Monday, March 03, 2014

...and along came 4 more.

When we found out we were pregnant with our first we were a little surprised. We weren't trying, but we also weren't not trying. We were about halfway through our second year of marriage and I think we were at a point where we could handle a baby together, and I say that because I definitely see the benefit in waiting to have children for at least a year after marriage because getting used to each other is a lot of work for a year. This is just my personal experience, and I recommend it. I have friends who got pregnant on their honeymoon and while it all works itself out {usually} it was hard.

I'll spare you the details, but two weeks overdue and after a 38 hour labor Maxwell Jared entered our world.

And ROCKED it.

I was highly emotional...lack of sleep and I had problem after problem breastfeeding. I HATED every moment of it and I remember looking at Justin one night and saying,

"What were we thinking? We can't handle this!" 

Of course I was completely smitten with our 10lb baby boy, and he brought much joy, but having a child for the first time is something you just can't understand until it actually happens to you.
I kept thinking, why didn't anyone tell us this would be so hard? So, I tell everyone, it's hard. It sucks, but it gets better, SO much better. 

And it did. A month in and we were getting the hang of it, and slowly, month my month, things got easier. 

And soon you forget about all of it and have another baby. The second time around was SO much better because we knew what to expect. 

And then we had three more after that. 
We do live in a society that kind of frowns upon big families. 
If you have more than two kids {preferably a boy and a girl} then you are considered a little nutty. But more than 3 or 4, you may be certifiably insane. 

There are days where I feel like I could lose it, but for the most part, having a big family is a lot of fun. Will I ever regret having this many kids. NEVER. Does it make a lot of things in life more challenging. Yes, but it also is exciting. There is rarely a dull moment in this house. I always wanted a busy home and honestly, I love having people over in our home...and  one of my hopes is as our boys get older they will bring all their friends to our house to hang out. 

It's been more challenging living away from our families, we don't have help readily available, but we've been blessed to have awesome friends here who are always willing to help out if we need it.  

Having kids changes everything. It is hard, sometimes downright awful,  exhausting, sacrificing, and challenging but it is also so rewarding, so beautiful and so fun. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

life with 5 boys.

Anybody out there?

I've never been good at keeping a journal and looks like this online journal thing hasn't been working out for a few years.

Right now our days are filled with lots of activity.

Max, in 4th grade and Evan in 2nd our mornings begin at 6:45 as I pull off the blankets the boys are so comfortably snuggled in. They don't like it, but it's works.

Max is pretty good at getting right up, and getting ready and headed down for a quick bowl of cereal before we need to leave. Evan on the other hand, he's a whole other story. A lot of stomping and crabbing, usually, "I don't want to go to school" is in there somewhere but soon we get out the door.

Back at home the little guys and I usually enjoy a quiet morning. I have to say I usually really enjoy the mornings. Liam and Declan are currently on a serious toast with jam addiction and I'm happy to supply such an easy breakfast!

Griffin is usually very busy, getting a lot of action in before his morning nap.

While Griff naps, I usually run on treadmill while Declan and Liam play. I get a quick shower in and

If you know me at all, I am not one to sit at home. I need to leave my house on a daily basis.  I know I could knock out a lot of errands in one day, but I like to space them. Target run one day, Trader Joes another. If we have no errands to run the boys and I will think of something fun to do like the park or just a fun drive around town.

School is out at 2:45, and most days I pick boys up. If it's nice out we walk but otherwise they walk down the hill from school and hop in the Suburban. I hear all about their days, good and bad, and we head home.

Back at home, I clean, boys work on homework, maybe watch a lithe TV, go outside if it's nice enough and I start getting dinner ready.

After dinner we usually watch Family Feud together. It sounds so elderly... but everyone gets so into it. It's a fun to watch together.  Soon it's bedtime prep. Brush teeth and into bed for all. Most nights there is a lot of goofing off, but eventually all settle down.

Max and Evan ask me to come talk to them in their room. I try to do it most of the time, because it's precious time. They share their hearts, sometimes just silly stories but I love those times.

When we are all out we get a lot of comments,'
"5 boys?"
"Your hands sure are full!"
"You are so brave"
 I could go on.

