Friday, September 17, 2021

Crazy Weekend

This last weekend was WAY busier than I like things to be, but everything went fairly well and most of it was really fun, so I'm happy and exhausted now.  Friday morning Adam and I went hiking, which was delightful!  I was a little stressed as to how I hike without my children.  Do I need snacks if it's just me?  How long will this take if we don't stop to eat and catch our breath every twenty minutes?  Do I need to stop and catch my breath every twenty minutes???  My kids give me such an excuse for stuff like that!  But it was great: we did the 5.5 mile loop around Ragged Mountain and it only took a couple hours (it turns out I do not need snacks or a break)!  And the weather was perfect, just starting to get hot as we were finishing up.  

Then in the evening we all attended football games, with Kendra going to the Fluvanna game with a friend while the rest of us met up with Craig's parents at the Monticello game.  This required a fair amount of planning and driving Kendra around, but we managed.  As soon as we got to the Monticello game, Bentley ran off with his friends and we barely saw him, which felt delightfully age appropriate and made me very happy (even if we had to go back and pick him up, too, since the little kids couldn't get through the whole game and had to go home and go to bed).  Also, when we went to football games in the past, Craig was always working, so we barely saw him.  It was really nice to actually get to sit with him and enjoy his company for a change!  (And have his help putting super tired kids to bed afterwards!)

Saturday was our ward Day of Service, so Craig took Bentley and Kendra do to yard work for a friend who is very overwhelmed right now. 

Gotta love Bentley's muppet face!

Fresh mulch makes EVERYTHING look better!

I'd been planning on helping assemble refugee kits, but it turned out Ryder and Colton had their first baseball game at the same time, so that's where I wound up, despite my good intentions...  But they won their game and were very happy, so that was nice.  Camille divided her time between climbing a tree and playing with a new friend, so everyone had a good time.  

Then Craig had to go help out with a funeral and I ran around like a crazy person getting my house tidied up and trying to get the kids to actually help (it had been clean the day before, I honestly don't know how my kids destroy everything so quickly?).  Craig's parents arrived at 4 and we left straight away and drove to Wintergreen, a local ski resort, and met up with Sarah and Tracy (and Nate and Joe) to see Sarah's first professional play (as opposed to community theater) that she music directed, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat!

It's kind of fun (and only slightly terrifying) to ride the ski lift to the stage!

A couple years ago they did The Sound of Music, which is about the most perfect play to perform in the mountains ever!

Anyway, the show was very fun, and hanging out with Sarah and Tracy afterwards was even MORE fun!  (All the men watched BYU crush the U of U, so a splendid evening was had by all!)  We didn't even get home until 1am, so getting up for church the next morning was rough.  And then I went straight from church to a neighborhood baby shower.  I feel like I mostly see these ladies at the pool so it was a little fun to show up actually wearing makeup with my hair done and cute shoes for a change!  How shallow of me is that?  And the baby shower was one of the more hilarious ones I've ever been to-- the first game they had pictures of huge tummies and you had to try and guess if those were pregnancy bellies or beer bellies.  And then it got dirtier from there...

After that I hurried home to take a nap (bliss!), and then drove the airport road chapel to help set up for our stake relief society activity.  This was an activity that was originally meant to be held in April of 2020, so it was very exciting to finally make it happen!  We were reading from the book The Hundred Dresses, and talking about kindness and actually helping one another.  And we collected a whole bunch of dresses for a local charity.  (We also had lovely cookies from a bakery that were decorated as dresses, and we'd folded origami dresses that were attached to water bottle.  WAY more decorating than I normally do!)  It was a lovely evening and I thought everything came together really well.  
I'd folded a whole bunch of these a year and a half ago so it was nice that they were finally put to use!

