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18 Feb

At the risk of sounding completely pathetic, full time work is kicking me solid in the you-know-what. I’ve been full time for two weeks now and the boys have had dinners of almost nothing but fast food and delivery. It’s definitely an adjustment and I’m getting used to things. My goal for tomorrow is to get the house in relatively decent shape and get some meals prepped for the week to avoid the “I have no energy to cook” thing that’s been happening a lot. That being said, I’m loving the job so far and our nanny who watches Ben is FANTASTIC despite what I’ve put her through. She picked Eli up from school for the first time last week and I told her that Eli usually comes outside to meet me. I assumed she would do the same. However, she used to be a preschool teacher so she did the responsible thing and went inside to introduce herself to office staff and his teacher. It was obvious Eli knew her. It was also obvious I never added her to the pick up list. So she got held up in the office for about 45 minutes with Eli, her kid, and Ben because I ALSO forgot to tell her I don’t get cell reception at work and it was that long until a coworker called me about something and I took my phone outside to where I got reception and a ton of texts and phone calls promptly came through. So embarrassing. Needless to say, I gave her extra money that day.

I also forgot to leave Ben’s swim stuff out the next day so she couldn’t take him and had to deal with his grumpy self the rest of the day. This week has been smoother and I expect it will continue to be so. She’s fine with helping with minor meal prep so I might use her for that. We are really lucky in who we found, she and I get along great.

We got Eli’s CogAT test results back (the advanced learning test) and needless to say, he got in to the Highly Capable cohort. You have to test at a certain level to get in otherwise you get streamed in the spectrum at your own school but he tested at 99% in all three areas. This created a good deal of strife the first night (“I’m not changing schools!”) then acceptance the next day (“Maybe it will be fun, I understand why I need to go.”) and now we’ve reverted back to denial (“Hey, Mommy, guess what?” “What, Eli?” “I’m not going to Cascadia.”) Sigh. He’s been told he doesn’t have a choice. We can’t let him test that high and not switch him. He didn’t just do well, he absolutely killed the test. I can’t let him refuse to switch because of fear and not at least try it. I am telling myself that once he’s there and settled, he’ll be much happier because he’ll be with his peers. I keep telling myself that.

Ben is also gearing up for kindergarten. He’s really good at math, better than Eli was at this age, and I think some of that has to do with the fact that he hears Eli doing math so much. He’s got basic addition and subtraction down and although he hasn’t figured out reading yet, he can look at words with letters missing and know which letters are missing to complete the word. He is really, really close. I think if he liked reading as much as Eli did at this age he’d be just as proficient. He’s doing great in gymnastics and is an absolute dynamo at swimming and was telling me today he wants to take diving lessons! He told me he knows how to do a very special dive called the spider dive but he can only do it at hotels. The kid is obviously trying to work me. I imagine we will probably have Ben tested in the next year or two.

Things work-wise for Andy are going excellently, as well. He was nominated and awarded a spot in the 2017 Seattle City Light Emerging Leaders program. It’s a competitive pool and meant to really push the candidates to move up into leadership positions within the utility. It’s a big honor and justly deserved.

It’s been an exciting (and tiring!) few weeks around here. Andy is on his weekend night shifts and has two OT night shifts immediately following so he is MIA until Tuesday night. Tonight, the boys and I are renting a movie, eating popcorn, and not moving. Tomorrow, we are attacking the yard if it’s not raining. Our backyard has been sorely neglected since the end of the summer and I’m pretty sure our neighbor (whose kitchen overlooks our backyard) is tired of looking at rotting tomato plants and various toys strewn over the yard for the last few months.

We will probably rejoin the gym we used to go to when we lived in the apartment and Eli was a baby. They have childcare included in the cost of membership and they also have a crossfit gym there. I’m not working out at all, largely due to laziness and partly due to a foot injury I sustained three months ago when I fell down the stairs while carrying laundry. The injury was enough to leave the top of my foot around the ball of the big toe joint swelled to this day but nothing showed up on the x-ray two weeks ago. I have a sports medicine podiatry appt and hopefully they will be able to help. It still aches a lot and I can’t wear even the slightest heel. I am looking forward to working out again, it’s been a REALLY LONG TIME!

