January Twenty Sixteen

2016. New Year’s is quickly becoming my favorite time of the year. Fresh starts, new beginnings. And after 2015, a fresh start was much needed. Brian was back at work after his 12 weeks of paternity leave, I was back on all-day mom duty, and the kiddos resumed their weekly activities. We settled into life again, and in-between, enjoyed lazy days in our new house.

New Year’s weekend was Brian’s last weekend home before heading back to the grind. Those 12 weeks went both fast and slow. I have no idea how we would have survived everything if he only had four weeks. If he had, they would have all been spent at the apartment (which I have totally blacked out and erased from my memory). Having 12 weeks meant he was around to help adjust to having four kiddos, for the big move, unpacking, assembling, Christmas shopping, etc., etc., etc…. it was such a relief having him home. Especially since he is so hands-on. I always say he’s a better mom than me. And selfishly, I was able to sleep in most days since he would get up with the kiddos. And he made most meals. We had big plans to do all these things while he was off and we were able to scratch only a few off the list. Regardless, our time was spent together and it didn’t matter to me if it was at home doing menial tasks. As the month began, I was ready for him to head back so we could settle into a routine in conjunction with the new year but I was also sad to see him go. Bittersweet.

It’s been a month now and we’re good. Brian started working 7am-4pm, which has been glorious (there’s an under-used word). It’s been years that we’ve talked about him working that schedule. It never happened. Even worse, he’d go in around 10am which means he wasn’t home until 6:30/7pm, missing family dinners and getting home right at kiddo bedtime. The only negative is I’m on for school drop-off (and pick-up) now. I can’t really complain but I will… it’s a bugger to do drop-off with all four. Getting the big kiddos all set with all their gear before exiting the van, then getting the stroller out for Saige and Vaile, putting their warm coats and hats on, getting backpacks and snacks sorted, pinnies on… all in the pouring rain these days. And then repeat three hours later at pick-up. Except at pick-up, their gear includes muddy boots, pants, and jackets; super-soaked socks and long johns; and boots where water pours out. All signs of a great school day. Complaints aside, it’s all worth having Brian home early. And we love their school so that’s another worth it reason. As my mom always says, “You can do anything for a year.” I only have to do drop-offs twice a week until early June. Really, no room to complain.

Mondays and Tuesdays are a blast, too. Mondays the big kiddos have dance from 4-5pm. I leave home with all four and Brian meets us at dance at 4:30pm. One of us heads home with the little ones and prepares dinner while the other stays behind until dance is over. Tuesdays are school days. I do the whole drop-off and pick-up routine, and we’re home by 1:15pm. Then at 3:45pm, I leave home with all four to take Laine to choir. Brian meets us in the parking lot and one of us turns the van around and drives the three home while the other stays with Laine. Come Wednesday, I’m already tired from the week. Toss in a baby who is still waking in the night and exhaustion hits. Thankfully, the rest of the week is pretty smooth. We have Lisa here every-other Wednesday so I have some time off, and Thursdays are school days. Friday we have nothing official planned; they are typically play date days.

The weeks aren’t so bad. We survive. Back in my glory days when I worked, I’d always do the hard tasks first to get them out of the way so it’d be smooth sailing to the end of a deadline. That’s how I feel about getting Monday and Tuesday out of the way. The rest of the week is smooth. The mornings are pretty easy with the kiddos. I’ve been getting ready before they wake so I’m all set. Then they’re all up by 7:30am and while they eat breakfast, I clean up the kitchen and deal with unloading/loading the dishwasher (while Saige is strapped in eating). We all head upstairs after breakfast—leaving a clean downstairs—and while they get dressed and ready for the day, I make beds and deal with any laundry. Come 9am, we’re ready for the day (with a clean house!). We either start our day at home or leave for school if it’s a Tuesday or Thursday.