So, yes, busy weekend.  The kind of weekend where you wake up Monday morning and think to yourself, "But I still need a weekend!"  But I'm so pleased with how well everything went, I really can't complain!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Moving Into Fall

I feel like we just keep chugging along here!  The weather is starting to cool down beautifully at night, so when you first get up in the morning it just feels wonderful outside.  This is especially great because I am back to exercising at 5:30am again, so it's nice that it's no longer 70°+ and muggy!  That was a bit unbearable...!  (Also unbearable was how sore my arms were after that first time back!  Who knew a few measly push ups could make EVERYTHING HURT?)

With the kids all in school, it's weird how my days just sort of fill up.  Last Friday I'd offered to help a friend move a mattress (it turns out a twin is REALLY easy to shove into my van!), and then that morning I got a text from my neighbor asking if I could fill in since her nanny was sick.  So I had almost-2-year-old Zevi with me all day while I drove from Lake Monticello to Richmond and back to Charlottesville helping my friend.  When the little kids got home from school, they were quite leery of this new little guy, asking me carefully who he was and looking quite relieved when I explained that Zevi lived down the street and would be returning home shortly.  

It was kind of nice to realize that Zevi was incredibly easy to take care of.  When I needed to change his diaper, I just asked him to lay down on the changing pad and he did!  I had him changed in about 30 seconds like it was the easiest thing in the world.  A far cry from Isaiah, where it would take three of us to wrestle him down and I'd be sweating profusely by the time I was done...  I think trying so hard to take care of Isaiah and sort of not being able to do it really messed with my head and left me wondering if I just really couldn't handle watching other kids at all.  It was kind of nice to get some confirmation that the problem wasn't me.  Or at least it wasn't just me...

The youth had a hiking activity that sort of turned into a just getting milkshakes activity (because the trails were closing).  They didn't seem to upset by the change, though...

This is Bentley's favorite way to stand awkwardly.  What a goofball!

He's not always a weirdo, though!  (With him are his buds, Ivan and Aaron!)

And Kendra finds the girls to hang out with!  (Avery, sitting in the car, has cerebral palsy, so it's much easier for her to sit.  Lest you think her lazy for not standing around the parking lot like the rest of them!  I'm sort of impressed she was willing to try hiking, actually...)

On Saturday we spent one last day at Kings Dominion before they switch over to their scary Halloween stuff.
They finally have their Eiffel Tower open, so that was the first thing we did!  Apparently it's one-fifth the size of the real thing, which is just insane to think about.  Made me miss Paris...

I just love Camille's cool face here...

Waiting for forEVer for the log ride...  They really need to hire more workers here!!!

It was a fun day, but I was glad we had Monday off, too, so we could have a relaxing day before the week started again!  So for that "relaxing day," Craig cleaned out the garage and I took Ryder and Colton to buy gear for baseball.  Ryder's been playing for a little while now, and he made it look so fun that Colton decided he wanted to try it, too.  This, naturally, enraged Ryder because baseball is supposed to be "his" thing.  I had to explain to him that he doesn't get to hog baseball all to himself.  (Although, as a fellow middle child, I do understand the need to differentiate yourself from your siblings!  Why do you think I took Japanese in high school rather than French???)  Anyway, they're on the same team, which I'd been trying to avoid, but now that I see how busy we'll be with games and practices, I'm very glad that we don't have to double that!

After that shopping, Colton and Camille went with the Palmers to splash in...  some lake somewhere?  I have no idea.  I'm a really great mother.  But they had fun, wherever they were!
And there's Sydney's super cute puppy, who was named Rosie, but then became Lexi. I was super proud of myself when I figured it out.  
And in the evening we had dinner at the pool.  It will be closing at the end of this week, so we have to squeeze in our last few visits!

And a few more random pictures to wrap up this post!  I liked these two matching at the bus stop:

And here are Ryder and Owen at the top of the spider web during recess.  Apparently they've taken to calling themselves the high council, a fact which I find absolutely hysterical!

And here's Camille climbing a fence during baseball practice!

