May ended. Thankfully. Not that it wasn’t a great month, it was. But I’m ready to move on from everything school and activities. It’s June now and there are three days left before we are free from our weekly schedule. Not that I’m counting (I’m totally counting).
May kicked off in Cannon Beach. A great start to the month. We did our usual Cannon Beach outings while down there. Creatures of habit and all. We added on a night at Great Wolf on our way back home. And on the way home from Great Wolf, a stop at the Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia. All about the trip here.
Back home to real life after the trip, May was good. Even that day Maive dumped tie-dye powder in Clyde’s fish tank. Poor guy probably thought he went blind for those few minutes it took me to realize what happened. (Clyde was fine.) And that day I went to use the dryer and it wasn’t heating up and I had to air-dry clothes for three days. Then that really great day when Camp Orkila emailed—two days before Brian was set to take the kiddos for Memorial Day weekend—saying they cancelled the camp. Or any of the May days where it was freaking cold in the morning; this weather still thinking it’s winter. All the extra fun things that happen regularly, throwing a wrench into life.
Amidst all the added fun, May had some highlights. Nothing major; small things that helped overshadow the not so fun things.
Laundry and dishes.
This isn’t that big of a deal but it’s making my life easier, and so it’s a big deal to me. Blaise and Laine are now doing their own laundry. It was time. I clearly remember being in sixth grade and taking on my laundry. Granted, my mom had ruined my favorite pair of jeans by washing them with something red. I vowed to never let her touch my clothes again (maybe this was her plan?!). But whatever, I was capable and I knew Blaise and Laine would be. I bought them laundry baskets for their rooms and once they each filled up with enough clothes for a load, I taught them how to use the washer and dryer. They’ve been doing a great job!
And, the dishes. We run the dishwasher every night and unload it every morning. I was telling Blaise just today that before kids, Brian and I ran the dishwasher maybe once a week? Now it’s daily for sure; sometimes twice a day when needed. We’ve started having Blaise and Laine alternate days—where one unloads in the morning and then at dinner, the other loads. I deal with whatever dishes happen during the day since I cannot stand dishes in the sink. Again, not much of a big deal but one less thing I have to deal with.
I watched a TikTok that said something along the lines of the job of a parent is to run out of jobs. I also watched a TikTok that suggested instead of saying, “I watched a TikTok and…” to say, “I read somewhere…” Hahaha. Noted. But the whole running out of jobs thing, I love this. I’m all about running out of jobs. And yeah, taking on laundry and dishes in sixth grade may be late to the game, but whatever. We’ve never been chore parents. Nothing set. But whenever we ask the kiddos do help with something, they are expected to help. And they always have. And now that help includes their laundry and dishes.
Eh, I find it annoying to even admit this since it’ll scream tech worker in the family. We ordered a Tesla. Even though I could happily do without Elon. Our van is close to death—the thing is almost 13 years old and has been well loved. It’s either dump thousands into the sucker or get a new car. The answer is new car. But which new car? We need a seven-seater. This narrows the field. We want electric, maybe hybrid. But anything hybrid we’d have to go to a dealership and play the ridiculous game. That’s a hard no. In fairness, when we bought the van we didn’t play the game but we still had to go to the dealership for all the paperwork and whatnot. That’s another hard no. And with how much I drive and Brian heading into the office about four days a week, we’ve been spending close to a grand on gas each month. Even if/when gas prices go down, I still drive an insane amount each week. And oil changes. Fully electric wins.
Tesla has set prices and you can order online. Easy peasy. Now we wait, until November. Hahah. I’m fine waiting. The wall charger came two days after we ordered the car. At least we have ample time to get an electrician out here to install the thing. And given how many freaking Teslas there are around here, there is likely a waitlist to get it installed. I was behind a car waiting to turn left on the 202, while a stream of cars passed. The second car to pass was a Tesla so I counted… there were 26 cars that passed while we waited. Twelve of them were Teslas.