On home days, we spend our mornings upstairs. Most of the toys are upstairs in bonus room, and non-Saige approved toys (like hot glue guns and small LEGOs) are in the gated hobby room (aka the fifth bedroom) adjacent to the bonus room. Whenever we call it the hobby room, I always think of Candy Spelling and her gift wrapping room. How pretentious. The kiddos were calling it the LEGO room but we felt that was too Blaise-only and since it is a space for all, we needed another name. At first it was the fifth bedroom but hobby room evolved so there we go. And whenever I think of Candy, I always feel bad for Tori. She was raised in the lap of luxury, which continued in her 20s until her dad died. Then nothing. And now she has to hustle (in a Hollywood way). As a mom, I’d shell out $100 million or so if I was sitting on a fortune. But as the saying goes, you never know what happens behind closed doors. I’m just an observer, and a lousy one really since I don’t actually keep up on quasi-famous people. Back to toys… the big kiddos keep some of their only mine toys in their rooms. There are only two baskets of toys downstairs: a basket of train tracks and train cars, and a basket of random toys for all ages. My goal moving into this house was to keep the downstairs (mostly) kiddo-free for my sanity. Don’t get me wrong, I love being around the kiddos and watching them play. But after coming from tight quarters, I wanted to have kiddo-free space to enjoy. Not that they don’t play downstairs, but on those days, it’s easy to say, “Take it upstairs.” We did really well in out little 1100 sf townhouse, and we would be fine still but it is SO NICE to have the space to spread out here. We tripled square footage and find we use most of it on a daily basis.

Vaile is settling into the only parental advice I’ve ever taken seriously. The 2-3-4 nap schedule. I remember when Blaise was a baby and he transitioned into a nap schedule instead of napping on demand. I read somewhere about nap schedules and tried one. The deal is whatever time they wake up, two hours later put them down for their first nap. Whatever time they wake from their first nap, put them down for their second nap three hours later. And whatever time they wake from their second nap, put them to bed for the night four hours later. It’s been my go-to nap schedule for all the kiddos, and now Vaile. She’s almost four months and organically transitioning into a twice-a-day nap schedule so the 2-3-4 it is for her. She’s typically up at 7am so come 9am, she’s ready for her first nap. This last week I started putting her down in the crib at 9am, still semi-awake. She falls asleep no problem and takes a decent nap. If it’s a school day, she’ll nap in the car when we leave at 8:50am. Me putting her in the crib for her morning nap is unusual… we’ve always kept the kiddos with us at all times until about nine months. I guess with number four, things change a little.

The days we’re home, we head downstairs around noon for lunch. Saige has transitioned to napping once a day but is having a hard time making it past noon, with 1:30pm being my goal for her nap (she makes it until then even if she’s walking like a drunk for the last half-hour). We lunch, they play downstairs a bit while I clean the kitchen (again, joy), and then I take Saige up for her nap and have the big kiddos play quietly in their rooms. School days are similar, with Saige lunching before we leave to get the big kiddos (I’ve mostly been coming back home between drop-off and pick-up). We’re back home by 1:15pm and at 1:30pm, Saige is napping, the big kiddos are quiet-timing, and I’m doing who knows what. I either nap, take a bubble bath, compute, sit and enjoy the quiet, pet a pushy, purring cat, relive the ’80s listening to music… really, who knows what. I’ve even taken to realizing I can veg in front of the TV during the day. For some unknown reason, I’ve never turned the TV on during the day for me. I’ll put a kiddo show on here and there, but never anything to go brain dead on my end.

When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with reading about serial killers. Which made running alone at night a little mentally challenging. I still like a good murderer story, so the ID Network is my preference when watching brain-numbing television. Although, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown more disgusted with how police officers interrogate. I wish I was there to tell the person to leave, they aren’t under arrest or get an attorney. Always get an attorney, innocent or guilty. And I have to laugh, of all the shows I’ve watched where a person was murdered, the friends and family they interview always say the same thing, “They were so loved and well-liked, nobody would do this to them.” And then one day, a show about a middle-aged man who was murdered, all the family and friends interviewed agreed, “I can think of a few people who would want him dead. He wasn’t the nicest of guys.” So if there is no kiddo around (Vaile excluded, I just turn her away from the TV) ID Network; if there is a kiddo around, HGTV. It doesn’t get more kiddo-friendly than HGTV (side note: Brian has an unhealthy addiction with the Property Brothers).

There was a ramble. Probably not the last either. After quiet time and Saige wakes up, we all do whatever after a snack. Except Mondays we leave for dance and Tuesdays we leave for the choir car switch. The rest of the week we’re home. Blaise is often in the hobby room doing LEGOs, Laine flits around from playing with her horse—currently named Sherbert—to LEGOing with Blaise, Saige is all over the place, Vaile is with me, and I eventually start in on dinner. I’ve become domesticated. Brian probably is wondering what the hell happened to me. Even on Mondays and Tuesdays, I’ve been making crockpot meals since we’re not home to make dinner. Once he went back to work, I’ve been meal planning and making dinner regularly. Not every night, maybe 4/7 days. Baby steps.

