September Twenty Twenty

September is usually my favorite month. Except 2020. I went on and on about why September was awful. Four paragraphs worth. But then I deleted it all. No sense focusing on the negative. Instead, it’s early October—already a waaay better month—and I’m sitting here in a super clean house, with everything in its place, all neatly put away and organized; all the laundry and dishes done; Halloween decorations up; three kiddos quietly working on schoolwork; one kiddo enjoying alone time in her room, blasting music and singing while dancing around; Little Miss Maive practicing her walking in-between feeding Melvin Trader Joe’s Honey O’s from her snack cup; Brian working upstairs; and I’m listening to Christmas music on Pandora. (Yes, in October. I started in September.) And the biggest bonus of all, the weather is my absolute favorite… it’s overcast and the high is projected to be 62 degrees. No complaints.

One thing from my deleted September rant, a donation recommendation: Ditch Mitch.


Even though September was a downer of a month, there were many positives in our little world. Let’s focus on those.

Cannon Beach.

Another trip to our favorite Oregon Coast town. Cannon Beach. Because we’re sticklers for consistency. We randomly picked a town to visit back in 2012, and we go back and do the same things each year. We spiced it up this year and rented a home instead of staying in the same hotel, in the same room. And Papa and Wawa, and Aunt Genna joined us. I’m already itching to go back.

Blaise is 10.

Double digits! Blaise was so excited to turn 10. He’s such a good kid, and turing into a wonderful young man. I think my favorite quote from him in September was after a long day, he and the girls were hanging out upstairs. He said, “I like having sisters but sometimes I just need to be alone!” Then he went to his room and closed his door. How sweet is that, that he started with a positive before expressing how he felt?! This kid will be a catch to whomever he partners off with in life.

Saige is six.

Six years of Saigers! She’s taking being six seriously. She’s a big kid now. Life is good for Saige. She is in kindergarten now and with restrictions loosening up a bit, she is getting her social needs met. Saige is the extreme extrovert of our family and needs people in her life. The first outing we made back in June was to the strawberry fields for picking. She stopped, put down her picking basket, and exclaimed, “People!” before heading over to talk with anyone in her line of sight. That’s Saige in a nutshell.

Eighteen years.

Nothing major to note, other than Brian and I celebrated 18 years of marriage. Legally. We’re approaching 25 years total. I saved this from a random person commenting on an article years ago. I know we only know what we know, but this rings true for us:

When people marry young, there are two possible outcomes. They are either not mature enough, that’s one group. But there is another group, the group that bond together so completely that they are much more likely to withstand the stresses of time. I think that group is not only the most stable, but the most happy. I think they are the group that better understands the true meaning of love. While people marrying in their thirties and beyond have some core stability, but their relationship is based more in the practical matters of life. Nothing wrong with that, but I think that young folks catch a bad rap sometimes, when in actuality, they can bond much more deeply if they start out mature enough in the first place. In short, mature young folks understand true love much better than the older groups.

Program starts.

What a start to the school year. I plan months in advance. So I had an idea of how this fall would look, back in January. Pre-pandemic. Without the boring outline of who would be where when, it was seamless. I had it all figured out in my head and the plan was solid. Then Covid. So. Many. Unknowns. We didn’t even know some of the program plans until a week or two before they were set to start. It was super annoying. Understandable given the state of things, but incredibly annoying.

It wasn’t until the second week of September when our schedule aligned. To sum up each week, chaos. Haha. Organized chaos. It’s funny, I have a tendency to pack schedules. I try so hard not to do this, and yet I do this every.damn.time. When March hit and everything came to a halt, it was so lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed the down time and having nothing on the calendar. I told myself to calm down with the schedule packing when things picked up again. Spoiler: this didn’t happen. Needless to say, I can still pack a schedule even during a pandemic. I need to accept this is part of who I am.

To credit the kiddos, they are amazing with the packed schedule. Sometimes they ask for more. I absolutely love how they are always down to do things. And not only are they down, they truly enjoy everything they do. It makes me happy and it’s worth the time and expense. And chaos.

