Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Theme Of This Post: Kids Are Awesome

I have so much blogging to do and so little time! I guess I'm going to have do so some quick recaps.

Two Fridays ago (ugh, behind!), I chaperoned my son's Kindergarten class field trip to the Seattle Aquarium. I showed up and the teacher gave me a gigantic bag of snack and name tags and sent four boys my way. Parenting tip: if you have three boys at home, do not let the teachers know. You will become a hot commodity for field trips and the teachers will have no reservations about loading you up with all the troublesome boys.

When I looked around at all the other chaperon groups and saw that I was the only group of four (others were groups of three) AND the only all-boy group, I was tempted to worry. But then I thought, "eh, how hard can this be? We just have to shuttle kids around, get them to the aquarium, and show them some fish, right?" HA HA HA!

The ferry ride itself was...interesting...The all-girl group next to us was sitting quietly and pretending to be cats. The mix group to the other side of us was focused on the work packets the teacher handed out. My group? Constantly bouncing off the seats (literally), pulling gum out from under the tables and throwing it at each other, drawing aliens in their sea life work books, fighting over snacks, and kicking each other under the tables.

There was one kid who I could not understand for the life of me. He must have been speaking another dialect? I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to diversity, I'm as white as snow. I'm as crackery as a Saltine. I know he was speaking English, but I seriously could not understand a word he said. Also, he didn't think any of my sea life puns were funny (what?!). And he kept rolling his eyes when I tried to make the kids practice the secret handshakes that I made them make up. Is that not cool in Kindergarten? Also, he kept running away. I lost him at the Octopus tank. And the Sea Otter exhibit. And at the ferry terminal. And under the Alaskan Way viaduct. And in the middle of an intersection. I have no idea how he made it back to school.

Team "Starfish!"


Touching stuff


Practicing walking like a starfish



At one point, all four of the boys were trying to cross the street in different directions. And one kept stopping to pick up every single hair tie he stumbled upon (*cough* Jacob *cough*). And one was purposefully trying to run away. And one was punching the other. That's when I made them all hold hand the rest of the walk to the Aquarium. You should have seen them all holding hands in disgust. They looked as if I had just force fed them dog shit. Then I laughed like a mad person and snapped a photo.


Anyway, we survived. And they somewhat finished their sea life work books.

Not sea life...but accurate?



Last week Jacob started T-ball. You guys. T-ball is AMAZING. How come no one ever told me how HILARIOUS it would be?! Must be one of those mom secrets you have to discover for yourself. So at first, the kids just stand where they are told and stare off into space waiting for an alien space ship to pop from the sky. There are a couple grass pickers and nose pickers. The rest all look bored out of their minds.

After a couple practice innings, the kids finally realize that when someone hits the ball, they are supposed to stop it and then tag the batter with it. When a ball goes flying into the outfield, every single infield player simultaneously abandons his base to chase after the ball. The kids are so eager and will do anything to get their grubby mitts on the ball. This usually results in all the kids forming a giant dog pile on top of the ball. When one of the kids actually gets the ball, chances are he won't know he is supposed to THROW it. When the ball comes to him, he will grab it and then run half-way across the field to try to tag the batter. Some kids get bored and start to sit in the outfield. Some will start to twirl or leave the field to climb trees.

Jacob's first hit!


Jon's practicing his cheers


Watching the batters is just as hilarious. Jacob swings and then does a complete twirl. Several of the kids keep throwing their bats. And they ALWAYS overshoot first base and end up half way in the outfield. It's SO fun to watch. I always leave T-ball practice with sore laughing muscles.

Ryan is so anxious to play T-ball and is very upset that he can't play with the big kids. I told him that kids who wear diapers can't play T-ball. And after an entire year of attempting (half-heartedly) to potty train him, he potty trained HIMSELF in ONE DAY. Hasn't worn a diaper since! Unfortunately, I can't keep good on my promise because they don't have T-ball for his age group. But I did buy him a mitt. He's taken it everywhere and has slept with it in his bed every night since we bought it a week ago.

My cool dudes, getting reading to head to T-ball practice.


