Easter kicked off April. Laine announced Easter is her favorite holiday because it’s the day to celebrate the birth of all bunnies. We don’t do the Jesus thing so a day of celebrating bunnies, I can totally get behind this. She even made a Happy Birthday Bunnies sign. Bunnies are Laine’s favorite animal… she keeps asking if she can get one. And we keep saying no. They’re cute and all, but I’m more of a cat and dog person. Maybe a fish. I’m already on overload between four kiddos, two pups, two cats, and Brian and me. I’m not sure I’m up for taking care of another living thing. Although, I guarantee if we could have chickens in our backyard, I’d be all for that. Especially now that I don’t eat them anymore. But I love eggs. And if we did get chickens, then I’d likely give in and get a bunny or two. I’m overthinking this because I’m also picturing a goat. But at that point, we’d need more land. So of course, I just went on Redfin looking around for acreage. Which is what Brian wanted originally. I wanted new and walkability. So we got new and walkability. Maybe we’ll go the acreage route when the kiddos are older. We’ll probably need acreage when they all have cars to park. And kids. Easter talk has snowballed.
April was a chill month. We didn’t do much (for us). The kiddos had three spring breaks… one of the downfalls of multiple schooling programs. They didn’t have one full week off to embrace doing nothing. And looking forward, we have one full week of nothing planned in July. Unless you count the Fourth of July festivities, then there goes our week of nothing. Our next week of nothing is late August. Before we go to Legoland. And then we’re back to me driving the kiddos around all week to different classes and activities. Then the holidays will be here. It never ends. Brian and I say this often.
The highlight of April is my brain is all good. I went almost two weeks straight with a headache around my right temple. After being impatient waiting to see my doctor and going to Urgent Care, and then subsequently seeing my doctor and getting an MRI, all is well. And the bonus is, I had an MRI back in 2012 that was considered normal even though they found a possible nerve cell cyst in my brain… that sucker wasn’t there this time. So really, my brain is even better. Although, I question this given my mental abilities some days. Kids maybe? They’re the catch-all for everything, right? Tired? Kids. Memory shot? Kids. Water bill went up? Kids. Like teething. The catch-all for any problem under age two. Fever? Must be teething! Won’t eat? Must be teething! Wore a striped shirt with plaid shorts? Must be teething! Seriously. The mom forums between six-months and two-years is all excuses teething. The good ol’ days. I’m past the mom forums point in my life. Now I’m a member of a select few kid-related groups. And by member, I mean I only lurk. I never post or comment.
April also brought the sun. Now, I’m not a huge sun fan. I like a day or two of sun—but not over 72 degrees—and then back to overcast and/or rain. The sun has been enjoyable. There’s something about a sunny day that reminds me of summers growing up in California. My favorite summer memories are: 1. swimming all.day.long because everyone has pools and it’s too damn hot to do anything else anyway and 2. coming inside from the heat to a super cold air conditioned house. Like you need a blanket cold. So when it’s super sunny outside, I like to close the upstairs blinds to make it seem like it’s one of those super hot days and it’s cold inside. Memories.
The kiddos are loving the sun. They want to get their water play on. On sunny days, Laine always asks to get the hose out. Even if it’s only in the upper 50s. They’re craving summer. I can tell. I sometimes feel not bad, maybe sad. No, not sad, I’m not sure the right word… they’ll never have the same summer experiences Brian and I had as kids. Washington is definitely home—and it’s the only home they know—but their summers will be different. But not in a bad way. I have no idea what the hell I’m trying to say here. It’ll be fun to get their take on their summer experiences when they’re adults. I wonder what will stick out for them. It won’t be swimming pools and freezing air conditioned houses. They’ll probably be those people who think it’s shorts weather when it’s 60 degrees… which is totally sweater weather in California.
With the sun and higher temperatures at night, two things: 1. we turned the heater off (by we, I mean me) and 2. we are ready to plant the garden. I’ve been waiting to turn the heater off. I even tried turning it off back in March but Brian noticed. Our electric bill is close to $300 when we keep it at 69 all day and all night. But in the summer, without running the heater, our electric bill is around $80. This is one of the reasons I’m happy we decided against air conditioning… we don’t have $300 year-round electric bills. Because I know if we had air conditioning, we’d just set it at 68 and let it do its thing. We don’t need it though. Our house doesn’t get much direct sunlight with the hill behind us and the sunsets are mostly blocked by the houses in front of us. The last two summers, the hottest the inside of our house got was in the low 80s, and that was maybe 3-5 days total. Ceiling fans work well enough.
