November Twenty Eighteen

November shmovember. It felt like a slow month. It wasn’t. Maybe it felt slow since we finally got into our groove. There was no travel. There weren’t any birthdays. There was no pneumonia. Fucking pneumonia. Nothing special happened. Life was back to normal.

What’s normal? Normal is organized chaos. Maybe orchestrated chaos? Because I arrange everything to run smoothly. Life might be simpler if we stuck with convention. Screw convention! Not screw convention like we’re going to sell everything and live in an RV while we travel across North America or screw convention like we’re opening up our marriage and the kids will have four parents. Nothing wrong with either of those options. But my screw convention is very mild… screw the idea of having 2.4 kiddos per family and sending the kids to school all day, every day. I’m a rebel over here. Haha.

Juggling four kiddos, and everything school and extracurricular activities is awesome. And by awesome, I mean exhausting. Sometimes convention sounds appealing (but likely still as exhausting). Every week is busy. Take Mondays. The big kiddos go to school up the street until noon. I pick them up, drive them to a math class in Redmond, and then drive to Bellevue to meet Brian for Saige’s indoor skiing lesson… back to Redmond to grab Blaise and Laine, and then home to make dinner. Even Brian has to deal with this nonsense. Tomorrow, he’ll drop off Saige and Baby at 9:30am, head to work, meet us back at Saige and Baby’s school at noon for hot chocolate, and then he’ll go back to work until 4pm. Then he’ll leave to meet us in Redmond at the big kiddos’ cooking class where I’ll hand off all the kiddos so I can head into Seattle for a night out.

Add in maintaining a household with my ridiculous obsession with cleaning and organizing; attempting to have a social life; taking care of all the critters, walks and whatnot; my ongoing attempting (and failing) at cooking; I like to go running… I need about a month straight to catch up on sleep from doing it all. But I don’t have a month to sleep. December has two days with nothing. TWO DAYS. I know, it’s all self-imposed stuff. We don’t have to do anything. But no way am I missing Dina Martina or the Seattle Men’s Chorus. And Karann and I are adding two more drag queens to our December lineup with To Jesus, Thanks For Everything! – Jinkx and DeLa. This has to happen. Add in all the kiddo classes and extracurriculars, and trying to make December special for the holidays, like Leavenworth for three days… time is limited. And limited time has become normal.

I miss the days when we didn’t have much. But do I? I seem to thrive on a busy schedule. I’ve always been a goer and doer. And I like having things on the calendar to look forward to… but mostly to organize and orchestrate. I love that stuff. Fitting things in and figuring out how to make it all work, my kind of fun. But I’ve also always been a homebody. I long for a day of nothing. But then nothing days end up with me getting frustrated being home with all four kiddos. Meeting all their needs between feeding them, giving them attention, looking every time they want to show me something—or rather, trying to meet all their needs. And homeschooling. Even though we outsource so much, we still do things at home. Then there’s maintaining the house during the day and trying to accomplish things I like to do—like read or work on this sucker. And if I just sit and enjoy the quiet, without fail, a kid needs something. So maybe I like to go and do to avoid getting frustrated at home? Those two December days with nothing, I’m pretty sure we’ll end up doing something.

Unless we have a Screw Day as Blaise calls them. To clarify the screw part, there are times the kiddos will ask me something and I’ll say no. Something like, “Can I have chocolate for breakfast?” And then they keep asking after I say no 10 times. So sometimes I say, “Screw it, have chocolate for breakfast.” Then the whole day becomes a screw it, do whatever day. They can watch TV or play on the computer, eat whatever for lunch (as long as they have fruit). It’s my version of a Yes Day. Those days reset us in a certain way. I get my homebody, nothing day. And the kiddos get to feel empowered, making their own decisions the whole day… and doing things they don’t always get to do.

