Archive | January 2020

Three things Thursday

How is it Thursday already?

1. Kids had off Monday (again?!?) so that shifts my week.  I don’t even try to have a normal Monday but this Monday we had a bunch of extra friends over so it did even fewer ‘normal’ things but it was fun for all the kids.  We are in a very long (does it end?) phase of ‘fairness’ between the kids.  #1 had plans for two friends to spend the night Sunday.  Her two friends are 12 and darlings that are zero trouble and I think they are actually good to have around and I hope they all stay friends forever.  Because #1 had friends planned I had to balance things out so on Friday #3 had a sleepover – again, an easy friend, no trouble, however, #2 was quite annoyed that her friend could not sleep over because she had sports, so to balance things, her friend came over pretty early and stayed all day.  Again in the name of balance, #1 and #3 have friends in the same family and they went there last time so they were invited over to our house and somehow in the mix, their younger sister ended up staying too.  So!  Monday I had my own 3 kids, 3 friends of #1, 1 friend of #2, and 2 friends of #3 = 9 kids and that isn’t even counting the Friday sleepover.  You know what?  #2 still felt it was not fair… there isn’t really a winning on this one but they did all have fun.

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thank goodness for delivery pizza

 

2. Over the weekend we got all 5 of us skiing for the first time ever!  Everyone had a good time, I taught the younger 2 the basics, #1 claimed she already knew how to ski based on one non-fatel outing with a friend.  In the end, everyone was confident, could turn, and stop without launching body toward the ground. Everyone wants to do it again, as soon as possible.  This has been something I’ve been waiting years for, all three able to, and wanting to ski.

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midwest is a great place to learn to ski- plenty of natural snow and non-scary steep mountains

 

3. Our weeknights are super busy, I think I’ve mentioned that a time or twenty.  Some nights are jammed with reoccurring things but I try not to schedule every night like that so we have the opportunity to do interesting stuff as it comes up.  This week the kids, who are all in the school singing group, got the opportunity to sing the national anthem for a Tuesday night girls basketball game.  This was a 3 way win; they got to sing, we all got to watch a pretty good game, and they got what they consider a right at all school sports; popcorn.

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bonus, they even won the game!

I’ve been on a getting things done kick too but this is 3 things Thursday, not all the things Thursday.

How are we doing?

Hello short week, I nearly forgot that after Christmas break there are very few full weeks of school left.  The weeks that are scheduled to be 5 days are right in the middle of blizzard season so you know, anything can happen. Yesterday to celebrate Martin Luther King day the girls had a playdate with friends who happen to have skin a dozen shades darker.  They have been friends since they were 5 and I have no idea how they recognize or ignore their differences but I hope Dr King is pleased about his dream.

The organizing promise I made to myself is progressing but not in exactly a conventional fashion.  This weekend I pulled everything out of the space under the stairs and added shelving and it is so much better in there now.  Living in the arctic, you can’t keep paint or glue in the garage so this will be my spot for all that.  I also hope the extra tables and chairs can find good homes there too instead of just staying up or leaning against odd other pieces of furniture.

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Forgot to take a “before picture” before I pulled out all the other junk. Imagine more random stuff taking up all the floor space, and, a bunch of things leaning on the wall.

After!  Including around the corner not shown in the before picture but that was just full of paint stacked in odd towers.  Now there is a shelf and you can get the paint you need without playing stacking games.  I even have empty shelves, the plan is to put extra hot tub chemicals and maybe extra pet food since this door stays shut, they have less chance of chewing through the bags.

Since I’m organizing, I can’t help but think about changes.  I think I finally have a bit of a plan for the master bedroom that is skill and budget-friendly.  I’ve been nibbling away at the storage room too and ended up getting materials for another shelf and that is on the list for this week.

Last week I spent 2 days at a very worthwhile conference.  It might be like talking in an echo chamber but there is something nice about a giant group who all want to help schools be better for kids.  There are so many things going on and ways to do things, it is hard to find the path that works for us.

