It’s that time of year when I crave change. Everything holidays and the fresh start of the new year are long gone. And I’ve already planned this year as much as I can given that whole pandemic thing still going on. I’m bored. I need change. Something. Anything. The idea of packing up and moving to someplace new, starting over fresh sounds so appealing these days. Especially since it feels like half of our neighborhood is moving away. I’ve been online looking at homes in Hawaii, Montana, Idaho, Truckee, back in San Luis Obispo… with absolutely no intention of moving. But it’s fun looking. Like this home. Not the best looking home (maybe just bad renderings) but that landscape, sold! And it’s in a college town, so likely more liberal and progressive. A requirement for me.
The last time I craved change, Maive happened. I’m not up for that kind of change again, haha. I mean, I’m glad we have her. We didn’t know we wanted a fifth kiddo until she arrived. And then last year when I was just starting to crave change, Covid happened. That was enough change to feed my need. Now I sit here, wondering what the hell I can change to get my fix. Time will tell, although I am not a patient person.
February brought small changes. Saige started kindergarten in-person at the part-time public school. There was snow. Blaise started Parkour. My sleeping went to hell. That was fun. Pretty much the entire moth of February, I slept terribly. Like I’d wake up in the morning—after a terrible night of sleep—and I couldn’t wait until bedtime, in hopes I’d finally get a restful night of sleep. Nope. Terrible again. And then repeat, with my hopefulness waning. I don’t know what the deal was.
One night I was up almost every hour. No reason. I’d just wake up. And then I’d look at the time and calculate how much sleep I could still get, if I could fall back to asleep. This always stresses me out. Like if my alarm is set for 6am and I wake up at 4:30am, then I overthink that I’m only going to get another 1.5 hours of sleep… keeping myself awake, overthinking. So annoying.
The good news is—that since the last weekend in February—I’m back to sleeping waaaay better. March is already off to a better start. Except that whole craving change thing. But February…
Saige started kindergarten in-person on February 1. She was SO excited to go! I feel bad that her first official year of school was different, thanks to Covid. But hey, pandemic living. Normally she would attend one full-day and one half-day each week, at the part-time public school. With Covid, she attends two days a week, for just under three hours each day. It’s not much but we’ll take what we can get. And I totally understand why, no complaints. Here’s hoping life returns to some sort of normal for fall. Baby will start kindergarten then!
Saige, the kindergartener.
My goal to get the kiddos out more is slowly happening. Sometimes it’s all of them, sometimes it’s a few of them. Like this day. I took Saige, Baby, and Maive to Chinook Bend. In fairness, Maive doesn’t really have much of a choice. We met one of the girls’ little friends there for some exploring. All about the outing here.
Snow happened. like it does every year. I love the quiet and calm snow brings, and how it shuts down everything. And everyone seems happy. I’m more of an enjoy the snow from the inside kind of person… at least while it’s snowing. Brian and the kiddos embraced the snowstorm, and went outside for snow play.
Snow days! Maive experienced her first snow; last year she enjoyed from inside with me. And according to my super scientific measurement, we had 11 inches of snow.
There is a hill in our neighborhood that is perfect for sledding. All the neighborhood kiddos head up there and have a blast. And once that fun ends, Brian always makes a small sledding hill in our front yard from all the snow he shovels from our driveway. The kiddos really enjoy this. One year we made a snowman with the driveway snow, and someone added a stick penis on him. Haha. I wonder if it was a young kid or a middle-aged man. Probably a middle-aged man.
Sledding on the hill in our ‘hood.
Sledding on Brian’s lawn hill.
And of course, snow Mel. I can’t help but play the “I’m fast af boi,” sound clip in my head. (I may watch a bit too much Tik Tok.)
Sledding and snow play, check. It was my turn to enjoy the snow, once it stopped snowing. Mel and I hit the trail to enjoy the beautiful snowy landscape. I think my favorite part of that trail outing, aside from the snow, was the young 20-something guy who was running in only running shorts (the really short kind), wearing ski goggles. Haha. He was loving life.
Forty-three years of Brian, on Valentine’s Day. It was the snow weekend, and it was so nice to have a quiet celebration at home, just the seven of us. Brian requested burgers for his birthday dinner. And a pie, of course, for dessert. Laine was happy to learn that Brian had meat burgers for the two of them; the rest of us had veggie burgers. I prepared dinner, minus the patties. Brian took those on. He usually does it all, and I’m fine with that. But I can take it one (partially) once a year, haha.