Brian’s home about 4:30pm, we eat dinner, and then they all play while I clean the kitchen (AGAIN). We all head upstairs around 6:15pm to start the bedtime routine: brush teeth; empty out; get pajamas on; pick up the bonus, hobby, and bedrooms. Saige is the first to go down around 6:45pm. She gives everyone kisses and hugs, turns her light switch off, and grabs a paci for her mouth and one for her hand. The big kiddos and Brian read a book or two, and then they settle into Blaise’s bedroom. When we first moved in, I thought for sure they’d want to sleep in the same room despite having their own rooms. Laine slept in her room for the first month or so, and has since been sleeping in Blaise’s bedroom. I imagine she’ll be sleeping in there for a while. They have their routine, too: Laine selects five stuffed animals (otherwise she’d sleep with about 20), Blaise selects three books to read in bed, and they both need their tissue packs for under their pillows. It’s been trial and error with Blaise lately. He was going to bed at 7pm but staying wide-awake until 10pm, then sleeping in until almost 9am. We finally figured out he was staying up until we went up to bed… we always check on them before we go to sleep and he was always awake. After we’d see he was awake and kiss him goodnight again, he was out within five minutes. After weeks of this, I decided to start waking him up by 7:30am when the all the girls are up. It’s been a week since I started and he’s now asleep around 9pm. Which isn’t so bad… we let him read in bed until 8pm so he’s only staying up about an hour before he’s out. (By read, I mean look at books and flash cards. He isn’t officially reading yet.) He’s a thinker so I imagine he lies in bed pondering things before he falls asleep.

Growing up, we had set bedtimes. I’m continuing the tradition. Brian and I need kid-free time (again, Vaile excluded… for now). From 7pm until we go to bed. If the kiddos stayed up any later, I’d go a little nuts (or more nuts to be accurate). And with Brian going into work earlier, he’s up at 5am and me at 6am, so we need to be in bed by 10pm to get semi-decent sleep. Especially since Vaile is still waking in the night. We can’t really complain. She goes to sleep for the night between 7-8pm, eats with her eyes closed around 9:30pm before we go to bed. She’s up again between 3-4am, before she’s back out until 7am. When she wakes in the night, she fidgets to get our attention. She’s our last co-sleeper, sleeping between our heads in our bed. Whomever is on duty makes the bottle and feeds her, then puts her back down. She doesn’t even open an eye. It’s really easy. We’re just tired. And ready to be done with babies… not to wish time away, but sleep through the night, Vaile. =) Blaise and Saige were sleeping through the night around three months; Laine around five months. Hopefully Vaile catches on soon. And if she doesn’t, she doesn’t. We’ll survive and it’ll be a distant memory soon enough.

In our old place, I would often go sleep in the kiddos’ room and move a kiddo (or two) into our bed. I never understood married couples who have their own rooms until last year. Brian started snoring, loudly. And he falls asleep the minute his head hits the pillow, where I take a little time to decompress and let my mind wander (much like Blaise). We’re not going to have separate bedrooms but we’ve been sleeping separately again lately. We get in bed together and read or whatever, and then when we turn the lights out we attempt to sleep in the same room. Nine times out of 10, I’ll ask him to go sleep in Laine’s bed (since she’s sleeping in Blaise’s room). So it’s become our routine. I hate it and love it at the same time. One night last week, he and Vaile slept in Laine’s bed and I had our bed ALL TO MYSELF. It was glorious. I slept SO well that night. Especially after the night before listening to Brian and Mayah snore, not in unison. We’re on an every-other-night schedule with Vaile. Except last weekend, we made a deal that if I took her for a second night in a row, he’d get up with the kiddos so I could sleep in. I slept in until 9:45am. I love sleep. LOVE sleep. And the weekend before, he took on Vaile and let me sleep in both days. I need more sleep than he does. And he’s just an awesome husband. I’m still tired though. Again, sleep through the night Vaile and Brian, stop snoring. =)

So, yeah, that’s how our days have been going. I didn’t plan on going into that much detail but there you go. I ramble. Back to that weekend before Brian went back to work… we didn’t do anything special, no big send-off. We stayed in for the weekend and enjoyed being together. It did snow, which was pretty great. The last few times it’s snowed, we were in California and missed out.

