An Update

December was my last monthly update. I’ve been so busy focusing on the kiddos, savoring every moment while they’re young, embracing motherhood… haha. More like surviving and maintaining my sanity while being a slacker. And now May is in a week. As in the fifth month of the year. Year 2017. Twenty years since I graduated high school. Eleven years since we moved to Washington. We’re going to have a seven-year-old soon. Seven. At this rate, next week I’ll be ordering coffee at IHOP using a senior discount while wearing elastic-waisted pants. And then death. Sounds about right. Until then, and update. The flash since December, in rambling mode:

Hermit mode. That’s how 2017 started. We had a busy fall leading up to Christmas. Our days were packed between family stuff, kiddo stuff, and hanging with friends stuff. After my annual take the Christmas tree and decorations down Christmas night, hermit mode began. It’s actually my favorite mode. I like staying close to home, not having much on the schedule, hanging with the family, and enjoying time to myself. I also love the short days, cold weather, minimal sunshine… sounds depressing but I absolutely love the winter months. This article about Seattle having only three mild sunny days went around last month, mostly accompanied with sad faces, and I was smiling. Even growing up in California where I never needed a true winter coat and could wear shorts in January, I craved rain and cold. And now I get it all, along with snow occasionally. It’s perfect. And an article from this week, breaking a 122-year record for rain, awesome.

Spring sprung and hermit mode came to an end. Life is happening again. We’ve pretty much planned out the rest of the year… booked summer trips, registered for fall kiddo classes, started weekly plans with friends again. I’m not hermitting anymore. And it’s a nice change. My life has always been pretty simple and expected… which is great, but as someone who loves and craves change, I think I create modes so I get my change fix.

Speaking of changes, a few updates from 2017 so far:

Our bedroom is kiddo-free. We’ve had a kid or two in our room every.single.night since September 18, 2014… the day I came home from the hospital with Saigers. We co-slept with each kiddo. Blaise was out at nine-months to make room for Laine; Laine was out at just over a year. Even then, one or both would end up in our room a few nights each week. The goal was always to have them start sleeping in their own beds and wherever anyone ended up come morning, it didn’t matter. Musical beds. That’s what we call it. Heck, I remember one night waking up to Brian’s snoring—leaving to sleep in a kiddo bed—and I found Blaise sound asleep in the hallway. He was asleep, that’s all that mattered.

With all the house selling and buying, and homelessness stint, we played not only musical beds but musical rooms. When we stayed with my mom, she has two guest bedrooms that we’d all rotate around (even cats and dogs). And when we lived in the apartment briefly, we all slept all over the place. Not having furniture makes that pretty easy. Poor Vaile came home to a bare apartment with six people, two cats, and two dogs squeezed into a little 800sf place. Good times.

After moving into our house, the three oldest kiddos went to their own rooms while Vaile moved into our bedroom. She was in our bed until she started crawling, and then into the crib next to our bed to break the tradition of crawling over the side of the bed. Not anymore. Brian had the brilliant idea (go, Brian) to move Vaile in with Laine. They both fall asleep the minute their heads lie down and they’re both up early. Laine was on-board with this plan and excited to have baby in her room. Although Brian had the idea, he was thinking in a few more months… I was ready the minute he suggested the plan. Baby is a light sleeper. The minute we’d head up to get ready for bed, she’d wake up. And if she woke up in the night and could see us, she’d carry on until we moved her into our bed. She has life figured out. The first few nights in Laine’s room she went to sleep no problem… until about 1am. She’d wake up crying and we’d have to sit with her, and end up moving Laine to our bed and one of us sleeping in Laine’s room. After two nights, all is well. Baby either sleeps all night or wakes briefly. We give her a bottle and she goes back to sleep. Granted, we still do middle-of-the-night bottles when needed with Saige so the next corner to turn will be taking night bottles away. But, hey, it works and we all get sleep. That’s our main focus for now.