Hope everyone is doing well. Have a great Sunday!

Coming up fast!

18 Dec

We are due to leave for Louisiana on Tuesday. To say that it has snuck up on me would be about the biggest understatement I could make. I think in my mind, it’s still September and I have plenty of time. Needless to say, I’ve been ordering presents like a madwoman for the last two days. Some will be opened when we get back from Louisiana and some will be opened (the Santa gifts) Christmas morning/eve with the families.

Eli completed the screening test for Advanced Learning. For K-2, they do a shortened version of the test (5 10 minute sections) and then if the child tests above 94%, they are invited back for the full version (2 hours). I continue to have discussions with other parents about what I should do if he were to qualify.

Regarding Will’s presents: he wears a size 13 shoe and his current shoes (in my opinion) are pretty sad. So gift cards for Zappos, DSW, etc. would be good. He wears a medium shirt size and pants are 36/36. He’s hard to buy clothing for so probably gift cards?

Andy has a show tonight so the boys and I are laying low today and resting up for the exhaustion of Tuesday. I’ve gotten their kindles mostly working again so they should be good to go for the flights/car drive as well as downloaded movies to the iPad. We got new headphones for Eli since his head is now too big for the little kid ones we’ve used for years ūüôā We’re going to have some Pho delivered in a few hours for dinner and then probably some board games to round out the night. I work tomorrow so I’ve been starting packing today. There is still some degree of Christmas shopping I’ll need to do when I get to Louisiana but it’s just for a few things, not a ton.

I’m also working on my resume. The hospital where I work is restructuring their SW departments. Previously, inpatient social work fell under Care Management while ED SW fell under the ED. They have now united the two under Care Management and have appointed a Care Management Director to oversee all of it. They also created a new position, Social Work Manager, who will oversee ED, inpatient SW, geropsych SW, and the ambulatory care clinic SW. My wonderful boss, Annie, applied for and got this job. When I applied for my position three years ago, I was quite bold in that I said I wanted to be a supervisor within five years. That being said, she wants me to take her job when she goes.

We have to post the job internally but there shouldn’t be any other applicants (well, there might be one, but she definitely won’t get it). It’s been explained to me that this is largely a formal process but the job is essentially mine. Which is amazing because it’s exactly where I want to be but the timing makes me a little sad since it’s a full time position and I still have Ben two days a week. So there’s been some scrambling trying to figure out how to make 40 hours in a week. The good thing is that it’s salaried so I can just squish in hours here and there until he starts kindergarten but I’d prefer not to do that since it’d involve basically going to work any time Andy is off so I’ve been looking for a nanny to pick up some hours here (Small Faces is full and can’t take Ben the other two days now and also his gymnastics is paid through March, on Wednesday mornings, and non-refundable). I also would still like to have some time with him. So I’ve been trying to work all of that out the last week.

Ben just walked up to me and said, “Sometimes I can roll a mashed potato into a ball” and then walked off. You have to love 4.

SO looking forward to seeing everyone Tuesday. Have a great day. ūüôā

Christmas Cheer

22 Nov

I’m happy to report I’m feeling better lately. Sorry for the vagueness of everything but the nausea is improving and overall, I am doing a lot better. I hope to get back to running this weekend once I feel my strength is back up. Thank you for your concerns.

That being said, we had Eli’s parent-teacher conference today and she continued to confirm his brilliance. They do a yearly standardized test here called the MAP and Eli has consistently ranked in the 99% in all areas since he started taking it in Kindergarten. Apparently, if a kid ranks above 96%, the parents are to be notified that their child has been recommended for advanced placement testing but for some reason, we never were. I’ve been trying repeatedly to get that rescheduled but again, for some reason, I keep getting emails replying that we missed the test date and it’s been rescheduled for 11/5 (one might note that was two weeks ago. I’m beginning to think the Seattle school system might not be so advanced with the learning). His teacher today said that our principal would advocate for Eli to be excepted into the testing despite potentially missing the deadline since I have documentation that I’ve been trying to get it corrected for weeks.

