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 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!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2017 WITL Sunday

(Note - I'm post Saturday and Sunday close together so if you missed Saturday, you can find it here.)

Most of the time Sundays begin with church and Sunday school.  Sunday school is over and we all needed to spend some time just at home resting so we took that today.  Brent and I didn't even get out of bed until 8:30am and it was luxurious.  I haven't been sleeping very well (see stress/spinning mind) so a little extra sleep was lovely.  The kids had mostly taken care of breakfast themselves. 

They were ready for some dance time.  This is M with Moana music.  E danced to some Batman tunes shortly thereafter as our breakfast entertainment. 

9:37am - inspired to watch a little Moana together. Love the snuggling.  That bowl on her lap is strawberries she picked from the garden in the front yard. 
10:50am- Grocery store trips can't be avoided, sadly.  I could not face a big trip to Crest so I pared the list back to the basics and we went to Uptown.  These silly kids make me smile. 

11:25am - While we were home unpacking the groceries, I realized that we had not purchased the snacks for E's class and so E and I went back for round two...He is a very good shopping buddy. 
11:59am - Back home, M's neighborhood friends are over playing Just Dance.  They wander back and forth between houses. 

12:59am - At long last we made it to see the new Beauty in the Beast.  I loved it.  I almost cried a few times.  M snuggled me through the movie, which I loved.  There was some odd camera work at times, but overall the images, costumes, and music were just beautifully done.  I decided our kids are growing up too fast. 
 6:04pm - Sunday Supper - We started this plan maybe six months ago. My siblings, their families, and our mom live pretty close together, but sometimes we don't see each other all week.  We were going out to lunch after Mass often on Sundays, but that is expensive and tricky with all the kids.  So, we established a standing dinner on Sunday evenings.  The "where" moves around based on convenience.  It doesn't always happen.  Many times it is just two families, but occasionally everyone makes it and it is tons of fun. This was the first time that has happened with both of the new babies.  IT was awesome.

 6:20pm - The two granddaughters!
 7:18pm - S'mores by the fire pit with Uncle Zach. He also made home made strawberry ice cream (So good! I don't know when I last had homemade ice cream!) The rest of the meal was grilled pork chops, sweet potatoes, fruit salad, green salad, and bread - quite the feast!

 7:26pm -Babies by sunset

 7:44pm - Switch babies and rock. Brent left for work around 7:30pm.  The kids were having too much fun so I brought them back home a bit later.

 8pm - This wild rabbit was our guest, but sadly didn't survive overnight.
 8:15pm - Able came by to pick up the title and keys to the Jetta.  He is going to attempt to sell it for us this week.  So grateful for his help!
 8:25pm - M is finishing up her bedtime process. This often includes picking up dirty clothes from various places.  See how she is guarding the closet view a little? I suspect more cleaning is coming tomorrow, but the rest of her room looks nice.

 8:28pm - The boys are nearly ready.  We really have to put batteries in E's toy soon.  Just keeps getting forgotten.
 8:31pm - Final images - We had to work to get a picture of B reading in the top bunk, but this is about 1.5 hours of his day so I really wanted it in there.  Then I looked down and there was one enthusiastic 4yo! He gave me a million kisses and hugs.  Double hug century is continuing, but it is clear now that E either doesn't know or doesn't care what "double" means.  It is getting me more hugs with B, which makes me happy.
8:34pm - I've made it to the bottom of the stairs.  Final shot of my new kicks.  While Brent is at work, I talk to my mom for awhile, have a little more protein, get ready for bed, read, and ponder why I suddenly have more of a cough.  There might be a little Instagram scrolling in there as well.  He gets home around 10:30, he tells me about his students, and we go straight to bed and hope of a restful night. 