He also wanted a Boston Cream Pie (cake?) for those of us who don’t like pie. I offered to make a pie from scratch but he said a store-bought one was fine. He was going to drive up and grab a Boston Cream pie/cake also, but I decided to take on the task of making one from scratch. I actually enjoy baking. Preferably things I don’t like to eat, like pies. But I made the cake for him. And, I think I did a pretty damn good job with the crepe paper. Brian does it for all the kiddos’ birthdays and mine, so six times a year. I only have to do it once and I may silently complain. But I was pretty impressed with my go this year. It was mostly equal.
Not related to Brian’s birthday… we bought an air purifier for the downstairs and our bedroom. Brian has bad allergies and after getting tested for all sorts of allergens back in November, and learning that he’s pretty much allergic to the Pacific Northwest—(as the allergist told him) and cats and dogs (we have both)—we decided to buy air purifiers. The downstairs one covers 1300 square feet and our bedroom one covers 800 square feet. I’m pleased with them. Even though I have no allergies, I can tell the house is cleaner. Fewer dust particles in the air and Brian isn’t as stuffy. They are sensitive suckers. I suppose this means they are doing their job. On Brian’s birthday, the minute he blew out the 43 candles I lit on his pie, the sucker turned purple… the worst color on the scale. Haha!
Soaring Eagle Park.
February hiking, for me. Without kids. Kind of. Maive was on my back. I met a friend on a weekday morning for an easy hike. We explored Sparing Eagle Park up in Sammamish. All about that here.
Grand Ridge Park.
More hiking, for me. Without any kiddos. I met a friend at 8am on a Saturday morning for a hike around Grand Ridge Park. What a great area. I was so impressed, I was back there yesterday with another friend for our longest hike yet: 11.33 miles. All about my first time there, here.
The rest of February, in pictures.
The older four kiddos were at a friend’s house, which left Brian, Maive, and me on a Saturday. Instead of sitting home, enjoying the quiet of the house with the kiddos gone, we decided to take Maive to the Snoqualmie River. It wasn’t raining and then it rained, as we were walking toward the river. Not drizzle, rain. We went with it and spent time along the water, Maive tossing rocks into the river. Brian embraced stacking rocks. About a year ago we watched a YouTube video about this guy who stacks rocks. He’s pretty impressive! Brian was inspired, haha.
The boys! They have the life. Really, any animal that joins our family have the life. We are all in love with Lettuce and Louie, and they seem to be enjoying us. We’re in a routine with them, where every morning they come downstairs at 7:30am. They have an apartment (cage) in Laine’s room and a larger apartment downstairs, where they spend the day. We like having them around the family during the day. After coming down and getting morning cuddles, they get some sort of vegetable or fruit for breakfast. They know this and get super excited the minute we put them in their breakfast spot. Lettuce has some food issues, as in he thinks any food within his reach should be in his mouth. Like Maive’s apple she was eating. Louie has manners.
They spend the rest of the day in-and-out of their apartment, hanging with someone doing something. The big kids like to have the boys attend online classes with them. And Brian likes to take them out throughout the day, as he comes downstairs for coffee or whatever. I get my guinea pig on throughout the day also. They’re so adorable!
In Blaise and Laine’s writing class, they were tasked with writing action verb poems using Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, 15 as inspiration. Apparently they were told to print their poems out and put them around the house. I came home to this on the front door and about 20 more taped around the house. In comparison, Blaise taped four inside the house. Haha.
A year in the making, haha. Nah, more like finally an opportunity. I’ve been back on the trail, almost daily. Looking at my Apple Watch activity, there are only three days in February where I didn’t hit my goals. One day was Brian’s birthday; the other days were because the trail was packed with snow. I used that as an excuse… I could have gone with my waterproof shoes.
I’ve been bored with my trail route because they are working on one of the bridges that I cross when I vary my routes. I’ve been stuck on the same damn route for over two months… I need variety. This day, the kiddos were all at dance, except for Maive (obviously). As soon as they were cleared with their temp checks, I left to hit the trail. I drove back to Carnation and parked along the 203 to jump on the trail. I’m not a Duvall fan, where their dance studio is. And where I could have hopped on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. I’m not sure what it is but I avoid Duvall if possible. Much like the Sammamish Plateau. I can’t put my finger on why I’m not a fan, I’m just not a fan. Not that Carnation is some amazing place… I imagine how I feel about Duvall and the Plateau are similar feelings others have about Carnation. And totally understandable, haha.
