Thursday, October 1, 2015

After Work Adventures

I love Ben and Jerry's. It's my favorite place to have dinner. And if you think chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in a chocolate and nut covered sugar cone doesn't qualify as dinner....we cannot be friends, my friend.

But now I love Ben and Jerry's for an entirely new reason.

Tonight, that's where Jon took his first steps!

(and I amazingly caught it on video!)

He's been unsteadily taking one and two steps at a time for a couple weeks now. But this is the first time he's taken so many steps in a row. I love how he is so proud of himself after the fact.

Ten minutes of Jon's face pressed against the ice cream cake fridge glass has confirmed that, yep, he's mine.

"I want THAT one."

Yay, it's ice cream for dinner!

For the past two weeks I've had full control of the kid duties while my husband has been slaving away at getting our old house renter ready. Seriously, he goes straight to the old house after work each day and doesn't get home until 9 or 10pm. Turns out that 8 years of living in one place with three kids can really wear a house down. There has been so much cleaning and painting and fixing to do. Plus, he's put in brand new counter tops. The new kitchen is far from magazine quality, but wow, it's a big improvement from the nastiness that used to be our kitchen.

Before (YUKO!)

After (tolerable)

I can't believe that was my kitchen for eight years. I have no idea how I handled all that expansive counter space and that flood of natural light (*cough*). But I have so many memories of rolling out cookie dough on that oven. Washing 8 years of dishes by hand in that sink. And staring out that tiny prison window at the back of the neighbor's dilapidated fence. I clearly have a hard time saying goodbye...even under the best of circumstances :)

So while my husband has been slaving away at the old place, I've been trying to entertain the kids enough to keep them from killing each other. It's been a huge test of my patience and self restraint from wanting to cause bodily harm after twenty minutes of screaming from three different sources at the same time. But! We did it!

On Monday, I pulled into the driveway and walked up to the house and was greeted by this adorable sight. Jon Jon was waiting for me at the door, banging on the windows, baring a huge grin, and emitting happy cackles. This is why parents do all the hard stuff. This is the best reward.

I wanted to take the kids out for a bike ride on our new bike path but my bike was broken. So we did a walk instead. It was fun at first. We saw new bugs. Checked out all the neighbor's houses and front yards. We chased the sounds of bullfrogs in the ditches. We laughed at the neighbors weird shaped shubbery. We imagined what life would be like to live in the insanely huge mansions down the road. And then the melt downs began. And there was a poo explosion. And a tantrum because I couldn't conjure Sponge Bob cereal from thin air (sorry Ry, still working on that one).

Tuesday was my errand day and after an insane trek through our new (to us) Costco during which I had to learn where everything was stocked in this particular branch, we came home and scarfed down some Costco poppy seed muffins (or "opium muffins" as my grandma would say). Ryan refused to eat his without dipping it in Ranch dressing. OMG. So nasty.

Then it was super late and I tucked (alligator wrestled) all the kids into their beds (unsecure cages) before sitting down to my own dinner of a yummy bleu cheese, bacon salad which I had to eat with Ryan's airplane fork because my dishwasher was completely filled with dirty silverware. So hipster. Right? 

By Wednesday I FINALLY had my bike fixed and after nearly a month at the new place we ventured out to the nearby bike trail for the very first time. I had been looking forward to this adventure since the very day we closed on the house. The bike trail is six miles of secluded pedestrian/bicycle path only. Two miles into the trail it stops at our nearby grocery store and shopping center.

With the promise of a special snack of his own choosing at the grocery store, Jacob was a very motivated biker. He only complained the entire first half of the bike ride. Loaded with snacks and refreshments, we hit the trail once again and headed home. It was so great to get out into the fresh air and do physical activity other than lifting a three year old on and off the toilet.

I LOVE pulling the babies in my bike trailer! They are strapped up with no escape and I am free to ride the open roads. It's so therapeutic!

