Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Summer Affairs

There are days, like yesterday, when I'm screaming to myself, "Why, God, did I sign us up for so many summer activities?!"

And then there are days like today when I say, "Oh.  This is why."  And we run like a well-oiled machine.

We are coming off a weekend of only two kids.  The big kids went on their annual rendezvous at Camp Grandma.  Brian and I quite enjoyed our little foursome but did find it oddly a little boring.  And quiet!  We were a whole 15 minutes early (that's right, EARLY) to church because I didn't adjust my "getting ready" time.
The Babies.
Regardless of the ease of having just two, we were happy to be one unit again come Sunday.  For one thing we were starting to get a little arrogant with just how awesome we could have been if we had stopped after two babies.  And also, Katherine was turning up the entitlement notch a little too high for my liking.  She does much better stuck in the middle than she does as the eldest.
Father's Day DQ. Mustaches all around.

I have our college sitter lined up to come one day per week this summer.  This helps me with activity pick-up drop-off and has also gotten me back on the meal-planning wagon.  If you're interested, this week's menu is as follows:

: Skillet Gnocchi with Shrimp and Asparagus
Tuesday: Broccoli Crunch Salad
Wednesday: Prosciutto, Tomato and Olive Spaghetti
Thursday: Quinoa with Asparagus, Peas, Avocado, and Lemon Basil Dressing
Friday: Guacamole Salad

All these can also be found on my Pinterest page which you can link to up above if you haven't already.

After I was finished with my week's grocery shopping yesterday I went to pick William up from his golf league.  Our nanny was still at the house so I got to sit all by my lonesome in the sunshine and sip my iced latte while I waited for William to finish his last couple holes.

It's funny how life comes full circle.  Twelve or thirteen years ago I was the nanny.  And I was doing golf pick up and drop off.  I called them "my kids."  They weren't.  But I loved them just the same.  Now I'm the parent at the golf club.  And I still love it.  Unfortunately now I have to pay out instead of collect even though my job now is loads harder than it was back then.  I sleep less too.  And I have to cook, clean and do the laundry.  Sometimes I don't even get to shower.  Wow.  Now that I'm laying this all out I'm thinking I need to talk to management about a raise.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bad Things That Happened on a Good Day

After dinner yesterday we went to the green park a block away in hopes of burning off any extra energy and obtaining our ultimate goal of experiencing an easy bedtime times four.  Fresh air will do that.

I was talking to a mom friend, she who also has four, and as we were talking about our summer and the pains of never getting a full night's rest I went to brush some stray hairs behind my ear.  As I did I felt something in my hair.  It was crusty.  Like something got stuck in there and dried up.  What is that?  As I was still carrying on a conversation with my mom friend my mind was going through the litany of sticky things I may have come into contact with that day.

I just took a shower at 2:30 so it can't be anything from breakfast or lunch.  Gum? Honey?  Did one of the kids get into something and then grab my hair?  I need to stop combing my fingers through my hair.  This lady is going to think I'm some sort of narcissist, or worse, a valley girl.  Like. Um. Totally.

I moved on and forgot about my hair.  The eight o'clock hour was approaching so Brian and I rounded up our tribe and headed home.  On our way I recounted to Brian that he needs to remain the grill master of the house.

"Seriously," I said, "I almost started the house on fire.  I know I did it right but the ignite button would not work.  I kept pushing it and then all of the sudden -- WHOOM...wait..."

I felt my hair again.



"There was something in my hair!  But it's not something.  Brian! I BURNED MY HAIR!"

He looked at my hair.  And then he laughed.  And laughed.  And laughed some more.  And then he cried.  Because he was laughing so hard.

Me no touchy the grill again.

I think it will be OK.  I flat ironed the affected region and I don't think it's noticeable.  I mean, it's not like this or anything.
In other bad news on a relatively good day, our sitter accidentally woke Katherine out of a dead sleep nap when she thought she heard her talking.  It was early in the nap too.  Bummer.  Of course she wouldn't go back down and of course she was a train wreck the rest of the day.

When we got home from our park adventure Lucy peed her pants in the driveway.  She told us about fifteen minutes prior that she had to go so it wasn't really her fault.  She bent over to give her bike a good push into the garage and that was all it took.  "OOH!" she screamed and then "Ahh" she sighed and just let it flow.  "Went potty in my pants," she proclaimed matter-of-factly.  She then proceeded to strip down right there for all of St. Paul to see and march her soiled clothes into the house and down into the laundry room.  Girl knows how to take care of things.  And let's be honest here.  Don't you wish you had a little bit of her "who cares" attitude?

