to the gentleman in the Target parking lot ...

12 August 2015

Last week I finally made my first sojourn out of house with all five of my kids by myself since my youngest was born seven weeks ago. I was nervous not because I knew the logistics would be a nightmare with the baby's unpredictable crying, the three-year-old's affinity for bolting, the four-year-old's affection for camping out in the dollar spot making sure she asks for ALL the sparkly things for her birthday, and the two year old's newfound love for walking and not riding despite the fact that he is thee slowest walker of all time.  He doesn't walk. He lollygags, at best. But no, I wasn't nervous about any of that ... I was nervous about the stares and the inevitable and understandable comments.

And ... I wasn't disappointed! You were the first fellow Target patron we encountered walking into the store and you gave us a no-blink stare, a look of disgust, and let out a nice loud, "Jesus CHRIST!" and maybe you had felt called to bust out in spontaneous prayer at that very moment but I doubt it.


The one-year-old doubts it too.

I get it. Totally. We rival even the most spectacular three ring circus and if you had followed us through the store you may have had a few more choice words to chuck in our direction because it is crazy. Completely crazy. It's not doing anyone any favors to pretend that it's not. Some hours feel barely manageable just like they did when I had "just" one child (air quotes because ... the first baby .... no matter how easygoing and wonderful is still tough and a huge adjustment), two kids, three kids, four kids, and now five - and taking the crew out in public seems to exponentially magnify the insanity. So, it goes without saying that if you had followed us home and hung out for a few hours ... you would've been overwhelmed and maybe helped yourself to a stiff drink because sometimes everyone needs something urgent at the exact same moment. No one's skill set is loaded with a fat vat of patience, especially my own, and every morning ushers in another day peppered with chaos and crying.


Usually, not mine. Usually. 

But Mr. Prayer Warrior, you would've also gotten a peek into the occasional sweetness that dots every one of our days. You would've seen the two-year-old running to grab the two-month-old's paci (or maybe you prefer, "binky" ... to each their own!) because he sees I'm busy changing the one-year-old's diaper. You would've seen the three-year-old messily pouring half of his smoothie into the two-year-old's glass because what he lacks in walking speed he makes up for in smoothie speed chugging skills.


You would've seen the four-year-old offering to hold the baby so that I could get her, "just four or maybe a few more?" chocolate chips because selflessness runs in the family, and you would've seen the one-year-old loudly demanding to hold the baby so that she might pet his head semi-gently and kiss him 1.5 times before growing bored with her lap puppy.

You would've seen all of that alongside some tantrums and nap boycotting going down in an impressively messy house. I see it and hear it and am overwhelmed by it too.

But, not only do I take the good with all of the various and frustrating bad but I choose to decide that all of the sweet and the good absolutely outweighs all of the unpredictable bad. All of it.


Every single day.


Sincerely,

Crazy lady wearing one plastic pearl earring swimming in her own flesh and offspring walking into Target last Thursday morning

107 comments:

  1. Preach. I have 2 under 2 (in LA where children, like chihuahuas, should ideally just fit in your handbag) and get a lot of comments, so can only imagine what it must be like for you. My stock response to 'you have your hands full!' Is now 'yeah but it's so much fun.' Because it is. It's crazy, exhausting, diaper-based fun. Now open the damn door for me and my double chariot.

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    1. cracking up! The first time I used that long cart was the last time - I almost knocked over the entire store!!!

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    2. Pick your poison- long cart or toddler pulling down a bottle of rose champagne because 'PINK!' I'm smashing some stuff anyway, at least with the cart she (rarely) goes home smelling of booze.

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    3. I have four...one adopted. Asked if I ran a daycare recently. :( Love your "yeah but it's so much fun" statement. I'll be using that!

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    4. I say, "Yes, aren't I lucky/blessed/fortunate?!"

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  2. So sweet!!!