Every day after dinner, Jacob sits down and does his spelling and math homework while I clean up the kitchen. This is really our only chance to connect during the craziness of the day. I read him his spelling words, help him with the math work instructions, and then sometimes we just do silly things. Today, Jacob wanted to draw the sentences he wrote for his spelling words. He wanted all the sentences to have a theme and he chose his pet cat as the theme. The sentences (spelling words bolded) were things like: I trained my cat to play the guitar. My cat is very popular. My cat is my companion. Below, is the illustration he came up with. He laughed and laughed and thought he was so funny and clever. I totally love it. Also, can we talk about how first graders have ridiculous beginning of the school year spelling words!? Last week his spelling words included "scurried," "country," "feast," and "subject." I distinctly remember learning to spell "cat" in first grade.

When I picked Jacob up from school today, I found him like this. I have no idea what that toy is supposed to do. It's way too high for elementary school kids. I guess it's there to give parents heart attacks. Anyway....Jacob's always pushing my last nerve and driving me insane. He physically is unable to sit still. Like ever. But he is also incredibly smart and thoughtful and is a great bear climber. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tell Me I'm Not The Only One

Please Dear Internet,

Please tell me I'm not the only one who looks back on her weekend and feels like she's totally missed the mark. As I approach weekends and eveings after work, I always look forward to one thing the most - spending quality time with the kids. In my head, it's a magical, wonderful time involving much laughter and many smiles.

In my mind, we make pancakes together or enjoy a nice bike ride around the neighborhood, or explore our local library. The kids say cute things and ask me inquisitive questions revealing their ever expanding and curious minds. We make up funny stories and share our own jokes. We nestle together on the couch and watch a movie. In my head, it's an amazing time that fills that void in my soul that needs love and attention after a long busy day (or days) at the office.

Except it's not like that at all. In walks reality. The fantasy world dissipates and I find myself in the middle of an apocalypse disaster zone. Often Ryan doesn't nap and erupts into tears at the slightest wrong touch or word. I put Jon down for a nap but the other two kids keep waking him up so he's a clinging, crabby baby for the rest of the day. The oldest two constantly fight. Ryan is forever rough housing with Jon and making him cry. Jacob disobeys the house rules over and over and over. It's not intentional, he's just too focused on what he wants to do that he doesn't see what's happening around him. Every five minutes someone is demanding something of me (food, snacks, drinks, binky, help going potty, bottle, reaching a toy, more snacks, potty again). They run around the house leaving all the lights on and doors open. And me? All I do is nag and yell and scream and put people in time out and cook and clean.

By the mid afternoon I'm COUNTING down the hours for everyone to go to bed. And when bedtime finally arrives, after supervising all the potty trips and pajama dressing and room cleaning, the damn kids won't even go to sleep. Ryan whines for me to lay in his bed. I oblige and then he's on and off his bed to grab books and toys and stuffed animals. So I threaten to leave and he still doesn't lay down. So then I actually leave and then he cries for twenty minutes. And then Jacob complains that he can't sleep. Then he needs a glass of water. Then he has to go to the bathroom. And I lose my shit about three times before I give up and lock myself in my bedroom door.

Even when I've folded and put away two loads of laundry, ran and emptied the dishwasher and made a meal (with leftovers) for the upcoming next two days, I still walk away from each weekend feeling like I've completely fallen short.

The other day I was exhausted and thought maybe we could at lease bond over a family movie night. Movie nights can't be disasters, right? WRONG. HORRIBLY WRONG. We sat down to watch a movie and there was a ten minute squabble about what to watch. And then they spilled their popcorn all over the living room (and Jon kept trying to eat the mysterious reappearing kernels), and then they didn't even watch the movie but kept throwing blocks at each other and playing pig pile and then crying when someone got hurt (duh, that's what happen when you smack each other with plastic). Then someone sat on Jon and everyone was either crying, whining, or screaming, so I gave up. I turned off the TV and forced them all to go to bed early. I was NOT very popular, as you can imagine.