Saigers taking on a spoon. She’s been using a fork since about 11 months, and has recently started using a spoon for oatmeal, chili, pasta, and the ever-popular lazy parenting meal, mac ‘n cheese (minus the cheese powder). She thinks she’s five so there was no question she thought she could use one. Even this last week at dinner, she reached over and grabbed Laine’s glass of water and started drinking. She did a great job; no spillage. And she sits at the table now, in a booster. She doesn’t do a high chair anymore. Kid is funny.

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Snow! Our backyard with a dusting.

03jan2016

Brian took the big kiddos on a neighborhood walk in the snow.

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Post-snow red cheeks!

10jan2016

Being on on mom duty to all four has been going well. Not a moment where I’ve though, “What the hell did I get myself into?!” I remember the day Brian went back to work after his four weeks of paternity leave for Blaise. He walked in and I was crying, wondering what the hell I got myself into. It wasn’t that he was a hard baby or that it was difficult taking care of him, it was just the unknown and feeling of loneliness. I kicked into gear after a week or two, and it was easy adding in Laine, then Saige, and now Vaile. Logistics are just a bit tougher now, like dropping the big kiddos off at school. I still manage to get everywhere on time. (Early, actually, like always. I blame my mom, haha. She forgot me on the first day of kindergarten back in the day when kids weren’t watched like a hawk. I stood outside the school for a few hours waiting and waiting. She fell asleep watching General Hospital. I’ve never been late since. Even with a gang of kids.) And I can handle shopping trips with all four, it just requires more time and planning. The van suddenly feels small though. With all the kiddos and their car seats, and whichever stroller(s) I need, there isn’t much room for anything else. Our Costco hauls are creatively packed in the van. I imagine a Suburban will be next, despite not really wanting one (too big).

Lunchtime for the kiddos. Not high on the sustainability list, we’ve mostly been using paper plates for the kiddos since Saige was born. Which reminds me, I need to get a food and yard waste can since paper plates can go in there. Which means I need to call CleanScapes whom I despise. I miss Waste Management. I’m probably the only person who says that. I don’t mind Comcast as a customer, either.

11jan2016

Cornstarch and conditioner makes a homemade Play-Doh/slime substance. Add in food coloring and it’ll occupy the kiddos for a while. Saige was in on the action, although she thought it was food at first. Vaile is part of the gang now, too. She likes to watch the big kiddos and has recently started interjecting laughs watching them. Except below, she likes to talk to the owl. I know the warnings about kiddo chairs and whatnot being placed up high. We live on the edge (no pun intended). It’s either risk her falling (unlikely, there are safe ways to do things) or being harassed by Saige who thinks she’s a toy (not very safe), lovingly of course.

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Week one, check. Saturday I took Blaise to a LEGO engineering class at Play Well. They made time machines, complete with a pulley system and motor. He’s such a LEGO rockstar. The youngest in the class by two years, and he was able to do the whole thing on his own without help. Mom bragging moment: all the other kids needed help getting the pulley system and motor to work. LEGOs are his thing, so we’ve committed to him LEGO engineering classes two Saturdays a month. And next fall, he (and Lainey Bug) will attend Play Well’s math and engineering homeschool class.

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Antiquing, me. HAHA. I saw a picture of a house with an older furniture piece that I really liked. I haven’t been able to find a new one anywhere so I figured antiquing would be my best bet. I went with Katherine back in December and I was appalled. The clutter everywhere and the smell, and not everything was actually an antique. Most things were people’s used crap that they didn’t want anymore so they passed off as an antique at a ridiculous price. Karann suggested the antique mall in Seattle since they have specific areas for furniture. Blaise and I went to Karann’s after LEGO class, grabbed lunch, and then went to the antique mall. It was an interesting experience. Not nearly as bad as the store from December but still used crap everywhere. And the WORST taxidermy I’ve ever seen. I’m actually tempted to go back and take a picture. Doubtful anyone has purchased the poor leopard. We found some fun things—nothing I wanted—and had a nice time among smelly, old stuff. Blaise was a trooper, too. I’m not sure I was thinking when I suggested Blaise come with, thankfully he’s the one kid of ours who listens really well and did an amazing job not touching things and being careful around all the items.

