September Twenty Fifteen

September. What a month. It was just here and now we’re into October and back in Washington in our temporary apartment, down one cat, up one kiddo, and just trying to make it through the next five weeks before the final move. And final it will be. I never want to buy, sell, move, or pack anything ever again. Until we do, because I’m realistic.

Since I decided to start actively keeping track of our happenings again, I’ve been a picture hound. Fair warning: this is a picture-loaded post. And thank goodness I took pictures because I’m not sure I’d remember what the hell we did in September 2015 if I had to. I’ll save the excessive picture scrolling for the end and just highlight what I can remember from the month:

Birthdays! Blaise turned five and Saige turned one. Good times.

Saige became an official walker 100% of the time. When we first arrived in California back in August, Saige was walking. She still would turbo crawl to get places fast since her walking was still a bit wobbly. Come September, she gave up the crawl and is a full-time walker. She’s even started to pick up the pace a little and semi-run.

Worm died. Unexpectedly. She was fine and enjoying her time at my mom’s house, coming out at night once the kiddos went to bed—her standard routine. And then all of a sudden, she wet the bed in the night while I was sleeping. She wasn’t perfect but that wasn’t normal. And it was odorless and clear, so I figured something was up. I made an appointment with my mom and sister’s vet to take her in for what I though would be routine tests. We went, she was fine and even purring while I pet her waiting for the doctor. They took her blood and wanted a urine sample so they said to kill a half-hour or so and come back. When we got back, she was lying listless in her crate and we found out that her blood wasn’t clotting. Not good. All of a sudden, she was in the back of the vet, meowing in pain, lying down with a look of I’m dying on her face. It was chaotic; the vet tech was sitting in the van with the kiddos, I was in tears… this wasn’t in the plan. She was supposed to have something minor wrong that a test or medication could fix for another few years. It was time to let her go. I couldn’t stay and watch so I kissed and hugged her, and left trying to hold myself together for the kiddos. They get death. They just don’t like seeing me sad and crying. And it’s easier on me emotionally to not have to answer fifty questions. And with that, we were Worm-less. Poor Mhoosie was super sad, he doesn’t like to be alone. He’s attached to Snuggles like glue. And I’m not sure Snuggles is cool with that. Maybe now she is.

Solo-parenting. Not fun. I could never. Brian flew back and forth so much I think it was the most he’s flown in the last 10 years. He’d leave at 3:30am on a Monday morning, rent a car to drive to the airport, fly to Seattle, head straight to work. Then he’d fly back either Thursday or Friday evening after work, rent a car, and drive to my mom’s arriving past midnight. And then there’d be a week or two where he’d work from home… all this while he was on a new team and major deadline. On top of being a hands-on parent when he was there. I’m sure it was harder on him than me but hard all around for us both. The kiddos and I mostly stayed close to my mom’s house, mainly because it was hot and there isn’t much to do down there in way of kiddo activities. At least not the type of activities we enjoy. Google hiking in the area and you get a pathway… and the parks and kiddo places, not nearly as many or nice as up here. (I know I’m biased.) Not to mention it takes at least 20-30 minutes to go anywhere, longer if you don’t want to get mugged or shot (just kidding, not really… okay, a little). I remember growing up and the best thing about the area was that you could get to San Francisco or Lake Tahoe easily. I think that’s about the same. (Again, I’m totally biased I know.) I’m sure it’s lovely if you like it there.

Number four. We almost had a California baby. Luckily she stayed put until we were back in Washington (and after Microsoft changed their paternity leave to 12 weeks).

And now, pictures galore (to spark my memory):

A lazy start to September. Brian flew back to Seattle August 31 and my mom was back at work. It was just the kiddos and me, and I wasn’t in the mood to play mom. They were fed and clean, and happily played while I did the bare minimum. And there may have been some excessive iPad time… Blaise discovered YouTube and has become a fan of watching truck, tractor, and LEGO videos. I’m amazed at the amount of grown men making LEGO videos. All good and nicely made, I just didn’t realize how common they are. Blaise says he gets headaches when he watches too long. Laine would stay glued all day in full-blown zombie status if allowed. Which means it’s probably a good thing she broke her iPad a few months back. Now she’s forced to watch whatever Blaise is watching if she wants iPad time.

