Tag Archive | stay at home mom

Pennsic prep – the final 5 days

I had a very productive weekend!  Not only did I get quite a few things sewn, I also found all the garb in storage.  There was a vague worry that an entire box of the current sizes had been deeply buried in storage but I got it out without too much stress.  We might not have perfect wardrobes, but, we will have enough I think.

My plan today is to finish evaluating the pile for who fits what and triple check that each pile is enough of the right things.  Have you ever rushed to pack for a trip and just figured you would take your clean laundry basket?  That does not work, by the way, you think it should be a perfect week of clothing but it really isn’t.  Same concept with my totes of garb, you feel like a pile the height of my child  would yield outfits for the week but some years they grow tall and need skirts and some garb is too warm and you get the idea…  the only way is to stand there with each child and try on all things in the size range.

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The end goal is to have everything packed and delivered to the person packing the trailer by Wednesday.  I feel like an important step, the ‘pack the car’ step will be missing from my life this year, but, I have done extra packing plenty of years so I don’t think my lifetime average will be negatively impacted.

Thursday the plan is to have a clean up the house and hang out day.  I hope my plans actually work out and there are no crazy departures from the normal schedule the next few days.

This is probably not the wild and crazy fun blog this week.  I’m just going to pack and parent.  Next thing after I publish here is to make the list for packing, it has been bouncing in my head but with the house rearrangement, there are not as many notebooks as there once were. I have done this dozens of times but it still looks daunting before you start.  I may go and buy New Totes!  that will jump start the process.  My old ones are getting beat up anyway~

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Just in case you thought we did nothing fun all weekend we did head out to the mall for a little fun.  We had a mission for a special bottle for a friend and since we were at the mall we got milkshakes and went on some rides.  Just enough to be fun, not so much that they got crabby.  Pizza dinner and back to work but I’m glad to be as far along as I am.  All things I sew now are bonus, I don’t totally NEED anything and that is a nice feeling.

I also got a new phone!  My old one was 5 years old and the battery was down to almost nothing.  I had been hesitating because I like all the info and pictures I have on my old phone and didn’t want to start over but they guy at the store had a transfer machine so my new phone is identical and it feels nice to have a phone working all day again.

I’ll try and take a picture of all that I created this week, I’m pretty pleased with myself 🙂  Now I need to get breakfast and the day going, my ‘screen’ time is up!

our finite summer and complaints about the dog

I have no idea what I am going to do next summer when I have the oppisate issue of a super long summer, I guess that is going under the category of next year’s problems…  This summer is super short and in many ways is half over so each day when we do something it is likely to be the only time we do that particular thing.  To make thing just a little more fun there is the side project of keeping the house show-ready and my endless sleeping issues.

When I started this post I had just intended on posting a bit about the stuff we have done but the fact that someone or something wakes me up 2x a night is really starting to grind on me and kill our summer.  I’m lucky if I have the energy or patience (my patience is fueled by sleep) to make it past 3pm and that just does not make enough time to do all the things we want to do.  The dog is now the weakest link lately because if anything happens during the night she feels like it is morning and will whine to be let out for hours.  Yes, I know, don’t give in and in a few days she will stop however after about 45min she actually is awake and need to go to the bathroom and after an hour or so of whining she will have an accident and then she really gets loud.  It is like the kid that pukes after 10min of crying, you can’t let them ‘cry it out’ when it always ends in puke.  So, Fiona needing bathroom help or Zoe having a bad dream (both happened on Sunday night at 2 and 4 respectively) usually I can be back asleep in 5 min after helping a child but Prima can hear the bustle and she assumes it is morning.  Que the whining for the next forever.  Last night Lars fell asleep watching TV and at 2am he got up and went to bed – usually that wakes me up for 30 seconds but Prima transforms that into hours.  Yesterday I crashed at 3 for an hour but since napping at 3pm is not usual I got phone calls and texts and kids needing a thing.  On the other hand, I’m mastering the 10min power nap….

So anyway, I’m tired, what else is new?  I should be used to this after 9 years.  Moving on~

Earlier in the summer, I said I made a chart that needed to be done before screen time.  This has been working out really really well.  I’ve seen them for years on Pinterest and other parent sites but until I had 2/3 of the kids reading it was not a good plan for us.  Zoe can not only read but is motivated by lists and check boxes and while she admits she is only doing things for the list, I don’t think she actually minds.  Since she is doing it Niamh does it too and Fiona more or less wants to do what they do anyway so she follows along.  This has also made me feel much better about falling asleep in the afternoon because I know the morning was productive.  I was not exactly planning on sleeping but it is a nice side bonus.  Since we need to super tidy every morning anyway them doing ‘the list’ gives me the time and a little help in the house and has made it so we can get out and do fun things.