Having 5 kids, just kind of happened. Justin and I are very fly by the seat of our pants kind of people. Sure we like to plan things, like having a savings account, college funds, dream about what our life looks like down the road, but mostly we are just living life day by day.

There are many times I feel like a complete failure as a parent. There are days I could rip all my hair out, the boys are just so darn needy, whiny, having attitudes and fighting.  But these are also days where I see most my selfishness, when I lose control because I'm not happy with how things are going, or they are not behaving in a way I want them too. Kids are great at showing how sinful you really are.

Parenting is also insanely beautiful.

Babies are so fun, it goes by so fast, but the innocent sweetness of a baby is just so precious.
Toddlers are fun to play with, they laugh, they cuddle, they need their Mama.
Pre-schoolers have so much to say, you really begin to see who they are, and usually still need their mama. :)
I'm in the elementary age with my oldest two, and they are pretty opposite. Max is more reserved , he is very compliant {usually} and does what needs to do with little complaining. Evan however is very active, likes to do things his way and will get what he needs to do done, but there is usually lots of distractions before it gets done.
I'm looking forward to, but also very scared for their older years. A lot of changes, and attitudes, and smelly, sweaty boys. I am praying they will always know they can count on Just and I, that they can always talk to us and that we have a lot of fun, and they develop a deep love for Jesus.
Oh, I pray he grabs hold of their little hearts!

When I entered parenthood almost 10 years ago, I had NO clue. All of my expectations, my ideas of what it was like were WAY different than it actually is. It's been messy, it's been hard, it's been eye opening, and it's been fun, it's been joyful, and it's taught me so much.

If I planned out my life I would NEVER have seen myself with 5 kids, let alone 5 boys. But God has always known the plan for us. To turn me on my head and give me these sons for raise up.

I pray I will seek his guidance, cry out to him in prayer as I pray as they grow. That I may raise them to be good husbands, great fathers, and that they may see in Justin and I the love for Jesus that is better than anything else in this world.

It's a big responsibility God has given to us with this boys, and while I'm deathly scared, I am so excited for the journey!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

{1}. Griffin Justin

   It's true what they say. Every child grows up quicker, and your first year was a mere blink.
Happiest of 1st Birthdays to my baby, my 5th boy, #griffinjustin ! {8am breakfast } #happybirthday #bornonelectionday #couldveusedbarackasamiddlenamebutthehusbandeasntfeelinit  #oneyearold #mybaby #5
 You have brought such joy, our fifth son. You always have a smile.
11:46am { following mama around} #griffinjustin #happybirthday #oneyearold #mybaby #5
You try so hard to keep up with your brothers,who adore you. You love watching them play. 8:13pm {brotherly love} #griffinjustin #happybirthday #maxwelljared #evanjohn #liamedward #declanpaul #brothers #oneyearold #myboys #swansoncasa
You are so curious, into EVERYTHING. You are not afraid to try anything. 7:09pm Happy Birthday!!!! {have your cake and eat it too!} #griffinjustin #happybirthday #oneyearold #5 #mybaby #cake #fox #swansoncasa
We celebrated your birthday with pizza and cake. It was loved by all. 4:59pm {dinner be prepared. Cake picked up. Ready to party! } #griffinjustin #happybirthday #oneyearold #mybaby #swansoncasa
You recieved a new wooden walker from your Dad and I. Stuffed fox and boat for the bath from Grandpa and Grandma Wojo, money from other Grandma{and great grandmas} your brothers got you a new book. Friends got you books, a puzzle, and another stuffed fox! :) What you loved most was having fun with your brothers! It was a fun day. 10:09pm { birth moment. Fast asleep. My sweet baby now considered a toddler, is still my sweet baby to me. Sleeping with his fox he got from his Grandma Wojo and Fox blanket from Grandma Swanson both gifts when he was born. My precious 5th boy. I cannot i
We love you so much Griffin Justin.
 xoxo MOM

Monday, August 19, 2013


Did I hear a niner in there?! { yeah, I'm refering to Tommy Boy, which is a movie we've all gotten a kick out of watching }

