Yes! we are here, we did arrive!
When I go places like Texas or Flordia we have day by day itineraries and places to see and things to do. When I go to NY my plans are pretty much ‘get there’ full stop.
If you remember before I left for NY I had a fever and strep and was more or less a mess but the girls were good and Prima was an all star and the travel was arranged to be simple (direct flight) and all worked as planned. I’ve gotten to like a new trick for luggage and kids etc. If I am checking a bag at all, meaning I have to go to baggage no matter what, there is no point in dragging a rollalong or 2 through the airport because 9 times in 10 they can’t fit them in the overheads anyway and ask people to gate check. I’ve started to just ask at the desk if they are going to be asking for gate checks and handing them over right there. This time there was a problem with the luggage arriving, they unloaded the plane and then went on break or shift change or something because our luggage didn’t make the final step to the baggage belt. The entire flight waited over an hour (at midnight) for it to be figured out. The kids even made it through that with reasonable tempers and we got to my parents super late and ready for bed.
The next few days were the recovery and settle in and relax days. I didn’t exercise, I sat and rested, I didn’t do much of anything. I saw my sister and Miss Math and my grandmother and my cousins that are also visiting and other friends from highschool and really just did the mellow hang out thing. That is still the general plan for the week left but now I have more energy and I’m feeling better.
The weather matched my mood more or less with some gray days that made you want to stay inside but now it is bright and sunny and I’m glad for the more happy play outside weather.
On the homefront, our house has had a few showings and tons of views in the official 5 days it is on the market. I hope the perfect person finds it soon, ideally before we get back, because Lars is doing fine living in our model home but I don’t want to really try with the kids! If we do, we will be doing tons of day-long outings to keep the house neat.
I’m going back to vacation mode, checking email and facebook a little each day but more focus on the activity around me. While I say we have been not doing much, when I went to pull up some pictures there were plenty and here is a taste of our vacation life;
Yesterday I did not get everything done because I ended up going to the Dr and found that it is not allergies or a cold but strep. You know how low the chances of strep are for an adult? Well, I’m glad to live in a time of antibiotics and today they need to work overtime. I need to get myself, 3 other humans and 1 canine through a pair of airports in less than 9 hours. I have told all the girls that once we get to NY all my attention can be for them – not the house, no meetings, just my family, and NY friends.
In the next 9 hours, I need to pack (yesterday I got all the laundry done, your favorite things are always the ones you just wore). To save time I don’t plan on putting away any of the clothing we are not bringing – it is all going directly into totes in the garage so our house looks even tidier for 1/4 empty closets. I need to get everything back to ‘show ready’ and that includes spiriting away many stuffed animals and swapping bed spreads etc. I’ve saved my sanity by booking an awesome cleaning service for tomorrow who will do the floors and windows so I don’t have to worry about cleaning while we are still here.
I’m totally not the first person to move. It is, however, the first time I have tried to do this sell a house thing and I wish I had more time to make it even better. We have had just over a month from deciding this is what we are doing to hitting the market. I’ve done nearly nothing in the yard but that is on today’s list so maybe!
If anyone is wondering what my house looks like, here is the presale link
We truly have taken good care of the house and I hate to leave behind the house we know for a new bag of tricks, but, we are also tripping over each other and need more space so we look and look for the next place to make our own. Everyone think good thoughts for us! We are actually in the great place that we don’t have to move, we don’t have to take a low offer, it is a seller’s market and I’m doing my best to not go crazy over this.
This time tomorrow I will be typing something (or maybe sleeping) from my parents in NY enjoying a well-earned vacation.
rolls of tape; 3
giant bags of trash out; 9
General packed status;45%
days till house is on the market; 4
School finished last Thursday and with it, my order of weekdays and weekends. Thursday itself was a busy day with our last carpool, then directly to Fiona’s well child (she is a well child) and then to target because while her body and brain are developing nicely she decided she didn’t need to put on shoes so she was barefoot and we had places to go. After a record breaking trip to target we got back to school to run the outdoor twister game for Zoe’s picnic. Off we went again to pick up some totes for packing and home to await the final homecoming of the school age children. We topped of that day with a family walk to the park and a little relaxitation.
