Lots of words wednsday

I owe words!  I’ve been everywhere except my computer for the past few day.  Yesterday I left the house at 1pm (with a no nap Nona) and didn’t get home until 9pm because we had

  1. field day for Niamh – well done actually, kudos to the staff and bigger kids that ran it all.  Everyone had fun (except Fiona)IMG_9093
  2. Picked up Zoe to add to the fun – she was not included in field day, just 1st and 2nd grade, but I got the joy of waiting in parent pickup line!  It actually was not bad at all
  3. Drive to get our hair rechecked – yeah for lice treatments that keep giving…  All good there though, just one re-recheck to go.IMG_9099
  4. Back to school and I do the worst – I stopped at a drive through to get food into kids and myself because moods were declining.
  5. At school for STEM night half to support the program and half because we like it.  There were not a ton of people there and I’m fine with that!  More for usIMG_9104
  6. Over to Mexican to celebrate Zoe’s birthday a tad late but although she only orders chicken she loves it there. Or she loves the hat….IMG_9110
  7. Finally home to battle them all into bed

And that was yesterday – the days before looked a lot like it.  Good weather, fun outings, later nights out playing not to mention putting in a garden and general outside + inside chores there has been no time to document our lives.

This coming weekend is another doozy.  Tons of parties and we are invited to not just one but THREE events and two are actually called MeatFest.  At least I won’t need to make meat this weekend, just an epic amount of sides to contribute.  I’m thinking corn-bean salad – it’s fresh and tasty and best of all Lars makes it:)

I seatbelted myself to my chair today to plow through all the neglected details of email and phone.  I now have a dentist apt, paid bills, Zoe’s thank you cards are created and at print, I’ve inquired about an annoying insurance puzzle and set an apt for our local insurance, got our new tenants square on electric, water, sewer, mail, trash etc…  even got a coffee break with Vacation friend to plan out some upcoming events so basically I took 4 hours to book about 30 future hours into actions and activities!

So that is my life – how is yours?

 

Share your world week 20

Host site is herequestions are provided and answers are shared.  If you want to see other people’s answers check the site.

 

When do you feel most connected with others? When I am having positive conversation and learning about them and sharing common ground. Blogs and facebook are my touchstone to keeping track of all my people scattered in the world and help me feel connected.

What daily habit would you like to introduce to your life? Last year I would have said flossing but now I actually DO floss daily!  I would like to get some yoga or more plyo exercise daily.  There are tons of routines and subroutines that I do daily and I really like when I get to do them but they are all balanced on the head of a very tippy chair being rocked by a trio of crazy girls.

What one mini-little-adventure would you like to have in the coming week? I would like for it to actually work out to go to our amusement park with friends.  I’m not sure it will but I really want to go.

List at least of things or events that changed your Life: It could be as simple as a book or meeting a certain person? I’m of the opinion that everything pushes you in the direction you end up going.  There are plenty of things that didn’t happen that allowed some important things to happen so even having to say no to my 1st choice college that was really hard at the time let me go to Cabrini that I truly loved AND could afford AND took all my AP classes so I was done with (my) college debt by 23ish.  I also had to walk away from some relationships and that was sad every time but it led me to here and I’m in a good place.

  • My time in CAP where I was challenged and learned so much
  • Meeting Lars obviously was a big life changer
  • Moving to MN completely changed my world – my move to PA was a change but my life really did not shift as dramatically as moving 1000 miles away
  • Winning crown (SCA thing) it pulled together a ton of theater (HS love) and leadership and political science and our hobby and for once being the most important set of people – it was a life changer for so many more reasons too.
  • Having my kids – each one changed my world in ways I can’t describe but if you have kids you know.
  • Getting and leaving each job I’ve had – each job was like its own mini world that I had to make my way in and eventually my way out of.
  • Staying home decision – it’s a big one – total change in many parts of life.
  • Key parts of my MBA – I’m really glad I took the more formal yet longer route because there were some real life changing moments in classes over those 3 years.