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After the crazy mid-week Monday we did get a bunch of little things like oil changes and new tires and grocery shopping stuff and Wednesday we had a friend over and with no prompting,  they broke out the science kit and made a multi-color foam volcano.  I did not help at all until I heard them getting really experimental (talk of adding diet coke) because it was not fizzy enough but otherwise it was a fun experiment.

Last week Friday we went to the Gibbs family farm, a historic pioneer site with a sod house and the actual farm house from when the family purchased Minnesota territory for 1.25 an acre well before it was a state (the got 150 acres and basically hit the lotto for land with appreciation).  It was a ‘farm Friday’ so it was an open day for the public and the theme for the week was farm animals.  Other weeks have more interesting themes but this was the only Friday we had.  The animal talk was really basic, any kid that has been read the normal kid books about cows going moo, eating grass, giving milk, and having calfs covered the level they were discussing on this tour.  The only new piece of info I got was that apparently pigs can be used to break up the soil on a farm by moving their pen around.  It was a nice outing made better by meeting a friend who lived nearby because after we did everything in about an hour and a half we went to her house and visited her bunny.

Then we had the real weekend and went to see the totally re-done children’s museum.  We have a membership so I hope we can go a few times but even just once was worth it because they have improved the experience and added some new things like the green screen set for older kids.  I didn’t get many pictures but if you are wondering the MN Children’s Museum is worth it and can easily fill a day.  The only thing that was not as good as they made it sound was the 4 story climbing structure.  It is tall, but, it is really just 2 towers of platforms you can go up or down, not really as interactive or cool as most other play areas but it is very solid and clean and there are stairs for parents/bad climbers so that is all good extras.

Sunday we had a lazy morning and then got out and enjoyed the day and finally made it to the Y after a month of being gone.  I do miss exercise, I just took it off the list when I was packing and cleaning and then in NY and I don’t really see it becoming regular again until school starts but I hope I get to work out a few times at least.

Yesterday we stole one of our favorite babies for a play date and then did some shopping for our camping trip and then the aforementioned nap.  I’m also sewing at a friend’s house to keep this house neat so 3x in the past 2 weeks I’ve commuted to sew for a few hours.  It is nice to have people to sew with, I’ll probably still go visit even when I have the ability to make a mess in my own house!

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Looking forward we are going camping Friday -Sunday and next week the girls have day camp all week.  The following week we go to Pennsic for 2 weeks and then home and school starts?!?  This week I need to shop/prep food and pack including getting stuff out of storage…  It will all get done somehow.  I feel like we are missing the lazy days of summer with going to the beach and pool and playdates but we do what we can~

Two monday week

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I’ve long said I love Monday, I’m in a distinct minority but that is what it is.  So often holidays STEAL my Monday but this time I get an extra!  There was the real Monday but it was a 1 day week since 4th of July is a holiday and it felt very weekend like all day and now I wake up on a Wednesday feeling like another Monday.  I’m not complaning~

This week also marks my 5th year as a stay at home parent.  It has been a busy 5 years and each year had unique kid challenges but this year is feeling a bit easier.  Only a tiny bit, there are new problems to figure out like sassy girls or not listening kids or 3 different friend groups to somehow maintain (not to mention trying to sell a house and move). They are physically easier situations, much less active than chasing 2 kids while wearing a baby or keeping an eye on 3 at a park when at least 1 has a death wish.  Now I mostly act as a home base and they find me.  I can’t quite relax at a park or playground but I don’t worry as much.  I even read about 5 pages of a book!  My method is to read a page, look up and find everyone, read another etc. Anyway, life is never easy but now they all use the toilet so I’m considering that a win for years to come.  My mom bag is diaper free.

Getting home last week and getting back in the MN life has taken all my energy.  There were house showings, work meetings, restocking the house, and a big birthday party for Lars.  Monday I took the kids +2 to the park and beach and then started the sewing I need to do before our trips this year.  Independence day was celebrated to 90% with a parade and a lake picnic but there were sad faces about no fireworks.  It was too late and they were asleep before the fireworks started.  I have to find a display elsewhere this summer because I like them too but besides the lateness, a 3rd major outing in a day is asking for trouble.

The rest of the week is mostly unplanned.  I MIGHT get to workout?!?  The house is pretty good, working from 6-8am is keeping me up to date, still, have things to do but I’m not frantic.  There is sewing to do and prep for the event next week and playdates to make but for this moment I think I’m as up to date as ever.  See, that is what having 2 Mondays in a week will do for you 🙂

Back to the MN life

Yes, yes, yes… we made it back.  Reasonably easily even!