One thing I know that bugs me about Duvall, is that there isn’t a consistent way residents pronounce the name. Some say Due-Vall; others say Doo-Vall, with the emphasis on the O sound. I like consistency. And the extended Os are kind of weird sounding, haha. It’s not like when people call Nevada, Nuh-vah-duh and are totally wrong. Both Duvall pronunciations seem to be accepted. And I won’t get started on people who call California Cali. That hurts Native Californians’ ears. You can always tell a California transplant. Then again, I’m clearly a transplant from California… I call freeways THE. We all have our things I suppose.
The bridge. Last June I hit the trail from home to this damn bridge. It’s nothing special, just a bridge on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail that I see almost daily driving on the 203. The sides are wooden and I like the sucker. But last summer, when I made it to the bridge, I didn’t cross the bridge. There were people on the bridge and people on the other side of the bridge, and this was just as Covid restrictions were lifting and people were waaaay more cautious, staying far away from each other. Even on the trail. So I turned around and went back home. This day, I ran across the thing! It was a lame goal but hey, one that I finally did. I think what I liked most was not long after running across the thing is that I made it to the section of the trail that is literally next to the 203… sandwiched between the Snoqualmie River and the 203. Maive napped the whole time and I was able to squeeze in a three mile run before having to grab the kiddos from dance.
Again with attempting to get out more with the kiddos. Blaise and Laine were at their wilderness class, which left Saige, Baby, Maive, and me to hit Tolt MacDonald with bikes. Maive and I opted to walk. Although I’ve since bought roller skates. The campground is a large—about a third of a mile—loop along the camp sites. It’s perfect for bike riding. And the campground is closed until March. I loaded up Saige and Baby’s bikes—and Saige’s roller skates—in the car and we left to meet friends for a morning at the campground. I’m not sure why Baby chose to take the toddler training bike, that she’s a bit big for?!
It was cold but sunny, and the kiddos had a great time. The campground loop can be seen from wherever you are along the loop. The kiddo went for it, circling the loop over and over. Saige petered out pretty quickly but managed to keep enough energy to hang out with her buddies. Baby had a blast speeding along, especially though a massive puddle along the loop. They biked, skated, and then we headed over to the playground before going home for lunch. I’m not a huge fan of sunshine or warm days, but this day made me want spring. Even though it was cold.
Little Miss is my constant pal. Wherever I go she goes, my buddy… there’s a jungle from my childhood. I forgot about that one. And since she walks now, I often get to kiddo pickups a bit early so she can get her toddler on. This day we were at Perrigo Park waiting for Saige and Baby. They were at their outdoor class. Maive was pretty excited about sticks she found. Especially the large branch she walked with a bit.
This was a spur of the moment outing. I had dropped off Saige and Baby at their outdoor class and was feeling in a hiking mood. Laine was down. She, Maive, and I thought about hitting up Poo Poo Point but time wasn’t on our side. Instead, we decided to hit up Tolt MacDonald, and hike up in the hills behind the yurts. We texted Laine’s buddy and they met us there. We started up the hill; Laine wanted to show me this log area she’d hiked to in her wilderness class. We made it up a bit before turning around. Laine’s buddy wasn’t up for the elevation part. No biggie, there are other things to explore.
Back down by the yurts, we crossed back over the bridge and walked over to the Log Jam Trail. I’ve been there several times but never took the trail to the parking lot along the 203. We decided to check it out this day. The weather was interesting. It was sunny and then raining, and then a hail storm hit. A little bit of everything. The weather up here is so indecisive.
We walked from the Log Jam Trail to the parking lot along the 203, and then back to the main parking lot where we had parked near the campground. Laine, Maive, and I stayed a bit longer than her buddy, letting Maive get her walk on after being in the hiking backpack for over an hour. She found some puddles. Pretty exciting stuff for a toddler!
Hail storm in the midst of our exploration.
Maive is loving art. She likes to color and has recently discovered the dot dots. The other kiddos are more than happy to art with Maive. They are all so sweet together, sometimes. At least they’re always sweet when it comes to Maive. I wonder how long this will last?!
Random February pictures.
Let’s see. Saige lost both top front teeth within weeks of another. Maive steals the guinea pigs’ water and drinks it; thankfully she’s stopped this. Laine who never brushes her hair unless asked, loves doing Saige’s hair. Maive wants to wear a mask like everyone else. Laine at practice; a picture her coach sent me since parents aren’t allowed inside. Baby wearing her new overalls… Laine and I went shopping and thought Baby would love overalls, we were right. And Maive at kiddo pickup, getting her walk on.
February, check. We’re into March now and today is Blaise’s half-birthday. He’s pretty excited to be 10.5.