The things you worry about never happen. This is what my mom always says. Which probably explains why I haven’t died from Covid. Hahaha. Man, what a year. Reflecting back to last March, when life shut down. We really embraced the whole lockdown thing. We didn’t go anywhere or do anything outside of our home—other than hitting the trail—until early June. Because I didn’t want to die. I don’t do unknowns or surprises. Like how Covid stared out. It feels a bit more understood a year later. I’m not as worried about dying from Covid anymore. And a vaccine now, score! As soon as I qualify, I’m there.
We’ve been back on the go since last June, with masks and using whatever justifications feel right while pandemic life continues. It’s starting to feel like life is returning to some sort of normal. Even though I have no clue what normal is anymore. It’s been an interesting 13 months, that’s for sure. I keep telling the kiddos that while pandemic life isn’t ideal, they should embrace that they’re living through a historical event… or maybe I tell them this to somehow help myself accept things. Either way, come on and end already. Please.
Usually I put the highlights in the order they happened during the month. But not this time. Cannon Beach was SO needed. And such a great spontaneous trip, it’s going first. I wrote all about it here but the gist is I was in a mood on a Wednesday, not loving life. Burnt out by all things kids and playing mom, and pandemic life. I decided I needed to get away. And I decided I was going to head to Cannon Beach the next day, taking 3/5 kiddos with me. Brian said I should totally go and then suggested we make it a family trip. Sold. So we went. It was a mood changer… temporarily. Brian is now encouraging me to take off to Hawaii on a Thursday for the weekend. He thinks Hawaiian sun and sand will help my mood longterm. Always the problem solver. I’m not going even though I should. Instead, I’m counting down the days until this school year is over and summer provides more normal… including another trip to Cannon Beach. And hopefully I can pull it together, and kick this moody business to the curb.
Cannon Beach kiddos!
I’m copying this from my Cannon Beach post because I can’t get enough of Blaise’s love for Maive:
Everyone needs someone in their life who looks at them the way Blaise looks at Maive! I take about 10 pictures in a row and find the best one later. Five kids and all, one great shot is highly unlikely. This was one of the multiples… he ADORES her. They all do, I just happened to capture this moment.
First day of fourth grade, in-person.
Blaise and Laine finally returned to their part-time public school. Saige started on February 1, which made Blaise and Laine eager to go back also. They’re only there 2.5 hours, two days a week… we’ll take what we can get. They’ve been happy to go each day, excited to see their friends and have some sort of normal back. I really hope things are back to official normal come September.
They’re not that into posing for pictures these days. I kind of like the attitude?! I’m probably in the minority here but I cannot wait for their teen years.
Pretzel Tree Trail.
Eh, this is one of those must do kiddo hikes. I’m glad I finally checked it off but it wasn’t all that. More negativity here, haha.
Oxbow Loop Trail.
Brian came with, on a hike. That’s weird. Haha. Brian doesn’t really like hiking. He’ll happily go and enjoy himself but he would never suggest hiking. I predict he’ll “find” hiking in about 10 years. He’s typically 10-15 years behind on the things I enjoy, and then it’s like this amazing thing he discovers.
This day Blaise and Laine were at their monthly Saturday wilderness class, which left us with the three younger gals. On past Saturdays when Blaise and Laine have been gone, Brian and I embraced having fewer kiddos home and used it sort of as a day off. We’d let Saige and Baby do whatever—usually Roblox—and Maive would hang with us. And then at the end of the day, I’d feel bad like we should have done something… use it as an opportunity to take them somewhere. This time, I didn’t feel bad at the end of the day. We took them hiking to Oxbow Loop Trail. All about that outing here.
Grand Ridge Park, again.
This was a great hike! We started at Central Park up in the Issaquah Highlands and hiked to Duthie Hill Park, and then back. All about it here.
Grand Ridge Park.
Pratt Connector to Pratt River Trail.
More hiking. It would have been even more in March if I hadn’t bailed on last Sunday. I was tired and moody… which hiking would have probably fixed. But it was super rainy also. So there’s that. I did run, attempting to beat the rain. Spoiler: I didn’t beat it. It started pouring when I was 2.5 miles from home. And not just pouring rain, it was super windy also. I probably would have embraced it a bit more if I didn’t have Maive with me. I didn’t want her legs getting wet in the stroller.
Back to Pratt. This was an adventure. All about it here.
Tuesday, March 29.