Part-time public school: Blaise, Laine, and Saige. The kiddos’ part-time public school started online this year. Blaise and Laine are fourth graders and Saige started kindergarten. It’s not ideal starting online considering the only reason I send them is for the school experience. But they love it and have no desire to stop going, which is always an option for them. We reassess each year. They’re loving it so far. Saige does ask each week if she gets to go to her classroom. Hopefully soon!

Covid learning.

Weekly wilderness program: Blaise and Laine. Because their part-time public school isn’t having class on Wednesday like usual, I signed up Blaise and Laine for an all-day, weekly wilderness class. This was a last minute add… when we were in Cannon Beach, the program sent out an email saying they added additional spots given the demand. I immediately registered them. They were already registered for the monthly program so now they get to do both. Score for them!

Weekly writing program, online and outdoors: Blaise and Laine. It’s the same writing program they attended last year, only it’s slightly different with Covid. Usually they’d go 9am-3pm all day, mixing writing indoors and romping around outside. This year, they are meeting online in the morning. They added an optional outdoor portion that meets outdoors for two hours where they play games and write. Of course we signed up. I absolutely love the writing teacher. This program she started is amazing, even online. And the outdoor teacher, I love how he was barefoot the first day. I wish I could be as carefree as he appears; it seems like a lovely way to live life.

How they look for the wilderness program and the writing program. Outdoor clothes for the win. I think this was technically the first day of the wilderness program? But in fairness, they looked exactly the same the next day for the outdoor portion of the writing program.

Outdoor explorers weekly program: Saige and Baby. Each week, these two get to romp around different parks in the area, exploring nature. It’s 100% outdoors and they are loving it so far. They both went to outdoor preschool last year so they’re used to this kind of program. I decided in late July to pull Baby from the outdoor preschool program and put her in outdoor explorers with Saige, freeing up our Tuesdays. And I’m SO happy I made that decision when I did… a few days later the public schools announced online learning for fall and the outdoor programs filled up quickly, with waitlists. This program added two additional classes to meet demand.

Outdoor kiddos!

Level Design with Roblox: Blaise. He was SO excited for this class. He is a gamer, and Roblox is his game of choice these days. Now he gets to program his own game. He looks forward to this online class the most each week, for the actual academic part. The other online classes are more social for him. Either way, as long as he’s happy, works for me!

Monthly wilderness program: Blaise and Laine. Technically this started the first Saturday in October, but since it already happened by the time I’m getting around to this, I’m including it here. Blaise is in a nature skills class and Laine is in a general nature class.

I registered Blaise back in January, thinking this would be his thing. Laine has gymnastics and typically has meets on some weekends; she wouldn’t be able to attend. But with everything Covid, I highly doubt meets will happen. And with there being two class options where Blaise can still have a thing without Laine, I registered Laine last minute. It worked out. One of her buddies registered also. And Blaise has a buddy in his nature skills class.

Monthly wilderness kiddos, social distancing.

Actual homeschooling: Blaise, Laine, Saige, and Baby. We have the homeschooling thing down by now, it’s year five. We’re actual homeschoolers. How pretentious is that statement?! Haha. Nah, I just mean we aren’t homeschooling because of Covid (that’s not homeschooling). We still have to come up with our own curriculum and whatnot, even with the programs we choose to send the kiddos. We’re still getting into our routine, figuring out where we can fit things in to check off all the boxes… we’re close.

A mix of online, and old school pencil and paper.

Weekly dance class: Blaise and Laine (hip hop), Saige and Baby (ballet). Covid really spiced up things for fall. With the restrictions, regular classes rotate kids in studio and kids online each week. So if you attend, one week you go, the next week you attend online, and so on. Eh, this wasn’t ideal for me. We went with the pod option. It’s a bit more but the kiddos get to attend in-person each week. The gist of a pod is you gather five kiddos max, and you get to pick which dance style and day/time for your class. Which is exactly what we did. I love that they get a slice of normal, with masks. Haha.

Hip hoppers and ballerinas.

Gymnastics: Laine and Blaise. No pictures. Laine is still on her team, practicing 12 hours each week, stretched across four days. She has never once complained. She has found her thing. Blaise was taking a boys gymnastics class last year when Covid hit. He didn’t mention wanting to go again and I didn’t think to ask because germs. But Laine goes and I know the gym is super clean to meet all the requirements. And they closed the foam pits, which are nasty outside of a pandemic. Mid-September, Blaise asked if he could go again. Of course. And score, the class he takes starts at the same time as Laine’s practice one night, so it makes life easy for us.

