Because I said yes to a puppy. This puppy came with the perfect set of circumstances and Zoe has been begging for a dog for years and years and years. The dog is a toy breed so she will never be the dog that jumps and knocks you down or pulls too hard. She has hair, not fur, so she is not going to leave fur on everything and is better for the allergy girl in the family. She was born into a house with little kids so she is super social and happy to be held. And, for a toy breed, she is one of the more sturdy ones (no skinny legs) so she won’t break when she is played with. In a moment of weakness, we said yes.
Thus the countdown to puppy began, but, given all the other things going on, it almost felt like she instantly appeared. Our friends brought her and her single litter mate out to our house and the other friends adopting the other one came up and we had a full house of 15 people and 2 dogs (and 1 annoyed cat who just lived in my room) for the weekend bringing a festive air and a gentle transition to the puppies new lives.
Last night, when everyone left, we were like new parents left with that newborn that didn’t come with instructions. Kids went to bed, puppy…. did not…. Apparently sleeping with your puppy sister your whole long life makes you pretty sad when you are alone. She cried for 2 hours and while we didn’t want to encourage more crying, we also didn’t really do a great job of putting her ‘to bed’ so we did a bit of a re-do. Lars took her out to the bathroom, I put 3 cups of rice into a baggie and microwaved it and then wrapped it in the shirt I had been wearing all day. When she came in we did the calm ‘good night’ and put her into her carrier with the fake puppy, and to top it off we put a kindle on top of the carrier with a 1-hour youtube of heartbeat sounds. (I have absolutely nothing in the house that ticks). So, from 12:30 to about 4am all was well, then, she busted out of the door and went to Niamhs room and wanted to play. Process repeat – and she was back to sleep, or, at least not crying, until about 6:30. At 6:30 we contemplated waking up Zoe to take care of her puppy but Fiona woke up and they watched some TV together.
Today is day 1 of puppy life. It is just Lars and me I at home and she wants more! I took her for the car ride to school and once we got home she just looked at me like ‘now what?’. I’ve been keeping her near by for my work morning but now she is asleep by Lars and I can get moving on the massive list of things to do to sell a house.
Oh! house update – the builder didn’t offer on the house so in some ways that is a relief because he said upfront that he would not pay market price. It would have been nice to skip the staging process but on the other hand, I have to pack anyway. It also meant we could go with the agent we liked and she and I will do the front end looking to make sure there isn’t an existing house that is perfect before we go back to look at the building scenario. She is also backed by a great team to make the house show ready and I am glad for that too. Not really the time for me to get 4 hours of broken sleep, or, have a puppy on my heels but there is really no perfect time for anything so we are rolling with it.
It has been a week and quite a week it has been. Busy days seem to go faster so the past week has been light speed.
Last week I had an ‘unplanned’ Friday. There were things to do but nothing HAD to get done that day until a 3:30 start at school for a major setup and I was ready for a great day of finishing things. I was still considering my copious options when the phone rang and that was the end of unplanned. Thus is the life of multi-home ownership, sometimes the washer just dies and because friends live there I moved heaven and earth to get them a washer that day. Technically I just moved a washer up and down a set of stairs (with help) but in between was a bunch of calls to find a washer and the drive to go get it. The set up for the carnival went well but ate up the evening and I did finally get a call into my dad to celebrate his 26th birthday.
The weekend was a social blur with the school carnival, great weather, friends stopping over, an impromptu backyard fire where we burned the Christmas tree is spectacular 12 ft flames (only for about 2 minutes). General peace and happiness for all.
Monday the kids had off for no apparent reason. So, we did things around the house but none of the things I needed to get done. On the other hand, Niamh exercised her creative side with a sewing machine gifted to us by a friend who appreciates little kids learning to sew. I was amazed that she really could do it. I know, I personally taught her and she
has seen me do it, but her fingers and brain just worked together and she really really did the sewing herself this time. I have grand visions of her sewing with me now, hopefully getting things done faster.
Tuesday with only one child was still a dervish of activity. We had our vent hood put in and that went really really well. We were lucky that there was nothing structural in the way (besides the roof). There was a crazy moment of fire when the drop cloth used to protect the brand new stove kinda caught on fire because the installer was leaning against the burner dials. It was seen promptly and nobody was hurt and everyone laughed including the installer. I also had the over-scheduled day that included a conference for Fiona (she is doing very well), swim lessons for Fiona (also doing well and can even swim somewhat and can actually float on her back!), swim lessons for Niamh and Zoe (they have been good for a while, this is refinement) and finally home for dinner where I tag Lars who has an aerobic class at 6:45. Quite a day.
Wednesday I have no blog excuse except I spent all day working on work and my computer was being a pain. So were many other programs and I was just done with the computer by the time I got the things done for people who pay me.
