Looking Back at Theo (2020-2021)

This year, we decided to sandwich Theo right in the middle of his four sisters! This is how this gentleman felt over the last year and a half. He was a trooper in playing whatever his sisters had in mind but also got an abundance of boy-time with Dad.

Theo dove head first into his first little league in house and traveling seasons this year coached by his Daddy. He continues to love short stop but worked his way around the diamond and strengthened his skills at third, first and pitcher. He even got his first home run at the last tournament of the season. He is looking forward to continuing to play with a 8U/9U team this fall and explore boys gymnastics with the sister crew.

When Theo doesn’t have a mitt on he typically is building, creating or seeking answers to his many questions. He proudly presents me with a fun fact of the day. I’m learning a lot, too!

Now, a look back at Theo’s last year to a song by Florida Georgia Line entitled Simple…

Theo at Six Years…

Theo at Five Years…

Theo at Four Years…

Theo at Three Years…

Theo at Two Years…

Theo’s First Year…

Looking Back at Bella (2020-2021)

Isabella Marie remains the creative quint from singing to a variety of art; Bella loves to create!

Her sweet voice continues to be heard at night, long after her sibs have fallen asleep. Her lullabies last until Mom and Dad’s bed time and are usually the sounds that we all wake up to. This night owl also has the strongest gratitude practice in the house. It is not uncommon for her to sneak in a quick thank you, hug and kiss for even the smallest of tasks.

This last year, Bella fell in love with American Idol and was Willie Spence’s BIGGEST fan! However, her love for Willie is rivaled by her fandom for Javier Baez and Patrick Mahomes.

Now, a look back at Bella’s last year set to the tune of the Friends Theme song…

Bella at seven years…

Bella at six years…

Bella at five years…

Bella at four years…

Bella at three years…

Bella at two years…

Bella’s First Year…

Looking Back at Kali Mae (2020-2021)

The birthday countdown to 8 begins! This year we’re starting with Kali Mae!

As many of you know, Kali is a unique blend of sugar and spice. She has been on a journey of exploration this last year. The social isolation that accompanied COVID-19 was hard on Kali; she would often comment on how many days, weeks, months it had been since she saw her besties.

As we open back up, Kali’s spirit returns and is highest when she’s with friends.

Kali’s curiousity rivals Theo’s and her love for animals is great! She has also discovered a new adventure- horseback riding! She even hopes to become a professional equestrian!

Before we dive into our montage, due to copyright claims all music had to be muted in the videos. Kali’s song for this year was Refrigerator Door by Luke Combs.

Now, let’s look back at Kali over the last year…

Kali at seven years…

Kali at six years…

Kali at five years…

Kali at four years…

Kali at three years…

Kali at two years…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Kali’s First Year…

Exploring 7-year-old Wisdom

It has been quite some time since I posted. In all honesty, I didn’t have words or perhaps enough emotional energy to put my thoughts into words. The last 365 days have forever changed our lives. Rollercoasters of feelings as we witnessed a viral pandemic that sent us to our homes. It was hard to swallow the fact that for many their home may not feel safe or be secure.

Inequities came to light. Racial and class tensions grew. Politics continued to polarize and many didn’t know how to process. “Flatten the curve,” “quarantine,” “new normal,” “coronavirus,” “COVID,” and “pandemic” are all words that were foreign over a year ago and may be everyday language now and forever.

As the country re-opens, people are emerging from a yearlong hibernation. Some appear scared, timid, and anxious while others are over-joyed and excited to “get back to normal.” In conversations, at home, at work, at the grocery store you hear people recounting what they’ve learned and what they finally took time to do. Habits and routines they worked hard to develop and don’t want to lose, Some open up to share how old, ugly coping strategies have returned due to periods of high stress in socially isolated homes.

While we didn’t choose to share all of the events that unfolded in the last year, I believe our children learned more than we sought to teach them. I continue to be humbled by their perspectives and learnings.

