Monday, May 23, 2011

Listing busy

Okay, so after my last post I DID make a few great lists: what was happening each day, what needed to be done each day, etc.

A quick synopsis, plus a few pics:

Thurs 9pm: Bountiful Baskets conference call that ended up to be an hour.

Fri 6:30pm: ward potluck

Fri 6:30pm: Double Dream Hands flash mob practice in Renton

(yeah, I know. there was talk of the practice being cancelled, so we did the potluck.)

Sat 10am: niece's baptism 45min away

Sat 12pm: Abby & Alex's combined birthday party at the aquatic center

Sat 3pm: take Abby to a friend's party

Sat 5:30pm: DDH flash mob final practice here in town

Sat 6:30pm: DDH flash mob performance at mall

Sat 7:00pm: pick up Abby from party

But as I lay in bed at 7:30 that morning thinking of the schedule, I realized that driving 45 minutes north, staying for the baptism, then driving 45 minutes back would leave us ZERO time to change, cut watermelon, gather last-minute things and get to the pool EARLY. Crud. So I called my sister-in-law, who was very understanding. Poop. I still didn't want to miss it.

We were 15 minutes later for the party than I'd intended (not my fault--lateness around here is due to certain people underestimating how much time it REALLY takes to get kids ready, rounded up, loaded & buckled up), so of course, I was snappy & stressed. Not too bad, though.

The party:

Get there, check in, find out I can pay for the total # of attendees later in the day when everything is more settled *whew*, send Hubby & kids to the pool with the 3 guests who arrived before us. Set up party room (thanks again, Marie!):

(cupcake idea courtesy of Family Fun magazine--of course!)

After a bit of swimming, call the kids in for a super-rushed cake/presents episode. Ab & Alex didn't get to eat. They blew out their candles, then opened gifts. Poor kids. I only rented the room for an hour, so I had to get our stuff out of there. Send the kids back to the pool for the last hour.

For the record, the party room came with the wall decor. I'm not completely nuts.

6 10-year-olds

6 8-year-olds

I cleaned & moved stuff frantically, trying to keep Cora with me. She kept leaving because she wanted to "tim. Dad." Of course! She had a blast, and so did Lee.

The older girls all spent most of their time in the deep pool & the water slide (Dad wins a huge award for taking Ab to the pool 4 times the week prior so she could pass her swim test. Yay Dad!) The boys hung out in the 3'-4' area, and the younger 2 needed to be within arms' reach all the time. That was boring, but it worked out okay.

In all, it was a fun party.

We got everyone showered, dressed and placed with the right parent, then came home. We brought one of the girls Sheri, then her mom took Abby and her to the other party while we put together Alex's new WWE toys. *eye roll*

I don't have pics or a video of the birthday flash mob, so I think I'll hold off until I do. It's the lamest, most ridiculous dance, but it ended up to be fun--anything is with my Ladies!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Today is Thursday, May 19th.

Within the next 2 1/2 days, I'll be either throwing or participating in 4 birthday celebrations. There's also a potluck and a flash mob dance to practice (that's part of one of the birthdays).

And I haven't made a single list.

What am I thinking?????

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Miracle Unveiled

So, living here in this smelly old house with ants as neighbors, drafty windows that are hard to open, and a definite settling problem has sometimes had me wondering where the miracle was.

I mean, God in all his omnipotence could have given us something way more upscale when we prayed for our miracle leaving our old apartment. But he stuck us in a bachelor pad, of all crazy places. Why, oh why, oh why?

It all became clear yesterday.

Our Live-in Landlord came home yesterday evening from taking his 5yo daughter back to her mom after her fun-filled weekend here. (It was a little crazy having 2 Abbys in the house, but the kids all enjoyed themselves...alot.) He then announced quite out of the blue that he convinced his parents to delay putting the house on the market for a few weeks so the kids can finish school here. My response went something like this:

Shocked pause
"Wow. Thank you. That would be great. I could kiss you, but that'd be weird.
"Did Riah say something to you?"
Him: "Nope, this is all me."