Normally I don’t highlight specific days from the month but Tuesday was such a GREAT day. I’d like to relive it when I look back on this post in a few years. I’ve been super moody these days. Never have I been so ready for summer than I am this year. I want all this modified schedule stuff to end. I totally understand the reasonings and I’m not mad about it all, but I’m over it all. Summer will bring kiddo camps and vacations, and weeks with nothing. Like a normal summer. And then hopefully all will be back to normal come September. Yeah, I’m tired of hearing myself say normal also. It’ll be one of those keywords that everyone will stop saying soon enough. Like back during the eclipse, how everyone was constantly saying totality. I’d also love to hear fake news die out. Which I think is happening since that awful person has been silenced. How amazing has the past few months been without waking up and reading about a nonsensical tweet storm?! I digress. Tuesday!
It was just past 7:30am when the house alarm went off. Saige went downstairs, thinking I was down there. I usually am; I get up around 6am. (I used to get up around 5am but I sleep in now, haha.) She was freaked out but it was all good, we weren’t even mad. Brian and I got up and started our day. We leisurely had coffee… he didn’t have any meetings until later and I didn’t have anything I had to do. And bonus, while drinking coffee, I got the notification from my Apple Watch that I had hit eight hours of sleep. Eight hours and five minutes to be exact. Amazing. I need sleep. There’s a reason why Brian was always the kiddo night feeder. I feel sorry for the family on the days I don’t get enough sleep. All the kiddos eventually came downstairs and we got breakfast going. It was so freaking amazing to not be watching the clock. I feel like I’m always watching the clock. Because I am. It’s always X minutes until I need to leave or X minutes until it’s time for lunch or X minutes until I need to do whatever. It’s always something. Not this morning.
And bonus, while enjoying the morning, I was admiring the house. I totally decluttered the night before. Not that we had clutter but I sort of went on a make the house warm and cozy phase during fall and winter. I de-cozied? I suppose I had to try the whole warm and cozy thing. And now that I have, I know it’s not my thing. I’m much more of a minimal, almost nothing out fan. I did keep my plant cart and plant shelf. Minus the few I’ve killed.
After the kiddos ate breakfast, they started in on their workbooks. We’ve really been focusing on math with Blaise and Laine. Blaise is a math fanatic and naturally just gets all things math. Laine is doing well with her grade-level math but we want to bump her up to get ahead. Saige and Baby did their workbooks also. Not a single complaint from any kiddo. What?! Nah, they’re pretty good about workbooks. I tell them if they want, they can go to school all day, every day instead of doing school at home. I don’t mean to use regular school as a threat… they really can go if they want. Workbooks with no complaints and correct answers, check. They were free to do whatever. Tuesday is typically our Screw It Day, as we call it around here.
It was my turn. I hit the trail with Maive and Mel, without being on any time limit. It was amazing. Usually I have to be back by X time for whatever. Not Tuesday. I decided I’d go for it. And since the bridge over by Remlinger had just opened after months of closure to raise the sucker, I was ready to go see the ladies. The ladies are a group of cows on property along the trail. Google tells me a group of cows is called a kine. I thought it was herd? And 12 cows are called a flink. Learn something new everyday! Not only did we head down to the cows—which are about two miles from home—we went further and then turned around to head back but not home… we continued on the trail down to the 203 before heading home. Not being on a time limit was absolutely amazing. It was just under seven miles. And I ran about four of those miles, running my fastest time since before having Saige. It was a perfect trail outing. I’m dreading if/when Brian goes back to the office. I mean, I kind of want him to go maybe twice a week but having him home all the time—which allows me to leave kiddos at home—will be majorly missed.
Back home, the kiddos were all doing well, minding their own business. I took my sweet time getting bathed and ready for the day. Even though it was almost half-over. Another thing I’ll miss if/when Brian goes back to the office… lunchtime. He deals with 90% of meals. He enjoys it?! Tuesday was no different. He dealt with kiddo lunches and then set off on his run. While I’m not a lunch making fan, I’m always down to clean up the kitchen. I can’t stand things out of place or dishes in the sink. I had the kitchen in shape as soon as the kiddos finished lunch. Then it was time to chill. Except now I was watching the clock. I had signed up Blaise and Laine for a 1pm outschool class to try out. And then they both had outschool classes at 2pm. Blaise is taking a Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes class, which he is loving. He is in the midst of an obsessive ship phase. Mostly warships but he’ll take any ship. He can tell you about any warship as if he is an encyclopedia. That kid can recall dates ships were made, dates they were in service, which battles they were in, what weaponry each ship has, how many fatalities happened on the ship or because of the ship, when it was sunk or decommissioned… it’s pretty impressive. Much like Brian. Brian is a walking encyclopedia about anything and everything. Obscure facts even. But he doesn’t retain day-to-day information, like what time the kiddos have classes or activities. Laine takes a multiplication game class. She knows multiplication but isn’t quick at recalling answers. Like she can solve what 12×12 is but she can’t recall that it’s 144 without having to solve the problem. We want her recall to be solid. Especially since she’s working on two- and three-digit multiplication problems. This is where I should plug homeschooling: The kiddos get to work on whatever they need to work on until they master it, without any pressure. One of the MANY benefits of doing our own thing!