Over the weekend I felt like I had a split personality because I spent a bunch of time dwelling in the SCA world and coordinating a paper for the meeting while dodging people in bad moods who are being antagonistic online.  I also spent a bunch of time focused on Girl Scouts because we have Cookie Season coming up!  Like any giant organization, there are some truck-sized holes in the methods and communication for selling cookies and that gets pretty frustrating but I’m hopeful that the kids have a good year.  From Feb 15 to March 25 I think I’m going to be quite committed to Cookie World.  The girls each want to each sell 150 boxes personally, and, then booth sales on top of that.  I have some ideas but it is a crowded market.

Today is catch up day and I’m catching up on all the things 🙂  or at least I’m trying, when you keep adding to the list it never seems to get any shorter.

 

Nuisance snow week

I love the fun new ways to describe snow.  The Eskimos and we should have a snow word off because the descriptions get pretty fun after a while.  I’m used to the last few years creations like  “wintery mix” meaning snow with rain and some ice and then “heart attack snow” meaning super heavy wet and people shoveling beware but Nuisance snow is the new one for the season and it means periodic snow for about an inch at inopportune times like rush hour.  It is also little enough you don’t need to shovel but after a few episodes suddenly you have 6 inches compressed into a driveway glacier from driving on it for a week.  Anyway, that has been our weather for the past week.

Fortunately, the weekend was very nice.  We had an event and it went really well overall.  Usually, we have a full house with guests but life etc for our friends left us solo but that works out too and we still had a good time.

My Monday and Tuesdays are now super crazy days.  Monday I woke up ready to get things going for the week and the cat peed on my comforter right in front of us.  That cat is now on borrowed time….  There are some things we can change so we are but washing my comforter 2x on Monday was not in the plan – pushed all other laundry activity for a couple hours.  To further irritate me, I attempted to renew my license on Monday afternoon before I got the kids.  I gave an hour but had to give up because the line estimate was over 3 when I got there.  Usually, our office is no wait or maybe 10 minutes but the ‘real ID’ is just a tediously long process.  The joke that you need an original copy of the Declaration of Independence is really not far off the level of crazy documents you now need.  It is seriously easier to get a passport but that won’t actually count as of October for domestic travel.  Crazy.  Monday now includes #1 going to soccer instead of JuJitsu but I figured out a schedule that works, even includes a workout for me, but I do a ton of driving.

Tuesday I woke up to no cat pee so that was a positive.  I gave another shot to the real Id situation and I brought my passport, tax returns, birth certificate, old license, car insurance (proof of address) and I still needed to fish a bank document off the internet and email it to the clerk helping me.  She was great, the process is just insane at the moment.  I spent a lot of mental energy on the holes in this system including how difficult it would be if someone married a person who already owned a house and then didn’t have a job or their name on a bank account – at that point they just don’t exist?  My dinky job where I earn $40 a month but I get a tax document was truly important.  I am unsure how to try and help this situation and that is troubling because it is a slow-rolling disaster.  The day kept going with a complicated ballet of who has who doing what including girl scouts, choir, feeding kids, and the extra challenge of the day; orientation for middle school for #1.  It worked out but I counted that I was out of the house for 8 hours and that isn’t counting the work I did while at home.

Today is the easy day!  I’m catching up on the undone things of days past and trying to get a jump on the next two days because I’ll be at a conference until Friday.  I’m commuting so I won’t miss the kids, and I’m looking forward to all I’ll see and do, just needing to get ready.  Hopefully, the nuisance snow doesn’t complicate my plans for tomorrow or Friday but that is not up to me.

Finally, I’m still organizing.  Today’s submission is the kid’s bathroom closet.  I did not have a clue what to really put in there when we moved in and it hasn’t gotten more organized in a year.  After thinking about what the uses are, I ended up with all the kid towels, pet/clean up towels, sheets for singles or doubles, and a designated spot for washcloths and hand towels so they don’t all get lost.  I pulled out the lightbulbs, ‘odd’ pillow covers, a stack of table cloths, a collection of extra soaps, and hopefully, this will be an easier system to maintain.