Having our bedroom kiddo-free is more than having our room back. It confirms that I officially feel DONE having kids. I’ve always heard and read there is a feeling moms get when they know they’re done having kiddos. I now have this feeling. I am SO ready to move on in the parenting world. It’s been fun having four kiddos close (questionable at times, especially with no family around) and I wouldn’t change how we did things. But daydreaming what life will be like when the youngest two are Blaise and Laine’s age now, and how everyone will be fairly independent… glorious. I’m not wishing time away—okay, maybe I am a little.

Related: I had a dream a few weeks back I was pregnant with a fifth kiddo. In my dream, Brian and I were in a hospital room… at Planned Parenthood. I was getting an abortion. I already felt done. That dream confirm things. Watch, I’ll get pregnant now. Ha! NO. Snip, snip…

Saige is getting easier. I can’t believe I’m able to type that. Saige is, well, Saige. She’s a highly independent, determined, strong-willed kiddo who thinks she’s five-years-old and can do anything and everything Blaise and Laine can. Which is great… for her. She’s my first kiddo where I have to stop and think, “Can I take her here at this time of the day?” I have to consider what time she woke up, has she eaten, how much activity has she had, is she tired, does she need a nap, what’s her mood for the day, will she be okay in the stroller/shopping cart… so.many.factors. With Blaise and Laine, if I needed to go somewhere, we went. If we were out and hungry, we’d stop at a restaurant without any concern of their moods. Probably normal factors and I was lucky with them. Saige isn’t like them and I was treating her like she was. Bad decision on my part.

It took an incident involving a music class that made me realize Saige is Saige. Nothing major. She was that kid in class (in a class of two-year-olds, not exactly a model for perfect toddler behavior). A parent stayed after to talk with the teacher about her. What a really horrible feeling, knowing your kiddo is the topic of negative conversation. I’ve never really had that mother bear instinct until that moment. I was pretty hurt that morning, and in tears, which is not my normal style. Needless to say, we didn’t go back to the class. The teacher did email me later that day and apologized for handling the situation poorly.

And after the music class debacle, I’ve really embraced Saige. My mom has always said something positive comes from something negative. I feel it has made me a better mom to her. Now I ask those questions, tailoring decisions and situations to best suit her. It also helps that she talks more now so communication is getting easier. And she understands things better than she had… rather, she’s listening better. She is still two, there will be those days and she will be that kid occasionally.

Naps are happening. Let me say that again. Naps are happening (for Saige and Vaile). And they’re happening consistently, on a schedule. Blaise and Laine were on schedules back in their napping days… back when schedules were easy with two kiddos. With a third and fourth, and two older kiddos needing to be picked up or dropped off at different times each day, scheduled naps went out the window. Vaile would nap whenever and Saige basically dropped her nap back in November.

I didn’t mind the nap dropping. It made the days easier not worrying about a kiddo needing to nap. The kicker was she’d be a mess come 3pm. I ended up putting her down for the night at 5pm. It was an early bedtime but she’d sleep. Being five in a two-year-old body is exhausting. And with Vaile napping whenever, it ranged from 9am to 12pm. The earlier she’d nap, the earlier she’d go to bed. Sometimes at 5pm with Saige.

January brought big kiddo schedule changes. They now go to school four to five days a week depending on the week, and still maintain extra-curricular activities in the late afternoon. I needed Saige to be up and not be a mess, and I needed Vaile to nap at a more consistent time. I’ve been loose on nap schedules but I’m a stickler for bedtimes. I was no longer able to put the little ones down early for the night. When that stopped, Saige ended up falling asleep on the couch around 2pm. I realized I needed to pull mom rank and start a nap schedule again.

I was able to figure out a schedule that allows me to keep a (mostly) 1pm nap time for Saige and Vaile (and somedays me). Tuesday I tweak it a little earlier and Thursday a little later. The best part is that it’s working. They are BOTH napping. Saige is less of a mess. And bedtime is back at 7pm. We’re back in business.

