Archive | May 2017

Dear 7 year old Zoe

Dear Zoe

img_210310 days ago you turned 7 and I’m sorry it took me this long to write.  Right now we are in the middle of a move, a move you don’t exactly want to do but you are VERY clear that you want your own room.  This is pretty new since 6 months ago you didn’t want to be alone, maybe it is the change in roommate…

The other major development is that you wore me down on the dog subject.  Not that I want you to ask, beg, bargain, convince me of something you want basically daily for over 3 years, but, it did seem to work for you.  Our puppy is here because you willed it into being.  You are also doing a good img_2705job taking care of her but aren’t puppies a lot of work?  I’m reserving my ‘told you so’ until you read this as an adult and you can really see what I mean.  I do hope someday you get the golden and lab and 9 other types of dogs you want, I’ll visit you in your own house.


This year in school you absolutely rocked reading.  At the start, you were pretty ok, and now, you can read anything.  You go through phases of reading in bed and for a while it was frustrating when you didn’t now a word so I gave you a card to write the words you don’t know and I would tell you them the next day – I see your frustration when I saw your words, you were reading Dr Seuss book that was about professions you can be and besides the absolutely made up words they had professions like ornithologist to confuse new readers like you!  We have read the Critter Club 2-4, The Magic Tree house #whatever, a semi-annoying book about a sassy girl, and so so so many other easy readers but I’m looking forward to reading more real books with you.


School was also decent socially.  You have a great friend Lizzy that we carpool with, you are happy to be friends with Zoey T in your class and while there is still a friend musical chairs game going constantly in 1st grade you seem to be nice to everyone and generally well liked.  I know because I come visit, not enough for your taste but I will try to get there more next year I promise.  Most of the time you are fearless about social situations but I realized one day when Niamh had to miss a swim lesson that you get some of your braveness from being with your sister.  Being in the middle you usually have one sister or another and sometimes you gripe about them, but, you like having them there I can see it.  They are your friends and your playmates and the people you fight with and the people you hopefully will stay close to – we have a good start and I think I’m setting a decent example.


Physically these days there isn’t anything muchimg_2903 you can’t do if you know how.  You monkey bar, you ride your bike without training wheels for miles, you can swim pretty well and are learning the different strokes in swim lessons, and your handwriting is decent.  Jujitsu is getting easier for you and we don’t have to bribe you so much to go, finally getting good at something really does help you like it, I hope you are happy we didn’t let you quit.

Like every kid you have your challenges.  I’m so glad you are past the fight about going to bed stage, now it is only 1:50 nights that you fight about it.  You have a tendency to get down about things, like a tiny fatalist.  You still worry about death and all sorts of things going wrong.  You like to hear what we are doing tomorrow so you know what to expect in general, going in cold makes you crazy.  If you are not prepared there is a tone of panic for the entire event, conversely, if I tell you what to expect you are ready for anything.  I get the feeling that you will not believe in fiction for too long, although, you play along well and are good at finding evidence that Santa and fairies exist.  You are getting into a yelling phase and a little bit of a silently mean stage where you poke a sister until they yell.  Nothing I’m really worried about but when you get to pushing my buttons I’m not exactly happy.  You also tell the truth in a very insightful way, I kinda hate that you see my (and dads) shortcomings so clearly but I’m glad to have my own personal reality check in house and you don’t usually hold a grudge. You also have a way of pushing pushing pushing that I hope you grow out of….

There are millions of unique things about you but what stands out to me is how you (still) do so well at remembering preferences and what needs to be done and most of the time you are pretty good at doing them without a reminder.  I saw you clean up cat poop from our aging cat without being asked.  You are also very expressive in your writing, I think it is a way for you to process (and your teacher makes you write daily).  What you write about, and how you write constantly impress me because you pick such a perfect thing to say.  I published this before but I can’t help loving how well you captured your love for our cat and also the need to let him go.


To Mr. Pink From Zoe. I wish you wouldn’t do this, but it has to happen. I know you have been sick. For the last two years we have been worried about you. Love Zoe

You did NOT want to be there, but, you wrote him letters for me to read to him.  You also leave me notes sometimes, it is super cute.

I think you were relieved to have it done with, so was I in lots of ways, he was so ready to go he was just waiting on us.  I dread any future decision with Prima but I think that will be many years away and we can ‘enjoy’ the puppy for a while.

