Our Five Ring Circus

Friday, July 19, 2019

Myrtle Beach Family Vacation - Reminiscing About The Last Day

Myrtle Beach Family Vacation

It has been almost one full year since our last family vacation. If you have been following along for a while, you already know it was a big one. While we were in Myrtle Beach, we found out we were expecting baby #5! And the rest is history...


My final Myrtle Beach family vacation recap got lost in my drafts folder during those 9 very long months of morning sickness, and those exhausting early days with a newborn. Because I tend to be very particular about some things, I can't just leave it hanging around in there. I have to finish my recap, or else it will bug me until I do!

Right now seemed like a good time to recap, and I found myself reminiscing as I finished writing this post. Sadly, we're not going to the beach this year, and it's my happy place. I'm very bummed (my husband and kids are, too), but traveling that far this year was going to be very tough. It's a combination of adulting, and having a new baby who DESPISES the car.

Every so often I want to say let's just do it, then I imagine being tethered by a breastfed baby who likes to eat all the time, while my 5 year old runs in the opposite direction toward danger, and I change my mind. Plus, 8-12 hours each way of Coen screaming would be rough. But I want to - I really want to - and if we didn't have to get a new SUV or pay for some home repairs, I would go anyway. So I'm just going to look through all of these pictures when I feel a longing for the beach, and count down the time until we can go back. (But not too fast, because my kids need to slow their grow!)

Here's what we did on the last day of our Myrtle Beach vacation, and on our trip home...

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What I Bought on Amazon + An Awesome Amazon Tip

What I Bought on Amazon + An Awesome Amazon Tip

Oh, Amazon Prime! It's no wonder so many people are fans. Their selection, pricing, and super fast shipping speed can't be beat! Amazon took over my household, and they're pretty much taking over the world!


We're big Amazon Prime fans! We buy so much from them on a monthly basis - gifts and necessities. I even use Amazon as my "store" of choice when I'm running low on a household item and don't want to drag 5 kids to an actual store!

We bought 21 things from Amazon in June, but I'm not going to list them all. Some of them were wedding gifts off of an Amazon registry, some of them were gifts for friends and family, and I have no business or interest in discussing the blade attachment my husband bought for our weed wacker! (Just keeping it real.)

Check out the Amazon Prime purchases I made in June, and keep reading to find out an awesome way to save if you are a special needs family...

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Life Lately

Big Family Life

Life with five littles is busy - so busy! I'm barely sleeping, we're always on the go, my to do list is ridiculously long, and there's NEVER enough time. This isn't a complaint. It's just a fact. I absolutely love having a big family, but it is a lot of work!


I could easily write a blog post about each day of parenthood. There's never a dull moment, and there are plenty of stories (and pictures) to share! Considering I barely have time to breathe, that just isn't going to happen, so I'm going to sum up life lately in one post.

Here's a glimpse at life with my crew over the past few weeks...

Monday, July 15, 2019

Diapering Essentials For At Home and On The Go

Diapering Essentials For At Home and On The Go

I received some of the items below as a complimentary gift. As always, I only share the items I truly love!

During the first year of your baby's life, you're going to be changing a LOT of diapers! Stocking up on diapering essentials can be overwhelming at first because there are so many brands and so many types of products. There are many products you won't need, but also quite a few products that will make this messy job quick and easy to do!


I have five children, and my diapering essentials list changed with each baby. Some products were simply a waste of money, and I never bought them again. I also discovered new products over the course of 14 1/2 years of parenthood. If you have the basics - diapers and wipes - you're set, but some extras just make the job easier!

Stock your changing area with these must have diapering essentials:

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

How My Family Scared Off A Police Officer

Big Family Blogs

Every family has a funny story to tell. It's the kind of story that gets told over and over again. It's the kind of story that will never be forgotten. It is so good that it quickly becomes THE family story. Our family story involves a pregnant mama, a car full of kids, and one completely overwhelmed police officer. 


As I was going through the list of blog posts that I still have to publish (the list is SO long), I realized that I hadn't shared this story yet! Actually, in the midst of a tough pregnancy and the exhausting days with a newborn, we didn't even share it with many people. But those who heard it laughed right along with us!  It's certainly a moment Grant, Dylan, Lexie, Lily, Liam, and I will never forget!

Let me set the scene: picture an overwhelmed husband, a sick wife, a newly discovered surprise pregnancy, a car jam-packed full of kids and luggage, and 611 miles to drive home...

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Life Before Baby #5

Baby #5

As a mom, it seems like I measure time in life before baby arrived, and life after. I have been a mom for 14 1/2 years, and I truly can't remember what life was like BEFORE I had kids! Now here I am, trying to play catch up for the last year that flew by while I was pregnant or adjusting to life with five kids!