And there is also the other biggies and smalls – getting married, buying a house, choosing to invest, trips I’ve taken, all the books from Charlotte’s web to Starship trooper and all the blogs I’ve read that have opened my eyes to new things and/or confirmed and validated my experience by someone else doing or feeling the same.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?  I’m grateful for nitpickers and I’m looking forward to a fun friend filled weekend next weekend.

Zoe 6

Dear Zoe

Here we are, you are 6, officially documented by the doctor and everything.  You are 3’9″ and 46lb and meet or beat all the stats they want except memorizing our phone number – want to guess what the iPad password is going to be next?  You also have perfect BMI – long may that last!

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I just went back and re-read the other notes I wrote for you.  Basically, you are just MORE you this year!  You still are a loud talker, you still are the most responsible at remembering what you need for school and even packing it.  Over the past year you have continued to love art and surprise me with your drawings all the time.  They are detailed and clever and I’m not sure what the average 5-year-olds art looks like but I’m happy with yours and more importantly, you are very happy with yours too.

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Kindergarten is just about over for you, just 2 weeks to go.  I can say with confidence that you can now read.  You can’t read every word yet but you have a very solid foundation and ability to sound out words and you also WANT to read.  You read signs and menus and my notes so we can’t tell you that places don’t have ice cream because you can read that they do.  You also have developed an appreciation for the different values of coins.  Even though you know that a quarter is worth 25 pennies, you will still do anything for the promise of a penny (I’m sure that won’t last).  Except clean the car, for that you charge a dollar but you actually do a good enough job you earn that dollar.  Oh yeah, I do tricky mom things and get you to clean the car:)  If it is a challenge or a game you are all for it, if I just tell you to do it you will dissolve into a puddle of “I can’t” but sometimes you just decide to go do something without being asked.

Our only worry for you is that you worry.  You have been really good at taking a concept and applying it all over, you were doing that last year too, but too often right now it is going down a path of anxiety.  For example; this year when the France bombings happened our flags were at half mast, you asked why, I gave you a true but not graphic explanation, your first reaction was to worry that it would happen here and to make you feel better I told you it probably would not because the bad guys are mostly interested in places that are way more big and important than here.  The first words out of your mouth after that were “they are going to get NY…”  followed by a list of people in NY you love including friends we only see a few times a year but you don’t forget people.  Someday you will learn about 9-11 and I dread the day because you probably won’t want to get on a plane for a year.  Other fears explored this year; fire, house fire, losing all ones toys in a fire, hurricanes, volcanos (and resulting fire), earthquakes and tornados.  Get the feeling you learned about natural disasters at school this year?

Aside from the anxiety, you are absolutely fearless.  I know that sounds weird but I have absolute confidence in your ability to do things.  You can climb, you can run around the block (2min is your record) and you monkey bar so well we had to make a set inside for the winter.  I trust that I could send you to the store and you would do fine but that isn’t allowed.  You are fine on the bus, at school, at jujitsu and I have zero fear dropping you off for a party or playdate.  You went to your first overnight camping trip with girlscouts and was 100% smiles.

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Socially you have a few BFF’s and seem to get along with everyone.  You have a strange love to befriend people that have some troubles and you insist the little boy in your class is your friend even when he punched you in the face and bit you and often breaks your things.  I have to admit, I asked for you to not be allowed to sit with him because you WANT to and it just isn’t good.  I know he is working on it and his mom is super nice but I hope to never, ever, ever, hear the phrase “I like him even though he hits me” again!

Fashion is still your thing and you even stopped hating polka dots.  You get in a run of wanting the exact same thing every day like the same bow in your hair or the same sweater and your fashion choices are actually really awesome.  The 30 piece wardrobe works for you because you like what you like and wear it.  I can’t guess what you might like in the store because it is only rational to you but you are ok when I say no about something too.  Shopping with you is mostly fun even.

 

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these bows, every day for months

 

 

Recently you have been very concerned with things being ‘fair’.  Can’t really help you there but I’m trying because we are not all the same and we can’t do the exact same for everyone.  Maybe it’s a middle child thing or just a 6 thing but you unbridled joy at all things is certainly tempered by your ire at any perception of unfairness.  Unfortunately, you are surrounded by a big sister that just can do more and a little sister who needs more help.  I agree, it really isn’t fair, but I would love to find a way for you to stop saying it daily.