Then there is the mental workload. I remember reading somewhere about the mental workload moms take on (and of course, there are dads out there also). On top of everything moms do—whether they work outside of the home or stay home—there is always a mental list running in the background. Like we need more paper towels in a few days; fall 2019 preschool registration is open next week; we need birthday gifts for four parties coming up; I need two more Christmas gifts for one kid so it’s all equal; summer swimming lesson dates are released in January, and I need to be on it so I can schedule a trip around lessons to see the cousins… which reminds me, I need to call my sister (adding to the list); we still need to write that one thank you note; I better rotate the laundry so Saige’s outdoor pants are clean for tomorrow; I need to get more teacher gifts before school breaks; and on and on. It. Never. Ends. And then there’s the mental kiddopedia… knowing all their doctors, teachers, friends (and their parents); who likes which foods and who won’t touch what; clothing sizes; which kid mentioned they wanted that one toy… you get the picture. And while Brian is amazing, he never has to worry about this stuff. And even when something is on his plate—like skiing lessons—it’s still on me to let him know when the kiddos can go… and to remind him when to sign up. Even his family contacts me to schedule visits. He does have that work thing that supports our family—so we can do things like skiing lessons—so it’s all good.

So let’s review: Organized Chaos + Limited Time = Normal. To the Mental Workload degree?


Normal November in pictures.

Art Thursdays

This week we made Mason Jar lanterns. Super easy. Take a Mason Jar, paste tissue paper squares all over, and toss in a flameless tea light. Easy peasy. I’m starting to enjoy the older kiddo crafts.

Outdoor Explorers

Man, I love the opportunities these kids have. I wish I had them back when I was their age. Each Tuesday, Saige goes to outdoor preschool at the farm for three hours while Blaise and Laine go to Outdoor Explorers, at different parks each month. November was Soaring Eagle Park up on the Plateau. They spend four hours outdoors, hiking and incorporating science topics. When I see the energy all the kiddos exert, and how they’re all still running and climbing trees after the four hours, I am continuously convinced keeping our kiddos out of traditional school is the way to go… for us.

Saige joined in on the action when we were there a bit early for pick up.

Bellevue Botanical Garden

Field trip! Kind of, nothing official. The kiddos and I had been discussing life cycles at home. I figured a trip to the botanical garden would be fun, and we could incorporate plant life cycles. I pretended to be a teacher and prepared handouts for the kiddos, attached them to clipboards, and off we went. We nosed around the gardens before lunching. After lunch, we kept on nosing and went down to the ravine experience—where a bridge crosses a ravine. We spent a good three hours there. Another homeschooling kiddo and her sister met us there. It was a super fun outing.

Saige was Saige, a hoot. She was so impressed with her clipboard that she walked up to everyone and asked them to write their name on her paper. Everyone was cool about it and wrote their name. It’s hard to say no to Saige; she has that killer smile and warm personality.

I swear the minute I pack lunches for somewhere, the kiddos are hungry the minute we get there. We stopped mid-garden tour for lunch and some yoga.

The kiddos asked me to take pictures of stuff. I’m adding it here because they like to look at my posts now. (Hi, kiddos!)

Thursday Night Party!

Yet another homeschooling benefit, birthday parties on weeknights. Haha. One of our homeschooling friends turned six and had a bounce house party on a Thursday night. The kiddos thought this was so cool, going to a party on a weeknight. It was a fun party. I think Saige especially enjoyed decorating her own cupcake.

Disney on Ice

Eh, I’m not a big Disney person. I’m not even sure why other than I don’t love the massive amounts of commercialism they promote to kiddos. My parents weren’t Disney people either, so I didn’t grow up watching their shows or movies. And I’m passing that on… our kiddos are Disney clueless also.

One of Saige’s preschool friends asked us back in May if we wanted to go to Disney on Ice with them. I’m always down to do things so I said sure. I figured I’d have time between May and November to show Saige Disney stuff. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy skated out. Saige turned to me and asked, “Who are they?” Hahaha.