Yay for September and autumn and all that great stuff!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Quote to Remember

I'm not going to make it a habit of sharing memes I found on Facebook here, but I did really love this quote and would like to try harder to be this sort of person, so here goes:

"Regardless of how another person interacts with you, you can give away only what you have inside to give.  Just like the proverbial orange, when you squeeze it, you get what is inside-- it has nothing to do with who does the squeezing, or the circumstances surrounding the squeeze.  What comes out is what is inside.  If you respond to hate with hate, or anger with anger, it is not because of what was directed your way; it is because that is what is inside you.  You can't give hate if you only love inside, no matter how much squeezing comes your way."  -Wayne W. Dyer

As someone who has road rage nearly all the time, this feels like a better way of viewing and changing myself from the inside...

And in a note that feels related to this, Craig sent me this article about a woman's new approach to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion training and I just LOVED it.  I hope she's incredibly successful because her ideas feel correct to me.  I try hard to keep this blog fairly apolitical, so I'll leave it at that.  But if you read and have thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

Next post will be back to pictures of my kids and such, I promise! 😉

Saturday, August 28, 2021

First Day of School Pictures

My kids all started school this week!  I'm so excited that they can all be back in person, 5 days a week!

Getting them out the door that first day is always a little crazy, and the busses always run super late, but we managed to make it all work:

Elementary school crowd leaves first (Bentley was still doing Zoom seminary and Kendra had barely stumbled out of bed).  We've got Ryder in 5th grade, Colton in 3rd, and Camille in 1st!  (Also, I wouldn't let C&C wear their new shoes until the first day-- look how shiny and clean those are!)

We were waiting so long for the bus, that I had Bentley and Kendra run down and join us and I LOVE this picture!

Finally!  Only 24 minutes late!

They didn't mean to match, but I love that they did!  (Bentley even brought his pink sweatshirt in case he got cold!)  Since they're at different schools and ride different busses, they didn't care.  Bentley is a sophomore now, and Kendra is a big 8th grader!

Muppet faces 😂

And here we have Kendra and her bestie Eliza, from three years ago (2018) and from this year.  How are they growing so fast???

I'm so happy school is slightly more normal this year!  Maybe some day we can even be finished with masks?

Friday, August 27, 2021

Farewell, Isaiah

Isaiah went to a new home yesterday and I have a lot of feelings about it, as you can imagine.  I was really struggling: the not sleeping was definitely taking its toll, and then he really needed to be supervised 24/7 because he was constantly climbing things (onto the tables and counters, and most recently scaling the bookshelves), getting into food, and if he had a poopy diaper, he would get a hand inside it and smear poop everywhere.  Which is pretty much the worst, grossest thing ever.  Even when he was asleep you never knew when he would suddenly wake up and get back to wreaking havoc.

Who, me?

So, yes, taking care of him was really hard.  And I knew it was only going to be harder once the kids went back to school and I was doing it all on my own.  I'd had high hopes of getting him into daycare or preschool, but DSS wouldn't cover daycare and the preschool options we found were either a long ways off from opening (one is hoping to open in the middle of September, if they can get their license ??? and the special education programs through the schools can easily take two months to get everything lined up and happening).  I just didn't think I could hold out that long.

And as if to prove me right, within ten minutes of my kids all leaving for their first day of school, he'd managed to get poop all over my kitchen floor and I was running around like a crazy person trying to do damage control and figure out how to clean him and the floor.  It was... kind of awful.

He'd get pretty snuggly once he was really tired, but even then, you HAD to be standing up or he wanted nothing to do with you

So when Kennedi called me and said that the Jonah's foster mom was willing to take Isaiah, too, it felt like a pretty perfect solution.  Craig and I still took time to discuss it and think about it a lot.  But it definitely felt like the best thing for everyone: I was off the hook without (exactly) quitting, and he could be with family.  And since he and his brother will be in the same location, it will make visits with parents and grandparents easier when they get to that point.  My kids were a little sad when I told them since they've grown to really love Isaiah, but they were also kind of happy to get their rooms back and no longer have to watch him for me every time I need to take a shower or use the bathroom.

Bentley got so good at schlepping Isaiah around!