In any case, we all know he’s smart. What I loved hearing was that he is a joy to have in class. She said he was one of the most thoughtful and caring children she’s met. No behavioral issues and he is a team player. I think that part spoke to me the most because smarts aside, I want a compassionate, loving kid. She said “Good job mom and dad! Thank you for letting me learn to know Eli.” Wow!

Ben continues to work on reading and it is slow going. He’s got his phonics relatively well down but he’s just at that point that he can’t connect. He also doesn’t enjoy reading as much as Eli did so our opportunities to work on it when he is motivated are limited. He is much more into physical activities and working on things with his hands. He enjoys anything creative and making art. He will often run up to me out of nowhere with a hug and say “I just love you so much.” So I think all in all, the boys are doing okay.

I’ve updated their amazon wish lists with Christmas suggestions. Clothing wise, Ben is in 4T pants, 5T shirts. Eli is in size 10 shirts and size 8/10 pants. Ben wears a size 12 shoes and Eli wears a 3. They’re pretty well outfitted but Eli could use more long sleeve shirts and proper pjs. They are very into Skylanders Trap Team on the PS4 and Ben is heavily into his Minecraft phase. Ben is at the point where he can follow and build the easier legos without our help and his pride at doing so is palpable. He is really mastering his ability to overcome frustration when he gets to a sticking point.

This Thanksgiving will be very low key. Will is coming over and that’s the extent of it. Andy and I are both fortunate to both be off work and he’ll be doing the majority of the cooking. I look forward to a lot of board games and puzzles and watching the Cowboys lose (I don’t even know who they are playing but still). The kids are home with me tomorrow since school is out and I’m looking around for something fun for us to do.

I’m working on uploading a lot of iPhone pictures to Flickr. I also have some pictures from the camera I need to upload as well. These are on my to do list to get done before Christmas.

I hope you all are doing well.

Link

Boooowing!

16 Oct

This is pretty much what we hear from Ben anytime something doesn’t involve screens these days. ¬†“This is bow-ing”, “Bow-ing”, “You’re just trying to make me have a bad day”, “Now I’m having a bad day now”, and so on. ¬†Lest you think Ben’s life is nothing but misery, once he’s cut off he goes into a fit for about 30 seconds then he’s fine. ¬†One of the things you have to give Ben, he doesn’t hold on to stuff for long.

We are fully into another year– Eli’s second grade year, Ben’s last year of preschool before kindergarten and things are going well. ¬†Eli is in advanced math and reading at school and is in line to get tested for the “smart kid” schools although truth be told, we likely will not switch him even if he qualifies. We’ve told him the tests are just to see where he is and that the decision to switch is up to him. ¬†We’ve talked to a lot of parents of kids who either have kids at these schools or who have toured them and they all say the same thing–the kids are stressed. ¬†It’s an insanely competitive environment of the kids of tech people and the kids don’t seem happy. ¬†If Eli does test well, his school can accommodate him to a degree and anything over than that, we will outsource. ¬†Not really willing to risk his emotional development for academic when he’s not particularly a competitive kid and has been very adamant that he wants to stay with his friends. ¬†If we can accommodate his learning satisfactorily without sacrificing anything, I’d rather he’d stay where he is. ¬†Part of his lack of competitiveness is that he’s so used to being automatically good at what he does (barring physical stuff) and he and I have talked a lot about that. ¬†We’ve talked about the importance of him challenging himself in areas he’s had to work to excel. ¬†I think he understands.

