Road trip!!!

Whoa! I haven’t posted since April 28th? I may have had excuses… Like a sick toddler, followed by a sick baby, extreme sleep deprivation and preparing for a short-fused move. Yes, we are moving. Packing-up. Vacating.

We are listing our house. Preparing to put it on the market. It’s a long story and I am thinking of starting another blog to chronicle this new turn in our family’s life. But in a nutshell this is a positive change in our life. We love our current house and especially our large-family-sized kitchen and backyard but life is about more than kitchens and backyards, isn’t it?

On the bright side, we are moving into a rental property which means that we have the luxury to move out before listing our house. If you know anything about real estate, you are probably attacking your keyboard to tell me that empty houses are harder to sell than full ones, to which I reply “Don’t forget how many children I have”.

Trying to pack a house with three very young children underfoot has been an exercise in frustration. I get a box started. Assuming I find the tape-gun, I start filling it up. Then the babies wake-up. 2 hours later, it’s time to pick-up the kids from school. When I return to my box, the children have found their most favorite (book, shoes, top, toy) EVER and the content of the box are strewn across Hell’s half-acre.

When my husband and I started to talk about listing our house I said: “You realize that you will move us essentially on your own.” He said yes. I meant it.

Needing a break from doing something slightly nutty (moving a family of 10 with infant twins), I decided to do something quintessentially normal: take my two daughters to a sports competition 700 km away. I couldn’t leave my husband alone with the twins and the toddler to pack-up the house, so I brought everybody, along with my mother for supplemental handy-womanry. For a woman like me, even “quintessentially normal” ends-up slightly nutty.

Pit Stop on the Four-oh-One. Met another Ottawa mother traveling with twins and her parents. We were both all business and we let the proud grandparents do the chatting.

It’s when I do “normal” that I realize how abnormal I am. I go to the hotel pool and I’m the only parent in the water. I look at the other parents sitting together poolside and I can see those I know telling those I don’t know that I have 8 children and the youngest are twins. I can see it by the look on people’s face, a mix of disbelief and contempt. As we return to our room to dry-up and change, I notice several families leaving together for supper or meeting to order pizza. Back to my room, I told my mother:

I don’t think people even realize that I would like to be included.  I think that although I see myself as a normal person with more children than most, people see me as abnormal, different, and are either intimidated or not interested.

To which my ever-wise mother replied: “Véronique, you are not normal.” Here I was, at a sports competition 6 hours away from home, with “only” 5 children, two of them babies, one of them running a fever, when most people can’t even imagine themselves with 3. Back home, my husband “only” had 3 children and was having a blast packing-up the house. If moving is ranked as one of life’s top 5 stressful experiences, someone should talk to my husband: without the three youngest, moving was positively restful! (Worry not I have since returned with my sick infant, my restless toddler and the other, quieter, baby and any rest that may have been felt has now been annihilated).

“We went to Toronto but all I saw was the canopy on my car seat” — Eve & Lucas

I’m glad we went. I may have mixed feelings about the wisdom of trying to pull “normal” stunts with my abnormal gang but it all went over  my athletes’ heads: they were thrilled to be there with their coach and their teammates. They were even spared the pediatric car ride, being given the opportunity to drive up and back with a friend.

“Present!” (the one in the gym suit is not the one competing. But she has the fire all right!)
Celebrating a strong showing — level 5 daughter placed in all her events — with late lunch. OK, we would have had lunch even without the prizes. But she got to choose where!
And here is our Level 5 star!
Turning heads in friendly Burlington!
Our Level 4 athlete was competing at 6 pm. Of course, we all got a bit tired.
Hairdo malfunction: the braids flew in her face during her beam routine.
The best part of the weekend was shopping the bargain leotard bin with her sisters. Gym suits are great to play street hockey too!