Today I did 3 under dresses and the end is in sight for the 3 over dresses – hand sewing only that I like to do while I watch TV. I ‘wasted’ some time chilling with Fiona in bed because she really needed a nap. I got a nap at least and in the end, she did too, so I’m stealing some time here to document how not working can end up being very very busy.
The weather is totally helping things not feel too crazy because we can go outside and the kids play after dinner. It might not do great things for our schedule but they are less cranky overall and while they play I can do things.
Tomorrow is Niamh’s birthday so all the while we have been counting down. We have done shopping, there are plenty of gifts even though 9 is a really hard age to shop for. Breakfast is planned and tonight after my school board meeting I’ll be getting the traditional balloons ready for breakfast. The day will have to be shared with a road trip because we are off to an event for the weekend. In her honor, we got a fun hotel with a pool with slides and there is a plan for cake by the pool at 9 pm CST (parents and sisters note for calling in)
Now I have just a few minutes before they come home and we need to scoot to a friends house for a final fitting and then to my ‘date’ core conditioning class. If I want to add pictures and maybe spell check I need to leave things here semi unfinished (just like my life!)
The day I’m confused about my culture more than normal because I’m not ‘allowed’ to do or like things NOT in my culture of birth but everyone can be Irish if they feel like it. I also don’t especially know if I’m all that Irish. However, based on my research from my Irish cousins and FancyPaperBlog there is very little difference beyond some vocabulary from my life here and their lives there. (except for the president… I can’t guess the current president of Ireland and I can only name one; Mary Robenson, and our presidents seem to get more international notoriety) So I am Irish and so are you, unless you super identify with some other culture.
American Irish, mixed with Pinterest and hallmark, creates a bit of a crazy little holiday focused on green and rainbows. School lunch today was desirable so no cute lunches to pack but I did break out the special ‘rainbow’ cereal for snacks. They left an entire beer * and some soda bread for our resident leprechaun, Mr McCabbage, who ate and drank it all, leaving a spill of gold wrapped chocolate for them to find. The tricky guy also dyed the milk green and also poured some on the floor **
Tonight we are having soda bread and soup, good for lent and all that. When the kids asked why we didn’t celebrate more since this was ‘our’ holiday I gave them my dad’s answer that this is day to go to church in Ireland…
Still like celebrating things that have no more sress then what you personally choose. I celebrated by doing my part of the tax prep and taking a short nap all while looking like an Irish Ari flight attendant.
*Lars thought someone loved him since that ‘door’ is right above his office so he drank it
**Lars also accidently spilled a dish of cereal and Niamh saw him cleaning it up and deduced that the tricky leprechaun had made a mess.
Edit – I googled the president of Ireland and he is also on twitter. To support my Irish side, I’m following him now. You also get to be president of Ireland for 7 years, thats a long time…
Since last June when the Y was opened locally, I had to re-do my fitness routine. There were plenty of other wrenches in that machine too: summer is always crazy, kids needing different things, new school schedules, clients that I need to take care of etc. I think I have found a decent balance and, at least right now, I’ve got a pretty good handle on things.
For my record to look back on, and, if you would like to know what a stay at home mom/freelancer does to not devolve into a pile of fat here are some notes/thoughts
- FitBit. I have worn it for a year (and gone through 3, but, they replaced under warranty so I’m not too mad). I like the tracker, it tells me many cool stats even if it won’t acknowledge some workout classes as ‘workouts’ but the added interaction with a few friends in groups, and, challenges to myself to meet the goals has helped. I average over 50k steps a week these days
- Kids. So kids at home definitely HELP my step count because I’m going going going. With 3 in school 3 days a week I notice the days I need to motivate myself to not just sit at the computer. Warning to office workers! you probably don’t move around enough. I know if I do a sit and work day I hardly get 2k steps and that is mostly before and after work time doing stuff with the kids.
- Classes. In Shoreview I didn’t do classes because I didn’t want to rush to get there on time, they were an extra fee, and, they didn’t assure child care so I just contented myself with ‘doing my own thing’ and that was a good start. I got confidence on heavy squats and on the machines etc. BUT classes are way better. They push me to work longer, harder and different. When the Y opened and included classes (although the price of the Y reflects that!) I wanted to make sure I got my money worth and actually went to a class a week. I’m up to 2 regular classes and I try to get in a 3rd.
- ‘Date’ night. At Shoreview, Lars seldom went with me and usually only went with the kids swimming. He could also use more exercise in his life so we started picking a class *together* one night a week. Finding something we both like and can do/is challenged by is not easy but right now we are doing an ab class on Thursday nights. It is something we do together and working out with another person always makes it better (and you are less likely to blow it off). Lars also found another evening class he likes and I plan on joining it too once swim lessons are over because the timing just won’t work right now.
