It's almost 9pm on Sunday evening and I am EXHAUSTED.
As a working mom of two, I am used to relatively crazy weeks. But this past one was OFF THE CHAIN.
It started off with a wonderful Mother's Day - which also happened to be Bubba's 7th birthday. Monday and Tuesday I was out of the office in a training. I'm busy enough at work that I really don't need to be spending days on end out of the office. Really.
So back in the office I am busy, busy with meetings, projects, reports, etc., ETC. During lunch I'm running errands in preparation for the two birthday parties we just hosted this weekend - crafts from Michael's, balloon orders, treat bags.
In the evenings I am cleaning, grocery shopping and then, of course, NOT SLEEPING. You know how bad it is when I have 300 unread items in my Google Reader.
On top of this, RD (god love him) orders $200 worth of bark delivered on Thursday morning. I tell you, it looks terrific now, BUT, MAN; it took him awhile. We have a LARGE-ASS yard.
Of course on Saturday I couldn't just leave well enough alone with the princess tea party for Sis. My day looked like this:
And today, we held Bubba's party with 11 of his friends at a indoor entertainment-type place. Which, is short of my nightmare, but I have to say it wasn't that bad and everyone seemed to have a great time.
Of course, pictures to follow. I'm going to hold off until I can move my neck to the left.
RD has few "loves" other than his family. Probably his favorite activity is skiing. Bubba went up with him for a few lessons last year, and this seasons both kids signed up for a 6 week session of lessons. The kids have taken up the sport quickly, especially Sis in her first year on skis, as evidenced here:
What does this mean for me?
Six Sundays FREE.
I have not been wasteful with this time, mind you! I have declutterd, cleaned out closets, gathered items for goodwill, painted the living room, dining room and hallway, AMONG OTHER THINGS.
This week I had planned QUITE THE DAY: grocery shop, make lasagna (one to serve, one to freeze), wash all the sheets, vacuum the house, wash our bedroom curtains, clean the bathroom vents, and (most importantly), sew a duvet cover for Sis' bed.
This is something I've been meaning to do since Sis moved into her "big-girl" bed more than 2 years ago. I've been planning this, really, since before she was born. You see, with Bubba's nursery, we went with pastel colors; which worked fine, until we discovered that those colors don't really transition very well into a toddler (or older, really) room.
I would not make the same mistake with my daughter's room. I picked out the colors, fabric and sewed/crafted all her nursery items - dust ruffle, crib bumper, curtains, basket liners, drawer covers, etc.
But, being a parent means being flexible. And poor Sis had a cold. And when either of my kids get colds, it inevitability turns into a horrible, horrible cough (thanks, asthma, you suck balls). The kind of cough that keeps you up at night. The kind of cough that makes your voice horse. The kind of cough that requires a steroid intervention.
Instead of them all heading up to the slopes and me happily sewing while I watched a Snapped marathon, Sis would be home with me taking it easy.
A change of plans.
But it all worked out, Sis laying on the couch or in bed, while I sewed away.
I had prepped most of it previously - the squares, some pinning.
It came together quicker than I expected.
I keep forgetting that as I get better at these sort of endeavors; my kids are also getting older and are more able to play by themselves and stay out of the pins and scissors.
At one point, Sis was upstairs watching TV in our bedroom while I was working downstairs. She would come down every 15 minutes or so to check in on my progress and to provide encouragement, "Looks good, Mama!" or "Very purty, Mama!"
In the end, we completed the duvet. And I got to spend an unexpected day at home snuggling and taking care of Sis. Sounds like the change of plans worked out for the best for all of us.
Easter was only, like, a week or so ago, right? So, it's totally cool if I toss some photos out here and call it a post, right?
It was a CLASSIC Seattle Easter, meaning, it rained all day. The family headed up to Grandma and Grandpa's to do the whole church/egg hunt/ham dinner thing.
Sis showed everyone at church her new dress (Costco special).
They did a little egg hunting.
I took some awkward self-photos. Though, that's not new.
