January Twenty Nineteen

Normally I’m super stoked for a new year, a fresh start. But this year, not so much. It’s back to the same old, same old. Which explains why I was on Redfin yesterday checking out houses in Aliso Viejo. Brian’s team has an office down there. It’d be an easy change. Not that I really want to move back to California, I’m just SO craving change. I need something different.

I’m bored. And when I’m bored, I make changes. Sometimes small. Like spontaneously changing my last name after six years of marriage. Sometimes large. Like moving to Washington on a whim. I’m not sure what’s brewing now but I can feel the need for change. Every week is the same. And while I thrive on schedules and routines, I’m starting to get antsy with this groundhog week thing we have going on.

Reflecting on the last few months, I think my need for some sort of change is why I overscheduled our days. While each day had the same, standard happenings, I added more to each day to subconsciously spice things up. And it wore me out. I’m exhausted thinking of everything we did the last few months. We’ve always kept busy but not to that extent.

My solution for change in January: Do nothing. Be lazy. I protested being busy. Except we still were, with our weekly schedule. But I protested overscheduling. We—mainly I—didn’t do much in the evenings or weekends, and we barely scheduled anything with others. And that was a change. But I still have a deeper need change feeling, so I’m not sure where the rest of 2019 will take me. Maybe it’s because I’m 40 now. I’ve decided this is the decade that’s going to be about ME. My twenties were about setting up life. My thirties were about having kiddos. My forties, yeah, me. Maybe this is the change I need.

January in television. 

I’d be happy without a television. I rarely watch anything except Brian is a movie guy. And I only sit and watch movies with him because he’s a fidgeter and has to be doing something. That something, massage me. I’m not going to pass that up. Although, I’m not sure I’m up for watching Pride and Prejudice for the twentieth time. Brian loves that movie. He basically has four main movie categories: period pieces, war movies, climbing movies, space movies. He’s currently watching First Man while massaging my legs. I digress. In January, me being lazy and all, I turned to Netflix.

Tidying Up. I heard about Tidying Up on Netflix. I gave it a shot. It gave me anxiety, seeing all the stuff some of the people had—and still do after they went through the process. Even thinking about one of the after garages… people have so. much. stuff. I’ve been Kondoing since before she was a thing. I love purging. I seriously get excited when the kids leave a marker out overnight with the cap off. It means it dried out and I can toss it. Yeah, I know, I’m thrilling. I’m pretty sure I have the opposite of whatever hoarders have; I’m an obsessive purger. And it’s probably unhealthy in some psychological way. The kiddos enjoyed watching an episode with me. But I couldn’t deal with all their questions… I waited until they were in bed to finish the season over a few nights.

Gilmore Girls. I LOVE this show. Even still, watching it all over again from the beginning. I mean, Laine is Laine because of Lane Kim. The memories, waiting for each week to roll around so I could catch the show. And if I missed it, I missed it… there was no On Demand back then. The big kiddos are watching it with me. We’re only a few episodes in on season one, and I can’t wait to continue watching. It’s light enough for the kids to enjoy, yet heavy enough for them to ask questions about topics they might not necessarily be exposed to at their current ages. It’s tough having to wait with the kiddos though, since they have evening activities and earlier bedtimes than me. It’ll take a while but I’m in it for the long haul. It’s one show where I can sit and watch, and not think or do anything else. Which is usually my problem with watching anything… I get bored and can’t sit for so long without having random you need to do this thoughts pop in my head.

Sex Education. Because I can’t watch Gilmore Girls when the kiddos are in bed or gone night skiing, I watched Sex Education on Netflix. It was really great. I love everything teenagers… I can’t wait to have teenagers. I’m probably in the parental minority to feel this way. But the show, I loved how they dealt with all sex-related topics in teenage ways. And I absolutely loved that everything was presented as normal… from abortion to one kiddo having two moms to a teenage boy dressing as a lady. And all the ’80s music, an added bonus. Excellent series.

January in books.

I’m reading again. Like committed to reading several books this year. I read here and there, with every intention of reading an entire book, but I never finish a book from cover to cover. This has to change. I can feel my brain eroding. A friend mentioned the KCLS reading challenge. I’m all in. I have all my books selected. And I’ve checked off one, and I’m in the middle of another. I’m thoroughly enjoying reading again. I didn’t realize how much I missed actually completing a book, that feeling of accomplishment. Not to mention how much better my brain feels.