One of the few items I liked, a reclaimed wood dining room table. I’ve learned that adding antique to something increases the price dramatically. This table was $3,600 and yet there is a company in Seattle that will make a custom reclaimed wood table for under $2,000… we’re in the market for a larger dining room table.

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Bonus for Blaise: a train was going past the antique mall.

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Clamshells. Surprisingly many at the antique mall. Blaise was on a mission to find the largest. We were standing near this display chatting and Blaise spotted this sucker, the largest one he found. He was pretty excited about the find.

24jan2016

Sunday, I went somewhere. Most likely grocery shopping or some household errand. I came home to kiddo art. Of course they wanted to pose with their work.

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Mayah and Saige are BFFs. Mayah follows Saige around in hopes of getting food or crumbs, and Saige thinks it’s fun to give her food and crumbs. She also likes feeding her; she helps with the breakfast scoop. This was mid-day and she grabbed the dog food bag (prescription dog food of course, Mayah always has something medically going on in her old age). Mayah thought it was close enough to dinner and was hoping Saige was going to feed her. I personally like how Saige went to the kitchen beforehand and grabbed a baking sheet to put the food on since we keep the dog food dish out of her reach. Resourceful.

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The cats. They rarely make it into my monthly reviews. Moose up top, Snugs below.

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Vaile has started excersaucing.

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After we decided to put a television downstairs, we needed a way to watch Netflix and Amazon videos. We used to have an original Xbox from back in our pre-kiddo, Halo playing days. It eventually became too loud while watching anything and we switched to a Roku. After moving in, we couldn’t find the box with the Roku so we decided to get another Xbox. Not for any gaming reasons, strictly a video streaming device. Maybe gaming for the kiddos in a few years. Costco had a killer deal, even better than the employee discount Brian would get. One of the benefits of moving around the holidays, deals on everything we wanted. Brian did pick up a few accessories at the company store, including a mock controller made from foam for Saige. That lasted about two minutes before she realized she was being duped.

During the day, I often turn on music from Pandora through the Xbox. Saige grabbed the remotes and started playing with them… I think she was perusing Brian’s achievements when I caught her.

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A random sleeping Vaile picture. Cheeks! She’s come a long way from being 4.13 pounds.

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Her hands are starting to work. The kiddos gave her some trains while we were making a track. She’ll soon be called Grabby Hands IV.

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The Pudding Pie climbs now. On everything. And she thinks it’s funny when you catch her; she turns and laughs. Standing on the kitchen table has been her highest achievement yet.

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She’s also really into dressing up these days. Laine’s hat with high heels, snazzy.

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Who needs toys when there are boxes? I had some pillows and bookshelves delivered and the boxes became a hot commodity. They made for an afternoon of fun.

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Blaise wanted Saige to stop helping him with the large box so he dumped some toys into the other box to grab Saige’s attention. It worked for about five minutes.

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Vaile got in on the box action.

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Police officer Saige. The dressing up continues.

61jan2016

Snugs has become quite the family cat. She loves the kiddos, and makes her rounds to each of their rooms every few days. Saige likes to wear socks and will go grab some from her bottom dresser drawer. She must have left it open because when I walked in, there was a Snugs hanging out in the drawer. Which was better than the time in December I opened the washing machine and she jumped out. I had walked past the laundry room and closed the lid to the washing machine, and then the laundry room door. A few hours later, I went to do laundry and a Snugs popped out of the washing machine. Scared the hell out of me. Silly cat.

62jan2016

Corn on the cob, Blaise’s favorite. He had requested some with dinner one night. Request granted. Saige partook. She wasn’t that into it but took a few bites. I’m surprised, she’s a food hound.