Friday, the first day of vacation, went reasonably well. I’m jumping on the ‘to do list before screen time’ this year just to try and get some stuff accomplished in the day. I got the general list from a variety of pinterest posts – there are some very aggressive lists out there, ones I would be lucky to finish in a day as an adult! With 2 readers in the house now this type of to-do list actually can work since they can read it themselves. Also, Zoe loves to-do lists and has put way more pressure on her sisters and herself than I ever would have. I made it by folding a piece of scrapbook paper so some of the pretty part showed and I still had white to write. Then I laminated it so we can reuse it all year. I personally left an open space under ‘chores’ so I could write in that days needs and for us, this all starts after breakfast so they can still wake up and watch a show like normal.
Saturday was a friend’s wedding so we had a semi-productive morning taking a batch to storage, buying a pair of party shorts (it was 90 degrees, Lars was not wearing a suit) and starting the garage clearing. The wedding itself was really nice, kids had fun, we sat with friends, the food was well chosen and other than the 90 degree thing it was a really good time. The real bad thing is that my nagging throat got worse in the night and I woke up hardly able to talk and swallow. Advil helps but over Sunday I added a fever to the mix but we had 5 houses to look at so we did that (and not much else). Sunday also started with a giant hail storm, house and cars did ok but plants took a beating.
The houses we saw were basically everything in the area that could work for us. We are now down to 2, both have something about them that is awesome and something that is really not… Both are dependent on our house selling well. Seeing houses in a bit of a fever fog was not ideal but there are just not many days left before I take the girls and puppy off to NY to hopefully have the house show better without 4 mess makers in it.
Today is the first Monday of vacation time and I don’t have much planned. I am hoping that I can be more functional today and get things done
When we started this semi-impulsive move I looked ahead and saw that there were absolutely 2 birthday’s that would be quite in the thick of things and decided I HAD to give myself a break from doing ‘too much’ for the birthdays. However, Fiona and Zoe’s birthday shouldn’t really suffer too much from our move so I tried to find a compromise. Here is what I did.
#1. Since their birthdays are just 2 weeks apart, we found a weekend (the only free weekend day) in between and put their party on ONE day.
#2. We decided to use our new YMCA as the venue since they offered decent party packages and did have our date available so in a nod to the two kids, we actually booked 2 parties
- Zoe turning 7 had more options based on age so we booked her a 3 hour party that included 1h of swimming, 1h of the bounce house, and 1h in the party room.
- Fiona turning 5 had fewer options and to stagger the starts we just booked her a 2 hour party with 1h in the bounce house and 1h in the party room.
- The staggered start meant we could greet each party of kids independently and they moved together as a group and we finished all together in the party room for 2 cakes.
#3. I gave myself a ‘pass’ on making all my decorations and running around to 3 different stores went to Oriental Trading and just clicked around until I had a party in a box. *because of my ongoing relationship with them, Oriental Trading treated me to this build your own birthday party in a box and in return I’m telling you all about it!
- The girls agreed on the emoji theme and that is pretty in right now so it was an easy enough shopping trip. There is even an emoji category at Oriental Trading in the party theme section. I had to cover the standards;
- Table wear; plates, cups, napkins
- treat bag and filling
- some decor to fill up the impersonal (yet nice) room
- a craft to have something to do while food is served etc
I had to be a little creative in some ways and in others there was a super obvious and easy choice but here is the party fresh out of the shipping box (a box I have reused and packed a bunch of family pictures in);
The EASY part was treat bag! First I saw the cellophane bags (bottom right) and then I found the face bag (top right) and I just got both. I hedged my bets about size and quality and in the end I actually used both. The face bags have a narrow top but are otherwise really cute and easy to fill. I put Boom Chicka Pop, the most awesome popcorn, into the cellophane bags and that gave me some nice bulk. The other goodie bag fillings were also pretty easy to hunt up – the emoji stickers, stampers, and pins were all on the theme and good value.
Second most easy were the craft. There are emoji scratch off crafts front and center on the site. They really don’t create anything grand but kids really love scratching off the black to make the design and each packet comes complete for the craft so it was just hand one per kid and let them do what they do.