Over 2.5 years later.
Brian is the most patient person I know. He’s incredibly patient; it’s almost annoying at times. Brian has wanted a travel trailer for years. We rented an RV back in 2017 and drove to Yellowstone, and he was sold. It was a great trip to see what all we liked and didn’t like, and what our needs would be should we ever get one. The biggest take away from that trip was that we’d prefer a trailer over an RV. I’m not—nor have I ever been—sold on getting either a trailer or RV. Brian has asked for very little in our over 26 years together so when he does, I feel obligated to go with whatever. And so, we’ll likely get a trailer now.
It was late 2019 when Brian called around different storage places looking for a spot to store our future trailer. There were places with open storage spaces but all were at least 20-30 minutes away. And all were around $200/month. Brian called the local storage place here in town—not even a three minute drive from our house—but they had a wait list. Brian asked to be added. And then crickets. We heard nothing until this February. We went to the RV show in Seattle and considered buying a trailer. But storage. Brian called the local storage place and asked where he was on the list. He wasn’t given an exact place number but was told he was close, and that the list was now seven pages long! He waited some more. Finally, Brian got a call the last day of May that an open storage space was available. He had five days to go into the office and sign the paperwork. I went the next day and secured the spot, for $125/month. I suppose it was all worth the wait. Except now the trailer thing is a reality, haha. Thankfully it takes Brian forever to make decisions so it probably won’t be until fall or winter until we actually get one. My vacation planning for next year will look different.
These chairs make me so happy! I frequent HomeGoods often. There’s one near Laine’s gymnastics and with her practices being four hours long, I kill plenty of time there. Back in November, I walked in and was immediately met with these chairs on display. I wanted them. I’m all about color and patterns. I was ready to buy them that moment even though I had no idea where I would put them. They’re absolutely beautiful, super ornate and hand-beaded. Until I looked at the price tag. $2,000/each. Yeah, nope. I didn’t want them that bad. For the next few months I’d still see them there, moved here and there, eventually with price reductions every few weeks. I went again in early May and they were moved out of the view of the main aisles, with yet another price reduction. Down to $400/each. I still wasn’t up for spending $800 on chairs.
As I checked out that evening with random stuff I had no idea I needed, I asked the lady at the register what the deal was with the chairs. That I’d seen them there for months and asked if they had any plans to reduce the price anymore. She checked me out and then walked me to the chairs and called over a manager. I’ve never haggled in my life. I remember the guy who drove like 45 minutes to buy a dresser from us off Craigslist and he asked for $50 off. He had brought his truck and buddy, and we knew the wife was expecting a dresser when he got home. We said no. Then that other couple, who showed up dressed to the nines driving a BMW, to buy a pair of rollerblades for $25. He wanted to pay the full amount but in quarters. We said no. They left with their quarters and we ended up donating the rollerblades. That was the last time we sold anything online. Either we donate or head to the dump.
The chairs. I asked the manager if there were any plans to reduce the price again. She offered them to me for $300/each. I said no thanks. And then she offered them to me for $250/each. I still felt that was a but more than I wanted to spend and declined. No hurt feelings, I understand they have a business to run. And if someone else would be willing to spend more, then good for them. I thanked her for her time and she said wait, and asked what amount I would be willing to spend. I said $200/each was my purchase point. She asked for my name and number, and said she’d call me if they reduce the price down to $200. I left feeling hopeful I’d get a call but was fine if it didn’t work out. I texted Brian all about the chairs that he had no idea existed and he said he thought $250/each was a good deal. Which is kind of funny since he’s not a spender and I’m like, this shirt for $500 looks great, I’ll buy two! Haha. (I’ve never bought a $500 shirt.) I looked up the chair online and found one for $3,500. Crazy.
