In this short stint of returning to blogging I have not been able to avoid going back and reading past posts.  It's fun to revisit.  I must say, I feel like a bit of a slacker when I go back and remember what I was capable of.  People asked me "how do you do it?" and I always thought that they must not really understand the ease of the things that I did.  I did things that I was passionate about...things that came without much effort.  My personality is such that I really am an organized, creative and very driven person.  NOW...when I look back, I seriously wonder, "how did I do it????"  One would think that I could do all of that and more now that I have older kids, but I think that the reality is that my older kids, while they save my sanity often by offering me a trip to the store by myself or a date with my spouse, they also keep our schedule full.  The boxes on the calendar are overflowing on any given day...practice, game, recital, rehearsal, meeting, tryout, event of some sort.  Coming up in April, we have two soccer games, two baseball games, a track meet, a school fundraiser and the most important event of the day, Amelia's first communion (and family in town).  That's a recipe for crazy!

Honestly, when people currently ask me how I do it, they're usually referring to the number of kids, and in turn the calendar and everything else that comes with them.  My response for years has been that I didn't have nine kids all at once...I've learned over the course of time.  Sometimes what it amounts to is that I've learned to let a baby cry, a mess stay, an event go unattended...I've learned to swallow my pride, smile and pretend I'm not bothered and drink beer breathe deeply.  I'm also in a different place where I can indulge differently in a little bit of retail therapy sometimes.  (I don't share that information willingly with too many people.)

I could write a novel on how life has changed over the last 22 years but the whole inspiration for this post was a previous post on life during tax season.  I am married to a CPA...one who loves his job and I am grateful for that on so many levels.  He is very good at what he does which has offered him the luxury of steadily moving up in his firm and being a driving force in the growth of his office.  Not much has changed since the post I wrote 7 years ago in the way of how I feel about tax season.  I'd prefer to have Tim work regular hours and be home for dinner and put kids to bed every night, but that isn't the way it is.  We have learned how to communicate a little better--maybe what I mean is we have learned how to manage in our lack of communication.  We work pretty well together.  Don't get me wrong...I get irritated.  Probably more than he does.  He doesn't remember anything unless it is repeated to him multiple times, so I have to remind him what is going on each day.  Sometimes we sync our calendars, but more often I just send him messages of what I need and when.  He preaches work/life balance and does his best to achieve it himself, although I'm guessing there are times when he bites his tongue and leaves something at the office behind to keep the peace at home.

I'm a lot more laid back than I used to be.  It probably helps to have an extra driver in the house and a handful of teenagers, and neighbors whose kids have the same activities going on.  We just had a conversation about all of it a while ago.  We are constantly raising our kids in a world where we're conscious of the fact that we're not raising children but young adults...what we teach them now helps to form the adults they will become.  A lot of what teach  comes from seeing what we don't want for them.  I wonder about the "new generation" of professionals in the worlds of public accounting, medicine, coaching, administration, etc.  I wonder if there is resistance to the long hours, the intensity that ends up making an office a family, the idea that what you achieve is related to the effort that you put in?  I see it in our kids...the attitude that only the bare minimum is necessary...that mediocrity is enough, that they deserve something for everything.  Not always, but enough that it is noticeable.  I wonder about what that means in the formation of relationships.  I know that I can appreciate where we are now because of where we've been and I worry that my kids won't know what to do with a hiccup because they've never had a bump bigger than a hiccup.

I digress...this is about what life looks like during this time of year for us...it's chaos, plain and simple.  It's dinner in the crock pot that no one eats and left overs that get thrown out, or dinner that gets served at 4 different times.  It's different mass times and different schedules.  It's one of us up super early in the morning and the other up super late at night.  It's saying hello as we pass each other in the door way.  It's half of our family at the baseball game while the rest are at a soccer game or at home.  But then its a family rosary on Sunday night and celebrating birthdays all together even if it's in a 30 minute window or a family trip in the middle of the season to celebrate a major milestone.  Family dinner still happens and we cherish it when it does.  Rainy days in the spring mean cancellations of outdoor events which bring the restoration of family time.  Tim and I stay up late catching up instead of unloading stress and we go for quick walks through the neighborhood that we feel so blessed to live in.

I think we've both come to recognize a lot more of the beauty in our chaos.  Our priorities look different.  Our abilities look different.  Our strengths look different.  I'm a little more capable of finding the beauty in the chaos than I was previously and maybe even a little more able to sit back and watch it rather than try to stop it.