The house is running like a well-oiled machine. Mostly. Everything is where it belongs, and everything gets put away where it belongs daily. My goal ending 2016 was to whip things into shape around here. Myself included. Simple things like bringing in the kiddos’ backpacks from the van when we they get home from school. I was lazy about this, and then they’d sit in the van until we needed them the next day. Now, they bring their backpacks inside to the counter, I empty them, and put the contents away. School clothes go straight up to the washer and boots on the dryer. Not only school-related laziness… I’ve been better at the household stuff I don’t like. Laundry is being kept up-to-date and put away when cleaned (instead of the clean pile multiplying like rabbits); I empty the dishwasher right away and load the dirty dishes instead of waiting until the evening and do it all at once (sometimes three times a day, damn dishes); the recycling is going out right away instead of waiting for Brian… all sorts of stuff along those lines are running smoothly.

And after the great purge of 2016, we only have things we need and use in the house which makes it easy to be well-oiled. There isn’t much to put away. I purged and purged. It feels really great to finally be at this point. And yet, there is more to purge. Not much but I attempted to do that 40 bags in 40 days thing. The goal was to get rid of 40 bags worth of stuff around the house in 40 days for lent. As an agnostic atheist, I’d never been so excited for Jesus’ resurrection. I started strong and found things for eight days straight. And then I fell off the wagon. My goal has been adjusted to 40 days… eventually.

And, go me, I made the goal to not buy the kiddos anything except for on holidays and birthdays. I’ve stuck with this. Which is short of amazing since every.single.time. I’d go to Target or wherever, I’d always come home with a small—sometimes big—something. My dad was a spoiler who showed affection by buying things… I’m like my dad. I am slightly cheating and buying stuff for random holidays like Valentine’s Day. They each got a new something. And Easter, they each made out with a new something. So maybe not a big go me! but progress. Fewer toys to put away, and fewer toys to purge in a few months.

It also helps that we hired a cleaning lady every four weeks. She does an amazing job at deep cleaning everything so we only have to keep up for three weeks before she’s back. She’s my one cheat (and well worth every penny).

Homeschooling has been figured out. Finally. Somewhat. (I think.) We are in a set routine and the educating the kiddos world is going really well. We have a set homeschooling weekly routine. Instead of rambling more here, I rambled here. The gist: after five months, our homeschooling world is (mostly) on track. For now (until it’s not).

Daily routine. This is our work-in-progress. We’re close. Brian and I are constantly talking about how we’re going to get into a routine. Not much action though… until this month. For the past six years, he’s been going to go into work at 7am so he can leave at 4pm. This has happened maybe 10 times in six years. This month, he’s been more on it. Tuesday Laine rolled into our room around 7:30am and asked if dad was asleep in the guest room. The confused look on her face when I said, “No, he’s at work,” said it all. Brian going to work early and coming home early is awesome. We’re up at 5am and ready for the day before the kiddos wake. Brian is off to work and I’ll already have our bed made, laundry going, the dishwasher unloaded from the nightly wash (we run the damn dishwasher at least two times a day)… I’m ready for kiddo action. I’m a better mom when he’s not here; I’m on things. And then Brian is home before 5pm so we can have regular family dinners together.

With Brian home early and the time change making it lighter later, I was able to sneak out for a run on the trail Monday. What a difference a run makes. I’ve been majorly slacking on running… about six years now. Brian even said it was nice to see me in a happy mood Monday evening. Not that I’m a curmudgeon, but come 5pm on a weekday when Brian isn’t home yet and won’t be for another hour or two, I get short-tempered and moody. The kiddos are also moody, we’re all hungry and tired… it’s that time of day. The witching hour I think it’s called. Brian coming home before 5pm is amazing.

So we’re in a we need to suck it up and stick with the routine mindset. For reals this time. Yes, I said for reals. This is our current goal. A hefty goal for us with our record of never following-through with either. Like back after Vaile was born and we were determined to make a schedule and stick with it. HAHA.