The garden is all set to be planted. It was an April goal that fizzled. We have the soil, seeds, and the kiddos are ready to make garden markers. I took Saige with me to pick out the seeds. That was fun. She kept wanting radish seeds. She’s never had a radish. She just liked the picture on the seed package. We settled on tomatoes, sweet peppers, green onions, green beans, carrots, pumpkins, peas, and cucumbers. I imagine we’ll kill about half of these things. And we still have strawberry plants in one of the garden boxes that are growing back… they’ve escaped my black thumb so far.
And speaking of gardens, man people love taking care of their yards. There are some beautiful yards in our community. Neither Brian or I have this gene. It’s mostly the kid-free folks or the over 50-crowd in our ‘hood. Maybe we’ll get the itch when our kids are older. (Probably not.) I mean, Brian mows the lawn and I weed, but I care more about the inside of the house that I see all the time. And then the whole if you’re out front working in the yard, there’s a chance neighbors may want to chat. We have lovely neighbors, no complaints. But I’m a typical West Coaster as I was once told… a few of my friends from the midwest have commented how West Coasters like to keep to themselves. Apparently—this is foreign to me—in other parts of the country, people are overly friendly and often have neighborly events. I’m clearly West Coast in this way. We have wonderful people in our neighborhood. I even text regularly with our next door neighbor… we go out to shows together. She’s great. But like with anyone, neighbor or not, I like to have a plan on when and where to meet. It’s the introvert in me. I like to be prepared to socialize.
Even growing up, the house my parents lived in for almost 21 years, I wouldn’t be able to recognize anybody who lived on that street if they were standing next to me. Except our eye doctor. He was our next door neighbor. He’s a great guy. One night when my parents’ dog, Brodie, had an issue with his eye, our neighbor took Brodie and my dad to his office and checked out his eye with the equipment. He was able to give Brodie some drops that cleared up the problem. Still to this day, if I’m due for an eye exam when I’m back home in California, I’ll go see him. Such a nice guy.
Back to avoiding neighbors while gardening… I did take a rake and shovel to the side of our backyard though. I’m quite proud of this. We have this side yard that is maybe 4’5″ wide by 44′ long. And of course it’s not even ground. It’s such a wasted space. I should have taken a before picture but I didn’t. It was bad. Moss and weeds everywhere. We’re at a loss with what to do with this space. We briefly considered moving the garden boxes there; they’d fit perfectly. Except there is no direct sunlight. And if we do anything with it we’ll need to even out the ground. So it just sits empty, all weeded and moss-free now. Maybe I’ll get a bird bath. If birds will use it in the shade? My knowledge of birds is about the same as yard care. Again, maybe when I’m over 50. I’ll become a birdwatching gardener. That has a ring to it. I had an older coworker who spent her weekends birdwatching. I wonder if she also gardened? I really liked her. I wonder where she is in life these days. Time to Facebook stalk, haha.
Back to April, let’s get to pictures.
April in pictures.
But wait. I didn’t take as many as usual. Highlights of April not documented in pictures:
I didn’t take a single picture. No pictures of the baskets waiting for the kiddos, no egg hunting pictures Easter morning, nothing showing them playing with their Easter toys… zip. It was a low-key day. We skipped out on the neighborhood egg hunt the day before. I wasn’t up for socializing. Easter Eve—as Laine calls it—Brian and I prepared the baskets and eggs, and hid them downstairs.
My Easter Bunny growing up hid baskets; Brian’s didn’t. We hide them. My Easter Bunny hid real eggs; the ones my sister and I colored. Brian’s Easter Bunny hid plastic eggs with jelly beans inside. One year, our Easter Bunny hid a real egg so well we didn’t find it until summer, when the whole downstairs started to smell. It was behind the TV in the entertainment cabinet. We go with Brian’s Easter Bunny’s eggs for the kiddos. My Easter growing up was a mini-Christmas. We had a full basket of everything chocolate and about five presents. Maybe one big one and a few small ones—not wrapped though. I carry this tradition on for our kiddos. I told myself this year I would spend $20 each on the kiddos’ big gift, and then fill their baskets with random Dollar Tree toys. About $80 later, I left. That’s my record for the Dollar Tree.