Ben is working hard on reading these days. ¬†He’s got all the sounds down and is just working on putting them together. ¬†He’s very into writing lately and will frequently ask us to spell words so he can write them down. ¬†An unfortunate side effect of this is that Eli will often turn this to (for him) great comedic effect as evidenced today by Ben bringing us a sheet of paper that was clearly his repeated attempts to write the word “butt”. ¬†Luckily for Ben, he hasn’t quite gotten the hang of writing words left to right and instead his letters are usually all over the place. ¬†We spent a good while torturing him while he obviously wanted us to say “You wrote ‘butt’!” and then be upset about it. ¬†Instead we just kept reading whatever he wrote which actually was “btt” or “bttu” and it drove him crazy. Then I went and had conversation #45624 with Eli that if Ben goes to preschool and writes the word “butt”, it’s going to be his that’s on the line.

Things have been going well around here. ¬†I’ve entered a half marathon for March. ¬†After Ragnar, I pretty much stopped running entirely and now all my running buddies are off running without me. ¬†It’s a social outlet I’m starting to miss even if I do have to run to be a part of it. ¬†Ragnar was really fantastic in that it solidified some work friendships that had been moving along at a snail’s pace and now several of us spend a lot of time together. ¬†It’s especially nice that they don’t work normal schedules either so now I have friends to hang out with on Wednesdays and Thursdays instead of it just being me and Ben alone all day. They have older kids in school but they are always fine with Ben tagging along and Ben is enjoying hanging out in coffee shops having hot chocolate and a muffin once a week. ¬†Nonetheless, I’ve got to get exercise back in and it seems the only way I’ll do it consistently is if I have a race to train for. ¬†So back on track starting tomorrow.

Our schedule is heavy these days–swim for Eli Wednesday evenings, swim for Ben Thursday mornings, chess club for Eli Tuesday before school, gymnastics for Ben on Wednesday mornings. ¬†Add in to that school, work schedules, homework, and probably someone should cook something at some point and a lot of days feel pretty hectic. ¬†Today was really great though–it was gray and rainy most of the day so every single person in this household has spent the day in their pjs. ¬†We watched the Seahawks game, we played some video games, we worked on spelling “butt”, we practiced our spelling words, we played a few rounds of King of Tokyo (really fun board game Eli discovered at school) and a lot of wrestling. ¬†It was nice to not have a lot to do.

Have you guys heard about the Broadway play “Hamilton”? ¬†It’s kind of hard to avoid hearing about it. It’s pretty much the most acclaimed Broadway musical in about a million years. ¬†They have a soundtrack to it and a friend kept telling me I needed to listen to it so he loaned me the CDs. ¬†I played them one day in the car and figured the kids would ask to turn it off about 20 seconds in but they are ADDICTED. ¬†It’s a musical about Alexander Hamilton and the founding of the country. ¬†It’s jam packed with rap and hip hop and it’s just a delight to listen to. ¬†It’s also started a lot of really fascinating conversations with the kids about how America came to be America. ¬†In the last month, we’ve had a lot of talks about King George, Marquis de Lafayette, Aaron Burr, and the reasons why they wanted independence from England in the first place. ¬†I admit I’ve had to do a LOT of googling to brush up on my history but it’s really amazing that a musical is making the kids so interested in history. ¬†It’s also pretty cute to hear Ben walking around the house shouting “HERE COMES THE GENERAL!” (from a song about George Washington).

For a small taste, here’s “Guns and Ships” which the boys (and I) are just in love with the last few days:

Man, it’s been so long since I’ve posted on here I can’t figure out how to upload a link. ¬†Let me figure this out….Guns and Ships

Ok, there we go.

Video catch up. ¬†Man, I do not take nearly as many videos as I used to. ¬†Mostly that’s because whenever the kids see me recording they automatically start acting like fools thereby ruining whatever nice moment I was hoping to capture. ¬†However, I’m going to rewrite history and tell myself that it’s because I was being mindful and enjoying the moment instead of playing with my phone…

Sneaking!

Time for waffles!

Older brothers. Sheesh.