Most dinners, the kiddos chat about anything and everything while the adults take turns playing crowd control and wait staff. But, the other night we shifted the conversation to reflect upon how this Spring break was different and what they had learned because of the pandemic.

Theo shared that masks are uncomfortable and don’t feel good but they’re important because they protect others. We need to continue to wear our masks.

Lily echoed Theo’s sentiments about masks but shared how important she believes it is to be kind and put others’ first.

Bella recognized how she hadn’t been to a store to browse, dream or purchase everyday items. She shared her gratitude for online shopping conveniences which helped us to keep home feeling “normal.”

Ellie pointed out that not everyone had it the same. She is grateful that we always had what we needed. She also shared how good it felt to be able to spend a lot of time with her family.

Kali wrapped up the children’s contributions by sharing how more time at home created more time for each other and other activities.

We sat and smiled and thanked them for their wise words. As I sit here now, I continue to believe that my children will forever teach me more than I will ever teach them. For this, I am grateful.

It is my ongoing hope that we’re raising game changers. We aim to preserve their precious outlook on life, foster their imagination and creativity, encourage their curiosity and willingness to ask questions and the ability to know when to speak up and share their voice and when to be quiet and simply listen. Our home has privilege and I believe our children are beginning to realize this. It is my prayer that they will continue to share this power, dismantle imbalances, explore history and its implications so that we can have a more equitable and just tomorrow.

Looking Back at E. Rosie (2019-2020)

Ellie, who is fondly called Rosie by mom and dad, is proving to be Mom’s mini-me. It is not uncommon for us to say the same things at the sametime and for our mannerisms to be eerily similar. While Ellie is the “baby” of the bunch, her BIG personality hides it well. She easily identifies her feelings and is able to articulate her emotions and her logic in a way that surpasses her years.

This little firecracker LOVES to move and is happiest when she is upside down doing cartwheels, round-offs, backbends or whatever new act is assigned in tumbling and cheer. Our Rosie is the most organized and determined quint and she will be sure you know it. She loves to lend a hand, especially when it involves outdoor chores, caring for the chickens, meal prep or sorting, however the result will almost always be in rainbow order.

Now, a look back at our Ellie Rosie over the last year…

Ellie at six years…

Ellie at five years…

Ellie at four years…

Ellie at three years…

Ellie at two years…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Ellie’s First Year…

Looking Back at Kali Mae (2019-2020)

Kali Mae wins the drama mama award of the year! She is a bundle of amplified emotion; a feeler inside and out. While carrying all the feels, she is also a thinker. She is easily lost in her mind and able to think steps ahead of a situation.

She loves to lead and orchestrate plans whether it is a dance routine with her sibs or an eloquent tea party for her nest of Minnie Mouse friends. Our memorable Disney adventure this year was the trip of a lifetime for this little princess; everyday was a magical adventure.

Kali’s inquisitive nature and desire to lead will be sure to take her to great places!

Now, let’s look back at Kali over the last year…

Kali at six years…

Kali at five years…

Kali at four years…

Kali at three years…

Kali at two years…

If you really want to turn back the clock, check out Kali’s First Year…

Looking Back at Lily (2019-2020)

Lily Love-Bug is exactly that! She is a compassionate ball of energy who is up for anything. She is the most fun play-mate because she’s not afraid to be herself and accepting of whomever you are. Her personal mission in life is to make a new friend everyday.

Safer at home orders have been hardest on this little socialite but she finds freedom in her imagination, daily dance parties and Frozen 2 or Trolls World Tour musicals performed for all to see in the backyard.

When she isn’t entertaining, you will likely find her amidst an exciting Lion Guard portrayal or plotting her next invasion of Bella’s privacy. Her faves remain her little koala (Uti) and her ever-growing pride of lion stuffed animals.