64jan2016

Vaile was feeling the Bern. We happened to turn on the TV and the Democratic debate was on. We’re not heavily into politics but I wanted to watch a little to see Bernie. We ended up watching until the end. Man, I love Bernie. I may even register to vote. Brian said he would, too. When I turned 18, the first thing I did was register to vote. I was in the young, I can make a difference phase. And when I went away to Cal Poly, I learned the dorms were zoned to vote with another part of the county (or something like that)… the locals didn’t want college kids having a say in their town. I didn’t live on campus so I voted in every election, usually against the desired outcome. Because I could. My make a difference phase ended and I was in a stick it to the man phase. I didn’t register to vote when we moved to Washington. Mostly because I didn’t care enough. I got turned off from government and politics back when I wanted to become a lawyer and kept up on politics. That, and Washington is a super liberal state so I’ve never been concerned things wouldn’t turn out the way I’d like to see them. I haven’t been disappointed yet.

While I’m pretty sure the republican party has screwed themselves for the 2016 election and a democrat will take office, I’d like that democrat to be Bernie Sanders. I want to vote for him in the Washington primaries. It’s not that I fully support everything he has to offer—although I’m almost there—it’s that I’d like to see a career politician with a solid, consistent record in office who hasn’t been bought. It truly feels he’s for the people. And even if he doesn’t pass one thing, he’ll be there for four years to fight off changes from those who have been bought or corrupted. There are times I wish my dad was still around. He used to tell me, “Just wait until you’re older, you’ll become conservative.” HAHA. If he was only here to see that not only am I still extremely liberal, I’ve become even more so. I’ve always been socially liberal but I used to be more fiscally conservative. Now the higher we climb in income, the less fiscally conservative I become.

Hillary will work, too. Not that the GOP has anyone substantial to offer. I can understand why one would be a conservative and republican—and I think they’re needed to maintain a healthy balance in the system—I just can’t wrap my head around the fact there are supporters of Trump and Cruz, the current frontrunners. Even worse are the comments online supporting them. They typically include some form of name-calling of liberals and offer no solid reasoning why their support is correct. They also include some variation of a derogatory Obama name. I need to stop reading internet comments. I imagine they’re mostly from unhappy people hiding behind their computer all day. Feeling even more thankful we live in a liberal, progressive area. I digress. That’s about the extent of my political commentary for the next few years.

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Lainey Bug on her horse, Jumpy / Goosay / Sherbert / Lightning… whatever name she picks for the day. We can’t keep up. Complete with her cowgirl hat from the Western Wear store. I like how she dressed him up to be a superhero horse.

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Saige in mid-stand. I couldn’t grab my phone for a picture quick enough. She did stand on the sucker, looked at me, and laughed. More than once.

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Someone loves baths now. Full-on kicking and splashing. She doesn’t look too thrilled here but this was after 10 minutes of straight kicking and she was ready to get out. She passed out not long after. Look at those rolls! She’s gaining.

70jan2016

Thirty-seven. My age now. We celebrated my birthday on the 16th with kiddo-free time. It was the first time we were kiddo-free since July. Unless we count the midnight hospital trip to Lodi Memorial at the end of September when my blood pressure was high. I’d rather not count that. Lisa came to hang with the kiddos, and brought Emma (the kiddos were stoked). Since Emma was with her, she offered to keep Vaile. We had reservations at Salish Lodge for brunch, my birthday go-to. Brian still likes Denny’s on his birthday for the free Grand Slam. When your birthday is Valentine’s Day, there are limited eating out options unless you plan really far in advance. We didn’t do anything too special with our time; we brunched, went dining room table browsing, then went to Trader Joe’s (kid-free, glorious). It was nice to have some alone time, even if it was mostly mundane. And the always-favorite bonus of having my birthday on January 16, I get a three-day weekend (thanks, Martin Luther King, Jr.). An even bigger bonus is that Microsoft added it as a holiday this year so Brian was off. They added President’s Day also so Brian will have a three-day birthday weekend, too. I love how they said the added holidays are to “create time for us to pause in the lengthy period between New Year’s Day and Memorial Day.” No mention of celebrating the reasons why those holidays exist. We’ll take them anyway. (Although I support the work of MLK, Jr., I am not a fan of him for his philandering.)

I don’t feel 37. I suppose it feels right to be this age in terms of how long I feel I’ve been around but I don’t feel 37. I think I’m always going to feel about 28 in my head. To think I thought 40 was SO old when my mom was that age. Now, she’s 69 and I think that’s young! And now that I’m 37, Brian has the pleasure of saying we’re the same age until his birthday on February 14. He says it to annoy me. I imagine Laine will say the same thing to Blaise as they get older for the 1.5 months they’ll be the same age.