Kiddo reading challenge. Blaise and Laine are also signed up for a reading challenge. Their part-time school up the street has a bingo reading challenge, with the goal being a blackout bingo card. The card has 25 book categories, so they need to read 25 books by mid-May. They’ve got this.

January in health.

Mammogram. Now that I’m 40, I had the pleasure of getting a mammogram. Yay. They offered two options when I called to make the appointment: 1. Have the scan and they’ll call with the results. 2. Have the scan, stay, and review the results with the doctor. Option two, no question. It was interesting. First, it was at Swedish in Seattle so I had all these memories of having all the kiddos at the hospital there. I love having babies. It’s like checking into a hotel with excellent room service and you get to leave with a baby.

The breast cancer screening location was across the street in another building. I arrived early, like 30 minutes early, and they called me back within five minutes. You undress from the waist up, put a robe on, and wait in a DMV-like waiting area. But there’s tea and coffee. There’s something to being in a woman-only area. There’s almost this silent camaraderie and calmness in the room. I don’t know how to explain it, other than it is a nice feeling. It was the same way back when I went to a women-only gym in San Luis Obispo.

Not long after sitting down, I was called back for the actual mammogram. It was over within five minutes. Easy peasy. It didn’t even hurt. I mean, it’s not comfortable but it was so quick I didn’t have time to think about discomfort. I was escorted back to the waiting area, and within 10 minutes, I was called into a consultation room. The radiologist had reviewed my scans and all was well. No cancer or any follow-up scans. Just the recommendation to come back annually. My entire appointment was finished before my actual appointment start time. Swedish runs a tight ship.

Fucking bone spurs. Fucking Christ. I am so not loving having bone spurs. I’ve been doing everything (almost) I was told to do, including wearing my Tom Cruise orthotics. They make me about a half-inch taller. I don’t love them but I’m getting used to them. I’ve been resting my heels from extreme activity. I’ve been wearing shoes at all times. I’ve been doing the stretches. I haven’t been icing them, it’s cold. But overall, all was feeling well. So here’s where I was totally in the wrong but had high hopes… I was on a walk with Melvin; the doctor said I could walk. I was feeling good and craving a run. So I went for it. I ran maybe a mile. Well, that was a bad idea. My heels hurt after. I know, my own damn fault. But I am so wanting to run. It’s almost torture not being able to run. I see the doctor again in early February. I hope there are options to get me running again soon.

Resting heart rate. December was so busy that my RHR elevated to 77 bpm for a few days. In fact, most of December, my RHR was in the 70s. Which is high for me. I typically average 60 bpm. I was so concerned, I called the nurse line. Hahaha. I always think I’m about to die. I was worried I’d die in my sleep or something with that high of a RHR. Turns out I didn’t die, and that 60-100 bpm is the average for adults. Looking back, my RHR was likely elevated due to overscheduling stress and stress from worrying about my higher RHR. With my January laziness, my RHR is back down to 61 bpm. I’m even seeing low-50s when I’m really relaxed. I think my goal for 2019 will be to get my RHR down in the mid-50s… I guess that means more laziness. Damn.

January in life events.

My birthday. I’m 40. Woot. I don’t mind getting older; it really is just a number. I still feel like I’m in my 20s, just wiser. Baby’s Target friend—the lady checker whom we go to every time—told me You’ve held up well! when she found out my upcoming birthday was the big 4-0. Haha. I’ll take that.

My birthday was low-key, as requested. Brian took the day off but it was still a regular day… the big kiddos had all-day school up the street followed by Laine’s gymnastics practice that evening. Brian, Saige, Baby, and I went to Red Robin for lunch. Kids eat for $1.99 on Wednesdays and I had a birthday burger on my royalty card. Haha, I am getting old, looking for eating out deals. We spent the afternoon at home until I left to take Laine to gymnastics. It had been two weeks and I was due for a pedicure. I dropped off Laine at the gym and went for a pedicure. I still loathe getting pedicures. They’re a chore and I don’t like wasting time. But they’re also a habit so I suffer through them. After my toes were all fancy and Laine was finished with practice, we went home for brownie sundaes. Normally Brian gets me an ice cream cake but I changed up my request this year and asked for brownie sundaes. The younger two went to bed while the older two, Brian, and I watched Gilmore Girls. Then we all went to bed. It was a perfect birthday.