Overall you are a loving sister.  You think about what everyone wants and needs and you try to help.  You can pour apple juice (that you still love with the fire of 1000 suns), completely dress yourself.  Shower and teeth only need minor help.  You can now tie your shoes and use the microwave and mostly make scrambled eggs.  For some reason, you are against learning how to use a knife but you eat better this year. We work on that, giving you points for trying new things (or trying thins you claim to hate but we know you like).  You are the best with reward charts and even quit biting your nails (for a while) with a chart.

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Your favorite games are anything you can convince someone to play with you from Rampage to candy land and of course uno.  You want to be as big as Niamh but you also do like to play with Fiona too (sometimes).  When I have a project you are my helper Zebra and I almost forget your real age!  In the past year we have gone to Pennsic, Texas, and a long visit to NY.  Our good friends moved here so there are two new loving adults in your life and you also got to learn about breakups from another good adult friend and you had an excellent example because his new girlfriend is awesome AND we are all still friend with his former girlfriend and she is someone you always love due to your Z name bond.  Other people might read this and think I’m giving you extra credit for understanding these things but I’m here, it is totally true, you understood, asked questions, and came to the conclusion that they weren’t ‘true love‘ but can still be friends since you only get 1 true love and you can have lots of friends that works.

 

I think I could go on for ages.  You are a great kid – frustrating sometimes but insightful – once you said I don’t smile enough so I’m working on that just for you.

Love you Zozo bean

Mom and Dad

Ps.  this is how you live life all year long;

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Puppy Party!

Puppy party is a really common theme according to Pinterest, so many ideas I only took a fraction.

According to my favorite developmental book series, this year’s birthday needs lots of quick activities and plenty of loot for the guests.  Apparently 6 is the most self-centered age after 2 (and before 12) and they are all concerned with fairness and/or getting the most.  I can see that with Zoe in some ways but get 10 6-year-olds together and it’s like getting smacked in the face with 3d models from the book.  The loot aspect (their word) was not hard, we already had planned activity 1-3 to include making/getting something that was theirs.  The ‘doggie bag’ at the end was pretty trivial really.

 

As kids arrive they recommend an independent style art project so as kids arrive they can just join in.

#1 – adopt a puppy – Oriental traders had the best deal so each pup was $1 IMG_8994

#2 – make a collar for the pup – we used pipe cleaners and letter beads.  This one ended up needing a bit of help since the holes were small and some kids are not confident spellers yet but they liked them.  About half the pups were named after the kids, they know how to spell that for sure.  I got WAAAAY too many beads (1pack of 250 and 1 500) but I didn’t want to run out and now I have extra for all my future letter bead needs

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#3 – decorate a dog house – I pre set up these boxes and cut out a half circle so the dogs could peek out.  Some kids really used the markers and stickers, some didn’t, but it filled the time nicely as kids were arriving.

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Niamh played party game director as they played ‘fetch’ where she threw balls and they ran around the yard.  They also played some version of tag…  They got semi-bored of the games in about 10 minutes and so we did the classic pin the tail on the dog

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not that you should have any trouble with this game but things that made it easy for me were;

  • I used leftover double sided tape from another project and left the paper on the ‘outside’ sticky so they could peel away while waiting in line
  • I put the board on the kid easel that way it can be played anywhere, no wall needed

 

We all went in for a snack – I amended my earlier version by using peeps instead of cupcakes because the frosting made a mess last time and the peeps hold the candy in better.  Unsurprisingly a pretty glass full of candy was well received by the group.

 

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added a gummy bear option for our dairy free friends – good trade because they don’t fall out as easily as hard candy!

 

While snack was consumed (and many m&ms spilled on the floor) we opened presents – dull to most involved so we kept it snappy and rolled into another little game “doggie doggie wheres your bone” that they played a round or 3 while I got the cake ready.

Top off the party with cake and pre scooped icecream (best party hack ever!  scoop into cupcake papers and keep in a cupcake tray in the freezer until serving) and fruit.

