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
I missed recording a few things in my crazy little life here.
Most importantly; #2 is now 9! As we say ‘It’s time for 9″. She claims she had to wait FOREVER for her birthday and all her friends are older, however, given the number of birthday parties we have attended for her friends this month, she was born peak season. We did another sleepover with a fun painting project to pass the time. All the girls did great with everything and eventually went to sleep. The party was on a Friday night to have a prayer of fitting into graduation/recital season and we actually had everyone attend and the bonus was we still had the weekend. On her real birthday, we had lunch together at school and she skipped jujitsu to hang out with me and then we went for sushi. It was a full day and I think she enjoyed it.
Speaking of parties – in the past 2 weeks, we have had 4 kid birthday parties, a house warming, a bridging ceremony, a graduation, and 2 grad parties that we got to. It has been an intensely social couple of weeks. Most of these were in succession, going from one to the next to the next. A few were concurrent where we dropped a kid at a birthday and went to another celebration and back in time to pick up again. Exhausting but exciting and fun to see so many friends achieving things in their worlds.
The weather… has been a factor in all things. Currently, it is raining, again. Yesterday it was perfect. That is the way, we get a couple gorgeous days and a couple soggy days. I have two lists at all times; things to do outside and things to do inside. It also has been mild to cool here still. I know other places are melting already but we are still using layers. I wonder if I can ever put away all the winter?
Remember when I said I was doing a lot of field trips this month? This past week I went on a 3 day trip ‘up north’ with the 5th grade. It was thoroughly educational and the staff at the place was incredibly good with kids and making science exciting. Every activity had a running dialogue of history and science and social interactions that was like sneaking veggies into a cookie. We spent tons of time in the woods, in the ponds looking at micro-organisms, and even some classroom time. They have a magic formula going up there I’m glad to have participated in. It was worth the time, however, three days away still has a price in things NOT done elsewhere and it was also not exactly relaxing keeping track of 130 kids.
We also got a new minivan. This was a process that spanned about 4 months but we finally got it this Saturday. It is still a little amazing to be in, so new and full of tech to learn. We decided on the Pacifica – great safety and stats – but we needed one that had 6 seats in the back. That turned out to be a special order but it was worth the wait because since we were factory ordering we could get or leave out any option we wanted so no compromises because it was ‘on the lot’. I listed our Oddysey and hope it sells to a nice person. That will be its own post someday because it truly was a good car. We have always done a trade in so it is odd to still have our old car too.
Between parties and rain storms, we have gotten more of the play set up, I added monkey bars and then a flip bar that is both fun and helps keep the system stable. The kids are enjoying it both for its built purpose of swing/monkey bar/flip and also as a centerpiece of imagination games that I can’t even start to describe. Let’s just say my 3 have no shortage of crazy imagination scenarios that they can play all day. This set lures them out of the house. There is still a list of building projects not to mention yard work in general. We did get our yard mowed. Note I didn’t say grass…. we are waiting on the builders to finish some drainage fixes so we didn’t plant yet, however, plenty of volunteer green items were filling the void and we mowed them to a socially acceptable level. Next year we might have grass… maybe.
Sports were dominant this month with #1 doing track and #2 doing softball and #3 doing gymnastics and they were all stacked on Monday and Tuesday making them crazy afternoons. We survived though, the last track meet was Monday and #1 did very well. She was 3rd overall for the 800m and had fun on all her events. Everyone got t-shirts and ribbons and I got to see parent friends from all over I wasn’t expecting. Now we ‘just’ have softball and gymnastics (and jujitsu) but the schedule is much less crazy.
Last but not least, I looked and there are less 2 weeks of school left. This year flew by but we did do quite a lot so we earned our summer. The next 2 weeks are full of end of year things, a final field trip, #2 has a wax museum presentation that parents are invited to, and I need to do one last birthday party.
I’m closing in on 1000 words here so that is plenty to read with your coffee, I will keep ‘blogging’ on my list for inside time and hopefully, I get back to a bit more regular schedule when things click over to summer life.
ps. while uploading pictures I was reminded that I also went to school for their field day, a 5th-grade concert that was actually really good, we dealt with our first major behavior in school issue, we attended the agriculture fair at the high school and got to pet the baby goats and I helped a friend rehab and stage his house to sell – reminding me I don’t really like packing but packing someone else is more fun. Now I don’t feel so bad about the basket of towels that just never seems to get folded.
