Archive | July 2017

marines and packing

::Mrs. Paper commented on the packing end of things and I started to type this as a reply but it got too long so here it is in post form::

Growing up my family and close friends, the ones who inform the baseline experience and expectation (be it high or low) for most things and my father is probably the best car or trailer packing person I know.  Dads are supposed to be awesome at things though right?  If only he had been good at packing I probably would have a normal expectation about how well someone can pack a car but…

We had quite a few friends who were former military and they were also very very good at packing things.  One friend, in particular, packed a trailer so well that while it was within the weight of pull for his truck, he had exceeded the tongue weight and it crashed in dramatic fashion within a quarter mile of his house going over a railroad track.  This is double memorable because we were leaving so early because he won the fight with my mom who prefers to drive after the traffic and in the end post repair we actually got to the event at the same time as if my moms leaving time won.  Anyway, for my entire early life of going camping and various events between my father and people with military experience, there was tons of very fine packing.

The expectation was continued when I hung out with many military people in my teen years and met plenty of people proud of the fact they could pack a backpack with all they needed for a year in the desert.  As an adult, my husband’s surrogate father was a marine (just retired this month actually) and he also had the best way to pack an amazing amount of things into a small space.  It makes sense, the military is full of small spaces like Navy ships where a sailor has about 2 feet to live and my soldier friends that lived from packs in the jungle or bush for real for ages.

To balance this out, I met plenty of people that were really bad at packing but they were just nonmilitary, not my dad people so it was reinforcing my assumption.  One day my assumptions were shattered by an event I’ll never forget…

It was a January event in MN (so very very cold) and I was pregnant with Niamh (about 5m) and I had packed our car carefully because for this event where I was doing a display of a ton of art pieces that belong to our historical group that nobody ever sees because they are too fragile/impractical to bring out often.  I was in charge of the inventory so I took it all out for the show and it went really well, but, by the end of the day I was tired and it was cold out there so a nice guy in the group offered to help pack my car.  He was a dad, he was a Marine!  This should be fine, I expected he would do as well as I, maybe better…  30min later I go out to find…

Absolute mayhem.  I can’t think of a better word but what was in the car was a Fragile and CYLINDRICAL thing on the bottom and several large heavy rectangles semi balanced on it.  I also saw 75% of what should have been in the car in the parking lot around the car and the guy with a very confused look who told me it just would not all fit.  I’m sure any witness decided I was being a picky, pregnant hormone fueled person but I pulled every thing out and told him to “go away!”  It was negative degrees out and my coat didn’t fit well so I also didn’t do the best job either and the 2 things I could not fit just went home with a friend who got it to me later but yes, it can all fit.  The worst part was my rock solid expectation that people in the military were great at packing things…

I’ve re adjusted my perception of who can pack and I feel that people that pack well are attracted to the military, but, it’s a big army/navy/airforce/marine/etc and they have to let in some sub par people just like any other industry.

As I pack each year I always remember the trailer tongue snapping experience and try and keep a balance of packing so well that you break the container.  I think of dad as I carefully pack betweens and on tops.  I am showing my kids how to pack and they are getting ok at it and at the very least they know that round things do not go under flat things…


I could bore you all for ages with all the contingencies of how to pack, like, you need to consider what you will need during the trip like snacks and spare clothing for when there is puke or the overnight bag for stopping at a hotel half way.  Things on the bottom need to be strong, don’t forget the small spaces created by big things…  Be sure that if you pack high in the car if you stop short you won’t avalanche on everyone.  I won’t say more because it’s time for me to finish up and I’m lucky if anyone even did.  See why this was too long for a comment?


Pennsic prep – the final 5 days

I had a very productive weekend!  Not only did I get quite a few things sewn, I also found all the garb in storage.  There was a vague worry that an entire box of the current sizes had been deeply buried in storage but I got it out without too much stress.  We might not have perfect wardrobes, but, we will have enough I think.

