May Twenty Sixteen

May actually felt like a month. Not a flash. Probably because we didn’t go many places… I’m in a semi-hermit mode. And being a homebody by nature, it was easy to spend most of May at home. Nothing much happened during the month, a different story from last May when life started to become chaotic… we talk about last year and wonder how we did all that nonsense. This May, much calmer. And now for the ridiculous amounts of pictures (where some look the same as others):

The big kiddos got out a little more than me, kicking off the month with their annual Camp Orkila weekend trip with Brian. No raccoons stealing bags of chips in the middle of the night this year.

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Rock painting, or hands and arms painting for Saige. Reason #482 why I love having the backyard art table (what it’s called now by the kiddos). And bonus, they enjoy cleaning up… they take the hose and go to town. Kids and hoses, always a hit.

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Brian’s mom moved to the area. She accepted a position at Swedish Edmonds and is living in Lynnwood. After living here 10 years, it’s nice to have a family member near by. We went up to her new place to check things out.

Before checking out his mom’s new place…

My first car accident, I was rear-ended. That was fun. I dropped the big kiddos off at school and driving back, I was stuck in the late-goers (or early-goers for Microsoft) line of traffic heading west on Avondale toward the 520. It was stop-and-go and as I was slowing down to break, boom. Weird. I’ve never been in an accident (aside from when my dad ran me over). The guy who hit me was cool, he immediately owned it and said he’d pay. He even emailed me apologizing for hitting me a few hours later. Nice! He wanted to pay out-of-pocket but ended up going through his insurance. A mom at the kiddos’ school said I’d need to buy all new car seats—a requirement by most car seat companies after any accident, whether they’re occupied at the time of the accident or not—and I have four. Between four new car seats, the car damage, and rental car we needed while ours was in the shop, I think he figured insurance was his friend.

After the accident, I called our doctor to see if he needed to see Saige. I was’t worried about Vaile, she was rear-facing… Saige was facing forward. We bought her a new car seat a few weeks before and being the horrible car seat installer that I am, I put her in forward (that, I can do) until Brian could switch it backward for me. Well, I kept forgetting to have him switch the seat, and I’d only remember when I’d go to put her in and Brian wasn’t with us. Eh, life happens. Given how my neck whipped forward and back after being barley hit, I wanted to make sure Saige was fine. I thought she was; I’m not even sure she knew we were hit. Going to the doctor wasn’t on the schedule for the day. We made it work though. I went home to Carnation after the accident (to call USAA), left and picked the kiddos up from school in Redmond, picked Brian’s mom up in Lynnwood, and then drove to West Seattle. Basically took a tour of the area. Saige was fine. They wanted to check me out too but I declined.

People must file injury claims all the time… his agent assumed I was going to since I took Saige to the doctor. Uh, nope. Just following the doctor’s recommendation to have her seen. I’m not a milker though… I’ve actually returned insurance money before. I thought I lost one of my wedding bands. I couldn’t find that sucker for weeks. I finally determined I lost it in a dressing room while trying on clothes. I called USAA (amazing company) and they had the money to me two days later. Because timing always works like it does, I found the band before buying a new one. I called USAA and said I found it and needed to return the money… they didn’t have an official system in place. I ended up sending a check for the amount. While I’m certain I’m not the only one, the agent I was working with said I was their first to return money since they’d been in the business.

After the doctor, we drove back to Lynnwood to officially check out her new place. She got the keys the day before. Brian left work early and met us there. We picnicked on the floor for dinner and the kiddos enjoyed running around without any furniture in their way. After a busy school day for the kiddos, accident for the little ones and me, and a busy afternoon, the kiddos were spent (me, too). We left for home in two cars and called it a night.

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Saige colored on the wall. It’s about that time. Nothing a magic eraser couldn’t handle. It’ll happen again…

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Vaile is a presence now. Not that she wasn’t, it’s just that she’s no longer only a cute little blob. She’s sits up; eats food; utilizes her grabby hands to their full potential; sleeps through the night (FINALLY); found her voice, not just pterodactyl screeches, babbles… she’s a full-on baby. And she’s in that super cute baby phase where everything is exciting and warrants a smile (and bonus, she can’t move yet). I see crawling in our near future. And if she’s anything like the others, crawling will be short-lived. She’s not a roller yet, but neither was Laine (who crawled before she rolled).

She’s still a cat napper, napping 20 minutes here and there. Totaling maybe two hours a day. With each added kid, they want to keep up with the others that much more. She’s almost eight months, which means she’s almost a year, which means she’s almost five-years-old in Saige terms. Therefore, naps aren’t needed. If she was my first I’d probably be going crazy. I like naps. Being the fourth, it’s all good. Although, come mid-June after the kiddos’ school ends, we’ll be instituting set nap/quiet times for each kiddo. Sleep, play, whatever. Just be quiet for an hour.

If you’re going to cat nap, may as well outside with a view.

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Blaise found a slug in the backyard. And of course, Laine wanted to be in a picture with the slug.