    And really, thanks for the note about how "only" one kid is tough, too. It's so reassuring to hear that from moms of multiples! We have #2 due in the next month-ish, and sometimes the idea of caring for multiple kids is terrifying... but it's nice to hear that we're not just bad at parenting because we struggle with just one sometimes, too!

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    1. I wish I had footage of me trying to get out the door with baby Julia - hilarious. Even with Simon's help. Remember that (unless you have twins) this is the only time you'll be doubling kids so -- of course it's tough! but soon they will be each other's entertainment while you eventuallllllly shower!!!! :) xo

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    2. My girlfriends love to remind me of the infamous post partum time after my first--that is important to the story. In the morning when my husband would make his sandwich for work, I would ask him to make me two--one for breakfast and one for lunch because how in the world was I going to make myself something to eat AND care for a newborn?!?!

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  3. To Mr. Target patron, seriously. first the second commandment you totally blew it.
    and obvio, you don't care about postpartum hormones. Bec I would have cried if I was Grace.

    To Mrs. one pearl earring, you are absolutely right. worth the smiles, snuggles and happy times OVER the chaotic ones.

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  4. To Mr. Target patron, seriously. first the second commandment you totally blew it.
    and obvio, you don't care about postpartum hormones. Bec I would have cried if I was Grace.

    To Mrs. one pearl earring, you are absolutely right. worth the smiles, snuggles and happy times OVER the chaotic ones.

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  5. Ah, people are annoying. Great post. I except to encounter similar rude comments as our brood continues to hatch.

    We only have two, but already get the "you have your hands full" cliche thrown at us.... I can only imagine what will happen if God sends four more our way, as He did for my parents :)

    Also, the previous commenter's quip about children fitting in one's handbag made me laugh.

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  6. Replies
    1. Yes, preach. The ONLY thing that keeps me from getting out more often with all 5 is knowing the stares and comments I get. It probably shouldn't affect me, but it makes me want to hide. And honestly I don't mind it too terribly much, it's mostly that my kids are old enough to understand the questions and the tone, and I really hate that they pick up on that "your family is weird" vibe.

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  7. you're a BA, Grace Patton.

    p.s. got a similar reaction while slumming it at Walmart once, but it was more along the lines of "that's a shitload of kids" and less, ah, prayerful. Which proves my theory of retail gentrification.

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    1. I walked Walmart in early labor with my dear husband in tow, and someone asked him not-so-kindly if "GEEZ," was I pregnant with twins (which as we all know is just someone saying in what they think is a polite way, wow she's huge!). That Walmart patron is lucky my belly prevented me from getting close enough to throw a punch.

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  8. You're way more forgiving than me, and a better person. I might have gone off on him, which is probably not fair because he probably ejaculated the name of Someone in vain without even thinking about it.

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    1. cracking up. I know I gawk at families with 3+ kids at church - I think it's just jarring sometimes even though I have kids. I was mostly taken aback and just had to laugh, honestly

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  9. I'm curious what a supportive comment would be if I ran into you or a similar "mom of many" and I unconsciously do a double take--I'd like to say something affirming so you know it's an empathetic stare and not a judgmental one. Thoughts?

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    1. oh, I do double takes ALL the time. Even, "you've got your hands full!" doesn't bug me because 99.9% of the time they mean well!!! Don't worry about double takes! :) I hope I didn't offend you!!!

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    2. A smile and something along the lines of, "Oh, what beautiful children!" is always a nice surprise when I'm out with my five.

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    3. That's it, Rhonda. I would love to hear something like that more often.

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    4. I have 4, 5 and under, and I love, love, love when people comment on the kids and share their own (quick, bc my hands ARE full) stories about how they have siblings close in age or high in number that they still like, or there was a big family on their street growing up and that was the best house to visit. I live in an area with a pretty big Catholic population so it's not uncommon for people to comment on how they have 7 siblings, etc. I also like when people tell my kids how lucky they are to have so many brothers and sisters. But honestly, I'm usually so excited to interact with another adult at all, just being even remotely friendly and not assuming you are bothering me is always nice. :)

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    5. We'll have four, 4 and under, here in a month, and I absolutely love it when people comment with "You have a beautiful family! :)". I think that's the best comment anyone can make whether you have 1 or 5 or more! ;)

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  10. I totally stare at big families, but only because I want to observe some expert parenting skills in action! I only have 1, and am endlessly curious about how to handle many at once.