My plan today is to finish evaluating the pile for who fits what and triple check that each pile is enough of the right things.  Have you ever rushed to pack for a trip and just figured you would take your clean laundry basket?  That does not work, by the way, you think it should be a perfect week of clothing but it really isn’t.  Same concept with my totes of garb, you feel like a pile the height of my child  would yield outfits for the week but some years they grow tall and need skirts and some garb is too warm and you get the idea…  the only way is to stand there with each child and try on all things in the size range.


The end goal is to have everything packed and delivered to the person packing the trailer by Wednesday.  I feel like an important step, the ‘pack the car’ step will be missing from my life this year, but, I have done extra packing plenty of years so I don’t think my lifetime average will be negatively impacted.

Thursday the plan is to have a clean up the house and hang out day.  I hope my plans actually work out and there are no crazy departures from the normal schedule the next few days.

This is probably not the wild and crazy fun blog this week.  I’m just going to pack and parent.  Next thing after I publish here is to make the list for packing, it has been bouncing in my head but with the house rearrangement, there are not as many notebooks as there once were. I have done this dozens of times but it still looks daunting before you start.  I may go and buy New Totes!  that will jump start the process.  My old ones are getting beat up anyway~


Just in case you thought we did nothing fun all weekend we did head out to the mall for a little fun.  We had a mission for a special bottle for a friend and since we were at the mall we got milkshakes and went on some rides.  Just enough to be fun, not so much that they got crabby.  Pizza dinner and back to work but I’m glad to be as far along as I am.  All things I sew now are bonus, I don’t totally NEED anything and that is a nice feeling.

I also got a new phone!  My old one was 5 years old and the battery was down to almost nothing.  I had been hesitating because I like all the info and pictures I have on my old phone and didn’t want to start over but they guy at the store had a transfer machine so my new phone is identical and it feels nice to have a phone working all day again.

I’ll try and take a picture of all that I created this week, I’m pretty pleased with myself 🙂  Now I need to get breakfast and the day going, my ‘screen’ time is up!

A well rested post

I just noticed that my two last posts were ranty and sleep deprived.  Sorry about that…  Hey, someone mentioned to me that I seem all “supermom” do it all so those two posts should help with that I guess…

Anway, I nearly slept all night – only one person waking me up because they were itchy but I went back to sleep and woke at the normal time.  Last year camp week was our early week, but since I had been waking up at 6 to work before they got up at 8, this camp week I’m sleeping in until 7 (because I work when they are got) thus making it feel much more restful than the rest of the summer so far.  Oh!  I just counted, summer is more than half over!  I have mixed feelings on that point, I enjoy them, I love doing fun things with them but I miss the school week routine and they do tend to fight at least one epic battle a day.

When I put this camp week on the calendar I didn’t know that we may be moving.  The plan was to use this week to do a ton of work, both catch up and pre do, organize house stuff and sew for the children who constantly grow.  When we put our house on the market there was a question mark about if this may be the week we actually moved.  Now, in the reality of this time and place, I am doing neither precisely…  Our house went on the market just in time for the lull so no action there.  Since we did so much work early in the summer I don’t have any pressing organizing, and, my fabric is all in storage.  I still have kids that grow so yesterday I got a pile of fabric and I plan on sewing as neatly as possible.  I am very pleased with myself for doing nearly all the work I can possibly predo for my clients and I can have an honest vacation at Pennsic.

The greatest part of camp week is actually that they really really love the camp.  They have tons of activities and I was a little worried it would be too ‘the same’ as last year but they have a different theme and that drives enough difference to be fun while still keeping the things they looked forward to.  Great job YMCA.  I also enjoy that I have a little vacation too, I can’t just eat bon-bons but I can do things at my pace and to completeness without pausing for anyone else.

I do have a dentist appointment today so I need to get rolling on making the house ‘perfect’ just in case someone wants to see it.  Can you tell I’m not super pumped on the selling things?  I don’t want to rant again but this process is pretty rant worthy… maybe tomorrow 😉  On the other hand, I’m glad to not be moving this week as well as trying to sew and get ready for Pennsic…

If you want children, look for this trait in a mate

Ah, the click bait title…

But this is real advice!  If you are young and thinking “is this person right for me?  Right to have a family with?” Obviously, there are LOTS of things to consider but I bet you already know the basics like caring, conscientious, ability to hold a squirmy person, knowledge of what end to diaper…

Well, this is my addition to the list;  One of you must have the ability to deal with puke.

