October Twenty Fifteen

October went fast. Broken record here, the month started and now it’s over. Let’s break it down for old times’ sake…

After being in California since mid-August, it was time to start packing up for the drive home. October started on Thursday and the big drive was scheduled for Sunday. I knew my blood pressure was still high and needed to take it easy, and I’m a planner. Thursday I packed everything except the bare minimum we needed (with help from Saige) and went to Target that night for travel items; Friday I did laundry and relaxed before the big weekend; and Saturday my mom and I went to IKEA with Saige, Brian took the big kiddos out for one last California adventure, and that night we packed up the van (and new cargo roof box).

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At Target Thursday, I bought the kiddos one last toy each since I had packed everything up earlier that day. I also (selfishly) figured it would occupy them Friday so I could get things checked off my list and enjoy some quiet. Blaise was quick to work Friday morning on his LEGO City Center set, Laine was Light Brighting, and Saige helped us all. Brian worked from home until early afternoon when his dad and Tara came over to visit. We ended our last Friday with a pizza night.

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IKEAing with Saige on Saturday. She found her future toddler bed for the new house and was quite impressed with herself on the bed, getting numerous comments from passerbyers.

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The big kiddos and Brian set out for their last California adventure and ended up in Park Land (what the kiddos call Land Park) at Funderland.

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Each time we do the drive, we always plan on leaving at a set time. I’ve learned to add about an hour to that set time as the actual time we’ll leave. The plan was to leave at 4am. We left at 4:30am. Not too shabby. The van was packed at capacity between all the stuff we brought back in August, the stuff we acquired, three kiddos, three animals, and us. Every square inch was taken up with stuff. I spent so much time purging while packing before we moved and I think we’ve replaced everything I purged (and then some). Note to self: when unpacking in the new house, purge.

The drive was as usual: long with several stops. And then there’s Oregon; slow speed limits and long stretches of pure boredom. At least in the boring parts of Northern California you can drive 85 mph without much concern (and CHP officers don’t wear ridiculous hats). Oregon isn’t all bad now though; there is an In-N-Out in Medford that we hit right at 11am when they opened. Little did we know it had only been open a few weeks. It was chaos. An hour later, we were back on the road. After continuing Laine’s North American rest stop tour, we finally made it to Washington state around 5pm… three more hours to go. Once we hit the Washington border, we just wanted to be home. Except we didn’t have a home to go to. We had a cheap hotel room for the night.

Motel 6. Not so bad actually. With the kiddos and animals, we needed a hotel (or motel?!) with door access right from the car. And, cheap. We didn’t want to spend too much for less than 12 hours. We checked in around 9:30pm and quickly settled the animals and kiddos in before calling it a night. Blaise was in a zombie state; he stayed awake the entire drive from 3:30am (when we woke him up) until 10pm when he was in bed. He was out in two seconds flat. We all slept hard. Except the cats, they took turns guarding the room from the windowsill.

Morning arrived bright and early with the kiddos up at 7am. After watching a few cartoons while we got ready, Brian took them to IHOP next to Motel 6 while I packed up the few things we brought in the night before. We checked out at 9am and drove to Redmond to get Brian’s car at the Stewarts’ and then on to Woodinville to move into the temporary apartment we rented sight unseen.

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The apartment is nicer than we imagined. It’s a ground-floor corner unit in the back of a building that is up against the Sammamish River Trail. And it’s clean and newly updated. Not bad at all for apartment living. We quickly unpacked the animals, clothing luggage, and a few toys for the kiddos before heading out for a busy day.

That Monday was a busy day. Motel to apartment to IKEA to my doctor to Target. With all the craziness from my pregnancy and high blood pressure, my doctor wanted to see me as soon as we were back in town. He checked on the baby; her heartbeat was strong. Then he checked on me; the medication was helping lower my blood pressure. And by lower, it was still high in the 160s. I was also measuring small. He decided to send me to a high-risk pregnancy doctor to be checked out and to have an ultrasound to measure the baby. He called them while I was in his office and they scheduled me for Wednesday. We left the doctor for Target to do a big run for supplies. We had nothing. No food or even toilet paper.

