What did I do today?

So many things and nothing at all…..

We force marched all the kids up to the library – half because we needed books and half because the cleaning ladies were due and with 7 kids in the house they might just give up and go home.  We stopped at the Dunkin donuts on the way and I’m glad they are not within easy reach for us at home because they are just toooo gooood.  On top of fabulous fat pills, I got one of the treats of visiting one’s home town; someone recognized me and chatted!  My first photography teacher happened to be in line and we talked a bit and it was so nice to see someone unexpected from my past.  It took me years in MN to accept that I would never run into anyone I knew and I got good at not even trying to find a connection and now it is just as hard to turn that back on.  Anyway, he was the first person to teach framing and technique not to mention how to use a ‘real’ camera and develop film.

The library here is ludicrously larger than the one at home.  There is an acre of kids books both fiction and nonfiction.  I even ventured into the library proper to get a few books for my summer reading too and the options were almost daunting.

Back again when the cost was clear (and clean) and we met friends and had lunch and a whole lot of nothing but hanging out happened.  We made plans and watched kids play and forced naps on tired kids.  In the later afternoon I took Niamh to her second NY Karate class and this was actually the first Karate class I’ve ever seen her in.  That is normally the Dad zone and I’ve seen a move here or there but this was the first class I’ve been too.  She was so small on the mat!  She more or less was skill tested today and the teachers were impressed with her level and she is cleared to go in both MMA and BJJ classes.

I did duck out of some of the class to go check out the gym near by.  To say it is full of muscle heads is an understatement…. the LI accent is thick as is the smell of manly scents.  Personally I like my gyms empty and scentless but for a month it will be like visiting the set of Jersey Shore and my plan is to lift and leave – not interact with the natives (except my workout cousin Rob! he is going to buff me up).  Back to parents house to go through the dinner and bed routines and now it is the quiet time of night.

Tomorrow we are thinking ocean~ I even have a nice book to read so let’s hope~

On my summer vacation I am

Hey, we made it!  One short day and one long day and a healthy dose of luck and we were pulling into my parents house almost exactly when the GPS said when we set out.  Not bad for all the potty stops, rain and a billion miles.  And now we are here!

We arrived to a much more quiet house then we were expecting because my sister and her kids were attending an emergency funeral on her husbands side of the family.  Not that any funerals are exactly planned but this one was for a person who didn’t get all that long on earth so…  well, at least we can say that every other part of the trip will be better than that.  It was almost funny that they had been waiting for a week for us to arrive and then we waited for them for 2 days and finally everyone was together just in time to celebrate Lars’s birthday!

Ice cream cake with crunchies AND NY pizza would normally make his birthday a total success but for the first time in  ages we were able to go out with a recommendation from my foodie sister to a restaurant with an executive chef (not just a cook) and we were both impressed in general with the experience.  Topped off the night with a board game and that make for a happy man. (and the kids were all sleeping, that was like a cherry on top)

Otherwise our NY vacation –  what I’m calling summer part II – is largely unplanned.  I want to see NY friends and family, go sailing, go to the beach, and enjoy ‘living’ here for a few weeks.  Living is really the right word because I’m joining a gym for a month and Niamh is enrolled in a month of karate and Niamh loved her first class tonight.  When you are toting kids to classes it is living somewhere not vacationing :) Regardless, it is very nice to be able to be here and experiencing this brand of summer.

There is a bit of inborn chaos from all the kids but once you embrace the fact that we are a field trip group it gets easier to just roll with it.

Oh!  I’m also trying something fun with my walks.  Lars and I have been trying to get 2mi walks in daily and given the crazy of the house putting Fiona down for a nap seems unreasonably optimistic I’m combining them.  I’m also seeing if I can make my walking map look like alphabet letters – so far I’ve done A and B

And I’m hopeful that the next few week will be just as good and since I even found a spot to set up my computer I also hope to keep up here too.  (we will see)

Traveling 

so far so good!  Thanks to a few friends I packed and cleaned and never hit the frantic angry wall and we hit the road right on time (after work). We ended up doing VERY well with our random hotel choice- the Residance Inn Marriott Rockford is awesome! For $20ish more dollars a night we get this



That is a door leading to ANOTHER room but it isn’t 2 joined rooms like in a different hotel but it makes all the difference. 



Where has this travel with kids tip been all my life?!?

Not to mention a kitchen and free breakfast… We need to get back on the road shortly but this revelation (while no marriage decision!) was too good not to share. 

Three Smiles Thursday

Good that this exercise tends to come on days that I’m grumpy…  I got next to no sleep last night between kids with nightmares, peeing, and then just a million things on my mind between people needing me to be at specific places and times and figuring out how to get all the other things done that need doing.  Needless to say when Fiona woke me up at 6am, then I found out we were out of milk so no coffee … it was a rough morning.  Pro tip – if you are visiting a mom and feel like you want to bring ‘something’ bring a gallon of milk!

Deeeeep Breath – Focus on the positives :)

1. Niamh won round one of her/our reading challenge.  The best thing is that she is excited to read but prizes and seeing her name in giant letters on a website not written by her mom is awesome.  (click the dragon to see the post)

Nerd the brain’s picture – thank you!