I don't know if he was just thinking of his own daughter or putting himself in Abby & Alex's small shoes, or if he overheard me telling the kids that I'd try to keep them here but we may pull them out early. I don't know. But I do know one thing--despite his imperfect halo, he's an angel!

So the kids can finish school with their friends (can you say, 'closure?'), they can complete their in-school projects, and we can go to all the end-of-school parties we want!

Thank You, Lord, for the miracle.

(And PS--it looks like we'll probably pack the truck the 17th (last day) & head to Spokane for the summer or forever or until Riah starts Nursing School...wherever that is.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Locked up for Mother's Day...

Mother's Day at our house usually consists of breakfast in bed, handmade cards, gifts purchased with Dad the day before, church, and me taking the rest of the day off of making lunch or dinner. I nap, I read the newspaper...basically veg.

This year started the same with cinnamon rolls, oranges eggs and toast--YUM, however, it ended really really different. And I'm glad.

The L-iL mentioned a couple of days ago that he was thinking of inviting friends over for a barbecue today. That meant smoking, beer and swearing--not exactly the best atmosphere for my children to be in, if you know what I mean. So I've been brainstorming Things To Do With The Children For Hours On End That Won't Drive Me Batty for a couple of days. Oh and PS--Dad's in school. So for Mother's Day I get to be a Park Mom (I am not, and have about a 10-minute park tolerance) AND a Single Mom in the same day.



I looked at zoos, aquariums, kids museums, etc, and no matter what I looked at, admission alone would cost over $50. No thanks. I decided on the Ballard Locks, a localish attraction that I'd been to on a 'field trip' with friends years ago. I distinctly remembered a few things about it: boats, green grassy areas, a fish ladder and NO ADMISSION.

So I packed a picnic, some sports equipment, umbrellas for the chancy weather, a blanket & tarp for damp ground, a few extra pairs of bottoms for Cora & we were off!

I really had no expectations, but it ended up to be a GREAT day! To start with, I went to pay for parking and it was a weekend!!! No parking fees on weekends!!! Yay!!!!

On the non-list of things to do (can you believe it? I didn't even have a list!!!) but what we ended up doing anyway because it just worked out that way:

1--Bathrooms (Cora's been potty trained for almost 2 months now. 'nuf said.)

2--Backtrack to the ones that we passed in the gift shop because the ones by the locks were closed for cleaning.

3--Be alerted by the employee outside the bathroom that Lee was not, in fact, with us--he was continuing on his merry little way.

4--Send Abby & Alex to chase him down because he's too far to hear me holler at him.

5--Have The Discussion with Lee. Again.

6--Juggle mens/womens bathrooms with 4 children in a gift shop while keeping someone on guard at the backpack hanging on the stroller. Are we having fun yet?

6a--Be complimented by a complete stranger in the bathroom that Abby is a really great big sister/helper. She was right. Ab did GREAT ALL DAY!!!! She was fabulous!


8--The thing that the kids were most looking forward to was the fish ladder. [The locks are really fascinating things to watch. Lake Union & Lake Washington are at a higher elevation than the Puget Sound (which changes, as it's salt water), but boats come & go all the time between them, so the locks provide a way for boats to overcome a varying-height obstacle. How it works: boats come in from the Ship Canal (the lakes), putt into a long, skinny enclosure & the doors are closed behind them. The water is then drained out until it's the same level as the water in the Sound. The doors in front of them open and then motor away. Sailboats, yachts, barges, tugboats...whatever can fit, goes. Check out the site. It's pretty cool, and it has pics of the actual location--I didn't take many pictures of that. Just my kids. And yes, Lee's feet are completely off the ground. The kids' just crazy strong.]

Oh--the fish ladder. There's one of those, too, with a viewing room where you can go down into a room next to the canal & look through the glass to see the fish swimming up the fish ladder. Well, you can if it's the right time of year. We missed it by a couple of months either way, but there was one little fishy hanging out there. It sorta looked troutish to me, but who knows? So the kids learned more about fish eggs, development, etc.

9--Then we went to look at the boats coming & going. It sort of takes a while, but it's still cool to watch.