We survived Monday and the kiddos were zonked. They were in bed and out by 7pm. And by in bed, they were in sleeping bags on the floor. Fancy. We had nothing. The only seat was a camping chair we had taken with us to California for Snuggles. We needed a few things…

After the kiddos were out, I kept on going that Monday. (Looking back, probably not the best idea given my blood pressure.) The plan was to get Laine a full size bed for the new house so I bought one early to use in the apartment. Bonus, they could deliver the next day. Sold. I went to Cost Plus next and found a couch. Sold.

Brian went back to work Tuesday while the kiddos and I went back to IKEA. Bonus, I could feed them lunch there. We needed a few things to survive apartment living while our stuff is in storage. And cinnamon rolls. Always an IKEA necessity. Tuesday night, Brian went to storage and dug out card tables and chairs to use as a kitchen table. He also found a TV and cabinet to put it on. We wanted the place in order knowing there was a slim chance the high-risk pregnancy doctor would recommend the baby get out on Wednesday.

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Lisa was scheduled for kiddo watch Wednesday. Brian was at work. I left for the high-risk doctor. My blood pressure was extremely high. It was get the baby out day. Brian met me at the high-risk doctor and we drove together to Seattle to start the process. Thankfully Lisa was available to stay with the kiddos the rest of the day and overnight. We’d be lost without her.

Vaile arrived at 10:43pm. I documented her addition and everything leading up to her arrival already. Which is a good thing because rereading it, I’m sure I would have already forgotten a few things at this point.

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Brian has been off since the Wednesday Vaile arrived and we spent the rest of October as a family of six. Now comes the insane amount of pictures I’ve been taking so I can remember what the hell we do. I should probably go back to documenting weeks instead of full months to break up the ridiculous amount of scrolling needed.

Lainey Bug got a haircut and made a LEGO pirate ship. She never plays with LEGOS so this was a big deal… she asked me to take pictures from both sides.

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The big kiddos started back at school. Blaise couldn’t wait to get back and Laine was pretty excited, too. We absolutely love their school. What it should be about, play. And bonus, all outside.

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Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s the kickoff to holiday season which has the best activities the year has to offer. One being going to the pumpkin patch. Brian and I have been going to Craven Farm since before kiddos. The tradition has been kept alive. We added a stop in Snohomish this year, before the patch to buy treats. We actually went through Snohomish to get Brian at pie at Snohomish Pie Company (and treats for the kiddos) but they were randomly closed for two days. There was a sign on their door suggesting customers go to the bakery across the street for sugar cookies. I have this skill where I can eat an entire package of cookies. If not for kiddos, I would have eaten all six instead of four.

The kiddos ate their cookies, climbed on the various climbing structures, raced rubber ducks, picked out their pumpkins, and left with kettle corn. Vaile slept the entire time and has no clue she was even at the pumpkin patch (or what one is).

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Brian has been taking the big kiddos out for adventures and big kiddo time away from the little ones. Especially since Saige thinks she’s about five now and has to do everything they do. Breaks away from each other are good, for all of us at different times with it varying who gets a break from whom. The little ones and I enjoyed a quiet afternoon together. Saige likes to walk up and hug Vaile, and by hug she thrusts her head against Vaile’s head. Saige’s head is a weapon. After some hugs, kisses, and points, Saige went back to putting clothes on her head. One of her favorite past times.

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Vaile had her first bath at home. Brian is the bath guy so he took her to the sink and cleaned her up. She wasn’t the biggest fan of the bath when she had one at the hospital but seemed okay with it at home. Maybe it was because dad was bathing her and not some random nurse lady.

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We always try to go on individual dates with each kiddo. We had been lacking. It was time to start getting back to a more regular date schedule. Brian took Blaise to a LEGO engineering class Saturday morning and I took Laine to see Honk! that afternoon. She loves the arts, Blaise not so much (lesson learned). Before the performance when they were welcoming the audience, they mentioned the next play will be Little Red. Laine and I have tickets for November 1.

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Back when we were done with two (and maybe would have a third), we sold our Double Bob because we wouldn’t need it. HAHA. After we decided on a fourth, I knew I’d want a Double Bob again. The plan was to wait until Vaile was big enough to ride in the actual stroller seat (which could take months given her small size). And then once she was here we realized it would be difficult for me to take all four out alone. (Brian is a baby-wearer so he can get by with one stroller if he goes out alone with all kiddos. I’m not a baby-wearing fan… I like my space.) Amazon to the rescue. Two days later, we had the stroller, car seat adapter, and drink holder. We had that thing out within hours. Since we live along the Sammamish River Trail—and on the first floor making it easy to roll in and out—we left for an afternoon stroll. Such a smooth ride. I know we’ll more than use it to make up the cost (and they hold decent value to resale).