I think I have a stress fracture in my ankle.  I first noticed the pain three weeks ago when I ran my 5K.  I ignored it because I'm a mom to four children and running has become my little sanity escape.  It didn't hurt while I was running which made it easy to run but also turns out to be a classic symptom of a stress fracture.  Finally last night I looked at it.  I know it sounds ridiculous that I never actually took the time to look at my ankle that had been hurting for three weeks but it's also ridiculous that I don't eat lunch until 2:30 each day.  It's where I'm at, folks.  So anyway I looked down and couldn't believe what I saw.  Just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating, I showed Brian and he actually used an expletive upon first glimpse.  It was the size of a house.

Brian told me I need to stop running and see a doctor.  But just to confirm I had to ask my mom too.  My mom's opinion is noteworthy not only because she's been a runner for 30+ years but also because she would never ever ever take us to the doctor when we were little unless we were (a) dying or (b), nope, there is no (b).  We just had to be dying.  My brother once walked on a broken leg for three days before he was X-rayed.  She wasn't a bad mom.  She was just practical.  And whatever the opposite of a hypochondriac is.

So anyway, Mom says I need to go to the doc too.  Damn.  Who has the time?!  And also what if I have to stop running for a really long time?  Can't I just ignore it and see how long I can coast?  Maybe I just need to invest in a really good bike.  Because the only reason I had a good day full of bad things is because I ran that morning.  Something must be done.

Friday, June 7, 2013

7 Quick Takes [6.7.13]

1. William on his first day of Summer Vacation: Dad, can you come downstairs and play piano with me?
Dad: I have to go to work, buddy.
William: Oh.  I thought yesterday was your last day.

Our first day of Summer Vacation is feeling eerily similar to our first day of Spring Vacation.  Cold. Wet. Dreary.  If the weather report for the next three months is the same as it is today, I'm going to have to be heavily medicated.

So alas, it's a sweats and puzzles and maybe an afternoon movie kind of a day.  I wish I could tell you my cheeks were sore from blowing up the kiddie pool in the backyard.

3.  My mom, wearing her Grandma hat, noticed I neglected to include a picture of Katherine in yesterday's post.  I didn't really forget.  I intended to just post pictures of the school-aged kiddos.  But then I realized it had been quite some time since I had posted a picture of The Baby and being that this here blog doubles as a scrap/baby book, I decided to just throw in a picture of Bobby at the last minute.

In addition to all that reasoning there is also the excuse that Katherine is 19 months and wow how I have forgotten how difficult these toddler years really are.  So there's always the issue of getting her to sit still for a photo and also making sure she's not having a full-fledged meltdown while said photo is being snapped.  But just for you Katherine-lovers out there (I am one of them, I assure you!) I dug into the archives and found this little gem.  An afternoon of shaving cream, a bathtub and nothing but her diaper.  Plus two of the cutest pigtails you ever did see.
4. A few days ago I needed to put Lucy on the Scream Step.  What is the Scream Step, you might ask.  The Scream Step is a wonderful invention by Brian to help Lucy control her terrible, horrible, no good, very bad habit of screaming at the top of her lungs whenever something doesn't go her way.  The screaming was easy to justify when she was a toddler but now it's just plain ridiculous.  And with two babies in the house, it's also disruptive.  So when the screaming ensues, she is promptly escorted to the basement steps where she can finish her lung outburst.  Lucy has come to loathe the Scream Step so usually just the thought of it mutes her real fast.  But sometimes it doesn't.  Which brings me back to my story.

We were upstairs and something happened that led to something else that brought me to the point of needing to put Lucy in the Scream Step.  So I marched her down two flights of stairs and sat her on The Step.  Then I marched back up to resume my normal afternoon duties of nursing and changing diapers and the like.  After a few minutes of silence from the Scream Step I hollered down to Lucy that she could came back up now.  I heard nothing.  I yelled to her again.  Again, nothing.  So I went downstairs and she was no where to be found.  And neither were her shoes.  And the back door was open.  This doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out.

I quickly slipped on my shoes and went out into the backyard.  No Lucy.  I start yelling her name.  And then I hear, from afar, her voice telling someone, "Oh sorry, guys!  I have to go now!"  And I see her scurry down the sidewalk FROM THE NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE back to me.  She can see on my face I am angry and she quickly says, "Mommy, it's OK.  I looked for cars in the alley before I crossed."  As if that were the only reason for me to be upset.

All that to say, prayers for me this summer, friends.  Prayers are appreciated.