You are a perfect middle, you flex up to hang with Niamh and you have fun being little and/or in charge with Fiona and her friends.  You are small overall, your feet are really really small.  You are in a 12.5 STILL, you wear out shoes before you grow out of them.  I moved you up to 7s since I was doing all the moving prep and you are still highly opinionated about what you will wear.  We need to go shopping (you tell me daily) and fill in the gaps to make this a Zoe wardrobe.  You are more into things, collecting, finding, buying, giving, trading.  There is a hot market in school that I can’t even describe but I just hope it is fair.  Fairness is your watchword – not unusual for the age but you do seem to take it personally.  Lucky for me you are semi-logical and I can usually get you to see why you can’t do everything that Fiona or Niamh or some friend does.

Every morning you want hugs, every night you want your songs and talk about tomorrow.  Our routine has changed over the year but there is always a routine to follow.  You are loved by so many people outside our family – Lizzy, Becki, Cecily, Andy, Josh, Karen, Liz, Ziz, Johan (who says you will take over the world someday) Kathy and so so many other friends, you make a big impression on people.

A little record keeping – in your 6th year you went to the Kalahari Resort and loved it, Pennsic and are counting the days to go again, Hawaii – and when I told you we were moving you suggested we move to Hawaii.  Lots of local travel, Ny and I think that’s it?  Still tons for a 6-year-old.IMG_6176

I can write about my kids for days, I do actually, more or less 90% of my posts for the past 9 years centered around kids somehow. The day needs to start and I need to tell you what is for lunch so you can ask me to make you lunch.  Hey, at least sometimes you eat school lunch, better than last year!  I think your choice is based on the dessert but the fact you can remember what the main course has what dessert because I never list them is impressive.  I think that is the theme of Zoe – you impress me, nothing is half way, all ZOE all the time and I love you in every possible way.


Updates in 10min or less

Usually, a double birthday party would be the headline of my week.  This time I nearly forgot about it!!!  Things are so crazy busy with school and move prep and parenting and not to mention puppy that I’m glad I gave myself the ‘break’ of scheduling the Zoe and Fiona birthday party at the local Y for last weekend.  That disserves its own post, and that will happen, just like Zoe needs her yearly letter but I woke up an hour early today to just get some time at my computer to follow up on things and I have 10 minutes before the ‘wake up for the day’ alarm so I’m jotting a few things down.


House selling – had the stager review the house last week and I am moving through each room more or less packing (or donating or tossing) 90% of the things.  She has some good advice on our specific house so I’m glad we had her!

House buying – we finally made some progress looking.  We dragged the kids and Konrad though 6 different builder homes over the weekend and yesterday saw two existing houses.  The looming choice seems to be more about what life we are going to lead in the future not just what our address will be.  The 1950’s house is darling, quirky, needs work and also has a gigantic and mature garden.  The other one just made me feel better about our house since they are really really not listening to their stages advice, or, they said F-it, I’m not replacing carpet or painting because the next people will want to change it anyway.  They had a fabulous yard too – giant and backing on state park.  Either of these houses would take the next 5 years to make what we want.  The builder house on the other hand is attractive in that we can pick a few things that matter and it would be move in perfect but the yard is just so undeveloped…  There is no perfect house.

Puppy – she is getting better at potty training.  I seriously thought I was DONE with potty training.  She is also starting to show her personality more and is adorable 90% of the time.  We are ‘those people’ who bring our dog everywhere but at least one person thought she was a stuffed animal when Zoe was holding her.  I brought her to the vet and she is healthy and gaining weight like she should and all around a good dog (if you like dogs)

Reading and workouts – both are getting the short end in my time allotments.  On the other hand, swim lessons are forcing me to get to the gym at least 2x a week so that isn’t nothing.  I’m also lifting lots of boxes and walking up and down the stairs a lot so that counts too.

The ‘wake up’ alarm is ringing, time to start another day!  Seeing another house, talking seriously to a builder, swim lessons (and workout!) plus packing and attempting to get the dog to pee outside only.

Can I clone myself?

That Friday was a doozy.  Not only was it the day we let Mr Pink go, it was also the day Niamh wanted her ‘special day’ meaning she didn’t go to school and we just did stuff the two of us alone.  I asked her if she really wanted it the day we had to go to the vet and she told me she would rather have the balance of good and bad then just the bad.  To her credit, she was upset but once we moved on she was ok and it was a good idea to have fun things to look forward to.  We got our traditional pedicure, did a bit of shopping, and just had some time together.