The show was a really nice production. I was impressed. And yet, that $30 light up wand reaffirmed my Disney commercialism dislike even more. The snowman from Frozen was a cup with a slushy inside, it was $15. And so many people were buying them, along with wands and other overpriced items. Maybe this is their one outing for the year? Then again, we live in an area where $15 is nothing. So there’s that. I caved on the light up wand when Saige asked. Every kid had one, she needed one. Damn Disney.

Eevee!

Eevee was staying with us for a few days. Baby LOVES Eevee. They pal around together when Eevee isn’t playing with Mel.

Mermaid Kai Laine

This is all Laine, and describes her personality well. I love this kid.

Cooking Kiddos

The kiddos love to cook. Blaise was on tap for dinner, and Laine was on for a side dish this Sunday night. They each found recipes they wanted to make and I took them to PCC to buy all the ingredients. Blaise made a ravioli pasta bake; Laine made roasted vegetables. Saige helped. We didn’t lose any fingers so it was a successful dinner.

Cookies!

Blaise and Laine went to a How To Paint Your Dragon ceramics camp on Veteran’s Day. Laine went to the Halloween camp back in October and wanted to go to another one, and Blaise wanted to go also. We watched How To Train Your Dragon the night before so they’d be up on why the camp was named what it was. They made some fun stuff… a ceramic goblet and dragon egg they painted; a glass art dragon eye; and a painted dragon on canvas. Saige, Baby, and I killed time before picking them up by getting cookies.

Le Pie!

This kid. She is too freaking cute. She was casually posing against the play structure at school, and asked me to take her picture.

Thanksgiving Crafting

Sometimes I pull the I’m a good mom who crafts with Saige and Baby routine. Even though I’ve been there, done that when Blaise and Laine were toddlers. I’m kind of over the construction paper art projects but I took one for the team. The big kiddos were at school and it was a lazy morning… so I rallied Saige and Baby in the art room and we made random Thanksgiving head things. I googled Thanksgiving toddler crafts and looked at pictures, and found something that looked like what we made. So we made it. Well, I made one and then Saige and Baby made their own interpretations. I personally love Baby’s five-eyed face.

Lainey Bug! Baby and Saige showed Laine their head things when Laine came home from school. Laine decided to make one on her own, and proceeded to wear it the next few days. I love Laine’s personal style. She is who she is, and she is pretty awesome.

Not crafting but with the big kiddos, we did a A to Z Thanksgiving thing one night when Saige and Baby were in bed. You write something you’re thankful for from A to Z. The kiddos’ answers were great!

Party!

One of Saige’s preschool friends had a birthday party at Romp in Bellevue. What a great place. Siblings were invited also, so Laine and Baby joined us. Blaise wanted to stay home with Brian for some dad time. There was a face painter at the party and all the girls had to have their faces painted. I missed out on getting a picture of Laine’s face… she had a lightening streak across her face.

Baby and her faces. Hahahaha.

Hip Hop Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is so freaking boring. I’ll only go every 7-10 years. I love music and I enjoy ballet, but these two combined are not my favorite. Solution: Hip Hop. It was so much better. The music was the same, the story was different, and the dance, way more entertaining. Kurtis did a great job hosting… all the middle-aged folks got their groove on. There was a group of maybe six 50-60-year-old ladies dancing at intermission down by the stage. And up in the mezzanine where we were seated, were two men in their 60s, recording the group of ladies. I thought that was odd. But, social media and old men so who knows their reasonings?

Baby Being Baby

She worked hard to line all the kitchen cabinet handles with Care Bears. And Baby with a box on her head.

David Sedaris

I think this was year five of going to see David Seadris at Benaroya Hall. Maybe year four? I’ve lost track. But it’s definitely an annual tradition. And one I thoroughly enjoy. He is so fun to listen to. Between his material, his voice, and his entertaining outfits—this year, sequined culottes—it’s hard not to laugh. I’m a terrible joke teller but he was talking about how he gave a graduation speech at some college, and the joke he told (below) caused a person to come on stage and yell at him. Then he said he considered telling another joke (second below), but decided against fisting at a graduation. Jokes aside, his readings are wonderful.

