Tuesday, August 22, 2017

M @ 8 - Birthday Interview





1. How old are you? 8
2. Who is your best friend? Avery
3. What is your favorite thing to do? Go horse riding*
4. What is your favorite color? Blue*
5. What is your favorite food? Cherry Pie
6. What do you like to do with your family? Go swimming
7. What is your favorite toy? Moose (the dog)
8. What do you want to be when you grow up? Horse riding instructor*
9.    What makes you happy? Moose
10.   What makes you sad? Getting in trouble
11.   What is your favorite show to watch? Free Reign
12.   What is your favorite book? The Report Card
13.   What do you love to learn about: Horses*
14.   What was the best part of your birthday? Horse Riding
15.   Where do you like to go?  The Stables*/Riding
16.   Who is your teacher? Ms. Pestinger
17.  What is your favorite treat? Starbursts
18.   What do you think about before you fall asleep? Falling asleep
19.   If you could meet someone famous who would it be? Lin-Manuel Miranda*
20.   What was your favorite thing we did at your birthday party?  Riding

Bonus - Favorite Song - London Town (?) Song about M by Grandma B

*Same from responses at 7
Recorded August 21, 2017

B @ 10.5





1. How old are you? 10.5
2. Who is your best friend? Adam
3. What is your favorite thing to do? Play*
4. What is your favorite color? Green
5.  What is your favorite food? Pizza
6.  What do you like to do with your family? swim
7.  What is your favorite toy? Switch ball
8.  What do you want to be when you grow up? I don’t know*
9.   What makes you happy? Playing*
10.   What makes you sad? onions*
11.   What is your favorite show to watch? Pokemon
12.   What is your favorite book? Magnus Chase
13.   What do you love to learn about: Math*
14.   What is the best part of being 10.5?  No much exciting
15.   Where do you like to go? Pool
16.   Who is your teacher? Ms. Becker/Ms. Evans
17.  What is your favorite treat? Crunch Bars
18.   What do you think about before you fall asleep? Nothing*
19.   If you could meet someone famous who would it be? I don’t know
20.   What was your favorite part of celebrating 10.5? Nothing happened.
Bonus - What is your favorite video game - Pokemon Moon

*Same from responses at 10
Recorded August 21, 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

E @ 5 - Birthday Interview



1. How old are you? 5
2. Who is your best friend? Eli*/Tristan
3. What is your favorite thing to do? Snuggle mommy
4. What is your favorite color? Dark Blue*
5. What is your favorite food? Fruit
6. What do you like to do with your family? Play
7. What is your favorite toy? Electro ball and great ball of fire
8. What do you want to be when you grow up? Astronaut
9.    What makes you happy? Snuggling mommy*/blanket
10.   What makes you sad? When somebody hits me hard*
11.   What is your favorite show to watch? Ninjago
12.   What is your favorite book? Dragon Books
13.   What do you love to learn about: Animals
14.   What was the best part of your birthday? The toys & the cake
15.   Where do you like to go? Hawaii (again)
16.   Who is your teacher? Ms Herrera
17.  What is your favorite treat? Chocolate Cake
18.   What do you think about before you fall asleep? Snuggling mama and reading books
19.   If you could meet someone famous who would it be? Brendan
20.   What was your favorite thing we did at your birthday party? Pokeballs and Pokemon


*Same from responses at 4.5
Recorded August 21, 2017


Monday, July 31, 2017

Welcome Home- Moose!