My birthday was the last day I left home until the following Saturday. I caught one hell of a cold. I hadn’t been that sick (non-pregnancy related) since I can’t remember when. I was congested and my head felt heavy, full of pressure. It wasn’t fun. Brian ended up staying home Tuesday and taking the kiddos to school while I slept. Wednesday I was able to survive mom duty, meaning I could handle the bare minimum to make sure the kiddos stayed alive. Thursday wasn’t much better with the kiddos stuffy; I kept them home from school. Friday was better but I was exhausted from my standard state of exhaustion, combined with the week of sickness. And of course, that Friday was the first time Brian lost track of time and didn’t make it home until close to 6pm. That was the weekend he did night duty for Vaile and let me sleep in both days.

Vaile escaped catching the cold and was quite chatty that week.

Baby or pillow?

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It wasn’t a phase. Laine is a horse rider. We’ve accepted there will be years of riding lessons ahead. And we’re happy she has a thing, one where she works hard. She was taking lessons off-and-on last spring and summer. When we went to California for our extended stay, we had to stop lessons. She’s back at it, and at a new place. A covered new place, so nice.

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Blaise and LEGOs, shocker. Vaile assisted.

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Painter Laine.

76jan2016

I’m surprised it took over two months before a kiddo asked to take a bath in our tub. I’m a bath taker. I always took a bath in the morning and night living at home, then transitioned to showers when I went away to college and lived in used places. I have issues, I can’t take a bath where others have been. Even with showers where others have been, I’ll only shower wearing flip flops. Brian used to switch out toilet seats for me in apartments, too. (See, issues.) Blaise came to chat with me while I was taking a bubble bath, and asked if he could take one. Then came Laine; she hopped in with him. Saige probably would have too if she hadn’t been asleep. I love our master bathroom… Brian showers while I bathe in the morning, it’s an odd togetherness thing we have going on.

One of my favorite memories when I was pregnant with Blaise… I’d take a bath at night in our townhouse (we only had a shower in our master, so morning showers there) and Brian would come in and chat while I soaked. I wish there was a way to enjoy pregnancy as if it were the first time for every pregnancy. That was such a wonderful time. The unknown and excitement for every little thing, which were mostly insignificant during my subsequent pregnancies. Not that my subsequent pregnancies weren’t great, just different.

79jan2016

The kiddos’ uncle Kelly and his girlfriend sent some really cool colored pencils. The kiddos started drawing with them until they decided to take Blaise’s multi-tool and shave them smooth. That lasted about one pencil before they decided to keep the rest how they came.

80jan2016 81jan2016

Chili Saige! Like with cheesecake, I make chili and don’t eat it either. Apparently it’s good… coming from Brian who debugs everything and looks for ways to improve. He doesn’t offer any changes to the chili. Saige’s spoon skills have greatly improved so we let her have at a bowl. She was quite pleased.

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Complete with some cornbread bites.

82jan2016

I’m proud of us, we’ve been eating at home. And they say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. I’m an extremely picky eater who has a limited menu of what I’ll eat. I can eat the same thing for six months at a time. Back in my high school days I’d go to Taco Bell every single day after school. When I’d get there, Leon would have my order ready. Then he started asking me out so I switched to McDonald’s. Not the healthiest, but that was back in the day when I wanted to gain weight (not the case now!). Currently, egg salad sandwiches are my standard lunch. I usually mark the hard boiled eggs with an X. The kiddos had better ideas. I gave them each a marker and they went to town. I almost feel bad cracking them since they make me smile.

88jan2016

BACON! Who doesn’t love bacon? Blaise actually. Saige, she loves it. Katherine took me to brunch for my birthday while the big kiddos were in school. We brunched at the Woodinville Cafe… in keeping with my marathon eating habits, I’ve only ever ordered the same thing at any of the local cafes. We did a little perusing at the Dollar Tree after, then to Cost Plus, before Katherine stayed with me for school pick-up. She stayed in the van with the little ones. It was nice to be able to get the big kiddos without the little ones, a big thanks to her. She was with me for pick-up that Thursday, too… we drove her to the airport after.

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Lisa was with the three kiddos on a Wednesday while Vaile and I left for some errands and to meet Brian for lunch. Here, she’s looking concerned about all the clutter in Bed, Bath & Beyond. She’s gotten handsome a few times, even while wearing pink or having a pink blanket. One at Bed, Bath & Beyond this day. We just go with it. I can’t tell with some kids, either.

