February Twenty Sixteen

There are days I have to remind myself we had FOUR kids in FIVE years. Those days, most of February. I’m exhausted, short-fused, and in a perpetual funk. I’m a joy to be around. Funk aside, February is a great month. It’s still the start of the year so it feels fresh and changes can still be made (I know changes can be made at anytime, no need for an arbitrary start date), yet it feels like we’re into the year enough to be into a groove. At the start of the month, Brian had been back to work since the start of the year, the kiddos had resumed all their weekly activities, and Saige and Vaile started to pin down their schedules. I knew what to expect each week, and day if I thought about it enough.

For once, I’m not feeling very verbose (see funk acknowledgment above). So, mostly in pictures, let’s review February:

Play-Doh. They were working on making space. Laine is holding a galaxy.

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Burrito baby. If she has arms, she keeps herself awake and fidgets the entire time.

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Saige works really hard at taking care of her babies. Apparently the desk chair makes a great baby holder.

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Snugs is quite the family cat. She likes to make rounds every few days, switching whose room she claims as hers. Here she’s guarding Saige while she was napping. She’s a great cat. I feel lucky she picked us as her family.

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Laine started back with riding lessons, with full-on gear this time. New helmet and riding boots, and pants (I ordered the wrong size, so we’re exchanging). The trainer who works with her commented to Brian that he can tell how much Laine loves being on a horse. He said some parents bring their kids for lessons and he can tell the kids don’t want to be there.

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Saige being Saige. She thought it was pretty hysterical attaching snack cups to her feet.

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Pretending to be a horse.

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Vaile and that cow have a thing going.

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FOUR kids. Never did I think this would be my life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Maybe for sleep.

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Science.

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Our dining room is pointless. We have a table in the kitchen; one is enough for us. The fifth bedroom (aka the Hobby Room) was set up with a table and all the art supplies, along with Legos and other random toys that aren’t Saige-approved. It was working alright, the kiddos did art almost daily but I found that I wasn’t really getting involved. I missed setting up art projects and being with the kiddos, chatting while they create. Solution, move the art stuff to the dining room. It’s been great. It’s a learning/art space and we’re using it daily, sometimes all day. And it’s a great space for our upcoming homeschool days… the two days a week we’ll be home between the classes the kiddos will be taking.

Saige helped Brian put together the tables for the new space.

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The finished room. Much better (and way more fun) than a formal dining room.

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Lazy cats.

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Saige and her baby. She loves that thing.

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Valentine’s for school. I had big plans to make (nicer) Valentine’s and then the night before came and, well, we did our best. The kiddos had fun making them. Especially since they got to stay up past bedtime (slacker mom this year).

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Lazy animals.

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One of my goals is to start taking the kiddos out somewhere fun (at least) once a week, not including their standard weekly classes/activities. We used to do things all the time and then pregnancy hit twice, and having four is sometimes more hassle than it’s worth so we stay home. Moving to Carnation appealed to me for many reasons, one being walkability. I absolutely love being able to walk to the library, parks, store, pizza place, ice cream, river, trail, farmer’s market… so many options. There is an old-school park not far from our house that is within walking distance. I checked the weather—chilly, no rain—and bundled the kiddos up. We left at 10:45am. It started raining at 11am. We got home at 12:30pm. It stopped raining at 12:45pm. Go figure. Rain aside, it was nice to be outside. We made it home soaked. The kiddos said they were cold when we got inside so they went up and took a warm bath. Side note: it’s so nice having self-sufficient kiddos. Three more years…

The park is cute. It has swings for Lainey Bug, slides galore for the Pudding Pie, and climbing structures for Blaisey Daisy. Vaile just liked being out and about with her crew.

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Saige and clothes. She usually takes what she’s wearing off and puts on whatever she finds.

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Another goal has been to do more at-home things with the kiddos. So we made glue. It was for an art project using tissue papers and waxed paper. It didn’t turn out how I envisioned but the kiddos had fun.

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Vaile thought making glue was pretty awesome.

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Vaile was less impressed with the art project. Saige was excited to find the remnants from the project (she was napping during the fun).

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Red Solo cups. I grabbed some at Target thinking it would be something for the kiddos to play with. It was a success… they stacked for a while, even making a pyramid with all the cups. It’s always the cheap, non-toy items that make the best toys.

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Pepper riding Ginger. Laine is obsessed with the horse. Probably the best present we’ve ever given her. I love that Saige is in the background climbing, her latest thing. All the stools for the kitchen island are currently in the garage after multiple look at me standing on the kitchen counter and stomping with excitment looks.

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Adding to the list of things I never thought I do by choice as an adult: attend an RV show. Brian suggested the idea of getting an RV for our family a while ago. Six flight tickets is costly, on top of renting a vehicle large enough for our family, hotel rooms, eating out… an RV sort of makes sense. And with homeschooling, we’d like to travel around the country visiting national parks and museums (instead of only reading about them). We are totally clueless when it comes to anything RV (or camping-related really). We don’t want anything too big and nothing that requires towing, and not too expensive. The show was interesting. An odd crowd. The RV options are endless. There are some with full-size refrigerators, larger than the one we have in our house. Insanity. Although, they all look like they’re stuck in the ’80s when it comes to furniture and decoration.