So have the conversation early before you are both gagging and unable to go into the bathroom that is covered in vomit because the toilet lid was down.  You must also have the ability to be calm and comfort a child who may puke on you.  This starts early, shortly after birth, and that is the training time because returned milk/formula is not so bad in the spectrum of things that can come out of a person.

We did not have that conversation but lucky for us, one of us is ok enough with it.  (It is me by the way)

This PSA is brought to you because of my glorious Sunday night that started with ‘my tummy hurts’ at midnight and included 2 kids puking every 10-20 minutes.  On the bright side, we also have 2 bathrooms and most of it got into the toilet.  I got zero sleep from midnight to 5am but I was there for them and I know they appreciated it.  They are old enough now that I could give them TV and crackers at 9am and go back to sleep and we are all back to normal today after a calm day and early night.


ps. just because your mate is a nurse or doctor does not mean they are automatically ok with puke.

pps. Since I just looked all this up on various medical sites the basics are;

  1. it takes 12 hours of intense vomit to dehydrate a child over 2 (babies are different)
  2. it is common to vomit every 10 min for up to 6 hours
  3. do not give any liquid until you are puke free for an hour

our finite summer and complaints about the dog

I have no idea what I am going to do next summer when I have the oppisate issue of a super long summer, I guess that is going under the category of next year’s problems…  This summer is super short and in many ways is half over so each day when we do something it is likely to be the only time we do that particular thing.  To make thing just a little more fun there is the side project of keeping the house show-ready and my endless sleeping issues.

When I started this post I had just intended on posting a bit about the stuff we have done but the fact that someone or something wakes me up 2x a night is really starting to grind on me and kill our summer.  I’m lucky if I have the energy or patience (my patience is fueled by sleep) to make it past 3pm and that just does not make enough time to do all the things we want to do.  The dog is now the weakest link lately because if anything happens during the night she feels like it is morning and will whine to be let out for hours.  Yes, I know, don’t give in and in a few days she will stop however after about 45min she actually is awake and need to go to the bathroom and after an hour or so of whining she will have an accident and then she really gets loud.  It is like the kid that pukes after 10min of crying, you can’t let them ‘cry it out’ when it always ends in puke.  So, Fiona needing bathroom help or Zoe having a bad dream (both happened on Sunday night at 2 and 4 respectively) usually I can be back asleep in 5 min after helping a child but Prima can hear the bustle and she assumes it is morning.  Que the whining for the next forever.  Last night Lars fell asleep watching TV and at 2am he got up and went to bed – usually that wakes me up for 30 seconds but Prima transforms that into hours.  Yesterday I crashed at 3 for an hour but since napping at 3pm is not usual I got phone calls and texts and kids needing a thing.  On the other hand, I’m mastering the 10min power nap….

So anyway, I’m tired, what else is new?  I should be used to this after 9 years.  Moving on~

Earlier in the summer, I said I made a chart that needed to be done before screen time.  This has been working out really really well.  I’ve seen them for years on Pinterest and other parent sites but until I had 2/3 of the kids reading it was not a good plan for us.  Zoe can not only read but is motivated by lists and check boxes and while she admits she is only doing things for the list, I don’t think she actually minds.  Since she is doing it Niamh does it too and Fiona more or less wants to do what they do anyway so she follows along.  This has also made me feel much better about falling asleep in the afternoon because I know the morning was productive.  I was not exactly planning on sleeping but it is a nice side bonus.  Since we need to super tidy every morning anyway them doing ‘the list’ gives me the time and a little help in the house and has made it so we can get out and do fun things.


After the crazy mid-week Monday we did get a bunch of little things like oil changes and new tires and grocery shopping stuff and Wednesday we had a friend over and with no prompting,  they broke out the science kit and made a multi-color foam volcano.  I did not help at all until I heard them getting really experimental (talk of adding diet coke) because it was not fizzy enough but otherwise it was a fun experiment.