The Harder part was table wear. Napkins and cups, no problem. No easy options for plates? I searched emoji and smile and nada in the plate family but then I saw these ninja plates and figured they would work just fine. I ended up just using some leftover paper plates for the dinner plate so it was all fine and looked festive. **going back today for links I see they have a dinner plate now! Must have been sold out, but no cake plate so my ninja pick is still a good tip if you are doing an emoji them birthday**
The Hardest part was decor. I didn’t need balloons because filling a balloon you purchase elsewhere is nearly impossible so I just buy them here. In the end, I got the plain yellow pennant banner and my sharpie and I decorated while we watched some TV the night before. Let me tell you, a 200f banner is REALLY long. It did make the room look emoji theme with only 1 decoration so that is a big impact. I ended up cutting it so I had a big one on the wall and a small one to decorate the serving table.
Overall a party in a box + a venue I didn’t need to clean made it a very fun and pretty easy party. There were questions of service and organization on the part of the Y, but, I’m working on that. Let’s just say you can’t expect much from teen party assistants….
It is not a secret that Oriental Trading is an easy one stop party shop but now there is proof that in 20min of shopping and a few minutes of assembly you can have a nearly Pinterest worthy party with nearly no effort.
I’m not sure I’ll be stacking parties like this again, it was a whirlwind, but give the time we have it was the best we could do and everyone had a good time so that is what counts.
Last week you turned 5 and it happened to be in the middle of us getting ready to move so it was not an ideal day but I think you really did like it. Becki took you out for the day and you came back tired and happy but 5 year olds don’t stop – you went right out to Jujitsu with your sisters and came home exhausted and ready for cake (brownies) and bed. I wonder if your whole 5th year will be as crazy.
You are the child I think I have spent the most time with. Somehow though you feel like you need me most still. It is a little the age, a little bit you. When I am around and something goes wrong I am the embodiment of a bunker, a band-aid, and teddy bear all in one person. I have seen you work out problems and not fall apart so I know you can, but, I don’t mind being here for you always.
Preschool is over for the year and you did great. Not a bit of separation issues beyond an extra hug every day. Your teacher Ms. Kayla was fantastic and loved you and you loved her. Now you know every letter and number and can write most of them very well. You love to write actually, you write all the time. Sometimes even on walls… Your hobby right now is to cut interesting shapes out of paper so your cutting skills are very good. When you draw and paint, and that is as often as I let you, you are making people and families and noticing odd little things about a person and adding them into the pictures. Gone are the days of abstract, hello 10,000 pictures of our family 🙂 You are also getting decent at sounding out small words when you are in the mood, I hope you have fun in Kindergarten next year.
You did great with the carpool and you and Reilly are super good friends even though you are pretty different kids. In school you made some true friends, friends I get the feeling we will be seeing a lot of over the next 6+ years. I love when kids make friends completely outside of family influence – these are not the children of my friends or the siblings of sisters friends. Selfishly, this usually means new friends for me because cool kids usually have cool parents and 5-year-olds can’t do playdates alone. You think you can though, you think you can do nearly anything your sisters can and your TV and music taste has been artificially aged. Where Niamh was singing Laurie Berkner and Disney at this age, you sing “Way down Below” and “Cheap Thrills”. The best was when you sang the same bit of another song; “1,2,3 your gonna come back to me, I’m the best baby you will ever ever see” when you were sure it was just a counting song for babies. Oh well, that is what happens with #3. You also have a better vocabulary and listen to audio books intended for kids 8+. I never know how much sinks in but we recently listened to a Greek Myth book and just yesterday you told me that Zeus was God’s (Baby Jesus God you made clear) Godfather. I’ll take that, seems like a realistic situation…
As #3 you do tend to almost always have sisters around but this past two years you had significant time as the only child all day while they were at school. Yes, we did tons together and you did want (and get) books and snuggles but for large chunks of time you like to do your OWN thing. You don’t even want the puppy out with you. I’m not sure what fantastic game is going on but you will swing on the swings and run around the yard for about 40 min happy as can be. Same with your room – you go in there and have elaborate games with all the toys. Eventually, you get bored and want to do things with me and there is almost always things to do. You are probably the best at cleaning and loading the dishwasher because we do a lot of that. Sometimes you even do chores all on your own, other times you still claim to be the baby. Your view on life is usually 110%
Speaking of babies. You still LOVE them. You don’t actually have to have your 2 baby dolls at ALL times anymore and you actually are ok with missing any favorite toy at bedtime for the most part, but you still love them. Our friend had a real baby and we would watch him and a real baby was a horse of a different color… you did have some jealousy for sure but you also had that internal protect the small thing instinct and did plenty to help him be happy and me take care of him. I’m really glad we got that experience for you and I’m glad we could help a friend.