After church, we headed over to Grandpa and Grandma's house, where the kids did what they always do at Grandpa and Grandma's house: watch On Demand cartoons on one of Grandpa's flat screens.
Grandpa got them SIlly Putty, so the holiday wasn't a complete loss.
Our trip to Idaho for Bubba's Spring Break was more enjoyable than I thought it would be (although, in retrospect, it was clear that I should have expected it). It was just the two of us: Bubba and Mommy. Since the kids aren't on the same schedule yet, it made more sense to keep Sis in daycare/preschool (we're already paying for it) and let Bubba enjoy a visit to his only boy cousin.
While challenging at times, when Bubba is one on one (minus his sister!), he is really quite easy-going and compliant. With this ex tended time together, it became clear to me just how much Sis is REALLY AND TRULY going through her terrible 3s.
But enough of the negative! We had a snowy ride over the pass, a fast food lunch/refueling/play stop and arrived in Idaho greeted by 4 inches of snow. WOOT! The boys just had so much fun together the entire time, with just a rare fight or two (honestly, I really can't rememeber one!). They enjoyed playing together so much that it provided The Sister-In-Law and I many hours of time to chat, read or DO NOTHING (my favorite. Together we played Legos, went to gymnastic glass, ate at Taco Bell and shopped for tie-dye together. Plus, it's just nice to be away from your own house - there's no laundry to deal with, food to shop for, bathrooms to clean, or mail to deal with.
Also? We talked my brother into joining Facebook; just so he can play Scrabble with me. He gets to kick my ass and I get to connect with my brother more. It's win-win, really.
We can't wait to return in August. And we just may bring Sis with us this time. Maybe.
A few years ago, I promised my family that I would create a family calendar, featuring photos from the year before. Long story short, I failed miserably and have been living it down ever since.
I decided this Christmas was the one where I would redeem myself. With my MacBook in my lap I was ready to get-er-done. In early December, I asked The Sister and The Other Sister (brother's wife) to send me pictures (or let me know their Flickr favorites) that I should use in the creation of the calendar. They passed information to me, along with a couple of smart-ass remarks about "how they would believe it when they see it" (totally deserved, FYI).
I sent the calendar off to Apple to get produced - with plenty of time to make my Christmas deadline. The calendars were scheduled to be delivered on December 18.
Then it snowed.
And snowed AGAIN.
AND KEPT SNOWING.
SERVICE EXCEPTION. WEATHER CONDITIONS BEYOND FEDEX'S CONTROL.
But before the disappointment of the missed gift-giving opportunity, I decided to take it a step further and make a slide show with all the photos (WITH! MUSIC!). And, then even FURTHER and produce a slide show unique for each family. AND THEN put it all together on a DVD with a title screen (gosh bless the Mac, pretty funny to pull together).
So at least I had that to show at Christmas. The Sister still wanted to feel the calendar with her own two hands, of course. Finally, the calendars arrived at my house on New Year's Eve. The are BEAUTIFUL. The Sister is scheduled to receive hers on Thursday. Via UPS, natch.
Here's the slideshow I put together of my family for the last year (The Sister and The Other Sister - if you don't want me to show this here - since their are photos with your kids in them, too, just let me know and I will pull it off).
I wish that I could be sitting here on this lovely Sunday - the last day of winter vacation (well, for my son, not fore me) - and report that the snow has left us.
Because it has not. It started snowing on Wednesday, December 17 and pretty much snowed off and on until, well, TWO DAYS AGO. In my entire life of living in the great Pacific Northwest, I have NEVER, EVER experienced a time when there was snow on the ground for three straight weeks.
I'm over it.
The holidays continued, of course, and, except for a few travel adjustments and a minor FedEx tragedy (my 2009 family calendars were supposed to be delivered on December 18 didn't show up until New Year's Eve), we proceeded forth as usual.
We headed up north to join my extended family at my parent's place in Bellingham (which is, naturally, just too small for all of us, which adds to the CHAOS).
We sang songs to Grandma.
And opened some presents.
We played a little airplane.
And went to the museum.