We found one we like, the Minnie Winnie. Perfect size and enough sleeping areas for all of us, bed sharing required. As the kiddos get older, they can sleep outside in a tent if it gets too cramped. Knowing nothing, it feels like it will suit our family needs just fine. We’re in no rush to purchase one. Our plan is to rent one this summer and test it out—maybe a few times—before we purchase anything.

When we first got there, there was a guy walking around dressed like a pirate. He said hello to the kiddos and that was that. We figured he was a show-goer like us who happened to dress like a pirate. Because, Seattle. And RV crowds. Well, we ran into another pirate who told us there was a treasure chest hunt, five to be found with treasures inside. Blaise was on that.

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Laine riding Hershey at one of her lessons. She lights up when she’s on a horse. It’s really great to see her so passionate about something. Very thankful we can provide this for her.

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Post-ride, Hershey gets the works package and then he’s walked to his stall. It amazes me how unafraid Laine is, horses are huge (Hershey is a smaller guy). She walks around patting him no problem, gets up in his space, and knows how to touch/talk to him. And she works hard, a rare sight at home. The excuses she comes up with to get out of doing things are priceless. Maybe we should ask in a horse voice.

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Brian turned 38 on Valentine’s Day. We didn’t do anything special. Laine and I stopped at the store to pick up a balloon and pie after her riding lesson. That afternoon we walked to the park again, as a family this time.

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Blurry action shots. There were some massive puddles. The kiddos jumped in most of them. They caught the attention of some lady driving by who stopped to record a video of them, haha.

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The red cone. Part of our nightly routine is to put it at the top of the stairs. Laine set the house alarm off one morning thinking we were downstairs… we were still asleep. Now if the cone is there, the alarm is on.

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Saigers got a big girl bed. She’s not interested in sleeping in it though. We moved Blaise to a bed around one, and Laine around 18 months so I figured she’d be interested. It also serves as a get-away option from Brian’s snoring. =) We now have six beds; seven if you count the crib.

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I’m LOVING having a dedicated art space. Circle painting. I started keeping art posts so when the little ones are a bit older, I can remember what the hell I did with the big kiddos so I can do it with them.

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School tour. Brian’s mom was here for a week and the kiddos wanted to give her a tour of their school. At pickup, they guided us around the farm, showing us all their favorite spots. Blaise likes the creek and climbing; Laine likes the hammocks. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE their outdoor school. So much that their teacher has created an outdoor class for older/homeschooled kiddos next fall after a friend and I asked if it was a possibility. Score!

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That is the trunk of a huge tree that fell down.

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Laine feeding Vaile. Best big(gest) sister. Can you tell Laine likes pink?!

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The climbing phase. I’m too old for this! Saige is into anything and everything. Whomever invented the lock option on refrigerators must have been a parent to a toddler. Thanks to them. She didn’t know I was watching her; that’s her I’m caught face. Snugs in the background.

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Snugs is living the good life. And she discovered the nice, warm fireplace (and stole Mayah’s bed when she wasn’t looking).

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There was one day where it was absolutely beautiful. The kiddos took to the backyard and had a great time. I’m so anxious for spring and summer, able to leave the back door open and let the kiddos go wild. We have a large, amazing covered back patio I can’t wait to use for meals and super messy art projects. And the garage door we had installed in the back of the garage that opens to the backyard; open that sucker up and the kiddos can come and go with toys from the garage.

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Saige had a blast. She sat there for the longest time playing in the rocks and dirt. We need to figure out how we want cement in the backyard… even with a new home, the list never ends.

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Snugs making her rounds to Blaise (who is asleep).

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The Dollar Tree. So much good stuff. Paw Patrol coloring pages, score. Blaise colored, found the tape, and hung them up on his bedroom wall. He’s quite proud of his room.

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Dance party.

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Using the art space again, a daily occurrence. Saige was drawing while the big kiddos marble painted.

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Vaile supervised, as usual.

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Saige eventually got in on the painting action.

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Obstacle course kiddos. They set up a course and made up a game to go along with the chairs. The chairs are moved away from the art table thanks to our future go-go dancer. Moving them away didn’t last long… she just picked one up and walked it back to the table, climbed up, and gave me that ha ha look. Not sure what’s up with her tongue out, silly kiddo.

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Sliding Saige.

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Since she’s basically five in a 17-month-old’s body, she does everything the big kiddos do.

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Ever since I discovered the Dollar Tree, I get window decals for every holiday. It’s become a thing around here. They decided to put all the decals in a cluster on the back door. Whatever works, it’s temporary. Except in Laine’s room. Her window is still sporting snowflakes from Christmas and hearts from Valentine’s Day. Her room, her window.

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I finally bought a hose for out back. Enough said.

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More arting. Dot-Dots this day.

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A failed attempt at making homemade Play-Doh. I followed the recipe exactly. It didn’t really matter though; the kiddos still had a great time playing with the crumbled mess.

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Saige being Saige. She likes to swaddle her baby, basically suffocating the poor thing. I’m not sure what she was going for with the hat and car but she was having a great time. Notice the bar stool on its side in the background… those are the ones now in the garage until further notice.

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The Pudding Pie’s new bed.

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Blaise reliving his youth. When he was about two, he picked out this same hat from Target except it was pink. He wore that thing everywhere.

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On to March. My funk is coming to an end, I think.

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