Tag Archive | family

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.


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)


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’?

Racing the weather

Since Sunday I’ve been spending all my time shed building.  Timeline got critical because a big (early) snowstorm is predicted for tonight so it was pretty much the last chance to build my shed.  The shed has been pushed off all season because;

  1. very very wet spring, like standing water all spring
  2. Needed to research and decide and research and read and ask etc this takes a long time in my world, I probably should have started last January to actually be ready for a May build.
  3. You know, life, and kids and extra kids, travel, and the summer just flew and I’m not a fan of working in super hot sun either.
  4. Other projects stole time and resources, I did build a Pergola and a garden structure this year as well as some indoor things but the shed was always on my mind.
  5. Fall went back to rain every weekend, very non-conducive to getting something built.

Finally, I decided what I wanted, how it should go, and the weather was not wet and so last week I started digging foundation just in time for a hard freeze BUT there was a predicted nice week (this week) so in many ways this entire shed has been actually built between Sunday and today.


this was all I had done before Sunday.  Square and Level is a good start though.


Kids loved banging nails.  We had to add a little support to most wisely use our wood.

It was a team effort, even the kids helped, and everyone had fun doing it.  The impending snow was the challenge we needed to really get moving.  I have worked pretty constantly the past 3 days with breaks to drive kids or go to the hardware store.  If it was summer we could have done so much more because it is light out until 8pm but a 4:30 sunset adds to the difficulty and also makes it harder to over-do it because there is no way to push on and get to the stupid stage of the day.

According to the weather people, we should start seeing snow in about half an hour but at this point we are ready.  The foundation, frame, sheeting, and house wrap are done.  The roof trusses are up and so is the plywood and underlay for shingles, and, about 2 rows of shingles.  We put a giant tarp up, in the dark, because nobody was willing to shingle in the dark *even though I found a shop light!!*.  I also didn’t get the door in so there is a tarp over the opening.  The door is something I can get done in the snow but the roof is just going to wait until spring.  My fondest hope is a warmish day this week, I can shovel a path and it will be snug in there to put in the door and then add a few shelves, hooks for bikes etc and haul the stuff from the garage so then I can park in the garage for the rest of the season.  We will see…

My brain is super energized for getting so much done so fast, but, my body is telling me I used a lot of odd muscles.  Right now I’m tucked in bed early with my laptop enjoying putting my feet up and surrounding myself with pillows.  Tomorrow I tackle the things not yet done in the week, and, prep for Thanksgiving.  It is a mellow holiday with 2 friends families joining and provided we are not snowed in, I will shop tomorrow for all the things for a proper feast.  No other plans (other than the shed finishes) for the holiday but I foresee puzzles, games, TV and maybe some Christmas shopping and decorating.  Sorry, I didn’t post daily, hopefully nobody thought I was overcome by sleepover kids.  (that was a busy day, maybe I’ll post about it tomorrow)


Did I mention we got a cat?

I don’t think I did….

Hey, we got a cat!  He is much bigger than our dog.

Back in April, when we spent a lot of time at softball, I was thinking to myself (in my head) “I think we are ready for a cat, maybe for Zoe’s birthday…” and not 10 minutes later one of the softball dads said “hey Kate, want a kitten?”.  That is how cats come into your life – like the mind readers they are.  Apparently, his office cat had kittens and they needed homes and while never having talked about cats and in fact bringing a dog to many softball games – he offered me a kitten.


our first picture of him in June

It worked out nicely.


when Prima was bigger by a hair back in July

We debated names briefly and decided on Sorbet, like the frozen treat.  We usually call him Sur-bee or “cat”.  He is a bit bold, he will jump onto tables and counters but he does know it is bad because if he sees you he jumps down with a guilty look.

He is a bit standoffish.  Absolutely friendly and you can pick him up and hold him and carry him around but he seldom chooses to come to sit on a person.  Prima does get territorial about her people so maybe they have an agreement.


growing growing growing

He loves dog food and given he is 3x the size of the dog we have to defend Prima’s food.  We thought we would need to keep Prima out of his food so we always fed him up on his cat tree.  He still eats there although it is proof that cats can levitate because only about half of him fits up there now.


  we might need a bigger tree

At just over 6 months old he has proven a very good mouse catcher (and bird and vole).  He patrols the garage and the field around the house and drives #1 crazy about not coming home by dark but he does turn up around 8:30 daily if he isn’t in already


look at this giant thing

Overall the pets get along, they play fight and chase and even snuggle but most usually they are just in the general vicinity of each other since they both like to sleep half the day.  He does like to groom Prima and she will stand there and let him lick all her muddy paws clean after romping in the yard



captive grooming

He is a very good cat, he is chill and tolerates the kids picking him up and while he does try to eat our food (and Prima’s) nothing out of the ordinary for a cat.  We just need to be more careful about our bacon.  He is a good addition to our house.


sleeping pets.  Wish they didn’t love MY bed but they are cute

Happy Veterans Day

Very pleased to say my favorite Veteran is back on American soil enjoying her family after her little working vacation for more than half a year.


Thanks to everyone who’s job makes the world a better place.  Today we recognize those in the US military for their commitment to the goal.  My second favorite veteran said something really insightful that I want to put out to more people in the world;  He feels very appreciated and thanked every time he wears his uniform and is glad he lives in an era where the military is respected.  He, unfortunately, sees the disrespect and scorn heaped on police right now and asks that you also thank them for their service and recognize that every day they are at risk and that risk is for the protection of us all.