94jan2016

Vaile moved up to six month sized clothes on my birthday. Last year, Saige rolled over for the first time on my birthday. Milestones, small but worth noting. Before we met Brian for lunch, we went to Carter’s to buy some six month sized outfits. I bought the other kiddos each an outfit. Saige, being the dress up fan she is, wanted her outfit on as soon as I showed her. She was cute, Laine was upstairs when she changed. When Laine walked downstairs, Saige ran up to her and pointed at her new shirt. She did the same thing when Brian got home. The moment he walked in the door, she was showing him. He hadn’t even closed the front door yet.

On lunching with Brian, my bad luck struck again. Last time Vaile and I met him for lunch, we wanted Mexican. We went to our go-to Mexican restaurant. It closed. So we drove the other direction to go to our other go-to Mexican restaurant. It closed. We ended up getting burgers somewhere. Then last week when deciding where to eat, Claim Jumper came to mind. When we moved in, the developer gave us a welcome basket, including a gift card to Claim Jumper. Really, I think the sales lady went to QFC, looked at the gift card wall, and picked a gift card to a restaurant that didn’t scream cheap like Applebee’s or wasn’t a kiddo restaurant like Red Robin, before settling on Claim Jumper because it is family-friendly and we could likely get a meal for our family with a $50 gift card. Not to sound ungrateful—they didn’t have to do anything—I’m just still bitter from the house building experience. To Claim Jumper in RTC we went. It CLOSED. It was comical at that point. On the bright side, we went to Canyons and had great food. We went there once when we first moved here and never went back; we can’t remember why.

95jan2016

Card games, always a hit. The kiddos have been playing UNO often, a game I enjoy playing with them (I’m not a very good play with the kids mom so I stick with what I like). I forget what but I ordered an add-on item from Amazon and needed to hit $25. Solution, Swish. They’re enjoying it. And they don’t necessarily play how it’s meant to be played. Whatever works, right? They’re happy.

96jan2016

Clearly, Swish wasn’t all that exciting for some people.

97jan2016

We have a belly laugher.

We did a quick experiment during breakfast one morning. Put milk on a plate, add dots of food coloring, then add dish soap and watch it swirl into a marbley mess.

98jan2016

Lunchtime kiddos. They asked me to take their picture. Since I’m looking at this, I’ve found they will all eat more if I use those container things.

99jan2016

Part of Blaise’s LEGO obsession is watching You Tube videos of people making LEGO creations. He found a channel with a kid—he’s maybe nine—who posts videos often. Since he started watching them, he now narrates when he works on his LEGO creations. It’s pretty cute, “Today we’re going to make… first you… then take this piece…” He asked me to record him last Friday. We usually keep all the non-Duplo LEGOs in the hobby room, behind the gate. Saige was quite happy to get her hands on some. I gave her a cookie we made the day before in hopes she’d lose interest in the LEGOs. Nope, she just ate the cookie while harassing the LEGOs.

102jan2016

Blaise’s video. Either I say like too much or the videos of the kids he watches on You Tube do. (I don’t think it’s all me.) I think he was a little nervous at first when describing the pieces needed, cute kiddo. Not too shabby for his first video. I’m realistic though… he has ways to go. I personally like Mayah’s appearance. Funny old gal.

We ended January with a Saturday LEGO engineering class for Blaise followed by an at-home Sunday. We’ve found staying home is more relaxing now that we have the space. I’ve always been a homebody; Brian is coming around. When he was a teenager, his goal was to get out of the house because if he stayed, he’d be given chores to do. I’ll never forget the Saturday we had plans to go to Great America and his step-mom (at the time) required he detail their 12-passenger van before he could leave. Not an easy task given there were young boys who would stick gum in places, kids! (They’re good kids, men now actually. I’m old.) Of course there was no mention of this chore until she learned we were going… good times, haha. He remembers having to scrub the baseboards with a toothbrush. Ironically, she never made her kids do those type of chores. I’m anti-chore anyway, and I image Brian is too given his history. We haven’t really talked about that parental choice yet…

103jan2016

That was January with some nonsensical rambles. On to February, where it’ll go by in flash. Even with the extra day.

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