This weekend we went down to visit cousins in Vancouver, Washington for an Easter egg hunt and celebration at their gorgeous farmhouse. We drove down the night before and stayed in a hotel with some cousins. Two adults and five kids and we all crammed into one room. It was a blast! The kids played their hearts out in the pool then stayed up until 11pm, much to the adults' chagrin. I discovered that there was a geocache hidden at the hotel and the kids had a blast "treasure hunting."

Koi pond near the geocache location


Jacob tried to kiss one


Pool time!


We sat in the kid friendly lodge and had a nice happy hour dinner. My meal was only interrupted three times by Ryan having to go potty (downside of potty training). We spent a very long time like this:


And Jon tried to practice his sitting. It wasn't going so well....


Saved by the pillow!


This morning was the Easter egg hunt complete with a real, live Easter bunny! Ryan was terrified. Jacob wanted nothing to do with him. Jon was clueless. Perfect!


Oh hey, I don't know about this thing that's holding me, but I see my mommy!


I made my boys take a group picture with me. It's pretty much a given that I make them pose at all events. They will be scarred for life and never want to step in front of a lens ever again. 


This is our Aunt and Uncle's farm house. I love it. I want it. It's amazing.


Jacob shared some dance moves with Mr. Bunny. I'm not sure who's winning.


After the egg hunt, the kids thought it would be HILARIOUS to put plastic eggs in the hen house. The chickens kept taking turns pecking the intruding eggs to death. It looked like they were playing soccer with them. It was pretty funny. Also, kids are so naughty.


We finally came home after the long, long weekend and Jon decided to try out his new (used) toy. He loves it! Also, this is a meal-prepping life saver.


Phew, that's a wrap! Now to crash and make up for sleep lost during last night's slumber party.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

OUT!

It's easy to feel caged when you live with four other people in a 950 square foot house. To keep our sanity (or whatever is left of it), we go outside as much a we can. We love when the cold of winter subsides (yay to anything above 50 degrees!!!) and we can spend the entire day out and about the neighborhood.

One thing is for sure, since we have to live in a tiny house, we are in the perfect place to do so. The beach is blocks away. The ferry is less than a mile away. There is also a cute little convenience store and deli that sells ice cream by the scoop (very important!)! In fact, today when I was putting together a pasta salad for dinner, I realized that I had forgotten to buy a lemon. I grabbed the baby, walked down to the store, grabbed a lemon, and made it back home before my chicken parmesan needed to be pulled out of the oven. (Sidebar: no matter how fancy a meal I make, NOTHING beats a simple chicken parmesan....so delish!)

Most importantly about our neighborhood, however, there are six parks within a mile radius. This one is our very favorite (and recently underwent a huge ADA-friendly renovation):


This one is a close second (especially in summer):


If there is anything I've learned about parenting, it's that boys are basically just dogs that can talk (they eat everything, they trash everything, you have to constantly clean up their poop, they like squeaky toys, and they even chew up your favorite shoes). So, we pretty much live at parks. I don't know why we don't just live in a motor home and travel park to park throughout the year.

Yesterday I took the kids biking to a park that is not in our neighborhood. It quickly made its way onto our BEST EVER park list. This park has 193 acres of hiking and walking trails, dirt bike trails with jumps of all sizes, a skate park, batting cages, 3 ball fields, a playground, and a stream-powered train! Unfortunately, as soon as we got to the bike trials, Ryan had a wipe-out and his helmet popped right off his head. I packed the kids back into the car and we stopped at the store for the sole purpose of purchasing one bike helmet.

I left the store with one helmet, a brand new bike for Jacob (he badly needed it- the $5 used bike I bought him three years ago is really, really small), a glider bike for Ryan (he uses the one at his nanny's house and LOVES it), and a giant container of cheese puffs. Because... cheese puffs! Duh.

By the time we made all our purchases and I somehow squeezed 3.5 bikes into the back of my Subaru, it was nap time. We headed home and vowed to make it to the bike trails the next day.

Cheese puffs not pictured (because they were in their special spot in the passenger seat where I could sneak handfuls while the kids passed out in the back seat. No, I don't know why the container is half empty. Also, my lesbian friend from Chicago tells me that if you want people to know you are a lesbian, you buy a Subaru. Is this true?)


