Everyone I see now that I’m back asks me about my vacation. How does one describe of month with 3 distinctly different parts? I just boil it down to ‘very nice but long’ because that is in a nutshell. I also want to forget about that fail of a few days plus it is far more interesting to talk about the things to come.
First, my previous years of feeling of incompleteness about September will be over because Niamh starts Kindergarten! We went to the open house yesterday and I hope I made the right decision because apparently I made a POPULAR decision – Niamh is one of 110 Kindergartners in her school. They created 2 new classrooms so now there are 5 classes of 22 kids. The teacher we got seems nice but disorganized, this is her first year in the Kindergarten teacher role but she is a tenured teacher. Hopefully they don’t eat her alive and more importantly I hope she starts all the kids on a good path. The real negative about the school is no AC so sundresses for the foreseeable future. Good thing Niamh got used to heat in PA and NY… Niamh is ‘scarcited’ (a ponyville word) and she is going through the list of things that she will miss out on and I had to solemnly swear last night we would do nothing super-fun without her. She actually will have a pretty posh schedule. The bus gets her at 8:45 and that is well after when we are all normally up, dressed and fed. She will even get to play or watch a show or something if the dressing and feeding go in a timely fashion. She will be back at 4:25 and that is not so far off when we actually get out for afternoon things anyway so half the time she will probably get picked up by the crew and we will all go do our pm activity. She will miss things but hopefully the fun of the day will balance that out.
After school starts we have a zone of establishing a new normal. I’m scarcited about just having 2 kids to troop about town. Niamh is honestly a help with lots of things, she plays with her sisters, she fetches things, she is good at remembering lists at the grocery store and she is great about deciding what thing to do next and helping get ready for it. I worry that Zoe will just aimlessly wander and talk to herself but I’m sure she will rise to the occasion. When I started staying home last year Zoe was my weakest link since she could not be counted on to sit still in a story time but she has come a long way and is not too far behind where Niamh was when I started. Funny how the aging thing works in such a linear fashion
I realized Wednesday that my last ‘normal’ week was last month. This week was odd with no daycare and extra things to do and next week Niamh to school. There is a few months of the new routine and then Fiona is set to start daycare 2x a week after Jan 1 and what will I do with 2 days a week with NO KIDS?!? I’m putting the day on my calendar and I will sleep the entire day, that will be my shining beacon in the future and my chance to catch up on a years worth of sleep debt. I plan on getting all the things done but I’m not going to dwell too much in the future
Today we are looking forward to getting our siding fixed. Years ago the installers did a poor job but nowhere near as bad as I thought. When I called on the issues I noticed the estimator/boss guy came and inspected and was appalled by the crew (no longer with the company) and we are getting the job fixed now. They had to re do the peaks to salvage siding to match but I’m not sure how I like it. Thoughts?
One neighbor likes it but I would like other opinions too.
Ok, Zoe needs me – she fell out of bed last night and sprained her neck. She is learning the wonder of Advil and ice….
It is sad to say that Monday was 100X better then Sunday and Monday was not all that awesome a day. There was a ton of cleaning and getting back in the routine that involved many trips to time out but it did not compare to Sunday….
Sunday I was woken up not once, not twice but three times in the night by each of the children. Niamh declared that my room ‘stunk’ at 6am and while I did agree I did not want to hear about it. I had gone to bed Saturday knowing that there was some cat indiscretion somewhere in the room but after I checked my bed thoroughly I decided it could wait until morning.
Neither of us wanted to get up and somehow I lost the game of baby chicken because I actually got out of bed. The house had been shut up for a week and more importantly it had been inhabited by a BOY for the previous 2 weeks. There was a rancid cup of coffee on the table that Fiona spilled on the floor. There were dubiously clean dishes precariously stacked in the drainer (hey, he tried…). The one thing Lars decided to really clean was the coffee maker and it was disassembled and the parts where in 3 different locations including under the badly washed dishes. I touched one dish and the pile cascaded into the sink to smash 2 drinking glasses that were just hanging out in the sink. Lars did get out of bed when I was about to completely loose it because I could not find the last piece of the coffee maker and 3 children were shouting for different and opposing tasks to be completed immediately.
all this before 8am….
Then there was the bedroom situation. Lars went to investigate as I fed the children cereal because I had no patience for making any other breakfast item. My phone had refused to charge so I had no access to my recipe anyway so we ate month old cereal, but, to his credit, Lars got milk before we got home. The situation under the bed was bad… The cat sitter said she didn’t know the cat was locked in our room but he had to have been – maybe he got out himself? He was sitting pretty on the steps when we got home. Other then pee and poo and a bit of puke the cat had clawed under the door to the bathroom and caught 3 towels and they are badly shredded. Lars took care of the big bits but I had to mop so we moved the bed. ::aside:: Lars also took down the baby pack n play and that made me more sad then it should because it means our baby isn’t a baby anymore. We moved the bed to the other half of the room and I mopped while Lars washed Fiona who had decided to take a walk in the cat pee. Thankfully Niamh and Zoe were delightedly playing with all their toys that they had missed and not getting the way. The next issue was moving the bed back when the foot board fell off. We looked at beds online and in the end we just shoved the bed back together and we will deal with that another day.