Kiddo updates. Blaise = LEGOs + Minecraft. If he isn’t building his own creations with the LEGO collection worth more than my wedding ring, then he’s playing Minecraft. Kid is obsessed. Not even a good morning as he rolls out of bed. I get a, “Can I play Minecraft?” To which I turn into my mom and respond with, “I don’t know, can you?” At first we limited his Minecraft time and then I remembered how obsessed I was with Super Mari Bros. All I wanted to do was play the damn game all day and all night. And I did. I even remember my mom encouraging me to beat the level I was on at 3am. She always liked watching video games but would only play after we passed out. The Nintendo was in my bedroom, in the super awesome ’80s lacquer entertainment cabinet. With brass hardware. It matched the moveable brass and glass shelf also in my bedroom. Ah, the ’80s. Bad styles, good times. So I’ve been lax on his Minecrafting. He seems to limit himself fairly well. He was playing Sunday and all of a sudden he looked outside and said, “It’s not raining. I’m going to go dig in my hole.” To which he turned off the Xbox and went to dig. He’s been working on this hole out back. I’m not sure his grand plan but he’s happy. LEGOs and Minecraft aside, he’s loving our form of schooling. We have a nice balance going between attending classes and learning at home. Math is his strong suit, next to science. I’m pretty sure he’ll end up an engineer like his dad. Also much like his dad, he’s a total guy in the wanting to solve problems. I’ll be talking with Brian about how I need to do 10 things with only time for five. Without fail, Blaise chimes in offering suggestions on how to accomplish all 10. I’m not really one for gender generalizations but I’ll own up on this one. Totally true.

Laine, oh Laine. She’s a hoot. The silly one of the family, always saying something totally unrelated to the conversation. She’s much like Brian, always in her own world. Laine has jumped on the Minecraft bandwagon with Blaise. She’s not nearly as obsessed with him but enjoys playing. Where he’ll play on his own, Laine will only play if Blaise is playing. And half the time, she’s playing right on top of Blaise. The whole world, and she is bugging him. Even now as I’m working on this, she ruined his cave with lava. Apparently it was an accident because she didn’t know the lava would spread. Now she has to rebuild his cave. I don’t know. I sent them out back. That’s the key to anything screen time… go play outside after. Improves moods like no other. Horse, she’s still taking riding lessons and will be in her second show in May. She also will get to ride in the Carnation Fourth of July Parade which is kind of cool. She rode in the Duvall Days parade last year but Carnation is home. She has been going through an I don’t want to take riding lessons anymore phase, to which we agreed she could go every-other week instead of weekly. This has helped. Without fail, every time she rides, she says she wants to keep riding. If she ever says she doesn’t want to anymore right after riding, then we’ll stop. Laine’s also loving the schooling thing we have going on. From all the reviews I get, she’s the model student. And she’s retaining so much of what she’s learning. Being the silly one, hearing her start talking about atoms at the dinner table is amusing. (They take chemistry on Tuesdays.) I cringe about to write this because the whole socialization argument for homeschooling is lame and I completely disagree with… that said, she’s loving the social aspect of school. Laine is becoming easier. I say this as I feel she is my most difficult child. She’s whining less and we’re finding more things to do together. Granted, she’s probably a little young in some parenting books to be getting manicures and pedicures, and having her ends colored bright pink at the salon, but we enjoy these times together. And there’s probably some study somewhere about focusing on looks too young but whatever. It’s all for fun for now.