Jumping over to gross motor (ha ha) this was a big year for you. You can now swim pretty ok; we started in January and you didn’t really even want to get in the pool and now you bob and actually swim. You are well on the way to really swimming, thanks, YMCA. You are learning your bike but like your sisters, you are faster on a scooter or even just running. You can monkey bar the whole way across and you will jump off way too many things. You started Jujitsu 2 weeks ago and you’re not quite sure about it but I needed time to pack so you needed to go. You also just started archery and knife throwing with Dad, he says your are pretty good. For a large chunk of the summer and fall, we did Pokemon hunting, great reason for a walk and we walked all over town, miles a day most nice days. I’m glad to have 3 active girls and I hope I’m a good role model even if I can’t do the monkey bars.
I’ve been writing on this for a few days so it is getting long. I should really stop so here are some quick other things that were you at 4; you still wanted to sleep with me and would often sneak in around 3am. You fall asleep really fast most nights but 1 in 10 you stay up until 11. You still have allergies and all colds turn into nasty chest issues and you need your machine. Your favorite color is changeable, you love Addie and Reilly as your friends, and you still take baths mostly and are growing out of hair twirling so we might see you with longer hair someday. In your 4th year you went to Hawaii, NY, PA, ND, WI Dells and WI in general, and all over MN. You are not the weakest link on a road trip and you are getting pretty good at operating all the electronics solo. There are still tantrums but you actually lean more toward surly sadness. You mimic and tag along and drive your sisters crazy but you also play with them – the destruction phase is over. You still put way too many things in your mouth and absently pick at things until they are in bits. We get you gum to try and help and it actually does. Your well child is today and I expect them to report that you are 40lb because we just weighed you at the vet Tuesday. You love to snuggle and cuddle and even if it is tiring for me, I am still the answer to most of the problems of the world for you.
rolls of tape used; 2
bags of trash removed from house; 9
trips to storage; 12ish, Lars does most of them now
Today is the last Monday of school, they are done this thursday. As always mixed feelings from all of us. Vacation is always nice, no worries about carpool or mean kids at school and endless ‘free time’ but they always miss their friends and structrue of the day every day. We have a busy summer planned, it was busy even before we decided to sell and buy a house so now it is packed. (lol). I hope that they mellow into the endless weekend of summer and don’t drive me crazy with fighting or taking the house apart.
Speaking of house, we have turned a corner in the staging thing. I’ve gotten to every room in the house, even the laundry room, and most of the major re arranging is done. There is still tons to do but the house is looking really nice now instead of a dissaster zone of painting and packing. It has been tons of work but that isn’t a surprise to anyone. We even managed to have our kid triple birthday yesterday and because our house is 2/3 empty it was really easy to tidy up before and after. The party yesterday also reinforced how we need more central space because all 15 people crammed into our kitchen space was really hard. Yes, we have 2 other floors, but like a pack nobody really wants to be the one to stray into a different room. Eventually, people spread out and the weather broke so our deck was useful (it was 90 degrees the past few days) and it was a nice party in general but we really really need more gathering space.
This week I have a scholarship presentation, a well child check, a Moms club board meeting, the last day of school picnic, and friends coming to stay because we are all going to the same wedding this Saturday. I also need to finish the house, get the pictures done, and pack to go to NY next Tuesday!
I’m out of time in my pre-wakeup office hours and we need to get the kids ready. Niamh is going to the state capitol for her school trip and I have coached her to reply to them asking “any questions” with “since there was a budget surplus why didn’t you choose to fund school better?” I really hope someone has to look at a group of 3rd graders and tell them why they have to have an underfunded school that has to lay off teachers yearly because whey I tell them my only answer is “I don’t know”.