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.
Our city is hosting a giant (American) Football game this weekend and that is great news for the travel industry. There was a short tense moment when it looked like in a crazy twist, the home team would win their way into the Super Bowl, meaning great things for local fans but cutting the possible earnings by 50% because we would only be attracting one team’s worth of out of town visitors. The Vikings didn’t let me down (like their true fans) when they did not win and thus economic goals did. The team that beat them is actually one I have a soft spot for. Can’t go so far as to say fan because I know next to nothing about them but they are beloved by many people I like from my college days so I’m happy they are happy.
Anway! What does this mean for us? Well, first the once in a lifetime opportunity to go see the spectacle that is a Superbowl village. MN transformed our downtown prediction street into an open-air festival. Tons of inside space was transformed into venue area and we spent a very nice half-day playing tourist and seeing all the fun.
(can’t caption the video but look how fun! Like a pro he is)
The real adventure in capitalism is that we took the leap into Air B&B land to rent out our guest room. I have toyed with the idea over the years, we do have a nice guest room that is dedicated to guests. I started the listing and then stopped, full of the nagging doubts that trying anything new has swirled around it. Then a person from Air B&B actually called me to ask if I needed help or had questions. That is a real mark of both service and anticipated demand in the area so I held my breath and just did it.
In for a penny, in for a pound, we also listed Niamh’s room since it is next to the guest room and both are on a different level so easy to have a ‘guest floor’ with a living room and bathroom and 2 bedrooms. Upon the advice of Air B&B man, I listed each room separately and within 3 hours my first room was booked. A day later the other was too. Today our first guests arrive and I’m excited!
I’m going to focus on the exciting part but yes, I’m nervous too. I’m letting strangers into the house with my family and all our stuff. I need to arrange my week to accommodate being here when needed. I’m kicking my kids out of a quarter of the house. I have to push away the media fed fears of crazy people and rely on the goodness of the general person.
I’ve learned fast about how the system worked and after a mistake on the first round, I priced things so that it is worth my trouble. In an odd way, I’m getting paid to clean my own house because cash is an incentive to actually get the rooms in order. Niamh is getting her share, I’m giving her $30 to vacate her room and sleep in ours. Good thing we have a big closet and she is pretty excited to camp out in it. The other girls’ opportunity up the opportunity to earn. There is $2 each per day on the line for being good and helpful, Zoe is taking it quite seriously.
The only thing I have not totally worked out is what do we do with our earnings from this side venture? Should I be a great parent and split it into the kid’s savings accounts? Should we use it to go out to a really nice dinner? Do we save it for a fun vacation fund? I have no idea if post Superbowl there will be much demand for our guest room so this might just be a small windfall but hey, money is money.
Now I need to get back to the hostess game and make sure our house is visitor ready. Let me know what you would do with a little windfall you don’t actually have to use for bills.
This weekend I had the most random of lists of things to bring to the SCA event;
- 200 boxes of girl scout cookies, and, 2 girls to sell them, and all the ‘stuff’ that goes with selling cookies
- A tunic I made for a friend
- A set of flower girl dresses, and, 2 girls to wear them
- A form someone needed
I also brought all the normal stuff like lunch and outfits etc but it was a very multifunctional day.
The most odd item is the flower girl dresses, because, SCA events tend to focus on an era where brides didn’t even wear white and there were no such notions as flower girls HOWEVER a photographer friend is launching his site and does NOT want to do wedding photography. He did want a cute way to say that though, cute and also very clear, because brides to get rather persistent… Anyway, his vision was cute flower girls being a little sassy and holding signs that said ‘nope’ and ‘sorry’. We did this mini photoshoot in the end of a hallway by the bathroom with his studio lights and a backdrop all set up in less time than it took for me to put the girls into their dresses. He also provided props and I just love the results!
The funny side of this, beyond the pictures, is that they were posted on facebook, so I could see them, but, that meant that all my other friends could see them and the ‘why’ of the situation is not very clear. I started thinking from an outside point of view and my brain started churning out ideas for these images beyond their real purpose.
- They could be a very simple meme – like when I just don’t wanna anymore I will just post the ‘nope’ picture
- We can also launch a line of demented cards for when you can’t figure out how to decline a proposal – send a nice ‘nope’ card.
3. Finally, if you miss declining early and need to leave someone at the alter – just post this ‘Nope’ plus ‘sorry’ picture and all thats left is the crying. Adding the sorry is just polite at that point.
Oriental Trading is known for many things, but, for me, there will ALWAYS be rubber ducks. When Niamh was a little little girl and I had night classes a friend watched her, to ‘pay’ I sent a duck with Niamh every week to give to her daughter who was 2.5 and not into sharing her mom. That started my duck collection because I couldn’t just send the same duck each week, I needed variety!
Then I had friends with kids with allergies and I learned that there are more options than candy on Halloween. I got ‘spooky’ ducks and they went first, everyone wanted a duck more than candy.
When I found out there was actually a HOLIDAY for rubber ducks I could not let it pass. Oriental Trading partners with bloggers and I’m lucky enough to be one of them and they gave me ducks in return for this post. (fair trade, I’ve already given them tons of money for ducks).
I decided that for duck day, I would share the love of ducks. I ordered 11 dozen ducks with the goal to give them all away. Ok, I’m keeping some, there are some cute ones. So I’m giving away 10 dozen ducks! This is easier said than done and it is going to take a while but since I got them last Friday;
Sunday we went to the MN Science museum and I handed out ducks to any kid I saw being nice. I also sent the kids out to hand out ducks too, nice lesson in random kindness.