5.  Running update: It's going great!  I completed my first 5K race a couple weeks ago.  It was easier than I expected and that's saying a lot about the Couch to 5K program because, I kid you not, I could barely run a block a few months after Bobby was born.  Now I'm running 3-4 mornings a week and kind of loving it.  In my head I'm writing a post about running from a non-runner's perspective.  What would you like hear in that post?  Drop me a note in the comments.

6.  I received my second Stitch Fix box last weekend.  (I first wrote about Stitch Fix here.)  My second Stitch Fix box was waaaay better than my first.  And in hindsight I probably should have photo blogged all the items I received.  I kept three out of the five items they sent me.  Two of which were casual summer dresses, a category severely lacking in my closet.  One of the dresses was a little out of the price range for which I would normally spend on such items.  But Brian insisted I keep it anyway.  And since he's the money-maker, I obliged his demands.  So submissive am I.  Pictures of said dress forthcoming.

7.  And finally, how about a little video on this Friday?  I took this a few days ago. I don't know what prompted me to hit the record button on my webcam.  Every once in a while, amongst the crazy, I can clearly see how fast it's all going by.  And in those seconds I quickly grab my camera, or in this case webcam, and try to capture all I can.  I don't want to forget.  There's nothing extraordinary in here.  Just my every day life with a touch of sweetness.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

First Day, Last Day

This is the most scrapbook-y I've ever been in my life.  This week I captured both of the kids on their last day of school in the same location that I took their first day of school photos.  Score one for the mama of too-much-else-to-do.
The changes are subtle to everyone else, I'm sure.  But I see it.  The loss of more baby fat.  The extra inches up.  And, of course, the worn knees in his uniform pants. (Not the same pants, by the way. He grew through two sizes in a year!)
Her changes are more obvious, no?  So grown up!  I no longer have to coax her into sitting still for a photo. I don't have to make her laugh to get a good smile.  Same size dress albeit a little shorter on the right.  A shoe a size and half up.  Less cheeks.  More hair.  Spunk unchanged.
And then there's this blue-eyed guy, who was still incubating way back in September.  Oh the time...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Onward to Summer

Tomorrow is the last day of school.

I have mixed feelings about this.

I'm excited for a more relaxed schedule. There will be no lunches to be made in the morning.  No rush to get dressed before the patrol line reaches our house.  No stressing over clean uniforms.  No library books to remember.  No projects consuming our Saturday afternoons.

But I'm nervous too.  I remember the desperation I felt as the minutes counted down to September last summer.  And that was when I only had three kids.  Summer is lovely for three months.  And then it's lovely when it's over and we're back to a routine.

I've also found myself a little emotional that William will no longer be a kindergartner.  I didn't feel too sentimental about sending him off in the fall because kindergarten still felt so small to me.  And the school held our hands the whole way while always tenderly referring to William's class at "the kinders". There were always exceptions to every rule for "the kinders" because, well, because they were "the kinders."

And his teacher.  Oh she was just so magical.  So wonderful I could tear up right here writing about her.  And I told her so in a much-too-lengthy farewell note and gift.  Because she's on the older side of things, I'm even more emotional about saying goodbye because I'm almost certain that the rest of my babies won't have the chance to experience her greatness as she will more than likely be enjoying retirement by then.

So after tomorrow he will just be a plain old First Grader and there will be a new Kinder sitting in the spot that once had a laminated name tag reading William N.  He could bend your ear for an hour telling you about all the amazing things that come along with being a First Grader.  I suppose I should feel thankful that I will never have a son who is anxious about moving on to the next level.  But couldn't he do his mom a favor and feel just a little bit of nostalgia about leaving the Kindergartner room?  No, he won't.  It's OK.  I'll just cry over here in the corner all by myself.

I'm sure my tears will dry up real fast when Friday morning chaos ensues and I realize they will all be home with me ALL DAY and that this will be our new normal for three months.

For the last few weeks I've had these momentary peaks of clarity about what this summer will really be like.  And that is when I promptly log on to the local Parks & Rec website to see what other activities I can sign the kids up for.

It's not that I'm trying to pawn off my kids to some volunteer t-ball coach.  It's just that I've learned, with this many kids, it's too easy for things to fall apart when there is no plan.  There has to be a plan.  Maybe not every day.  But certainly every week.

Yesterday afternoon was overcast and cold.  I was upstairs putting away laundry and Bobby was bored with his surroundings so I picked him up and put him in the bottom bunk with William and Lucy who were reading books.  Then Katherine woke up from her nap and she too wanted to join her siblings so I plopped her in the bed as well.

And there they were.  My four, on the fourth of the month, at 4 o'clock.
Well, when you look at it like that.  That doesn't look so bad.

Maybe this will be my thing.  Four on the Fourth at 4:00.  Remind me next month, won't you?
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