 

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puppy cake – not pinworth but tasty

 

We had one other activity set up; a photobooth.  Sounds more complicated but it was a tablet on a tripod with a special tablet holder for hands-free use.  I set the tablet to stay on and I activated the voice activation so they could say “smile” and it would take a picture.  I had some props and a backdrop but they moved it a bit to suit themselves.  Given how tech savvy the kids are this was awesome activity.  They took 300 pictures, 8-10 are classically good, and there are a ton that are crazy fun over all for the set up it was a hit.

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This took a whole hour and a half, they were not joking about them running through the activities.  However, our education system has conditioned them all to love “free choice” so I told them all that after one group picture they all had “free choice” and there were cheers.  Soon the squeals of glee threatened to take the house down and my friend and I churned out balloon animals and swords to the point where no kid left the party without a puppy a house a collar 2-3 balloon creations the official ‘doggie bag’ and some with a helium baloon (if they asked).  One of our favorite friends left with 50% less because she would forget her head if it were not attached and I found her sweater under a chair and her puppy in the yard etc.

 

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boxes are ‘cupcake boxes’ from oriental trader 

 

Other than the whole lice thing it was a wonderful party on a great day with minimal fuss.  The only regret is that with this theme Zoe’s extreme desire for a real dog is now cranked up to 110.

Super fast Other Kate installment

UK Kate is in charge of her company Christmas party (Holiday?  how picky is the UK about that)

UK Kate choose a very posh looking place with a very nice menu and party area.  Know how I know?  I get all her requests for confirmation from the resturant~

I dutifully emailed the place back when I got the first request for confirmation but today I got another that actually asked if she got the first one.  Um…. so yes, I wrote back again because I don’t want a Kate, no matter how poor her penmanship, to look like an idiot for not actually booking the Holiday party.  I can’t imagine a group of English office workers in cocktail attire expecting open bar would be a pretty mob on the street when they arrive and find no place for them… (actually, I can imagine and its funny but not kind so I do try and be kind)

The same Kate (I think) is also getting into the habit of getting e-receipts when she goes to lunch or shop.  UK Kate, you eat out too much!  How do I know?  guess….

send wine….

so want to know about lice?  I know a ton now, I took a crash course! As I walked out of Costco on Friday with a detailed yet doable to-do list Lars called and said the school nurse found a live lice on Niamh and he was going to go pick up Niamh and Zoe.

Que the over-reaction.  The stress reflex.  The idiotic shame over something I and they can’t control.  The google of ‘lice removal’ and ‘lice today party tomorrow?’.  Oh, and the laundry.

We called in Vacation partner (because life isn’t always a vacation) because she knew more than I did and we team washed, treated, inspect/combed all 3 kids and ourselves AND based on CDC saying kids can go to school post NIX treatment decided to have the party.  If you are googling and find this here is what we thought;

  1. CDC recommendation of treatment seems reasonable
  2. We were going to keep Niamh – the only one with any real sign – with hair up tight and away from the kids
  3. It was Zoe’s birthday and we really didn’t want to wreck the sister bond they have by having her big sister need to cancel the party.
  4. Almost all the party guests are classmates so they saw Zoe yesterday, and, as one parent said “we roll these dice every day anyway with school and gymnastics and sports etc”

So we greeted each parent with the situation and I think the winning line was “better yesterday than tomorrow” because, in reality, we were very safe post treatment.  It didn’t change the party really, the weather was nice so we were outside a bunch and they loved all the party games and activities.  I wish I could have enjoyed it more myself but I think they all really did.  There were many moments throughout Friday and Saturday getting ready that I wished I could quit but there is no quitting in baseball or motherhood and I powered through.

Sunday, the actual day of Zoe’s birth, we all woke up still stressed out but with some nice plans.  The way the killing shampoo works is that it kills everything alive BUT it does not kill eggs so you have 3 days or so before eggs hatch to get rid of the eggs.  I was under the impression our NIX killed the eggs BUT NO OVER THE COUNTER BRANDS DO THAT!!! so hello stress again!  Clock ticking I try the dr to call in a prescription.  They refuse because they have not seen Niamh in a year (her well child is next Monday by the way) and they say to go to urgent care.  Fat chance…  Then I find a place locally that will remove the eggs.  I mention it to Lars and Niamh over hears and jumps on it like a starving lion.  She is feeling guilty and sorry and like she caused it all and she just wants it over. They have Sunday hours so I book it and we head out.  Sorry Zoe… your birthday just went off the rails.