By the time I lay in my own bed, I'm completely drained of everything. And all I can do is ruminate over my failures and short tempers and nagging and angry outbursts. Did I even enjoy the weekend like I had wanted to? No. But not for lack of trying. The kids are impossible to enjoy right now (at least all together, they are awesome individually). And even though I desperately want to spend quality time with them and make fun memories because I know I will never get this time back with them, the reality is that they destroy my very soul and I can't wait to head into the office on Monday morning where no one verbally abuses me, ignores me, shits on me, demands that I hand deliver all their meals, or comes running to me to break up a fight every three and a half minutes.

Please PLEASE dear internet. Please tell me that I am not alone, that this is normal, and that children cannot die from being over-nagged. Cause I may need an intervention soon.

I honestly don't remember any of this shit from my own childhood. We sat and ate snacks and enjoyed movie nights as a family. We went outside to play during the day and left our mom alone. We said our good night prayers and went to bed at bedtime after being tucked in once or twice. We didn't bludgeon each other with toys (at least not often). Am I mis-remembering my childhood or are my kids honest to goodness demons? Is there any hope for me? How soon is too soon to be thinking about boarding school?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Favorite Recipes Lately

My favorite blog posts are those that lay out a blogger's meal plan for the week. LL and Reluctant Grownup are frequently sharing their weekly menus or favorite recipes and I always look forward to those posts the most. If it weren't for Reluctant Grownup's blog, I may never have discovered the amazing tomato tart recipe that has become a staple in my house.

I'm obsessed with recipes. I collect them like a hoarder. My inbox is swarming with hundreds of recipes that I haven't even tried yet but came across on websites and didn't want to lose to the never-ending depths of the internet. "But some day I may truly desperately NEED a recipe for blueberry zucchini cake and this one just may happen to be the very best and I might never find it again!" I think I truly have some kind of legitimate diagnosable mental condition.

I've come across some amazing recipes lately and I wanted to share the goodness. Some of these are new exciting discoveries that have just been added to my go-to recipes list and a couple others are long-standing regulars in our meal rotation.

Chicken Fajita Soup - just tried this recipe on Sunday. My husband (who rarely praises any of my meals) praised it. Jacob asked to eat leftovers for three days in a row. I didn't make it in a crock pot. I cooked and shredded the chicken, then added all the soup ingredients in a pot on the stove.

Thai Sticky Wings - great for a Sunday when you can cook it over the span of two hours. Cook exactly as written. So good. The sauce is amazing.

Middle Eastern Kabobs - I sometimes just form these into meatballs instead of forming around a skewer. The tahini sauce is perfection.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole - long time favorite and hands down my favorite casserole. The addition of potatoes and roux to the traditional chicken cordon bleu ingredients is genius.

Southwestern Quiche With Cornbread Crust  - another long time favorite. It's the only quiche recipe you will ever need. Make this on a Sunday or Saturday and throw in all your leftover unused (quiche-appropriate) veggies from the week. I don't know exactly what the meat is that they have listed (never hear of it), I just used Italian sausage.

Chicken Enchiladas With Salsa Verde - I've tried at least five different enchilada recipes. This one is always my favorite.

Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad - I just discovered this a month ago and I've made it multiple times since. It's a great filling salad and the dressing is fantastic.

I'm trying a couple new recipes this week. Like these Pork Chops With Country Gravy. I'm serving them along with some mashed potatoes and an "add-your-own-toppings" bar. I'm going to serve the mashed potatoes in plastic martini glasses (always wanted to do that, I think the kids will love it!). I'm also looking forward to trying these Chicken and Black Bean Chimichangas.

Now it's time for me to head over to Pinterest and hoard some more new recipes.....

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I'm Flippin' Insane

At 11:00am, I loaded the three kids into the van and set out on a day of errands. My husband was out at the old house for the second day in a row, painting and getting things ready for our tenant.

Wearing our Seahawks blue for game day!