Friday part II was not mellow at all, we had to pack up for an event and hit the road by 5.  Good thing we have event packing down to a science more or less but now with the new wrinkle was getting Prima to her weekend puppy sitter.  Good thing that dog is social, she was very happy to hang out with friends and we are all happy that she does not cry all night now.  We got to the hotel and kids went to sleep with no issues, I took a moment to reflect that hotels used to be the worst, and then I went to sleep too.

The event we went to is a high stakes one, in the SCA this is the tournament that the winner will be the next King and Queen and while that is really fun, it is also a giant job and I had volunteered to be head of staff for 2 different couples – both of whom had great chances to win.  Just like any competition, there are jitters and energy bouncing around and this was no different.  In the end, neither of my horses won the race, the winner was an absolute dark horse but a great guy and I’m happy for him.  Once it was over we all could start looking at the next few months with certainty because there was no more ‘if crown’ questions.  The other cool thing is that a friend volunteered to take the kids to the hotel to go swim so I had a little time where I was not the parent.  I love my kids but everyone needs a break!  Best part, we could pay the sitter in beer and she is 100lb so that is a single beer 😉

Saturday night was spent hanging out with all the people.  It went a bit late… that’s the way things go.  Mothers day was a bit of a loss because of the event and the Lars stayed up too late thing.  The girls tried hard but there is no relaxing day for mom when we need to do the uninstall process from the hotel and a 5h drive home.  We side tripped to check out a camping site and it was a good decision with a great result but again, not very fun for mothers daying.  Finally, home and I wanted to crash but remember that ‘now we can plan’ thing?  Yup, no way I could nap when there were so many details I needed to get working on.  I also had to go procure the right birthday items for Zoe, bright spot – stores are pretty empty at 7pm on Mothers Day.

Monday was a tipping point in my sanity because I needed to be 3 places at the exact same time;

#1 Zoe’s birthday and she wanted me to have lunch with her and I wanted her to have a great day including pancakes for breakfast and her pick for dinner and a generally festive day.

#2 School Track and Field day from 9:30am – 11:45 for Niamh and 1:15-3:10 for Zoe.  Conflict – Zoe’s lunch period is at 11:20

#3 The stager from the home selling team was scheduled to come at 4.  The house was not exactly awesome when we left on Friday and only got worse Sunday for dumping everything.  I also had a mountain of laundry so I really count on Monday’s for getting my world on track.  No Monday at home = issues all week

It actually worked ok because there was a massive rain storm that canceled the second half so I got to lunch with Zoe and get home to bake for her and clean enough and Lars did some laundry but it was an 11 for stress for the day.

Tuesday I couldn’t get much done because swim lessons and then the skies cleared and they put field day back on for the afternoon so we had another day at school.  Today we went to school AGAIN for the afternoon for Fiona’s end of year party.  Talk about a busy week and I’m not even touching the fact that I have a list taller than I am of things to do for the house to show well.  And no, we still don’t’ have any idea where we are moving to, the real estate person didn’t get back to us for a few days there so we are a week behind looking… I think we might look on Monday?  Don’t actually know for sure.  We also might just end up building anyway but I have to do the due diligence of what is available.

Tonight I have to keep going on the list.  I am going to focus on getting the kid wardrobes updated from sizes and seasons and packing up all the not needed things so the closets can look perfect.  It needs to be done regardless and tonight is the night.  I really want to be on the other side of this all, it is not fun to live in the land of indecision and uncertainty yet with a giant list of things to do on top of all the normal things because there really isn’t anything that I can cut out to create more time.  So, if anyone knows how to clone, I’m interested~

Mr. Pink has crossed the Rainbow bridge

It was planned, we made the decision on Wednesday but didn’t want to rush him.  His renal disease has been making his life worse and worse and we did many things to buy him happy time.  Over the past month, he has declined.  I gave him a pass the weekend of puppy, thinking he would rebound, but, he was actually starting the check out process.  Not eating much, not coming out like normal…. the signs were clear.  It was a hard choice because some parts of him were still fine, but less so every day.

He was pet and pampered to the best of our ability (and his tolerance) right up to the end.  He didn’t even cry in the car, a sure sign that he was not himself.

Niamh wanted to go with us, Zoe did not.  She wrote him this letter that really does show the way of it.img_2742.jpg

There may have been a few days left in him, maybe, I’ll probably always wonder but we are going away for the weekend and I can’t leave that for someone else.  Monday is Zoe’s birthday and that is even worse…  And we were talking days, not weeks and not years.  I can HIGHLY recommend Aminovast, I think that is what gave us nearly 2 years.  It is a supplement, you can get it on Amazon, and I could see the difference it made.