So you know how they say "Never say Never"  --- yeah, that's where we are.  I've said for a long time no dogs or cats.  I have a multitude of reasons we'll skip, but today we brought home our dog Moose.
 Moose is an 11 week old Goldendoodle.  Today was his first time riding in a car, wearing a leash or collar, or leaving his litter mates.  He is handling it pretty well.  That said, he did vomit in the car, but that isn't even the first time that has happened in our car this week.
 He is aggressively loved.  The children had all but despaired of having a dog after my many "No" answers.  This summer though they managed to persuade me and they are over the moon.
 Come to find out, his original family named him Moose because he was the largest of his litter.  He is quite a bit larger than I was imagining an 11 week old puppy would be. For example, he is much larger than the dog Brent had as a kid fully grown.... and probably bigger than our youngest nephew and niece.
 The kids have the amazing benefit of daily contact and weekly visits with all of their immediate family so it was essential for them to talk to all their family and by video, if possible.
 Such a pretty dog. (For reference, my husband is 6ft 4...... He is seated here, but you get the scale issue).  His parents are 55lbs and 65lbs respectively so we "think" he will be in that range.  Although his current size suggests he could be larger.
 His face is adorable.
Brent and I are very concerned about doing a good job training him from the outset.  So we've been working on learning what we can and spent the ride to pick him up listening to dog training information. The kids listened too and read a dog training book for kids.  We have protocols for some basic things.... we'll see how it goes. It is going to require a lot of consistency and it is clear already that getting all five of us to consistently reinforce in the same way is going to be a challenge.
 Here they are.  Ready to raise a happy puppy and change their story.

I admit, I'm still a little terrified that this might be a horrible idea.  But I'm also delighted at how much joy and learning it is bringing our kids and how nice the companionship is already.  Moose has slept next to me while I type and if I move my feet away he snuggles closer so we're touching.  My, oh my, do I like snuggling.  

So, here we go, on to our next great adventure with a brand new buddy to snuggle and love along the way.  Welcome home, Moose!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Observations from Summer 2017

1.  Our kids eat SO much more than they did last summer and SO much more food when they are here all day.  This is probably obvious, but still... the volume is impressive.

2.  Swimming is essential.  Sometimes multiple times a day.  We all seem to do better with a little pool time.  The kids have swim team practice 4 days a week, but we often go back and swim for fun in the evening.  It is a central part of almost every day.  I haven't been in the water in nearing a week and it is way past time.  I have, however been to a pool almost every day.

3.  Next year, maybe don't do the Firecracker meet if it immediately precedes the neighborhood championships and DII Championships.  I know they said, too, but this is a little crazy, even for me.

4.  I am making sure to build in time with nothing planned, no electronics, and nothing assigned to do.  Down time and time to do nothing or think creatively about what to do is good and fascinating to see what happens (hint--- the answer is completely different if M isn't here).

5.  Play dates are good and all the kids should have one every once in awhile.  I'm very thankful for parents who don't work every day and can sometimes take my kids off on play dates.

6.  Having a baby sitter, even for  1/2 a day is still essential even though they are so independent.  So far, this year's babysitter is doing great. (Let's hope it lasts).

7.  The kids are now old enough to make more food for themselves and we're encouraging experimenting and practicing reading and following the recipe.  The old Elmo cookbook has been unearthed.  Most of the experiments have been great successes... there was one dramatic failure.

8.  M wants to ride at all times and counts down the time to riding all week.  It is, sadly, not possibly to ride more than she is now as it is crazy expensive,but she is making great strides.

9.  M, of her own choice, made summer goals she has hit many of them, including the key canter and jump ones.

10.  We talk about getting a pet a lot this summer. I look at dogs online to adopt.  Then I am reminded about all the reasons why that is a bad idea and then we talk about fish.

11.  Brent is way more in to home improvement projects of late.  He does one or more every weekend and the complexity is increasing.  We both like to work on our garden and are thinking of building another flower bed in the back, but may need some professional help with the drainage issues.  We're working on that.

12.  Tree maintenance is a thing.  I have never had so many or really any mature trees.  We're currently bidding out our arborist needs.  Good thing we only have to do this every five years as it isn't cheap.

