Tag Archive | #90daysofsummer

A new little hobby – Ingress

Everything in my head right now is either boring (dishes, laundry, oppressive pile of to-do) or something I already talked about (kids, summer, is it time for school yet?).  On top of that I’ve just been out of the loop for ‘things’ because I’ve not been reading news or other blogs (or really doing much other than the aforementioned cleaning/parenting) so there isn’t much sparking conversation in my mind.

However – I did start playing Ingress.

There are plenty of tutorials about how to play, I know because I had to find them because just downloading the app is not all that explanatory.  This is not a tutorial, this is a how-orial and why-orial.  Here are some reflections on ‘why’ and ‘how’ this is a great game for anyone, especially a stay at home mom.

Statement; I’m doing so many things already it seems silly to add a game

Reply; This game actually fits in a normal active lifestyle because it is location based as long as you leave the house it is pretty easy to play.  There are ‘portals’ all over the place and they are most often in places you probably go already.  Library – yes, parks – yes, yes, yes (all of them), soccer field – yes, baseball field – yes, Post office – yes, church – yes.  To get to level 100000 you need to do more than just play in your normal run around life but there is plenty of fun to be added to the mundane errands that it is worth it.

Statement; what else is there?  turning it on during my errands is only so fun

Reply; Given that the original game (started a few years ago) put portals at every registered landmark and people have added to the list over the years, there are new fun things to discover if go you hunting for portals.  We had a great time at Shoreview community, a place we have gone weekly for years, wandering around and discovering new spots.  Within a very easy to walk radius we found 6 portals.  Part of the point is to find new things and enjoy the walk between.

A little trail through the woods to find the next portal.

Statement; How can I use Ingress to make my life more fun?

Reply; Open the big map and look for portals, plan around them.  Feel like a walk, find some near each other.  Feel like a run, use mapmyrun to make a trail for you.  Finding a portal in an area of your town you have never been, or, turning it on when you are at a new place and have some time to kill.

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Ingres map and mapmyrun working together…

Statement; I’m too busy with my kids/I don’t like using my phone around them

They have wanted to go through that tunnel for years – We finally went because of this game. Sometimes moms need a push to do something out of the routine…

Reply; really?  My kids think it is awesome – they love to hold the phone and follow the direction (orienteering).  They like to push the buttons (who doesn’t?).  Good incentive to walk and read, and, something we can easily and enjoyably do together.  Not to mention that half of these things are at parks and playgrounds.  This also keeps me engaged with my kids as I too, try, to not play with my phone while they are playing.

Statement; sounds like geocaching and last time I did that I got ticks and mosquito bites

Reply; This is similar because it is  walking around, but, instead of tracking down trails and poking under rotten logs to find a cache that is supposed to be hidden therefore hard to find – this is mostly in very public easy to get to locations and you just have to be in the area for it to work rather than looking for something the size of a tictac box.  NOTE; I know there are geocaching in the civilized world, and, Ingress down wooded paths – but – it is usually the other way around.  NOTE 2 – nothing wrong with hiking, just does mean more scheduled time and this is more doing during regular life.

Super easy to find spot in an inside place we go weekly 🙂

Finally, this is a motivator to get out of the house.  I want to go walk past a few of the closer ones daily and that means I find ways to get out and do it with the kids (or without).  Its walking with a purpose and a general goal and that does make walking more fun for me.  This works really well with my lifestyle since I do go out often, I like to walk, and I run fairly regularly and am always looking for new routes because the old ones get dull.  Who knows if I’ll ever achieve ‘big things’ because winning for me is just doing it~  If you want an invite let me know or you can just download the app.

PS.  The walk in the woods was SPESFICALLY motivated by Nerd the brains “go climb a tree” challenge and it is gravy that I got 3 portals while looking at trees.

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3 more weeks of summer

Live it up?

Survive it?

Do what we normally do?

D… all of the above

It is summer part III because it is silly to really get used to 3 girls at home when in 3 weeks I’ll only have 1 at home.  We have a few things a week planned with moms club and only a few things we *need* to do and the freedom to do what we want the other days.  Things fill up fast with things, and, the poor cat is 2 months past his shots so that really does need to get done.

Today Fiona and I got up at 7:45, a totally late sleep in time, Zoe didn’t get up until after 9.  Breakfast was still happening at 9:30 and laundry didn’t even start until 10ish. We had a friend drop by for a quick visit and then we headed out at 11:15 for a walk to the park.  It was coolish and overcast so no complaints about being hot or sun in the eyes and we took 20 min to walk 3/4 of a mile because we stopped to pick wildflowers and watch ducks and generally not rush.

The park was all ours and the kids played and Fiona surprise #1 was suddenly mastering the ability to pump on a swing.

Heading back after 12 my brain was screaming we were ‘behind schedule!’ but seriously, what schedule?  Fiona surprise #2 was the ability to pedal her own trike – not fast – but she can go!  Over the weekend we worked on her learning to use the handlebars and I can’t recommend the Kettler trike enough, much better than how the other girls learned.