About three weeks went by and I was busy cleaning out the art room cabinets when my phone rang. I never answer calls from numbers I don’t know but Baby was in Seattle with a friend, and so I answered in case it was something about her. Nope! It was the HomeGoods manager. The chairs were mine if I wanted them for $200/each. SOLD. I had no idea what I was going to do with them but Laine and I went to pick them up that evening.
They aren’t perfect; there are some missing and loose beads. They were in HomeGoods for months, being moved around and having several people sit in them. But I love them. I don’t love the plaid pillows but I already had those hidden in a closet; I need to find better pillows. But for now, they work. The chairs are surprisingly comfortable for being stiff. I decided to put them in the front room so I could enjoy seeing them. And where I’m sitting now—at the kitchen table—I can see one chair and my rainbow elephant head. My other favorite find at HomeGoods. Nobody wanted the thing, and I scored it for $7.99 a few years ago. Laine has already claimed it when we die. Maybe she’ll want the chairs also?!
The rest of May in pictures.
We made it through the last full month of everything school and activities. It’s officially summer for us! And I’m typing away in a hotel room in Idaho, while the youngest three are asleep in bed and Blaise and Laine are with Brian at the movie theatre I can see from the hotel window, watching the new Top Gun. We’re celebrating another school year down at Silverwood tomorrow.
Maive’s first ever class ended in May. We made it to two weeks in May which may be a record for us. With our busy schedule, we couldn’t commit to going every week. It’s all good. Maive still had a blast when we went. The two classes we went to in May were held at Cottage Lake Park and O.O. Denny Park. These kids have no idea how beautiful of an area they’re growing up around. These two parks aren’t anything special to write home about but man, waaaay better than anywhere around where I grew up. But I’m not into flat, brown (and hot) landscapes. I’m sure there are people who are and would think the green, mountainous PNW is awful. Those are the same people who think it rains all the time up here, haha.
Maive loves hanging with her friends and has asked a few times since the last class when are we going to Lunch Bunch again. She had such a great time!
Saige’s buddy’s little brother went to Lunch Bunch also. Saige went home with them after the last Lunch Bunch to hang out with her friend. These kiddos are getting so big!
For Mother’s Day, Brian loaded up all the kiddos and took them to Woodinville for Saige’s gymnastics class, lunch, and then a movie. Giving me five hours at home, ALONE. Those five hours were glorious. I didn’t even do anything other than sit and enjoy the quiet, clean house. It was so enjoyable that Brian wants to make it a thing to take ALL the kiddos to movies now, giving me home alone time. I’ve always had ample alone time but it’s usually out and about. Which is still lovely but it’s not at all the same as being home alone.
Sonic 2 on Mother’s Day. Bad Guys another Sunday. And Bob’s Burgers, for only Blaise and Laine.
Saige missed a few of her gymnastics classes which can be made up at open gym times. It worked out to head to open gym on Wednesdays after their school ends around noon. The first time we went, Maive stayed with me in the viewing area. But I noticed there were other toddlers at open gym. And since open gym was a hit and timing worked well, we signed up for a few other Wednesdays. Maive was able to participate in those. And she was SO excited to be on the gym floor. The gym was her first stop on the way home from the hospital—she wasn’t even 24-hours old. For her to be able to participate in a class seems so crazy; she’s getting older!
Mel’s BFF got a little sister. We’re lucky enough to watch them both when their family travels. Maive has really taken to the pup, Willow. She hangs out with her all day and Willow seems to enjoy a small person, closer to her size. Maive’s favorite thing to do is to pull Willow on the leash while she rides her bike around downstairs. Willow happily participates! The older pups watched from the couch, happy to have someone else entertain Willow. Puppies can be exhausting, even for older pups!
Gymnastics banquet brunch.