Saige. The Pie. “I Pie,” she tells every.single.person we meet. And not one has ever understood what she means. She’ll be that 40-year-old who goes by Pie. And people worry about names like Nevaeh on resumes. I mentioned way up there in my earlier ramble that she is getting easier. Thank goodness. I was convinced she was going to be the death of me there for a while. She’s at a fun age. She talks nonstop now, a stream of consciousness that NEVER ENDS. From the moment she gets out of bed, “I awake!” to “I walk downstairs, I drink milk, I eat breakfast, I’m eating a waffle, I done, I need to wash hands…” all.day.long. Toss in several questions, “Where Daddy? What that sound? Where Blaise and Laine? Go out back? Go on walk? Where Daddy (again)? Daddy work?” and the entire day is filled with Saige-only banter. Talking nonstop aside, she’s also at the fun playing age. She is in full-on pretend mode, making multiple meals in the play kitchen to taking the baby doll and strapping her into Vaile’s booster seat to care for the thing. She plays hard. She keeps up with Blaise and Laine, and any friends they have over. She is one of the gang. Scooby Doo is her favorite show right now, along with the #$@!% finger family song. In true Blues Clues fashion, Saige loves to watch the same thing over and over and over… and over and over and over. She’ll start Outdoor Preschool in the fall which is pretty exciting.

Vaile. Baby as we all call her. I’d be surprised if she even knows her name is Vaile. She’s also at a fun age, 1.5. Everything is awesome to her, and things just happen without question. Her favorite thing is to play outside, running around the grass like a madwoman. I’m so thankful that we figured out waterproof pants and rain boots. She sometimes gets moving so fast she falls forward. No outfit change needed. The trampoline is also one of her favorites. She gets air with her jumps now and does a mushroom smash as we call it, jumping into a sitting position with her legs straight out in front. Inside, she likes to play with the kitchen and little figurines. She’s our first kiddo who actually plays a while with figurines. Lines them up, moves them, lines them up again, puts them to sleep, sits them on the couch… she loves those things. Care Bears and Peppa Pig figures. She also runs and hides from me. I’m using hiding loosely. She hides in corners, bathrooms, closets… she’s ready for the lead role in a Lifetime movie. She’s starting to talk now. I had no idea, and one weekend she walked past me in the kitchen and I asked her, “Do you want something to drink?” To which she stopped, looked up at me, and responded, “Yes.” I started paying attention more and she totally talks. She says thank you anytime someone hands her something, says guys to the older kiddos, simple things like that. Blaise didn’t talk until he was 3.5 and when he did, it was in sentences. So it’s amusing to me having the two little ones talk. We are entering the beginnings of the drama stage. She had her hands on an iPad the other day and I took it away. Man, who knew such a tiny little thing could throw such a drama fit. Threw her body on the floor, face down, and even a fist. She has a slight obsession with the iPad… and I have a slight obsession with using the iPad to get things accomplished. I like to shower and whatnot. It’s the only thing that occupies her in one spot. As she figures out life, it’s bittersweet knowing she’s the last. I’m anxious for her (and the others) to to get older but I’m trying to appreciate their ages now.

I said I was in a rambling mode. On to pictures form 2017 thus far:

Skiing Lessons. Every Saturday for eight weeks. After every Friday all last summer, indoor. Brian is all about getting the big kiddos into skiing so we can all go as a family eventually. Like in five more years. I’m pretty sure he’s already purchased season passes for next year and ski rentals for the kiddos. He’s not on top of everything skiing. Which is rare for him to not be last minute, haha. All the pictures and videos Brian took.

Cousin Visit. My sister and her family came to visit in early February. The last time they were up was 2008. Olivia was one and they stayed with us in our townhouse, and it was so freaking hot. Like 100 degrees hot. I’m not sure it’s been that hot since. This time, it snowed like crazy. The biggest snowy season in years. It was a nice visit. Our kiddos’ classes were all cancelled thanks to the snow. The cousins were able to spend the entire time together. They played in the snow, we went on walks, they played inside in all the rooms… as much as I loved our old place, it’s so nice to have a home that not only fits our family but can host a family of four and their dog, and still have ample room. And a large backyard. Such a benefit all around.

They arrived on Superbowl Sunday. I still can’t tell you who played or won, other than Giselle’s husband was on one of the teams. He must have been on the winning team since I remember seeing she was probably the reason he didn’t go to the White House last week. I knew I liked her. Except for her breastfeeding should be law for six months comments. I remember unimportant things. Anyway, my sister’s family cares about football so we had a little mini-party. Brian made a tri-tip dinner and Saige and I made bought treats.