We had one scrape on the way home for drama but overall a nice outing and lunch was late so nap was late but again, who cares.  At some point we need to see about putting some of the weekend play-a-thon featuring every small doll and figure away but I’m sure we won’t be going to bed on time either.  There is time enough in 2 weeks to start dialing back in for the school year, synchronizing our breakfast ballet, and reinstalling my innate time sense for 4pm precisely.

Celebrations! Big and Small

My last post on a way too popular topic; potty training.

Our house is now diaper free (pull up at night). #3 is reliable to a good degree to even go by herself.  This has been a long journey full of 7.4 years of diapers and I’m happy to NOT have to buy and/or wash diapers anymore.

Personally just NOT buying/washing is all the reward I need but this was a team effort and when the team has an achievement the team needs a celebration.  (Someday I’ll write a book on how an MBA is a very good tool for parenting).

The process for training a third child who has close siblings is its own trick.  There is the not so small matter of one child getting prizes for going to the bathroom while the other two are told they are too big and had their treats as they were learning too – not an easy lesson for a 4 year old to internalize and accept.  Secondly the process of training 1 out of 3 means 2 of 3 are sometimes left hanging while their little sister gets the special treatment or a fast trip to the bathroom dropping everything else.  None of this is very fair or fun so long ago I told them at the end, we would have a diaper-free party to celebrate winning as a team.

Today is that day

Niamh actually decided that it was time for a party and took a poll of what they wanted and presented me with a list.  Ok, she needs help spelling but that isn’t a stone I can throw.

Dolfin cake – blue frosting chocolate cake outside party rainbow sprinkles dolphin frosting on top of cake

Here is the resulting cake – chocolate with blue icing, sprinkles, and a dolphin.  I have no idea where the dolphin idea came from but I had one in the toy box so on the top it went.  We did not do it outside since it is 90 degrees and I’ve had enough of that over the past 2 months and now I have my AC and I’m staying in it!

we added 3 candles, one for each girl who only uses the potty – or, for the 3 years it took Fiona –

It was the first time I made cream cheese icing and I like it, pretty easy overall – 1 stick butter, 1 8oz cream cheese, 2c powdered sugar and 1tbl flavor.  I have a bunch leftover too, even after repairing a few licks to the cake.

They were all happy to have a celebration and so am I to mark the end of this phase.  It is also a handy thing as an end point for potty treats, any time she asks for one I can refer her to the cake…

I have no idea if this will help anyone else out there potty train a second or third child but the idea that you always celebrate achievements, even small ones, is one I want my kids to have.

kids at pennsic

90% of the people I know who have kids and go to pennsic DON’T bring their kids.  They have many valid reasons and for people in MN (or further) a 12+ hour drive is daunting all by itself.  If you want a ‘vacation’ vacation – leaving your kids home is a good start but also going to a beach in Mexico is a better start since Pennsic is a vacation I NEED a vacation from when I get back.

Lets be honest here.  Me taking 3 kids ‘solo’ was on the crazy side.  Here is a list of the things that went wrong;

  • Someone regressed to the point where she would not use a toilet, I nearly had to go get diapers.  Luckily she would use her little potty but I still ended up just throwing out underwear because I’m not dealing with poop while camping.
  • There are no doors at pennsic.  No bedroom to put a tired child to work it out.
  • I was bitten
  • Someone, in a manic overtired phase, did about 30 laps around camp – 5 were naked, the remainder in a pullup
  • Small feet fall through pallet gaps (but thankfully that pallet was replaced asap by a kind campmate

I was also lucky because I never lost anyone, nobody fell into or dropped anything into the portapotty, and 2 of 3 fell asleep in under 5 min every night.  My kids are also good walkers, love to drink Gatorade (so no dehydration), are very patient with putting on sunblock and nobody got sick or hurt.  The ultimate ace is that I camp in a wonderful spot with infastruture AND my parents so they are at ‘camp grandma’.

There are hard things too like

  • getting them to eat the food that is for dinner
  • removing the dirt layer nightly
  • working around the heat of the day and the freeze of the night
  • lack of internet and electronics

So why do I say it was worth it?  Because they will remember it.  They will remember how much they loved meeting other kids, staying up listening to drums and bagpipes and stories.  They will know people from all over the world that they can only see again there.  They will have a map of this place that they walked and walked burned into their soul.  These things will mean they will want to come back every year, they will feel like they belong.  And I’ll also be there, so, hopefully, at least yearly, I’ll see my grown up kids.

The SCA is something that the whole family can really ‘be’ in.  It is something that is there when you need it and nobody minds if you take a few years off.  You can move from your hometown to anywhere in the world and find SCA, and, while they might be total strangers, they ‘know you’.  It is a powerful network because nobody really ever leaves, they just get less active.  There are plenty of things in the world that have many of the same vurtures but I can’t thing of any that are that whole package.  My parents saw it for what it was and I’m very very glad that they made something the whole family could do the priority rather then all splitting off into our own hobby or sport.