    Love, love, love your perspective on why kids are awesome, even though they're nuts.

    And laughed out loud at your description of yourself. One-plastic pearl earring forever!

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  11. Your family is beautiful. I see families with a few pre-school age children more than I would expect and I make sure that I give a friendly smile. I have a 1 year old and a 2 year old and I get lots of "you've got your hands full!" comments. I just say "yes, I do! In a good way!". Or there was one time I was in the airport and I had my baby in the ergo, my 2 year old in the double stroller, and our stuff in the empty stroller seat and I just said "Actually, I don't! My hands are free!" and the guy laughed with me.

    You're doing a great job.

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  12. Seriously! What is the world is wrong with people. Did it really put him out so much and ruin his otherwise impeccable day to have done nothing more than *see* you with your beautiful children. *Seeing* a family with a lot of children chaps his hide so much that he has to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved from his view?! Incroyable!

    I fully expect the next Julia Styles round-up to include a big old "WHERE?!?!" following that man's comment.

    A swarming gaggle of beautiful, shrieking blond-headed children warrants a huge smile and an exclamation of "HOW ADORABLE!" The end.

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  13. Oh geez, people are so ridiculous! With one here, one in Heaven and (hopefully) more on the way, I'm in awe of ALL moms. The beautiful moments always outweigh the bad and I say that as my two year old Ted is refusing nap time and bed time in a crib now. You are amazing!

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  14. My jaw would probably drop if I saw you or similarly situated woman in the store. But I'd want to applaud you for your efforts and commitment to seeing through humanity because I'm 11wks pregnant with my first and, based on this first trimester experience, last child. I don't know how you do it! Brava!

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  15. Oh my heart aches. I so despise the comments. I always wonder why people feel the need to say anything. I only have 2 (that are spaced 2.5 years apart) and I get comments about how I have my hands full all the time. I know they mean well, but it always makes me feel like my kids are being poorly behaved and I didn't notice.
    I just smile and say "better than empty."
    I can't imagine being in your position. I think you are incredible and a great Catholic role model.

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  16. had a neighbor that had nine children and got comments all the time along the line of "how many more?" and "are you finished yet"? her reply was "we call them all the middle child because we just don't know..."

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    1. LOL! I wish I had heard this one before :)

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  17. LOVE, this made me teary because in the midst of all the crazy is a crazy amount of love and gratitude for those little humans no matter the struggles! I just never understand why strangers think you care about their opinions....keep them to yourself people!!!

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  18. Good for you, mama! You are raising up the next generation of faithful, wonderful people, and you are amazing! Don't let the haters get you down.

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  19. God bless you, Grace! And blessed be the Holy Name of Jesus!

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  20. Oh hugs Grace{{}} It hurts I know, we already feel so conspicuous in public and then to have this!{{}} We might think of lots of snarky replies but still...{{}} People are so insensitive, when we got a new van we went with tinted windows cause our older kids were sick of people visually counting them. Yes we're a crowd but we're individual people!

    Praying next time you'll encounter the lovely people, the older people who come up and give words of encouragement and reminisce.

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    1. I have a friend who was one of ten and she says they'd all count back. :-)

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  21. I have honestly never felt the need to stare or comment (in a negative manner) on anyone with kids close in age or anyone with several kids. I don't understand why others feel the need to either!

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  22. pssh. what an idiot! he doesn't deserve to grace the halls of target.
    just because I wouldn't have 5 kids (and who knows, maybe I will but at 0 right now, it's hard to predict) doesn't mean I judge people who do. What an absolute tosser to think his opinion matters.
    i'm sorry you have to deal with idiots like that Grace.