Two priests were out driving one day when they get pulled over by a police officer. The cop approaches the priests vehicle and says to the driver, “Sorry to pull you over father, but we’re looking for a couple of child molesters.” The two priests look at each other for a few moments and have a few quiet words to each other. The driver turns back to the cop and says, “Alright officer, we’ll do it.”

An old man was sitting at the kitchen table with his teenage grandson, quietly eating breakfast and flipping through the pages of the newspaper. Upon glancing at the weather section, the grandfather announced, “Looks like it’s going to be raining cats and dogs this weekend, the roads are going to be a mess.” The grandson, unimpressed with his grandfather’s attempt at small-talk replied, exasperated, “Ugh, tell me something I don’t know!” The grandfather folds down his paper and says, “Okay… your grandmother’s asshole can take my whole fist.”

Fire Moose and Melvin

These two. The minute the fire is on, they’re there. And even when the fire isn’t on, they’ll sit in front of it and stare at me until I turn it on.

Cookie Decorators

Selfishly, I wanted a chocolate cookie. I love these suckers from Trader Joe’s, in the ugly sweater cooking decorating kit. And I wanted one. So I asked the kiddos to decorate them. They were game, and they knew they’d get a cookie also. Of course they did.

Gingerbread House Event

Our annual holiday season kick off event, the Gingerbread House event put on by KidsQuest Museum. I love this event. We’ve been going for five years I think? Maybe six? I can’t remember how old Blaise was when we started, but it was long before three and four kiddos. And the last few years, another family has joined us… our old neighbors whom we miss living next to. So it’s extra fun doing it with them.

The event is held at a hotel in Bellevue, in the ballroom. They have preassembled gingerbread houses and candy bars with ridiculous amounts of decoration options. Frosting fairies walk around with buckets of white, red, and green frosting, and you wave a wand to call them over when you need more frosting. This was the first year Saige took it seriously. Baby continued her tradition of only eating candy and not decorating. Blaise and Laine decorate with less pizzazz than last year, but still with enough pizzazz that I think they enjoyed going.

Blaise is totally my kid. Look at his organization!

Oh, Target

I find this funny. My iPhone often suggests how long it’ll take me to get somewhere based on my patterns. I’m sure it does this for everyone… or maybe it’s a setting I turned on somewhere? Either way, I had to laugh. I was at the Woodinville Target and when I got in the car to leave, my iPhone suggested it would take me 28 minutes to get to the Redmond Target. Which, strangely enough, was where I was heading… I had an online order I needed to pick up and totally forgot when I decided to go to the Woodinville Target. And then when I was leaving the Redmond Target after picking up my online order, my iPhone suggested it would take me 28 minutes to get to the Woodinville Target. Hahahahaha. Clearly, I shop at Target often.

Math Class

The kiddos math class at their part-time public school is awful. Go figure, it’s public school. And while we have math at home, I wanted more for the kiddos. Back to DigiPen we went. The math class they joined only has four kiddos in there, so it’s almost like private tutoring. Each kiddo gets customized help from the teacher, and they get to learn at their own pace. Which is exactly what we wanted for Blaise and Laine. They’re going two days a week for five hours total. And so far, we are thrilled with the class… considering we could have bought a used car for the cost of the class, we damn well should be thrilled, haha.

The only thing I’m not a fan of is that it’s held at a megachurch. While DigiPen is secular, they rent space from the church. But the bonus is there is an indoor play area where Saige and Baby get to play before we pick up Blaise and Laine. But a megachurch with a coffee shop next to an indoor play area… creepy. Seriously, it’s just weird. Sure, I’m not a church goer or even religious, but I love small, quaint churches. Megachurches, totally creepy. And I’m even disregarding the Jesus Rock playing outside the entrance.