After 5.5 hours, I had escorted them through TWO Fred Meyers, one teriyki place (lunch), and one incredibly long and winding IKEA. Jacob walked (ran, trotted, zig-zagged through crowds), I carried Jon in the Baby Bjorn, and Ryan convinced me (i.e. screamed until my ears bled and I caved) to take him out of/put him into the shopping cart seat at least 15 times. Of the 5.5 hours, I only legitimately shopped for half that time. The other half was spent chasing children, breaking up fights, consoling, negotiating, and begging kids to stop screaming.

I will spare you the rest of the details. But I've decided that next time I have the notion to take the kids to IKEA that I'll just carry three feral cats around a lumber yard, leave empty handed, and buy an ice cream at the end. Same difference, but probably with less scratches.

My saving grace was that by the fifth hour of errand running, my kids were so tired from running away from me that they actually BEHAVED at the grocery store (our second trip to Fred Meyer). Jacob was even helpful! I told him the next ingredient on my shopping list and put him in charge of finding it. He was excellent! It was even kind of fun. He learned what a green onion was and the different between a yam and a russet potato.

At the check out counter, he told me to sit down (I was SO tired from carrying Jon in the Baby Bjorn that I squatted in the check out line and could not get back up) while he loaded all the groceries on the check out counter.

When he got home, I made Ryan and Jacob carry all the groceries inside the house while I put them away. Hmmmm.....fluke? Or maybe my efforts to train the kids are finally working?!

I tuned the TV to the Seahawks game, lit a fire, and started cooking dinner while the big boys ran free outside. We had fajita soup (I still can't figure out how it is any different from tortilla or taco soup, but it's yummy!) served with my very favorite buttery cornbread (scratch is the way to go!). If I wasn't so exhausted from our marathon errand trip, I would have really savored the task of cooking a nice fall meal in my new kitchen.

Now I'm going to put my feet up and NOT eat chocolate (sadface). Stupid chocolate budget. To distract myself from my chocolate cravings, I uploaded the pictures from Jacob's birthday:

But I still want some chocolate.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lots Of F-Words

Oh, this week.

I don't even know how to describe it. Frazzled, frustrating, frugal, ferocious, funny. That's actually quite accurate.

Let's start with frazzled and frustrated. Our morning and evening routines have changed a lot since our move. We moved about 30 minutes away from our old neighborhood. My husband and I now travel in opposite directions to work. Jacob stays in town for school. Ryan is sometimes in town at his preschool and sometimes in another town with his babysitter. Jon is mostly with the babysitter. Most days, the five of us are in four different cities (yikes). Logistically and economically, it makes most sense for me to take all the children to their various locations in the morning.

I'm doing all the morning routines myself and the new routine is still...well, new. Tuesday I forgot to bring Jon's play pen to the babysitter's. On Thursday, I forgot to leave his car seat. On Wednesday, I dropped Jacob off an hour too early for school (schools: hey, let's start an hour later one day a week just to eff with all the working parent!). On Friday, I forgot to put all of Jacob's weekly homework in his homework folder. On top of all this, I had two court hearings on Friday. Each one was in a different city and they were only two hours apart. I didn't eat a single morsel of food until 2pm that day.

It's challenging to remember to pack all the kids' lunches, my lunch, my breakfast, my purse/work bag, and Jon's diaper bag. It's also challenging to dress all the children, dress myself, feed all the children, change the baby's diaper, make the baby's bottle, check backpacks for homework, and load everyone in the car. My husband used to do this half the week but now that I'm doing all the morning driving, it's automatically fallen on me (because he leaves an hour earlier). I'm clearly going to need to start training him to pitch in. Because this craziness is not working.

On to frugal. As soon as I had just about paid off both Ryan and Jon's c-section bills, Ryan had to have a LOT of dental work. (I paid HOW MUCH for teeth that will just fall out in three years?) And it was expensive. I long for the day when I do not owe any medical bills. It will honestly feel magical. Out of all the bills to have, medical bills are simply the worst. If it was a credit card bill I could at least enjoy the purchase I made. I guess I can enjoy the fact that Ryan has a perfect mouth of teeth. But that's just not as exciting as a new (or, in this case, SIX new) pairs of boots.