Join me as we take a look back at Lily’s last year…

Lily at six years…

Lily at five years…

Lily at four years…

Lily at three years…

Lily at two years…

Lily’s First Year…

Looking Back at Bella (2019-2020)

Miss Bella is no longer the only princess in the bunch and thus has diversified with her new aspiration to be a pop star when she grows up! She remains a budding artist and continues to take her reading, art and writing quite seriously. She still cannot live with her assortment of white fuzzy animals including Tiny her ginormous bunny, Feliz her little puppy and Whitey a small white bear that she received when she graduated from the NICU step down clinic.

Bella also loves to sing, dance, and swim as well as continue create vast imaginary schemes. Now, a look back at Bella’s last year…

Bella at six years…

Bella at five years…

Bella at four years…

Bella at three years…

Bella at two years…

Bella’s First Year…

Looking Back at Theo (2019-2020)

While birthdays feel a bit different in 2020, our excitement to celebrate our five miracles does not.

Big brother Theo continues to lead his sisters by example. He is a budding gentleman who is still the King of Questions. He wants to know the what, when, where, but most of all the why and how. Digging, building, drawing, swimming, and playing Mario Odyssey or RBI baseball are among Theo’s favorite hobbies. His number one, however is playing baseball.

Theo and Daddy are baseball buds! If they aren’t tuning into the Cubbies on the TV or radio they are outside in Quintupletville Stadium hitting homers into the pool or playing some good old-fashioned catch.

Now, here’s a look at Theo at Six Years…

Theo at Five Years…

Theo at Four Years…

Theo at Three Years…

Theo at Two Years…

Theo’s First Year…

Change is the only constant in life

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher said, “Change is the only constant in life.”
We have all experienced significant changes over the last several weeks. We are familiar with change but, often only anticipated change such as the growing of our children, the changing of seasons and of course the dreaded time change. But recently we have all experienced changes which were unanticipated and have left many of us feeling confused, anxious, sad, and lonely.
As I reflect over the time of this pandemic, I see that it truly has only been a few short weeks but has felt much longer. It is also hard because we don’t know how long these “short-term changes” will last. We know that they are necessary to “flatten the curve” the changes were successful in doing just that. We also know because the curve is now flat that we are destined to long-term change.
It is too easy to dwell in the darkness and rehearse the sad stories over and over in our minds. I have heard that negativity is like velcro in our brains. We have to work hard to not think about the shortages across the world, the astronomical number of deaths and those who have died without anyone by their side, the lonely funerals, the distance between loved ones and the unknown future. It is much harder to rehearse the blessings in disguise. These are often like a fried egg slipping off a well-greased pan.
We need to practice gratitude and slow down enough to smell the roses and see the beauty that will rise again. With great tragedy comes hardship but I know that our lost loved ones, our economy, our country will rise again.
There is beauty amidst this darkness; like the opportunity to spend more time as a family. The time which used to fly by has slowed; days used to feel like minutes and now those same days feel like weeks. The weather is warming and many are seeking outdoor fun and a breath of fresh air. Organizations have had to think creatively and divergently about staffing solutions, shortages and strategies for the pandemic, this has brought about new leaders, teamwork and efficiency. Again, it is too easy to sit back and complain but much harder to take this change in stride as children do.
I have taken time to think about how my children have handled the last several weeks. They have grown accustomed to schooling at home and now love it! They have never complained about not being able to leave the house or not being able to go to the store. They have been flexible with the food we have available to us; while there was complaining at first this has become the new normal. They question out of curiosity but never argue with the answer that “this is how it is for now.” They’ve soaked up the extra snuggles, enjoying having everyone at home and look forward each and every day to the high fives and embraces that await when they reunite with their friends, their teachers, and loved ones.
So, I hope that all of us can take a moment to let go of the darkness and for a brief moment welcome in the light that our children so easily see. This too shall pass, the only constant in our life is change so, let’s enjoy each and every step by finding the goodness in each day. For without rain we would never see the rainbows.
Here are some of our blessings and memories from Quarantine in 2020…