On being 40. I’ve decided that I’m making this decade about me. In my twenties, I set up life. I graduated college, married Brian, started a career, bought our first place. My thirties were all about having kiddos and buying a larger place to accommodate said kiddos. Basically, everything in my thirties was all about and for the kiddos. My forties, ME. Not in a super selfish way, but in a way that I’m not going to put up with crap anymore. I’ve always been a people-pleaser, rule-follower. And I’m about to live it up. Haha. For instance, I had a teacher conference with the kiddos’ teacher up the street. It was scheduled for 10:30am. I had all four kiddos to take… I had everyone ready but at 10:10am, all four were out of their clothes and in dress-up outfits. Ugh. I quickly had everyone change, and we rushed out of the door at 10:20am to make it up the street. We made it there at 10:25am. I waited outside the kiddos’ teacher’s door. She saw me, didn’t acknowledge me. Fine. I keep waiting. The kiddos were fine but still, four kiddos in a small school hallway, not ideal. I kept waiting. Still no acknowledgement from the teacher. Her door was open, she looked right at me a few times. Me being 40 and all about me, I said fuck this and left at 10:41am. I’m not putting up with crap like that anymore. I popped in and said I’d reschedule. I already have issues with people who run late, wasting my time. Especially when I make an effort to be on time out of respect for their time. The pre-40 me would be like, it’s okay, no big deal, things happen, I’ll patiently wait and won’t say anything. But the post-40 me, nope. My time is precious and while I still get things happen, I’m not going to let them impact me. Turns out she was totally running late and the parent meeting with her before my scheduled time didn’t even start until 10:20am… we would have been waiting much longer.

Twenty-three years. That’s how long Brian and I have been together now. Sometime in January 1996 we started dating. We work really well together. It’s been a smooth 23 years. Not all the ups and downs like people say marriages take. I mean, we’ve had a few fights over the years and the most major thing we dealt with was my postpartum depression after I had Laine. And even then, we knew things would eventually go back to normal. They did. All in all, we rarely ever argue, we support each other in everything life and in the parenting department, and we just get along really well. I’ve read how high school sweethearts either drift apart or grow together… we definitely have grown together, almost too much sometimes, haha. Brian always says all he wants is for me to be happy. And while that means it’s cool that I take off a few nights each week and go see musicals like crazy or go to Homegoods and Target and spend a mortgage payment, it’s really him who makes me happy. And I’m super lucky to have him. Like every wife says, he’s the best husband and father. Except he really is.

January in around the house.

The couch is clean. My cleaning highlight in January, so exciting. I had been meaning to have the couch cleaned; I had even called a cleaning company few times, no answer (I don’t leave voicemails). Then over the three-day weekend, I decided I’d clean the couch myself. I bought a carpet/upholstery cleaner back in November. Until a light bulb went off… all the couch cushions and backs have zippered covers. Google told me I could wash them in the washing machine. That’s exactly what I did. I spent an entire Sunday washing covers from each section of the couch, putting them back on the cushions while they were still damp, as recommended, before lining them up in front of the fire to air dry. Once they dried, I took a fabric shaver to each cover and removed all the little lint balls. I’ve never been so excited over our couch before. It not only looks clean but it feels clean. And that feeling is one of my favorites. I fully expect I’ll be doing this every six months or so.

Moosie enjoyed hanging with the couch cushions while they dried.


The gutters are clean. This isn’t anything worth noting, other than in a few years when I think back and question When did we last have the gutters cleaned? I can find it here. We use my blog often to figure out when we last did something. It’s amazing how much my memory goes with each year of parenting. And yet, I can still tell you birthdays from all the kids I went to elementary school with. We have an amazing painter we found back in our old place when we had it entirely repainted. We’ve been using David since, and he even does side projects like gutter cleaning. He’s a general contractor by license, so we will be using him for several things as they come up. Next up, this spring he will power wash and apply a sealer to our wooden play structure. David is awesome.

I’m keeping too much on top of things. Not only am I bored with the same old, same old of our weekly routine, I’m even getting bored with everything cleaning and organizing. Things I enjoy. I’m adventurous, I know. I’ve been keeping on top of things—almost too much—that I don’t have much to do around the house when I normally would do house stuff. I’ve over-purged so much that we don’t have too much to organize and put away. Which makes cleaning easy. And, if anything is left out, I have no qualms about tossing whatever it is… the kids know this; they put things away. I’ve even been keeping up on dishes and laundry to the point that I do small loads just to keep the laundry baskets and sink empty. I’m really bored.

January in homeschooling.

