Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ten on Tuesday



1.  The Girl Scout Cookie saga continued today.  Brent thought it might be fun if M set up a table with him at OSSM to sell cookies to students and staff.  That went very well and we are now down to only 3 boxes of cookies and have probably sold 20 more than we had so they are going to do the table again next week with roughly 12x more Thin Mints than we brought today.  Lessons learned - Thin Mints are key.  Want cookies of you own? There is still time! Sign up via the Digital Cookie and we will deliver them or have them shipped as appropriate  M's Digital Cookie.  M is actively engaged in every cookie sale at some phase and is helping with all the counting of boxes, sorting, money tracking, and inventory decisions. Brent and I firmly believe in keeping the girl in Girl Scout cookies so we're doing our best to make sure she is engaged and in control of as much as possible.



2. This weekend the weather was lovely and M really wanted to spend the time outside.  We walked to the park and they played as long as she wanted doing everything available from the park to running, climbing hills, climbing rocks, make believe, whatever.  The second day E joined the fun.  He would have preferred we just swing for an entire hour or more, but M still mostly got to do what she wanted. I attempted some lunges, squats, push ups, etc... while we were standing around in an attempt to replace the exercise I usually am doing during this time.  It was good to have the one on one time with them after nearly a week away.  I love that there are so many perfect adventure spots in our neighborhood.

3. Oh right, I was in DC last week and did not blog.  I arrived more exhausted than usual after a night with sick kids.  I slept for roughly 12 hours before day 2.  Night 2 included a night time run after dinner with a friend (and this picture with the Corcoran Lions for E).  The White House is roughly behind me and one building over.  Night 3 featured dinner with friends in Virginia.  The last day I got to spend some more time "in the room where it happens," which I love.  My mom primarily communicated with me via Hamilton quote texts and images, which made the trip extra amusing. Thanks to everyone for their help in my absence.


4. Before I left, we had a big family celebration for Brent's birthday.  It was very spur of the moment and really fun. I love having everyone here together and love this guy the most! On his actual birthday, we had fun presents and dinner out at Covell Park.  It was a great day, right until our kids started getting sick... M, who did not feel great, did come up with the genius idea of making him birthday fudge, which definitely helped.


5. Two days before that, we had B's kid birthday party at Main Event. It was a great mix of old and new friends and family.  It went pretty well for such a mixed group of people.  Laser Tag remains B & M's favorite part so perhaps we'll have a little outing for laser quest soon?  (Yes, we made that crazy splatter cake down the table.... if only B would have like the taste as much as the look.  sigh).

6. Other weekend adventures included Valentines making.  We made Valentines for all three kids' classes.  M, of course, made chocolate lollipops for her class.  B made his own "monster" Valentines Box with some help from Brent.  B also put all the names of his classmates on his cards in number order as apparently he has his class memorized that way?  We bought the supplies to donate to M's party and then once all that was done realized we need things for E's parties...logistics is the name of the game at casa Richards.

7.  Tonight, while M and Brent were selling cookies, the boys and I made a spice shop run for the first time in quite awhile.  We arrived home just in time to make pancakes and bacon to celebrate Mardi Gras.  I'm mildly horrified to consider all the carb/calorie intake for the day, but suppose I'll need to take that fasting more seriously tomorrow.... In general, the weight loss has been going well and people in DC noticed the change which was nice.

8. I'm running the CHD Roar ' Run Virtual Race again this year to raise money for CHD Awareness and our own little heart warrior nephew Zane (donations are welcome here).  I have not begun my race yet.... so we'll see how that turns out, but the plan is for tomorrow.  That 12 hour sleep in DC was not the only 12 hour sleep night this week. I seem to have some sort of virus that comes with headaches and minor other aches and tiredness or maybe I'm just old and transitioning poorly? Who knows, but part 1 of the race to support the heart warriors begins Wednesday.

9. While I was gone, Edmond put out the new school rezoning proposal.  I was not particularly surprise to discover we're now assigned to Cheyenne middle school as it is dramatically closer to my house, but am a little said that M and her besties may be split up on middle school.  We are still zoned for North High School, but much less of the city is in the new plan so hopefully it will be somewhat less over crowded? (Wishful thinking?) Some parents we know got slightly less good outcomes in the rezoning so there were lots of angst filled texted and social media posts.  It is kind of an amazing phenomenon coming from a tiny district before, but I suspect it will all be fine.

