The post-Lars part of our time in NY is nearly over but we have made the most of it. My family and friends in NY have been great and I’ve enjoyed seeing who we can see. The kids have not been to bed near bedtime in days and there has been tons of visiting and driving. We haven’t done anything ‘grand’ and vacation like other than the trip to the cloisters, however, I love our playground time with friends and backyard bbq and just being around people.
Last weekend we did adventure out to NJ to a family birthday for my great aunt’s 90’th birthday and informal family reunion. I’m reminded I actually do have relatives in MN and also MI and it is on me that I have not seen more of them. Well, can only go forward and do better when we get back. The funny part of the party was seeing how tall I am compared to my ethnically Maltese family, as island people they just top out at 5ft tall, so I tower above them.
Sunday, fathers day, we face timed with Lars and went sailing with dad and in between hung out and brunched with high school friends who have all become great parents in their own rights. Monday we had to wait for kids to actually wake up and then we went to my sister Josie’s house where we generally hung out and started to build the most annoying shed ever. I told Lars about it that night and he reminded me of when a friend got so frustrated at a shed he was building that he destroyed it in a fit of rage Hulk style and now I understand why. It was still fun to just have a day with my sister doing normal stuff. Our Monday evening plans were 20 min away at Miss Math’s house where we ate dinner and kids played and we talked and her husband hid to avoid the girl talk. Another late night but worth it!
Yesterday I tried to find hardware for the house but the place we went was more disorganized showroom than a place to find a deal but Miss Math joined me so it was worth the trip. Then to make sure there was fun in the day, we went to find the ice cream truck. Note I say “go find” because in NY they roam the streets and if you EVER come out of your house you get a permanent star on his route map and that truck will come back 5x a day all summer. Unless you want a daily discussion about ice cream and its relation to dinner/lunch/cash/diet never let the truck know where you live. The park was lovely and there was shade and a breeze and #3 godfather made an appearance and the kids got icecream sticky and we were just walking home when we met up with Aunt Josie (I had her kids) and home we went to meet more friends for games and eat dinner.
Today was a grand day where things just fell into place. Our original plans fell through so we were gifted use of a state park pass and a 75 degree and sunny day to use it. Niamh was the late sleeper today so we were just about ready to go when my dad had a break in his day so we kidnapped him to go walk a couple miles on the beach. We did the boardwalk and then up the lighthouse and back along the beach splashing in the Atlantic. It was just the perfect size outing for the beach and we got home just in time to get Chase from school and for Miss Math to pop in for a quick visit. We went over to my aunts for a general garden tour and play time and ended up doing dinner and seeing my cousin who usually works far later. Josie met up with us (I had her kids again) and back to grandma’s for our first quiet evening in ages. I plan on going out to see another friend tonight and starting the packing process because after tomorrow we hit the road again for vacation part 3; the road trip home.
Tomorrow should be a good one, our plans include seeing friends one more time, dinner on the big boat, and a cousin sleepover so get every last moment together. Somewhere in that time I need to find all our stuff and get it back in a car shaped package and point my brain back at the things that need doing to get us home again.
Last week Friday we packed up the minivan and hit the road after work. The kids are getting pretty well trained and I have to say this was one of the best trips for travel behaviors yet. The combo of learning to read, and, lifelong training meant that while it was still a loooong trip, nobody wanted to abandon anyone on the side of the road at any time.
We spent Friday night in a Chicago hotel, and Saturday in an eastern PA one. We made good enough time that the kids got some pool time in PA and the next morning we visited with family in the area and then back on the road to my parents’ house. Traffic was not perfect, it never is, but, only added on a little over an hour so all in all it was a 20 driving hour trip.
Once we got here my only plan was to be here. We have been making plans as we go but given that we are on vacation and nobody else is, we have plenty of chill time. There is a big 90th birthday reunion style party this weekend that since we are here we will go to. I’ve learned from being away that where there is a chance to see everyone, take it. You never know when the next one will come and for some of the people who are in their late 80’s I way prefer to visit them now then regret the loss when it is too late. I’m lucky that I enjoy 90% of my family and even the crazy 10% are not offensive, just not my preferred brand of crazy.
On the vacation bucket list we have gotten out on the big boat, had a cousin sleep over party, gone out for ice cream, and played in the parks. Its a bit cold for the beach but maybe next week. Just like most times you visit family, it isn’t truly a ‘vacation’ it is just living life in a different place with fewer responsibilities. I am glad we are here now, it is a great break from house packing at the very least 🙂
I’ve been posting a bunch about the new house. I’ve been posting about the summer. I didn’t know people were actually interested in my packing progress but I got a few questions so why not! Here is a packing post.