Actually, one picture. Laine had a few online practices when the smoke hit. The air quality and heat combined made them cancel practice at the gym three days.

We’re nearly a month into this new routine and it’s taking time to find our groove. It was a rough start because pandemic, and then add in the two weeks of smoke hell… things were postponed from starting. Keeping track of everything online is exhausting—classes that are usually in-person where I don’t have to deal with paperwork or assignments. And we switched up some things last minute. Always a good time! It’s October 5 today, and I feel like after this week, it’ll be smooth sailing.

Running.

Something clicked in September. I am a runner. I mean, I’ve always been a runner. But I feel like one now. I’m typically an instant gratification person but for some reason, I’ve really enjoyed the slow and steady process of getting to the point of calling myself a runner. I’m actually quite proud of myself, which isn’t something I usually feel.

After having Maive I started walking, as usual. I gradually increased my mileage, walking between 8-10 miles each trail outing. I’d usually wear her, making running impossible. As she grew and started to ride in the BOB stroller, I kept up my mileage while adding in some running throughout the miles. I’d run anywhere from three to five miles. Sometimes all at once; sometimes a mile here, a mile there. And then I started focusing more on running instead hitting a certain mileage. So I run now. Some days I get on the trail and I think, I’ll walk a bit, but my body wants to run. So I run.

I’ve also ditched Maive, haha. I’ve been getting up early and hitting the trail first thing, checking it off before the rush of everything. I have always been a morning person but not a morning runner. I used to run around 7pm in the evenings back when I was running often. Mornings are so much better. I do miss taking Maivers. Once we get into a groove with our new routine, I plan on hitting the trail with her sometime during the day. For walks. I’ll continue my morning running. Except this past week my right foot has a random pain. I’m resting it which means I’ve been skipping my morning runs. Hopefully I’ll be back at it soon!

September morning runs. Fall is here!

Hikes.

Hiking is my new thing. I have really grown to love it over the summer, checking off several hikes. And I look forward to hiking more and more. I have a list of hikes I want to do that keeps growing. And by hikes, I mean without kiddos; hikes with kids are known as kiddo hikes. Even with the smoke hindering two hikes I had planned (I also had two kiddo hikes planned that were cancelled), I checked off Mount Margaret in September. One hike but I’ll take it. And it was a cluster of a hike.

Mount Margaret

I’ve managed to keep Tuesdays completely free of any commitments, and my plan starting back in August was to make Tuesdays kiddo hiking day. Except it’s not working totally as planned. Tuesday is also our only free day each week with absolutely nothing… if the kiddos want to hang with friends or go somewhere else—like a pumpkin patch—Tuesday is our only option. So I’ve downgraded our Tuesday kiddo hiking goals to twice a month. We managed to check off two in September: Paradise Valley Conservation Area and Cherry Creek Falls.

Paradise Valley Conservation Area

Cherry Creek Falls

Kayak Point.

Another year of hitting up the Yurt Village at Kayak Point. I missed last year thanks to some pregnancy pain. This year, that pregnancy pain and I went. Other than realizing we need to book two yurts next year, it was a wonderful time. I’m already looking forward to next September.

Yurt kiddos.


The rest of September, in pictures.

Zombie Baby. The girls were out back and Baby came in like this. I wasn’t paying much attention to what was going on: face painting.

Costco. Blaise, Laine, and I hit Costco one evening. Even when we don’t need anything at Costco, we need something at Costco. We never know what that is until we’re there. This night, Laine needed a jacket (she didn’t need a jacket, but we bought a jacket).

USS Enterprise. Blaise is ALL ABOUT warships these days. He’s super into wars, specifically WW2. Whatever floats his… warship? For his birthday, all he wanted was the USS Enterprise. I was impressed with the set. It’s not LEGO; LEGO doesn’t make military models. This is a Cobi set and very similar to LEGO. I like that it was a bit more complicated. It took him a few days instead of a few hours. Since he’s in a war phase, I’m extremely happy to have learned that he is not eligible to join the military due to having a peanut allergy. Oh, darn.