Before:

After:

3 things Thursday

what better way to blog more than the old standby of three cool/good/interesting things from the week.  This week I’m thankful for;

  1. Police.   Waaaaay back on veterans day I promised that on On January 9th I would give the police their due on their day  I also took some time to message all the good people I know who are police.  Thankfully I’ve lived a life where police were never the bad guys.  Sure, I’ve been mad at speeding ticket but it wasn’t like I wasn’t actually speeding.  I do feel safer for the police and I don’t fear that they are out to get me.  I see our police doing their best to spread that opinion with cool things like safety camp and working in the schools and giving out coupons for ice cream when they see a kid biking with a helmet.  I’m in a town that thoroughly supports police, to the extent that the high school did a walkout when the town council was considering closing our local police and contracting with the county.   I get in my bubble that this is a good place and we are safe and while that is pretty true super sad stories like this officer that was shot this week happen way too often.  This officer had nothing but support from his community too and I hope he recovers but even in safe little towns bad things can happy and it is (literally) too close to home.

 

2. Sister Christmas.

Other years, because I don’t really love hauling gifts from MN to NY to open there to then haul back we have had 2nd Christmas and it is always fun.  We drove this year and the gifts do get smaller (and more electronic) as they age so most could make the trip, I thought I was in the clear but…  We have another mini tradition where we let the girls shop for each other and this year that got lost in the flu so we did it last week with an agreement that we would have “sister Christmas” this past weekend.  I love how well they know each other and what they would each like and the care that goes into choosing.  Personally, I love the gifts my sisters choose, they are always ‘right’ somehow even if it is nothing I knew I needed or wanted.  They had the best time with this mini Christmas both with the gifts themselves and the wrapping was even fun.  Niamh did the crazy classic of 5 layers + of wrapping, including packing tape for Zoe and to add to the fun, Fiona had an identical outer box and after Zoe was expecting the same BUT Niamh had wrapped an empty box that included a note that was directions to a different location.  It was awesome.

 

3. img_3539Last is an item that was part of my world for my entire childhood.  It was my grandmother’s’ whatnot’ and she acquired it when she purchased the house so its actual age is unknown but I’m guessing 150-200 years old.  For my growing up it was covered in crystal and I remember dusting it often.  When my grandparents downsized this lovely piece went with them but didn’t have such a prominent place in the house.  As old age and illness took over it became less used and dustier and eventually, after both grandparents were gone it became an item in the estate.  I never thought I would end up with it, but I did, and we brought it home from Christmas and I spent a good long time cleaning and then polishing and then assembling it.  I’m not sure what to put on it in our house but I’m looking forward to it being part of my kid’s memories too.  Oh, I might have said I inherited it because I cleaned it most (probably not true) but that put the idea in #3’s head that she would be cleaning it as often as possible to make a claim now…

 

Those are my 3 things – anyone else doing this challenge?  Even if you are not, take a second to thank a police officer today, it is their day.

Desk

Clean stuff update;

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I really should remember ‘before’ pictures, this is a vast improvement even if it still has a few working documents out

I found the surface of my desk!  I went so far as to go through every pile of paper in the house and I would say I’m up to date (for 2020lol).  This is my honesty post to make sure I get one thing done a day and today was the desk, yesterday was all the other papers.  I filled a pretty big bag with recycling last night, kids create paper.

There are still a few things I feel I need to physically hold on to like warranty papers but the rest got tossed, or, I took a picture and then tossed it.  Not exactly paper-free life but close.

Since I was going through all the papers I followed up and;

  • ordered more kitty litter because I found an awesome coupon I was saving for $15 off at Chewy.com.
  • started the long fun job of figuring out dr stuff from when I had the flu
  • did the minutes for my PTO and sent them in a week *early*
  • updated my calendar with school board stuff for the year
  • emailed the builder because a few things *still* are not done
  • did accurate accounting of all the receipts from the driveway and shed and townhouse cluttering my desk and then only kept the ones I need for taxes
  • updated my association dues since they raised it $4 and I noticed now instead of in 6 months when I get a fine because it finally hits $20 past due
  • followed up on random items from kid folders that they have no idea what is going on
  • Deposited 2 checks that were in the mail that I wasn’t expecting <- this is why we open all the mail…
  • Learned that all the ‘star’ stickers I’ve been holding on to for Starbucks are not necessary, apparently, you need to email the receipt.  Good thing Ive been mostly ordering online so I had all my receipts digital and I sent them all in.
  • found a nice rebate I was hoping had not gotten lost.