Lets set the scene; This house has 5 people in it full time and a small dog. 3 children who require feeding and activities and a husband who is working full time so while his body is in the building, he is not available for help in general. He does take them to Jujitsu for 2 hours 2x a week so that is ‘my time’ and I’m using it to pack these days.
We also have the VERY good fortune of being able to live here until late July and our new house will be done in early Aug so we are going to go live in a tent for a week. That means that I can’t quite put the packing machine if full swing or we will be 5 people in an empty house for longer than necessary.
Since we have 3 weeks between needing to be out of this house and can be in the new one, we are getting a storage container that will live on our new land until we can unpack. Not the traditional ‘put it in a truck’ but more in line with how cross country/military movers take your stuff and you follow, but, you are without your household goods for a week or 2 while it is in transit.
My military sister had great tips.
- clear out a room 100%. In that room put what you DO NOT want packed. For us that is the stuff we need for about 2 weeks on vacation.
- Zone/type pack. I did shoes yesterday as a ‘type pack’ and the day before I did ‘guest room’ as zone pack.
Who’s helping? I am involving the kids rather than trying to do it around them. They have a 1 box a day goal and they are surprising me by what they are willing to put away for 2 months.
Keep/donate/toss; I’m sure you can guess, not everything is making the move, every packing project starts with a trash bag and a donate bag.
Tools; Packing would be 2x faster if my tape gun and sharpie had locator tags, I lose them constantly… I’m trying to be better by using a plastic bin as my ‘toolbox’ and it holds the labels, marker and tape gun. Even if I just put them there at the end of a packing session I’m better off then if they get left ‘somewhere’.
June; In order to not pack everyone up too early, we are going to visit my family in NY for 10 days – leaving this Friday and coming back the last week of June. We have started though….
Week 1 and 2 – more general packing and enjoying the holiday etc
Week 3 – disassembly of things that can disassemble – container arrives on July 20
Week 4 – Monday; movers for all the big things Tuesday; we finish what is left. Wednesday beds and last bits into the container and it goes away via big truck, we move in with friends for 2 nights. Thursday clean the empty house. Friday close/go on vacation.
I tried to make the timeline to suit our life and keeping it as ‘normal’ as possible and we actually have a really long time to get the work done. That can be a positive or a negative because I can’t just wholesale pack until the very end. For the last 2 weeks the kids will be in all day camps so we can focus. I need to build in a few nice things for a date night but the fine details can happen as they happen.
I probably won’t bore the world with another ‘how I’m packing’ post but who knows what will pop up on Instagram on the subject. There is something satisfying about a totally empty closet or the box wall growing.
Three days of summer completed, only 137 to go.
Mostly good so far, we had plans and they kept us busy and I think we are getting used to being around each other 24/7. It has only been the equivalent of a long weekend so I’ll re-evaluate when we get to a week. I’m even preplanning next week, whole days in advance.
So far we have;
Celebrated the first day with a fire and friends and a toast to the summer to come
Had friends over, most notable was a Fiona friend whose birthday we will miss and she missed Fiona’s so we did an un-birthday playdate. Nothing makes a little girl feel special like a personal sized cake. (the pans are from Ikea in the kid section, get them!)
Gone to a friends house, rode bikes around the block and played in the yard, traumatizing the many robins who are nesting.
Procured a summer wardrobe for 3 girls since all their summer stuff is deeeeep in storage (remember originally we were supposed to move in April). We lost shopping patience so I have 2 pairs of shorts beyond the workout bottoms I had kept out. I ended up modifying a t-shirt to be more trendy (and less annoying at the neck).
We are reading more but not getting much other ‘school’ stuff done but it has been a busy few days.
Gone to the gym 2x and the pool once – I’m very hopeful to continue this trend since I’ll get both a kid break and a workout.
Today Lars is taking the girls out and I’m getting all the winter stuff out to storage and starting in on all the decorative things we kept out simply to make the house look good for showing. Yes, I do like how it looks too in a hotel sort of way, but in the interest of getting packed in a non-panic I’ll start round 3 with the less essential items.
We even got in a date night! For the first time in WEEKS Lars and I had an evening with no plans and our sitter was ready and willing so we went out to eat together. This isn’t to say we don’t see each other – about half the time we go to different things in the evening but are back by 8ish and do kid bedtime and then have the evening together, just taking the whole night is special.
Given that it is a holiday weekend it double downs on different from a school week with a day trip on Monday. Zoe already said she has no idea what day it is and might just consider all days between now and school Saturday. Why not?
No real drama yet and I’m glad. We have so many things cooking that I think we will exhaust ourselves – I should really put ‘relaxing’ on the list at some point.
ps. I got my side by side done for the kids, here is beginning of the year and end
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.
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~
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!
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.
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!
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~