2. MOMS club of Forest lake is, dare I say it, now a successful group.  I learned tons in school and working and one lesson that sticks out is that if you take leadership of a dire and desperate situation it might suck in the beginning but your capacity for success is far greater than if you are leading a successful group to start.  No matter what I win because I have met some really awesome friends in the group but now we are gaining momentum and filling the calendar and each playdate is fun and well attended and I look forward to them, and, we are attracting new members at an unprecedented rate.  This week we had something every single day!  With my succession plan in place for next June I feel confident that things will continue to grow.

3. Vacation!  As daunting as a cross country trip is I’m looking forward to it.  It is going to be a push to be ready on time but the beauty of driving is there is no firm takeoff time.  We also have not over planned this so there are not plans to break and remake, just aiming to get to NY in good grace.

ps. my picture upload tool is being a pain so no unique pictures :(  Hope to fix that soon!

Strawberry day

Today I started with a fun hour at the dentist – the last visit for a long time (6 months at least) and then directly to picking up the bigger girls and friends and meeting the group for strawberry picking.

I can highly recommend the berry patch in Forest Lake.  Easy to find, decent parking, plenty of people working and I was even met at my car to direct me to where people were picking today and they give you a sturdy flat to pick into and its yours to keep.  They tell you to eat your fill and even asked the kids if they ate enough in the field.  Most of the staff is under 20 but I think it is family run and they know their stuff.  There is nothing else there so once you pick your fill you need a ‘whats next’ plan and it happens to be about 1 mile from Big Marine park where the kids can run off their strawberry energy.

Fiona was in school today and while I miss her cute face, managing 4 kids all 5 and up was like a piece of cake.  They picked, they hauled all I did was pay (and supervise, and taste quality control)

To top it off I made a deal with the mom of the other girls to leave my 2 with her for the afternoon so they can continue to play and I can pack and clean and relax for a few hours.  Hopefully she enjoyed her free morning too~

I love when the weather and the kids and the friends and the activity all just work.

Women over 30 shouldn’t…. I think they SHOULD

I admit it, I just clicked an article that said ’24 things women over 30 shouldn’t wear’ and I knew that it was going to be trash but I read it.  And then I was mad.  Seriously?  Except for a couple things on the list I don’t think anyone should ever wear it was a crazy short sited post.  (for the record, I’m against the super ‘booty shorts’, mismatched socks, and overalls on anyone over tot age.

I’m not going to link the article for a few reasons – first she wrote it last year

– first she wrote it last year

– she does not disserve more clicks AND you don’t disserve to waste 5 min of your life because it is an annoying click 2x for every screen style ‘article’

– Finally, she seems to be writing better things recently so I hope she put this in her past.

Anyway, since I’m not linking here is a list of the things she says should be verboten for the aged over 30 crowd.

Scrunchies , Abercrombie & Fitch (because do 30 year olds even fit it?), Platform flip flops, glitter eyeshadow, cheap bras, old sneakers, Booty shorts, American Eagle, crop tops, overalls, mini skirts, short dresses, tube tops, furry anything, furry boots (let the teenagers have their fun!), hoop earrings, non-matching socks, oversized sunglasses, sparkly pants, leopard print, victoria’s secret pink, blue eyeshadow, bedazzled anything, graphic tees.

Anyone else mad?  I even left out the majority of her snarky ‘reasons’ but just could not resist a few of the ‘best’ in parenthesis.  I could easily defend every single thing for basically any age except for the few that are cringe worthy at any age.  The worst bit is saying that 30 is old because it really isn’t.  I would like to know what the three brands would say if the majority of the people who can afford their brand are told it is not for them…  The redeeming fact from the article was the overwhelming number of comments that more or less say that this author is either incredibly repressed, boring, dull, and not worth listening to.

Instead of coming back at her trying to disprove her negative, here are 10 things I think all 30-year-olds should have on their list.  If you don’t get it done by 30, no problem!  If you are square with everything already great!  With the current phrase of ‘adulting’ being so popular, this list is a blend of adult stuff that you should get around to around 30.

1. Go on a vacation without your parents (and wear a tube top!)

2. Buy a house if it is fiscally responsible

3. Do some DIY stuff like painting a room or ripping up a carpet (why one needs old sneakers)

4. Backpack a trail and camp (while wearing graphic tee shirts)

5. Find a wine you like (tip: earrings make great wine charms)

6. Read a book for no reason other then you want to

7. Join a gym or club and actually go (so if you choose to wear short anything you rock it)

8.  Have a kid, or don’t, or be in the middle of trying but have a kid plan

9. Own your problems.  Maybe they came from someone or something but by 30 you need to own it.

10. Look for a new skill or hobby or area of interest – never stop really

bonus – get a financial plan of some sort, that’s not something you want to put off until you are 50.

There are tons more things but I don’t want to make a super flawed list like she did.  My point is that 30 is really just getting into the world of ‘adult’ stuff.  There are people at 30 who are doing fabulous things in their career, but most are just still earning their spot and still making rookie mistakes.  Some people at 30 are caring for a 2-year-old in diapers AND a parent in diapers – those are adult decisions that I am happy to avoid.  I know people under 30 that I would trust with all my money and my kids and there are others that I would not trust to cross the street themselves.  Crazy assumptions based on age are just crazy and I think it only gets worse.  It is fair to say a 3-year-old does this and a 10-year-old is capable of that but it starts to get almost unrealistic to base things on age….