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Outside of iPad time, there was much outdoor and indoor play with all the new toys my mom kept bringing home. Saige’s new ride-on toy became a hot commodity and we all of a sudden had a team of mechanics. It must be a lemon because it was in the shop pretty often.

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After two days of laziness and minimum mom duty, I was ready to get out. The kiddos asked to see my mom’s work. My mom retired back in 2009 and stayed home for a while before missing the working world. She found a part-time gig at the school district where she retired from and has been working Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for a few years now. She likes the people and having something to do outside of everyday life. She has no plans of quitting anytime soon. I think it’s different when you don’t have to work. (After we moved to Washington, I took some time off. After five months off, I decided to work again. There is a sense of freedom that comes with knowing you don’t have to be there. I imagine that’s how she feels.)

Knowing it would take an hour minimum to get everyone ready and out, I started planning for the day after we ate breakfast. I had leaving at 10am in my head so that was the plan. My mom forgot me on the first day of kindergarten—she fell asleep watching General Hospital—and I was left alone outside of school for a long time (back in the ’80s when there wasn’t fear mongering). I’ve always been on time since. Even with kiddos… for the most part. If it’s a set appointment, I’m there at least five minutes early; if it’s a casual play date, I may run a few minutes behind (and always give notice). And if I set a time in my head, I hold myself to it. We started to get ready, including bathing Saige in her new bathtub. I’m not a big fan of the farmhouse sink as a kitchen item but it was the perfect size for Saige. And Bonus, I didn’t have to bend down and it had a nice view.

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We were out at 10am for the hour drive to my mom’s work. We popped in to say hello and get a tour, meeting some of her coworkers along the way. And in Laine style, she had to use the restroom. I think it’s a touristy thing for her, to see every bathroom that exists in North America. The kiddos and I were hungry so lunch was next. In the car, the kiddos had different opinions on where we should go. After a bit of back and forth—and me about to pull mom rank—Blaise came up with the idea to eat at “the place that serves food in a car,” meaning Original Mel’s… the opposite direction from Linden. It was only a 10 minute drive out of the way so I was game. And since we were already in Sacramento, I texted Tara to see if they were home to take the kiddos over to see Papa and Wawa (Brian’s dad and stepmom) after we ate. They were home.

There are days when taking three out is overwhelming. Not because they are difficult children, it’s just work (and I was slower then, officially waddling as Brian pointed out). And some days taking three out is an afterthought, as was the case as we went to lunch. When it’s an afterthought, I don’t really think about it until I get comments about having my hands full or whatever textbook comment people like to make. Lunching with them was surprisingly easy. They were both in great moods, not a single complaint was made. Saige was seated near the entry door and was able to wave at everyone so she was happy (and, food). It was one of the smoothest lunches we’ve had out and about in a while… awesome kiddos, friendly waitstaff, quick service, decent food. Original Mel’s is pretty close to Nan’s house so we did a quick drive-by before heading to Roseville. I love that area and to see all the homes being renovated and the neighborhood being kept up, super nice.

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It was yet another hot day, so outdoor water play was in the works at Papa’s house. I love how there can be baskets of toys but when there’s water, it can occupy kiddos for hours.

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Evenings at my mom’s house organically formed their own routine. We’d all eat a makeshift dinner around 5pm, followed by watching Saige walk around like a drunk person because she was so exhausted from keeping up with the big kiddos. I’d put her down around 6pm for the night and she’d be out in two seconds flat. Then the big kiddos would play a bit more, followed by a 7pm bedtime for them. Laine has been back to taking rests each day and still passes out the minute her head hits the pillow. Blaise is out little thinker and lies in bed pondering who knows what. Probably LEGOs. Considering he is on the go from the minute he wakes up until the minute we call bedtime, having some down time lying there is good for him. Linden has a huge toad population, with a few living on my mom’s porch. Every night around 8:30pm they’d come out looking for bugs. If Blaise was still awake when the toads came out, we’d let him check them out. When Brian was in town, they’d go toad hunting out front (hunting as in looking, no toads were harmed… only slightly scared probably when Blaise would pick one up). When Brian was up in Seattle, I would let Blaise look from the front door. I would never harm a toad but I don’t want to be near one. I did go out front a few times with him before we had toads in the house (NOT fun).

