October Twenty Seventeen

Laundry was my October accomplishment. Don’t be jealous of my exciting life.

It was sixth grade when I started doing my own laundry. I specifically remember standing in the laundry room, mad at my mom because she washed my favorite jeans with something red and they got stained. She didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. My 12-year-old self disagreed… I loved those ’80s jeans with heart patches on the back of the ankles (this was right after the pants pegging trend). Now as a parent, I’m wondering if maybe my mom did that on purpose so I’d start doing my own laundry. Well played if that’s the case.

Turns out I’ve been doing it wrong for about 26 years.

Old way: I’d wash a load, completely forget about it until I remembered the next time I went to wash a load, and then I’d have to rewash the old load still in the washer because it smelled like wet clothes. And when I actually remembered to rotate after the washer finished, I never felt like folding the load in the dryer. So my solution was to toss the wet load in with the dry load and dry it all together (I may have even dried three loads together before). And then when I finally emptied the dryer, I tossed the dry clothes on the laundry room floor, closed the door, and told myself I’d fold it later. And when anyone was looking for a clothing item, they’d have to dig through the pile on the laundry room floor before I got tired of looking at the mess and finally put everything away. I’d start this process again after the laundry baskets filled back up.

New way: I wash, immediately rotate, fold, and put clothes away. I don’t let more than one loads worth fill the laundry baskets. It’s so simple. And only having one load from the dryer at a time makes folding and putting away easier since it’s much less. All common sense. The irony is I’m a complete neat freak… everything else in the house is in its place at all times unless being used, and I obsessively clean everything. I just never wanted to deal with laundry since I despise it so much. I still despise laundry but I’m loving the smooth process (and clean laundry floor). In fairness, I despise doing dishes also, but I do them because I don’t want to look at a messy sink. There’s no door to close.

I take that back. Everything in the house isn’t in its place. Our bed. The mattress is on the floor. And it’s driving me nuts. Not exciting is how our old bed frame broke… we were sitting in bed reading before calling it a night, and the frame gave out. No wild sex parties or anything. It was an IKEA bed frame that lasted almost 10 years so I can’t really complain about the quality. We had to start tightening the screws every few months about three years ago so it lasted longer than it should have. Now the damn mattress is on the floor. I’ve ordered a new bed frame but like anything else West Elm furniture, it takes forever to actually get it delivered. December 15-29 is the timeframe we’ve been given. Our bed frame broke mid-September. It’ll be three months with the mattress on the floor. Not cool.

Laundry, bed frame, now kids (not in order of importance). I decided starting in October, my goal would be to start doing two things with the little ones. But first, Vaile turned two!

Okay, back to the two goals:

  1. Take them out and about more while the big kiddos are in classes. I ran Blaise and Laine all over the place. We’d go to every.single.kid.whatever. Museums, parks, indoor play places… you name it, we went. Even to a lavender farm for lavender ice cream. Random places. Saige and Baby get the shaft. It’s not like they’re stuck at home and never go anywhere, it’s that they’re at the mercy of the big kiddos’ schedule. They don’t complain because they don’t know any different, and they have a blast at home with whichever kiddos are home. Hell, they’d have a blast at Costco. It’s more that I feel bad they’re getting the short end of the stick. My mom was always about equality with my sister and me so I feel like I’m screwing Saige and Baby over. My dad however, wasn’t about equality. I was his favorite and my sister got screwed. Ha! Looking back, not cool, Dad.
  2. Do more craft and toddler activities at home. With three and four, I mostly let them fend for themselves when it comes to play. They have each other and our toddler toy selection is spot on for their ages. Both do really well. They happily play together or independently. And they’re always finding something to do; often things that occupy them for a decent chunk of time. The novelty of toddlerhood has passed for me, and I’m basically in bare minimum mode.

Goal proof, in pictures.

OUT & ABOUT

Museum of Flight. Our first October outing. Baby became obsessed with airplanes after our trip to California in August. Bob and Tara live under a flight path, and every time Vaile saw an airplane, she got excited. Her excitment came home with us, and now every time she sees an airplane she points and jumps with joy. The Museum of Flight was fitting. I packed up the little ones and we left for Seattle. Museums on Tuesdays are pretty empty. It’s your standard daytime crowd… moms and kids looking to kill time before naps, and retired folks, likely also looking to kill time before a nap.