Swimming lessons. The kiddos had a week of early morning swimming lessons, starting at 8am. Our swim instructor—also our mayor, small town living—only offered private lessons this year due to Covid restrictions. It worked out better than standard lessons. All four kiddos went at once, and we had flexibility picking our pool time. Even after Covid, I think I may stick with the private thing.

Saige was super excited… she had swimming on her birthday, and she got to go down the slide for the first time!

Makeup kiddos. I don’t know why the lighting is so weird in this picture. Anyway, Saige got a makeup kit for her birthday. She had seen it at Homegoods with me the day before; I quickly went back and bought it for her. She seems to enjoy putting makeup on Baby more than she does on herself. Whatever works. I love how Maive wants in on the action. And Moose!

It’s FALL. I absolutely love this time of year. It’s cooler, darker earlier, people start to hunker down, routines start up again… so many benefits. And winter. I am looking forward to those super cold mornings when I open the door and my face feels like ice. It makes me smile thinking of those mornings. I could happily live with never seeing a summer again.

Maive and I have time to kill while Saige and Baby are at ballet. Lucky for us, the trail is across the street from the dance studio.

Yoga! Saige and Baby do this short yoga program every night around 7pm, before they head to their room for quiet time until bedtime at 8pm. It’s become our routine and seems to work well. Maive sometimes helps them with their moves. And by help, I mean she climbs all over them.

Beggar Maive. This kid loves to eat. And whatever anyone else is eating, she thinks she should be eating also. I suppose all of our kiddos were like this at one point. We called Blaise Third Dog when he was in this phase because we had two puppers who begged, and then him. Laine was then Fourth Dog, and so on. I guess this makes Maive Seventh Dog. Or Eighth Dog since she came after Melvin? Either way, I love how she and Melvin are both under Blaise, hoping!

I’m going through a plant phase. Big time. I probably have about 30 more than pictured. And clearly, I love blues. I’ve always had a few plants, and I’ve always killed them. Brian calls them victims. But I’ve managed to keep a few alive for a while now, so I expanded.

I really wanted a plant shelf. With the map fiasco, I decided to move the art room shelf between the two windows, where the map was. It made for a perfect plant shelf opportunity. Things snowballed when I started buying plants for the shelf. Like I sent Brian on a plant run for one specific sucker that I had seen—but didn’t buy the night before—and regretted not bringing it home. He puts up with my random requests so well. And so far, they are all still alive. I think I’m getting older and tending to them properly. Or at least I’m watering them more than once every few months, haha.

The second map is currently at Ben Franklin’s being framed, with the exact same frame as the first one. It’ll go back up on the wall where the shelf used to be. And hopefully there are no pipes behind that wall.

Braces! Laine had braces put on in September. When I first took Blaise and Laine to the orthodontist in June, I told them exactly what would happen: Laine would need braces, Blaise would need nothing. Bingo. Laine actually needed an expander first, which was put on in early July. Then braces, with the expander. She’s a trooper. Never complains and follows food restrictions, she’s so disciplined (she doesn’t get this from me!). I believe they will be on for under a year, but it’ll just depend on how it goes I suppose. She goes back in early December for her next appointment. I guess we’ll know more then.

Pumpkin patch! The morning Laine had braces put on, she, Blaise, and Saige went to their friends’ house after the orthodontist. They went to the pumpkin patch. Baby, Maive, and I spent the time together gathering birthday decorations for Baby’s upcoming fifth birthday.

Art time. With Blaise and Laine gone all day Wednesdays to the wilderness program, that leaves the younger gals with me, with no commitments. I decided it’s a perfect opportunity to do art projects some weeks. We invited two of their friends over to join us. We made leaf wreaths. They turned out great!

That was September. We’re five days into October and still trying to find our groove. Hopefully by next week. We have two birthdays this month—one in two days—before we kick off holiday season with Halloween. And one quick cabin trip planned mid-month. It’s about to get stay busy. Now, I need to go pot one last plant (so I tell myself)…

3 comments

  1. glad you found the good, even though it was hard to see at first

  2. What wonderful childhood memories your kids are going to have to look back on. Even their schooling sounds fun. You live in such a perfect area for all the outdoorsy stuff! Oh and I’m 100% with you about the icy blast of air in the face and how you could be perfectly happy with no more summers.

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