Friday, January 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes: 1.24.14

1. It's 11:15 and Katherine is still in bed.  She was up off and on last night wheezing, barking a croupy cough and sporting a raging temperature.  I checked on her this morning to make sure she was still breathing and every once in a while I can hear her coughing but for right now it appears she prefers her bed.  I hate it when any of my kids are sick but I would be lying if I didn't tell you that the silence that has fell upon my house at this moment is pure divinity.

Katherine has a major cuteness factor going on right now but sweet Jesus she is a lot of work.  Third-borns are a funny thing to parent.  I find myself giving in to her demands like she's the emperor of Asia.  It's just easier and I don't want to find out what will happen if I turn her down. Then I catch myself and wonder what happened to my balls. "NO," I say firmly, "You CANNOT have a third cookie."

There's always exasperated pleas of screaming, knees giving out and a bit of fist-pounding but the meltdown usually doesn't last as long as I think it's going to.

2.  Last night was Kindergarten Roundup for Lucy girl.  I love how our school thought it was totally appropriate to call off classes because of the cold, but the chance to grab your registration fees? Oh yeah, they're still totally up for us wandering out in the Arctic to give them that.

I'm surprisingly sad and hesitant to send my girl off to Kindergarten in the fall.  With William I couldn't get him out the door fast enough.  His fall birthday made him more than ready to fly the nest and it was good for him.  I couldn't provide all the stimulus he needed here at home.

But Lucy is different.  She plays by herself really well and doesn't antagonize her siblings the way William does.  I don't have to help her play.  She just comes up with it all on her own.  I'm going to miss our quiet times together in the afternoon while the babies are sleeping and before William gets home.  So many afternoons we can be found snuggled under one blanket on top of my bed reading books until she is gently coaxed into a short nap.

Lucy is so excited to join her brother at the big school.  Last night she waited, literally, on the edge of her seat until her group number was called to go explore the Kinder rooms.  When her number was up she quickly popped out of her chair and daintily and independently walked to the front of the auditorium without even looking back at me.  Oh that girl.  I haven't been able to place my finger on what exactly she is just yet.  But it's something.

3. Since it's Pro-life Week let me just point out to you that this here is what an unplanned pregnancy looks like.

Admittedly, not pictured are all the sleepless nights this boy gave me.  Nevertheless, here he is, at one whole year and not resembling one morsel of the difficult, if not impossible, newborn he used to be. And now he sleeps 12-13 hours at night. Straight. Winning.

Had a unplanned pregnancy of your own? (Who hasn't?!) Tell me your story or share your pictures. It's all so worth it, isn't it?

4. The man and I are celebrating the big 1-0 anniversary this year.  It won't officially be ten years until August but since it's been such a terrible winter we booked our first ever beach vacation since having kids and will be traveling to Mexico this coming March.  I think I'm excited.  It's a lot of work to divvy out the kids and all the logistics that go with it.  We're so incredibly thankful to have family who are willing to step in so we can treat ourselves for a few days.  I know it will be great as soon as I get the airport.

5. We originally slated to remodel our basement this spring, and that still *might* happen.  But the time came where we had to decide what we wanted to do for sure: a vacation or a new basement? We have a lot of other big expenditures coming up including doubling our tuition bill in September and possibly replacing our second car.  Trying to live debt-free is hard.  A lot of sacrifices are made.  But one thing it makes you do is prioritize.  I'm so glad Brian decided we needed the vacation.  I think I might have chosen the basement because it seemed more practical.  But our marriage is number one and I think this trip is much needed after four kids in seven years.

6.  Once on the beach I will undoubtedly settle into a great book.  And here is where I need your help. What can't-put-it-down books have you read in the last few years?  You know the kind that stick with you months or even years after you've finished?  Don't recommend Twilight or Hunger Games or 50 Shades.  I need something like The Help or the Wally Lamb books.  Ready, GO!