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Brian took the Thursday off before leaving for Camp Orkila Friday. We took the big kiddos to school and spent time with the little girls. We went back to our old temporary ‘hood, Woodinville, and spent time at the park near the apartment we rented for those six weeks I’ve blocked out. Our 1.5-year-old who everyone thinks is 2.5, and she thinks she’s five makes for an entertaining time at the park. A little over-confidence on her part. She hangs though, going down the tallest slide and using the big kid swing (she refuses to swing in a bucket swing because, she’s five).

After playing, we watched the geese and found a caterpillar before leaving to pick up Blaise and Laine.

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Someone had a dog on a leash wandering on its own at school pickup. Saige decided to claim the dog as her own, picked up the leash, and started walking it around. The pup’s mom was close by, chatting with someone.

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We have toads in the backyard. Lovely. This little guy was escaping the lawn mower. Brian rescued him and moved him away.

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While Brian and the big kiddos were at Camp Orkila, the little ones and I woke up early Saturday morning. My plan while they were away for the weekend was to stay home and do nothing… but I had to walk Melvin. I tossed Saige and Vaile in the Double Bob and attached Melvin’s leash to the handle bar. My plan was to walk but I ended up running on the trail. Score. It felt so great to be running again. It wasn’t a long run or fast by any means, but it was a run. I’ve been somewhat back at it since.

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Toads. They’re cute and I’d never hurt one, I just don’t want to be around them. The first time I realized we had them out back was when I was picking up toys. I bent down to grab a bucket and a toad jumped. Scared the hell out of me. And of course the weekend Brian (and Blaise, my other toad mover) was out of town, a cute little guy was held up on our patio table. I have no idea how he got there. I figured he’d leave on his own but hours later he was still hiding under the pot. I moved the pot in hopes he’d leave… he went back under the pot. I started to worry about him not being able to get down so I helped. I grabbed a shoe box, moved the pot, and he jumped right in. I let him out in the back of our yard where I’ve seen toads before. Success.

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Saige was hiding.

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The kiddos’ Mother’s Day gifts from school. They also made me some pottery at Camp Orkila.

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Reunited after Camp Orkila. It’s nearly impossible to get a picture where all four aren’t blurry… see blurry Saige.

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Brian was home with Saige and Vaile… they water painted.

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Saige and Vaile.

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Sand play, in the sandbox.

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We’re absolutely loving the backyard. Melvin loves it, too.

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Our garden is growing… the plants are much larger now (a month later). Blaise’s peas had a few ready for picking. The only time I’ve ever seen Laine eat peas and say they are good. We even have some red strawberries out there now. They’re not quite ready yet though.

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Another cat nap outside.

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There were some hot days in May. Hot enough for water play… or barely hot enough to wear their new swim suits and water shoes.

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A little water shooter action.

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Saige broke one trying to figure it out. Another Dollar Tree trip is in order.

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Lisa was home with the kiddos while I was out and about, with the task of obtaining a slip ‘n slide. It had been hot and after they played with water the day before, they asked for a slip ‘n slide. Side note: Ross has excellent deals on toys. I went to Fred Meyer first to buy one… it was $29.99 I ended up at Ross on accident (killing time waiting to lunch with Brian next door) and the exact same slip ‘n slide was $16.99. So I bought the Ross one and took the Fred one back. Whatever the cost, it’s a hit.

Lisa texted me before I made it home that Laine wasn’t feeling well. She was fine in the morning but when I got home, she was listless on the couch and had a fever. Blaise, Mr. Anxious, wanted to slip ‘n slide. Laine was asleep on the couch. I set up the slide.

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I also bought a sprinkler. Vaile watched. Sitting up! Her first time sitting on the grass.

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Laine asleep on the couch… Saige was (is) adorable. She put Laine’s swimsuit on her while she was sleeping. I guess she was hoping big sister would come play outside.

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Vaile and Blaise. Hanging together out back post slipping ‘n sliding.

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Laine was feeling a little better after sleeping the afternoon away. After dinner, we made hand puppets. Laine on the left, Blaise on the right, my frog in the middle.

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Cookie makers. Laine still wasn’t feeling well so the kiddos missed school Thursday. We made cookies instead.

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The ever-changing fifth bedroom. It was the LEGO room, then the art room… now we’ve moved the elliptical and treadmill up there. The plan is to use them while the kiddos play upstairs. I can squeeze in a half-hour here and there. I suppose it’s best to call it Snug’s room since that windowsill is her spot. All day, every day.

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We filled the sand table last month. Do the kiddos play with the sand in the table? Not really. Blaise took sand and mixed it with paint. Good thing sand is cheap, bad thing is there is sand all over the backyard. Oh well.

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I bought a plant terrarium for the kiddos a few months back. I put it away so the kiddos wouldn’t see it and forgot it was in the closet. We were out back and looking for something to do… I remembered I had the sucker. It was a nice little activity. And it’s sprouting now.

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Laine missed out on the slipping ‘n sliding the week before. It was another hot day so we busted that thing out again.

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The many faces of Vaile.

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Raspberry hands.

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Little sisters playing together. Saige thought Vaile needed a hat (Vaile didn’t care).

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I took Laine on a post-riding lesson date. She requested we go to a restaurant that neither one of us had been to before. Saige took care of Vaile for us… supervised by Brian.