Last I posted we were in the vacation land of NY where I had made nearly no plans but managed to fill the days with friends and family.  The trend continued, I am super lucky to have friends that will twist their week or weekend to work me in and my sister even scheduled her house warming for when I was there so not only could I help warm her new cute house, but, see a ton of family and mutual friends all in one spot.  Above is one picture, I’ll do a post with more pictures and the ‘what we did’ list for posterity, but, the nature of travel and visiting is on my mind and I have a few thoughts ~

When one visits a place like a tourist they never expect to see friends, maybe some old friend is local and you do a lunch or something to catch up but usually, you are there to visit the PLACE.

When one goes to visit a specific person you see a TON of that person and the I must say, people who you spend 24/7 with on a visit like that are like ‘next level’ friends.  However, while you are visiting that person/family you do some tourist things but somehow even if you have 10 other friends in the area, unless they are mutual to the person you are officially visiting you don’t see much of those other friends.

What we do is a hybrid because we go ‘home’ the people we officially visit are my parents because we stay there.  The hybrid part is that there is a mix of people I see quite frequently while I’m there almost as much as if I was there to spend the week with them, and, people that I see once or twice – more like the standard visit a place model.  Balancing the two styles plus also wanting to cram a little culture and adventure like visiting a place and time to see all my giant family ends up getting hard but I would not trade it for anything.  I hate when I have to miss something or a timing just won’t work but I also choose to focus on all the positives possible.  If I see an old friend for 20 min, that is 20min more than nothing!

I also told myself this is my only break all summer because the rest is all about house market, possible move, camping trips, and full-time parenting.  I got dumped directly back into the soup because the dream of the house selling on day 1 didn’t happen and so when we got home it was not the recovery day and luggage explosion it was scrub and clean and get ready for more showings.  We are in the low season of the summer for sales since it is prime graduation and holiday season the spring rush is over and the end of summer rush before school is yet to begin.  I’ll consider this week a practice and time to get a routine down that keep the house clean and kids happy (good wishes welcome!)

The timing of our return was also because of a very special day.  Today, June 29, is a milestone birthday for Lars and we had to be home!  We had to compromise a bit on the day because I had an afternoon work meeting that I had to go to but we spent a nice morning together seeing the house we might buy again, then he took the girls to the zoo and I did the work thing, and now the kids are playing and Lars gets a nap and we have a baby sitter coming in an hour so we can go out together.  I also scored on the birthday gift.  We did the normal t-shirt and little things but I got an instant pot, something he has never really heard of but given his cooking hobby I took the gamble and I won.  The best gifts are things you don’t know you want and/or something you would not just buy yourself.  The girls and I found it and my sleep deprived, travel tired brain recognized that this was IT and we got it.

So now you are all up on what I’m doing.  I hope to get back on a routine soon but who knows, that might change tomorrow.  The stay at home life is never dull if you’re doing it right.

 

Dear Fiona

Dear Fiona

Last week you turned 5 and it happened to be in the middle of us getting ready to move so it was not an ideal day but I think you really did like it.  Becki took you out for the day and you came back tired and happy but 5 year olds don’t stop – you went right out to Jujitsu with your sisters and came home exhausted and ready for cake (brownies) and bed.  I wonder if your whole 5th year will be as crazy.

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You are the child I think I have spent the most time with.  Somehow though you feel like you need me most still.  It is a little the age, a little bit you.  When I am around and something goes wrong I am the embodiment of a bunker, a band-aid, and teddy bear all in one person.  I have seen you work out problems and not fall apart so I know you can, but, I don’t mind being here for you always.

Preschool is over for the year and you did great.  Not a bit of separation issues beyond an extra hug every day.  Your teacher Ms. Kayla was fantastic and loved you and you loved her.  Now you know every letter and number and can write most of them very well.  You love to write actually, you write all the time.  Sometimes even on walls…  Your hobby right now is to cut interesting shapes out of paper so your cutting skills are very good.  When you draw and paint, and that is as often as I let you, you are making people and families and noticing odd little things about a person and adding them into the pictures.  Gone are the days of abstract, hello 10,000 pictures of our family 🙂  You are also getting decent at sounding out small words when you are in the mood, I hope you have fun in Kindergarten next year.