7.  Katherine just woke up with the most perfectly pink cheeks and cutest squeaky little sick voice.  I set up a bed for her on the couch and she's currently enjoying an old-school Donald Duck marathon while I force-feed her cup after cup of water.  We're going to drown this virus the old-fashioned way.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Live Blogging Thoughts on a Closed Day of School

It's the third day of closed schools in two weeks.  And that doesn't include the day off for MLK Day. It doesn't fair well in this household that thrives on routine.

William is Snap Circuiting.  My coffee is lukewarm.  The girls are in the basement slamming doors.  Bobby is boycotting his morning nap.  Every single pillow and blanket is off the couch and on the floor.  It's driving me crazy.

The Snap Circuit project isn't working.  I can't figure it out.  Katherine just came upstairs with the light saber and is attacking every wall.  Now she dropped the light saber and is screaming "PLEASE MOMMY!" But I have no idea what she's asking for.

Just realized Kate is screaming because Sesame Street was paused on the DVR.  I'm pressing play because I need to eat breakfast in peace.

This Snap Circuit project is really bugging me.  Why isn't it working?  I'm starting over.

Putting Snap Circuits away.  I don't have enough brain cells.  Sesame Street for the seven-year-old too.  Eating my favorite cereal, Cracklin Oat Bran.

Gymnastics are happening in the living room.  I'm reminding the kids AGAIN if they want to do that they can go in the basement.  No one is listening to me.  No one.

It's negative 14 degrees in case you were wondering.  Not windchill.  ACTUAL temperature. Windchill is negative 30.  NBD.

Five minute penalty for jumping on the couch.

Another five minute penalty.
I have to go wake up Bobby.  I hate doing this.  But if I don't stick to his schedule he won't sleep at night.  And I typically like to sleep at night.

Bobby was fast asleep with poop in his pants. Poor baby.
I put William to work putting away laundry and making his bed while Kate went and undid everything he did.  It's a good thing two-year-olds are cute because they sure are terrorists.

Best toy for all ages and both genders: matchbox cars.

I wonder what I should make for lunch?  I could go for the standard sammies and fruit and yogurt or I could really be winning and make the kids' favorite, baked oatmeal.

I folded the blankets and reassembled the pillows on the couch.  I feel better now.

William is carrying Bobby around like a roll of carpet. These are the things you don't consider when there's six years between siblings.

I decided to go with the baked oatmeal.  Here's the recipe I use: 2 cups oats, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 1/2 cups milk, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 cup (+/-) fresh or frozen berry fruit.  Mix together all ingredients and spread into a greased square baking dish.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

How do I get off the Enlargement Supplement email list?  Because we're all set over here.

Katherine is obsessed with a stick of butter I've got softening on the radiator for banana bread.  She thinks it's cheese.

The kids are devouring the oatmeal. I'm playing "Beast of Burden" on my phone to boost my mood.  I'm obsessed with this song lately.

I should have doubled the oatmeal recipe.

Rest time.  I've got three of the four in their "spots."  It's just me and B-man for a little while.

I love it when Bobby sways to the music in his high chair.  Like he can't even help himself.  He was born with this innate need to move to a beat.

Also the little curls in his blonde locks are TO DIE FOR.  We're getting very close to mullet territory but I don't care.  You can't make me cut it.

Remember at the end of August when Minneapolis called schools off due to the heat because the schools aren't equipped with air conditioners?  That's super hilarious and ironic now.  Come to Minnesota if you want to experience all the weather extremes.  And yet, despite the elements, still the fittest city in the country.  Rock on, Twin Cities.

Some Arizona reporter, who didn't agree with the Twin Cities being the fittest city, wondered what good all those bike trails did if we could only use them for half of the year.  That's why you're not number one, Arizona.  You're not creative enough.  Cross country skiing, sled-pulling paths, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and yes, they even make snow tires for bikes.  We also possess the ability to plow and shovel, you know.

But seriously, Arizona, I'd still hop a plane to visit you right now so we're all good.