We’re doing something right. After leaving the kiddos’ teacher conference because I didn’t want to wait, I rescheduled. The only times available were when I would be getting a mammogram. Brian went with the four kiddos. He even took them for ice cream after. He’s way cooler than I am. Turns out we’re doing well as homeschooling parents. Not that I didn’t think we were, but I always think we should be doing more. A common homeschooling parent feeling. I’m pretty realistic where the kiddos stand. I know where they excel and where they need work… and where we need to do more at home.

The school they go to up the street is a part-time public school. I don’t necessarily send them for the academics… more for the school experience. Like the reading challenge and science fair, buying school lunch and having recess. Stuff like that. Because it’s still a public school, they do testing, assessing the kiddos at their grade level. Each kiddo was on the higher end of average or above average in the subjects tested. I was so happy to hear this. Laine had lower math scores last conference, hence signing them up for the DigiPen math class. Laine has drastically improved in math over two months. Their conferencing teacher said to keep doing whatever we’re doing at home, because the kiddos are doing well academically and socially. She said they are very well-rounded kiddos. The only thing Blaise needs to work on is slowing down, hahaha. He’s my kid through and through.

The end of an era. Blaise and Laine finished their outdoor class the last Tuesday in January. They’ve been with Tiny Treks since Blaise was one and Laine was still a baby. We started with the parent/child classes, on to outdoor preschool, and outdoor explorers from kindergarten until now, mid-second grade. It’s sad to be finished but it feels right. They’re getting older, and their academic needs are getting more involved… which means other classes cost more, and we deem them more important. Like math. And with Saige and Baby moving up in the school world, things are getting expensive. We will miss the Tuesday outdoor class, but we’re excited to move forward.

I asked Blaise and Laine to stand by the tree so I could get a picture of their last day. Baby wasn’t about to be left out of a picture. 


January in kiddos.

I figure I should add a little something for the new year about each kiddo.

Blaise. He’s become quite the avid reader. He’ll easily read two hours in bed each night. He powered through the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Which I wasn’t sure about since they have graphics but I wouldn’t call them a graphic novel like Dog Man, which I don’t consider reading. He read the entire series, and is rereading them again now. He’s also taken an interest in biographies, after reading an Isaac Newton biography for school in December. He’s currently reading a biography on Albert Einstein.

LEGOs are still his thing and he’s recently started a thing for building models. And there’s Roblox and Xbox games, in moderation. He still has zero interest in any sports—I’m fine with this. Brian and I decided it might be good for him to join a team, play a sport. Brian was thinking of lacrosse. Blaise said no. Brian suggested martial arts. Blaise said no. And while asking and getting a no from the kiddos doesn’t always mean we go with their answers—we can always pull the mom and dad card—it felt right to listen to him on this. He really is more of a LEGO robotics or programming class kind of kiddo. Except his friend takes tennis lessons, and so Blaise is interested in tennis lessons. We’ll start him as soon as skiing ends. It’s a time thing.

As for being eight, he’s starting to have a bit of an attitude. But I’m totally okay with this. He’s not mean, it’s more that he’s looking for increased independence and we don’t always give it to him. Because he’s only eight. I actually like the eye rolls and the MOM! frustrations. While he’s looking for independence, he’s still asking to sleep with me almost every night. It’s moments like this when I realize he’s still a young kiddo. I have a tendency to treat all the kiddos older than they are, and with higher expectations than their current ages allow.

Blaise as a big brother, he’s amazing. I always wanted an older brother growing up and if I had the opportunity to pick one, I’d pick a Blaise. He is so caring and attentive to his sisters, and knows exactly how to cheer them up when they’re sad or moody. There are days when he goes ahead and makes breakfast for all the girls, without us even asking him. He just knows what needs to be done. The only downside to his amazingness, his desire to parent. He’ll make parenting calls for the girls when it’s not his place. He has good intentions.

Blaise in his element, taking apart a television. Baby got in on the action with him. 


Laine. Laine is Laine, and that’s a great thing. I’m loving Laine more and more as she gets older. She has this quiet humor about her, and she observes things that others don’t. I’ll never forget a few years ago, she was maybe four? We were watching a Backyardigans episode where Tasha has too much work to do on her farm; she has no idea how she will get it all finished by herself. Tasha starts singing a song about this, dancing while listing all the work. Out of nowhere, Laine says, “Why is she taking the time to sing a song when she has so much to do? She should stop singing and start working.” Hahaha. Laine. She and Brian are very similar, they see things from different perspectives. Blaise and I are the same, we’re more like we could easily get her list checked off. Blaise and I are slightly over-confident and don’t ask for help. 