So TODAY, we finally made it to the new park, the kids armed with their new bike gear. It was so much fun watching them zip up and down and around the jumps. I even kicked Jacob off his new bike and did a couple myself :)

My biker gang



They look so fierce 


In addition to our bike obsession, we began an exciting journey into the world of geocaching this weekend. It's basically an adult version of playing treasure hunt. I wish someone would have told me that such a thing existed when I was in grade school. Would have saved me the trouble of making those thousands of fake treasure maps.

Basically, people hide containers filled with knick knacks and post the GPS coordinates with a hint as to the container's location. When you find it, you leave a note in the logbook (and take/leave a treasure of your own). We did two caches yesterday near our house and as I was reading clues, following my GPS like a compass, and rummaging through nature with the boys I decided that this newfound is the best thing on earth. I felt like a bonafide pirate!

The first geocache we found was supposed to be an easy one but it took us forever. Also my jogging stroller got a flat tire, the baby started to get hungry, and the other kids were getting whinny. I followed all the hints to no avail and was on the verge of tossing myself down a ravine in frustration when all of a sudden....it was right there! The excitement of finding a geocache is pretty much the same as seeing your first planet through the lens of a telescope. Oh I'm sorry, are my analogies too nerdy for you? How about....it's like solving your first newspaper crossword puzzle? Damn....nevermind.

Anyway, the best part about geocaching is the excuse to get outside and explore new places. The fact that you get to find a purposefully placed "treasure" is a total bonus. We are hooked. I'm so happy to find new activities that I can do with the kids!

Also today, I went for a much needed four mile run. I used an app that tracks my mileage and my times and I was working so hard and pushing myself to get under 8:00 miles. I suceeded too! Except my stupid app malfunctioned and recorded my last mile (which was at least a 7:30 pace!) three minutes slow. What?! How is that even possible? It has GPS and a clock! I can never trust ever again.

Right before dinner (after my impromptu jog to the convenience store for a lemon), I took the kids out biking one more time. This is our view three blocks from our house:

Soaking in the nature


Then we all came in, had chicken parmesan, and cheese puffs (lots of cheese puffs, damn you cheese puffs!). Jacob made Jon a fort out boxes. I'm pretty confident that the best thing a parent has ever given her child (aside from love) is an empty box. 


And Jon had some apples and rice cereal. Look at those chubby thighs!


As I was putting the kids to bed I came across this door sign that Jacob made earlier in the day. I especially love the "heart Jacob" after the warning. 


I also discovered that Jacob has started a diary. The words "Jacob's Diary" scrawled over the top of a notepad was the first clue. I especially loved his third entry:


I love how he eventually crossed out the really bad word. Cracks me up. I'm pretty sure this entry was just an excuse to say all the bad words. Also, he needs a lesson on apostrophes. Stay tuned for more riveting diary entries just seeping with titillating glimpses into the closely-guarded secrets of your average six year old boy. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Signs of Spring (& Life)

After almost an entire week of hanging around the courthouse, eating lunch on my employer, killing time at all the local bookstores, being paid to shop at Nordstrom, and replaying and over-analyzing every single event that occurred during trial, we finally got our verdict on Monday. It was a mixed verdict. Bleh. It could have been worse, which is what I keep reminding myself. This is especially true considering that one of the jurors showed up the last day wearing a shirt with money bills printed all over it (NEVER a good sign for a defense attorney).

It's taken several days to recover from the craziness, late nights, emotional suspense, plentiful free lunches, and entire gut-wrenching ordeal of trial. But it's now behind us (for now????) and I'm so happy to move on with my life. I'm also happy to finally give some attention to the other much-neglected cases on my desk. But I do love trial. And I'm going to actually miss it.

The last time I was in trial I was 8 months pregnant. What a difference 6 months makes! Ugh, I never want to be that huge again!

 

Now that time has jumped forward and Spring is here, I'm excited to get out and enjoy some life! Which is what I've been up to all week (in stark contrast to being in trial where it seemed like I was working all day and night, even in my sleep!)

Signs of spring and life have been popping up everywhere. The day we got our verdict, I saw baby bunnies in the office parking lot! BUNNIES! BABY BUNNIES!

 
 
Thanks to Jon waking me up several times a night for the past week, I'm extremely sleep deprived. Somehow I always seem to be the only one who never gets enough sleep. Jon cries all night and is bright-eyed each morning. Night or day, I feel like I'm stumbling around in some state of half-consciousness. Hopefully the motions I'm writing and calls I'm returning at work are in some kind of understandable English.
 