Amazing what opening all the mail and doing all the ‘I’ll do that later’ pile.  For all my muttering about nobody else ever tidying up, I think I would have been more upset had the pile of papers that has waxed and waned but never zeroed out for months had just been recycled.

I also folded all the laundry and I’m composing a new open item list that I’ll be keeping track of.  Nice to actually close out some stuff from last year though, that is something I miss from traditional office work – the ‘finishing’ of a project.  I talked to my sister and went and worked out with a friend, pretty good for today and I’m not done yet.  Kids go out tonight and usually I work out but since I already did I can choose my own adventure, what exciting thing will I clean?

 

First real week of the year

Last week the kids went back to school for Thursday and Friday.  My brain treated Thursday like a ‘Monday’ but it was a sick joke because I wanted to do all the normal week stuff in 2 days and that isn’t possible.

This Monday I think we were 5min early for school, like the doors were hardly open, I was very ready to get back to my life.

On the other hand, one really does get used to the company and Monday was productive but on the lonely side.  Not so lonely that when #3 said she was too tired to go to school today I didn’t stand firm but I’m glad that regardless of the mess, fighting and general frustration I do still miss them.

I can’t help but think back on church when they would have ‘Ordinary time’ and whether the church agrees with me, January – March are the epitome of ordinary.  Because there is very little innate excitement I do tend to invent things to do.  There is freedom in the unstructured time and like an empty fish tank, I’m adding fish until its an aquarium of epic proportions.

Boring as it might sound, I actually am looking forward to getting my cabinets organized.  You may think I should say ‘re’ organized but there is still stuff that is where it was unpacked from boxes and definitely not optimized.  My goal is 1 a day, that is pretty easy, that should fit in around this and that.   Up first was the odd corner cupboard.  If you aren’t careful you have to crawl in to get the stuff in the far back corners.  I’ve put my least used items in the way back top, and two very large pots in the back corner bottom.  I added a freestanding shelf to better use the right-hand side and that has all my pie and cake dishes and front left are all the muffin tins and cookie sheets.  Finally, the air fryer, a christmas gift that I love, air frying is just so fast!  I’ve used it nearly every day and not just for novelty items like fried oreos, it is pretty great for frozen eggrolls too.

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first organized cabinet.  The new home of the air fryer, a very useful tool that hardly needs a home because it’s on the counter half the time. 

Trite as it might sound, I was a sloth for December when it came to exercise.  The flu and travel ate half the month but before that, I actually met with a friend for a workout and we went shopping instead!  Vacation Mom, my workout buddy, also had a shift in the schedule so our routine is out of wack and I need to get back to it.  I’m off to a good start, I did a workout on Sunday while the kids swam (and if they were fighting I couldn’t hear it, yes, it was that sort of day). Monday does offer a perfect evening opportunity when #2 and #3 are at gymnastics.  I have a workout plan for Wednesday too and things are looking good for going with Lars today and Friday.  We had a discussion about the price of our family Y (gym with pool etc) membership.  One of us wonders if the price is worth it based on how often we all go, one of us thinks that we should just use it more.  I’m not saying who ‘won’ because I think exercising more makes us all winners.  I should not sound so smug, I need to get over the fact that time spent working out is time I’m not using to clean or do or fix or any number of things I’ll prioritize over myself.  So, if you come over and it isn’t tidy, please forgive me, I’m working a bit more on living a longer life then leading a spotless life.  (this is hard)

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us on the row machines, gyms are pretty empty at 3pm on a Sunday.  Not so much Monday nights

The ordinary time will fill up fast.  We are already getting info about girl scout cookies, the lobby dates are out, I have a conference for school board stuff next week and last but not least there is a big event this weekend we are having friends over for and there are lots of fun little events within the event to prep for.  I’m starting my pile of ‘don’t forget’ today as well.  I also need to do our yearbook and calender, the goal for finishing is before end of January.

This first week back feels pretty odd.  I have muscle memory of all the activities so I don’t think I’ll forget anyone anywhere.  Back to gymnastics Monday, choir Tuesday, jujitsu Wednesday, my board meetings Thursday and Fridays are flexible but fill in fast.  I’m looking forward to at least a few weeks of school and the opportunity to get ahead on some stuff.  How do you fill your ‘ordinary time’?