Carousel Baby

It was the last Tuesday of the year Baby and I had together. The other three kiddos were at school. We made it count. We hit Redmond Town Center for the holiday cheer. Not everything was up and running but it didn’t matter. Baby was only interested in the carousel. We were able to ride it over and over until it was time to head out. We stopped in to see Santa. Baby wasn’t interested until he offered her a candy cane.

Outdoor Saige!

This was Saige at pickup. She was impressed with her head decoration.

Blaise and Laine were at the farm this Tuesday also, and we had to kill an hour-and-a-half between picking up Saige, and Blaise and Laine being finished. Saige and Baby wanted to play in the greenhouse. We played in the greenhouse for about a half hour until we moved over to the play structure, where a few of Saige’s preschool friends were still playing.

Blaise getting his saw on at Outdoor Explorers.

Neil Degrasse Tyson

A rare date night! Brian isn’t a big goer-outer. But he found that Neil Degrasse Tyson would be in town back in August. We bought tickets and booked Lisa. It was nice to get out with him. We are really great about putting the kiddos down at night and spending time together then, and in the mornings before the kiddos get up, but to be out and about with him was really nice.

We went to dinner first and then moseyed over to the Paramount. This was a few days before Neil was accused of sexual harassment. And I’m glad. I’m not sure what is true or not, but I’m glad I didn’t have to have that in my head while at his show. He put on a fabulous talk. It was titled the Cosmic Perspective and related astrophysics to every day subjects.

My biggest take away was it reaffirmed my beliefs. I don’t believe in a God or creator, or anything along those lines. I’m all big bang, evolution over here. My atheist-agnostic-secular humanist-whatever I am self. I always have been. Even as a young kid, I remember lying in bed wondering why people think we were created by some dude in the sky. It never made sense to me. It still doesn’t. But while I am a hardcore nonbeliever, I’m totally cool with those who believe in whatever. We’re all trying to get through life and whatever each of us needs to make it, works for me. It’s not like any of us know the actual truth. I mean, there are people on all sides who think they do… they’re all delusional.

So of course the next day I was googling if Neil Degrasse Tyson was an admitted atheist. He came across as one. I didn’t find anything that officially said he was but I found that he doesn’t believe in a God. It doesn’t matter. But while searching for the answer, I came across this video and enjoyed watching.

Carpet Cleaner

I’m obsessed. I bought a home carpet cleaner and I am in love. I usually have our carpets professionally cleaned once a year. We were due. But in all the Black Friday deals, I came across a home carpet cleaner and went for it. I cannot believe how clean our carpets are now! Even a spot that didn’t come up last year when I had them professionally cleaned is gone. I want to do it again and again, but I have to stop myself.

Once the carpets dried, I had the kiddos run around. I can’t stand carpet vacuum lines.

Skiing Saige!

Saigers stared her indoor skiing lessons in preparation for on-snow lessons in January. Thankfully most people around here know about Mini Mountain because when I say on-snow lessons, rarely do people look confused. Once a person asked me when I said on-snow lessons, “Where else would you ski?!” Haha.

She’s doing great! This was from her first lesson but she had her third lesson today and is leash-free and the instructor said with seven more lessons indoors, she’s going to kill it on the snow come January.

Side note: I love that she has a male teacher. I wish the kiddos had more male teachers. Not that I don’t love our female teachers—they are amazing—I just want more of a balance. There is something about male teachers; they have that imagination and youthful vibe that never really goes away like it tends to in women. I know I’m generalizing but it seems to ring true for the most part in my experience.

Second Graders

Blaise and Laine had school pictures taken at their school up the street. Not the most awkward I’ve seen.

November 30

It was a busy Friday. Saige and Baby had school; Bob and Tara flew up for the weekend to get our tree; and Blaise and Laine had cooking class. It was a nice end to the month or normal.

Saige and Baby’s Friday school.

Finding the perfect tree. Blaise, Laine, and Saige all took turns cutting it down. 

And that was November. It’s December 6 and we’re off to a good start for the month. I can’t believe it’s almost 2019 though, crazy how time flies. I mean, it was just 2004.

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