It’s 2020, mid-January already. Fall happened. So did three kiddo birthdays. And one literal birthday… that whole having a fifth kid happened. Then all the holidays. Time to catch-up here. Let’s get right to it.
September is my favorite month. For one, summer is over. I can’t express how much I dislike summer. It’s hot, too sunny, we have no set routine, there are people everywhere, it’s awful. Aside from Laine’s birthday, I’d be a happy camper if summer never happens. Negativity, check. Being more positive, September rocks. I absolutely love getting back into a set routine. And change, I crave change. It’s usually minor—like a new class or activity—but I’ll take it.
This September, our schedule became pretty crazy. Apparently I thrive on a full schedule and busyness… I’ve become one of those parents who signs their kids up for anything and everything. I’m pretty sure I’m compensating from the lack of activities from my childhood. My parents were great in that we had everything we needed and wanted. But we didn’t do much. Only a handful of activities outside of school. I remember soccer, gymnastics, Blue Birds, and dance. But all those lasted less than a year each. And maybe three family trips total?
I remember being so freaking bored, stuck at home, left to my own to entertain myself. My sister and I never got on as kids. And it probably didn’t help that my parents always bought homes where we all had our own spaces; we all kept to ourselves for the most part. Aside from school, it was always on me to entertain myself. I read a ton. My parents did provide everything under the sun when it came to entertainment though; we had televisions in our room with cable, the first generation Atari and Nintendo, computers, toys galore, swimming pools in most of our houses, I can’t complain much on that end of things. My dad was super into having the latest and greatest of everything, and keeping up with the Joneses. He was compensating from his childhood, haha. Boredom improved when I started driving; my parents did get us cars at 16.
Now that I think about it, my grandmother signed up my mom for anything and everything. My mom was an only child and my grandmother was really into how they appeared as a family. My mom did it all, including some sort of pretentious program where she was selected to have a key to the City of Sacramento, given by the mayor. So her not signing us up for activities outside of school was her way of compensating from her childhood. We’re all screwed up by our parents somehow. It’ll be interesting to see how our kids are with their kiddos.
Back to our fall schedule. This was our fall schedule, the set things we do… not including all the play dates, appointments, or one-off things we do. It’s funny, I don’t mind being busy and driving all over. Literally all over. Thursdays it’s Carnation to Redmond to Woodinville to Redmond to Carnation. The only thing I can’t stand is periods of time between two things. I don’t like watching the clock once we get home to have to be somewhere. Once I’m home, I like to stay home. I’m pretty good about working that out but it’s unavoidable some days.
Since I’m rambling, I remember Tara mentioning once how many clocks we have all over the house. It’s because we’re always on a schedule. Whether it’s school or an activity, or a meal time or bedtime, I’m always watching the clock. Another childhood compensation, my mom was always late. Always. Drives me nuts, people who are habitually late. I’m an on-time freak. And by on-time, I mean a minimum of 10 minutes before we’re supposed to be somewhere. And that’s with a bunch of kids. Being late can happen. I get that kids are unpredictable, traffic happens, whatever. But if you account for that unpredictability, it’s easy to be on-time.
Okay, the fall schedule:
- Monday is fairly simple. Brian drops off Blaise and Laine for their half-day of public school. I pick them up around noon and we typically play with friends for the afternoon.
- Tuesday Brian drops off Saige and Baby at school. Blaise, Laine, and I find something to do in the morning before we pick up Saige and Baby at 12:30pm. We often hang out at the farm for a while after school. We head home where Baby has to take a quick nap before dance. She hasn’t been a napper in ages but on Tuesdays, between school and dance, I have her rest or she is a disaster in dance class. I drive all the kiddos to dance and stay there while Saige and Baby have class until 5pm. Blaise and Laine entertain themselves until their class starts at 5:15pm. I drive Saige and Baby home after their class at 5pm. Brian leaves work for dance, getting there sometime before Blaise and Laine end at 6:!5pm. We have friends who also have dance at the same time so there is always an adult there the kiddos know in case they need anything. Brian and the big kiddos get home about 6:30pm. Except once a month, Brian takes Blaise and Laine straight from dance to Gadgeteers, which runs from 6:30-8:30pm. And sometimes after dance, they head to the climbing gym.
- Wednesdays Brian drops off Blaise and Laine up the street for a full day of school. I typically take Saige and Baby out and about, much like I used to do when I had only Blaise and Laine. We’ll hit the zoo, park, pumpkin patch, etc. I pick up Blaise and Laine from school at 2:45pm. We come home where the kiddos have about a half-hour of downtime. Then it’s gymnastics for Blaise, Laine, and Saige. Laine’s team practice is from 4:15-6:15pm; Blaise and Saige take separate classes from 4:30-5:30pm. Then they kill time until Laine is finished. Thankfully we switched Laine from the JO to Xcel team, otherwise she’d be practicing until 7:45pm. If Laine went to regular school that ends at 3:45pm, I’d have to pull her every Wednesday and Friday at 3:30pm to get her to practice on time. And I totally would. I’d make a terrible public school mom.
- Thursdays Brian takes all four kiddos for drop off. He takes Saige and Baby to preschool first, and then Blaise and Laine to DigiPen. They all start at 9:30am but thankfully DigiPen is understanding and they get there about 9:40am. I pick up Saige and Baby at 12:30pm, kill time at the farm before heading to their ninja class at 1:30pm. They ninja, I get to chill. After ninja, we head to DigiPen to pick up Blaise and Laine. Then home.