Tuesday I saw an acquaintance in the grocery store, I handed him a duck and while I said it was for his baby, you know who is going to be playing with that duck.
Yesterday and today I didn’t actually leave the house much other than the gym so operation #ducktheworld was on hold and since tomorrow is the day I thought I should get this posted so if you feel so inclined to celebrate tomorrow, you have adequate warning.
My pocketbook is stocked with ducks and my plan is to give them away to good kids (or sad kids). I like to reward good behavior and now I have stock to do so.
If you have any cool rubber ducks, post them tomorrow #ducktheworld and I’ll be joining you too. If you don’t think you need any, consider adding them to your holiday table or basically any occasion since there is a duck for just about everything.
Edit to add- I just got an awesome direct link to some coupons. Enjoy!
Weather; Fall again, feel the chill
Kids; 100% in school today
Workout; 1 bodypump class today and maybe I’ll walk to get that elusive 10k steps
health; heard a dishearting rattle in a sudden cough that was not there yesterday…
calories; resisting the candy. Not resisting a cookie for breakfast.
Here I am again! In my old job there was a predictable season for all sorts of thing. The time I would send this or budget that or schedule the other… One of my odd worries when I started to stay home was that I would lose that rhythm to the year. I was wrong. Plenty of things. There were the expected holiday and birthday things that roll around like clockwork but those were already a given. Things like posting every day in November is oddly like when I would review the prices of every item in my zone of influence. It is nice to have built a new framework, there is basically no dull time in the year, no time when I’m just doing the same thing week after week with no variation. I think I actually have more variation now than I did at the mundane job!
On the other hand, posting every day the topics start to get thin. I have not decided if I’ll go with a theme or jump onto the prompts they send out daily or if I’ll fall back on my routine prompts from last year. Each have merit and I guess we will find out tomorrow! One thing is for sure, its going to get a bit random because I am using all my strategy and planning on the 5 other blogs and web presences I’m managing right now!
In the vain of random, here is a picture of Niamh in a shirt she was given when she was 3. It says ‘my dad rocks’ and has been in her wardrobe ever since. The friends that gave it to her are expecting their first baby in March but back then just had no concept of kid sizes – soon they will laugh at themselves (more, because they laughed in the first place too).
ps. I just remembered I could have gotten away with just a picture today as ‘wordless Wednesday’ oh well, I just can’t keep my days straight when my Monday is off balance.
Yesterday we had our first kid sleepover here that counted. By count I mean it was not for babysitting reason, it was not a family member, and, no additional adults were here. I know it sounds silly to fret over the 1 single extra child when 3 weeks ago we had 7 extra kids in the house, but, this was a school friend. I don’t know the parents and I remembered as we were getting in the car from picking her up to ask about allergies but I suppose we are both just generally laid back parents because she didn’t ask any of the crazy questions I’ve seen listed on “Are they ready for a sleepover, and, are you aware of all the things that can go wrong?” articles (I should probably not read those…) and I didn’t offer any answers in advance.
However, that really was not the point… point was when I posted on facebook that they were all giggles the first replay was “on a Thursday night?”. You know, I had almost no idea what day of the week it was. My days and nights are now just ordered by activities and yesterday was a ‘free evening’ for the kids and I (Lars had guys night out). So yes, once again, I have no idea what day it is.
The sleepover was a big success. We kept it simple with a 5:30 start and her mom collected her about 10am. A little time outside where they did the leaf pile thing (fall bucket list!) and then dinner and a game and stayed up ‘late’ with a movie and the entire bag of cheese doodles (that was only 1/4 full but getting the BAG is a big deal here). I think the friend had a good time too, she was all smiles. They went to sleep no issues and I don’t even think they are too short on sleep today.
Today we filled in the gaps of the day with a few events and right now I have my mothers helper here so I can get some work done. Originally she was supposed to come on Wednsday, day 1 of this break, but we rescheduled for today because I had a feeling I would be in need of the help more today. I had vague hope of getting all sorts of house projects done but instead we did more of the fall fun things.
We did our annual trip to our favorite pumpkin farm, and, as usual, the pictures are locked on my good camera. We rode bikes to the park and had lazy breakfasts and epic games of My Little Pony that cover an acre of space. I enticed them into shopping by promising them halloween shirts and little did I know that they just really don’t sell them in their size. There are a few ‘boy’ ones (and by boy I mean gross) and plenty of adult ones…. Maybe my kids are odd to want halloween shirts because there can’t just be this big a market miss. I ended up buying plain shirts and getting creative with some lace so now we have shirts that should work for a year or two.
This weekend we have a variety of halloween activities on the menu and just one week before the real event. I need to get going on the final touches on costumes~
Ok I must get on to other things while I have someone entertaining the kids.
ps. If you are wondering the scary things I’ve read/been warned by police speakers about sleepovers;
- Older brothers
- Do the parents drink or smoke?
- Are there guns in the house?
- what TV might they watch?
- how much supervision?
These are mostly just questions that you have your level of comfort and you assume the other parents are on the same page, but, you really don’t know what their level is. The older brother thing is the #1, the local police say that 90% of the s@x offenders list is from things that happened between a boy and his younger sisters friends. … For the record, no boys in the house, no smoking, 1 beer max (could drive to the hospital if needed), no guns, TV all Pg or G and medium supervision/I can hear what they are doing if not see.