On Mothers day, a day that was ‘meh’ at best due to a variety of things beyond my control, I went to work on the swing set and decided that I truly did need some bolts and would take myself to the store. At the store, I see a giant banner “11% off all items” and this is the store that just a 5 days previous I got a fairly expensive load of wood. Lucky for me I know they have a form for stuff purchased within 7 days of the sale and so I got the form. Unlucky for me I threw out that very necessary, no replacements accepted, receipt because I decided I needed to clean my car. So, at 9pm at night I went through our trash to find the receipt. Yes, I will dig money out of the garbage. On a positive note between trash day (Tuesday) and mothers day (Sunday) we only generated 1 bag of trash.
This week was pretty crazy and the creep of debris was getting to me so yesterday afternoon, in the 45 min I had at home, I picked up all the litter of school, dishes, laundry, random toys etc. Among these things was a handwritten rough draft of a paper #1 is doing for school. Since I printed out a final copy that morning I felt pretty safe tossing the paper that was due last week and was more or less to prove they started the paper before the day it was due. I’m at my board meeting and actually do not get the frantic series of texts about this draft but when I get home expecting peaceful sleeping children (I can’t say that actually happens but hope eternal) and I get a mess of a tween begging me to help find her draft because the teacher told them that day it was worth 15 points. Yes, I am also the type of person who will go through the trash for homework. 9pm again, going through the trash. It was found, a tad worse for wear but legible, and I put it in a gallon ziplock and wrote a nice note to the teacher. He is new, he is doing his best, I hope trash-draft sticks in his mind as a good reason to give a list of requirements at the start of a project.
Did I enjoy a clean car and clean living room? Yes. I probably will continue to throw away trash and not become a hoarder but I can see where they are coming from…. As a nice side bonus I got a bit of hero status as the mom who will go through trash for her kid, seriously, her happiness is worth way more than $50.
I may continue to monitor our trash production though. I’m probably unnaturally proud that our family of 5 creates only about 1 bag of trash a week and that is before we start compost for the season (I’m behind/don’t wanna decide where to put the heap). All the girls are following suit on reuse and recycle. #1 requested we get thrift store plates for her party so we would not need disposable. #2 requested I get reusable cups for hers. This weekend we had 6 extra kids for a party and we created next to no trash because even though I tried to use disposable forks #3 personally got them from the drawer to make sure we were using washable. Nobody tell them how much energy and water the dishwasher uses but at least we are not filling a landfill.
Fortunately my week was really far better than my two dumpster dives suggests. Super busy with kids, activities and helping friends plus great weather that makes us want to be outside playing. The weather this weekend is supposed to be dreadful so I’ll probably spend some time catching up on chores and then probably going through the trash again for some lost treasure…
Given it is somehow Friday already I am just hitting the highlights. We are in the busy season of life, and, I gave in and each kid has a separate activity so I’m going in 6 directions. I like being busy, it just doesn’t leave too much extra time for online musings.
Right now, #1 is in track on Monday and Wednesday. This *should* have been easy and at her school, however, her session didn’t have enough to run so we moved her to a different elementary school so I need to run her and a friend a few miles ASAP so they aren’t too late. On the bright side, Lars picks her up and the other school is actually closer to our new house and they go directly to jujitsu. She is really into running and I’m glad because it is a life-long thing. I’m also happy that she is meeting other kids in our district so when they all go to middle school together, she already knows some people.
#2 has taken up softball. WTH? there are actually sports I like less, but not many. I have vivid memories of trying to avoid batting or any field position that would actually need to catch or throw for my 12 years where softball was a mandatory segment of our physical education. This is the joy of children; I get a re-do. A no pressure redo at that! I am not playing, she is, and she LOVES it even though she has zero experience. Since she is so into it I’m leaning in and we have a suite of gloves for the family, 4 softballs, a bat, a helmet and a big enough yard that we can practice. It was a little picket fence, American dream moment yesterday playing catch with my girls in the yard in the sunshine on a fresh spring day. Nobody got hit with a ball even! If you are looking for us on Monday or Tuesday evenings they are softball games. If you are looking for us any sunny afternoon, check the yard and our homemade field.
#3 is in love with gymnastics. Tuesday afternoons (before softball) she points her toes and jumps and flips with absolute joy. You would think she would be tired out from an hour of this but it gives her more energy. She was promoted from beginner to intermediate but fortunately, classes are at the same time and day work. Although the gym smells like a sewer mixed with perfume and feet she can’t get enough of it.