Andy and Eli are terrible.

Ben getting the hang of the balance bike

Ben writing his name!

Look at that.  It no longer embeds a video still of the YouTube.  These are the things you learn when you update once a year.

As everyone knows, the Pac NW Smiths are descending upon Louisiana for Christmas. ¬†We will be there for a nice healthy stay (a little longer than “after 3 days, guests or fish go bad” for my dad) but not so long that I think we will exhaust anyone. ¬†We will fly down Dec. 20th and fly back Dec. 29th. ¬†It will be nice for all of us to be in the same place for the holiday. ¬†It’s kind of a banner year in that Andy and I are both off for both holidays! ¬†I realize due to scheduling it’s unlikely to happen again for another 5-7 years so I’m going to enjoy it.

Ben’s got another cold. ¬†He’s definitely the more cold prone of the two–Eli rarely got sick and when he did it was more of an actual illness (usually fever) requiring time off whereas Ben usually just gets about every cold going around. ¬†I wasn’t too surprised by this one (he finished his last one about a month ago) since at the Cub Scout meeting Tuesday he pretty much spent the whole time trying to blow up a balloon, spitting it out of his mouth when he tried to blow it up, having it hit the floor, then putting it right back in. ¬†I took the first two away and then at some point you just have to accept that kids will build resistance. ¬†The silver lining is that for all of his colds, he never really feels badly. ¬†He will be hacky and snotty as all get out but energetic and insisting he feels fine.

He’s moved into Mountain Room at Small Faces and seems to be enjoying it. ¬†He’ll be starting kindergarten next year at North Beach with Eli if everything goes well. ¬†The housing market in Seattle is kind of insane right now–it’s definitely a seller’s market and even rental housing is seeing astronomical increases. ¬†We are hoping our landlords don’t decide to cash in on this but we are making plans in case they do. ¬†I’m inclined to think they won’t since they have generally been happy with us and also like stable renters but it’s a bit nerve-wracking not knowing what might happen. ¬†Their school is so fantastic that I hate the idea of having to switch. ¬†Oh well, it will all work out in the end.

Here’s where I say lots of hopeful things about posting more often but as always, I will do my best. ¬†We are definitely looking forward to the next month–for Halloween, Eli is going as Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes and Ben is going as a skeleton (same costume as last year, love that kid). ¬†I have to work Halloween night but Andy will be off which is good balance as he’s had to work the last few. ¬†Then Eli has his birthday and his party the next day at Playdate Seattle which should be a lot of fun. ¬†They have what is basically a two story habitrail for kids which they love playing in and there are a ton of big screen TVs for the grown ups to watch football. ¬†I think everyone will have a great time.

Have a wonderful fall.

Video catch up, the understatement

18 Oct

Really, internet? A year? It’s been a year since I have uploaded videos? I just don’t even believe this but this blog tells me it’s so.

Yikes.

Early morning Ben chatting:

This was at the Tulip Festival in April

The kids and Ananda at Deception Pass for our camping trip this summer.

Ben sings his ABCs (sort of)

The Berry Patch kids at a backyard BBQ having fun in a too small pool

Ben riding the Weehoo with Andy and Eli

Recap of Great Wolf Lodge

This one has made me cry from laughing so many times. There’s a youtube guy who makes Minecraft videos and the boys watch it all the time. At the end, there’s a bit of dance music and as soon as it starts, the boys go into house dancing mode.

Watching the movie Home

Ben in the car at the Clark County Fair

Eli on the Monster Slide at the Clark County Fair

The S’s of a three year old are hard to resist.

It’s hard to blow out candles with a mouthful of candy.