I hit Target for the big gifts and candy. I won’t buy anything edible at the Dollar Tree. Back when Miss Mayah was still around, we used to wrap her Cushing’s medication in a slice of processed cheese… I bought one package at the Dollar Tree for this purpose. Mayah wouldn’t even eat it. Mayah ate anything and everything. From baseboards to a Costco-sized box of Top Ramen flavor packages. Man her belly was bloated that day. She was almost doubled in size. But she wouldn’t eat Dollar Tree cheese. That sealed the deal for never buying anything edible from any discount store.
Finding chocolate bunnies can be tough. Most say may contain peanuts or are processed on equipment that also processes peanuts. Having a peanut allergy kiddo isn’t fun. Especially when I love peanut butter and my favorite candy is a Snickers bar. I’m hoping he outgrows the allergy. I guess it’s not common. But our allergist said that if the first kiddo has a peanut allergy, it’s an 80% chance siblings will have the allergy also. All three girls are part of the 20%. No allergies, score. And the last time I went, the allergist sounded positive there may be a chance Blaise will outgrow the allergy. He even asked if we’d be interested in a clinical trial where they give small amounts of peanuts in a hospital under observation, with the end goal successfully treating the allergy. I had just had Vaile—like the week before—and we were in the process of closing on our house… it wasn’t a great time to be driving to and from Seattle. And, I’m not sure I would have wanted to put a five-year-old in that; I’d rather it be his choice and him fully understanding what would be going on.
I successfully found some chocolate bunnies and a few other peanut-free candies. Target usually pulls through. I bought each kiddo their big gift, breaking my $20/each goal but whatever, it’s Easter. Not by much though. Blaise got, shocker, a LEGO set; Laine wanted this random turtle real life pet thing and a squishy; I bought Saige a mini-kitchen set; and Baby now has a pretend dog grooming kit. It all sat in the garage until Easter Eve. This was the first Easter where Brian and I had it down the night before. I think we had everything ready within an hour. By 9pm even.
We don’t do the Easter Bunny. The kiddos know it’s us. And Blaise and Laine asked us to hide their baskets really well this year. Before, we’d hide them but they were in plain sight… so like in a room corner behind the couch. But this year, they wanted them totally hidden. We took them up on this. We hid Blaise’s basket on the couch under the blanket I keep draped over the side (so Snugs won’t use the couch as a scratching post). We added pillows on top so you couldn’t tell there was anything there. Laine’s was hidden in a kitchen cabinet. One of the benefits of not owning too much—ample cabinet space. It definitely took them longer to find their loot. We kept Saige and Baby’s baskets hidden in plain sight. And this is the first year we hid eggs really well, too. The big kiddos still found some the next day. We did hide eggs in plain sight for the little ones. Although I called how it would go down with Baby. I said she’d find one egg, discover the jelly beans inside, and stop looking for more eggs until she ate the jelly beans. This is why we only put two jelly beans in each egg. Saige was all about how many eggs she could find. And of course, she’s a big kid now so she was on the hunt for the harder ones with Blaise and Laine.
Brian made a pancake breakfast as requested by the kiddos. Another successful Easter morning. The rest of the day was lazy. The kiddos played with their new stuff while Brian and I enjoyed taking the day off… we had already met our parenting quota for the day with everything Easter morning.
Gymnastics Laine & Ninja Saige (and Blaise)
Laine and Blaise stared taking weekly ninja warrior classes last September. While Laine loved ninja, she watched the other girls doing gymnastics and wanted to make the switch. Luckily, Wednesday nights there is a gymnastics level one and ninja class at the same time. She went to the first class and was immediately moved up to level two. We switched them to Monday nights, where their classes were a half-hour apart. About three classes in, they moved Laine up to level three. But before we could find a night where there is a ninja and level three class at the same time, Laine was approached by the competitive team coach. They had her do about 20 minutes of drills and after class, the coach talked with Brian about her joining a team. She went from no gymnastics classes to a competitive team within two months. Go, Laine! She now goes for two hours Wednesdays and two hours Saturday mornings…
Which means ninja had to be moved, again. Bonus, there is also a ninja class for Saige Saturday mornings. It’s technically for ages 4-6 but since Saige thinks she’s five, they said it was fine for her to attend (really, I think they like money more than worrying about a five month age difference). Brian takes Blaise, Laine, and Saige every Saturday and I have three hours with only one kid. ONE KID. It’s the best way to start the weekend. Except I miss sleeping in. That’s what Sundays are for now.