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Saige has started using snack cups regularly, even brings us empty ones when she’s hungry. Part of the fun using snack cups is feeding Mayah and laughing. Mayah doesn’t mind on bit. Saige also drags her high chair to us when she wants a meal. Kid is on it with food.

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Blaise and Laine are always kissing on and asking to hold Vaile. And then they ask us to take their pictures. Laine is like Brian; both like to make ridiculous faces for the camera. Still cute just silly.

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Life has been chaotic since April, back when we (unintentionally) started the house process. And then the pregnancy end from hell was most of September until Vaile was born October 7. It was nice having a day where life felt normal again. We made plans to meet up with friends at Farrell McWhirter, our former go-to park. We used to go there at least twice a week before things got hectic. What a beautiful park. And fall, leaves everywhere. It wasn’t busy as usual and we let loose the kiddos to run and do their thing. We started near the swings where they climbed a tree, went to check out the animals, to the water to splash in where the kiddos made a bridge with branches, on a hike, back to the animals, to the the tire swings, and ended at the huge tree in the grassy area where there were leaves galore. Man, I love that park.

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Vaile started getting this life thing down. She’s even alert for longer stretches during the day. She’s looking less and less like an old-manish newborn and filling out those cheeks!

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It only took four kiddos but we finally can swaddle now. And of course, Vaile isn’t a fan. We’ve pretty much stopped swaddling her at this point.

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This last week of October has been part stress-filled and part-normal. (Although stress-filled has become normal, haha.) Let’s break it down since it’s fresh in my noggin:

Last weekend we went back to our old stomping grounds. It was almost daily we played with our neighbors and it had been over two months since we had seen them. We made plans to play Saturday at their house. It was great to see them; the kiddos already started asking to play with them again as we drove away (and again several times since). Being back felt weird, right, and sad. It definitely didn’t feel like home yet it felt comfortable being there. We left to Carnation after to check in on the house. We’ve been going each weekend to check out the inside. It’s fun and also productive… I’ve already caught two materials mistakes.

Sunday I was craving non-kiddo time. I was half-way there. I stayed home with the little ones while Brian took the big kiddos to the movies to see Hotel Transylvania. I may not have been kiddo-free but Saige and Vaile napped so I had some quiet time.

We’ve figured out Blaise is much like having a dog and needs to be run outside daily. After the movie, Brian stopped by to pick up Saige and took the three to the park to get some energy out. The Stewarts came over for dinner and to check out apartment living before we called it a weekend.

Monday was a lazy start to the week. We had been on the go so much and were finally at a point where there were no more errands and we could just enjoy each day. The big kiddos started back at dance the Monday before and had class at 4pm. The week before we all went as a family; this week Brian took them while I stayed home with the little gals. I finally remembered to put the frozen lasagna in the oven we had been meaning to cook since the first night we moved in and bought it at the store. I cooked (noted for the record).

Tuesday was a school day for the big kiddos. After we dropped them off, the rest of us went to Kent to meet with a lady to discuss window covering options for the new house. Exciting. Not really. I’m particular about most things house-related, window coverings not so much. Of course I love plantation shutters but after spending more on the house and upgrades than we planned, I can’t rationalize dropping over $16,000 on shutters that the kiddos will likely destroy (unintentionally I’d hope). We’re still weighing our options but are pretty sure we have it all figured out. I’m a worrier so I’m just waiting for that final loan approval before we pay and order them. We left Kent with time to kill before picking up the big kiddos. Saige and Vaile were asleep so it was best to drive and prolong their naps. To Carnation we went. We took the long way and drove past the house before picking up the kiddos. Apparently this week isn’t as fresh in my head as I thought because I have zero memory of what we did Tuesday afternoon. Clearly it wasn’t exciting (as if window coverings are).