Last week Friday we went to the Gibbs family farm, a historic pioneer site with a sod house and the actual farm house from when the family purchased Minnesota territory for 1.25 an acre well before it was a state (the got 150 acres and basically hit the lotto for land with appreciation).  It was a ‘farm Friday’ so it was an open day for the public and the theme for the week was farm animals.  Other weeks have more interesting themes but this was the only Friday we had.  The animal talk was really basic, any kid that has been read the normal kid books about cows going moo, eating grass, giving milk, and having calfs covered the level they were discussing on this tour.  The only new piece of info I got was that apparently pigs can be used to break up the soil on a farm by moving their pen around.  It was a nice outing made better by meeting a friend who lived nearby because after we did everything in about an hour and a half we went to her house and visited her bunny.

Then we had the real weekend and went to see the totally re-done children’s museum.  We have a membership so I hope we can go a few times but even just once was worth it because they have improved the experience and added some new things like the green screen set for older kids.  I didn’t get many pictures but if you are wondering the MN Children’s Museum is worth it and can easily fill a day.  The only thing that was not as good as they made it sound was the 4 story climbing structure.  It is tall, but, it is really just 2 towers of platforms you can go up or down, not really as interactive or cool as most other play areas but it is very solid and clean and there are stairs for parents/bad climbers so that is all good extras.

Sunday we had a lazy morning and then got out and enjoyed the day and finally made it to the Y after a month of being gone.  I do miss exercise, I just took it off the list when I was packing and cleaning and then in NY and I don’t really see it becoming regular again until school starts but I hope I get to work out a few times at least.

Yesterday we stole one of our favorite babies for a play date and then did some shopping for our camping trip and then the aforementioned nap.  I’m also sewing at a friend’s house to keep this house neat so 3x in the past 2 weeks I’ve commuted to sew for a few hours.  It is nice to have people to sew with, I’ll probably still go visit even when I have the ability to make a mess in my own house!


Looking forward we are going camping Friday -Sunday and next week the girls have day camp all week.  The following week we go to Pennsic for 2 weeks and then home and school starts?!?  This week I need to shop/prep food and pack including getting stuff out of storage…  It will all get done somehow.  I feel like we are missing the lazy days of summer with going to the beach and pool and playdates but we do what we can~

Two monday week


I’ve long said I love Monday, I’m in a distinct minority but that is what it is.  So often holidays STEAL my Monday but this time I get an extra!  There was the real Monday but it was a 1 day week since 4th of July is a holiday and it felt very weekend like all day and now I wake up on a Wednesday feeling like another Monday.  I’m not complaning~

This week also marks my 5th year as a stay at home parent.  It has been a busy 5 years and each year had unique kid challenges but this year is feeling a bit easier.  Only a tiny bit, there are new problems to figure out like sassy girls or not listening kids or 3 different friend groups to somehow maintain (not to mention trying to sell a house and move). They are physically easier situations, much less active than chasing 2 kids while wearing a baby or keeping an eye on 3 at a park when at least 1 has a death wish.  Now I mostly act as a home base and they find me.  I can’t quite relax at a park or playground but I don’t worry as much.  I even read about 5 pages of a book!  My method is to read a page, look up and find everyone, read another etc. Anyway, life is never easy but now they all use the toilet so I’m considering that a win for years to come.  My mom bag is diaper free.

Getting home last week and getting back in the MN life has taken all my energy.  There were house showings, work meetings, restocking the house, and a big birthday party for Lars.  Monday I took the kids +2 to the park and beach and then started the sewing I need to do before our trips this year.  Independence day was celebrated to 90% with a parade and a lake picnic but there were sad faces about no fireworks.  It was too late and they were asleep before the fireworks started.  I have to find a display elsewhere this summer because I like them too but besides the lateness, a 3rd major outing in a day is asking for trouble.

The rest of the week is mostly unplanned.  I MIGHT get to workout?!?  The house is pretty good, working from 6-8am is keeping me up to date, still, have things to do but I’m not frantic.  There is sewing to do and prep for the event next week and playdates to make but for this moment I think I’m as up to date as ever.  See, that is what having 2 Mondays in a week will do for you 🙂