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  23. I have 5 under 5 too, and here's how the questions go:

    1) Wow! You really have your hands full! Are they all yours?
    2) Wow. Any twins?
    3) Who's the oldest? How old are they all?
    4) Do you have help?
    5) Are you going to have any more?
    6) God Bless! You have a beautiful family!

    Usually I find that people are genuinely just impressed and curious. Rarely are people mean spirited about it, like your Target guy. I always tell my husband that someday I'll be out with 5 (or more!) tweens/teens/etc and I will miss these days and all the comments I get from strangers...

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    1. I have 4 under 7... I've heard everything imaginable. Even unimaginable. See dialogue:
      Are they twins?
      No, they re not.
      Are you sure?
      Positive. They are 19 months apart.

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  24. So good. It's so hard to find the balance of being real and admitting that yes! life with littles is hard and messy and crazy and exhausting but on the flip side there's the exponential joy and love that comes with each kid.

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  25. I am expecting my first baby and your post made me tear up! Hormones? Maybe. Your writing filled with a mixture of humor and oh so much love is more likely the cause! Thanks, Grace!

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  26. Gawker: "You're hands are full!" 😱
    Me: "At least they aren't empty."

    Great post!

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  27. Good work Grace!

    I'm grateful that God blessed me with thick skin. Because comments just don't bother me too much. Most of the time I take them as an opportunity to say what a blessing kids are. (And I get plenty of opportunities with littles 9 months apart!)

    But the Target-man's comment doesn't really leave room for a reply. It's just aggressive - not the start of a potential conversation.

    And I'm in awe of your Target skills. I'm avoiding it like the plague right now - because how do you function with no double cart? My littles can't possibly walk that far, the older little freaks out if I put him in the main part of the cart, the littler little needs to be strapped in, and the Ergo is so hot. What do you do Grace? Teach me your tricks! Because I agree that the "kid friendly" double cart is anything but friendly.

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  28. My best friend has four boys. A four year old, a 16 month old and twin 2 month olds. She and her husband took the twins (the other two were with granparents) to walmart. As they were checking out a woman walks up like she knows them and proceeds to do as most people do with twins and as she's walking off says "I wouldn't wish that on anybody." I mean seriously?! People are so rude. I can't imagine what she would have said if she had all four kids. I felt for her and the questions she gets.

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  29. This is one of my favorite posts you've written. As a mom of 3u3 (can I still claim that now the the oldest just turned 3?), I hear all sorts of comments. I love the joy that you capture that makes any craziness 110% worth it. I don't know if we'll have 4u4, but I'm sure hoping that we'll at least make the 4u5 camp. Each child is such a blessing and adds so much to our already crazy family. :)

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  30. I love this post! So funny and sweet. By the way, do you have any nursery rocking chair or glider recommendations? Currently shopping for one...

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    1. here's the link to the one in the photo:
      http://www.deltachildren.com/products/nursery-furniture/gliders/morgan-upholstered-glider-in-dove-and-soft-grey-detail

      We love love it - it's from Target :)

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  31. This post was great. I just had my third and have already had the Lord's name in vain thrown at me too. When I used to walk into the grocery store with two kids (only 2?!!), I'd get the "you've got your hands full" comment all the time. I would be surprised because my kids were for the most part behaving, lol. Whatever. I'll take my messy house and crazy kids over any other day too. Thanks for sharing!

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  32. Ah, it takes me 2 hours to get out of the house with my one (4 weeks old) AND we still had to leave target today because she started crying.. So more power to ya mamas with more than one kiddo!! You all rock!

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  33. In. Credible. How anybody could see your bunch of beautiful children and not say something positive is beyond me.

    Reminds me of my daughter Rosie's blog post when she had *only* four children: http://rosie-ablogformymom.blogspot.com/2013/08/awkward-conversations.html And my grandchildren, of course, are the most wonderful kids in the world, so it completely baffles me how anybody could want fewer of them around!

