May Twenty Twenty

A random thought I had while on a run: If I knew I was going to die while the kids are still young, I would hire one of those missing children sketch artists to draw the kids as adults. Not that I plan on dying any time soon. Hope not. But I’d want to know what they’ll look like as adults. Looking back at baby pictures, you can always go back on how they look but never forward. I have several random thoughts when I’m on the trails. It’s my time to think. A mental break from everything life. And much needed these days. The state of affairs makes me angry, frustrated, exhausted… so many emotions. I need more trail outings to wrap my head around things and fully understand how I feel to put into words.

I’ve always hit the trails, even in our old place along the East Lake Sammamish Trail, I’d walk or run on that sucker. Side note: When we first moved up here—and even still—I have a hard time with the street names. Our old place was off of East Lake Sammamish Parkway SE which turns into East Lake Sammamish Parkway NE. Then there’s Redmond-Fall City Road, where at some point it’s Redmond-Fall City Road NE and then Redmond-Fall City Road SE, it’s also the 202, and it’s Redmond Way in Redmond… pick one street name, please. Maybe without multiple cardinal and ordinal directions? And let’s not forget the NE 8th Street and SE 8th Street exits off the 405 in Bellevue, one exit apart. In California, there’s Monterey Street, Madonna Road, Folsom Boulevard, Watt Avenue… street names stay the same. I digress. Trails, at least the trail names stay the same up here. If you’re on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail in Carnation, it’s still the Snoqualmie Valley Trail in Duvall and North Bend. Simple. I like simple.

Dirty sign. It makes me want to take some Windex and paper towels so I can clean the thing.

May was all about getting serious about getting back in shape. This has been my goal for a few years, and I’ve progressively made positive changes but things happen. Like getting pregnant. At 40. The year I was determined to hit my goal because you know, I spent my thirties having kiddos and was ready to focus on me when I turned 40 last year. Oops. Surprise. Whatever. It wasn’t planned. There went my plan for the year. No complaints. I didn’t know I wanted a fifth kiddo until she was born. And now, I can’t even imagine not having her. It’s a good thing Brian got snipped while I was pregnant… I’d totally have a sixth. Even though I don’t want one. And I know Brian would be down.

My goal is to drop the extra baby weight—from Maive and Baby—and just get healthier overall. Having a baby at 40, almost 41, puts longevity in your face and makes it even more important. I’d like to make it to see Maive have a kid at 40 if she wants. And be healthy. My goal is to make it to 94. I’ve never seen a large person in their nineties. I’m sure there are few. But yeah, I want to live a while, and live without any major health issues that I can control. Obviously cancer can be a fucker. But weight is a huge contributor to health issues and I can control this. At least try. Weight stuff is hard.

I had been following the pandemic pretty closely, and would read about those who died from the virus. Often there would be articles about folks under 40 who, sadly, died with no underlying health conditions. And then they’d show a picture of the person. Several of the folks were overweight. I read somewhere along the line that obesity was second to age as a risk factor for complications to Coronavirus. Whether true or not, I don’t know. There is so much information out there, and one article contradicts another. Either way, it makes for even more inspiration to get my act in gear. Especially since we’re all going to get Coronavirus eventually… I’d like to reduce my risk of dying. From the virus and in general.

So every morning I hit the trails. And it’s working, I’m dropping weight and inches. Slowly but I’ll take it. I’m typically an instant gratification person so I’m really appreciating the gradual changes. I’m close to the number I was before I got pregnant last year. Eight pounds to go, and I’d like to drop an additional 10 pounds to be back to my post-college, before any kiddos weight. I keep upping my daily mileage, and I’ve settled on between 8-10 miles as the sweet spot. I run up to five miles of those 8-10, and walk the rest. Some days I walk the entire time. It depends on my mood.

Living near a trail is a must for me. And the Snoqualmie Valley Trail is perfect. It’s 29 miles total… I can totally up my mileage even more, haha. In the almost five years we’ve lived here, I’ve only ever walked up the trail to this one street. Until May. Past this street it’s fairly secluded with few homes, and the trail is covered with canopies of trees and full of brush on either side. And I rarely pass anyone down that way. I call this the Cougar Section. Now I’m not terribly afraid of much but there is this eerie feeling when there are no homes around, no people, knowing there is wildlife roaming around.

The Cougar Section, both sides of the trail ant the tree canopy above.

Walking on the trails I’ve seen: bobcats, coyotes, deer, bunnies, squirrels, mice, shrews, chipmunks, snakes, lizards, Bald Eagles, birds galore… so many critters. Even the domesticated animals: horses, llamas, cows, goats, chickens, roosters, guard dogs, outdoor cats, even the emus at Remlinger. And all harmless. In the last two weeks, I’ve had coyote, deer, and multiple bunny encounters. This poor coyote. I scared the hell out of him. I was running, pushing Maive in the stroller with Mel alongside; nobody else was around. The coyote ran onto the trail about 10 feet in front of us. He freaked out. I don’t think he expected a person, let alone a stroller and dog. And he pulled a bunny: he ran straight on the trail in front of us for a bit before jumping in the brush on the other side of the trail.