Monday was snow day. We stayed close to home playing out back and walking up to lunch. My sister, her dog Lewis, Melvin, and I enjoyed several snowy walks together. It was nice having dog cousins play together. Monday night, my sister, Olivia, Laine, and I went out for manicures and pedicures. Laine’s first one. Spoiler: she loved it. I’ve taken her back once again. Little does she know after 20+ years of getting them, they become an annoying chore. I really don’t like wasting my time going and yet I can’t not go. Habits. I’m hesitant to take her back too much.

Tuesday we went to the Space Needle. Complete with the $15 scoop of ice cream in dry ice. The kids like the thing. After lunch, my sister and her family left for Great Wolf Lodge. We met them Wednesday. One night there is our limit, lesson learned from staying two nights last time. If it weren’t so close I imagine we’d stay longer. The cousins had a great time. A visit with memories made. I hope it isn’t another nine years before they come back up.

Blaise hike. It was cold. Freezing cold. I took Blaise up to the viewpoint that overlooks Carnation. I love spending one-on-one time with the kiddos. I’ve heard that when you have teenagers, it’s always best to go for a drive to have talks since there’s no direct eye contact… I think we’ll go for hikes instead.

Walks. With Blaise and Laine going to school up the street on Mondays and Wednesdays, I usually walk them there and then continue on the trail with the little ones. It’s become a pretty set routine. We have a set walk… up the trail to the frisbee park, this is where Saige and Vaile get out of the stroller. They walk, collecting rocks, until the bridge that goes over the Tolt River; this is where Vaile gets a bribed with a lollipop to sit back in the stroller. Saige gets to toss rocks from the bridge into the river. Then she gets bribed with a lollipop. Both ride in the stroller to the playground at Tolt-MacDonald Park. They get to play for a bit before we pack it up and walk back home. We make it back to have lunch and a little playtime before either walking or driving up to get the big kiddos. It makes for a nice morning (and guaranteed afternoon naps). One Friday when the big kiddos were at Wilderness Awareness School up at TM, the little ones and I walked up to pick them up. Blaise and Laine were tired and not pleased we were walking home. I even got this comment from Blaise, “Why would you do this to us?!” Hahaha. The kid who is never tired and never stops complained about having to walk a whole 20 minutes. And there are days when I take all the kiddos. I’ve said it before, I absolutely love this area. It’s a walking haven.

I thoroughly enjoy these walks. I’ve even been walking like crazy on my own. I’m like Nan, my grandmother, who walked everywhere up until the day she died. She had the best death. She was out front watering and tending to her lawn Friday afternoon. Sometime after going to bed Friday night, she died. Almost 94-years-old. I hope I have a long fulfilling life like her, with no major ailments, and a quick death after a nice day. I got off-track, shocker… walking is helping me maintain my sanity. I love the kiddos and being home with them, but I need a break. And as much as I’d love to break at home, it’s hard not to be asked a question or be bothered by one of the kiddos. If I’m not here, I’m not available. So I walk (with Mel). Sometimes for three hours. Usually after dinner and while Brian bathes and does the bedtime routine. I get to come home and kiss them before the fall asleep.

Tiny Treks. We are a Tiny Trek family. It’s the program that I started back in 2012 with Blaise and Laine in the parent-child class, and then they went to the Tiny Treks outdoor preschool. Now they’re in Outdoor Explorers, the homeschool-ish class offered by Tiny Treks for the older kiddos. And this year, I started taking Saige and Vaile to the parent-child class. Saige will start Tiny Treks outdoor preschool in September so I wanted to get her used to the program. We’ve only been able to go a few times but try to make it when we can. That’s the problem with four kiddos… always watching the clock. Someone always needs to be somewhere at sometime.

Vaile climbs now. She’s not nearly as bad as Blaise or Saige were. We are able to leave the chairs and stools out after a short time of having to stack them. Not to say she isn’t table dancing now and again but for the most part, she’s not climbing much anymore.