The place we went, nitpickers, could not have been more professional and understanding.  It is expensive but I think worth it to know that we really really are clear of it.  Fortunately, Lars finished the event he was at and joined us in time to take Zoe and Fiona out to the mall for some birthday fun while Niamh and I finished our treatments.  Poor Niamh, waist length hair is not easy and she had a lot to get out.  They did me because they found 2 eggs and probably more because who would take care of the mom in a family?  Fiona had zero, and Zoe had 6.  After dinner when they usually get a show Fiona  actually said she already watched too much tv because for 5 hours that what they did to stay still…

 

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lets just call it a spa day….

 

I think Zoe still had a decent birthday, there were presents and cake and all but it was not up to my standard.  She opened brown packing boxes from amazon and closed her eyes as we handed her unwrapped gifts.  She accepted brownies with a single candle and pizza at the mall instead of the out to dinner we were planning.  We held it together… just… but I’m holding on to my sanity with a slippy grip.  What is NOT helping is the freakouts from everyone else around me.  Guess what?  they can’t live off a human head so rather than bleaching everything; get a good check of your head if your head touched her head.

 

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those black sticks were sparklers

 

Today I called the school nurse to tell him what we did but also confirm that he checked the rest of the class and he avoided that question.  I forced him to answer and even though he told Niamh he would, he did not.  Poor guy – he got a bit yelled at.  They are ‘keeping an eye on people itching’ and I told him that was not even really a good symptom because plenty of people never itch!  lice are nocturnal and are dormant in the day…  I read a very informative book on the subject in the 5 hours I was sitting there.  I’m not an expert but I know a lot more now and I feel like I might as well turn this horrific stress party of a weekend into a semi-positive that now I know how to deal with something and I can also list here some facts I got from the book that might help you not be so much of a stress ball.

 

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  1. lice like to, no love to, stay on the person they are on.
    • they actually CAN’T feed from a person with a different blood type, it kills them
      • they could lay eggs and then die and those eggs would tune to the first meal so that is probably why I didn’t get this much because I’m O and Niamh is A.  Rh factor is also a thing too so different is good here!
  2. They have to feed every 4 hours but after 2 hours they are so dehydrated that they can’t lay eggs so you don’t have to go crazy cleaning because if they somehow got off, they are basically dead
    • eggs can’t hatch once they are out of the ‘goldy locks’ zone of perfect heat about a quarter inch off the scalp.
      • unfortunately if you think “I’ll just shave my head” you need to bic it to skin because you will miss eggs if you don’t.
  3. They move to a new head by hair or head touching when there are too many on the host head because remember, they love to stay where they are.
  4. Lice prefer dark so thick hair is their favorite, and, they dislike curly hair or dirty hair.  Short or thin hair where you can see the scalp are not a favorite either so if your balding (male or female) think of this as a side bonus.
    • However! live lice can’t be showered off, they can survive 2 hours under water and cling like crazy to your hair.
    • the olive oil or mayo method is a maybe because it makes it too hard for the eggs to adhere like ‘dirty’ hair

I can’t really describe what each stage looks like any better than the internet at large but I hope these tips help you not freak out like I did.  You don’t really need to wash everything they ever touched.  You don’t need to take things away for weeks to ‘be sure’.  You DO need to clean where they have been in the past 4 hours – I was cycling things through the dryer and hot washer until midnight the night before a party and then all morning too and that was just wasted energy!

Tomorrow I’m sure I’ll be back to normal.  I didn’t get to work out or eat right all weekend so that added to my stress load.  I had a nice morning with some friends and Fiona is being sweet and the sun is shining so I think we will have good afternoon and an early night and tomorrow I can be happy-shiny about Zoe’s puppy party.  I’m also buying a pro lice comb and we get to do some checks every 2 weeks for the rest of their lives…

11nncznc3bl with twisted teeth to really kill the buggers!