Full Plate Mom (FPM) is mom to 11. Yes, 11. Yes, they're all hers. No, her house isn't a daycare. No, she isn't on a field trip. She isn't a missionary (she likes wine too much and she swears too often). FPM is a small business owner, Advanced Practice Nurse, and waiting child advocate.
Last July, I started a book club with some of my besties. I chose three of my kids who had a similar reading level and I crowdsourced a book that they might all like. I downloaded the reading guide for the book here. We had multiple meetings at local restaurants where I had gift cards…
We’re one week into summer break now, and adjusting to our new schedule. It has been an extra adjustment to have me back home again, and in charge of moving the children place to place. Oh the places they need to move. So many places. We lost our 3rd driver last week. Ally has a…
There are 11 mothers out there whose hearts are probably wondering. For me, every Mother’s Day starts a little early. The kids are too excited for any sort of festivities, and after all these years, I make a big deal out of it too. A low key deal, but a big deal. I accept all…
I can’t believe that this is where we are! I feel like it was yesterday that I was praying her into our home from Ghana. She was 9 years old at the time and all I could think was “we missed half her childhood.” We’ve had 9 years of her here with us before she…
This past September I began working in our local school district in the role of School Nurse. I know it seems like an odd move for me after working for myself for 2+ years. Not gonna lie, I miss the flexibility of making my own schedule. I miss making as much money as I did…
We had a wonderful holiday, complete with two full weeks off for all of us. This is a big change from the way things used to be. Usually, I’ve gone back to work right after the first of the year, but now my holiday matches the kids.
When the school year began I accepted a full-time work out of home job as a School Nurse. It wasn’t my nursing experience that led to my hiring though, not exactly. It felt odd to sit in an interview and have my life experience distinguish me for hiring. All the post-masters training I did in Complex Developmental Trauma was what made the district take an interest in me. I started that training so that I was a better mom to all of you. I hope to carry forward all that we learned so that I can help teachers support children the same way we support each other. I am so proud of how we have come full circle. From helping each other, to helping each other.
So much healing has happened here.
So much healing is still to come.
It’s the beginning of a new era now. I always feel two ways about that, sad that so many of you are getting so big, and happy that we’ve come through all of this together. Change is hard for me. It always has been.
Some of you aren’t babies anymore. I try to respect that here, writing about you less and less because you have voices of your own. I am so proud of you though, so proud. You’re taking the ACT, driver’s ed, and making plans for what you’ll do after high school. No matter what you do, I am so proud. But, we’re coming full circle there too, as I hear some of you discussing plans to become adoption social workers or trauma-informed teachers yourselves.
Of course, there are a few of you who still plan on becoming a princess and an astronaut, at the same time. We’re cool with princesses in space over here too.
–FullPlateMom, who can’t wait to watch you all launch.
Hi Kids! It’s mom here. I’m writing to you at the tail end of our Disney 2018 adventure. We haven’t been here since January of 2017. We were supposed to come in January of 2018, but your sister’s impending arrival put a little crimp in those plans, so here we are, ten months later. Isabel is with us, and we all agree the delay was so worth it.
I wanted to commit to memory some things about 2018’s trip. Sometimes, years after we take these trips, when we’re back in the most magical place on earth, and your favorite place to be, I get flashes of memories and I think ‘I should write that down before I forget!’ So, here I sit, on the patio of our Grand Villa at Saratoga Springs, writing it down before I forget.
First and foremost, I want to remember what it felt like for all of us to be together. This is Ally’s Junior year of high school. It is a little bit of a question mark how long she will be able to come with us. Although, she insists it is forever. I want to remember that, because forever is a hard promise to keep. I want to remember what this little girl looked like when she met her beloved Mickey Mouse. This was her first visit, and it didn’t disappoint. She RAN through the parks with reckless abandon, searching for that mouse. We finally found him at a character breakfast. A $900 character breakfast that Disney paid for because of a mistake they made with our reservation. Let’s remember that too, not because of the mistake, that made me cry, because it was a doozy, but because sometimes mistakes are huge blessings in disguise.