Of course, all this fun, change in schedule, PRESENTS(!!) and sleeping in a hotel caused a couple of MELTDOWN CITIES to occur.
But, all in all, we had a wonderful time.
We also attended a family wedding, were I, apparently, had a few glasses of wine, causing the following behaviors.
Hugging my brother VERY closely. (Probably TOO closely if you ask him.)
And dancing like this.
It's the robot. Or something. (You're welcome.)
We also held our third annual family-friendly New Year's Eve par-tay.
Where I served my famous cosmo-by-the-pitcher.
And either said something very interesting or listened to something very interesting.
I also tried to take an artsy-fartsy photo of our party decorations. FAIL.
Happy New Year!
When I was a child, just THE THOUGHT of a snow day filled my stomach with butterflies. The idea of an entire day OFF FROM SCHOOL (!!!!) and playing in the snow got me up early in the morning to quietly click on my radio and listen for the list of school closures. I attended a small, private school in Portland and would wait to listen for its name to be read or Portland Public Schools to be listed as closed. The "rules" for closure were somewhat complicated (as I remember). If Portland Public Schools were closed for weather circumstances, the we were closed. If they opened late, we opened on time or could be closed (listed separately). I HAD TO CONCENTRATE VERY HARD TO LISTEN FOR THE CLOSURE. If I somehow missed the schools being listed, I would have to wait a painfully long time until they listed the schools again.
Before this year, the kids have always been in the same, home-based daycare; so as long as we could get to her house, she was open. On Monday, schools in our district were two hours late. Bubba goes to the before school program, and for some reason I had NO IDEA what the schedule there was in case of a late opening (they open as close to their normal time as possible, I learned). In the end, two hours late was no big deal. Being closed, however, created some issues for us this week. RD and I both had some work commitments that created some challenges to taking the day off. Normally, we would fight over who gets to stay home.
His old daycare provider (and Sis' current) agreed to take him in for the day if we needed her to. (She's awesome, BTW.) The local news and meteorologists threatened a continuation of the frigid cold and that more snow would arrive late Tuesday/early Wednesday and provide up to 6 inches of snow.
We woke up this morning to no new snow. (Okay, a very, VERY light dusting.) In fact, it felt noticeably warmer outside. At 5:45am when I awoke, our school district had already called off school FOR THE ENTIRE DAY. (In the northern most area of Puget Sound, they did get a significant amount of snow, however, and closed for perfectly good reasons).
Now, now. I understand that a "snow event" that occurs during a school day presents a whole new set of transportation and other issues. In the middle of the day, you can't just annouce that school will be clsoing and load the kids up in their buses and send them back to their neighborhoods. And, yes, we know that what we Seattlites call a "snow event" is nothing compared to what other regions of the country deal with weekly in the winter. Our problem is that snow is relatively rare and inconsistent in the Seattle metropolitan area, and frankly, we just don't know how to deal with it. The cities and counties can't justify owning a huge fleet of snowplows, so they get away with a skeleton crew (though, based on my own experience, those street maintenance folks works their ASSES off in times like this). We have many area hills, heavy tree cover and people who have no idea how to correctly drive in the stuff. SNOW DRIVING = FAIL.
By 4:00pm still no snow. It appeared we had all been punk'd.
Or had we? Our region has a long memory when it comes to snow events that occur during the school day. Apparently, during a six day cold snap in December 1990, 1,200 local students were forced to spend the night in their classrooms due to a heavy unexpected snowstorm in Seattle, and this scenario is something school officials aren't in a hurry to repeat.
Snow arrived to our house (about 20 miles north of downtown Seattle) around 4:30pm. It's stopped now, we probably gained 2-3 inches overall.
At least if school is called off tomorrow, it will ACTUALLY be because of the snow.
So there's that.
We spent Sunday out on The Farm in Snohomish.
We picked some pumpkins.
We hugged (some more happily than others).
We did some hay bale jumping (to note: this is how Sis broke her leg last year).
Bubba drove a truck.
And I did some digging.
I even got solo jump in. Note to self: don't quit your day job.