Monday night I acquired 3 more kids, my only niece and 2 of my nephews. It was a late pick up at the airport and claiming unaccompanied minors is not easy but it isn’t hard. Home far too late but that’s the way it goes.
Tuesday I had NOTHING planned on purpose. This was the day to get used to here, to figure out the way, to deal with cranky kids who stayed up too late (that was all of them since mine stayed up excited to see their cousins). It was a long day but overall fine, nothing out of the ordinary and we did achieve ‘the list’ of things to do pre-electronics. For a day with no plans I feel like we ran through a ton of things, I was exhausted by 3 and didn’t feel bad about the TV going on because they had biked, played, eaten, read, done chores, and endless other odd little things that amounted to me feeling like air traffic control speaking in 3 different languages.
Wednesday and today were way more ‘normal’ with better moods, easier activities, and we actually went out and that makes the time fly. Me trying to do anything is hit or miss, but when did I ever really have the luxury of enough time to do a project. I’m getting decent at putting stuff down mid project, it has been a solid 7 years of major multitasking.
Today we have our first book club. My attempt to make a playdate sound smarter. We invited two friends of #2’s to read a book and then come over to watch the movie. So far they consumed a metric ton of popcorn but seem to be actually talking book v movie so the seed planted will grow. Overall success, be it the movie, friends, or popcorn I’ll take the win. They are now discussing next books to read, Princess Bride seems to be in the lead.
The odd thing about this week is feeling both like I’m missing someone and also having extra kids. #1 is at sleep-away camp for the first time. Looks like she is having a great time and I’m happy she is there and I don’t ‘miss’ her but I do miss her being part of my world. Meals, car, bed, chores etc – I have her in my head automatically and NOT being here makes me feel like I ‘Just’ have 2. Second, I’m missing the oldest of my sister’s kids, what should be four is ‘only’ 3. He isn’t as ingrained as #1 in my head but he is missed and the unit is missing him. On the other hand, I’m up 3, so, 5 kids is still a bunch to feed and manage.
Speaking of feeding… one of the new ones is diabetic and has an app to monitor his sugar. Boy stats are addicting to me, I monitor this kid and the mysteries of his body chemistry like its my job. A friend pointed out that I got myself a real-life tamagotchi. Do you remember the electronic pet? I nearly got in a car accident messing with the one I was babysitting for a friend. Really, it is a bit of a game – he goes high get him to run around or adjusts, he goes low, toss an orange at him. Calculating food and healthy choices are already part of my life but this is like major league. Once I get a better feel for the trends I’m sure I won’t need to check so much but it is probably my top app at the moment.
Tomorrow we add back #1 in the afternoon and then pick up my mom at the airport late so our kid to adult ratio is getting better overall. It is both a fun and exhausting week but I’m glad I can do it.
I felt like we got ‘nothing done’ but in reality we did tons, just did not finish any of the big things on the list.
Hot news first; Zoe and her softball team won their division! They did not have a great record but it was actually a lot like a tv show. At first the scrappy team of new girls learn to get along. Then they have some early success but a long string of losses. Some losses were close, some really not close – there were tears and talks about how they like seeing their friends and being on a team and learning the game. Games were rained out, rescheduled, and we parents became acquainted with each other as we spent hours sitting together. Finally, the day of the tournament everyone tried so hard and had practiced and through some really lucky hits and catches we found ourselves in the finals. They were overjoyed and nervous as all eyes were on them. Zoe made a fantastic catch for an out. The pitcher reached deep and struck out a few girls. Finally, the last girl hit the ball very short and our catcher got it and tagged home base as the runner was coming at her BUT it wasn’t a force situation (meaning nobody was going to 3rd so that runner could have gone back to safety) and in that situation, you have to tag the runner. Neither girl knew what to do but about 50 adults were screaming at them and they were in a semi-frozen standoff on the 3rd baseline and finally, our catcher ran nearly to 3rd base and tagged the girl. It was over! It was exciting! Nobody cried! There were trophies!
Softball may never be as exciting at this fresh first year but Zoe is already excited to play next year. The coach is willing to stay, the girls seem happy, and in my opinion, knowing what we are doing will only help us do better. We were supposed to be in South Dakota with friends but since they couldn’t make it we choose not to go and I’m really glad we had the opportunity to do this tournament.