Bobby just pinched his finger in a door.  I tried to make him feel better with a sip of milk but the cap wasn't on tight.  Whoever said there's no use crying over spilled milk didn't have four kids at home in the frozen tundra.

Just raided the See Kai Run friends & family sale to stock up on shoes for the kiddos.  I love that brand.

I'm having banana bread for lunch and I'm not sorry for it.

One kid keeps coming out of his rest spot asking me how much more time he has left thus defeating the "rest" purpose.  I'll give you one guess who it is.

Turning on Shark Tale and going upstairs to reassess my outfit of the day.  Is the spandex under sweatpants look still in?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

That One Time When I Took a Two Month Blogging Hiatus

So here I am.  I'm back.  And I have no idea how to begin.  I wasn't even sure I wanted to come back.  Taking two months off of blogging is sad.  There's so much that happened that will be left undocumented -- for who?  I don't know.  Me, I think.

But a break from blogging was also kind of nice.  I worked out.  I showered.  I did laundry.  I cooked.  I cleaned.  I played with the kids.  Some days I watched all three hours of the Today Show while sipping hot coffee.  I let the burden (burden??) of writing that usually dangles over my head fade away.  The first few weeks were the hardest.  It was pulling and pulling at me and I kept thinking, "I need to get on the computer."

But it was Christmastime and it was an easy excuse.  Too much else to do.  Then January came  and I just didn't know how or where to start again.  And because the break was kind of nice or maybe just one less thing to do, I worried if I started too soon I wouldn't be able to keep up.  Maybe at this stage of my life I'm meant to be just a once-every-two-months blogger.

So for those of you who care and even bother to check in on this here web address any longer (hi, Mom!) here, in a single paragraph, is what happened while I was gone.

Thanksgiving happened.  Warm, cozy, relaxing.  Brian went to San Francisco for ten days for work.  TEN DAYS.  Some of it was OK.  Some of it was terrible.  Someone smashed into my car.  It still hasn't been fixed.  Bobby turned one. ONE!  He is a delight.  I love one-year-olds, I think.  New favorite, for sure.  We had Christmas at home.  Warm, cozy, relaxing.  Then we went on a Northern Wisconsin vacation with Brian's family.  It was amazing.  Zero complaints.  All around good times had by all.  The new year came and we were supposed to go back to school except this fierce little fellow named Polar Vortex came to visit.  The little bastard called off the first two days of school after Christmas vacation.  Things started resembling The Shining.  Luckily Brian removed anything that resembled a noose around here and replaced it with alcohol.  We pulled through alive and well.

And here we are.

January has been tough for me.  It always is.  But this year seems different.  Brian has been busy with his new job and it seems to have put a magnifying glass on my own life which seems dull and monotonous by comparison.

I just finished some photo journaling projects.  At the end of each year I gather all the photos I've taken and make both a calendar for Brian's office and a family photo album.  It's a lot of work but it's so much better than letting all those great memories remain stuck on my hard drive.  I always get a little teary-eyed when I'm finished.  My kids are cute.  And funny.  Good kids all around.  And my husband so loves his family.  Together the six of us are quirky and silly and really, very close.

I'm so blessed.  BLAH! I hate that word.  It's so overused it has lost its meaning.  But looking at those photos makes me realize what a great life I lead.  And maybe it is only because you can't hear screaming in a photograph.  Thank God for that.

Last week I got mad at Brian for something and he, rightly, called me out on myself.  Picking a fight because I just wasn't happy.  Not happy with him, just not happy period.

It's not the kids.  It's not my husband.  It comes from within my own being.  I'm responsible for my own happiness.  I've got to dig down and find that spark again.  My own meaning.

I'm not pregnant.  No longer breastfeeding.  Just a plain old mom of four waiting for the next big thing.  Only I'm not sure what that is just yet.

I made a list of things I want to do or try in 2014.  Some things that are just for me.  Things that have nothing to do with being a wife or a mother.  Because those things are GREAT things.  The most important things.  But they aren't all the things.

And so I'll be back.  Said Arnold and now me.  Sooner than later, I hope.

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