I also want to remember this face. Gigi finally had the language to understand ALL of what was happening around her. She marveled at the interpreted shows we saw. Thank you Disney, for providing ASL interpreters, it means the world to this girl. She has named all the characters, this one is ‘Carrot Nose.’ She was THRILLED to meet him. She knows he is friends with ‘Princesses, Frozen’ and I interpreted as she asked him all about them, in ASL. ‘Princesses, Frozen, where? You are friends! Tell them, COME!’ Carrot Nose, couldn’t make them appear, but she was cool with that too. Hugs and onto the next thing! She has grown so much in her time in our family. What once would have caused a complete meltdown is now explained to her and she simply moves on. Thank God for language.
I want to remember how the Christmas decorations were just going up as we got here for this trip, how we’ve never seen that before, and how excited all of you were. They appeared overnight and you all declared it ‘magic.’ I want to commit to memory how you all believe, so wholeheartedly, in magic.
I want to remember that this was the year that Cate posed for photos with a sass that only she could pull off, and only at this moment in time. I took about 1000 pictures of you, Cate, because of this moment in time.
I want to remember that this year, at the age of 8, was the year that Bowen FINALLY reached 40 inches tall and got to ride a rollercoaster. I want to remember what that did for his self-confidence, and how he declared himself no longer little. He is now ‘a middle’ in our family.
I want to remember our bigs. I want to remember how Ally spent all day wrangling strollers, without ever being asked, she just did.I want to remember how Cam, Brady and AJ set down their phones, chose not to venture off on their own when offered, and spent all day in the Magic Kingdom riding all the little kid rides with their younger siblings, because they believe in magic too, just a different variety.
Tomorrow we’ll start week 3 of school. Last week was our first full week. They are ALL back at school now.
We’ll pretend this one says ‘first day’, but I’m not changing it, because this is SO Jax.
All the sass.
It was my first day of school too. In May I applied for a job I never thought I would be accepted for in our local school district. I am a School Nurse at two schools that are ‘Behavioral Health Schools.’ We are focusing on Mental Health outcomes for our students. I am so proud to get to be part of this. Working with teams who focus on how poverty, past trauma, and race affect student achievement in school. But, I also get to see kids who have fallen on the playground and scraped their knee, or kids who have lost their first tooth.
It’s crazy hard, but just like most things in life, it is worth it.
And, the health insurance is really great too.
–FullPlateMom, who is stocking her office with some great tools for mindfulness.
Sorry, kids. I fell behind on blogging our trip. It was too much fun. You all make anywhere fun. I know how hard it is for us to travel as such a large crew, but you are always up for our fast paced adventures. I am so grateful for that.
You bigs did a great job of helping tote the littles. You hoisted them onto your backs when they were tired. You took people to the potty every time you noticed an emergency. You never complained about the lack of funds for eating out. You were so patient with our ‘PB&J on the fly’ diet, because these littles never sit still. I see you middles too, becoming bigs, by watching what they do, and I love it.
Here are a few pics from the last two days of our adventures. We did so much! Tess loves to “wander”, and wander we did.
To the Air & Space Museum.
Some members of the family were more interested in having their pics taken then in looking at the exhibits. We wandered to the American History Museum to stand in front of the Woolworth’s Lunch Counter.
We wandered back toward the Mall so we could see everything from the opposite viewpoint. We saw the WWII Memorial for my Grandma. We sent her a pic where Cate did NOT have her finger up her nose. But, for our archival purposes, kids, here she is, in all her 5-year-old glory. Oh, Cate. We closed out our visit with a trip to the MLK Memorial. It was a perfect way to end our time in DC. And, this pic sums up all my hopes for you all. Be fearless, and always remember the people who came before you. You are your ancestors wildest dreams. –FullPlateMom, who can’t wait to see where we wander next.