I was so sick during my pregnancy with Coen, just like I was with every other pregnancy. Every single day I battled morning sickness until the day I delivered him. When you are that sick, it's truly a struggle to make it through the day, let alone blog. BUT...I want to catch up on some of the life posts that slipped by while I was sick since this is partially a journal of our lives.

I did so well documenting weekly life for the first 6 weeks of 2019, and I'm determined to finish it. I'm definitely a visual storyteller (or so Facebook tells me), so I might not remember the exact details of the last two weeks before Coen was born, but with the help of all the pictures I took and my beloved Cozi calendar, I just might be able to do a somewhat decent job. All I know is that I was miserably pregnant for those last two weeks of my pregnancy. I was still sick, I was contracting all the time, and I knew my baby was huge. (Spoiler alert: I was right.) The next document life post I will be sharing is Coen's CRAZY birth story, so stay tuned!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin - A Sensory Play Experience for Kids of All Ages

Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin

It's the first weekend of Summer, the weather is beautiful, and we're so excited to be outside! The only problem is our hose is temporarily out of commision, so water activities are a no go right now. Cooling down with a Water Beads & Soap Foam Sensory Bin was a fun alternative!


My kids are obsessed with water beads! I don't really blame them. They really are fun to play with. There's a reason they put them in gel masks now! ;) Plus they are super inexpensive, and a little goes a long way!

We are big fans of sensory play, and I'm a proponent of letting kids get messy and learn through play. Play really does matter, and introducing sensory experiences at a young age is really important. Sensory play helps kids learn with all of their senses, AND helps them work on their motor skills! Water Beads are a super cool sensory bin filler, and even babies can play (with supervision). Supercharging it with foam soap makes this bin extra fun!

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Dance Recital

Dance Recital

Well, we did it! We survived - and recovered from - dance recital week. Any parent who has a tiny dancer knows EXACTLY what I'm talking about!


Lily just finished up her third year of dance. This past year, she took jazz, ballet, and acro for the second year in a row, with her BFSB. (Best Friend Since Birth - she came up with that term!) She dances at a local top-ranked dance studio (they just announced they placed in the top 20 dance studios in the nation), and they have an amazing award-winning competitive team, so the recital is always a huge production!

The week leading up to the recital was intense! Lily had her last dance class, then a rehearsal to learn the recital finale, then a full dress rehearsal, then another finale rehearsal...and finally, the recital...PHEW. Plus, I had to cut, tie, and bedazzle two recital shirts for the finale. It took F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Lily was nervous (her former thespian parents told her that was perfectly normal), but had an amazing time!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites - Mom Blog / Pittsburgh Blog / Baby Blog / Down syndrome Blog / Big Family Blog

Happy Friday! It has been a long time since I shared a few of my favorite things. Life got in the way of blogging - having a baby and adjusting to having five kids will do that. BUT...I figured it was time to get back into posting my favorites regularly!


Life lately has been very busy. Our Summer Break just started, but it doesn't feel much like a break at all. We're in the midst of dance recital week, and it's all we can think about right now! Next week should be a bit more calm!

I discovered so many new favorites over the past few weeks. Some are for me, some are for my kids. I'm taking advantage of the quiet time in my house (AKA the middle of the night), to list my favorites for all of you!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

School's Out for the Summer - The Last Week of the School Year

School's Out for the Summer!

School's out for the Summer! Dylan, Lexie, Lily, and Liam had their last day of school on Friday. They are now joining me and baby Coen at home until September 9th. The last week of the school year was a busy one, and although the last day of school was bittersweet, my crew is excited about the Summer ahead!

This past week included a fun event in our little town, a school kindness celebration, middle school graduation and a dance, an 8th Grade class trip to Cedar Point, Liam's annual eye exam, an oil change and car shopping, Lily's last dance class, the last day of school, a baseball game, sleepovers, and fireworks. I wish we had a lazy week ahead of us, but Lexie was asked to represent the school's STEAM program during the school board meeting tonight, Lily has a practice for the dance recital finale tomorrow, the dance recital rehearsal is on Thursday, Liam has an early baseball game on Saturday, and Father's Day and the dance recital is on Sunday. Gone are those lazy Summer days!

We are only four days into Summer Break and I can tell it's going to be a busy one! Kids are entering and leaving our house in a continuous loop for sleepovers/playdates. Did I also mention that Coen is rolling over EVERY time I put him down to sleep, then gets angry and starts screaming? Sleep just isn't happening for either of us! So many moms say that Summer is actually busier than the school year, and that seems to be the case this year.

Here's a glimpse at the last week of 8th Grade, 6th Grade, 2nd Grade, and Kindergarten..