I take that back. Now I remember Tuesday (hours later). Miss Mayah. Poor old gal. Laine was napping, Blaise was iPading, Vaile was being held by Brian, I was computing, and Saige was bugging Mayah in her crate. I went over to move Saige and Mayah was in a weird hunched position while her eyes were rapidly going back and forth. Her whole body was freaking out and I was freaking out that she was acting that way. Brian quickly zipped her up in her crate and left for the vet. I called to warn them he was coming and what was going on with Mayah, and I broke down in tears while on the phone because it felt like this was it for Mayah. Brian called me not long after and said the minute they looked at Mayah they told him they didn’t have the expertise to treat her and sent him to a 24-hour vet in Kirkland that has a neurologist on staff.

He said it was like an ER when he walked in. There were about five staff waiting for their arrival (our vet called and told them to be prepared). They immediately took Mayah to the back and asked Brian to authorize up to $500 to make her comfortable because she was having a seizure. He did. They took her to the back. Turns out she wasn’t having a seizure. The vet diagnosed her with Idiopathic Vestibular Disease, also known as Old Dog Syndrome. Seriously, our animals always get the weirdest most random things. Turns out old dog syndrome is painless and has a decent prognosis with most dogs fully recovering within a few days to a few weeks. It can be more serious if the underlying cause is a brain tumor, which can be diagnosed with additional testing (like the $2400 MRI they offered). The neurologist was in surgery so they asked Brian to leave Mayah for a few hours so he could check her out afterward.

It wasn’t two hours later when Brian got a call from the neurologist confirming the vet’s diagnosis and that it didn’t make sense to do the additional testing given her age (she’s almost 15). If she has a tumor or something more major causing her symptoms, it was likely too late to do anything to prevent the inevitable. She was also ready to be picked up… she was back to normal and they said she recovered so well there were no signs anything was even wrong the hour before. In fact, she was doing so well they refunded him the cost of medications he paid for up front thinking she’d need them. And sure enough, the minute she walked back in to the apartment it was like Mayah 10 years ago. She was trotting, her tail was full-perk, and she was in the best mood. Go, Mayah! They said it’s likely she’ll relapse and to ride it out when it happens again (she did on Thursday, a shorter episode and she’s back to normal again). It’s been a rough month with Mayah, thinking she was on death’s door the day I came home from the hospital to a rough week where we didn’t know what the heck was going on with her. She was standing in corners and acting senile. She couldn’t even remember how to tell us she had to go outside. It was sad, weird, worrisome, and funny all at the same time. And then she was (mostly) back to herself after a few days until this episode. I’m thankful she is okay and still with us. Even Brian thought she was a goner and said he was saying goodbye to her on the way to the Kirkland vet.

That was Tuesday. No wonder I blocked it out.

Wednesday was doctor day. Vaile was supposed to go to the doctor 10-14 days after birth. Our doctor was booked until she was three weeks old so we called it close enough. Saige tagged along too. She woke up on Monday with some random bumps all over and there were more Tuesday morning. She had no other symptoms and was her happy-go-lucky self. We figure it was an allergic reaction of some sort, although nothing new has been introduced to her. I made an appointment to take her to the allergist in early November but since we had Vaile’s appointment already set, we added Saige to the mix. The plan was to go as a family to Carnation in the morning to get a few things from storage and stop by the library to check out books before I took the little ones to the doctor alone. We left Woodinville later than planned since Vaile was hungry. We decided we’d all go to West Seattle in order to keep our original plan and make it to the doctor on time.

Brian was successful in grabbing the LEGO Duplos, our rain boots, and a few other random items we needed. At the library, Blaise went straight to the truck books and Laine to the computer. Saige was all over the place like any other toddler. The library was having story time and asked Saige to join them when she walked by the room. Brian took her inside for a little bit while Vaile and I took the big kiddos to get their own library cards. They were so excited.

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To the doctor we went. Vaile was a whopping 5 pounds, 9 ounces. Up almost a pound since birth (and no longer wearing preemie clothing, moved up to newborn size). A happy, healthy kiddo. Saige was definitely having an allergic reaction of some sort. It was a quick in-and-out doctor visit with no surprises. And bonus, my blood pressure was down more. My doctor took it since I was there.