You did great with the carpool and you and Reilly are super good friends even though you are pretty different kids.  In school you made some true friends, friends I get the feeling we will be seeing a lot of over the next 6+ years.  I love when kids make friends completely outside of family influence – these are not the children of my friends or the siblings of sisters friends.  Selfishly, this usually means new friends for me because cool kids usually have cool parents and 5-year-olds can’t do playdates alone.  You think you can though, you think you can do nearly anything your sisters can and your TV  and music taste has been artificially aged.  Where Niamh was singing Laurie Berkner and Disney at this age, you sing “Way down Below” and “Cheap Thrills”.  The best was when you sang the same bit of another song; “1,2,3 your gonna come back to me, I’m the best baby you will ever ever see” when you were sure it was just a counting song for babies.  Oh well, that is what happens with #3.  You also have a better vocabulary and listen to audio books intended for kids 8+.  I never know how much sinks in but we recently listened to a Greek Myth book and just yesterday you told me that Zeus was God’s (Baby Jesus God you made clear) Godfather.  I’ll take that, seems like a realistic situation…

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As #3 you do tend to almost always have sisters around but this past two years you had significant time as the only child all day while they were at school.  Yes, we did tons together and you did want (and get) books and snuggles but for large chunks of time you like to do your OWN thing.  You don’t even want the puppy out with you.  I’m not sure what fantastic game is going on but you will swing on the swings and run around the yard for about 40 min happy as can be.  Same with your room – you go in there and have elaborate games with all the toys.  Eventually, you get bored and want to do things with me and there is almost always things to do.  You are probably the best at cleaning and loading the dishwasher because we do a lot of that.  Sometimes you even do chores all on your own, other times you still claim to be the baby.  Your view on life is usually 110%

Speaking of babies.  You still LOVE them.  You don’t actually have to have your 2 baby dolls at ALL times anymore and you actually are ok with missing any favorite toy at bedtime for the most part, but you still love them.  Our friend had a real baby and we would watch him and a real baby was a horse of a different color… you did have some jealousy for sure but you also had that internal protect the small thing instinct and did plenty to help him be happy and me take care of him.  I’m really glad we got that experience for you and I’m glad we could help a friend.

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Jumping over to gross motor (ha ha) this was a big year for you.  You can now swim pretty ok; we started in January and you didn’t really even want to get in the pool and now you bob and actually swim.  You are well on the way to really swimming, thanks, YMCA.  You are learning your bike but like your sisters, you are faster on a scooter or even just running.  You can monkey bar the whole way across and you will jump off way too many things.  You started Jujitsu 2 weeks ago and you’re not quite sure about it but I needed time to pack so you needed to go. You also just started archery and knife throwing with Dad, he says your are pretty good. For a large chunk of the summer and fall, we did Pokemon hunting, great reason for a walk and we walked all over town, miles a day most nice days.  I’m glad to have 3 active girls and I hope I’m a good role model even if I can’t do the monkey bars.

I’ve been writing on this for a few days so it is getting long.  I should really stop so here are some quick other things that were you at 4;  you still wanted to sleep with me and would often sneak in around 3am.  You fall asleep really fast most nights but 1 in 10 you stay up until 11.  You still have allergies and all colds turn into nasty chest issues and you need your machine.  Your favorite color is changeable, you love Addie and Reilly as your friends, and you still take baths mostly and are growing out of hair twirling so we might see you with longer hair someday.  In your 4th year you went to Hawaii, NY, PA, ND, WI Dells and WI in general, and all over MN.  You are not the weakest link on a road trip and you are getting pretty good at operating all the electronics solo.  There are still tantrums but you actually lean more toward surly sadness.  You mimic and tag along and drive your sisters crazy but you also play with them – the destruction phase is over.  You still put way too many things in your mouth and absently pick at things until they are in bits.  We get you gum to try and help and it actually does.  Your well child is today and I expect them to report that you are 40lb because we just weighed you at the vet Tuesday.  You love to snuggle and cuddle and even if it is tiring for me, I am still the answer to most of the problems of the world for you.

Love

Mom

Head still above water

Hello!  Guess what?  I have a 5 year old!  and she isn’t the oldest, she is my youngest.  Fiona, my change baby (not that change…) is again having a birthday in the middle of a giant life change.  She will get her birthday post and I’m also full of other post too, much like the pairing down of possessions one wants to move I have had to pare down what I can actually do in my life.  My normal workouts have been dropped to what I can do while they are at swim lessons and 2x other people have brought them so I could do more house stuff.  Blogging is on the casualty list too and unfortunately, so is watching TV or reading so busy with all the things!  Today I’m going to use my WHOLE computer hour on the blog so get ready for lots of words.

