What Does Your Life Smell Like?

I have something I need to get off my chest.

*deep breath*

No matter how many viral posts I may write, or what my stats may be on any given day – my dining room floor will almost always look like this:

IMG_0407Just keepin’ it real.

Shall we catch up?

Hearken back with me to the days of yore – namely, last week. My sister aged a year and threw a party to celebrate. They decorated Grampaw’s house to look like a speakeasy, which was ironic because Prohibition has been alive and well in that home for lo, these many years. But they pulled it off and we had us a fun Mafia Murder Mystery, complete with costumes.

IMG_0516Andrew proved his acting chops as Waldo, the Godfather’s brother, and then was unceremoniously poisoned in the third act. Show business is a brutal profession.

IMG_0496Our kids were totally un-phased when we left the house dressed as Angela “the Cannoli” Cannellini and her Uncle Waldo. Because I guess we leave the house dressed like that all the time????

(No, it’s because their favorite babysitter lets them play Wii as much as they want and they didn’t look up when we left.)

Anyway, it should be noted that I held my sweet new nephew and sniffed his newborn head and it was glorious. And my ovaries made nary a sigh. All is well.

IMG_0514Yesterday, just as I was getting ready to start my work-out, the dentist called. I forgot to take the five oldest kids to their dental appointments. They told me I only had time to bring three so we raced out the door and I made it to the office with three children and no shoes on. They must love me there – the flaky mom who shows up half dressed.

Willa got her first teeth cleaning and the hygienist thought I might want to document it. I took pity on poor baby #5 and we made sure she’d have a picture to show her children some day. “See, kids? My parents dressed as gangsters but they did encourage good oral hygiene – when they remembered.”

IMG_0519And, finally, we’re studying World War 2 this week, soldiering firmly on like Christmas break isn’t breathing down our necks. The kids are soaking up all sorts of information from the books I handed them and are quickly outstripping me in knowledge. Today, Ian and I learned how to blow the yolk out of eggs so he could make a model balloon flotilla like they had in the London Blitz.

And if you followed that, may I congratulate you on your nerd-hood.

IMG_0528I got so distracted by my nine year old’s puffed-out cheeks and how they made him look like he did when he was two that I completely forgot the point of the project and resorted to singing “Sunrise, Sunset” in the kitchen.

Ian went on un-phased.

Which is beginning to be a theme in our little world, isn’t it?

Our babysitter is the oldest of seven and she told me that one of the perks of being in a large family is that you really do “roll with it” well. You learn flexibility. You are comfortable that sometimes someone will forget to tell you the plan and you’re just along for the ride.

And just as I was sitting here trying to tie this up in a neat little bow, Sam proved me wrong. Ian is at a friend’s house for the night and since Sam has already experienced this particular bit of fun, I figured it was no big deal. But the nine year old who put his head in my lap and cried because his missed his twin brother?

He tells me you can’t just roll with everything.

So I guess this will end as messy as my dining room floors. A swirl of humanity, brother-and-sisterhood, confusion, laughter, and tears. Just like my life.

But without the newborn smell.Β Finn mostly smells like spit and peanut butter…



  1. Love this post. And smelling newborns–just not sure my ovaries would behave as well as yours! πŸ™‚

  2. This was great!
    On the side of offering non-consolation, my dining room floor still looks mostly like that; I have three teenagers and a ten year old…
    and we can NEVER find the TWO brooms that live here.
    His cheeks puffed out DO make him have baby face! I might have found that distracting too.
    Your costume was gorgeous.
    Merry Christmas WEEK!

  3. I thought it was a picture of Finn at first. πŸ™‚ Great article. Your poor little twin missing his brother. πŸ™ I don’t think our twins have been apart long enough to miss one another yet. πŸ˜‰

  4. My husband keeps saying I need to get one of those robot vacuums that goes around on it’s own to keep our floors clean (very similar to your’s except we have a whole lot more mud and dirt). But I told him that robot would not survive an hour in our home, either it would die of sucking up too much dust in just a matter of minutes or it would be crushed by a child trying to ride on it!!!