My student loan payment is set to increase at the same time we owe our first mortgage on the new house. And we need a couple big ticket items for the new house- like a pantry. Right now, all of our food is in boxes (how can a house just NOT have a pantry?). And a dining table (we're eating all our meals at the kitchen island). And the big boys need beds. The old bunkbed won't fit. They are currently sleeping on mattresses on the floor: CAMPING!

All this prodded me to scrutinize our spending a little more closely. Holy wow. I spent way too much on chocolate and groceries. I have put myself on a tight chocolate budget. You guys don't understand. Chocolate is honestly my only vice and addiction (ok fine, Diet Dr. Pepper too). I don't drink a lot of alcohol. I don't drink fancy lattes or coffee in general. I don't go on shopping sprees. I don't spend money on entertainment or music. Chocolate is my thing. I'm an addict. It's normal for me to eat a bite-sized piece of chocolate at 9am. I wake up in the morning and my first thought much longer before I can eat a piece of chocolate and not feel too guilty? The answer is usually: 45 minutes. So my chocolate budget is a huge deal.

I've also imposed a cap on grocery spending. I can easily (without trying) spend $200 a week to feed our family of 4.5 (Jon is the .5). That's insane. But I like to cook. I pride myself on quality meals with fresh and quality ingredients. I don't like short cuts in the food category. I like to have all the real ingredients rather than just making-do with what we already have (which is my mom's specialty). But I decided that it will not be the end of the world if I make my family eat hot dogs and canned soup once (or twice) a week. According to the kids, this is what they serve for dinner in heaven.

Ferocious: I've suddenly settled into an amazing level of self-confidence at work. Things have just kind of clicked. I used to hate speaking up in meetings. I used to hate oral arguments in court. I used to be very hesitant about making suggestions. A flurry of court appearances and the benefit of new experiences have given me a new footing in my self esteem. I now LONG for court appearances. There is nothing I love more than crafting legal arguments in opposition to another person's position. And now I enjoy arguing them too! I'm not afraid to say it (self confidence, FTW)....but I'm pretty darn good at it. Give me a sound, nearly bullet proof legal argument and I won't stop until I find a compelling hole. I don't always win, but I do make it much harder for the other side to win.

Finally, funny. My kids drive me up the wall 50% of our time together. The other 50% it's complete and utter joy. Parenting seems to come at me in the extremes. The mix of utter exhaustion and loss of sanity with immeasurable love and pride makes for unpredictable parenting weather. At the end of each day, I'm completed drained, with barely enough energy to brush my teeth with an electric toothbrush. But when I collapse into bed and think of the highlights of the day, I know there is no other place I would rather be. Someday the boys will be older and need me less. I will be very much less a part of their every day functioning and routine. I only hope I will love that phase just as much as I love being their everything right now.

Some of this week's kid highlights:

We bought Ryan a second-hand dinosaur costume for Halloween. He will NOT take it off. Want to put a smile on a stranger's face? Take a dinosaur to the grocery store. Or the bank. Or the mall. Or the park. Smiles followed us everywhere.

Ryan is the funniest person I have ever met. When Jacob tells me a story about his day, Ryan will hijack the story halfway through with his own (very similar) nonsensical made up story about HIS day.

Jacob: "At school, some kids don't get a long with Spencer. Today, Zack actually slapped Spender in the face and ...
Ryan: "Guess what. At MY school. There's a kid named Spincher. And he jumped on the table and threw his stinky socks at everyone's face!"