Laine had her first gymnastics meet in January. She did amazing! We went into the meet with no expectations, more of a first time experience to see what it’s all about. It was fun as a parent watching her, in her element. Laine is ripped. That kid is all muscle, with a six-pack. Just standing you can see the definition of all her muscles. Her leotard makes it even more noticeable. The thing with Laine, is she’s a perfect balance of competitive and supportive. She has a strong desire to win and has the drive but she’s just as happy to have someone else do better than her and be the first to compliment them. I couldn’t ask for a better kid. She placed eighth in her age/level group at the meet. Which I think is pretty damn good for her first time. I know she has the fire in her to try for a higher place next meet. It’ll be interesting to see how hard she goes next time around.

Laine at her first ever gymnastics meet in January.


Other Laine highlights: She is still a sleeper. We bought her a Fitbit for Christmas and tracking her sleep has been entertaining. It’s solid blue. Not a single disturbance in the night… sometimes a few red lines in the morning when Saige and Vaile wake up, but then it goes back to a solid blue line until she wakes up for the day. She goes to bed at 8pm but I’m convinced if we put her to bed at 6pm, she’d still fall asleep in two seconds and sleep until 8am. Speaking of sleeping, Snugs has become Laine’s cat. Every night around 7:30pm when Laine’s getting ready for bed, Snugs waits in her doorway. The minute Laine is lying down in bed, Snugs is there for Laine’s signature scratch (as Laine calls it).

Since I’m raving about Laine. Another she’s an amazing kid story. A few months ago, I was doing dishes and Laine was sitting at the kitchen table. “Mom, I lied.” I was taken aback. Laine and Blaise can both be stinkers but they are not liars (Saige is, haha). I turned and asked her to clarify:

  • Laine said a girl at school was telling her how other kids were calling her (the girl) fat.
  • The girl then asked Laine if Laine thought she (the girl) was fat.
  • Laine told her no, she didn’t think she (the girl) was fat.

This was the lie. She told me she actually thinks the girl is fat but she didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I was so proud. We went on to discuss white lies and different ways of answering the question without actually lying. Like, she could have said, “I think you look great.” And it was a nice opportunity to remind her that people come in different shapes and sizes, and that’s okay. It’s also okay for her to think the girl is fat, as long as she keeps that to herself. Like she did. I am just so proud of Laine. She wasn’t pressured to agree with the other kids and she was aware of the potential feelings this girl would have felt if she told her what she really thought. This is probably where fat shamer will be thrown around. But hey, if someone is heavier than others, kids will notice and likely assign the adjective fat to them. I’m not going to shame Laine for thinking the girl is fat. We live in an oversensitive, easily offended society where you can’t even have your own thoughts without hurting someone’s feelings.

Saige. Saige has been a handful these past few years. In both positive and negative ways. She’s almost 4.5 and is evening out with each day. With Saige, she’s either awesome or she’s a mess. And the messes are becoming less and less. Thank freaking goodness. No, scratch that. Thank fucking goodness. It’s about time. From being the easiest baby alive to the hardest from 18 months until about four, we have been looking forward to her calming down. I feel like we unlocked a rare parenting achievement with her. Even in her toughest of times, she still had a sweet side. And it’s this sweet side that is defining her more these days.

January was a great month for Saige. I feel like she grew up quite a bit with everything going on in her world. She’s going strong with her outdoor preschool, enjoying every day she’s there. Never a complaint about the cold or rain. After having the month of December off, she was excited to be back in January. She started on-snow skiing lessons the first Sunday in January. She’s killing it. We were concerned. We actually almost pulled her the Saturday night before her first on-snow lesson… we didn’t think she was ready. She had a rough time at her last indoor lesson earlier that Saturday. She proved us wrong Sunday. This is the kid who is so overly cautious, that when she rides her scooter around the block, she slows down at every driveway where the sidewalk slowly dips down. Seriously. She’s our first cautious kiddo in that sense. But on the snow, she a daring speedster. Brian and I laugh, of all the kiddos, we never thought Saige would be the skier. Go, Saige!

Skier Saige.


Between school and skiing, she has a pretty busy life for a four-year-old. Throw in all the activities she gets to do with her friends and activities thanks to having older siblings, she is exhausted every night. Which explains why she’s in bed between 5:30-6:30pm. I’m not complaining. I’ve always been one for early bedtimes. I’m excited to see Saige grow in 2019. Five is one of my favorite ages and she’ll be there in September.