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  34. Living live like a BOSS!! Loving your babies as best you can. Hugs and prayers from VA!!

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  35. You're so right! I'm on my first, he's 6 months old & some days, like today in Target seem so overwhelming! So, I can only imagine what it's like with 2,3,...5! You are brave momma! But, like you also said, there's sweetness in the chaos! Good for you being brave enough & tackling it!!

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  36. All of the Emoji praise hands up. Thank you for this.

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  37. YES. THIS. ALL OF THIS! I never experienced too many comments until going out with four. Now it feels like people go out of their way to make a comment. When we were hiking a man passed Chris and said "My God I hope you guys are done", Chris said ....ehh I think we need a few more! People are just crazy. The chaos of kids is the best kind there is!

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  38. I feel like Target is either the best or the worst people. Last time an older gent stopped us and gushed over the boys. But there are some mean folks, too. (although I think we often get a pass because people love twins...)

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  39. This post is great!! I have 4 children and while on vacation last week an older man told my husband he needed to get a job. Little did he know we did IVF with all 4 lol

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  40. I totally think whoa! that's a busy Mama if I see anyone with 3+ kids.....it's seeing the perspective outside of yourself I guess cause I have 5 πŸ˜‚ (last born about a week behind yours). Funniest comment I got was "what the F*%#!!" From a lady who quickly recovered and told me she always wanted a big family too 😜

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  41. Sometimes in my single twenty something naiveness I think, could 5 kids really be that hard? And then I quickly remember when I nannyed a 3 and 4 year old and all the times I shoved cake pops in their mouths to keep them quiet and happy. I cannot, I repeat CAN.NOT.IMAGINE. adding 3 younger kids to that equation. Basically you're awesome and I'm in for a wake up call in the future when struggle to take 1 kid anywhere. Bless.

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  42. I'm not going to lie...I gawk when I see big families. So much so that my husband will say, "Quit staring at them with that corny smile on your face." lol You see, I'm jealous and he knows it. I love the chaos, I love the tantrums, I love it all. So if you see someone like me smiling stupidly and craning their neck to watch you go by...please, just be flattered. Love, mom of 3 who would love ten but whose husband is an only child and threatened to go live off the land and be a deadbeat dad if we have even one more child (or dog...we have three of those also). ;)

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  43. LOVE! Way to go, brave lady! Last Sunday, at Mass, an older lady (with who I assumed were her two adult children) directly in front of us, turned around to give the Sign of Peace and saw the six of us in our pew. Her eyes got very wide and she whispered/mumbled, "Oh my! That's a lot of children!" I had to chuckle at the moment and laugh later because we ONLY have 4 and her response was not of disgust but of utter shock and surprise, I think. But I am dreading random ruder comments whenever/if nΓΊmero 5 comes along...

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  44. You go girl. I love your blog because of your authenticity. You don't pretend that motherhood is always easy, but your love for your babies is so evident. Plus, I chuckle at every post. I don't have children yet, but I hope to have your same perspective and a bit of your patience (I bet you have more than you think)!

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  45. I like to think that he was so overcome by your shining example of Catholic piety that he was exclaiming in admiration. As in: Jesus Christ! What a beautiful family!" Or "Jesus Christ! What well-behaved children!" I am guilty of visually counting people's children when I am out. But always in an admiring way, never in a negative way. And I always smile and if the occasion arises, comment in a positive way, like, "What lovely children!"

    My son is black and I am white. I often babysit for a little boy who is white. I am also now (very surprised to me) 27 weeks pregnant. So we get some double takes when we are out and a few impertinently phrased questions as to whether they all have the same father. Which- seriously? Most people are nice, but I get how even the positive attention/curiosity gets old quickly.

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  46. You are raising five wonderful children who will never make comments like that. The more the merrier! You're making the world a better place, one Patton at a time.