10.  My siblings and their spouses are all going to the beach next week.  Yes, I am jealous, thanks for checking.  We were invited, but were/are just too house poor for that to be a smart financial choice (not to mention the who would watch our kids that long and not go crazy issue).  I hope they have a wonderful time and keep telling myself we made a good decision that is right for us right now.  I'll just bask in my lovely neighborhood instead.  Today's neighborhood moment included my elderly across the street neighbor coming over to get the name of the spice shop, our telephone numbers, and a promise that we will be here this weekend so she can bring us a welcome to the neighborhood lemon chess pie, which she tried to bring us a week or so ago and we weren't here so they were forced to eat it. (She did not seem too upset about that outcome, but who would be?)  She is tremendously lovely and energetic.  She really reminds me a lot of what my Grandma Dotter might have been like if she were still alive--- bonus points that her 90 year old husband's name is Dale as well!  Hooray for amazing neighbors and simple blessings of lemon pie. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Days Like This

I'm for keeping it real.  There are alot of sunshine, rainbows, and beautiful light in my blog and my online life, but every once in awhile we need posts like today to balance it out and be real about my day.

In fairness, most of my day was normal, fine, typical but there in late afternoon things went a little off the rockers.

This afternoon, I had a "strategic brainstorming" type call that ran right to the time I had to pick up M for Girl Scouts.  These meant I walked in to Cross Timbers to check her out wearing the little wireless ear piece thing that I always think makes me look like a tool from a decade ago, but sometimes that is balancing work and motherhood for me.  I finished the call in the car while she attempted to tell me random things and I kept reminding her I was listening to something else (mother hood guilt on cue).

The call ended before we arrived at St. John's so all was going well.  We picked up E from his school and walked him across the parking lot to child care at the church.  He was not thrilled.  This was the first of many sets of tears from E today.  Stuggle bus for sure.  He pulled it together and we headed to Girl Scouts.

We had been waiting in the hall for the Kindergarten class to dismiss and entered the room to find there had been a theft of some kind by one of our fellow Girl Scouts.  This lead to a lesson on "honesty" (a topic ostensibly covered weeks ago).  This drifted off in to a discussion about doing what adults tell you---- and some clarity that that is not always the right thing to do, Circle of Grace, yada yada and the troop leader, pregnant with her fourth child in 6 years and flustered, had to take a break before that went further.

We went through basic troop business and my friend Bethany arrived to teach the troop about Chinese New Year, complete with props, snacks, crafts, and a story explaining the tradition (her daughter is 1/2 Vietnamese so this was a sharing of her daughter's cultural heritage--- and very fun).  Meanwhile, I began cookie talks with the troop leader.  I turned in money and received 50 more boxes of cookies in return. .... Then things began to fall apart.


I attempted to take the first load of cookies to my car.  B called while I was out in the insane wind to report he was home and he HAD to tell me something, which I proceeded to not hear as the call dropped.  Then, I realized I left my keys inside (called Bethany who confirmed).  Hauled cookies back inside, tried again and called B back --- his news was decidedly non-urgent.  M helped me carry the second load of cookies.  I immediately realize I have walked off with some of Bethany's cookies so we head back to the class room, yet again.  There is some mad inventory checking in the parking lot and we finally all agree they are not mine, but hers.... Rumors are flying that the girl who stole may be kicked out.

We head to pick up E.  He is in the bathroom having just had a bloody nose,  We leave, and I immediately suspect he had an accident during that incident.  So we then go back in to the parish hall area and change his pants.... his bloody nose begins again.  So bloody nose, naked, etc... We finally pull that together... with more tears and thus more bloody nose.

He then proceeds to cry about not getting additional snacks when his run out, bringing his things inside, dinner, not having electronics, and basically everything that happens.... followed by more bloody nose....

Once home, M and I try to do cookie inventory, break the new cookies down in to orders, count by types, etc... I try to email our stuff to the new accountant --- this is ironic as I have to scan everything I have meticulously printed as she now wants it electronically when previously she said paper. Nice.

Dinner gets made and we wind down in to Harry Potter reading while I text Bethany about the hilarity that is Girl Scouts....