Vaile. Vaile is in the talks all the time phase. Over the past six weeks, she has become quite the chatterbox. Normally, I’m not a fan of this phase. I like quiet and calm, which is kind of ironic that we chose to have four kiddos. But her talking is adorable. She has the cute, young voice that isn’t super clear but you can understand what she’s saying. Her favorite thing to say when you leave is good luck! I’m not sure why but she’s all about wishing everyone good luck all the time. She also misses everyone. If I walk Melvin, the moment I walk back in, “I missed you!” I could even go in the garage for two minutes, walk back inside, and she’ll tell me she missed me. Which is another thing… she’s obsessed with me. She wants mom all.the.time. She’s our first kiddo who has a preference. The other three will take Brian or me, it doesn’t matter. Not Baby. It’s flattering but it’s not my normal. Even sitting down for dinner, “I sit next to mom.” Every night. I’m getting used to being wanted so much. I know it won’t last.

January for Vaile was all about life as usual. She gets dragged around so much between all the driving everywhere. And she’s a trooper. Never complains and is always happy to go wherever. In the past few weeks, she has started being a three-year-old. She’s late to the game. She’s starting to occasionally protest, like when we were at a store and she thought it was funny to lie down on the ground even after I told her to get up. And at Costco, she wants to ride in the bottom part of the basket and lets me know that she’s not happy when I put her in the kid part. Even buckling in her car seat… for the longest time, she was happy to buckle only the top. Now she has to buckle the bottom and it takes her forever, and complains if I help out. I can’t even touch the car seat. But for the most part, she listens really well. If we ask her to do something, she does. And it we tell her to knock off whatever she’s doing and shouldn’t be, she stops. We’ve also lucked out with her when she gets tired…. she doesn’t turn into a terror. She powers through when she’s tired, still happy as a clam.

Baby and I killing time at Toddler Time. Poor kiddo is dragged around every day to accommodate the big kiddos’ schedules. She’s a trooper!


Also in January, Vaile became obsessed with determining who has vaginas and who has penises. Even now, she keeps running in and clarifying whom from Paw Patrol has what. She’s also obsessed with music. And because she’s the fourth and I’m over kid music, she’s been listening to Hip Hop Hits from the ’80s and ’90s. Including The Breaks by Kurtis Blow.

I’m excited for Vaile in 2019. She gets to go to Camp Orkila for the first time this spring; she’ll start outdoor preschool with Saige in the fall; have her first birthday party; begin indoor skiing lessons next December before on-snow lessons next January; and so forth. Life will begin to pick up for her in her own right, not just as the fourth kiddo.

January in pictures. 

New Year’s Day. We had a nothing day. Part of nothing is using electronics. I love how they have no concept of personal space.

Birthday party. One of Laine’s BFFs has a sister who turned four. The girls and I went to her party. Blaise wanted to hang at home with Brian. It was a fun party! The theme was Hatchimals and their mom did a great job. Laine enjoyed sticking a balloon to her head with static electricity; Baby and Saige enjoyed decorating their own Hatchimal eggs.

Caramel apple Blaise. Ever since we went to Leavenworth and Blaise couldn’t have a caramel apple, we kept telling him we’d make some. Three weeks later, we did. He was thrilled.

Gamer girls. Old school games. Saige had charades out. She and I played a few rounds before she took to playing it her own way… placing all the cards over the couch and ottomans. I have no idea why but she was highly entertained. Baby set up a little fort, surrounding herself with games and books, and using the grabber as a door. She’s funny. And Yahtzee, she calls it the pencil game because Brian keeps a pencil in the box for when he plays with the big kiddos.

More gamers, the next day. The big kiddos’ friends were over, and they all got to playing games after eating lunch. Saige left after lunch for an indoor skiing lesson with Brian.

Pancake dinner. Blaise asked to make dinner, specifically pancakes. It’s nice how they can take on the entire process now that they’re older. There’s no need for us to help make the batter or turn on the stove anymore. He made quite the stack of pancakes, that were all gobbled down by everyone. Even I had a few and I’m not much of a pancake person.

Dog love. Baby LOVES dogs. Any time she sees a dog—whether we’re walking or driving—she yells out, “Cute dog!” Her love for Melvin is pretty strong. They have a thing going on.

