Beach…with kids!

Today I was out enjoying this beautiful first day of summer! It was perfect, not too hot, nice little breeze, sitting on the beach! Going to the beach used to be my favorite thing to do! I’d grab a bottle of water, some headphones, and a towel and off I went! Fast forward to today! I had to tote half my household down to the water along with our 4 kids!

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There is absolutely nothing relaxing about going to the beach with your kids. It honestly wouldn’t have been too bad if it was just my older two girls, but bringing 5 month old twins along with me was a lot! (luckily I had a great friend to help me out) I used to go to the beach and take some of the best naps of my life! Now I’m lucky if I get to sit down for more than a minute unless I’m feeding a baby!

If you’re planning on going to the beach this summer with babies I highly recommend a tent that they can sit/lay in! My twins laid there and played with a few toys and then went to sleep. I also brought a battery operated fan to help circulate some of the breeze we had going. Another life saver for me was having a beach wagon! The twins aren’t quite big enough to where they can sit up on their own, so I had to bring their bumbo seats as well. I was able to have all of our towels in a bag, the twins in the wagon, my 4 year old holding her puddle jumper and beach toys, my 5 year old carried the tent and I carried a cooler full of drinks and snacks.

It honestly went better today than I imagined it would. We chose a beach that didn’t really have waves; that way the kids could play without me having to worry about a wave taking them away. The twins really just wanted to eat and sleep; so that worked out well. The absolute worst part of the entire beach trip was loading everyone and everything up! By that time everyone was exhausted, the babies were hot, we were all covered in sand, and we had half of our household out on the beach! I had considered going to work-out later today but I’m pretty sure I lost 5 lbs just toting everything to and from the car!

I’m not sure how some moms do it and make it look so easy! I’m pretty sure today was one of those days that I would get told a million times from people “you sure got your hands full” if there would’ve been a lot of people around. I’m learning as a mom of 4 that you just have to prepare yourself for things to go wrong, and be extra grateful when they go great! I sometimes get scared to take everyone out on my own because I don’t know how any of the kids will behave. But I also have realized that I can’t punish my older two girls by not taking them out to do things just because I have the twins to tend to as well.

My only other piece of advice for those of you going to the beach with or without your kids, bring baby powder! Saves you from bringing a ton of sand back into your car! Pour it on y’alls legs and feet and the sand will come right off!

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How do you get through deployments?

I’ve been asked numerous times how I get through deployments. I almost always answer, “I have to, there’s no other option.” Our children need me, and my husband needs to know his wife is able to handle it. We have been separated due to the military several times, sometimes for just a few weeks, sometimes a month, sometimes several months, and one time a year.  We’ve been married about nine and a half years; we’ve been a part due to the military for a total of two and a half years! Which to some is a lot, and to other military spouses that’s not too bad.

Our first deployment wasn’t too bad because I was deployed at the same time; I left before him and got back a few weeks before he came home. We didn’t have children, made it so much easier! Our next big deployment wasn’t until our second daughter Presley was born and she was nine months old and Emma was two and a half. It was very hard. We were at a base where I only had two friends and luckily cousins living nearby. Emma was at the age where she realized her daddy wasn’t home and would cry out for him some times. How do you console a two year old that can’t comprehend why her daddy isn’t around? Luckily we all live in the wonderful time of facetime!

 

I tried to keep the kids busy as much as possible and also tried to keep myself occupied. I tried making sure we had a routine and stuck to it, and we also tried to make it where we talked to my husband around the same time every day.  Children thrive off of consistency! We would go once a month to the deployed family dinners where we were surrounded by families in the same boat as us. They tried to make it as fun as possible for the kids and made them feel special. I’d take them to story time at the library, parks, swimming, ice cream dates, make giant blanket forts, church, and anything else to occupy our minds and not so focused on missing daddy.

 

It probably wasn’t even a month after my husband came back from this deployment that he was notified he was doing a year short tour overseas. I remember feeling so crushed! I’m one of those wives that love to always have her husband around even if we’re not doing anything. I just love his presence. We luckily had several months to prepare and this time we chose for the girls and me to move close to family. We didn’t know if we’d ever get the chance to live near family so we wanted them to get to know them while we had the chance.

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This was the toughest year in my opinion. Emma was four and Presley was two and they both knew that daddy wasn’t around. There were several nights all throughout the year where they cried before bed, or they would be acting out and I’d ask them what the deal was and they’d respond, “I just miss daddy!” There were lots of tears and explaining that he was away working but he’ll be back as soon as he can. He was able to come home after about seven and a half months and stayed for about a month. This luckily made the last part of the year tour fly by! I thought that him leaving again after his short visit would make it harder on the girls but it actually went really well!

 

I know I just went on and explained our situation and didn’t really give advice. But the biggest things I recommend is to first still include him in conversation constantly! We talked about him nonstop as if he had been around all along. Second, face time as much as possible! If your spouse isn’t going to be able to video chat with you, have him record videos and send them to you. There were days that my husband was on shifts that wouldn’t allow him to talk to the kids so he would record videos and send them to me to show the girls. They loved it! Third keep busy, and keep a routine! I feel like I did a lot of the same things every single day and it honestly helped me with the time passing. Fourth, take care of yourself! I am one of those extremely stubborn people who don’t like to ask for help (my husband is probably nodding yes big time to this), but I had to have some time to myself. Luckily I have had people offer to watch my kids to give me time to get my hair done, or run errands alone, or do whatever I needed to, just to have a breather. Lastly, communicate with your spouse as much as possible, about anything and everything. This helps you and your spouse; they’re missing out on a lot and want to feel included in what you’re doing as well.

Pray often and know that you will get through it, some days will be worse than others. You’re strong and your husband will be home soon!

“You’ve got your hands full”

Got my workout in today, no not from the gym! It was from toting all four kids with me to the grocery store. I’ve been blessed the last four months to only have to take my kids to the store two or three times. But that wasn’t an option today. My husband is away on a TDY (Temporary Duty Yonder for nonmilitary folks) and I desperately needed to grab some Pampers and bread! Every aisle we walk down we get looks and stares and if I make eye contact with someone, they almost always say, “you’ve got your hands full!” Yes, yes I do!

I don’t know why this bugs me so much, because let’s face it, I do have my hands full. But when my two older girls are walking right next to the buggy behaving, my twins are quiet and smiling and I’m just going about getting what I need,IMG_5660 (1) I don’t like hearing it! I wish people would look at us and keep going, or say, “wow, they are so well behaved, good job momma!”  I actually enjoyed taking my kids to the store because I was so proud of how everyone was behaving. I left annoyed by all the people passing judgment.

I used to hear it all the time when it was just my older two girls. Looking back, that was a piece of cake! Children are handfuls whether it’s one child or seven, you’re busy! I feel busy 98% of my day but my heart is full 100% of the time. I get so many hugs, kisses, “I love you mommy,” smiles, snuggles, and giggles. I wouldn’t trade it for the world! So next time it pops into your head “wow that lady has her hands full” think of a compliment you could pass on instead, or just don’t say anything at all. Because that mom already knows it’s a lot to handle, and chances are she was already worried about walking into the store with her kids.

How do you other moms handle hearing this?

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