When we try to interrupt him, he scolds us, "you have to wait your turn!" He told me he has five kids named Matt in his class (not true). He then told me that they were all actually named "Manis." (not true). He told me that one kid punched him in the face at the playground (not true). When I told him he was tricking me he said, "He DID punch me! I saw him!" He wants to eat yogurt and "granilla" (granola) for breakfast every morning. And he refuses to eat a hot dog unless I call it a "cold dog." Because DUH he can't eat food that's hot.

Photo-collage of Ryanosaurus

It's going to be a LONG month before Halloween.

Also, I present to you, Ryan's favorite socks. Ryan recommends that any good pair of snowman socks be paired with plaid shorts and light-up Avengers shoes.

Today we celebrated Jacob's 7th birthday at Chuck-E-Cheese. He got to go into a ticket blaster- a hurricane simulator machine that shoots tons of prize tickets all around the birthday child. The joy on his face just cannot be described. He emerged from the blaster with tons of tickets in his shirt (he had strategized ahead of time making his shirt into a pouch to catch the tickets) and with two hanging from his mouth (he caught them with his teeth). All morning long, he had been begging me to let him put his face into his slice of cake. I think he saw someone on TV do it. My response was, "why not?!" So, when it was cake time, he shoved his face into his frosting, then proceeded to run around the entire Chuck E Cheese yelling, "I'm HYPER! I'm HYPER." I wasn't mad because: better at Chuck E Cheese than at home, right?

I don't have any Jon stories tonight. Other than I'm 95% sure that he is actually calling me "mama." He's said "mama" and "mamamama" for several months but this week he's been doing it when he clearly wants me to hold him. He will crawl up to me, pull himself up to my leg and say, "mamama." It seems very intentional and it melts my heart. So, let me have my fantasies.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Guess where I'm finally blogging from? The new home!

One week ago, we were packing all that we own into boxes. We dropped the kids off at my parents' house and were able to pack everything away in the space of one day.

I tried packing WITH the kids...but they weren't much help.

That night my husband and I slept on our mattress on the floor. Our last night in the old place was very much like our first night in that place eight years ago: just us, lots of boxes, empty space, and a mattress on the floor. The next day we filled a 15 foot U-Haul, a mini van, and a sedan with all our possessions (apparently compared to most five person families we do not own very much stuff- a tiny house is good for possession control), and drove away. Our last few moments as residents.

I said one wistful goodbye to the house where I became a wife, mom, and a lawyer (in that order). I have a love-hate relationship with that house. But ultimately it is a house of all my most precious memories from the last eight years: making a home with my new husband, our first fight over a towel being left on the floor, the first big purchase we made as a couple (a new couch), to bringing home all my babies, to opening the letter with the news I had passed the bar exam, game nights with friends, Halloween parties, birthday parties, seven Christmases (wow, that sounds like a lot), Jacob and Ryan taking their first steps. Everything. Everything happened right there.

This house saw me through so much joy and also brought me so much frustration. My memories are anchored to this cute, old, tiny, adorable, frustrating house. I love it so. I hate it so. I will miss the thought of it but I will not miss IT.

All these thoughts swam around in my brain as we were packing and loading boxes into the U-haul. But once we got on the road, it was impossible to dwell on the old house. I was moving towards a brand new adventure. And so, SO excited to make a home at the new place.

So, internet world, meet our new home.

It's not incredibly large, or fancy, or luxurious, or new. But it feels like ALL those things to us. When you are used to living in a 950 square foot home and sharing one bathroom with four males, EVERYTHING is impressive.

The numbers: this house was built in the 80's. It's a split-level home with 1,900 square feet and a two car garage. It's on .3 acres. Three bedrooms. Three toilets. But these numbers don't really do it justice. It has just been entirely remodeled on the inside. And it's in a wonderful location. It's one block away from high-bank waterfront homes. I hear there is a trail for beach access, although we haven't yet ventured that far. And the homes around us are filled with families and everyone is incredibly friendly.