10--The walkway from the locks to the fish ladder is wet & misty from the water being shot out of the spillway (check out the pics of it on the website), and the kids were fascinated with the rainbows they could see in the mist. It was also a bit of a game to find the one harbor seal that was hanging out looking for food. In salmon season the area's full of sea lions glutting themselves on the salmon waiting their turn to figure out how to get into the lake. Pigs.

11--Tire of hearing how hungry the kids are, so hit the bathrooms on the way to the car, where the food is.

12--Lunch was light, so we treated ourselves to an early dinner. Tarp. Blanket. Subs, Pirate's Booty, Capri Sun & chocolate covered mini-donuts. The dinner of champions.

13--Play. Wiffle-ball baseball, roll down the hill, climb the trees. Just have a good time. I found one tree full of a particularly adorable breed of Apple-Cheeked Monkeys. Love it.

14--Go for a walk. The signs boast of a world-renowned botanical garden, but I have to say that it doesn't really hold a match to the one up the road from home. Oh well.

15--Be told by the park people that we don't climb the trees. Oops. I didn't let them climb the one with the fence around it, and this one was definitely not fenced!

16--Continue on our walk. Stop beneath a cherry-blossoming tree to enjoy the 'snow' as it drifts down. The ones around Abby are from the handful she just tossed up. And I love the petals stuck in Cora's curls.

17--Have mild panic attack when Cora announces, "Mom! Pee! Mom! Pee!"

18--Score her first successful peeing in the woods.

19--All around the inlet from the Puget Sound are high, grassy, terraced hills. Perfect for rolling! Roll and roll and roll some more!

20--At the bottom, Lee found some mussel shell fragments left by the seagulls. He kept some for his 'collection.' He had more, but there was water, and it was within throwing distance.... Cora found some mud that collected in her crocs. "Mom. Luck. Toes." So her crocs & socs came off. I guess her pants got a little wet too. *sigh*

21--Put pants back on the child.

22--Standing here we were right next to the large locks, which hadn't been used the whole time we were there. But we waited just a bit to watch a big tugboat with a little tugboat tied on like a dinghy pulling a LOOOOOOOONG trail of logs. What they were for I'm not sure, but it was cool to watch.

23-Bathrooms. Again.

24--Make our way back to the locks, over the walkway, to the other end of the other side because Alex wants to go throw rocks from a sandy area he can see. Nevermind that it's 6:30 on a school night. Whatever.

25--Go even further because...well...I have no idea why. But we did. We eventually were under a train trestle climbing on barnacle-covered rocks. Abby--bless her heart--commented that it was too bad that we didn't have a garbage bag, because there was some litter lying around.

26--Get back from the stroller that was so loaded down with bags, coats & hats that it looked like our homeless shopping cart, give it to the kids to tidy up a bit.

27--Try to convince the kids to come back. (The pic was actually taken from the base of the train trestle because I couldn't see them around the corner & I was wondering what the heck was taking so long!)

28--Enjoy the view of a train passing RIGHT ABOVE OUR HEADS!!!!! So cool. (Notice how teeny Lee and Abby are compared to the trestle & train.)

29--Head back.

30--Watch boys race. Then notice them stop for Lee to pout because Alex is winning. Rinse and repeat. Again and again.

31--Let Abby roll down the other terraced hillside just once.

32--Request her to fetch Cora because while Abby was coming down, she was making her way up. To the top. (Boys are far ahead of me, girls are behind. Thank Heaven that most of the crowds were gone. They were home putting their children to bed.)

33--Gather everyone back together and make our way back to the car, saying goodbye to our friend the harbor seal.

34--Let the kids walk the railroad tracks that run the length of the parking lot for the 4th time.

35--Wonder where Cora's shoe is.

36--Find it about 25' away, sitting on a railroad tie.

37--Thank Lee for returning it.

38--Change Cora's wet pants. "Pee. Tain. Tack. Pee. Tain. Tack." Hey--you can't really expect to go for over 5 hours without changing wet unders once, can you?