Not so bad, not so good. The many trips to the car and E bloody nose/wet pants moment really topped it off.  This is a very real look at 5 hours in a Monday at casa Richards.   It seems substantially less dramatic just a few hours later with wine in hand :)

Ps. Any one want Girl Scout cookies? You can order them here from wherever you are! M's Digital Cookie

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ten on Wednesday

1.  This weekend the kids got to spend some of their Christmas money from Great-Granddaddy. As usual, we put a portion (this time a larger portion) of the total in their college savings accounts.  E didn't quite get the concept, but eventually was thrilled to get BOTH 20 hot wheels cars AND a truck that can carry/store them all.  Ironically, we threw away at least this many cars when we moved because no one played with them.  Now, of course, they are very popular and everyone is happy.


2. I haven't done much crafting at all since the end of December Daily.  I had no plan or goals for my crafting, problems with storage/location of my supplies, and was just tired.  This week, my new Story Kit (by Ali Edwards) arrived and I decided I really needed to start using some of these fabulous products.  I decided to plan for one page per month per child and, randomly, began with November 2015.  I happily finished three pages for November and two for October and feel back on the crafting "horse." Hooray!

3.
 After a bit of a spending spree during and following the house purchase I decided to try and spend no money on myself or the house this month.  This has been interesting and worked fairly well.  When we took down Christmas decorations, we needed a little art to fill the frames.  It so happens we have tons of art supplies so I made two abstract paintings for the empty frames.  M & I also made a little Valentine's art for a side table.  Easy, peasy, if not as perfect as the pros.  I did have to buy work pants this week so I can have them hemmed in time to leave for DC on Tuesday, but that seems non-frivolous as it is necessary for my job responsibilities.  I'm going to try and keep to a minimum for the following month too as we pay off some of those prior purchases.
 4. Magformers remain VERY popular.  I love this one of B's original creations, with just a little help from M.  Grandma got B a second set for his birthday that includes wheels and greatly expands the creative range.  Our kids and the Korenaks play with them daily so it is a great investment!
5.  On Friday, M and I went to Norman for the second straight week to enjoy the "Beauty and the Beast" gymnastics and wrestling meet.  The drive is long, but we had a great time.  M is now sleeping in all the huge free tshirts we've been gathering. Emily and her daughters joined us for a portion of the event to double the fun!

6.  I've been going to SO many doctor appointments of late for both myself and the kids.  I think we're all mostly doing well and my stitches should come out any day now.  Some of my new meds seem to be causing headaches, but hopefully short term.  Yesterday, while I snuggled in to deal with my headache, I got to read and watch M & E play imaginary adventures outside.  So glad our set up allows for times like these and that our kids are old enough to entertain themselves.

7.  B's little league team has fallen apart.  Instead of joining a new team, B has decided to try out tennis.  Happily, we've found a place near us that has group lessons that fit in to our schedule.  I've never really learned how to play tennis and think it will be a good thing for him.  Spanish is still on the schedule as well and we're trying to be much better about daily Spanish practice.  Not having baseball 3x a week will be different, and I think we'll miss some nights at the ball field, but maybe we'll go watch Zane sometimes just for fun.

8.  E is alternately awesome and frustrating.  He has been so sweet about my stitches and done so well at the Dr. Appointments he has attended.  We have great times together.  And then there are mornings like this morning where he falls completely apart over getting dressed and going to school.  Just sobbing and refusing to do the things we do every day.  So irrational. 

9. For several years, we've had a family book in addition to the smaller books we read to our kids or they read to us.  Currently, we are reading the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter book 4).  The kids are all obsessed with Harry Potter and totally loving it.  To my surprise M is the most in to the HP books and remembers an insane amount of detail from each book.  I wish I could find a way to translate that to other things we are trying to help her learn, but for now am glad she is loving this reading experience and the wonderful world of Harry Potter. 

10. Brent's birthday is on Monday (aka the day before I leave for DC).  It is tricky with his Birthday so close to B's as B's party with his friends is on Saturday.  We're still talking about fun things to celebrate with Brent, but leaning towards family dinner or maybe a date night in here somewhere.  Next week also marks 1/2 a lifetime since I met him. I am still so amazed and grateful to have found this love of my life so early on.  Hooray for happy endings and more birthdays all around!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

B @ 9 - Interview

Our tradition is to interview each of our kids with the below questions every six months (so on their birthday and 1/2 birthday).  Below are B's answers at 9.  A surprisingly large number of them have changed since 8.5. 