Opening a birthday present from Lolly

Ben jumping on Daddy (I have a cold in this, I sound terrible)

Sneaking in on him in the tub

Wish I had a dime for every time I heard this:

Going to leave this as a video entry and will do some text shortly. ūüôā

The (almost) end of summer…finally

15 Aug

Have I mentioned I overdid it with the summer activities? Lo, I have. The trip to Portland was a lot of fun. The boys and I visited my friends June and Kristen and their two little girls. We spent a lot of time playing in their neighborhood playground and we went to the Clark County Fair. Their smallest, a cute one year old named Lexi, had a pretty quick meltdown upon arrival (it was sunny, it was hot, it was VERY LOUD and pretty much a recipe for overstimulation) and Kristen had to whisk her off to the petting zoo for most of it. The older one, Jordan (3), did a little better but seemed kind of overwhelmed. I think the combination of having the boys in town and the constant playing (Ben and Jordan hit it off) as well as the fair was a bit too much. I’ve heard that since we left they took Jordan back and she had a blast.

The boys loved the fair. The fair is stinking expensive! I bought 80 tickets ($70) and didn’t get to ride a single ride. I really look forward to when the boys are bigger and can ride some of the cool rides with me. We were mostly exiled to toddler ride land for the whole day. We split off from June and Kristen since the boys wanted to ride EVERYTHING and met up with them at the end of the fair trip for snacks and the ride back. Kristen’s dad commented several times that the boys were great fair goers, nothing fazed them, they never got grumpy, and had a great time. That was a nice thing to hear. I do have some pretty fun kids and their ability to handle being tired is pretty awesome. It does get easier once they’re older, though. I can’t attribute all of their awesomeness to my parenting skills (but I will try).

We came back Sunday and promptly went into zombie mode. We were all so tired. We had bike day at Small Faces Monday. Monday, I worked a swing (3-11:30) then back up the next morning for a 9 AM meeting. I was in that from 9-11:30 then left for a quick lunch. I went back to work from 12:45-11:30 that night. I have moved to a .6 position so I have to work another 8 hours a paycheck but I don’t have an actual shift, I’m just putting in the hours when I can. Since the boys are already at 3 days a week for Small Faces, I don’t want to increase their hours since they don’t offer 4 day a week care, it’s either 2, 3, or 5. Moving to 5 days a week would erase any benefit from the extra 8 hours I work and actually end up costing us more so right now I’m just tacking on 2 hours here, 3 hours there to work four extra hours a week.

So I got off work at 11:30 that night then back up at 7 the next morning to get ready to go to Bellingham. Ananda’s 40th birthday was Wednesday and she was having a family celebration at her grandparent’s lake house on Lake Whatcom. The house was unbelievable and the boys had so much fun playing in the lake and going on speedboat rides. The house is on a bit of property that used to be a small resort so in addition to the main house there are five small cabins and we stayed in one. After the boys went to bed, we put sleeping bags out on the lawn to watch the Perseid meteor shower and saw some really amazing meteors! It was a fantastic evening and a great way to celebrate Ananda.

We came back Thursday afternoon and Andy has been on 12 hour days from Friday until Monday night. I worked Friday and the rest of this weekend is pretty much dedicated to getting ready for our camping trip to Glacier on Tuesday. We plan to leave about 5 AM Tuesday so it’s necessary to get it all done by the time we go to bed Monday. We are driving to Kalispell, MT on Tuesday (about 8 hours) then staying in a hotel that night. Wednesday morning, we will drive the additional hour to Glacier to set up camp. We will be there through Saturday. The plan is to drive back Saturday but we will probably opt for driving a bit then staying in a hotel Saturday night so we can get showers, pool time, and some rest. I’m not too crazy about the idea of packing up camp, driving 8-10 hours, then trying to get the boys washed up after 4 days of camping before putting them to bed. It would be about 2 in the morning at that point! So we’ve left it open.

Unfortunately, Will can’t go with us (but for a great reason, he starts work with the gaming company this week) so he will housesit for us while we are gone. I’m super bummed he can’t make it since we all had so much fun on the Deception Pass trip but there’s not much to be done about it.