Speaking of Laine Activities…
Laine has decided to stop taking riding lessons. She hasn’t been that into it lately and asks not to go before every lesson. And since she joined the gymnastics team, it made the decision easy. We’re technically on hold. I imagine she may miss it in a month or two. We’ll see.
DigiPen & Wilderness Awareness Ended
The big kiddos wrapped up another year of DigiPen and Wilderness Awareness School. Both programs ended in April. They had a great year at DigiPen taking creative writing and grammar, art, and robotics. At Wilderness Awareness, they spent one Friday each month tromping around Tolt MacDonald park for six hours, learning all about the natural surroundings. They’ve had two fun years with both programs and we’ll be taking a break from both next year. We’re going to focus more on actual homeschooling. Well, between two other programs. And there’s the whole expense thing. With Saige and Baby being preschool age and that added expense, there is only so much we’re willing to shell out for classes between all four kiddos.
And now, April in pictures (really).
Bunny Saige & Minecraft Blaise
Saigers had dance class the Monday after Eater. They are practicing for their recital in June, dancing to the song Bunny Rabbit Blues. She decided to wear a pair of bunny ears Laine picked out at Target the week before. Later that afternoon, Blaise took Amazon boxes and made himself into some Minecraft creature. Unless he was going for a robot? I can’t remember.
The big kiddos are all about Top Chef Junior. We watched the entire season in a week, and the big kiddos have been obsessed with everything cooking since. One of the contestants on the show made a watermelon soup… Laine wanted to make her own. Because I know nothing about making anything, I searched online for watermelon soup recipes. And also because I stay away from anything that has more than 4-6 ingredients, I found a simple watermelon soup recipe that was watermelon, lemon juice, sugar, and mint leaves. Four things, easy.
Laine went to town cutting the watermelon. She put whatever the cups amount needed in the food processor I bought back when I was going to make baby food for Blaise (hahahaha), added the other ingredients, and then food processed… or is it blended? I’m not sure what you do when you use a food processor. She chilled it in the fridge for a few hours before tasting the end result. Nobody liked the mint. She wants to make it again without the mint. I think it’ll be a hit then.
We had a Thursday free of classes so we invited friends over to paint pots. Painting pots led to juicing oranges (and watermelon) which led to banana bread baking.
The big kiddos’ Monday and Wednesday school has an annual science expo. The kiddos participated last year and again this year. They enjoy participating. I posted all about it here: Science Expo.
Blaisey Daisy (I’m milking this nickname because I have a feeling he won’t like it much longer) lost his second front tooth. He’s at that awkward missing teeth age. And he has a slight lisp when he talks now. I think it’s all adorable.
Saige Art & Memories
I bought a package of sticky foam letters, mainly for the purpose of making birthday cards. I’ve stopped buying birthday gifts and started having the kiddos make a card and toss a $20 bill in there. It’s easy and I never know what kids want these days. We had a birthday party this day, and Blaise and Laine made a card. Saige got her hands on the sticky letters and started sticking a bunch of them to paper. Asking, “What does this spell?” with every letter she added… which reminds me of being a kid and doing the exact same thing with letter magnets on the fridge. Funny how that memory sticks out in my head. I had to have been four or five.
These Tuesdays are all over. Thank goodness. It started at 8:45am, when we all would leave home in two cars. Brian would take Blaise and Laine to DigiPen; Baby and I would take Saige to preschool. Baby and I would drive back home. I would try to get a run in on the trail—with the bonus of getting Melvin his walk/run for the day—and feed her lunch before we had to turn around again at 11:50am to go pick up Saige. Then we’d usually pick up Katherine, hit Target, Costco, and any other errands, before we’d go to DigiPen to pick up the big kiddos at 3pm. Katherine was a lifesaver hanging with us because I could leave the little ones in the car while I went in and signed out Blaise and Laine. When I would take them in with me, it was a disaster. They were exhausted. Like moody exhausted. I was that mom with those kids. Haha. Some Tuesdays, we’d drop off Katherine at home after big kiddo pickup and then go play with one of our friends who lives close to DigiPen. We’d usually get home just after 5pm. Those were long, busy Tuesdays.