1. How old are you? 9
2. Who is your best friend? Preston*
3. What is your favorite thing to do? Play Video Games*
4. What is your favorite color? Red
5.  What is your favorite food? Macaroni and Cheese*
6.  What do you like to do with your family? play board games*
7.  What is your favorite toy? Remote Control Car*
8.  What do you want to be when you grow up? Astronaut*
9.   What makes you happy? Peanut Butter*
10.   What makes you sad? getting grounded*
11.   What is your favorite show to watch? Popular MMOs*(Minecraft videos)
12.   What is your favorite book? Percy Jackson 1*
13.   What do you love to learn about: Math*
14.   What is the best part of being 9?  Nothing*
15.   Where do you like to go? Laser Quest
16.   Who is your teacher? Ms. Courtney*
17.  What is your favorite treat? orange sherbet ice cream*
18.   What do you think about before you fall asleep? Nothing
19.   If you could meet someone famous who would it be? Neil Armstrong
20.   What was your favorite part of celebrating 9? Not yet… (unsure because holding off for his friends party)*
Bonus - What is your favorite video game - Splatoon

*Different from responses at 8.5
Recorded January 24, 2016



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Happy 9th Birthday B! - Part 1

In thinking about what to write, I gathered up photos from the last seven month's of B.  Seven months was a big dividing line this year as it marked the time we moved from our old house to our new and his old school to the new. The transition has been hard for him.  He had amazingly good friends at the old school thanks to forming great relationships in his awesome kindergarten class.  Being new is harder.  He is also being challenged in his classroom in ways he hasn't been since Kindergarten.  There is a lot of homework every day and that is hard after a couple years of very little homework. 
Some things are the same - he still loves games either board games or video games.  He is playing more and more with "the guys" --- aka Brent, Gavin, and Eric.  He is old enough and experienced enough now to play more complicated games and they have been amazingly patient about teaching him.  They all, not so secretly, love it. 
He still loves movies and saw all seven Star Wars movies within a few week's time.  He is a fan.  
I adore how their sibling unit is developing.  They do lots of things together and are pretty tight knit.  He is amazing big brother,, especially for E.  Having M at school with him and riding the bus together has helped strengthen their bond as well.  They are a funny happy group and I love to see them growing and loving each other. 
B is going through the First Reconciliation and First Communion process this year.  He is learning a lot and I've really enjoyed our talks.  I am being really honest with him about what I think about some of these issues and asking what he thinks.  Reconciliation was well-timed as the very next week we discovered a problem at school and had to talk through how to make it right.  He asked if he could go back to Reconciliation and of course I agreed. I am glad it was in his toolkit for how to deal with his problems.  The problem at school was a first for us and working through it took a couple months.  I hope that we all built some skills to both avoid and deal with problems going forward. 
He is building some new friendships at school (this is from a birthday party).  Also, he discovered the great fun that is nerf guns :)
Uncle Able & Aunt Kari took let him drive a tractor by himself for the first time as is a traditional 8yo activity in our family.  I am so glad they thought to do this and give him this experience. 
B played baseball in the Spring & Fall.  I think he was getting the swing of things near the end of the fall season, but as his team has fallen apart I am doubtful that he will continue to play.  I have mixed feelings about this as it seems such a part of boyhood and good family fun, but understand if he wants to try something else. 
With the new school game new traditions like the fun run.  His level of excitement about school has varied.  I still hear/read things he says about wishing we would have waited to move or missing his old school.  I'm sad for him and know it is hard, but know that the move was the right thing for our family and him in the long run.  The new school is good. I think largely he is still in the adapting phase and so hope he finds his spot there.  When I went to the class Christmas party he seemed very at ease and everyone was friendly with him so I'm hoping he'll see that soon too. 
B LOVED the new hammock.  He camped out in it one night and spent lots of time there relaxing and reading. I am so very happy that we bought it and that it helps him enjoy being outside.  He actually spends a lot more time outside at the new house, mostly with the neighbors next door.  They play all sorts of things. I think he and I both loved it when they were going on bike rides frequently.  Hopefully that will resume in the spring.  
This photo is from the fourth of July when we were visiting Washington DC.  I love his smile and how happy he is here.  It was right after the move and good to see him being silly.  I think 8 was a mixed back of times when he was so happy and doing lots of awesome new things and times when he was facing substantial challenges and fearing for his success. Probably like most years.  I love that he is an amazing helper, that he still hugs and snuggles me, and the conversations we can have now that we couldn't even a year ago.  I'll post more photos soon from the earlier portion of the year, but wanted to take a moment to capture the second half and share a few memories of this awesome boy of ours as he begins the next year of his journey. I hope it is full of joy!

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