Another year of competitive gymnastics down! Laine’s gym held a banquet brunch for all the teams in May, to celebrate the ending of the season. They did a nice job honoring all the team girls. Each kiddo was called up by their coach and then the coaches spoke about the successful year. Laine had a great time and it was fun seeing all the girls in regular clothes hanging out. Of course there were handstand contests in the hallways, it’s inevitable with this group of kiddos. I had to laugh at Laine. Each kiddo was given a certificate (they’re holding them in the picture). When we made it home, I asked Laine where was hers. She had left it behind on accident and said, “Eh, it’s just a piece of paper.” She’s my most no stuff kiddo, and I couldn’t be happier about her ability to not hang onto everything. Each kiddo was given a team yearbook also. This gym really gets the team thing. And I’ve said it before, but whenever we go to meets and I see other gyms compete, I am incredibly thankful for our gym. The coaching our girls get is far superior to other gyms, in my totally biased opinion.
Maive started swimming lessons. Swimming has always been a non-negotiable for us as parents. Each kiddo started around age three and they’re all great swimmers. Maive will be soon also! The kids have taken swimming lessons with Ms. Kim since we moved to Carnation, so since summer of 2016. And even though the older four are great swimmers, we still sign them up each summer for a refresher and to get pool time. Maive started in May with one week of lessons. She didn’t love it the first two days but did great the rest of the week! Maive’s happily been in pools since she was teeny tiny and loves the water. But the whole lesson part with a new person wasn’t working for her those first two days. She has another week of lessons in June and one in August, with her four older siblings. I imagine having them there will make it so much easier. And we’ll be in California for a week this summer, where they’ll all get their swimming on at their grandparent’s house.
The big kiddos and I, and a friend, went to see You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown in Issaquah. It was cute. And I say that having never watched anything Charlie Brown. I did have a Snoopy piggy bank when I was a kid but that’s only because it was a cute pup. Blaise could probably do without going but I think he enjoyed himself. I was going to take Laine and Saige but Saige was invited to a birthday party the same afternoon so I took Blaise. It’s been so nice to be back in theaters once things started opening again. I didn’t realize how much I enjoy live shows until I started going again.
Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Some dads take their kiddos to sporting events; other dads take them to see astrophysicist lectures. Guess which kind of dad Brian is?! Haha. Actually, thinking about it, none of our kids have ever attended any sporting events. We should probably suffer through a baseball game or something. It’s not like Seattle isn’t close and there aren’t professional teams or anything. Brian and I went to see Neil a few years ago. Brian has been wanting to see him again. But Covid and all. When Brian heard Neil was coming again this May, he was sold. I grabbed tickets for the three of them because I’m the activity coordinator around here. It was a nice night out for the three of them. They went to dinner first and then into Seattle to see Neil at the Paramount. I’m not sure if Laine enjoyed the gummy worms or seeing Neil more. It’s probably a close call.
Baby leveled up in her outdoor school! She spent the last two years in the ages 4-6 class and absolutely LOVED going each week. The second to last class, the kiddos leveling up to the ages 7-13 program get to participate in Earth Quest. It’s part of their program for the kiddos moving on, where they are blindfolded in the forest and have to find their teacher using their senses except for sight. Parents are invited to attend, and I did. I walked Baby to her chosen spot amongst the trees, blindfolded her, and then left her with the rest of the kiddos and her teacher. All done safely of course, and the kiddos can remove their blindfold at any time. Baby didn’t though, and she did great! The Earth Quest kiddos made their way back to the shelter where the rest of the class and us parents were waiting for them. The teachers did a small ceremony for the kiddos moving up. It was fun to see Baby in her element. And we’re super proud of her!
There was one class left that Baby was going to miss; she was set to be at Camp Orkila. But Orkila cancelled. Baby was able to attend the last Friday of school where they got to play in the water and screw around for the entire four hours. I’m glad she was able to go even if it meant Camp Orkila wasn’t happening.
Saturday ice cream.
Blaise and Laine were invited to a birthday party. I took them which left Brian home with the younger three. Turns out they scored ice cream up at Blake’s while the rest of us were gone. Lucky gals! Blaise and Laine had a great time at the birthday party, and scored ice cream cake so it’s not like they majorly missed out.