We are doing plenty of other things today, but, this was the major one.  It will be really odd to not have a cat.

Goodbye Mr Pink, you were a great cat, you came when you were called, you never ate people food, you didn’t jump up on tables or counters.  I will forgive your habit of sleeping on my pillow all day and that one time to brought me a dead mouse in my bed…  you rid the block of mice, and you would purr when you saw us.


check in

Vacation Mom and I are good for each other – she motivated me to actually get things into storage and I motivated her to get out and about on her free day.  We had fun pulling out all the things and stacking them into storage.  VM has taken away one chunk of my anxiety by volunteering to hold onto the things that I want to sell in one way or another.  Some things need to be sold at the right time of year and others need to be on craigs list v garage sale and I know we are not talking about a million dollars here but I would like a little benefit from buying well and keeping things nice.  It was a concern of mine that I would run out of time or space (or both) and end up giving up on the project but now that won’t happen!


so empty!


It was a nice day with my friend and we both felt good about what we got done.

The tizzy of puppy continues.  She wants to be with us always and it is a good thing she is cute because she is still crying half the night.  2 nights in, hopefully soon she will get the memo on bedtime.



helping pack


The end of the school year is looming, I went to my last PTO for the school year last night and I can’t believe that summer is right around the corner.  I have so much to do before then!!!  It is overwhelming to look at the whole list so today I focus on today.  I’m done with my contract work, I have a pile of school stuff to do, a scroll to finish up and I’m watching a few extra kids this afternoon.  I could write 1000 words on all the things coming up but I’ll just write them as they come.


I’m a little insane


Because I said yes to a puppy.  This puppy came with the perfect set of circumstances and Zoe has been begging for a dog for years and years and years.  The dog is a toy breed so she will never be the dog that jumps and knocks you down or pulls too hard.  She has hair, not fur, so she is not going to leave fur on everything and is better for the allergy girl in the family.   She was born into a house with little kids so she is super social and happy to be held.  And, for a toy breed, she is one of the more sturdy ones (no skinny legs) so she won’t break when she is played with.  In a moment of weakness, we said yes.


Thus the countdown to puppy began, but, given all the other things going on, it almost felt like she instantly appeared.  Our friends brought her and her single litter mate out to our house and the other friends adopting the other one came up and we had a full house of 15 people and 2 dogs (and 1 annoyed cat who just lived in my room) for the weekend bringing a festive air and a gentle transition to the puppies new lives.


Last night, when everyone left, we were like new parents left with that newborn that didn’t come with instructions.  Kids went to bed, puppy…. did not….  Apparently sleeping with your puppy sister your whole long life makes you pretty sad when you are alone.  She cried for 2 hours and while we didn’t want to encourage more crying, we also didn’t really do a great job of putting her ‘to bed’ so we did a bit of a re-do.  Lars took her out to the bathroom, I put 3 cups of rice into a baggie and microwaved it and then wrapped it in the shirt I had been wearing all day.  When she came in we did the calm ‘good night’ and put her into her carrier with the fake puppy, and to top it off we put a kindle on top of the carrier with a 1-hour youtube of heartbeat sounds.  (I have absolutely nothing in the house that ticks).  So, from 12:30 to about 4am all was well, then, she busted out of the door and went to Niamhs room and wanted to play.  Process repeat – and she was back to sleep, or, at least not crying, until about 6:30.  At 6:30 we contemplated waking up Zoe to take care of her puppy but Fiona woke up and they watched some TV together.


Today is day 1 of puppy life.  It is just Lars and me I at home and she wants more!  I took her for the car ride to school and once we got home she just looked at me like ‘now what?’.  I’ve been keeping her near by for my work morning but now she is asleep by Lars and I can get moving on the massive list of things to do to sell a house.

Oh! house update – the builder didn’t offer on the house so in some ways that is a relief because he said upfront that he would not pay market price.  It would have been nice to skip the staging process but on the other hand, I have to pack anyway.  It also meant we could go with the agent we liked and she and I will do the front end looking to make sure there isn’t an existing house that is perfect before we go back to look at the building scenario.  She is also backed by a great team to make the house show ready and I am glad for that too.  Not really the time for me to get 4 hours of broken sleep, or, have a puppy on my heels but there is really no perfect time for anything so we are rolling with it.