Yesterday I went on my first of 3 field trips this month. May is super full because there are 2 or 3 other neat events I’m attending plus the school play. This weekend is a color run, next week is the teacher breakfast and 5th-grade concert. Later in the month is the agriculture fair where the HS students show off all the cute baby goats and chicks. I’m going to be very active in the world so fair warning I might not get it back to here. The field trip yesterday included fire starting a great hike and a canoe ride around the lake. It was exhaustingly good. I did get the reminder that kids scream a lot, and, there are some kids we probably should not teach how to start fires…
My summer building plans are coming along. I’m firm now on my garden structure after many iterations and plans on paper. I believe we now have a plan for a budget-friendly and easy and not ugly garden. I need the weather to cooperate but I’m looking at Sunday. I will be posting if it is a success… The swingset; I ended up going with a kit so not super creative but I’m putting my twist on it. That is also something I’m going to start this weekend, we will pick up ALLLLLL the wood and I want help so have to wait on the husband.
In conclusion, if you are counting; Monday I bring 2 kids to track, then 2 different kids to softball. Tuesday I bring 2 home, then 1 to gymnastics, then home and out again to softball. Wednesday just track and Lars does jujitsu with all 3 of them so I get a break! Thursday Niamh babysits directly after school and I have school board meetings. Friday no reoccurring scheduled activities. This isn’t counting girl scouts or one-off meetings in the month. Good thing I like being busy.
I think I’m solar powered. Something about actual sunlight and I want to do more. It is also bright out now until nearly 7pm and gaining every day, at our peak, we are light(ish) until nearly 10 and longer days just feel like, well, longer days. The unfortunate thing is I forget to cook dinner until its ‘getting dark’, it is genetic, my mom did the same and I’m still alive so I am sure they will survive. Anyway, we have been doing a lot and I’m planning more so here is a summary so far.
Niamh’s friend party was a HUGE success. I say huge because 5 more people than expected came and it was pretty crazy here. They all had fun and they ran and screamed and semi-participated in organized activities. I’m glad I vetoed the pinata because getting them all together to do anything was not easy. We did all sing together for cake, they did all eat together (more or less). I was stressed for a minute that I didn’t have seating for 16+ anywhere but they actually adapted really well. They just pulled stools around and nooked inbetween and one kid stood and one kid sat in a baby chair and somehow they didn’t notice that I didn’t have ‘proper’ seating for all. The other odd win was a game I nearly cut; ‘let’s make a llama’. I got a 25 pack of little playdoh and printed out a paper with a bunch of llama pictures and everyone got to make a little sculpture and put it in a cupcake wrapper with their name on the bottom and Niamh picked her favorite for a prize. Given age (11) I was surprised how many of them really really enjoyed a playdoh project. This was modeled after a baby shower game ‘make a baby’ but you can put anything as the sculpture goal and they will have fun.
The added bonus of a party is the house gets really clean so Sunday we didn’t have much to do but recover. By later afternoon we were ready for something and Niamh has been bugging me to run with her. I like running solo, technically for a while there I ran to be not with them, but then again, having a thing that is good for us, free, and something we can do ‘forever’ is a good thing so group runs have been on my list for a while. Sunday it came true in such a lovely way. Niamh and Zoe and I ran and Fiona biked and we actually kept a good pace and got to the park nearby and then they played and we ran back again. For a total of 2 miles and about an hour (including playtime) it was a perfect thing for our first good spring day. I have high hopes of doing this again sometime soon.
Over the winter each time we had to shovel snow off our hot tub, we started thinking of outdoor patio cover solutions. We have gone through a few options and have a budget in mind and today we meet with a contractor to talk about what will work here. This may be a multi-year process or we might get it done sooner. Contractors are busy too so we might have to decide if we want to wait or DIY. It is up in the air but the project that is happening now.
Another discovery about our land is that water settles in far too wide an area, we need a smaller deeper spot for it to go. We have talked with the builder and as soon as the ground is ‘right’ we are digging a pond/drainage so I’m researching rain garden v pond. Both have pros and cons really but we need to do something because right now our front yard is a large shallow lake far too often.
Next up is a garden. This is more construction and work for who knows what return but #1 really really wants one and based on the number of deer hoof prints we see if tomatoes and beans are to have any chance at all we need to build a fence. I’m researching fenced gardens and you can go all out with them, or, just string up chicken wire… we will have to see what we have time and energy for.
Easter is sneaking up on us too. Today I squared away egg hunt plans and baskets are under control but the rest of the weekend is still unplanned. Not having family or really a good church community makes religious holidays difficult. Anything will be better than last year where we cleaned and painted in house selling prep so there is nowhere to go but up.
That is all for now, time to get out there and do the running around town. Need to pick up a tuned up bike and sign for taxes and grocery shop etc etc etc. Winter hibernation is officially over.