The other major theme of the week was getting #1 ready to go to her fancy science camp. It has a dress code so we have been collecting the dullest clothing out there. I updated her medical to show she has a broken arm, I hope it does not impact her ability to participate. I’m double glad this year is a science camp since last year was rock climbing! It is her first sleep-away camp and we are not all that nervous (yet) tomorrow might be different. It is a little odd that I’ll be bringing her to the University campus, I had felt that was still a few years off, but it is a great choice for an academic camp since it is pretty empty of normal students during the summer. Tomorrow’s instagram will show us dropping the happy camper for sure.
The other major thing #1 had to accomplish pre-camp was more or less moving out of her room because her boy cousins are coming for a few week visit starting Monday. She might be bumped from her room but she does get a mom super clean in the deal. Technically she was ‘helping’ but after enough help she slunk away to play really nicely with her sisters and I just did it my self – much easier actually. I could throw away trash without discussion and now it looks neat as a pin. It helps I put most of her ‘stuff’ in a box in the closet to be gone through when she returns. However, only one bag of trash and one box of stuff is pretty good all things considered.
Did I bury the lead? Yes, I’m importing 3 extra kids for the next few weeks so their parents can do a few super cool/important things that happened to overlap. It was stressing my sister out so I just volunteered and now she can do her thing, he can do his and all the cousins can cavort like wild monkies here. I think these Texans might really like it up here, I looked at the forecast and our temp for the next 15 days is between 60 and 90, and, where they live I saw a 105 on their list… that is super hot. My mom is also coming to visit the crew at the end of week 1 and we are filling our time up fast so I’m sure it will be super fun.
The other days this week we had lunch with friends to celebrate the end of Ramadan (observed), we achieved passport submission so now we can travel internationally, celebrated our friends birthday with a middle of the day cake, #1 cut a foot of hair (and still has long hair) and the other two were trimmed up and we managed to get to the pool a couple times. Books have been read, math practice done, food made and consumed, 168 stupid fights started and ended, yard mowed, and, we downloaded the harry potter themed Pokemon/Ingress game. When I list it out it looks pretty cool, I wish it didn’t feel like a frantic paddle to stay above water half the time.
Ok, the longest day of the year here, it is nearly 7 and absolutely still bright. I’ll go chip away a little more at the pagoda project of never-endingness. Projects like this make me feel like I get nowhere but when they are finally done the impact will be worth it!
We are nearly 1 week in and I have had a constant ebb and flow of children flowing around me. Today is my first time at my desk in about 7 days…
First of all, it is officially summer because someone broke a bone. The past 4 years one of our friends has been broken, this year is our turn. On the second to last day of school #1 had a collision with a friend while playing a game and they both went down. Slapping out only works when your friend doesn’t fall directly on your bent wrist. Hey, could have been worse, it is in a half cast, meaning the bottom is a cast and the top is a bandage so she can actually wash. (Only some of us count this as a perk…) She can do most things but it is sad to tell her she really can’t go to the climbing park with a friend. I’m on the lookout for a brace she can wear to swim, that should make the summer much better. She doesn’t really swim laps but she does enjoy pool time with sisters and friends.
Here are the first-day last day pictures – I’m always amazed by how much they grow in one school year.
Over the past 6 days, my kids have either had friends over, been over their house, or we met somewhere for them all to play. I don’t think I can keep this up all summer but it has been fun.
This weekend we had #3’s birthday party. We did an archery theme and the kids all had a great time. When you have a giant yard, why not just lean in? We have a softball field on one side of the garden and an archery range on the other. The party had some cute crafts for me to get excited over (thanks Pinterest) and thankfully #1 has the right blend of bossy and professionalism that she could run the archery range for the kids that wanted to do it for over an hour. Others choose to play elsewhere after the official archery, cake, gifts portion of the party was done. I like building in free play, I like even more when it works! If they were listless I had a backup plan but they bopped between playing with new toys, archery, and playset pretty nicely until parents came to collect them. Birthday season Complete!
Sunday we were supposed to meet the girl scouts for an end of year gathering at a park but the weather looked ominous so I volunteered our house. We were already tidy from the party the day before, not to mention had an archery range, so we had about 45 people for a couple of house for a very fun, zero stress party. Since we were expecting to be in a park, everyone already had food and drinks and even dishware ready so all we did was move a few things around and instant party! We had another dozen kids at archery and one mom even decided to clean up so when I got in from the yard the kitchen was cleaner than when they got there. She is invited to every party from now on.