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  47. Amen❤️ I also have 5 littles and have been enjoying venturing out together to Fred Meyer. Baby on back, tiny four year old in cart, helpful 6 year old son pushing/playing, two actually helpful "older" daughters kindly gooing at baby and choosing produce. I only attempt it once a week and only if I know that I am emotionally able to cope!! It has been so fun and we have had so many people come up and talk to our kids and compliment them. Of course, I DO bribe them with doughnuts... And the boys go to the play place for a while❤️❤️ But my girls are 8.5 and 10 so it is a totally different ball game than when they were all tiny like yours! I just think people who are negative have issues of their own... One time a lady told me in front of my kids that she was from. Large family and it was terrible. So sad! But she smiled at my kids and said they were sweet.

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  48. I love this post! Keep beautifying the world with those Patton babies!!!!

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  49. After having three babes in less than four years, my fave reply to, "wow you have your hands full!" Was, "and so is my heart." Peach, Patton!

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  50. Oh my gosh, I needed this tonight. I felt brave taking all four and my belly grocery shopping. As soon as we hit the automatic door, I had a "runner" on my hands (as in, I was still loading the littlest in the cart and she had already managed to sprint to store location unknown). By the time I caught her, I had been yell whispering her name and red facedly chasing for some minutes. I got a JC from another store patron, but I thought, "yeah, that's fair."

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  51. I get some really hurtful comments as well. I've been trying to pray before getting out of the van lately to help prepare myself. We just got a 12 passenger van, so we get a lot of stares just over that. My kids are 5,4,3,2,1 and I'm 33 weeks pregnant. I know those comments are hard, but hang in there. God knows how important you're job is and how completely awesome your kids are! You're doing a great job!

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  52. So for real, "Mr. Prayer Warrior" made me snort laugh. Keep fighting the good fight!! It's hard cause it's holy. Jesus got pierced by nails. We've got Legos. :)

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  53. Herroooo! I felt so accomplished today and totally wanted to high five myself for taking 3 to the pool by myself all morning. And I won't touch target with all three after a catastrophe last month.. so basically you are amazing grace!

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  54. That first picture of Phoebe! #theebest

    I just don't understand why people need to comment on how many kids people have. Well - if I ran into you in Target - I would totally comment, but it would be more like "Oh my gosh, your kids are so cute, can I be their best friend?!" (but in a not creepy way).

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  55. Loved it. Well said, sister. I am used to the "you sure have your hands full!" comments, and then one day we were at the beach and a lady was commenting on our family, and she remarked how beautiful they were and how incredibly blessed I was. She told me that she and her husband had waited to have children and then had only had one, and she would have loved to had four or more, and then reiterated how truly blessed we were to have as many children as we did. She really was a pleasant surprise to me, since I am used to the "just wait till they're teenagers!!" thing, or whatever.

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  56. So, this one time, an Indian (dot not feathers) man saw "all" of my kids with me (I *think* I had three and was pregnant with the twins at that point), and proceeded to run through the gamut of the usual suspects: Are they all yours? Are you done? Pregnant, again? My, my.

    But then he pulled out an oldie but a goody with a twist: "Perhaps you will be needing a television set in your bedroom. Do you not have one already? You are being aware of what is causing this, yes?"

    And I thought: DUDE. Are you, a man, in a store by yourself, seriously asking me, a woman with several small children, if perhaps I should stop having sex so much...with the aid of TV???

    *Awkward* (Not that the TV line is fresh or anything, but it's usually uttered by a husband with his chuckling wife beside him).

    ANYWAY, as you can imagine, with my six, I've heard way worse than that, and I can totally relate to every single one of your words. And I just wanted to cheer you on and say, Yay! Keep having those babies, and keep plugging through the chaos and the eye-rolls.

    It is worth it. There is nothing better. The Lord does reward our efforts, even if the reward sure looks an awful lot like more work, punctuated by really sticky kisses that ruin our favorite shirts.

    Not that you asked, but this is pretty much my life verse right now: "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)

    Seems like motherhood in a nutshell to me.