The kids trying to take a nap together (only Jon succeeding)

 
 
After work, we make our way down to our favorite park. Usually the jogging stroller is loaded with any and all entertainment the kids might need. Pictured below: skateboard, basketball, scooter, and several other balls and frisbees in the basket. We are always prepared!

 
One day this week we switched up our park destination and went to the beach park. I ran three miles and then we all went down to the water to play. Jake and Ryan are hiding somewhere in the picture below.

 
This week there was also lots of tree climbing. You can't have three boys and not engage in some kind of tree climbing. It's just not possible. 


I was particularly inspired this day to join in the fun. Hey adults, when was the last time you climbed a tree? It is seriously amazing. Go outside right now and climb a tree. I dare you. It will change your whole day.  Why should kids have all the fun?!

 
Somehow we end each day with a wrestling or dog-pile match. Those are fun too. There is nothing like kids to remind you about all the fun parts of life! Ugh, I remember when my days were filled with tree-climbing, dog-piling, park-playing adventures. It seems like just yesterday. Why do we have to grow up? Honestly, I don't think we really have to grow up ALL the way! In fact, not growing up all the way jut may be the secret to life.
 

In other news, this little guy just turned 5 months old! And he's rocking every second of all of our worlds.


If only our little Jon-Bear would actually start sleeping at night. One night he'll sleep all the way through (and then RYAN will coincidentally decide to wake up crying at 2am- without fail!) and other nights he's crying every two hours and allowing me a generous three-inch sliver of bed.

At least he's cute?! (And my last *cough.*)



Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Bailing Babysitter And (Many) Other Adventures

As I'm sitting down at the end of this weekend, I can't believe how full and busy it was. Mostly good busy with some crazy thrown in for good measure.

On Friday night we planned to meet up with friends for dinner and bowling to celebrate my husband's birthday. The babysitter was supposed to come at 6. We had to leave at 6:15 to meet our friends for a 6:30 dinner. By 5:45 I had everything set up for the kids. Dinner was being plated, diapers and PJs were laid out nicely. I had even cleaned my room so the sitter could actually get to Jon's bassinet without first having to swim in a sea of dirty yoga pants, socks, blankets, stuffed animals, and stray spatulas, butter knives, and other random kitchen utensils (aka: Ryan's "weapons").

At 6:10 the babysitter had yet to arrive. I shot her a quick text. Her reply. "Oh something happened and I can't make it. Sorry!"

Um. EXCUSE ME? SOMETHING HAPPENED?

She didn't even explain what it was. And I was too pissed to trust myself to text her back and ask. Unless that "something" involved body limbs being reattached at the ER, I'm pretty sure she's never being asked to babysit again (now that I think about it...maybe that was her goal all along?).

By 6:12 I had made an executive decision. The kids were coming with us! Best date night ever for the kids. During the car ride to our destination, I had the following conversation with Ryan:

"Mom, what happened to the babysitter?"
"She can't come today."
"Because she died?"
"No, she didn't die."
"Yes. She fell off a ladder and DIED!"

Well, there IS about a half hour of time for which I cannot account for Ryan's whereabouts on Friday afternoon. But no cops have stopped by yet.


And that's how we found ourselves at the bowling alley at 8:00pm... two lanes, one round of birthday Fireball shots, eight adults, and 2.5 children. The kids were actually pretty well behaved and we actually had some fun! I hate to admit it, but the thought DID cross my mind at least one time... "maybe we should cancel the babysitter more often?"

Saturday, my husband had some chores to do so I buckled up the kids and we went to a nearby indoor BMX track. Ryan used one of those strider (or "balance") bikes without pedals. Jacob got on a BMX bike, biffed it 30 seconds later and then refused to get on another one. The seats are super low on BMX bikes because you are supposed to stand up on them. Jacob just wasn't comfortable enough to ride standing up. After 20 minutes of him crying in the dirt, I brought him a big strider bike and he and Ryan rode around the track sans pedals. Ryan didn't even go down or up any hills and stayed on the straightaways. Plus he stopped every 30 minutes to sit down and eat snacks. We were an interesting sight.



