Around Here: Week 37

Enjoying... a good week on all accounts.  Wyatt didn't cry (at all!) at drop off this week.  Five whole days of happy smiles as he waved goodbye to me & Carly and marched into class.  I am so relieved and so proud of him!
Carly is down to one nap (last school year she was still napping twice a day) and it's so much better for our schedule.  I never have to wake her up to go to school pick up-- and what a relief that is!
The twins did their first reading test to see where they're at, and I am very pleased with their scores.

Working... on a project that I am really excited to share with all of you soon.  It has me crafting again (and in our new office/laundry room space!) and that feels so good!

Using... a laminated morning checklist to streamline my mornings.  Last year Josh was home for some of the morning and was able to help me get the kids moving.  This year he is gone before they are all even awake, so I'm on my own.  The checklist has been a lifesaver.  I laminated it, and each day the kids use a white board marker to check off their chores.  Each kid's list is a little different, and I added a few things to their original chores.  Today was the first day we forgot something (Logan's medicine).  I'd say that three weeks is pretty good for our first mistake!

Seeing... our yard bunny, Benjamin.  He has grown quite comfortable in our front yard, so when we see him, he doesn't run off right away.  It's been so fun to see him.  His little nose twitches adorably.  I want to pet him so bad! That little puff of a tail is so darn cute!

Letting... Carly feed herself more lately.  I made the mistake of teaching her the sign for "myself" (haha!) so now she asks to feed "herself" for every meal. This week's biggest messes were yogurt and Nutella graham crackers.  Baths quickly followed suit.

Reading... and finishing The Magician's Assistant.  I'm listening to The Couple Next Door.  I can't turn it off! It's so good!  I have Present Over Perfect on Kindle and am reading that at bedtime. I am also reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I'm reading  The Invisible String and The Whipping Boy with the boys at bedtime. (**affiliate links help support this blog-- thank you so much!)

Loving... our current bedtime routine.  It's ridiculous how much our bedtime routine impacts how I feel about my parenting.  Discovering that connection has been really important to me and I've put a lot of effort into making it what I want.
After bedtime stories with Josh (where each of the boys get to choose a picture book) the four of us do silent reading for twenty minutes.  Then I read aloud from our chapter book (currently The Whipping Boy) for a chapter or two. Then we say our prayers and I tuck each boy in, chatting a little before turning off their little clamp lamps.  (Carly's already asleep at this point-- I lay her down while Josh reads their bedtime stories in the living room.)

Attending... the first MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) meeting of the year and feeling really excited about all the new friends I am going to make.

Feeling... a bit of fall in the air.  I am loving the clear skies (all the smoke is gone, hallelujah!) and the cool down in weather. We were in the high 90's until Wednesday this week.  The high 70's feel glorious in comparison.

Relishing... Carly's sweetness.  I love watching her do everything-- saying goodbye to Josh in the morning; doing Ring Around The Rosie; copying us at silly everyday things (blowing our noses, washing our hands, putting our shoes in the closet); and even her shenanigans like stealing the hunk of cheese off the cutting board & chomping into it; jumping off the coffee table into Wyatt's arms; and always getting into the marshmallows when the pantry is left open. She is just so much fun.  A chattery, babbling, joyful little spirit whom I enjoy to no end.

Shocked... at how much the twins are looking alike these days.  I told Logan nearly everyday this week how much he is looking like Jack. It's crazy!

A friend on Facebook shared this last quote, and I love it so much. It's a good way to double check that you are spending your days the way you should be.



Nanny's House: Part 5 (The River)

 While we were in Vancouver visiting my parents, my sister and older brother met us at the Washougal River to go swimming.  Our usual spot is shut down for fish preservation currently, but luckily my dad knew of another spot we could try.  My boys had so much fun, as did Carly.  I would say I had a good time, but I was exhausted of counting, "1, 2, 3, 4" over and over again in my head (counting kids). I am so glad my kids love the water, but taking them to the river without Josh felt a bit overwhelming now that Carly is mobile and into everything. Ha!

After a summer spent in the pool, Carly was SO excited to play in the river. It was adorable.


Around Here: Week 36

Letting go... of keeping the house clean all the time. After a year in our house, we have settled nicely into a once-a-week house cleaning routine, but last week (our first week back in school) our routine got thrown off, and I wasn't able to clean the hard floor in the entry, kitchen and dining room before a family gathering.  And guess what? No one cared! Everyone had fun anyway, and the food still tasted amazing. It was such a good lesson and reminder for me.  I can't do all the things, all the time, and that's okay.

Hosting... a Labor Day BBQ with Josh's family.  It was so fun to have everyone over, and all the food (especially his dad's ribs) was delicious!!!  My kids had a great time, and it made me fall in love with my house all over again.  The way it allows me to host people and have so much fun.