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Disclaimer: I’m giving up on trying to remember enough to keep on writing about September. I’ll comment on the photos to the best of my memory at this point. =) I relived September already and the pictures below are of happier times.

Ride-on toys! My mom’s house has an excellent kiddo track, a circle around the center of the house made for fast riding. And add in tile floors, speedy kiddos.

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Laine and I made a horse on a stick. She played with that thing more than the actual horse on a stick she had to have a few months back.

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Block builders. They never liked blocks as younger kiddos but are now huge fans. I think this was a movie theater, built by Blaise.

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More toad hunting (outside with Brian). Blaise and I bought flashlights at the Dollar Tree specifically for toad hunting.

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Mickie Grove Zoo in Lodi. Even at 10am it was hot. We hit the zoo and a funerland-ish place next door after.

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The big kiddos are obsessed with maps. They like to lead the way!

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This was the first outing since Saige started walking where she was set free.

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Breakfast buds, including Mayah below ready to catch whatever drops (or whatever Saige intentionally tosses overboard).

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The clearance tea and plate set was a huge hit with both girls.

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Saige got a fat lip. She was sitting in her shopping cart and it fell forward. After a good cry, she was back to all smiles.

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Laine became quite the chef while at my mom’s. Between the pretend food and plate set, she was cooking up a storm.

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Saige figured out how to climb on the couch and stand just to drive Brian (even more) safety crazy.

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Mhoosie will only drink water from the faucet. He’d sit in my mom’s kitchen sink until water magically came out.

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The last night we had two four-year-olds. Blaise turned five the next day. He was pretty excited, toes curled and all!

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Pile o’ kiddos! Saige is always part of the mix. She thinks she’s three.

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Birthday boy! Blaise turned five.

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Laine and I had a date. We went to Coco’s—on her request—and Target where she found a Halloween costume she HAD to have. And a duck hat she thought Saige would like (she did).

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We celebrated both kiddos’ birthdays at Brian’s dad’s house.

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I made homemade playdough. HUGE hit. Two hours worth.

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Brian took the kiddos on a scooting adventure up to the elementary school playground. In the 100 degree heat. I stayed home with Saige while she napped (and would have stayed home even if she was awake, no thank you to the heat).

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My mom’s backyard backs up to an almond orchard. Almonds often fall into her yard… the kiddos took a hammer to a few and cracked them open.

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When the kiddos went to sleep our animal crew came out. This is the last picture I took of Worm before she died.

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Pottery painting!

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Saige had a cupcake. A preview of what was to come at her birthday celebration.

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Lincoln Logs and LEGOs, both hits with the kiddos.

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Saige turned one! First pictures as a toddler. She added the headband, kid loves things on her head.

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Slip-N-Slide fun!

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My mom’s pup, Kubo. Handsome fellow!

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Brian’s dream came true. We bought a cargo roof box in order to get everything back to Washington that we acquired in California.

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Sorry! I always loved board games growing up but nobody liked playing them. Now I have kiddos to play with, even if not by the official rules.

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Those damn toads loved to intimidate me. =)

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Snuggles in a box!

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Saige discovered a love for socks. And she got her first rain jacket and rain boots.

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Blaise and his LEGOs. The kid is obsessed.

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Blaise has been in love with Saige since day one. Such an awesome big brother!

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Lainey Bug found a ladybug in my mom’s house. She released it outside.

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Chuck E. Cheese’s!

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Laine is Brian’s kid… they both make silly faces for pictures.

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Build-A-Bear Workshop!

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More backyard walnuts (and silly faces).

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Also in September… the kiddos were featured in their dance studio’s ad.

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