- Swim lessons. Speaking of those lessons, I still say that Lars teaching the girls was way better but Fiona needed a jump start and Niamh and Zoe needed some refining so we sprung for lessons this season. The hidden benefit is that 2x a week I am at the Y for an extra time and I can use that time well by working out. I do want to watch them learn so my options are more limited, but, I’ve found that there is a spin bike right at the window so I get a great view of classes and earn a few thousand steps.
- Older kids. I’ve had an elliptical for at least 10 years now and some years it is more like a towel rack but in the past 2, I’ve gotten good at setting them up for dinner, or, after dinner with a show and getting a solid 45min on days I don’t get to the gym. I like that I can leave them for a bit and I don’t (usually) have constant interruptions.
I think the key for me is accountability. Between the Fitbit and the company in classes, I do better. Classes push me to go longer too. The only real negatives right now are things I’m not sure how to solve; I have sold many hours a week to work, I also feel I need to clean since I’m home and between the two sometimes the workout gets skipped. I know that I’m the only one that cares if the house is clean but that is just something I can’t ever win on because I feel guilty for not doing the thing I’m not doing…
After all this I don’t think I’ve lost a pound, but, I do feel fitter and I am certainly stronger. No troubles carrying even my biggest girl. I think I’m also setting a decent example because I’ve heard all three parrot that we need to work out to be healthy and live a long time.
nothing super exciting happening here. We have a busy night tonight with 2 things semi-conflicting, but, we worked it out. The weekend should be full of getting ready and holiday cheer. This ‘normal’ week has been nice for getting things on track and I needed it! here is a fun picture of Niamh’s hair, I love the clip in color, it looks awesome on her.
In other generally dull news here are some updates/happenings for those of you who need something longer to read on a break in your day;
- The dishwasher magically healed? Or I cleaned it enough that I got whatever the clog was out. All hail the shopvac! For good measure, I did the baking soda, viniger, and boiling water trick too.
- Hot tub – fixed – it was a switch that got crudded up because of our hard water. Oh well, fixed now and I do enjoy having it back.
- Cutting the chord. I guess I didn’t tell the beginning here but I got mad at our cable company for all the normal reasons. I’m definitely not the first nor the last. I know that there is a price that will make you go to a company and a price that will make you leave. I am now firmly in ‘leave’. Lucky for us, a ton of others have blazed this path already so it really is not a hassle to dump the cable and phone. We expect to do it post-holiday travel though, just no time between now and then.
- Since I’ve been watching the hour for my fitbit I’ve made improvements on that stat. That tells me I sit by habit too long. If the kids are home I have no such troubles, 10 min sitting still is a lot if they are all home!
- Fiona overnight dry is in process. We have mixed results. On the bad side there was the 3am wake up. On the good side, there were a few totally dry wakeups. In between was waking up wet, but, at 7am. Not a win for dryness, but, a win for sleeping mom.
- Christmas card address, envelopes, and cards are actually in my hands – they will get put together tonight and hopefully mailed tomorrow.
So thats the run down off the top of my head. My brain is a series of lists, my house is covered in lists of things to do or bake or check. Far better than dull!
Last night after I finished up here I got a phone call telling me that Niamh won a competition in school for her grade. It was for an anti-drug poster and I’m really glad she won, not just because winning is cool, but she has asked me at semi-regular intervals since LAST YEAR why she didn’t win last year and daily since she turned in her poster this year. She did a good one but I’m torn because it was not exactly original because she got the idea from Pinterest. On the other hand, I like the use of research tools, and, interpreting the picture on the screen into real life. It was a real project, she got leaves from the yard as templates and then cut them out of construction paper. She wanted me to draw the tree and I did but I declined to help more. It came out about how you would expect an artistic 3rd grade project to be. Maybe now she will get a little more confidence in her art.
I am also glad she won because Zoe has been raking in the rewards from school this week. My thought is that 1st grade just gives them out more than 3rd, and, Zoe may be an ‘example’ kid in her class. (I think she saves her crazy for home) because she said she got one today for being the only kid doing what the teacher asked. Honestly, I would like a little more of that good listening at home and a few less kudos from her teacher, but, she actually is good at just getting things done. Regardless, Niamh was feeling left behind and not good enough but this came at just the right time.
It also happened that I was able to go to school to see her get the award. I remind myself I choose to stay home so I could be there for my kids. They don’t need a super clean kitchen, my contract work is flexible on timing, and if I can I should so I did! She was double happy to see me AND I was able to get tons of good pictures of all the kids to post on the PTA facebook site.
Today I started the list of what to do before we leave. I combined culling out the summer clothing, because winter is really here, with pre-packing for the trip and I’m done with 2:5. If I keep this up I’ll be mostly packed over a week early, that is a new record for me. There are also a few lingering things like bikes that need to be really put away but fall is seriously the best biking weather. I think the list is do-able, just need to keep doing.
And with that, I’m off to do more.