Thursday evening, I pulled up into our driveway and within ten minutes our yard was filled with seven children (including mine) running and laughing and playing together. I sat on the steps with two neighbor moms and we chatted as the kids played. In less than one week at our new place we had what we never had in the eight years we lived at our old place. Sitting on the steps surrounded by new friendly faces and amid several hospitable offers of help, I realized how much we've been blessed. We hadn't just bought a home, we'd acquired a community.

Random photo of Ryan being silly

Jacob has been having a hard time adjusting to his new school. This threw us off guard because he absolutely loved Kindergarten and had no trouble starting school at an unfamiliar place last year. He had been crying at drop off every day and refused to take the bus to school. I finally made him take the bus Thursday morning. We walked down to the bus stop where we joined nearly a dozen other children and their parents. As the bus pulled up, Jacob backed away and started to get upset. He begged and begged me to drive him to school. Then the boy who lives two doors down (and who has since become his new best friend) walked up to Jacob and said, "Hey, you can sit with me." Reluctantly Jacob followed him onto the bus, looked back at me with tears in his eyes.

That broke my heart. But when I picked Jacob up after school he told me how much be loved the bus ride and his new friend. Friday morning, he hopped right onto the bus like an old pro. He's spent afternoons and evenings playing with his new friend ever since they met a couple days ago. The other day, his friend came over and brought us freshly laid eggs from their own chickens!

And the neighbors have already helped us build Train World in our basement

Although everyone's been very friendly and welcoming, the house doesn't quite feel like home yet. It still feels like we're camping. Or living in a vacation rental for the week. I wake up each morning, look around and exclaim to myself, "I actually LIVE here!"

There's just so much to be excited about. For example, the other night I washed my dishes in a real actual DISHWASHER! My dishes have never EVER been washed in a dishwasher before (and I'm having to re-learn how to load one of these suckers). I pulled them out to inspect them and just couldn't get over how sparkly and clean and warm they were. I pressed them to my face and delighted in the sensation of modern day conveniences (and then had to wash them all over again because I had just gotten them dirty again ....  but ..... DISHWASHER!).

I don't know if my dishes and I can handle all this pampering!

Also, my super generous father in law bought us a brand new washer and drier. You guys. These thing have LIGHTS and lots of fancy settings. And they are super quiet. Except for when the laundry is done at which point the drier SINGS. It SINGS. The first time I heard music coming from my drier I thought someone left their phone in their pants and all hell was about to break loose. Nope. Just the drier. Playing me a little tune to say that my clothes are dry and warm and waiting for me to press against my face.

Speaking of luxuries, I still walk into our bedroom, point at the master bathroom, and exclaim, "There's a BATHROOM in my BEDROOM!" This concept is so foreign and exciting to me. I have an entire sink just to myself! I can get up in the morning and take a shower without walking down a hallway or being barged in on by one of three males needing to take a dump during my lathering process.

Ok, here's the kicker....I can do my hair standing up in front of a mirror! In the last house, the only outlet in our only bathroom did not work. For eight long years, I did my hair and make up sitting on the floor in our bedroom in front of the mirror on our closet door. Who would have thought that having a working outlet in a bathroom would bring someone (in the first world) so much joy?!

Doing my hair standing UP!

And may be the middle of September and we may be boasting the hottest summer on record but I just could not go one week in the new house without enjoying one more new luxury- a wood burning fireplace! We didn't have any fireplace or wood stove at the old place and it's something I've always longed for on cold, grey days. So Wednesday night, the kids an I enjoyed marshmallows by a hand-built fire. I can't wait for our next gloomy, grey day. These are the types of days that I've always loved the best and, it just so happens, they are very abundant in the Seattle area.


And last but not least, I've already discovered all the nearby McDonald's and ice cream parlors even thought I don't even know where the urgent care is (priorities!).

Celebrating long days of unpacking, school pick ups, and work with some Phish Food.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Closing Time!

We signed our closing papers for our new house today! It's official- we're moving! We pick up the keys tomorrow.