- Fridays Brian drops off Blaise and Laine at DigiPen for a full day of classes. I like to stay home on Fridays. Around 2:30pm, I pack up Saige and Baby, and we head to DigiPen to pick up Blaise and Laine. Then it’s off to gymnastics yet again, Laine has another team practice. I drop off Laine and Brian leaves work, picks up Laine, and they head home.
- Weekends are pretty chill. But not really. Brian says if there is an open day on the calendar, I fill it up. Guilty. While weekends can be pretty chill, I usually find something to take someone to, like a play or event. I’m pretty active it getting out and about also. Brian is always encouraging me to go out and have time to myself, away from the humdrum of mom life. And let’s not forget all the birthday parties. I think we average three each month? All fun stuff, no complaints.
There is no way in hell I would ever be able to juggle all the kiddos, and their classes and activities without Brian. He is always willing to take the kiddos whenever and wherever, and thankfully his job is extremely flexible so he can. And he is the primary school lunch packer, kiddo bather, and breakfast and dinner maker. I need to step up my game.
September in pictures.
First days of school. Saige started another year at outdoor preschool, her final year before she starts kindergarten in 2020. Baby started her first year with Tiny Treks. It took a few weeks of being dropped off before Baby stopped crying when Brian would leave. She has the hang of it now.
Saige and Baby on their first day of Tiny Treks.
Blaise and Laine are in third grade this year, and we’re still doing our outsource homeschool thing. They attend part-time public school 1.5 days each week where they take the core subjects (math, English, language arts, science, art, and social studies) and did two full days at DigiPen for the fall semester, taking clay, character drawing, game development, music (Laine), and robotics (Blaise). We supplement at home.
I ask them before each school year if they want to go to regular school and it’s always a big fat nope. Makes me happy to hear that, because I’m pretty against the idea (for my kiddos, I fully support public schools!) but would respect their choice if they wanted to go… it sure would be easier.
It’s funny, when we first started homeschooling and I’d have the kiddos out during regular school times, people would always ask, “No school today?” And I’d say we homeschool. Sometimes people would want to ask more questions or offer up their wishes that they could stand to be around my kids all day—these are the same people who post celebratory memes when their kids go back to school after any break—or that if they had kids in school now how they would homeschool (older folks), which I find interesting. Occasionally the person asking can’t hide their look of disproval. But overall, I think it’s pretty accepted up here since it’s an area where people are educated and liberal, and don’t automatically assume religious sheltering when they hear homeschool. So this year, the big kiddos don’t have any classes on Tuesdays. And we still get the, “No school today?” question. I’ve started saying, “We take Tuesdays off.” It confuses people, and it stops them from asking follow-up questions because they don’t seem to know where to go with that answer.
Blaise and Laine on their first day of DigiPen.
Blaise and Laine on their first day of Parade.
Tiny Treks welcome picnic. After the first week of outdoor preschool, we went to the welcome picnic.
Nine years of Blaise! Blaise turned nine… he had an indoor rock climbing party and we celebrated at home on his actual birthday, with a homemade cake. I was feeling domestic.
Five years of Saige! Saige turned five and we celebrated with a party at the gymnastics place. At home on her actual birthday, we had cake and opened presents.
Flooring fiasco. What a pain in the you know where. But oh so good in the end. I got new floors. Score! I NEVER liked our old flooring. I cursed it every time I looked at the damn thing.
Brian turned on the front hose faucet and it started leaking behind the siding. Not a good sign. We had a plumber out and sure enough, the hose bib cracked in the wall and water leaked all down the wall, on to the sub-floor. Darn, it leaked into the hallway under the wood floor. We ended up with the wall ripped down to the studs, carpet pulled back, and wood floor torn up. Because they don’t make our former wood floor anymore, we had to get new flooring since it was continuous. USAA is an amazing company and we had everything replaced and covered—minus our deductible—by mid-September. It took longer than usual since we didn’t use a contractor. We dealt directly with a flooring company that wasn’t used to dealing with insurance claims.
It was a process but I’m SO freaking happy with the new floors. Eevee was here and helped me with the flooring options. And I’m so ecstatic about the cut of the carpet as it transitions to the kitchen. It used to be a 90 degree angle, which was a terrible design in a high-traffic area. We had it cut at an angle and it is so lovely not to have to step over the carpet anymore.
Yurt Village at Kayak Point. Our annual tradition with friends. I skipped this year, being heavily pregnant and having pelvic pain when I walked. I’m in for next year, with kiddo number five. We may have to fib about how many people will be in the yurt though. I think it’s five max. But we have two-for-ones, size-wise… they count as one, right?!
Halloween decorations. We decorated for Halloween, at the end of September because why not? We were better at getting Halloween decorations up this year than we were with Christmas ones. And I like Christmas better. It was a time thing I suppose.
Random September happenings. Here goes:
- Eevee and Melvin playing. BFFs.
- Baby writes her name, Vaile, but wants to be called Baby.
- Baby in a tree.
- Weekly Costco trip. The receipt checker asked what the special occasion was, just a regular shopping trip for a big family.
- Saige in the same tree.
- Selfie Laine sending Brian a picture.
- Nintendo LABO Blaise. The LABO products are super cool!
- Costco arcade kiddos. I almost bought Pac-Man.
- Blaise and the flooring store pup. They really took to one another.
- Bath time Baby with crazy hair.
- Ice cream Saige and Baby with Brian.
- Carmel apple Laine. She and Blaise took a PCC Cooking class, fun!