The little ones loved the museum. The two hits: sitting inside the airplane and the kiddo play area. They liked the other stuff but were quick to move along.

Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park. We basically lived here when Blaise and Laine were toddlers. This was our go-to park, and we were there almost daily each week. I’ve taken the little ones a few times, not enough that they know it by heart. Saige and Vaile had a great time… checking out the animals, climbing trees, tire swinging, and playing in the dirt making pretend campfires out of leaves.

Maybe because it’s a been there done that feeling but I’m not so in love with the park this time around. I still put it in my top five best parks list though. And it’s still never that busy. I think I have a picture of our van parked in that same spot from a few years back, also with no other cars in the lot.

Playgroup. There’s another thing I did with the big kiddos. Playgroups galore. I’ve lost count how many we were in when they were young. I haven’t joined any playgroups for either Saige or Vaile. Another, been there, done that thing. There’s something special about being a new mom and not knowing anything, and commiserating with other new moms who also don’t know anything. As a seasoned mom, I didn’t really feel the need to seek out a playgroup.

As Saige and Baby get older, they don’t really have age-appropriate friends. Not that there are age limits on friends, but they don’t have any friends their ages. Saige thinks all of Blaise and Laine’s friends are her friends; Baby couldn’t care less… she’ll be friends with a pillow. And most of Blaise and Laine’s friends (whose moms are my friends) had their second kiddos 4-5 years ago, slightly older than Saige to where it makes a difference.

We’re in a playgroup now. It happened by chance. In my quest to meet my goal of taking the little one out while the big ones are in class, I took them to Perrigo Park on a Monday morning. It was super cold and it was supposed to be the only sunny day that week… which never holds, the weather folks couldn’t predict the weather accurately five minutes from now. I bundled the kiddos up and off we went. There were two other moms there. We ended up chatting like moms at playgrounds do, and one mom happens to live in Fall City (the town next to ours) and runs an informal playgroup every Monday morning… except every few Mondays she skips playgroup and meets a friend at a park in Redmond, which was this day. Bonus, all the playgroup kiddos ages are within months of Saige and Vaile. We exchanged texts and now we go Mondays and play with Saige and Vaile friends.

Perrigo Park. Running around, post-playground play. We came upon a wooly bear caterpillar. Saige wanted nothing to do with the thing, backing away. Baby touched it gently.

Fall City Community Park. A week later we were at the playgroup. It’s so fun watching Saige interact with kiddos her age. She’s in that everyone is my best friend phase, asking about all her best friends—whom she had just met—the rest of the week. It was fun watching Saige and Vaile, and their individual personalities shine in a group setting with other kiddos.

Saige: everyone is a friend. Doesn’t matter their age; a few years older or an adult. She got along great with the other kiddos, running around and playing with them. They’re at that sweet age where they’re just learning how to interact as friends instead of just playing side-by-side. She also befriended an older boy who was at the park—not part of the playgroup—and coerced him into kicking a soccer ball back and forth with her. He was a sweet, patient kiddo. If I had to guess, he is an older brother.

Vaile: the baby. She tootles around without a care in the world, happy to look at whatever. And when she wants to do something that requires help—or that she’s too lazy to do on her own—she waits for someone to help her. She just stood on the spinny thing until an older kiddo came over and spun her. She has the baby thing figured out. Even at home… she’ll drop something from the stool onto the ground. Instead of getting down and picking it up herself, she’ll just make a weird ughhhh sound while pointing at whatever she dropped until someone picks it up. I don’t fall for this; everyone else in the family does. Her pinky is wrapped with people. After waiting on others to help her, she found a ball and carried the thing around for a while.

Side note: check out those beautiful fall trees against the blue sky!

CRAFTS & TODDLER ACTIVITIES

Oh man, I did it all with Blaise and Laine. Any craft or activity I’d come across online, we’d be doing the next day. Crafts and activities died down during all the chaos between moving and having Vaile. And then once we settled into the house, we started doing more until we stopped. I’m not sure why we got out of the habit. Probably because summer happened and the kiddos spent most days out back. And then fall started and we got into the school routine, which also put the little ones and me on a routine centered around the big kiddos’ class times. And then the holiday rush, Minecraft was discovered… excuses galore. Trying to get back at it.

Halloween crafting. We made jack-o’-lanterns and Saige colored a Velma printout. She was Velma for Halloween.

We painted. I’m not sure what we painted besides Saige painting her face.