  5. Hey! I know this totally isn’t related to this post, but I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 boys with PCOS, and I’m considering starting Barre3 in the New Year, partly because it seems like if it can help you and actually be doable, maybe I have a shot at it. Can you give more specifics how its helped with your PCOS symptoms, how often you exercise, how you manage that, etc.? Thanks a ton!

  6. Lora Lynn Fanning says:

    Ellen – It’s very doable. The flexibility of being able to choose the time I can work out, and even spread them throughout the day if it’s a crazy sort of day, makes it much more manageable for me. Four ten minute work-outs spread throughout the day are just as effective and the Barre3 website makes it easy. My preference, however, is to get a 40 minute work-out in 3 times during the week and a 60 minute work-out in on the weekend. I do it after lunch while my older kids are doing schoolwork and my babies are napping. Sometimes I might get an extra 30 minutes in, but other weeks, it’s less. I found it REALLY helped my mood, which made me actually WANT to work out. And my endocrinologist saw a very notable difference in my blood work when I’d been working out regularly for a few months. He said I’d all but erased it from my labs. Added 3 extra years or more to my life and extended the wait for full-blown diabetes.

    The hardest part is making myself go downstairs and do it. I put on my work-out clothes immediately after lunch, like a promissory note. If I’m feeling especially droopy, I dab some Wild Orange oil on my wrists for energy. Then I tell myself “alone time, think of it as alone time” and force myself down those steps. My kids interrupt me sometimes but they know it’s Mommy’s time and they’re better off if they DON’T interrupt me. I come upstairs and much happier person and that’s better for everybody.

    Best of luck to you! I Highly recommend Barre3. It’s great for my spine, my energy, my emotions, and my physical health. Win win. Let me know how it goes!!

  7. I just found your blog through another blog where you did a guest post on managing a large family. I, too, have 7 but I am a little further ahead of you. My eldest is 14.5 and my youngest is 3.5. You have the cutest “little” family. Anyway, I really just wanted to say that this made me giggle and I like your blog.

  8. Thanks so much for the detailed reply! I’m pulling together everything to get started after the new year. My fit ball mini came in the mail the other day. I am going to have to work out during rest time, and I am a little grumpy about having to give up sitting on the couch and reading for working out, but I think I need to just do it. I was working out once a week with Jazzercise, but it gave me plantar fasciitis, so I had to quit. I’ve seen the benefits in my mood, too, and I feel like I’m starting to have more symptoms from my off hormones with PCOS, so its past time.

    I found out that I have PCOS because I couldn’t get pregnant. 2 of my 3 children were injectable FSH drug pregnancies, and I have no idea where my baby came from. He was a wonderful shock. I may have him because I was working out regularly during the time I got pregnant.

    I know PCOS can be a catch all diagnosis that covers lots of different kinds of ovarian dysfunction. How did you know you needed to see an endocrinologist? I’m wondering if that might be something I need to pursue.

    Thanks for all the help. I figured if a homeschooling mom of 7 can work out without a gym, a homeschooling mom of 3 can make it happen somehow. πŸ™‚

  9. Lora Lynn Fanning says:

    Ellen – I was diagnosed years ago when we first started trying to have kids. It took us two years to get the twins and several rounds of Clomid… but then it was kind of downhill from there. πŸ˜‰

    I highly recommend an endocrinologist. They can run more detailed labs and are better equipped to help you manage any medication you might need. They see PCOS all the time and I think they are far more helpful. HOWEVER, a lot of them just point the finger and say, “Well, clearly you just need to lose weight and you’ll feel better.”

    run away from that dr. A good endocrinologist knows how HARD it is to lose weight with PCOS and will work with you to help you figure out the magic bullet for YOUR body. They are understanding and don’t blame YOU for something you can’t control. Just a lesson I’ve learned the hard way… πŸ™‚

    Best wishes for some healing and good workout mojo this year!

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