Thursday was another school day for the big kiddos. Brian dropped them off and then came back home to pick up the little ones and me. I was at Costco a few nights before and saw they were having a special safe event. Brian has been in the market for one so he wanted to go check them out. We left Costco with two safes and then went on a few errands I had, returning and exchanging some items. We picked the kiddos up and were about to turn to head home and decided last minute to drive straight at hit Dr. Maze’s Farm. It was a full day and it rarely happens… Blaise asked to be carried to the car when we left. He was exhausted from running around at school all morning and then at the farm.

Saige at school pickup. Our future Tiny Trekker.

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Dr. Maze’s Farm. A fun place although I question his doctor skills as the maze was practically dying. Maybe because it was a Thursday afternoon or the weather wasn’t so great but we had the place to ourselves. Sir was tired. We asked him to wait for us at the corn maze and found him lying down. Laine thought that was pretty funny so she joined him. Saige mazed it for a little bit before becoming so tired she was walking like a drunk person. Vaile may as well been at Costco for all she knew. And Laine brought her silly faces and camera poses. Needless to say, we had exhausted kiddos and early bedtimes that night.

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Whenever we’re on the go, it keeps us on the go. If we have many lazy days at home, then we tend to stay lazy. There must be some random rule of something that Brian knows that would describe this. Like the Tragedy of the Commons or Hanlon’s Razor… he always uses rules or laws to describe situations. I suppose Newton’s first law of motion would apply. Life has been feeling back to normal despite living in transition. And by normal, I mean heading out and about more often during the week to do fun things. Friday we kept on going… a friend posted pictures of a park in Snoqualmie that looked amazing. We went to check it out.

What an awesome park. I’m not one for play structures but this park had some really cool ones (no swings though, that’s good and bad… Laine loves them but would swing the entire time if given the chance). And there is a mountain bike park up a path surrounded by trees that has some fun structures and dirt mounds to climb on. I think people hibernate the minute the weather turns because we had the park to ourselves. My Native Californian self would never have said this 10 years ago but I love the quote, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” So true. And up here if you aren’t willing to accept the weather then you will hibernate, even if unintentional.

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Saige has been outfitted with proper outdoor clothing. She’s not too sure about her boots yet but the clothing is a hit, especially since it means muddy puddles are fair game.

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Snack time!

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Slide racers!

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Like all Octobers, it ended with Halloween. The big kiddos started the festivities Friday afternoon. Brian took them to trick-or-treat at Microsoft. They lasted about an hour before their buckets were full and they were tired. On actual Halloween, we stayed close to home. The apartment complex where we’re staying had residents place a placard on their door if they wanted trick-or-treaters. It was part treasure hunt, part trick-or-treating. We all went so Saige could go to a few doors. She was quite the social butterfly, inviting herself inside every door that opened. She lasted about 10 minutes before she was done. The little ones and I went back home for bedtime while Brian kept on going with the big kiddos. An hour later they were back home with full buckets. It was a successful Halloween.

Blaise was Chase from Paw Patrol, which was an odd choice since he hasn’t been into Paw Patrol in months. He kept saying, “Chase is on the case!” It took him a while to decide what he wanted to be; at first he wanted to be nothing. It wasn’t until Thursday night that I took him out to pick a costume.

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Laine was originally a unicorn—what the costume is intended to be—but she didn’t want to wear the headdress so she became a rainbow princess. Blaise called her a Reading Rainbow Princess. Whatever she was, she loved her costume. I’m impressed she didn’t want to change it last minute since she picked this out back in September. (Our iron is in storage, wrinkle-fest going on.)

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Saige was a lion by default since it was the only non-character costume we could find in her size at Target. I gave into Chase as an exception since it’s Halloween. I’m not a fan of character stuff… the kiddos pretty much get to pick whatever they want but I draw the line at character shoes, clothing, and accessories. It’s one of my things. Saige can have a Halloween exception when she’s old enough to decide on her own.

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Vaile was a cat-something. Domesticated cat hat and spotted outfit. There aren’t many options (last minute) for newborn size costumes. I don’t think she cared.

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October can be summed up as a disorganized, cluttered mess. Not my style but I’m surviving. On to November and December. My favorite months with holidays, early evenings, rainy and gloomy days, and activities galore. Bonus having Brian home thanks to his paternity leave. And the new house. Exciting times ahead (and I’m sure some unexpected chaos along the way).

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