Part of my overwhelming displeasure with the day was because I thought things would be more neat when I got back but there was a month worth of dust, cat fur and general grime on everything. The floor in the kitchen was the only thing that was cleaner then I left it and I was upset because of my own unmet expectations. Coupled with weeks of broken sleep and 2 days of driving it was a recipe for sadness disaster. To make things worse we took 3 cranky kids to wal-mart to get school stuff and that was a fresh hell all of its own. The day finally ended with a nice dinner and then I fell asleep on the sofa to wake up very disoriented at 1am.
Sunday night I still didn’t get the sleep I wanted and Monday was rough but today is going well. I cleaned non stop from morning to night and my room, the bathroom and the livingroom look great. Today I tackle the kitchen and tomorrow the play room and kids rooms. While we were busy Sunday the kids trashed their room but whatever, they didn’t step in cat pee and I even got a shower in peace when Fiona napped.
Counting my blessings – the cat is alive, we have a DVR full to the brim of shows we want to watch, the kids are getting back on schedule, I love my hot tub, Lars is a great cook, and I fit my smaller shorts now.
We arrived in MN about 36 or so hours after we left NY. We hit some less then great traffic leaving NY, who knew 2pm was a prime time for travel? PA was fine, sometimes it has traffic but this time it didn’t. We slept in possibly the worst hotel in Ohio. I won’t dwell on that sucktastic experience but it was even worse because all 3 kids were awake at 11:30 when we checked in. By 1:30 am when Fiona was nearly asleep Zoe woke everyone (but Niamh) up. Travel tip: get the King suite – then when 1 kid needs to be with you all night in your bed, this is far better then if you are in a double. The hotel continued to disappoint with a lackluster breakfast that had no protein because the only protein was boiled eggs and a big fat guy took 5 or 6, far more then anyone should eat at any weight.
Driving that second day was tedious but fine. I took the role of keeping Lars awake and the kids happy and the one time I drove for 2 hours it was not great because Lars can’t make the kids happy because he can’t yoga himself into the back seats (nor can he lactate). I invented a twist on a car game that kept us interested – it is a twist on the alphabet game but with scoring so it gets interesting. The alphabet game, if you don’t know, is played by one person saying a word and the next person has to say a word that begins with the last letter of that word. A different version is if you are playing with people you use the first letter of their last name.
+ 1 point for correctly carrying on the game in the same theme
– 1 point if you have to change themes (like from place names to animals)
+0 points if you change back to a previously used themes (like going back to place names)
+1 point for a very creative answer – this is awarded by the other person
+1 point for a ‘special’ condition in the category. This actually is the most fun part and got Lars really playing because he loved finding double point answers.
A special condition is something unique to that category but obviously not for 100% of the answers. For us we had the category of animals and the special point was for animals that you have personally eaten. As much as I am a picky eater I have eaten a very wide variety of animals including Tiger, snake, snail, pigeon, horse etc. Travel in foreign countries is great for this category. Who knows if any of you are interested but here are our categories and their special points;
SCA related words (people and stuff) – Special Ultra Cool people and extra grouchy people.
Animals – personally eaten
Game of Thrones – someone/thing who killed someone personally (ordering their death does not count) *we added thing because we feel the sword Ice did plenty of killing
Harry Potter – people who have had a known romantic relationships
Lars did end up winning by 5 points because he in the middle of reading Game of Thrones and I had to remember back 6 months to when I read it. The real win was that it kept us active and alert for nearly 4 hours. Feel free to spread the game far and wide and let me know if you come up with any other good special points.
As always when we finally get to Chicago we felt far better about actually getting home and like every other time we actually talk ourselves into just pushing through. We were home in our nice house by 10:30 local time. Yesterday I tweeted and posted some of the fail of the first day home, I’ll cover that tomorrow. I am proud of us for driving so far with relatively few problems. For the record we kept a 1, 3, and 5 year old entered by;
5 year old – she was easy to keep happy because she had lots of little dolls to play with. Kindle to play her pony game on. A few movies and a coloring book with stickers.
3 year old – I give her a B+ because there were times she was just bored but the kindle time worked well for her too as did playing with a few little dolls. She also took special glee in telling us she had to go to the bathroom because she knew we would stop. You don’t’ want to push that issue much but I did notice she had to go potty just as a Dora episode was wrapping up and didn’t need to anymore if the next Dora promptly started…..
1 year old – we put a phone in a ziplock and hung it where she could see (rear facing still) and she was moderately amused by some baby Einstein. Most of the time she slept or ate or stared out the window. Oh, there was also plenty of protesting from her but mostly when she was tired.
We stopped every 2 or 3 hours to do something and Niamh got it in her head that you were only allowed to go to the bathroom once per state. I figured that out when she kept asking if we were in the next state yet. All in all the trip was not bad but it is not something I want to do again for a long time.