Sunday ice cream.
These kiddos scored two days in a row! I was gone hiking with Karann. Brian took all the kiddos up to Blake’s for more ice cream. And apparently Maive was still wearing the same dress, haha.
Eh, I don’t think either Karann or I were into hiking this day. It was more about hanging out. Eventually the hiking appreciation came a few miles into the trees. It was a rough go, not having the umph to hike. But I’m glad we went and it’s always fun catching up with Karann. We need to get more hikes on the books.
A typical Wednesday. I drive here, there, back here, back there, and then everywhere on Wednesdays. It’s all good. And worth it I suppose. But it’s summer now so, phew! Saige and Baby had school from 8:30am-12pm. Blaise and Laine had school from 9am-3pm. Brian usually has an 8am meeting so he can’t really help with drop offs on Wednesdays. Once I get back home after the 9am drop off, I’m watching the clock. I have to grab the girls at noon. And then I take them to open gym in Woodinville. That ends at 1:30pm. We grab milkshakes at McDonald’s because I did it once and we couldn’t not grab milkshakes the second time (it’s standard practice now). This puts us back in town with about 30 minutes to kill before we grab Blaise and Laine at 3pm. So we kill that time at the park near their class. And then, after I grab Blaise and Laine, we head home where Laine quickly changes for practice and Brian drives her to the gym where I was at 12:30pm. Phew. What a day. The bonus of Wednesdays is we get to include friends. And after the 3pm class, we sometimes have buddies come home with us and the kids get their play on. It’s funny, having five kids makes any additional kids no big deal. Once you have four or five, a few more is nothing.
Maive before open gym with a high ponytail! Dinner with friends. And trampoline time.
Baby LOVES dinosaurs! And I had been trying to find a day for Brian to take her to see Dinos Alive in Seattle. Luckily for Baby, one of her good buddies was having a birthday and he also loves dinosaurs, and also wanted to see Dinos Alive. Score! They spent a Thursday in Seattle getting their dinosaur on, followed by even more Blake’s ice cream. Pizza, too. I think the birthday kiddo had a great time celebrating! I know Baby did!
My latest weekend thing is to hit the trail for 10 miles each weekend day. I was going anywhere from 7-10 miles right when the pandemic started, and Maive would sleep for a while in the stroller. Now she doesn’t nap and only hangs in the stroller for about four miles before she gets antsy. So our weekday trail outings never last as long as I’d like. Because of this, I’ve been hitting the trail first thing but I’m on a time schedule for Brian to head into work and that whole kid thing. And so, I can only really go up to about six miles in the mornings. It’s all good. I can hit the trail again with the toddler for an additional four if I want but it’s not the same to me, breaking up the mileage.
Anyway, this day was my first I’m going 10 miles Saturday. And it was complete with wildlife. I’ve never come across a frog on the trail. I hear them often but never see them. This sucker was sitting smack dab in the middle of the trail. And he wouldn’t move. I spoke with him about passing, and that I didn’t want him jumping toward me. He humored me and let me pass without moving. Typical guy, haha. Nah, I just learned the term manslamming, although I’ve been aware of the concept for years. The saddest part was when I found a robin egg with a baby who died mid-hatch? I’m guessing a predator took the egg and dropped it?! And a snake who was sunbathing but slithered away when I acknowledged him. Sorry, dude.
Those twisty trees are too much; I love them.
Close to home.
Random pictures from May. Baby and Maive got their sand play on out back. Saige found extra fabric and made an outfit. Maive helped me clean out the art room cabinets. Blaise marker tattooed his arm. Snugs perched on the couch. Blaise and Laine grabbed Slushies with friends after school. My little guy! This squirrel (chipmunk?) is my bud. It lets me get close, so long as I have nuts to give. Haha. Eh, I’ll take what I can get. Saige made eggs!
That was May. It’s June now, school is out, and I am SO ready to get the summer show on the road.