39--Finish Pirate's Booty on the way home while listening to the kids declare that "This is the best day ever" (Alex). "This is the most fun I've had all month!" (Abby), and that I'm "...the bestest Mom EVER!!!" (Lee).

40--Put things away, collecting the important stuff: Lee's collection, and the bits of love they gathered for me all day:

(Today in church the line from the childrens' song choked me up as I thought of all the flowers Lee has brought me lately: "Dear Mother, I give you my love with each flower...")

41--Be thankful for the four crazy monkeys that call me 'Mom.'

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm not dead yet!

You have to read that in a British accent to fully do it right. I'm just sayin'.

Life is crazy sometimes. Our current temporary situation has its ups and downs. I love the big windows with windowsills where my African Violets are actually blooming again. I love that I can let the kids wander around the yard outside and my biggest worry is bothering the neighbors. I love that I don't have a single pressure to take care of anyone's needs outside of my family. I love that my phone is quiet. Dead quiet.

But it's weird.

The live-in landlord is great--he showed a really cool amount of interest in Abby & Alex's science fair projects, asking them what they were, how they worked, what was supposed to happen, etc. He's And he's a bachelor. So on a very small scale, my children are being exposed to life in a bachelor pad. Which is odd.

That's not what this post is meant to be about, though. I just figured that while I'm here, I should probably give you a little bit of a low-down as to our current state of being.

Frankly, sometimes I fall off the face of the earth and retreat into my own little world of me, the fam and the house. That's it. And I'm there. I have my own reasons (whether or not they make sense to anyone else is irrelevant to me) and I'll come out in my own due time. But for now, I'll just stay in my little Cocoon of Life, dealing with Life as it comes to me.

(Oh and PS we just found out that the house we liked way out in the boonies won't be ready until July/August & the guy bumped the rent from $800 to $1200. Yeah, maybe not. But our time here is still up May 31, as June 1 marks the day that Live-in Landlord's parents put the house on the market. It'll all work out...somehow.)

Today's post really is about my two youngest cute kids. Particularly the things that come out of their mouths.

A couple of weeks ago, Lee lamented that he didn't "...want Cora to grow up because she's so cute."

Just a few days ago, he announced, "Mom, I want to marry Cora when she grows up because she's so cute." Funny boy.

Then last night while he was folding his laundry he said, "Mom, we can pee in the ocean because it's already dirty." Um...yeah. That's true. I guess we can.

Cora is really starting to grasp onto this 'talking' thing, and cracks us up with her little mispronunciations. She's also really into the whole process and routine of whatever is going on. She knows that when I get out of bed, I pull on my purple fleecy pj bottoms and my big soft white robe. So a couple months ago, as I was climbing out of bed, she held up my pjs & said, "Dammies." When I took them, she ran to the back of the back of the bathroom door, pulled on the hem of my robe and said, "Dis." "That's Mom's robe." "Woe-bot." "Yes, it's Mom's robot." And it still is.

The place we're in has little sugar ants that come in to help clean up the floor underneath the dining room table. They're so helpful! The kids think they're pretty cool, and they don't really irritate, so whatever. Shortly after Easter, Lee was trying to convince one of his new little 6-legged friends to climb into his bug-magnifying container the Easter Bunny left in his basket. He said something like, "Come on Buddy. Go in." Now whenever he or Cora find one (they come through the bathroom heater vent, too), Cora picks one up and carries it around saying, "Buddy. At. Buddy. At." Unfortunately, she's not too delicate about her collection method, and often crushes them. Poor things. One time, she reported, "Boke-it. Buddy. Boke-it. Buddy." I looked and sure enough, its head was removed from its still-wiggling body.

About a month ago the kids were watching a nature program with Ryan, the L-iL. It had snakes and frogs & such. Her commentary:
"Mom! Wibbit! Mom! Wibbit!
"Wibbit. Walk. Wibbit. Walk.
"Mom! Take! Mom! Take!"
Then the snake caught & ate the frog.
"Take eat-it. Take eat-it.
"Eat-it. Wibbit. Eat-it. Wibbit...
She thought about it for a moment, then decided it was disgusting, because she then announced,

We all got a good laugh!