Cake! Brian was on kiddo duty. They made cakes.

Random art pictures. The Dollar Tree. I’m never buying real Play-Doh ever again. I’ve even tried making it on my own and failed miserably. Now I buy what is probably poisonous, cancer-causing Made in China Play-Doh. The kiddos use it, mix colors, make a huge mess, and done. We waste stuff. Damn wasteful Americans. Also pictures of Laine making her own headbands and necklaces, and Blaise taking apart an electronic truck toy. He likes to see how things work.

Valentine’s Day cards. The night before. Slacker mom again. Much different from 2015 when we made those fancy crayon hearts.

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Bowling. I took the big kiddos on an afternoon date one day when Lisa was here. They had been wanting to go bowling and the thought of taking them bowling with the little ones was not appealing. There is a total old-school bowling alley in Snoqualmie. You have to keep score by hand. We had the joint to ourselves… not many people bowl on a Thursday afternoon. We enjoyed a family package which included a pizza. Total benefit of homeschooling. Which, really, we did math. Bonus.

Summer preview. It was a rare sunny day. This is my summer plan: play outback all day, every day.

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Coke thief. I have a Coke addiction… the drink. I’m a one-can-a-day gal, sometimes two. Thank goodness I have my dad’s teeth. Well, genetics and I take care of them. Saige isn’t much of a sweets gal but she loves Coke. She’ll steal a sip whenever she sees an opportunity. The look on her face says it all, guilty.

Blaise and Super Hero Saige selfie.

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Puzzle Blaise. Kid did almost the whole 500-piece puzzle on his own. I usually help getting the border going, then he takes over. He was quite proud.

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Team Umizoomi and Shark Car. By Laine.

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More snow.

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My every night. At the end of the day and before I go to bed. I have to have a clean house before I go to bed and to wake up to. I’m a clean freak. I read those articles about how it’s normal to have a messy house… sure, I get this. I’m cool with whatever level of clean works for others. But my normal is clean. I can’t function in a messy, cluttered environment. It makes me anxious. I have to make beds first thing in the morning. Like, have to. I try to let it go once in a while and last a whole half-hour before I’m making beds. I’m not cool leaving unless the house is clean. Everything is where it belongs. And come evening, all dishes are cleared from the sink, surfaces are wiped down, anything that was pulled out during the day is back where it belongs… I’m real fun to live with.

I remember reading somewhere that the level of clutter or messiness—I can’t remember which—is directly related to how many things you have on your refrigerator. I’ve started paying attention to this at people’s homes. It’s eerily accurate.

Reading challenge. One of the benefits of the kiddos attending the program up the street is that they still get that school experience. Things like recess, lunch, having a mascot, science fairs, reading challenges… stuff like that. Their school has a reading challenge where if you read 15 books you get to climb each mountain after five books. The both made it to the top. We help them read since they aren’t full-on reading on their own yet. We’re not pushing it… play, be kiddos. That’s their main task for now. In my short stint of being a parent, I’ve learned with anything—eating, potty training, reading—unless they want to, it isn’t going to happen.

Face paint. Laine is all about the face paint. Her work and Brian’s. She went to outdoor school one day as a cat. I love how she is her own person and does things that makes her happy.

Blaise date. In Monroe. At Denny’s. Not a recommended first date, haha.

Saige, styled by Laine.

Rotating Snugs. Snugs is the best kiddo cat. She rotates kiddo rooms every week or so. She’ll sleep with Laine, then Blaise, then Saige, and back to Laine. Vaile hasn’t made the cut yet, probably because of the crib. I’m really thankful she chose us. Great cat.

Bubbles!

Dragons Love Tacos. The big kiddos took a theater class for 10 weeks, every Thursday. The class took the book, Dragons Love Tacos, an adapted it to a play. They even made a few props. The kids performed the play on the last day of class to us parents. It was cute.

Science Saige. She’s really into doing science, “I do experiments.” Which is basically water play.

A third of the year, gone. Back to monthly updates, starting with April (in a week).

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