A bad zoomed in picture of deer on the trail. I waited for them to run into the trees before running toward them. Deer are jumpy.

Bunnies are much cuter than they are smart. I don’t know how many bunnies I see each day, sitting on the side of the trail. They wait until we’re within a few feet and then they take off straight on the trail before jumping back into the brush. They could easily just turn around and jump into the brush as we walk near but nope. They freak themselves out.

And then there are the cows. I came home last week and told Brian I was mooed at. He said, “That’s insulting.” And I said, “No, I was mooed at by an actual cow.” I walk by these cows each day. They are usually doing cow things—like lying down doing nothing or eating—but last week there were two cows close to the fence next to the trail. I stopped to talk with them. This is why I do so well with quarantine life… I talk to anything and everything, just preferably not a human outside of my house. I said hello and how they were looking adorable, and that I hoped they were having a lovely morning. Then one mooed. I feel like she understood me. It was a sweet interaction. In reality, she had no clue I was standing there and mooed because she’s a cow.

I fully expect I’ll eventually see a cougar and bear on the trail. It’s inevitable, right? Probably not. I’m just a worrier. Since I’ve upped my mileage, I walk farther down the trail going toward Fall City. This is the Cougar Section. I’m on alert when I walk there. I’m convinced there will be a cougar up in a tree one of these days, ready to pounce down on me. Fingers crossed my stroller and Mel will be a deterrent. Mel won’t be much help if I ever run into either a cougar or bear, he’s a Scaredy Cat. He jumps when a bird makes noise in a tree. I have seen both a cougar and bear since living up here. Both times I was in the car. I like it that way.

So, May. Trails, miles, trails, miles. Not much else. Quarantine life is still all good in my book. Minus people dying and the whole pandemic thing. But being home, not having to go anywhere… still glorious. We were so go-go-go that being home-home-home is really quite amazing. A forced slow down was what I didn’t know I needed. I’m down for staying home for a while longer. No rush here.

Except the kiddos are starting to get the itch to see friends. And I think I’m okay with this. I’ve been living in a pessimistic bubble since early March and I’m ready to let them burst out a bit. Although Brian says we should just go for it, get it now since we all will eventually. He thinks now is the time, with it slowing down before it potentially comes back harder in the fall, causing impacted heath systems again. I’m not sure. I’m open for the kiddos to see a select few friends. But probably no attending summer camps. And limited indoor places. We are still online ordering everything. Except Blaise wants to get our garden going so a nursery visit is in our future. I did buy masks for eventual outings. Of course. I’m pro-mask if we go anywhere.

I’ve already told them to prepare for no birthday parties this year and maybe back to remote learning for fall. I’m not even sure about Trick-or-Treating. Maybe I’m still pessimistic? Maybe not? Time will tell. King County is slowly opening up. I’m cool with the turtle pace. But I also know I’m living in a pessimistic bubble that hasn’t been financially affected by the virus so turtle pace is easy for me to accept.

When it comes to the kiddos’ school, I’ve been in an IDGAF mood. I’ve given them the last few weeks off, letting them have a Screw Day as we call them, almost every day. They for sure have to attend any online classes. Otherwise, I’m over it. They can do whatever until dinner. I think we over-compensated so much at first that I burnt myself out. I’m waiting until mid-June when everything official school ends… we’ll start homeschooling back up then.

May in pictures.

May First. Kicking off May with… a trail outing. Shocker. Maive and Melvin, by trail buddies.

Baby and New Baby. Baby is all about Paw Patrol. Not the show, only the toys. She doesn’t ask for much so when she mentioned wanting a Rubble truck, I went on Amazon and ordered one. She was so happy. And New Baby as Baby calls Maive, she got a new ‘fit. Laine is all about rompers (or jumpers? not sure the difference?) so of course we needed to get Maive one.

Backyard kiddos. We spend most days outside from 11am-12:30pm, and then we’re back outside when Maive wakes up from her nap around 4:30pm until Saige and Baby’s bedtime at 7pm. This is one of those days. I’m a huge fan of eating lunch and dinner outside. I don’t know what it is about it, but it seems more family meal-ish than eating inside.

More trail, more Maive. She is such a sweetie. I think she looks forward to her morning stroll, which doubles as her morning nap time.

Tolt River and Tolt MacDonald Park. I love living around green.

Happy kiddo!

It was hot. Well, low 80s. Hot for me. I never liked growing up in the heat. Apparently it was 103 degrees in Sacramento a few days ago. Yuck. Anything over 72 degrees is too hot for me. And as soon as it hits anything 78 degrees and above, the kiddos are all about the sprinkler.

Baby and Mel. Baby asked me to take her picture?! She’s funny. And Mister Melvin, looking handsome as usual. He has since been groomed; he got his summer shave so he’s looking dapper.