So now we are almost off to Glacier and aside from booking the campground, I have done ZERO planning for it. I remembered to book the hotel for Tuesday so at least we have places to stay. I printed out a page of short kid-friendly hikes to do around Glacier. We are debating bringing the bikes but Glacier doesn’t seem very bike friendly. We are thinking of bringing our bikes with the two trailers (Eli’s trailer bike and the Weehoo) but there don’t seem to be a lot of places to ride other than the actual road through it and even that has time constraints on when you can ride it so I’m thinking not. I hate riding on roads with cars and Glacier sounds like a tough ride without hauling 30+ lbs. I’m trying to think of ways to keep the boys occupied at the campsite because we’ve gotten totally spoiled camping with other families this summer and having built-in distractors. There is a water park close to Glacier and I figure we will do that one of the days. The other days will probably just be short hikes, Junior Ranger missions, and a lot of staring at a fire (no burn ban yet! If we do get one, man, this is going to be rough). The weather at Glacier seems to vary wildly depending on where you are in the park–I’ve seen forecasts for nights as low as high 30s (if you look under “Glacier Nat’l Park” in the weather app) or as low as low 50s (if you look under “West Glacier” which I think is closer to where we will be staying. In any case, I’m having to pack us for EVERY POSSIBLE WEATHER PHENOMENON and it’s a lot! We are so lucky to get to go on a trip like this and our kids are so fortunate to live in a part of the country where things like this are just a day’s drive away.

Tomorrow, the boys and I are doing the grocery shop for the trip and going to the library to stock up on books and DVDs. Aside from throwing everything in the car and some camping meal prep, there’s not much else to do.

The potty training will begin in earnest once we get back. I haven’t been consistent about it and I had no intention of winging it on the camping trip so I haven’t really pushed it all that much. Eli starts 1st grade in early September and we will be settling back into a routine. I received invites for two more kids’ birthday parties the weekends after we get back and I declined both. I felt badly about it but I am really trying to be mindful of how frazzled we all are and how much we need to slow down.

I do have one last trip planned for the end of September. My friends Carrie and Wendy are coming on Weds, Sept 23rd and just the three of us are going to Orcas Island to stay at a B&B until that Sunday! I am so excited about it I don’t know what to do with myself. Aside from the idea of just having 3.5 days without kids, the opportunity to get to spend that time with my oldest and dearest is mind boggling. I plan to do a lot of reading, a lot of napping, a lot of chatting and laughing, some kayaking, and just spending time with my girls. I expect this trip to be very rejuvenating for me and I am so looking forward to it!

Milestone news- Eli is about to lose his first top front tooth. It’s quite loose and keeps bleeding but he won’t let us yank it. He now says his “r”s like an adult and that is bittersweet to me. Ben can buckle himself into his carseat and is very proud of this accomplishment. He’s riding the small bike with training wheels like a pro but still doesn’t like the balance bike. Quite often Ben will refuse hugs and kisses at bedtime which is sad but that kid is all about controlling his environment so I don’t hassle him over it. He still follows me everywhere so I know he still likes me ūüôā

Going to put this up for now and hopefully will get more pictures up before I hit the sack.

Have a holly jolly Christmas…

6 Dec

Christmas time! As the parent of a two and six year old, there is truly no better time of the year. I can vividly remember harassing my parents about putting up the tree, wrapping presents, and WHEN WILL CHRISTMAS BE HERE?? I’m happy to report that nothing much has changed with kids in the years since I was little. We put up our Christmas decorations last weekend and the house is feeling downright festive. Although we bought that darn Elf on the Shelf a few years ago, I was sort of hoping Eli had forgotten about him but no dice. Several days ago he started asking where he was so I had to put him back out two nights ago. I find the elf to be a bit creepy and I also don’t necessarily dig the whole “the elf is watching and reporting on you so you better be good” aspect of it all. I would rather the boys be good because they’re just being good and not necessarily because they think they’ll get more presents because of it. So we bring the elf out but we never threaten with the elf, we never reinforce the whole “the ELF IS WATCHING” number and instead hope it’s just a fun thing for them that the elf pops up in a different place every morning. Ours is a sometimes very fun but mostly lazy elf, often finding a comfy place to hang out for several nights in a row because he “must have just really liked that spot” and Eli seems okay with the elf not moving every night. Seriously, I do not have the time for inventive elf games every night.

