The featured blogger this week is Amanda of The Lily Pad! Amanda is the proud MoM of 10 year old Jameson, 8 year old Cameron, 3 year old identical girls Avery and Ella, and 20 month old Addison. I love her blog and her adorable family. I hope you enjoy The Lily Pad as much as I do!

What made you decide to start a blog?

I decided to start blogging in order to better chronicle the lives of my children and our growing family. I kept a detailed baby book for my first born, carefully recording each milestone, every new first and favorite of his was inked in. I wrote down each like and dislike and scrapbooked away everything from his umbilical cord to his blonde baby fine hair from his first haircut. By the time my twins came along I was lucky if I remembered to take a picture of them on their birthday. Life was busy and flying by and I realized all my babies wouldn’t be this sweet and little for long, and I wanted to remember it all. I wanted to capture and keep all their funny sayings, their entertaining interactions, their crazy dances and silly songs, their Eskimo kisses and imaginary games. At the risk of getting too sentimental, I also wanted to remember the constant chaos, the never ending messes, their mischievous smiles, the public embarrassments, the toddler tantrums and the daily disasters . I decided it was time to record it all in a modern day scrapbook, and the Lily Pad was born.

Were you surprised when you found out you were pregnant with identical girls?

I actually didn’t find out they were girls until they were born! We chose not to find out the sex with any of my four pregnancies. We found out early on that the babies were identical and it was a high risk pregnancy, and with bi-weekly ultrasounds throughout the 8 months, not finding out the sex was difficult but it was the greatest surprise when they were born. Finding out I was having twins was not a complete surprise, as I had a feeling from the very first day I found out I was pregnant that this was something special. I ended up finding out I was having twins in the hospital emergency room because of a complication early on, and I remember asking the radiologist as he began the scan if there were two? When I got home from the hospital later that evening after learning it was twins, my computer was still out on my desk with the google search still on the screen with the question I had typed earlier “How to tell if you’re having twins?”! It was the strangest coincidence, but in a way I guess I was always destined to be a mom of multiples!

How did your older boys handle the news?

The boys were so excited at finding out they were going to be big brothers. We told them we had something to give them, then handed each a book wrapped in colorful wrapping paper with a stuffed animal on top. They were excited about their new gifts and were busy playing with the stuffed animals until we asked them to read the titles of their new books minutes later, which of course were I’m a Big Brother Now, and What to expect when Mom’s Having a Baby. It finally hit them and they started jumping up and down! They were even more thrilled when we told them it was twins saying, “Yea, we each get our own baby!” They were old enough to understand a lot of what was going on and able to partake in all the fun preparations and even accompany me to some of my ultrasound appointments so they felt they knew the babies before they were even born. My younger son was so cute at one appointment saying he was going to peek and find out if they were girls or boys- and by peek he meant look at their heads to check and see if they had long hair or short!!

What tips and/or tricks do you have for juggling 5 kids?

I think organization and preparation are key when juggling five kids. I have lunches packed, outfits laid out, breakfast set to go before I go to bed. I also like to have an outing planned each day to help me keep my sanity, and an activity for everyone to do when we are home. This gives structure to our day and keeps me from loosing my mind.

What is your favorite thing to do as a family?

We love to go to the beach were there is something for everyone. The older kids love swimming and collecting sea glass, and playing catch with my husband. The twins like looking for sea life, digging in the sand and wading into the waves, and the baby loves chasing seagulls and splashing in tidal pools. They can have a picnic lunch and I don’t have to clean up the kitchen after. The best part is that the beach tires everyone out and they take great naps and early bed times and isn’t that what its all about?

What would you do with an extra, child-free, hour in your day?

I should say get caught up on the laundry but I don’t think there are enough hours in the day for that! I would love to take that time just for myself and take a great yoga class and relax.

What question(s) do you have for the other families in the community?

I’m curious to find out how others carve out quality individual time with each of their kids, as finding the time to do something special with each child, each day is a goal of mine this year!

Be sure to leave your answer to Amanda’s question in the comment section and then head over to The Lily Pad to leave some bloggy love!