Swimming... one last time at our local water park with my sisters' family + my parents.  It was bittersweet to know it would be the last time this year, but Wyatt is super hopeful he will hit a growth spurt and be tall enough to go on the BIG slides next year.

Taking... the kids to Silverwood, a nearby theme park, after they earned free passes for doing 600 minutes of reading (each) in the spring.  Josh and I only had to pay to get ourselves in.  We waited until the last day to take them, which was not our plan, just the way it happened. I am so glad we made the effort to go.  It ended up being the absolute perfect way to end the summer, and our little family made SO many good memories that day.  I will be doing a post about Silverwood next week, and I'll let you know any tips or tricks we learned.

Making... tortillas for our family.  My kids love nothing more than homemade tortillas.  My recipe calls for four ingredients (6 cups flour, 4 tbsp shortening, 2 cups water & 2 tsp salt) then you roll them into golf ball size balls, and roll them out.  Fry on each side until lightly browned and voila! Homemade tortillas!  We make quesadillas out of these (using shredded cheese and canned chicken for maximum simplicity) and we also make enchiladas & tacos. My kids love them so much, they ask to have one plain, warmed up with salt & butter on top.

Watching... as wildfires continue spreading throughout Washington State.  It's so sad to see so much of our forests going up in smoke.

Coping... with smoke conditions that are limiting the amount of time we can safely spend out of doors. It's been like this off and on throughout the summer, but never for this many days in a row. We are all getting a bit stir crazy. The kids want to walk to school (as is our usual) but instead I am driving them each day, and it's bumming us all out. Not to mention the twins are VERY BUSY HUMANS and could really use some rambunctious time spent outside! I'm hoping it will start to clear out, but until it rains, this fire season will just carry on.  Even the school is having indoor recess because conditions are so bad.

Dealing... with a sad, sad Wyatt at morning drop off.  We have tried a myriad of different things (walking, playing on the playground or reading before school, having him walk alone, having him walk with me...) and no one thing seems to work consistently. He did the same thing last year, and eventually it got better, but never 100%.  Even at the end of the year, there would be some days that he would struggle to say goodbye. So I am taking it a day at a time, asking him what he needs and trying my best to make the goodbye quick so he can move into the classroom and move on from seeing me go.  One thing I have found is that any change to the routine is hard for him. Flexibility is not his strong suit. Like yesterday instead of reading (as we had planned) I ended up on the phone with the doctor for one of his brothers, and that was enough to tip the scales and get him crying.  It's so hard because I feel torn in so many directions. I think a quick drop off just before the bell would be best for him, but the twins really like to be at school early so they can see their friends and play at that early AM recess... I'm not sure what the answer is, but if anyone has a Cloning Device they are willing to loan me for school dropoff in the morning, I'd sure appreciate a Shelly2.0.

Struggling... with parenting. Lately I feel like I am making decisions for them that I know are best, but that they hate.  (This is perhaps the litmus test for good parenting. Go figure.)
For instance, last weekend I deleted one of the twins' favorite games off the tablets because I discovered it had a "Live" mode and you could play/interact with other people.  The twins are nine years old. They are not old enough or mature enough to handle that responsibility, so for me it was a no brainer. But their hearts were broken. Logan wasn't himself for two days after that.
I've also had to send one or more boys to school not feeling 100% because I knew they were fine, even if they didn't believe they were fine. (regular "tummy/headache/tiredness" stuff) It's a fine line between being sympathetic and being taken advantage of, and I have to be careful. Not only do I not want them home if they are well, but I don't believe they should be missing school so close to the beginning of the school year. They are still learning the routines and teacher expectations, and I really want them there, everyday, barring serious illness.
Keeping them from playing outside or riding to school has also been a battle.  It's challenging because most of the time we can't smell the fire smoke, or really see the bad conditions, so they want me to grant them their freedom.  But I know from my Air Matters app that conditions are bad and that it's best for their health if they limit the time they spend outside.

Feeling... sad & overwhelmed this week as I navigate my life.  I've been looking at some ways to supplement our income, and I've been struggling with bad self esteem/image and I've been paralyzed by indecision.  Ahh! I just want to know the answers to all my questions and I want someone to tell me what to do. I am just not up to adulting and making grown up decisions all on my own, and the general melancholy I've been feeling is getting old quick. (And it's only been a week!) I am hoping as we settle into our school routine and the smoke leaves that I will be able to get outside more (which is so, so good for my soul) and start feeling like life is a little more manageable. It would also be most helpful if my kids stopped being so full of emotions and neediness (haha!) which inevitably leads to my feeling their emotions & worrying over their constant neediness. #goodluck right?

Reading... Anything is Possible, Present Over Perfect, The Magic of Motherhood, & The Magicians Assistant, and The Whipping Boy to the boys at bedtime. I am loving my kids back in school because it allows me so much more quiet time to read and pursue things I enjoy.  What a blessing.

A friend sent me this after my post yesterday:
It's just perfect. 

The kids will be fine. For sure.