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Family

Surviving summer one day at time

Posted June 16
Updated June 17

Carmen Rasmusen Herbert's boys got into her eye pencil and decided to make themselves look like warriors. (Deseret Photo)

We are one week into summer, and I am already wondering when school starts.

I thought being home all day with all my boys ages 1 to 7 years old would be fun. We would spend our time hanging out at the pool, making a slip n’ slide, visiting our favorite outdoor gardens at Thanksgiving Point or Red Butte Gardens, roasting marshmallows over a campfire and breathing in the fresh, sun-soaked smell of sweet pine, staying up late riding carnival rides, and eating juicy watermelon or Popsicles on our porch as we took turns calling out cloud pictures in the sky.

That was Day One. Now what?

Now, our house has turned into a war zone. I never — repeat never have had to deal with breaking up so many fights. Someone is always screaming. And usually that someone is me.

A few days ago, I ran upstairs to “get ready” (which nowadays consists of putting on deodorant and maybe brushing my teeth) while my seemingly feral boys roamed the house unsupervised. I could hear giggling and an occasional shout of “Stop it, I hate you!” which meant things were going as usual.

But suddenly it became very quiet, and as any mother knows, it’s the quiet that means something is definitely going on.

My 3-year-old ran into the bathroom and stole my eye pencil, so I called him back to find he and his older brothers had drawn all over their faces.

“We wanted to do that thing where you draw eyes on your chin and then lay upside-down so your mouth looks funny,” my 5-year-old confessed. That was hard to believe because instead of just drawing two little dots on their chins, they drew massive lines all over their faces, making them look like they a tribe of Aborigines.

While I dug in my drawers for makeup remover, I caught a glimpse of my baby in the bathroom sitting in/eating a giant, pillowy pile of toilet paper.

I texted my husband two words:

“Help. Me.”

“Time to go to the pool,” he texted back.

Thinking that was a fantastic idea, I abandoned my attempts to look put together and instead threw some swimming suits at the boys, who by now had discovered the baby playing in the toilet paper and decided to “help” clean up by placing half the roll in the bathtub and half in the toilet, clogging both.

Here’s what I’ve decided this past week: It is messy living with four little boys and one grown man, and it’s loud. Our house has a distinctive male smell that permeates every dust-bunnied corner. I’m afraid my philosophy as of late has been “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” But as wild and smelly as we are now, I know these are some of the memories that will last us a lifetime — if we can all survive long enough to remember.

Where are you, August? I’m exhausted.

Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News.

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