After their outschool classes, Blaise had his weekly parkour class. Which I can no longer say without hearing a Tik Tok sound in my head. Parkour! Parkour! Brian has this problem now also, using Tik Tok sounds throughout the day. And he doesn’t even have Tik Tok; he only watches over my shoulder sometimes. Haha. Oh no, oh no, oh no no no no no… I’ve encouraged Blaise to go another day so we can have Tuesdays be 100% free from driving anywhere—unless we want to—but he’s sold on the Tuesday parkour class. Fair enough.
Laine and Maive went with Blaise and me into Redmond. After dropping off Blaise and parkour, to Target we went. Like always, I had a Target drive up order to grab. And bonus, the eye guy I like was there and I was able to squeeze in ordering a pair of glasses. It’d been on my to do list but I hadn’t found time to check it off. Glasses, ordered. Back to parkour to grab Blaise.
Tuesday is pizza night around here. I always order pizzas to pick up on our way home from parkour. Same this Tuesday. Back home, there was pizza dinner. While the kiddos pizza’d, I hit the trail for a second time. Mel and I ran three miles, to the 203 and back. Everyone was packing it in when Mel and I got back home. The girls were all getting ready for bed while Blaise worked on a Star Wars puzzle. I helped him and we ended up completing the sucker. Then it was bedtime for all kiddos. Brian and I closed up downstairs and hopped into bed with Maive, already passed out. Brian always picks the most random of things to watch, so we watched My Octopus Teacher. It was a good pick; I actually enjoyed watching… well, mostly listening. My eyes were closed.
It was a perfect day. Brian even commented that evening how nice it was to see me in a genuinely good mood. Haha. I’m back to being super moody. Awesome.
The rest of March, in pictures.
Step stool Maive.
Maive has discovered a tool: a step stool. She carts this thing around every day. We call it her Trusty Dusty, Handy Dandy step stool. And boy does she put it to good use! She has really embraced toddlerhood and this step stool givers her access to more things to explore. Lucky us.
Snugs has discovered the step stool also.
Brian managed to snap a few pictures of Blaise, Saige, and Baby getting their ninja on. We scored with the ninja schedule… they can go at the same time Laine has team practice. Makes life a bit easier.
It’s definitely spring. I’m starting to see more and more snakes along the trail. This was the first guy I’ve seen this year, slithering across the trail to get out of my way. How kind. And then this van. There are some people in this world whom I’ll never understand. Like this van driver who stopped smack dab in the middle of the trail crossing. I’m not usually a picture shamer but I was trying to grab a picture of this woodpecker whom I pass often. I’m not sure if he knows exactly how to be a woodpecker because he is always pecking on this metal pole. Then again, I’m sure there is a reason woodpeckers peck metal. Let me ask Google. Yep.
“Birding experts believe that woodpeckers choose metal for their drumming antics for two reasons. The first is to attract mates. The second reason is to establish their territory. The sound that reverberates off metal is extremely satisfying for these birds and has the most desired effect when compared to that of trees.”
The van didn’t move for quite some time. It was a parent picking up kiddos from the trail, completely oblivious that they were blocking the crosswalk and trail entrance on that side. I went around them and continued on, and looked back a few times to still see them there. I hope they were just oblivious and not being a selfish jerk on purpose. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. But I think I know the correct answer.
Little Miss found Baby’s slippers and wore them off-and-on all day. She was quite impressed with herself. As she should be!
Maive totally knows whom she has wrapped around her little pinky. She can get Blaise and Laine to do whatever she wants. This day it was art, dot-dots. I often wonder what their relationships will be when she’s 16, and Blaise and Laine are 24 and 25, likely living on their own. They’ll either have a sibling relationship where Blaise and Laine will help cover for her when we don’t let her do things or they’ll be extra parents who will likely be stricter than we will.
This was our favorite park back in the day. I’d take Blaise and Laine a few times each week, back when they were the only kiddos. We have several memories from here… including many memories with the friends we met there this day. I’m pretty sure I have pictures of these kiddos together at Farrel-McWhirter back when they were all toddlers. Look at them, all big now!