Nothing worth doing is easy all the time and that is Pennsic in a nutshell

if you want to see a few more pictures here is a link; https://goo.gl/photos/c54xaR6y1YJFuB3N6

Starting Summer part 3

We arrived back home from our super long vacation on Saturday just before midnight and yesterday was a blur of naps and laundry and rediscovering the house and TODAY we have to hit the ‘normal’ button.

There is still a whole month of summer left for my kids.  I know lots of kids are back already but we had over 90 days of summer and I think we are making the most of it.

The NY segment was crazy in a Full House sort of way.  7 kids eat a ton and there is no choice but to either skip baths, or, clean 2 at once because even at 10min each that is over an hour of showering.

Rolling into Pennsic was almost calm since my kids were the only kids there for a week, but, there were 19 people and steadily gaining more daily so cooking was still on dinosaur proportions.  Today I made lunch for ‘just 3’ and it felt like nothing…

I posted pictures for most of the last two weeks since my computer was safely tucked away from the potential rain and the inevitable dust and bugs.  For the most part is was a good but it is not what one would call your classic vacation.  On the other hand, what vacation with 3 kids is restful?  Pennsic has enough kids that we found people to play with most days and I’m super lucky that my girls do play with each other pretty well.  The other gift from heaven was the babysitter for an hour and a half a day.  I joke I found her at WalMart but after YEARS of trying to find a sitter ahead of time and either finding nothing, or, people who fell through I was in line at WalMart the first day and the young lady ahead of us, obviously also a Pennsic person, started talking to the kids and I asked if she would babysit.  It was a wonderful find and allowed me an hour and a half to go to the bathroom, shower, and talk to other adults.  It was double good because when the other kids arrived the second week she could add them to the flock and we ALL got a break.  Pennsic is hard on parents but probably worse for those in camp who don’t have kids since they are not used to the constant low-level chaos.

My pictures are trapped in my camera but I hope to have some soon.  I’m back in the normal swing with playdates and working out and projects so hopefully that includes blogging too.

vacation with kids (and friends) ((and family))

Today I was told that I’m not providing enough reading material 🙂  To that I say;  sorry… (not sorry)

Over the past few weeks Miss Math has been around nearly as much as my biological sisters.  Silly her, she  insists on having a job in the summer when the entire point of being a teacher is summer off.  Good thing she gets paid to basically do her hobby so it is win-win for her, but I see just a bit less of her.  Tomorrow I’m going to do their family pictures and I’m totally not a professional, but I did them a few years ago right before the beloved family dog was put to sleep and I think that will always make me a top pick for them.

The morning adventure today was to meet a friend at the local beach.  We should have our names on a bench there by now since we go there so often but it is a handy place to meet.  Close to me, easy to find, beach and playground and not to big that you can’t find people.  I’ve met Miss Math there a few times and another HS friend and today a friend I actually met in 1st grade!  She and I went to school together all the way to Highschool but past elementary school we were in different groups, both reveling in the fact there were more than 10 other people to socialize with but there is something of a bond made when 11 kids are in the same class for 6 years.  She actually reads this blog and that’s how we got reacquainted – too bad the name Miss Math is taken since she also teaches math…  I’ll think of something~  But! It was fantastic to actually hang out with her and her kids and hear about what she has been doing for the past 20 years and our kids got along well and it just worked out so nicely I even got a picture

As soon as I got Fiona to go to sleep (our routine now is to walk around the block, around half a mile, 9:10 times she is asleep) I hit the wood with dad to try and finish the pennsic project.  Not exactly a slacker thing realy but I do spend most of my days here at the beach at some point or another.

Post nap we headed out to the yacht club for some sailing in the ‘little’ boat.  It still fits 3 adults and 4 kids easily but compared to the other boat it seems small.  We did a little round and round and while I know my dad enjoys sailing, and, he enjoys sharing the sailing fun with us, I think a tiny % likes to show off  just how loved he is by an endless stream of cute grandkids on the boat .  He gets nothing but compliments from the other old sea-dogs.

Feeding and washing this crew also takes a considerable amount of time, time I could be blogging, but the kids are not up to free range self care yet so we take care of them.  Right now I’m sitting on the floor outside their room with a figurative bat keeping them in beds.  We have had a few easy bedtimes but there is just no good and easy way to get 7 kids to bed.  If they were all in the same family I’m sure we would have a routine AND would not have 2 sets of twins but between one thing and another bedtime is the source of most of the angst in this trip.  Not that bedtime at home is cake, but, this is double the fun.  Camping next week with just my three will feel ‘easy’ but we will miss our cousins and friends.

So only a few days left in NY and nearly all our list checked for this section of the trip, we didn’t get to see everyone but you never do.  We did get the majority of my mom’s side of the family together for baby Olivers christening so we got a few good pictures of the big crew. For a lady that had no siblings she ended up with quite a collection. (that was my Saturday by the way)

I’ll try and get back here again before we head out for camping but who knows, you all might need to get a book to read for your daily entertainment while I’m camping.