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    1. I am cracking up at that guy!! What in the world!?

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  57. What a horrid bore he must be! I love seeing big families out and about. I am the youngest of six so it feels happy to me.

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  58. Yesterday in Costco someone smiled and said, boy you have a lot of helpers! I could have kissed him right then and there! It's so rare for the kids to hear anything positive about their collective existence.

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  59. I absolutely love this! I'm glad you said it was hard with one too. I have 2 kids, two and under. Some days, I feel like you felt with your 5. I feel so dumb because I only have 2! But then I remember, some days ARE hard..and that's okay. Rock it girl! You are a great mom! :)
    www.sweetlytattered.com

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  60. Haven't commented in a long while but am here to say: Stick it to the man, Grace!

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  61. What an asshole (sorry!). I have two kids, and that's about all I can handle, but families who can handle (or even not have a handle on it, and just survive it with grace, no pun intended) more (especially when just one parent is present) deserve gold stars, not judgement from strangers. It's not like you were hurting him. UNLESS THE CUTENESS WAS BLINDING HIS EYES.

    I'm humbled that your response was not anger and that you give him the benefit of the doubt. I tend to think people should keep their rude opinions to themselves, and it hurts my feelings when people look down on me for having children, or having more than one child, or having children close together, or having children young, or whatever it is they choose to point out. Not my favorite part of American society at large that we think it's okay to judge other people based on the number of children they have.

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  62. Funny story: I read your post about Bosco's birth and felt jealous because I still had another seven weeks to go, then I had my baby four days later. My third boy. Still recovering, not brave enough to take all three to Target yet. Even though I have my own squishy baby, I still want to kidnap Bosco.

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  63. Grace, have been meaning to ask if you and the lovely ladies here can pray for an Aussie Mum
    https://instagram.com/chloeandbeans/
    Lovely Chloe is only 22 and has children; 3, 2 & 1. and has recently been blessed with triplets! born at 29 weeks!!

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  64. Grace I am one to 10 kids born within 14 yrs...my mom is a saint. dad was wonderful but he worked long hrs. I think he thought we all lived in our catholic school uniforms all day long! Mom took us grocery shopping and to the library every week. no one stayed home. She also took us to the beach, to walk around NYC and to tour any historic parks in the area. Notice all of the above mentioned day trips were free! We all wore blue t-shirts or sweatshirts on any outings. My siblings are my best friends and I wouldnt change a thing! Love following your journey!

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  65. Perfection. Spot on. I still remember going to the grocery with a few of my step kids and my brand new baby twins and being asked - in front of my step kids who were all over age 10 - "You do know what causes that, right?" Thanks for that discovery channel introduction, Nosey Nellly.

    You may not feel like the most patient person. You may feel entirely overwhelmed. Sometimes you may feel that way all day. Or multiple days in a row. I do. But you have an amazing sense of humor and your heart shows through your writing even to this perfect stranger. Those five kids are lucky to have you as their mom. And that lovely gentleman at target can bug off.

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  66. Love this, Grace. As a woman with no kids, I think you're doing awesome with your 5 :).
    www.hartsindurham.com

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  67. Grace, it has been so long since I posted but I couldn't resist today. You are fabulous, a beautiful Mom, with gorgeous children and pulling it off fantastically! You deserve praise and thanks for all you and Simon are accomplishing. We need you two and your children to fill up this world with good, happy, holy families. It might be messy now but you are building our future and doing it with style and "grace"! God bless you! Keep it up!

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  68. Nailed it, per usual. So awesome!

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  69. Grace, while I am sure that you run into this a lot, you rarely comment about it on your blog. This must have really upset you and rightly so! Your words here are charitable and gracious and spoke the truth: the best days are all around us but so are the hard ones. That's the nature of raising kids and a loving perspective can make all the difference in the world. Take care of you--& you are doing a wonderful job loving those babies.