Nothing special. Just a section of the trail along Tolt River that I enjoy. The water sounds over the rocks are calming. And an attempt at a picture of a power thing along Power Line Trail in Redmond. Maive and I often kill time on the trail while Blaise is at parkour.
Tolt MacDonald kiddos.
Maive loves to hug posts?! It’s become her thing… if there is some sort of post or pole, she hugs the thing. Blaise taking a rest from running about, to enjoy the sunshine. And Laine with their friend, attempting to make a zip line with a branch down the bridge. It was somewhat successful.
Saige, Baby, and Laine have taken up roller skating. We’ve had skates off and on over the years but this is the first time they all have taken to skating. Laine and Saige have pretty much mastered skating; Baby mostly walks around on the front brakes… she’ll get there! And I ordered roller skates. The ones I ordered were a bit stiff so I have another pair on backorder. Hurry up, May!
Laine absolutely loves gymnastics. She has found her thing. She practices 12 hours each week and they work those girls hard! So.much.conditioning. Laine is a walking muscle, six-pack and all. Like everything else this past year, all meets were cancelled. To give the girls something, her gym hosted a super small meet for just the teams. Laine was super stoked. And it was the first time I got to see her in action, in person since before Covid. They did each of the events, and she did well! Although, I have no idea what they’re looking for other than you can just tell when a gymnast does well. It’s cute seeing all the girls support and cheer each other on.
And at Laine’s conference (yes, a conference for gymnastics, haha) her coach said they want to send the girls to six meets this fall to make up for not having any meets this season. Which sounds nice and all… until I heard one might be in Florida, another in San Diego, one in Idaho, another in Oregon… I mean, that’s 4/6 out of state within three months (and not exactly in Covid-careful states, except Oregon). I already feel like our weeks can be consumed by gymnastics practice. Now fall?! And more meets next spring…
I managed to get her hair in a braided bun! I am NOT a girl hair person. Although, the sucker came out not long after she started her meet. Eh, I tried. And her about to dismount from the beam… I caught her as she was twisting to land.
Big kid, Maive!
Or so she thinks. She sits at the table now, in a booster. No longer a high chair. She thinks she’s hot stuff and LOVES sitting with all the kiddos! I mean, she was next to the table but this is a pretty bug change for her small little world.
And workbook Maive, doing schoolwork with the big kiddos. She grabs any sort of workbook / coloring book / notebook and a writing utensil to join the other kiddos. She was quite proud of herself this day.
All is well. It was my annual squish test. And somewhat depressing, with Covid and all. The first year I went it was all lively in the waiting room, women all silently supportive… there was just a warm atmosphere in the room. Now they space out appointments so it’s lonely. Strangely, I usually prefer to be alone. And a picture of the squish machine. I wanted to show Brian. He said it looks painful. I wouldn’t say it’s painful but uncomfortable. But I don’t have much to squish so there’s that.
More like Muddy Creek. I drive past this place every time we go to gymnastics. I’ve always wanted to check it out and an opportunity presented itself. We made plans to meet up with friends we hadn’t seen since October, and Cold Creek was a great meeting spot. It’s almost in the middle. When we got there, it was only us. Score. I don’t love crowds. We set off on the trail and found a cool bridge… and then mud galore. I’m down with mud but not this kind of mud—boot sticking mud. It was so bad we turned around and went back to the grassy area to hang out. Which worked out well. Maive was able to get her toddling on since it was protected from the parking lot and lined with trees. The kiddos found a tree that was somewhat secluded, with other trees surrounding it making a cave-like area. Laine and Baby found a massive mud pit… Baby got stuck and my kind friend unstuck her while I stayed with Maive. Nobody came out of the mud pit with clean shoes.
It wasn’t the exploring I had hoped for but it was a nice outing with friends and the areas we did find were worth exploring. I’m planning on going back mid-summer where there is no chance of mud pits.
More pole hugging.
Maive and her pole hugging obsession. These are poles outside of parkour.
Maive and Mel!
Buds! These two are so cute. Mel has been the best pup. We adopted him six years ago and he fit right into our chaotic kiddo family. Baby was just shy of six months, and he was always so sweet with her as a baby and toddler. And he is just as sweet with Maive. I can’t imagine not having a pup with kiddos! They are so good for each other.
We’re into April and it’s off to a nice start already. Easter was yesterday and today we are playing hooky from dance, enjoying a nice afternoon at home. A much needed break from the constant runaround (that I take full responsibility for creating, haha!).