Monday I was going to ‘take it easy’ but we were invited out to a park and I can’t resist. We were meeting #2’s friend there so I picked up other friends on the way so everyone could play. Pleasant morning and easy afternoon after dropping off again and then we were off to softball for a picture-perfect evening (even if we lost yet another game).
Tuesday and Wednesday #1 and #2 were signed up for a local safety camp. They learn a bunch of personal and bike safety lessons but most importantly they interact with the local police in a positive way. Half the kids there were familiar, including one girl that #2 saw and asked “did you play softball last night?” yes she did, I didn’t recognize her at all but #2 has a knack for faces. #3 had a playdate half of Tuesday so I had a tiny bit of time to do things at home but the afternoon got crazy with camp pickup, dash home then out to gymnastics then sprinting to softball. #3 moved up a level and is getting good at gymnastics and our Tuesday softball session was great and the game ended in a tie. Wednesday camp invited #3 to come back at noon for lunch and then a BMX bike trick show and then a magic show. The bike guy did have some lessons on trying hard and safety that fit the theme, the magic show was just pure fun as far as I can tell. It wasn’t the day I imagined but it was pretty fun. #2 even won a bike in the drawing.
And now we are at home today. The first day I don’t have plans to leave the house EARLIER THAN A SCHOOL DAY. How did that happen? We do have an extra child who slept over, we are expecting 2 more after lunch and #1 has a babysitting job at 3:30 so when I bring her we will go do the grocery shopping etc
Oh! Nearly forgot my crazy week last week included an awards dinner, a scholarship presentation thing that took about 45 hours, a school board meeting, and finally the graduation event itself. The speakers were fabulous, the weather was perfect, it was impeccably organized and if there was a glitch I didn’t see it. They all say handing out the diplomas is the best part of the school board and I think I agree.
May all 88 days of summer be so fun
For some reason, so much of my world is measured in where it falls in my world. It bothers me when I can’t acknowledge that something is the first or the last and only realize it after the fact. Sometimes you can’t help that, like the super sad thing Lars told me once that there will be a day when you pick up your child for ‘the last’ time and you won’t even know it, you just never pick them up again because of so many possible reasons. Those are sad but don’t bother me as much as just missing something like the last full week of school – that was 2 weeks ago and I didn’t know at the time because I completely forgot about a Monday holiday and school ending on a Thursday. Water under the bridge – this week though I KNOW it is the last week (well, 4 days) of school. Of my ‘normal’ schedule. As of Friday, I will have full charge of all my children until September.
To that end, I’m trying to half savor and relax the quite and also cram in as much of the to-do list as possible. Anyone else see how that is doomed to fail? So this is my last Wednesday before summer and I have a list of things to do but somehow not my normal list of Wednesday stuff? There isn’t an on/off switch, it is like a slider bar into summer. The past 2 weeks have been field trips and fun things outside at school and I’ve been there so much I feel like I work there. Really, nobody going to school will give me back time in some ways, but, that time will inevitably be used in kid management.
One more ‘last’ happening – we are closing in on our last birthday in the trio. #3 passed from 6 to 7 years old happily at the children’s museum field trip with me there beside her. Instead of a ‘fancy dinner’ that we normally do she choose pizza at zero gravity. the clever girl really just wanted to go to the giant trampoline and indoor play place and she got her wish. The cake ended up a bit late in the day but it was an enjoyable birthday. This weekend is her friend party and we are doing an archery theme. I did intend to set up an archery range in the yard and this just gives me a good push to get it done. The perfect number of kids are able to come so we won’t even need to share bows since I was able to borrow 6 from a friend.
The archery party plan is to have the kids run around on a scavenger hunt for the gear hidden in the yard so they can learn about the equipment as we find it. Then some target shooting where hopefully they have fun and get ok at it. The finale will be a target pinata where they will need to work together to shoot it open. I can’t say I ethically like this more than beating something with a bat to get candy, but, it is slightly more skill based. Depending on mood and flow there will be cake and gift time and I’m sure it will devolve into just running around and playing (without bows) and that is ok too. I’m going to put #1 in charge of the range, she might only be 11 but is good at rules and will keep people safe.
I know school ends for everyone at different times so if you are already on break good luck, if you are not yet; savor the days. I’m actually looking forward to the fun of the summer, the kids are older and we have no naps to work around. I have a couple things already planned and next week we will work out chores and ways to prevent the summer slide. If anyone has good ideas throw them my way!