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  70. I am the oldest of five although my siblings and I are spread out more in age than yours. There is a ten year span between myself and my youngest sister and our house was crazy sometimes (most times) so I can only imagine what it would be like to have five who are still so young. It is amazing how strangers think 5 kids= time to intervene. I just wanted to encourage you by saying that one day your children will look back on these days with such happy memories. The blessings of having a big family are too many to count- i just can't express how wonderful it is to have two sisters and two brothers. You are doing a great thing!

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  71. As my late father would have said, "tell him to get bent"

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  72. I have three girls.. The oldest turns 5 on Saturday, middle is nearing 4 and the youngest is 1. I get so many stares and comments that just blow me away.. as if I have "too many" children. Then, those same people ask me if we are going to try for a boy. Which is it?! I love being a mom of all girls and would give anything to be able to have more, but health problems have caused that baby train to end. My husband and I want to be able to adopt one day, and I kind of want to adopt all girls just to add to the madness. haha!

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    1. Same issue here with the health problems, I'm so sorry! However, with a boy and a girl, I get the "Well, you're done now. One of each!" Yes, because we are 'collecting' children'. I guess I can move on to porcelain birds now.Bah!

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  73. Your sincere humility and humor is what makes you and your blog unique and approachable. You come off far from judgmental, so I'm sure it was especially shocking to have such a rude encounter. I only have 2, but often my oldest has behavior issues that get looks of scorn from strangers. Your description of your kids shows that you are teaching them well and they are lucky to have each other. If that man has any children of his own, may they learn acceptance of others from their mother!

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  74. First if all, I am thrilled to see all the positive comments for Grace. Second, men are sometimes absolute idiots. I had a repairman spout out the old "you do know how that happens don't you?" to me while I was pregnant with my second(!). Said man did in fact know I had only one other and it took ALL I had not to smile and say "Why, no! Enlighten me o wise one." Sorry this guy was a jerk, Grace, children are a blessing!

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  75. Love it! I get comments all the time. I have five as well and it IS crazy, but I wouldn't change it for the world. And while the comments are usually with a negative connotation, every now and then there is a sweet and genuine one in there. Just yesterday, at Whole Foods (what was I thinking???), I was asked if they were all mine. When I replied yes, the woman at the register smiled widely and commented on how blessed I was. It was so unusual and kind that I actually did a double take and was speechless for a second. There are a few rare gems out there :-)

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  76. Amazing. I'm pregnant with my first and have been utterly shocked at what people think they have the need to say- I can only imagine this situation. Props to you for refraining from physical violence :) You should enjoy that stiff drink!

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  77. Maybe, just maybe, it's the third trimester hormone train, but this actually made me cry. Like so excited to have a big house full of kids and stare right back at those Tar-gey prayers, kind of cry : )

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  78. I have to admit, if I saw you enter Target with your posse of 5, I would probably double take and openly stare (while counting), until I caught myself, and then just surreptitiously stared. Five children in a group is a sight. But I would NOT be staring and judging. I would be admiring, laughing to myself at the crazy, goofy, insanity of five small children, and sending you my good vibes of Mommy solidarity against the candy aisles and sparkly displays and forgetting that one last thing all the way on the other side of the store (is toilet paper really necessary???). I like how his negativity reaffirmed your life choices. Yes it's hard, but it's also good. I hope all naysayers only make you prouder.

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  79. Emoji praise hands up. By far, my favorite sentimental Camp P post of all time. You're absolutely right - it will always outweigh. That dude. Man, if all of us mommies of "more than you should "reasonably" want" had a nickel for every time...we might be able to send all of our kids to college.

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  80. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!! I may have teared up. #pregnant. Maybe his "JC" was more of a she's-a-rockstar-and-needs-to-be-praised sort of rhetoric? You should be. Well. Done. πŸ‘πŸ»

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  81. Ah made me cry! You are a wonderful, wonderful mama with beautiful children and the relationships between them are so spectacular and unique and only you and yours could ever understand and that's what makes it Amazing and I also am a run on sentence queen!!!

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