Sunday morning walk. Blaise wasn’t feeling up for skiing this Sunday. Brian took Laine and Saige, while Blaise stayed behind with Baby and me. My plan was to go on my walk with Baby and Melvin. I told Blaise he was walking if he stayed home. He agreed. And the deal was no bitching. He did well. He’s started in on bitching about doing things he’s not a fan of doing. And I knew he wouldn’t want to walk in the cold, first thing. But he was a trooper. He only made one comment and I wouldn’t classify it as a complaint.

Slope hitters. Saige has a lesson every Sunday, and sometimes one or both of the big kiddos tag along. I have so many skiing pictures from Brian… these are all the Sundays in January, compiled into one set of pictures.

Brian has it down. He pulls all their clothes the night before and packs the Suburban. The morning of, he gets up and makes hot chocolate in his enormous thermos for after skiing, before waking all the kiddos and getting them ready. They usually get breakfast on the road before making it to the mountain. Saige has her lesson while the others ski, before meeting up after Saige’s lesson for hot chocolate in the back of the Suburban. Sometimes they ski a bit longer; sometimes they come straight home. It’s nice having the snow so close. It’s maybe 40 minutes from home.

Saige in action.

Mermaids and a ladybug. I have no idea what is going on here. This was from Brian’s photo uploads.

Farrel McWhirter. With Blaise and Laine taking a math class twice a week, Saige, Baby, and I have to find ways to kill the three afternoon hours. This day, Farrel McWhirter. Back to my old stomping grounds. We checked on the animals before making our way to the swings. I have to laugh, there was another mom there. I have good reason to believe the three-year-old who was with her is her only kiddo…

It was super cold. Like I was wearing my puffy coat and was still freaking cold. My kids refuse to wear jackets; I offered, I don’t force them. The little guy with the other mom was wearing a short-sleeved shirt. I didn’t even notice until the mom said, “He just won’t wear a jacket,” in almost an apologetic tone. Haha, the first time mom thing. Where you feel the need to justify things to other moms. Needless to say, we didn’t stay long because Saige was cold. Hell, I was cold.

Kids Quest. More math for Blaise and Laine, more time killing for Saige, Baby, and me. This time, we went to Kids Quest Children’s Museum. I hadn’t been to the new location. I loved the old location. I actually kind of protest the new location. I’m not a fan. But we had time to kill and I knew the girls would have a blast. So we went.

I was right, they loved everything there. Saige met a little friend, named Liv. They palled around the last half of our time there. Liv was there with her grandmother, a nice lady. After successfully killing time at the museum, we left to pick up Blaise and Laine. I learned a lesson this day (maybe a reminder): never tire out Saige and Baby with too much excitment before I have to take them inside to get Blaise and Laine. Man, they were tired.

Sometimes I just sit. Some nights, when Brian is upstairs putting the kiddos down, I take the time to just sit and enjoy the quiet after a long day. Because every day is long with four kiddos. And quiet is not a word I would use to describe a day with four kiddos. I love a clean, quiet house.

Outdoor kiddos. Saige and Baby on a Friday, at their outdoor class.

Hot Shot Laine. Laine had gymnastics pictures. Her team is called the Hot Shots.

Another Friday, another outdoor class. Saige is the happiest kiddo.

Cat Cafe. We happened to see a Cat Cafe sign on our way to DigiPen the day before. I had heard of a Cat Cafe in Redmond but hadn’t looked into it much. Laine was sold. She asked if we could go. Um, yes. The reason I signed Saige and Baby up for their Friday outdoor class was so I can have time with the big kiddos to do fun stuff. Like go to Cat Cafes.

They both want another cat. I’m on board with this, in a few months. Until then, they asked if we could take home each cat they played with. Meow Meow was Laine’s favorite. Blaise liked them all. I didn’t want to leave. I would have stayed with those kitties all day if I could have… don’t tell Moosie and Snugs.

Skier Blaise. Blaise needed a new helmet. We stopped by a ski shop in Redmond after leaving the Cat Cafe to grab a helmet and goggles. They had blue, black, white… he chose the bright, neon green helmet. To which Laine said, “Well, at least I’ll be able to see you on the mountain.” Haha. I don’t think she remembered she also has a neon green helmet when she said this.

Snow posers. Brian asked them to pose for pictures when they were skiing one Sunday. I’m loving Blaise’s pose, hahahaha.