Zingo! The big kiddos are really into board games lately. We usually play with them during the hour between the little ones’ bedtime and the big ones’ bedtime. We have quite the collection of games now. I loved board games as a kid but I only had one sister who didn’t like board games. So I’d play by myself or resort to solo card games. I know several random solitaire games. Which is why I wanted more than two kiddos… sibling options. Saige knows about the board games and wants in on the action. Zingo is her game of choice these days. She’s very particular on how we play, and the way varies each time. Even Baby gets in on the action if she’s around.

Water play. With Blaise and Laine, we had every toy under the sun before we realized it’s the simple things that are best. Boxes, kitchen utensils, pots… water. Water is so easy. It occupies toddlers for a long time. Even older kiddos. Blaise will still fill the bathroom sink and make LEGO boats to play with. Bonus of him being older, he can clean up any water mess outside of the sink.

I like to hang at home Wednesday mornings since the big kiddos are only gone until noon. Even though I’m on a time frame every day, I don’t like being on a time frame. Especially not a tight one. If we went anywhere Wednesday morning I’d constantly be looking at the clock to be sure we’d make the noon pickup. Water on the back porch makes for a great activity on those mornings. We did it a few times in September and again in October. Like with most toddlers, water is a hit.

Conductors Saige and Baby. I love making train tracks with the kiddos. I’m sure there is some equation that takes all the track pieces we have and can calculate how many different track variations we can create.

Speaking of trains, when Blaise first started making trains and actually playing with them using his imagination, he’d make them derail, crash, whatever. Whenever something bad would happen, we’d say, “Call Denzel!” We watched the movie Unstoppable around the same time Blaise started in with trains. Anyway, it has stuck over the years. Even Blaise started to yell, “Call Denzel!” when he was needed. Fast-forward to last month, we let Blaise watch Unstoppable. It’s now his favorite movie. And he’s into trains again.

Baker Saige. Saige is hardcore in the I help phase. And since we have several mornings to find things to do, we often bake. Baby isn’t in the I help phase yet, and I’m not complaining. She does her own thing while Saige helps or we’ll bake while she’s napping some afternoons.

Banana muffins with chocolate chips. Saige was very methodical about putting the chocolate chips on top. I think it took her almost 30 minutes to finish, and that was with me pushing her to wrap it up so we’d have time to bake them before picking up the big kiddos.

Halloween cupcakes. This was a last minute thing I had Saige help with. We were heading over to a friend’s house after we picked up Blaise and Laine. The plan was to play and then have dinner together, with the husbands joining. My original plan was to buy a pie but that didn’t work out… so we made cupcakes. Which was probably better anyway. The cupcakes were all gone so it worked out well. And we had a great time! It’s not often we hang out or even meet dads. They’re almost mythical in the mom world… we know they exist but do they really?!

I should add, Saige licked a special Saige spatula that didn’t contaminate the cupcake batter.

Slime! There are so.many.slime posts on Facebook. They come and go in waves, and it was a huge wave this day. There is glitter slime, lavender slime, pumpkin spice slime (seriously)… you name it, there’s a slime recipe. I was inspired. But I went the simple route. I searched for a slime recipe with minimal ingredients. Anything craft or cooking with more than five ingredients, I’m not interested. I found a slime recipe that is a mixture of glue, contact solution, baking soda, and water. Impressive! It was awesome slime. This was day two of slime… we made it the day before with the big kiddos the first time.

Baby ended up getting slime all over her, hence the shirtless look.

Alright, time to incorporate the big kiddos. Since I broke things down by outings and activities with the little ones, let’s do the same including Blaise and Laine…

OUT & ABOUT

Museum of Flight, again. Man, you’d think the big kiddos were kept at home as toddlers. When they found out we went to the Museum of Flight, I heard various versions of, “How come they get to go fun places while we’re at school?” To which I explained how Saige and Vaile are getting the shaft compared to what they did at Saige and Vaile’s ages. They agreed. But they still wanted in on the airplane action.

Vaile’s birthday was the Saturday after I took the little ones to the museum. And since Baby loves airplanes, we figured going again on her birthday was perfect. It was some Star Wars day event. I’ve never seen so many adult men so happy to be wearing costumes. You could tell they enjoyed the event. Saige wanted nothing to do with the costumes.