Griffin Creek. I pass over this creek on the trail. Mel stopped to own the bridge so I took a picture. He likes to own several specific posts along the trail.

Happy! Maive is such a happy baby. With so many people around to entertain her and mess with her, how could life not be great?! The only time she complains is after about five minutes of not having someone hold or play with her. She’s happy, also needy. But hey, when you’re the fifth, you have people.

Maive chilling in her ring of neglect, which only ever lasts maybe five minutes before someone grabs her.

Trail Biker Laine. Blaise and Laine got mountain bikes for Christmas. They were set to attend a week-long mountain bike summer camp until everything pandemic. Blaise has shown zero interest in his mountain bike and prefers to ride his regular bike; Laine loves her mountain bike and rides it around the backyard almost daily. I decided to take her on the trail one morning. She rode while I ran with Maive and Mel. She did great! She was even ready to say on your left when needed but we didn’t pass anyone on her left. The only thing, I noticed she has her helmet on backwards just now. Haha. That’s totally Laine.

Foodie. Maive loves to eat. We started feeding her just shy of six months and she is all about food. And it shows, she has the cutest baby pudge. As she should, she’s growing perfectly. Brian remembered these mesh feeders from the other kiddos. Amazon Fresh is back to delivering in a few hours… this is how I can tell people are over staying home. I made a Fresh order and by dinner, we had the mesh things. Maive was down. She loved the watermelon in there.

This kid’s hair. It’s always a surprise how it looks each day. And always adorable.

Bird Watching Section. In upping my trail mileage, I’ve been exploring new areas farther than I usually go. This is on the other side of the 203, which I have never wanted to cross but decided to go for it this day. I call it the Bird Watching Section. It’s much more open and there are birds galore. And old people with binoculars galore. I was running and could see people up ahead, about a half-mile, who weren’t moving the closer I ran toward them. They were bird watchers. Then there were more bird watchers. And a few more. Also an older couple with a camera on a tripod, taking pictures of birds. It’s a different crowd than the other trail sections. Almost makes me want to bird watch. Maybe not.

Blocks. Laine took a picture of her creation. She wanted to grab a picture since it was a symmetrical design.

I’m getting old. Haha. You know you’re getting older when you want a bird bath. We were in the backyard one evening and the sand box lid was flipped over, filled with water from the last rain. As we sat at the patio table eating dinner, we watched a bird take a bath in the sandbox lid. I was sold. I had already been toying with the idea of getting a bird bath for the front yard. I love critters. But we couldn’t care less about our front yard other than Brian mows and I weed. So I wasn’t sure about adding nice things to a yard we put almost no effort into. I’m an inside the house person, not a yard person. And, we live in a neighborhood with an HOA and lawn mafia crowd, so it makes it even less desirable to want to do anything lawn. We do the bare minimum to not get in trouble. I’m like this. Don’t tell me what to do. But I’m also a rule follower so I can’t completely say screw it. If there were no lawn rules, I’d probably be more willing to be a lawn person. I digress.

Bird bath: I bought one. I love everything Talavera pottery and ceramics, always have. I love color. I also tossed in a flamingo because why not? They haven’t arrived yet and we may not get the exact ones since each piece is different. But I know I’ll love whatever we get.

Lemonade kiddos. Darn, since we eat outside so much now, I had to buy plastic cups and melamine plates, even serving platters. Target is dangerous, even on the app. It was another warm day so the kiddos made lemonade and used the new cups. Saige even positioned the rocks to make a cup holder for her. And then she got rocks in her drink so that probably wasn’t the best idea. Lesson learned.

Oldest and youngest. Blaise is, and always has been, my little co-parent. He naturally helps without asking—it’s never expected—and absolutely loves having a baby around. He had just taken a bath and came to check in on Little Miss before she called it a day. And she adores him! All the kids. The minute she sees one of them, immediate smile. It’s super cute how much they all love one another.

Trees. Just a nice day and pretty trees, and nobody else was around. This is typically the busiest section of the trail so I took advantage on having it all to myself… well, with Maive and Mel.

More Maive. Just a cute baby chilling in the stroller on yet another trail outing.

Art kiddos. Saige and Baby decided to to art outside. And by art, I mean they colored watches on their wrists. That counts. I love our time spent our back. I love our yard and that the kiddos have options to do different things out there. And I love how Mel is always around, part of the gang.

Dad messages. Brian has a whiteboard in his office. Blaise and Laine like to write messages for him and it’s pretty damn adorable.

Some of Laine’s messages.

One of Blaise’s messages. With awesome missing an e.

Selfie kiddos. Laine has an iPod and she loves to take pictures. Here’s one from the last day of May. I absolutely love this picture. How they took it on their own, by choice, when they were hanging out in Blaise’s room before bed. They may have their moments when they clash but they are super close and I hope they stay this way for life.

That was May. Maybe it was September? Who knows at this point. I saw this on reddit and took a screenshot. Seems right.

On to June. And thank goodness it’ll start getting darker earlier again. I can’t deal with this light at 9:30pm thing.

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