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The ice cream truck driver figured it out… he was driving around close to 8:30pm. Which is cool for the older kids around, but our under fives are all in bed by 7pm. I was wondering if he’d ever drive around earlier. The kiddos were up late one night when he drove by but the guy was booking it so fast he didn’t see Brian and the kiddos standing on the driveway waving at him. I felt bad out kiddos missed out. They’d never experienced an ice cream truck before. About a week later, I happened to be upstairs getting their rooms ready for bedtime and saw the ice cream truck head up the street. Knowing he’d turn back around, I sent Brian and the kiddos outside to catch him. The made sure they were on the sidewalk so he’d see them. Sure enough, he did. And he was knowledgeable about peanut allergies, bonus. I think he figured timing out because he’s now been back by a few times. Lucky for the kiddos.

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Looking at the picture above, I forgot we made bird feeders earlier in the month.

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The big kiddos had a birthday party the coming weekend. We bought the gifts and wrapped them. Next up, cards. They love to do art so they made pop-up cards for the birthday girl. Laine also colored her a horse picture. I love how kids always want to do things for others. I wish more adults were the same way.

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A boy and his wagon. Best Costco purchase yet.

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Another Costco purchase… bully sticks. Memories. Miss Mayah used to chew them all the time back in our SLO days. When she had teeth.

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The Happy Chappy as the kiddos call her. Fitting.

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The awkward back area of our yard. We’re not sure what it’ll become when we find the time to officially landscape the backyard. For now, it’s a play area. It’s used almost daily so maybe we’ll keep it a play area.

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Birthday party day.

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Riding lesson day.

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When Saige isn’t stripping naked, which is why she wears her zippy sack pjs (as the kiddos call them) backwards at night, she’s dressing herself in all sorts of things. This day, a shirt as pants. She worked it.

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Mice! Our garage was a mess. It became a dumping ground for the things we no longer need or want from the house, and we still had a few boxes from the move that we needed to unpack. It was a mouse haven. We started seeing evidence of mice and it was getting worse. We debated about getting an exterminator and looked up mouse traps online… one marketed they kill mice in five seconds. That’s a long time to be shocked, poor mouse! We couldn’t bring ourselves to do anything that resulted in death so live traps it was. Brian did some research and we found Havahart traps. We ordered two. The kiddos were so excited when the box came. Brian set them up that night and we checked first thing in the morning. We had two mice! They were so cute. Brian released them in a field nearby. The next morning, we had one mouse. None after that. And no more evidence. We think we’re mouse-free.

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Blaise hanging from a tree at school. I’m so happy they get to play outside their entire school time. I can’t imagine sending them inside a classroom, it sounds so boring and depressing.

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Blaise is still LEGO obsessed. It’s fun to watch his LEGO evolution… from Duplos to LEGO sets, now he builds his own creations and names them. I’m certain if he was more interested in writing he’d make his own plans. I imagine that will be next. This is a recycling machine. He demonstrated how it works by removing some pieces. He takes it pretty seriously. (He also needs a haircut.)

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Pigtail jumper.

“Mom, do you want to take a picture of us?”

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Blaise caught a dragonfly. It flew away a few minutes later.

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Four Targets later, I had enough string lights for the back patio.

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Because Saige is five, she rides on the end of the cart. Of course they had to have a picture taken.

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We’re growing butterflies and ladybugs.

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Brian and his mom took Laine to her riding lesson, and I encouraged them to take Blaise. When Blaise stays home, I feel the need to give him one-on-one time (we usually do LEGOs). Not that I don’t enjoy our time, I just needed some time at home while the little ones napped to get things done. The stopped at McD’s after for a treat. Blaise looks possessed.

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Since Brian’s mom was over, she stayed with Blaise and Laine while Brian, Saige, Vaile, Melvin, and I went for an afternoon trail run. I loved the Lake Sammamish Trail by our old place; I love the Snoqualmie Valley Trail that much more. Then again, I love everything Carnation.

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Riding lesson, McD’s, trail run, dinner. Busy Sunday. Mike and Katherine were coming over, and Brian’s mom was here for dinner. The kiddos made a fruit salad to accompany the teriyaki chicken (or fake chicken for some) and broccoli bowls. They get their desire to do anything food-related from Brian. I happily watched.

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Vaile eats now. Eggs and strawberries were on the menu this day. Although, half of it ends up on the floor. Which means, half goes to the dogs. I’m not sure how people with kids and no dogs deal with so much cleaning up… the dogs are better than any broom after a kiddo meal.

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No picture to show but on Memorial Day, we finally cleaned the garage. It’s this massive four-car tandem garage and it was filled with so much stuff. It’s so bare now. Amazing. I wear a Fitbit and after a short morning hike, followed by cleaning the garage from 11am until 6pm, I had over 23,000 steps. What a great feeling to toss things. And having had mice made it that much easier. Anything we thought the mice were in, we added to the junk pile. I called a junk removal place and they came and took it all.

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The last day of May. The big kiddos had school and then dance pictures in the afternoon. A busy end to a semi-lazy month.

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On to June. Fun things ahead.

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