I’m sure there is a crossover between military and police and today is for the military but since he said that I’ve been extra careful about also thanking my police and I’m marking my calendar for January 9th to give them their due.

my extra hour

Yesterday our time ‘changed’ in the stupid WWII artifact of a social contract where we all agree that we ‘fall’ back one hour.

In reality, it is annoying to nearly everyone and absolutely despised by pets that are very used to being fed at the same time.  This time of year we ‘get’ an hour so the question of the day was what did you do with your hour?  It is silly because you get no more or less time, you just shift as if you drove across a time zone, but I had scheduled us a ‘do nothing’ weekend and the kids have today off (again, no real reason, just off today to keep parent on their toes) so I do actually have some extra hours.  Want to guess what I did?

I cleaned closets.

For a month I’ve been intending to go through the closets.  Purge.  Get things ready for winter and put away summer.  Someone lost 60lb and he is due for an exodus of too big stuff.  I have lost no weight, but also gained no weight, so I have been wearing the same stuff for years and some are now just too worn out or not the right ‘look’ and it needed to be gone through.  I’ve also come to the conclusion that it is silly to keep everything post-Fiona so 100% of her previous size is already packed up and is getting taken to its new home tomorrow.  We tried on everything, made good choices on what to give away, and powered through!

I’m proud of myself for letting go of so much

  • one overflowing tote of 6Tis going to a new family
  • one giant bag is going to goodwill
  • one medium bag going to fabric recycle (torn or too worn out)

In my closet, I’m down to 4 totes of seasonal stuff for both of us including shoes (mostly mine but his shoes are bigger so take up more space)

Each child has an organized wardrobe where they can find anything they want to wear and on their top shelf of the closet is a neat box labeled “Next Size or Season”.  I’m very pleased that I don’t need to do major shopping, everyone has plenty that fit and they like.  The only thing I semi need to get is some more hangers, who knows where they go.

We also didn’t let the rest of the house go to absolute poo while I was focused elsewhere.  Most of Halloween is back in totes, laundry is going, and things are generally tidy.  I don’t get my normal Monday to put things to rights but Niamh’s room looks great and so do the closets 🙂  We are going to go swimming later and we have a busy evening but it was a mellow but productive weekend.


Day of the Dead – All Souls day

Yesterday I was thinking “yippie, another year with nobody I love gone” but then I remembered that in fact, my Aunt Grace died early in the year.

She did not have an obvious illness that we all could see and ‘say goodbye’

She didn’t have a sudden accident either.

She died after a short ‘normal’ illness that just took her away.

I could cheat and call my mom and ask how old she was for real, but, she was my Grandfather’s (mom’s father) sister so AT LEAST 80.  She was more or less ‘old’ in my head from my very first memory.  Never exactly aging, because to her credit, never actually slowing down.  All my childhood she lived next door and we would go visit her for extra hugs and cookies.  We would bring her wildflowers from the hedge and she would listen to our stories.  For someone who lived next door, we actually did not spend a ton of time there – she and my grandmother (who lived with us and who was her SiL) had some amorphous disconnect I don’t know any of the details of at all.

At some point, she and my Great Grandmother (who lived with her) decided we needed about a million Harlequin novels that they had already read.  They subscribed to the “send you books forever” service and at one point with no other criteria for picking what to read, I choose books with the main character’s name being Kate.  It is a very common name, I had no shortage.  Those books were absolute formulas but were pretty perfect for learning a little bit about this or that because the profession or circumstance in each book always seemed pretty realistic and has proved pretty useful in my life.  I’m really glad I read all those silly books and every silly romance novel will forever remind me of my Aunt Grace.

On our road trip from Sayville back to MN last summer we decided to go through the little NY town where my Aunt Grace retired to.  She moved in with her daughter Peggy, one of my more favorite cousin-aunts (technically a 2nd cousin but contemporary to my mom so always referred to as an aunt) and we had a nice dinner with them all.  The girls talked her into playing a game with them and while we only stayed a couple hours I am really glad I took the side trip.

I wish I had learned more about her childhood in Malta and her teenage life in Brooklyn and then the move out to the burbs of LongIsland.  She was a quiet person, her sisters were all more talkative in my memory, but when she said something there wasn’t ever much argument.  She was always a busy person, cleaning, cooking, picking up, arranging something, making plans.    When I lived in Malta she and her husband came for a visit and it was fun being slightly spoiled by them for a week. We went to Gozo together and her husband teased me like he always did.  They had other relatives to see so we only spent a day or two together, no point in spending time with your neighbor when you traveled around the world to see people you never see, however, now that I am thinking about it, she helped form my reality that you visit when you can.  I am nevertheless glad that took that time regardless of the reason, I was happy to see another familiar face.

Tonight we are having a nice dinner and looking through the book and I’ll tell my girls about all their relatives and special friends that have gone on.  Each one distilled into a picture and a 30-second story or two.  As the years go on they will have more personal memories of the people who will be added to the book.  I hope they have to find the time to keep taking side trips and enjoying the people in our life so when the day comes they are only sad the person is gone, not sad that they missed so many opportunities.

I hope Aunt Grace and all my relatives and friends that have gone before are at peace and in a good place.