This was a long, busy Tuesday. Baby and I were a bit early to get Saige. She played in the greenhouse while we waited to sign out Saige. We left to get Katherine, hit Costco and Target, picked up Blaise and Laine, dropped Katherine off, and headed back to the farm to meet our friends to play. Bonus, the kiddos were able to pet the baby chicks. They’re so cute! The baby chicks (the kiddos also). All fun, just exhausting for all of us.
Doughnuts & Laser Tag
The kiddos were on spring break from their Monday and Wednesday school, and we had nothing planned this Wednesday morning. I take that back, my plan was to enjoy having nothing to do and hang at home. Saige was watching a video about doughnuts and asked if she could have one for breakfast. Admittedly, I’ve been more of a No Mom lately so I decided to go for yes. We left for Top Pot in Redmond. I think Top Pot is overrated. And overpriced. The kiddos got their doughnut on before we decided to hit Costco. We needed a hose. Turns out they had laser tag also. Funny how things jump in Costco carts. The plan to buy a $20 hose turned into $240.
After Costco, we hit Marymoor since it was supposed to start raining that afternoon. It was like 2013 again… we went to the little train park. We made it home for lunch. I felt like I did the mom thing that morning and took the afternoon off. It ended up being a nice, lazy afternoon after a game of laser tag. With maybe a bit more screen time than is recommended.
I love the windblown picture of Baby. It was super windy.
This kid would paint all day, every day if given the opportunity. I set her up with some coffee filters and watercolor paint. She occupied herself for a while.
The big kiddos and I crafted this afternoon while Baby napped. I bought a bag full of beads so I searched for something to make. We found these hangy-things that were made with beads and straws. I look at images so I have no idea which website gave us the idea, but thanks!
Drag Queen Phase
Karann and I have been into drag queens lately. It started back when we went to the Seattle Men’s Chorus holiday concert and we decided it wasn’t as good as it should have been, like it was in past years. She had heard of a drag queen Christmas special by Dina Martina. We went. It was really fun and entertaining. We were sold on seeing drag queens. In January, we went to the drag queen brunch in Capitol Hill. More fun and entertainment. (We’re planning on going again.) We attempted to get tickets to another drag queen, Ms. Pak-Man, but she was sold out. And then I found a drag queen Golden Girls show, which was also sold out. Clearly we aren’t the only ones in a drag queen phase.
Dina Martina had a spring show she mentioned at the Christmas special. We were on it buying tickets. And lesson learned from the Christmas show, get there early. Seating is first come, first serve, and it fills up quickly. We got there about a half-hour early and scored front row seats. It was just as entertaining as the Christmas special. I wasn’t as up on the songs she revised as I was in December, but still amusing.
It’s my thing to take pictures of the stage before the show starts. Mostly to remember I went. I won’t bust out my phone during any performance.
We decided to make the trip north after Laine’s gymnastics class Saturday morning. I wrote about it here (and there are pictures galore). It was muddy.
Still with Top Chef Junior kitchen obsession… Blaise and Laine like to make dessert creations. While Lainey Bug was at gymnastics, Blaise made this dessert creation.
Turns out my neighbor is a musical fan also. Score! We bought tickets back in January to go see The Producers at the Seattle Musical Theater. From January to going, time flew. And we have tickets to see Hairspray together in June. I have an unhealthy obsession with going to musicals.
The kiddos and I all went to our old ‘hood to hang out with our former neighbors. We sure miss living next to them. Brian stayed behind to assemble one of two sheds for the side yard… we need to make room for the skate ramp. We played for a little over three hours before heading back home. Baby passed out in the car and Saige announced she was tired when we pulled into the driveway. Brian transferred Baby to the couch and Saige quickly snuggled with Brian. They all slept for a while. Brian’s not used to manual labor outside of using his delicate fingers. Haha.