So yesterday Savannah, his DSS worker, came and got him.  I had him all packed up with WAY more stuff than he came with.  It turns out I'm really good at soliciting donations, and had gotten him lots of clothes and toys and books.  Everything I could fit in his duffel bag and a Costco diaper box went with him.

He also was pretty difficult this week, including being up our last night from 2:30-6am (!!!) and, as I already wrote about, the poop incident (the 3rd one, despite us watching him like a hawk).  He'd also managed to dump out another box of Cheerios while I was on a zoom meeting trying to discuss if he'd qualify for special education services through the schools (99% sure he's autistic, so that's a resounding YES).  And he'd recently gotten interested in trying to splash in the toilet.  So all of these things made it easier to say good-bye.

Finally asleep in my arms after refusing to take a nap

But I still wanted to cry as I buckled him into the car and waved as they drove off.

I really tried my best, but this was so much more work (and so much LESS SLEEP) than I'd ever anticipated.  I hope I did more good than damage taking him in for these five weeks.

One of the best pictures I ever managed to take of him...

I can't imagine he'll remember us at all, but I know we will always remember him. 💝

Friday, August 20, 2021

End of Summer Fun

We've been keeping busy!  Isaiah's sleep tends to be incredibly erratic, so every night when we go to bed, we have NO IDEA what to expect.  That's been very frustrating-- I thought after being here a month we would have this under control a little better.  But no-- last night he was awake from 11pm until 4:15am!  Fun!

They had an AWESOME primary activity a few weeks ago-- someone arranged for an owl handler to come and show off the birds that they can't reintroduce back into the wild!  How are owls so cool???

A great horned owl

Okay, this is actually some sort of hawk.  It was hit by a car and its eyes were damaged so it couldn't survive in the wild.  But it's still so regal!

For being a screech owl, this little guy was surprisingly quiet and cute!

Craig caught this impressive shot as the barn owl flapped its wings

Everyone got to take a picture with the owls at the end!  (And yes, we brought Sydney and Beth-- who wouldn't want to come to such a cool activity?)
We also had the swim team awards banquet.  Usually this is a pancake dinner and everyone gets a trophy, but this year it was bring-your-own-food at an outdoor park and the coaches had painted rocks for all the kids?  I have no idea why they didn't just do the trophies-- the rocks were a TON of work and I just can't imagine the trophies are all that expensive, but no one asked me.  Anyway, Bentley and Kendra had to leave for YM/YWs but the other kids picked up their rocks awards for them, so that was nice.
Ryder got "Best Debater"

Colton's was "Most Published Swimmer" (he's still telling everyone about his Christmas book!)

Camille's whole group got the "Knock knock joke" award because that was they loved telling jokes all during practice

This was Kendra's rock-- yay for her!

And Bentley's, because his goggles fell off during a race once, and he just kept swimming and didn't bother trying to put them back on.

Isaiah snuggling with Camille

Camille and Sydney having fun playing Outfoxed together

Of course I blinked here, but this is Craig and I celebrating our 16th anniversary at Maggiano's!  (Much thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for watching the five kids and further thanks to Chris and Julie for watching Isaiah-- we really needed a night off!)

This is what happens when you don't sleep at night, kid!!!

He LOVES the slide!

...and the neighbor's flowers!

Bentley continues to take excellent care of Isaiah

He even introduced him to the trampoline, which was a HUGE success!!!  (Zoom in-- can you SEE Isaiah's enormous smile?)

And Ryder is just plain cool!

Camille is losing teeth faster than the Tooth Fairy can fly!  I'm not even sure how she eats any more...

And I finally got bored with my hair and chopped it off again!  It feels a lot cooler and Isaiah can't pull it as easily, so I'm a big fan!

And last but not least, TWO videos for your viewing pleasure!  First of all, Craig finds something Isaiah LOVES:
And, we learn a trick Colton can do that we hadn't known about:
School starts on Monday.  I'd been looking forward to that day for many many years now, but suddenly I'm dreading it because I have NO IDEA how I'm going to survive without all my wonderful helpers!  What do I do with a 2-year-old all by myself?  😬