Craven Farm. I’m a creature of habit. I park in the same spot when I go to Target; I drive the same way when I go places; I order the same meals at restaurants; and I go to the same pumpkin patch every October. We’ve been going to Craven Farm since before we had kiddos and the tradition lives on. We’ll be there next October, too.

Baby! Her last day as a one-year-old.

Saige wanted nothing to do with having her picture taken. No eye contact was made. Despite her looking super sad in these pictures, she was her lively self.

Attempts at getting all four in a picture.

Pie! Whenever I’m in—or close—to Snohomish, I buy a pie for Brian. He loves any pie, especially a Snohomish Pie Company pie. Katherine was with us and was kind enough to grab the pie for us; she got one also. It was super busy in Snohomish that day. I had to drive around to find a parking spot—which is fine—I’m not a parking spot fanatic. But we scored. We got the first spot on the corner, close to the pie shop. So I took a picture.

My Little Pony movie. My plan was to take only Saige but we like to complicate things and waste money so we took all the kiddos. Baby lasted as long as her popcorn did before she wanted nothing to do with the movie. I actually thought it would be Saige who wouldn’t last. I’m not sure I would have lasted either… anything over 90 minutes is too long for me to sit for a movie, unless it’s something I’m really interested in watching (which is rare).

Brian stayed with the older three while Baby and I wandered around the movie theater. We mostly walked up the stairs and then took the elevator down. Over and over and over again. When we weren’t walking up stairs or riding the elevator down, Baby played with another kiddo in the hallway who wasn’t having sitting through the movie either.

Not watching the movie aside, can I just say how awesome it is that more movie theaters are getting in on the assigned seating thing? I love picking out our seats and buying tickets online. It wasn’t iPic but it was nice; iPic wasn’t showing the Pony movie.

IKEA, day two. It’s become a routine that when we go somewhere we haven’t been in a while, we go a few times. The kiddos and I had a rare Friday wide-open. I needed to go to IKEA so off we went. We hadn’t been to IKEA since they built and opened the new one. It’s your standard two-story IKEA, exactly like the one in Sacramento. Kind of like how there are two main Target layouts. Go in one and you feel like you can be somewhere else.

We were back at IKEA the next day. During our Friday trip, Laine picked out a stuffed husky dog; the other kiddos picked out other toys. Well, as soon as we got home Friday afternoon, Baby stole Laine’s husky and would not let it go. Laine was great and let her play with it… after a few times of trying to get it back to no avail. She’s the baby after all, and knows how to use that to her advantage. Laine was even cool about letting Baby fall asleep with the thing (we stole it back after she fell asleep). So I wouldn’t have to listen to husky fighting all weekend long, we went to IKEA Saturday to get Baby a husky. We went ahead and bought Saige one also so there wouldn’t be any additional husky thievery.

And I quickly remembered why I never go anywhere on the weekends. Crowds galore. I’m becoming more and more hermit-like as I get older. The less people, the better.

Fish hatchery. Every year Brian wants to go to Salmon Days. We went once and, well, crowds. Plus, a festival for fish coming home for their death isn’t really my thing. He can always go on his own or take a kiddo or two with him if he wants (he doesn’t). Since I’m a fish festival downer, we went on our own to the hatchery the weekend after. There were fish. And it was raining. That’s about as exciting as it gets.

CRAFTS & ACTIVITES

Mummies. It was a dull afternoon so I Googled Halloween crafts. Mummies it was. Only because we had everything needed to make them. And, selfishly, it wasn’t going to make too big of a mess.

Saige colored herself more than the mummies. At least it isn’t the walls or anything in the house… she’s easier to clean.

We painted pumpkins. And by we, and mean the kiddos. And by pumpkins, I mean mostly pumpkins… Vaile and Saige painted themselves. Eh, everyone was happy. Bonus for the little ones, mid-morning baths.

Saige and Vaile painted more of themselves than the pumpkins. Well, maybe not Saige. Baby for sure.

Slime! This was the first attempt at slime, and it was successful. Saige wasn’t sure at first… I love the look on her face. The thing with the slime is it needs to be kneaded quite a bit before it no longer sticks to your hands. Lesson learned for the next day we did slime; I kneaded it much more before giving Saige any.

Baby was all about the slime, stickiness and all.

Once the big kiddos heard there was slime action going on, they wanted in.

Cheap entertainment for all.