Baseball Brian. Brian hated playing baseball as a kid. HIs dad had him play sports. Brian wasn’t a traditional sports guy. He was a skateboarder and snowboarder, which are sports in my book. He still complains to this day about how he had to play baseball, and how it was so boring. My friend texted me this picture. She found it at her in-laws’ house… turns out her husband and Brian were on the same team together. Small world. But not really since we all grew up in the same area.

Night skiers. Brian took the big kiddos night skiing. They had been asking to go and it happened to be the right conditions this night… clear, not too cold, and not busy. They LOVED night skiing and ask to go each week. I selfishly like it because they leave, I put the younger two down to bed, and I get the house to myself for four hours.

Tuesday Baby. Each Tuesday in January, I had only Baby for a few hours. The other three were in their outdoor classes. Baby and I would go to breakfast and run a few errands before picking up Saige, and then Blaise and Laine. This morning, we were at Village Square Cafe, our standard breakfast place. When we left, we still had a little time to kill. I passed by a kiddo haircut place. I thought, Baby should get a haircut. I can be a spur of the moment decision maker at times. The kiddo place was closed. We went to another place and they were able to take her right away. I figured a short bob would look cute on her. I was right. She is so freaking adorable with the shorter hair. It fits her personality well.

At the cafe before the haircut and after. I asked her to stand on the rock for a picture and she decided to stand behind the plant. And of course, Saige asked for a haircut when she saw Baby had one. We went the next day for her.

Two cute kiddos. Blaise playing with Baby. She loves her big brother. And he loves her.

Dear Evan Hansen. What a terrible musical. Awful. I feel bad saying this; I love all musicals. At least I thought I did. The set was distracting, the story was terrible, and it was soooo long. I really don’t understand how this is a Tony Award-Winning musical. The main character is presented as a nice guy whom you feel sorry for, and I gather most people see him this way. I think he’s a total jerk. I don’t get the appeal. And the entire musical, barely any movement from the actors. They had this bed set, where he’d just sit on the bed. His mom would stand next to the bed, talking with him. Multiple scenes in the show were stagnant. And the music, mostly dull. The actors were great though, wonderful voices and skilled in their craft. But even they couldn’t make me like this show. This is not one I will be seeing again, ever.

Bingo night. Apparently the big kiddos had a bingo night at their school up the street. I’m a terrible school parent; I don’t pay much attention to stuff like this when the fliers come home. Sorry, kiddos. They were getting ready for dance and told us about bingo night, asked if they could go. Brian wasn’t sure. He took them to dance and lucky for the kiddos, one of their friend’s mom knew all about bingo. Brian decided to take them… they had fun. Even Brian won.

Sunday morning walk. Blaise, Laine, and Saige were skiing with Brian. Baby, Mel, and I decided to hit the trail. We walked my standard route, spicing it up and reversing it this time. I know, I live on the wild side. It always feels like I’m missing something when I only have one kiddo. It’s a funny, strange feeling.

Happy boxes. Ever since I went vegetarian—over a year now—we stopped eating out so much. It’s easier to eat at home since 1. I’m picky and 2. I don’t eat meat. We were in Redmond before DigiPen and I needed to feed the kiddos. Solution: McDonald’s. The kiddos could eat and burn off some energy before math class. It worked out perfectly. They’re all at great ages where I don’t have to worry about too much. And the older two look out for the younger two. I was able to just sit and enjoy watching them without concern.

Saige has always called them Happy Boxes. We don’t correct her. 


Volcano Blaise. Blaise found an art project in one of our art books that showed how to make a volcano by placing a cup in the middle, crumbling up paper and covering it with more paper to create a mountain. He worked hard on the structure and then painted the sucker. A few days later, he was ready to make it erupt. He says he wants to use more red food coloring next time; his lava didn’t meet his expectations.

Melvin. Nobody tell him he doesn’t fit in Sammy’s bed.

Pizza kiddos. Brian takes Blaise and Laine to dance every week, and this time they stopped for pizza on their way home.

Costco kiddos. Blaise and Laine being silly before hitting Costco. We were there on a weekday morning (this is relevant). The receipt checker lady at the door asked the kiddos, “Are you off school or homeschooled?” Blaise answered, “Homeschooled.” She said, “I figured as much since you’re both so polite.” Haha. I guess she doesn’t have great experiences with kids after school hours or on the weekends.

Outdoor preschool pictures. I grabbed these from Saige’s outdoor preschool Facebook group. Saige is in purple, sometimes with a blue hat.

And that’s a wrap. First month of 2019, check.


  1. I love your family!!!!

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