Ben is being a champ about not messing with the tree so far although Will’s gigantic bean bag, which had previously taken up space in the corner of the living room, had to be booted down to the playroom to make room. Ben has asked several times to get rid of the tree so the bean bag can return because he liked propping up the end of his slide on it for never-ending opportunities to crack his head open. I assured him the tree won’t be around for long and he can resume his teetering on unstable slides as soon as January rolls around. He really likes the tree lights as well as the lights we put all around the outside of the house. Although it was a HUGE pain in the butt to light the house (involving two ladder rentals because of the distance over the garage to the gutters), in the end we still think it was worth it. Parts of the front of the house aren’t as lighted as I would like but we figure we’ll buy a little more every year until we achieve Griswold status.

For what it’s worth, clothing sizes:

Eli:
Shirts size 8
Pants size 7
Shoes size 2 (kids)

Ben
Shirts size 4T
Pants 2T or 2 years
Shoes 9 (toddler)

Ben starts Small Faces in a few weeks and he’s pretty excited about it. It will be so good to have him around other kids again although we’ve been spoiled with BP and will have to do most of his potty training on our own. BP really took the lead and handled most of it with the kids. I got the potty seat out a few weeks ago and although we’ve been plunking him on it here and there, we really have to start buckling down as it’s an extra $75 a month for kids who are still in diapers. ON TOP of the $1100 a month for three days a week. They should be feeding these children gold and star dust for those costs. Ridiculous. So probably in January I’m going to start busting Ben’s chops about getting potty trained ASAP so we don’t have to pay that any longer than we have to. He’s amused by the potty but doesn’t really have any inclination to it so far. I’m hoping peer pressure will work in our favor once he starts at Small Faces and he’ll get more interested.

Ben’s been on a tear so far as getting out of bed the last few nights. The other night, he got out of bed three times because “I poopy, Mommy” (he was not but he knows I’ll check). Then twice I saw the light on in his room and when I opened the door he was sitting in front of his bookshelf looking at books (THE CHILD WHO WILL NOT SIT STILL FOR A BOOK). Then one time he came into the living room with his pj pants in his hand declaring, “My pants fell off!” Like, what the heck? How did this happen, Mommy? My pants just totally fell off! It was hard not to laugh because he was totally trying to play it off as a legit reason for getting out of bed.

Eli started karate classes at Washington Karate by our house. He really loves it. We signed up for three months and I told him if he did the three months and wanted to stay in it then at that point I would buy him the karate uniform. I just don’t see the point in buying it now since who knows what he’ll think three months down the road? He can do his classes just as well in sweatpants for now.

I’m doing as much cross fitting as I can in the garage. It’s not a lot of space so I do what workouts I can. I’m signed up for 12Ks of Christmas in 2 weeks and then the Hot Chocolate (15k) in March and the Lake Sammammish 1/2 marathon the week after that so I’ll be getting a lot of running in. I really miss Crossfit. I am hoping that once Eli no longer has kindergarten tuition that I can go back to it as it’s just really hard to replicate that level of intensity on my own. In any case, I’m fortunate to have a squat rack and weights in my garage so I’m doing what I can. I’ve been talking to Eli about running with me and doing some of the kid fun runs (1k) that usually happen with my races and he’s shown some interest. I think it would be super cool if eventually we could do some 5ks together.

Andy still isn’t fencing yet. He’s gone a time or two but both times really aggravated his knee so he’s been holding off. He’s going to go back this coming week and we’ll see what happens. I’m worried that fencing just won’t be in the cards for him anymore but that’s hard to know without him trying it more and more PT. Fingers crossed.

Enough for tonight. ūüôā