I am getting feeling flashbacks from other times in my life when many important things were going on at the same time.  I used to make lists of the major things and their due dates and I did actually get every paper turned in, was on time for every exam, and moved out in good order in college.  This is a whole new level of the game though because those things were black and white – move out meant take all your stuff and put it in the car and drive home to Long Island.  This time I can’t just clean sweep it all, I need to stage in my wake AND we are living her AND we don’t know where we are actually moving to OR when.

So to the people that I’m not there for like normal,  I am very sorry…  I hope this is all for the good and I can get back to being a good friend again.

On the positive side – I am not pregnant!  that was not actually a concern at all but this would be WAY worse if I was and when you are in birthday season you think about that 9th month and the tiny baby and resulting world shift and this is not that.  It is something different, but, it holds the same promise of a new beginning and the waiting and the uncertainty of ‘when’ and ‘what’ have a lot of similarities.  I also have kids that while not totally helpful are big enough to not need my constant care.  5 years ago I was starting the stay at home mom life and that was another giant shift in my life.  All 6 little eyes on me for all the things.  No break, not a lot of help, and the brain activity of trying to make all the things work in a new envelope of time without dropping too many important things too often.  Like I said, I am having feeling flashbacks because this is not the first time I’ve done something stressful of juggled things or worked with

Like I said, I am having feeling flashbacks because this is not the first time I’ve done something stressful of juggled things or worked with uncertainty and major decisions.  Thankfully they are all things I think I managed to get through pretty well and hopefully this one is no different.

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all the way across our monkey bars solo!

Sine this is my blog I’m going to pat myself on the back for my yesterday achievements.  5 years ago I produced a person from my body who knows the alphabet and can do the whole monkey bar solo but still eats boogers.  Yesterday I got up early to do my contract work, then greeted the birthday girl.  We made pancakes and whipped cream and sang and she was happy.  Dealt with some sister jelly attitude without losing it.  Got all kids and pup into the car and to carpool on time and to school perfectly.  Had coffee with a Vacation Mom who took Fiona out for her birthday (and my work day) and they went to the zoo and dairy queen while I finished contract work, got all the things on cabinets or walls or hooks in the entire kitchen level packed or put away or in the sell/donate pile.  I cleaned up days of ignored kitchen.

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In the afternoon I met the kids and kept working on the kitchen.  When the painter got here it was at least at 90% ready and coincidently Lars was done working so we did Fiona gifts outside under our favorite tree.  She loved everything from everyone, 5 is a happy age.  She was as happy with the pack of gum as the scooter.  They played and I went back to chipping away.  I paused to help all 3 girls get ready for jujitsu – you heard that right all THREE of them went to jujitsu with Lars.  The plan was for them to get birthday dinner out after as well as a trip to storage and be home for cake.  I moved on to the green room where I started packing and styling the giant built in book case while the kitchen was painted.  I threw in a batch of brownies that was done just as they came home and we sang happy birthday with my parents on the iPad on our back deck and then the girls enjoyed our long daylight with playing outside until nearly 9.  Not done yet!  I actually looked at Zoe’s folder and noticed she was on the 1st for snack in June and I actually remembered in the store on Tuesday night so I had things in the house to make the final cute class snack.  Niamh was the trooper on this, delaying her own bedtime to help me do them.  The day was finally over and the living room was enough together we could actually watch 1 tv show.

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In more full truth, because that really does have the ring of super mom, I’m like a duck with the frantic feet but the top level looks pretty good.  We did gifts on the lawn and ate on the deck because there is not one place to sit in the entire kitchen because the table and chairs are holding all the things either unsorted or normally on a wall that plan on going back.  I put in brownies 15min before they got back because I completely forgot until that second.  Seeing Zoe’s snack day was more happy accident than good parent that looks at all the papers in the folder.  Gifts were purchased 2 days in advance via amazon and 1 I knew would be late and 1 just didn’t show up yesterday…  the others were gotten in a walmart trip the night before that I made after seeing a house.  I’ve gone to lots of hardware and paint stores in the past 2 weeks but we are pretty low on groceries – good way to get the refrigerator and pantry clean!

I think that I’m doing ok but there are pinch points where I just wish it were easier.  I am making progress but the list is still very very long.  Vacation mom and Lars are both makigng it much better and I’m happy we have a painter friend who can help us because if I was doing this all alone I would be a giant mess and I’m glad his wife is ok with him being here so much. The goal is to have the house ready to have pictures on Tuesday and start showing when we are gone to NY.  I’m torn between wanting to be here to make sure the house is perfect and wanting to remove 3 kids and a puppy from the equation….  Any crossed fingers or good wishes are welcome as we keep doing the do.