Everything Else October

Gadgeteers. Added to Blaise and Laine’s already busy schedule, biweekly gadgeteer club. This is such an amazing program. They have different activities each meeting, and the ultimate goal is to choose a project to work on each meeting that will be shown at a maker faire in April. In keeping with their personalities, Laine has come up with about six different projects to work on and yet to decide on one, while Blaise picked one right away.

Canter Laine. Laine is still taking riding lessons. Here she is cantering on Harley.

Laine! This picture is all Laine.

Construction, shopper, bank robber. I’m not sure what she had going on here but she worked it.

Homeschooling. We played hooky from their Thursday class. I didn’t feel like dealing with getting them ready and driving them there and back, and dealing with all that with the little ones in tow. This is why I’d make a terrible public school mom. So we homeschooled this day.

Saige date. We try and take the kiddos out for dates to get some quality one-on-one time. It was Saige’s turn… my plan was to take her to frozen yogurt. Turns out the two frozen yogurt places we go to in Redmond are both closed. I guess that fad is over. To Baskin Robbins we went. It only took her about 45 minutes to eat the ice cream cone.

We went to Fred Meyer after for more victims… one is already dead. In my defense, I think it was already on its deathbed because it only lasted about three days. (Plants. Brian calls them my victims.)

Halloween for days

Halloween went on for a few days around here.

First, I should remind myself for the fifth year in a row to never buy a costume more that two weeks before Halloween. Again this year. Laine wanted to be Supergirl… she had to have the costume in early September. I asked her if she was certain, told her I’d order the costume, and that there was no changing her mind. Two weeks before Halloween, she had to be Wonder Woman. I was going to make her stick with Supergirl but had a soft spot when Brian and I decided that she should love her costume. Especially since Halloween is such a big deal for kiddos. So, Wonder Woman she was. Blaise on the other hand, waited forever to decide what he was going to be. And when he did, he wanted to wait a bit before ordering the costume to be certain. He was Kai from LEGO Ninjago. Saige wanted to be Velma, and actually stuck with the costume we ordered in early September. Baby was a ladybug because we had a ladybug costume in her size. And it was a warm one for trick-or-treating.

Okay, second. On to Halloween for days…

Parade parade. The school up the street where the kiddos go Mondays and Wednesdays had a Halloween parade the Friday before Halloween. The kiddos were super excited to wear their costumes out for the first time. There were a few activities at the school before the kiddos walked around town in their costumes. The program the kiddos are in up the street is called Parade so it was a Parade parade.

Blaise as Kai.

Laine as Wonder Woman.

Parading around town.

Halloween party. We went to a friend’s party the weekend before Halloween. The big kids were off with their friends. Brian and I were on Saige and Baby duty. They only lasted a little while before we took them home. But there were swings in the yard, so the ladybug was excited.

October 31. The big kiddos had DigiPen on Halloween and wore their costumes to class. They were pretty excited about that. The elementary school they would go to doesn’t allow costumes on Halloween. I may not agree but I guess I can understand costumes can be a distraction or they could get ruined or whatever reasons they give for not allowing them. But from the kid (and mom) perspective, that sucks. So I was super excited for them to wear them to DigiPen.

Later that night…

We took the kiddos trick-or-treating around our neighborhood. It was much busier than last year now that all the homes are built and occupied. Usually one of us stays home to hand out candy… this year we put a bowl out and we all went together. The big kiddos’ friends were trick-or-treating in our neighborhood so they were off with them (and their friends’ dad). Brian and I stayed with the little ones—who were much slower—and trick-or-treated with them. Baby didn’t quite understand at first. When she figured it all out, she was all about getting candy. After about house 10, she was walking up on her own. Saige had a blast. This is the first year she truly understood the concept and was confident enough to say Trick-or Treat at each door. And, proud mom moment, she said thanks to everyone without having to be reminded.

All the kiddos had full buckets. We did our usual scan of candies to remove all the peanut butter treats. I wish we didn’t have to deal with a peanut allergy but on the bright side, I now have four full-size Snickers bars, my favorite.

There was candy trading between candy eating before we called it a night and put the kiddos to bed. We were in bed not long after. I enjoy Halloween and I love seeing the kiddos so excited, but I’m so happy it’s over. November is the beginning of my favorite time of the year. And bonus, the time change. I’m in the minority and love the early dark evenings.

Saige made the cutest Velma! She had many compliments on her costume.

Later, October.

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