13.  I adore traveling.  Seriously.  And pretty much need the next trip scheduled when I return from the prior one, but I also really like sitting on my couch.  For anyone else like me, particularly parents,  I recommend reading "At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the World"

14.  B is swimming for both the club and neighborhood team this week.  As his coach warmed months ago, trying to do both is not likely to succeed.  The pull ends on Thursday and then back to club team exclusively with a big push to the end of July and then a big break in August. He is having to accept that he is noticeably slower than six weeks ago after not practicing with his club.  It is a little unclear how he handling it.  Sometimes he seems good, but there were tears after finishing 11 long course events this weekend.  His coaches probably shouldn't have scheduled him in to that many races, but possibly we shouldn't have signed him up at all, see above.  He says he still loves practice and racing.

15.  E is so funny, but also the first with a hug.  He is slow to do pretty much everything, but irresistibly adorable at the same time.

16.  E and Ro are hysterical together.  If the big kids leave them alone, they can entertain themselves peacefully for hours.  It is amazing and wonderful.

17. I feel like my garden is behind? Or I didn't plant enough? Or something? Just seems a little off.  I"ve planted flowers that will likely bloom in fall so there is that to look forward too and beautiful new paths Brent built to wander.

18.  I am aging.  Not news, but had to give up and order a real, nice, office chair to deal with my back hurting.

19.  My time with my online trainer is up and I'm trying to figure out what's next.  In non-shocking news, it needs to include more yoga than my training did or my body will be hurt.  Also, I'm just really struggling to get myself to do cardio when it is hot.  I'm definitely lifting 4-5 days still (although 1/2 those are often at home) and sometimes doing cardio here, but really not running..... and that is probably not good.

20.  Brent's camps start soon and he is stressed.  There are staffing changes at his job that are stressful too.  We will both be happier when camp is over.

21.  B has started just sitting next to me when I'm office and watching what I'm doing.  This does encourage me to be productive.  He has lots of questions about why I'm doing things and I've explained things like fiscal years and how I triage email.  Early July brings less meetings for me so my door is open for this more often and it is nice.

22.  M has decided to make her own birthday party invitations.  They are lovely and I'm embracing it.  She is crafty and fun.

23.  M and I have matching 4th of July dresses.  Love that.  #goals  I do wish mine were a bit more comfortable.

25. We bought a Burr coffee grinder---not the really fancy ones, just an average one.  I think we both thought it would be about the same.....it really is much better.

26.  I have very very little patience left for insurance companies and processes.  Why does it have to be such debacle to start a new home owners policy?

27. E had a bloody nose the moment we needed to leave for the swim meet.  In true 3rd child life. I gave him a bunch of paper towels and marched him to the car.  We brought a few more for back up and helped him buckle, but kept moving on.  He was totally used to his lot and life and fine.  Probably isn't what would happen with a first child.

28.  The kids play board games of various kinds with the babysitter daily.  One of the key objectives is to get to the end of the game and E not cry.  The big kids are working on strategies for this, as is the babysitter.

29.  Our robot vacuum, Robby2, is doing an amazing job keeping the floors clean.  I find I really like it and realize we weren't' sweeping nearly enough.  It does also push us to keep stuff picked up off the floor at all times, which is key. It is kind of loud and time consuming though, which I don't love. Robby2 is also our stand in pet and the kids like to help take care of him.

30. Our kids are going to way less camps this year.  Only the family "Farm Camp" and M's riding camp.  They are very satisfied with this approach.  E will likely resume gymnastics weekly when swimming ends, but that is about it.

31.  I actually scrapbooked for two weeks in a row.  Mostly filing in gaps of things like Halloween, school pictures, and birthdays, but getting a few random story pages in there too as I happen upon them. It is good.  It really doesn't take as long as I think and I"m always glad to do it.  I just need to push back some encroaching LEGO creations and do it again.

32. The boys' are getting new beds and we're reworking their room and storage as it clearly isn't working.  We ordered the beds they picked out in May.....they still haven't come. Maybe in August? We are turning crates into drawers to go beneath them.... a little nervous about us finishing that project.

33.  I really don't want the kids to go back to school. I wish they could be here all the time. I feel so insanely blessed to have this work arrangement at this moment in their lives. I'm terrified of it ending as it is so precious and perfect. I'm trying to absorb and enjoy every bit of it.

Hooray for summer!

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