More Dessert Creations
Here, they made chocolate dipped marshmallows with sprinkles. Not likely to make it on a fancy restaurant’s menu but fancy enough for here at home.
Bunny Rabbit Blues Saige
It was Monday and I wasn’t feeling it. I told Saige we were going to skip dance. But then I decided we’d go. Eh, I was feeling bad because I know how much she loves dance class. I’m glad we went. It was costume day. All the little dancers tried on their costumes and practiced their routine. It was adorable.
Hot, Sunny Wednesday
Last week was too hot. In the low 80s hot. The little ones and I played out back this morning while the big kiddos were in class until noon. Baby mostly looked through the little opening in our fence to our neighbor’s yard, hoping to see their two little pups. After we picked up the big kiddos, backyard play continued. Baby came inside and passed out on the family room floor. I sensed an opportunity… we could go out front. For one, there wasn’t anyone out there so there wasn’t a chance of dealing with chitchat, and second, not having to chase Baby around was what sold me.
The big kiddos always ask to ride bikes out front. Brian usually deals with this. They were playing out back when I said get your bikes and meet me at the gate. They were excited. We get out front and they ride bikes for about five minutes. Then, “I want to ride my scooter. I want to skateboard. I want to ride the electric scooter. Can we ride around the block? Can we ride up the hill? Can we ride to the park?” Ugh. I was frustrated. I already don’t like hanging out front. So to me, riding bikes out front was a big deal.
Saigers singing the ABCs this morning.
Hot, Sunny Thursday
Blaise, Laine, and Saige were all at the farm this Thursday. It was picture day. After getting them all photographed and signed in for their classes, Baby and I left for the Lake Sammamish Trail. Our old stomping grounds. My goal was to run so I did that first, with Baby chilling in the stroller. After I got my three miles, we went down to the shore and played in the water. Baby found a shell with a hole in the middle that she was pretty impressed with.
We played there until we went back to the farm to grab the big kiddos. We ended up staying after their classes and playing until close to 3pm. The big kiddos had a big night… dance and then their last Gadgeteers Club meeting before the Maker Faire Saturday. They were exhausted Friday.
Baby swinging at the farm during drop off and playing at the water.
Maker Faire & Take Apart Night
Blaise and Laine worked hard on their gadgeteers projects over the past months. Blaise turned a standard truck into an RC truck and Laine made a light saber. Brian is really good at actually having the kiddos work on their projects instead of taking it over (like some of the other dads in the club). Both kiddos were proud of their final projects and were excited to show them off at the Maker Fair… the final event of the Gadgeteers Club year.
The plan was for all of us to go but the little ones were a disaster. Saige had gone to her ninja warrior class this morning, Baby and I had been out on the trail, and neither had napped when it was time to head over to the Maker Fair. They were both out by 5pm. One of the downfalls of four kiddos; one of us misses out on kiddo stuff if the stars aren’t aligned just right.
Brian reported that the kiddos had a great time. Blaise was super stoked because all the kids wanted a turn to make his RC truck go. They went outside. He lives to be the leader, and was able to as the maker of the truck. They both had their faces painted and ended the night taking things apart. They were exhausted when they got home. I imagine we’ll continue the Gadgeteers Club again next year. It’s such a great program for kids, and not something we’ve found anywhere else.
Saige was so excited. She’s been counting down the days until Rapunzel. I told her the month before we’d go see it when it was on stage in Kirkland. The day finally came and we went. She doesn’t remember but she’s been to a play there before… she was maybe 1.5-years-old and had no interest in sitting still. Brian ended up taking her to the lobby. And Blaise isn’t a theater fan; he complains the whole time. We don’t go as a family anymore… it’s all one kid only dates now. Saige did really well. It was an hour-long play and it managed to capture her attention the whole time. I imagine we’ll be seeing more together. Score!
Baby and I ended April with a run on the trail. She was passed out cold but is certain she had a fun time. Now it’s May. The annual Camp Orkila weekend is coming up soon, with Saige going for the first time. And we have Tuesdays free from DigiPen, with some fun art projects lined up with friends. The weather is back to no rain in the forecast for the next 10 days… which I’m not a huge fan of no rain but it’s nice to feel the change in the air. Hopefully we’ll get the garden planted and see some sprouts. And I’m hoping this running will finally pay off on the scale.