, and feel like I didn’t get anything done. All the things I wrote on my list are things I get done on a regular basis! I do A LOT! 

I just want to do it better. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Gingerbread Pancakes

YUM. This makes a pretty good batch. I usually make pancakes at dinner and freeze leftovers for easy breakfasts later.

Dry ingredients in a large bowl:

  • 3.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs baking powder
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp salt

Wet ingredients in another bowl:

  • 3 cups buttermilk (I’m not telling you what to do… but I use full fat.)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbs molasses
  • 1 Tbs melted butter
  • 2 Tbs neutral-tasting oil

Make a little well in the dry ingredients, pour the wet ingredients in, whisk gently, try not to beat it to death. Some lumps are okay!

Grease your pan/griddle/skillet, heat over medium. I use a 1/4 cup per pancake, but you do you. Wait for the bubbles, flip.

I drizzled this royal icing on some, maple syrup on others. Both were delicious.

I was sad that I didn’t have any pears… I felt like spiced pears would have been a nice side, along with the bacon we had. OOOOH… spiced pears with RUM. Yes? Yes. We had applesauce, which was fine, because the pears would have been wasted on my very lovely children.