But closing on the house was only one tiny part of the day's excitement. I rushed out the door at 7am to deliver the two youngest to the babysitters while my husband took Jacob to school. An hour later I discovered, via text from my husband, that Jacob had cried again at drop off. On the drive to school he kept saying that he didn't feel good. As soon as they got to the classroom, he froze, covered his face, and started to cry. He choked out between sobs "I don't want to go to school."

20 miles away from Jacob's classroom, I sat at my desk while my heart broke for him. This is such unusual behavior. He's always loved school. He makes friends so easily. He excels in both reading and math. His teacher is young and very sweet. He loves to learn. So, why? I've tried to pry it out of him, I've subtly combed for clues. He is uncrackable. I have no idea why he gets so upset at the classroom doorway. I'm hoping this is just a short phase and he starts to love school again. (His new school is awesome).

I pushed my worries aside and got some work done. But right before my 2pm conference call, the babysitter called to say that Jon was puking again. I rushed through the conference call, packed my stuff and headed out to pick up the boys. My husband and I were supposed to meet our realtor at the new house at 3:30 to go over the inspection report. Stopping to pick up the kids had me pushing it really close. Somehow we got there only slightly late. We walked through the new house (omg, I'll have a dishwasher!!!) and then packed up the kids to our 4pm meeting with the title company to sign our closing documents.

We sat in the waiting room for twenty minutes and Jon was fussy the entire time. He was clearly tired and still not feeling well. He wailed and cried whenever I put him down. I tried my best to console him but it's kind of hard to hold a baby while you're wiping your three year old's butt, opening your three year old's snacks, and washing your three year old's hands.

They finally called us in to sign the closing documents and Jon decided it was not cool at all. He started to cry and fidget and squirm. I had the brilliant idea of giving him a lollipop to hold. He sucked on it just long enough to get it sticky and then he fidgeted and squirmed some more, this time with sticky hands, in my lap. Six hours later, I'm STILL trying to pull apart sticky strands of my own hair. I'm pretty sure my sweater can only be saved with dry cleaning. And Jon only stopped crying as he crawled out of my lap onto the table for the fifth time.

"Hey you got some important documents to sign? I can help with that!

We affixed our formal signatures to about 349 pieces of paper, emptied out our entire savings, and voila! New home! It's ours! And we will be eating hot dogs for the next three years. Except Ryan. He will be eating cold dogs. Because if I call them hot dogs, he refuses to eat them because (OBVIOUSLY) they are too hot.

After we signed our lives away, I took the two younger kids home while my husband picked up Jacob. Twenty minutes into the commute, and ten minutes from our home, I got a call from my husband. His car broke down. MULTIPLE EXPLETIVES. So I turned around and drove another 20 minutes to save them from the side of the road. When thirty minutes had passed and the tow truck had not arrived, we left for some fast food. As we were pulling into the Dairy Queen drive thru Jacob read their sign and corrected me, "Mom, it's NOT fast food. The sign even says." This proved to be very foretelling.

We waited behind several cars in the drive thru line only to find out when it was finally our turn that they only take cash. It took all I could muster not to throw a dirty diaper in frustration. We zipped out of line, got some cash, and returned to the back of the line once again. It took another thirty minutes to put in our order and get our food. Meanwhile we were trapped in a drive thru line with a crying baby, a hungry three year old, and a seven year old who asks too many questions. 

Eventually, we returned to our broken down dinosaur of a Subaru (it has almost 300K miles on it) and ate a luxurious lunch in our minivan in some random middle school parking lot. Another forty minutes and the tow truck had finally arrived. 

Because I'm totally insane, after we got home at 8pm and put the kids to bed (an hour long process), I spent the next 1.5 hours in the kitchen making tomorrow's dinner (it was supposed to be tonight's dinner and we were supposed to eat the leftovers tomorrow). Now I'm exhausted and my back hurts and I'm out of chocolate. 

But we did it! We bought a house! And Monday evening, I will be loading gazillion dishes into a DISHWASHER instead of scrubbing them all by hand. It's totally about the little things.