Next year is DOUBLE digits for you Max?!
 We are so proud of the young man you are becoming. This past summer you and your brothers spent a lot of time outside as well as building legos and
 It's been a crazy year so far, but you have done really well with all the changes in your life, and with us most likely moving before the years end your Dad and I are confident that you'll do great with helping us move and adjusting to a new place.
 You are such a helper to me, and you are the best older brother Ev, Liam, Dec and Griffin could ask for. You have a sweet spot for all of them and I'm thankful for the friendships you have formed with each of them.
We are so looking forward to you growing even more this year! You have just started club soccer and are loving it and we are glad to watch you develop in a sport you love.  You just started 4th grade last week and it's going to be a great one! 
We love you so much and we pray that your heart longs for Jesus and you desire to serve him.
love always,

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

back to school 2013 {max & ej}

Both a little sleepy, as they are not used to rising before 8, it was a chilly morning the first day of school for Max and Evan.
 Evan is in 2nd grade and his teacher is Mrs. Scott. Maxwell is in 4th grade, his homeroom teacher is Mrs. Burlew and he has different teachers for each subject throughout the day.
Looking forward to a great year for these two!

Friday, August 09, 2013


Evan is 7!
Hard to believe but you are 7 years old and you couldn't be more thrilled. You are definitely the one to get the most excited about your birthday. You talked about it for weeks before hand, and the week of you let everyone you met know it was your birthday week. 
You and Max are still the best of friends. You guys play together so well {most of the time} and you are into whatever Max is. {currently Lego Chima and Galaxy Squad...and of course POKEMON} You and Liam, you have your sweet moments together, but you mostly fight. You both are so strong willed and you love to push each others buttons. Declan and you get along great. You are a great helper with him but you ALWAYS love to help with Griffin. You are always wanting to hold him, show him off and make him laugh. And he adores you. 
You had a hard time deciding what you wanted for a cake, but in the end decided to go for a Packers cake. It turned out great! Your birthday landed on a Thursday, which is also the same night we have community group and we have been rotating homes this summer so this day it was at the Valentines. 
Sweet Aubrey made you a sign and put your initials on a plate for you. 
And the cake was delish, chocolate with chocolate mousse layers! Nice choice. 
Your Dad and I are so thankful for you. You have brought much laughter to our home. You also have been teaching us patience, you know what you want and sometimes have a hard time dealing with not getting what you want. It's a learning process for all of us! 
We are so thankful for your life, for your sweet smile, and giddy laugh. 
Thank you for teaching me new things, and helping me to grow as your Mom and as a daughter of Christ. I pray your heart longs for Jesus all your days as you seek to love and serve him.
Hooray for 7! Your best year yet!



 You turned 2 over two months ago, but I haven't been keeping up with blogging but I wanted to remember your special day.

Your Birthday was on a Saturday and after Evan's game we all kicked around a bit and you scored goal after goal :) 
You have brought SUCH joy to our family. You are so happy, always making us laugh, keeping us on our toes. 
Pocoyo was on cake.  A simple cartoon narrated by a Brit, you love that little boy and his animal friends.
We had some our friends the Valentines and Alexis over. A grand Mexican feast for dinner, followed by a water balloon fight. You loved it! It was a fun day and you had a smile on your face the whole time! You have the sweetest personality, and always want in on everything. We are SO incredibly thankful for you, our sweet 4th born boy!


Saturday, July 20, 2013

{11 years}

11 years. 2 moves and 5 boys. More in love than ever. Yeah, yeah I know people say that all the time. But it's true! I do fall more in love with Justin each year...and I didn't know that was even possible when we got married!! We had an awesome night out together at Saul Good {a great local place} with lots of laughter. The night wouldn't have ended right without a proper fight.  Just keeping it real. Followed by a few days of silent treatment {courtesy of me} we talked it out and back to happy as clams...until the next round. I'm not going to even pretend we have our crap together because we don't and honestly a good fight now and then feels good between two sinners. We really don't fight about much, it's pretty much the same things over and over and over and yeah it's old but we are figuring it out.
 SO, enough about that. I'm so grateful for this man I married. God has used him in my life to draw me to him. He is so patient and kind. So wise and giving.  Through there are hard days, in the end we always choose to love. Just as Christ loved us. We forgive, we try to do better. This is our commitment to each other.
Happy 11th anniversary Just. I'm thankful to be able to do life with you! love you. xoxo, Anne