Jacob, looking as fierce as possible without wheels



Ryan taking a "snack break"
His giant helmet makes him look like Toadstool


After that rough start, the kids had a BLAST. I had so much fun watching them. I never thought I'd be a BMX fan but I can totally see how a mother could get caught up in the excitement. Even though the excitement did involve several wipe-outs in the dirt. I guess getting dirty is half the fun. I love being a mother to all boys. Everyone automatically considers me to be some saintly, uber patient being when they see me with three little boys in tow. Honestly, I love every second and wouldn't want it any other way.

My Superheroes- pre-buzz cuts


Saturday night we had a sitter come over (she didn't bail!). My husband and I dressed up and walked downtown to a fundraiser auction event (the best part about our house is its location!). We enjoyed adult beverages and perused the silent auction items. I get really competative. At some point, I didn't even WANT the stupid toaster oven, I just hated being outbid (E-bay's "Buy It Now" button is my favorite. I get to be a winner every time!). I let the silent auction items slip away and it turned out to be a blessing. The live auction included a pair of tickets to a Seahawk game. Seats DIRECTLY behind the goalpost. And we WON them, for $500! We met up with the seller before the end of the night and he said he was trying to arrange for us to get on the field and meet some players too! AHHHHH! Now I have to practice my clandestine cheek-kissing. If I get to meet Russell Wilson, I'm totally gonna go for it.

Jon woke up this morning totally crabby. I have no idea what is going on. After an entire day of nonstop fussing, I took him to Urgent Care only to be sent back home without a diagnosis. I'm guessing it must be teething. None of my other kids were bothered by teething at all.

We were blessed with unusually warm weather this weekend. Today it got up to 60 degrees and Ryan and Jacob insisted on wearing shorts. I strapped the two youngest into my double stroller and enjoyed and awesome run in the glorious sun in a tank top and running shorts. I forgot how awesome warm weather is. I can't wait for spring!

These guys are the best running buddies!


After lunch today Jacob asked me if he could have a cookie. When I told him "no," he crossed his arms and shouted, "no one gives me respect around here. I'm leaving!" With that he put on his shoes and marched out the door. I let him cool off and watched from the window as he marched down the sidewalk and stopped right outside our property line. Ha ha ha! Two can play THAT game! I waited it out and he finally wandered back home to tell us that "next time, I'm leaving for REAL!"

Jacob and Ryan both got buzz cuts today. My babies look so old and grown up now! Ryan loves to rub his new do. But Jacob was mortified when he looked in the mirror. He scrutinized his image disapprovingly and exclaimed, "I can't go to school like this!!!" Needless to say, he refused to get in the picture.


Ryan is just a bubbling fountain full of questions and funny remarks. I love that kid. During dinner Jacob and my husband were making up jokes and Ryan, never one to be left out, chimed in with his own:
"Why did the kitty go down to the basement?"
"Why?"
"Because he wanted to go to the park!"
Each joke was a variation of a cat going to the basement. And after each one he would tilt his head back and roar in laughter.

At one point this weekend, I caught him playing with his McDonald's barbie. I asked him what he was doing and he said, "I'm playing with Barbie Robot." Um. Duh, mom.


Jacob lost his fifth tooth. The tooth is now sitting in a ziplock bag under his pillow. I hate the whole losing teeth thing. So gross. I can't even look at the darn thing. I'm pretty sure there's still some gum tissue stuck to the bottom of it. BLECH.

Before the end of the night, I put the kids into the bath. Ryan kept insisting that I squirt giant blobs of shampoo into his hand so that he could wash all of his body parts, separately but consecutively. I'm pretty sure we used 1/4 the bottle just on him. Each foot alone required at least a tablespoon of shampoo before it was scrubbed to his satisfaction.

During bath time the kids demonstrated once again why we do not need a pet dog. Jon is the pet of the family. Jacob and Ryan take great pleasure in bathing him, feeding him, petting him, walking him, teaching him to roll over, and bringing him "chew" toys (as my husband calls teething rings). Jon Jon is our puppy. And he's better than a puppy. Because he doesn't grow into a grown dog that licks faces and sniffs crotches (fingers crossed anyway).


All hail Pet Jon and his Onesie crown