2017 WITL Saturday

Saturday, we were able to sleep in just a little before a big day of activities. I began with a 30 minute run + 40 minutes of a tabata circuit and made it the swim meet about 10 minutes after I was supposed to (oops?)  Meanwhile, Brent, M, and B headed to March for Science Oklahoma

9:36am - near the OK state capitol building -- the March activities began with a bunch of fun science crafts and activities for the kids.  It was also Earth Day thus the poster above.
Telescope time with Lunar Sooners
Nature games
Fun Science experiments. 
Brain hat - colored by M

By 10:30 the march was moving to the rally portion.  They didn't stay much longer as it was too cold for our littler marchers.  So they headed to the swim meet where Grammie and Granddaddy joined them for a little fun watching swimming and going out to get lunch during breaks in the action. 

1:03pm - B is on to his fourth race -- -He began with anchoring the 200 Free Relay-- his first length of an Olympic pool.  His team got 3rd overall in their age group.  Then, he swam 50 freestyle and 50 backstroke.  Now it is time for his favorite and best event - butterfly.
about 51 seconds later he is done and feeling good--- what we didn't realize until days later is that this very first butterfly race qualifies him for his first ever individual event at the Division I state swimming championships! He is about 3 seconds under the entry requirements.  This is a huge deal and a big step for him.  SO excited!
1:23pm - Here he is with his buddies between races.  They often play video games, warm down (swim for awhile after their race), eat snacks, etc... He has made some great friends on the team.
1:28pm - Last minute tips from Coach Kathy.  These are the 10 and under boys preparing for the 50 breast stroke.  There is a lot of standing around in line at these meets and that is their next stop after the pep talk.
1:44pm - Just about ready to go! He spots Brent in the stands and waves hi.  (I'm timing at the opposite end of the pool).
It takes about a minute to finish.  His time is about 4 seconds too slow for state.  His best buddy Mason (just above him) is only a second off the time.  B is amazed and impressed that he finished 3rd in his heat as he sometimes struggles with breast stroke. This is the last 50m event so I'm free to go home too.  I'm a little cranky after hours timing and some issues with how I wrote down times for some of the racers. I also haven't eaten lunch. We head home so I can do that.

3:14pm - M and I go looking for a Unicorn Frappucino, but sadly they were all gone so hot chocolate and a little disappointment instead.  We head to Lowes on the way home for some flowers to cheer our house up. 

3:52- Meanwhile, the boys all got their hair cut and E has very cute spiky hair.

4:11pm - We plant the flowers and herbs and work to clean up the porch and sidewalks from the flooding on Friday.  There are substantially more erosion problems in the backyard than I was anticipating. Right after this we get a crazy bill from the mortgage company suggesting we are a month behind on payments despite having paid everything exactly on time.  It is confusing and very worrisome. (I stress about this for a couple days and Brent calls them Monday and it is fixed in minutes with no penalties to us as we did everything right and they have the right amount of money... sigh).
4:55pm - While I'm stressing and printing out payment information - M notices a friend down the street is out playing.  She joins with them and they continue to play off and on at our house or theirs for the next several days.  I'm cautiously optimistic that she'll have a neighborhood friend to play with frequently now.
5:00pm - Brent installing hooks for the hanging baskets M picked out.  Sadly his knee still is hurting so we only got through one today as the ladder situation was too painful.

5:25pm - E and I snuggled in to watch a little Lilo & Stitch together. I needed a break from all the things that weren't working/stress.  We had a super simple dinner, mostly prepared by M. (Note the new Marlin mom shirt). 

6:58pm - The neighborhood boys come looking for B to play nerf guns.  He still has on his team swimming suit and it is five hours after the meet.... I am prepping to leave for the ballet. B isn't sold on the going outside idea, but eventually does. M is playing with the girls down the street. 

7pm - Ready for the Ballet - I have season tickets with Tracie and Nikki.  The main piece tonight was a Midsummer Night's Dream (original choreography by the head of OKC Ballet).  There was also a short piece around WWII.  Walking in to the ballet, I saw Mason (B's swimming friend mentioned above) and his mom.  We discovered that they have season tickets two seats down from mine so we've likely been sitting next to each other for years and not realized it! I thought the ballet was lovely.  The costuming and scenery, in particular, were gorgeous.  After the ballet, I headed home from some much needed additional food and an evening drink with Brent.  We talked through the things that were still bothering me and headed to bed looking forward to a less busy Sunday.


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