Monday, May 23, 2016

WITL 2016 - Wednesday

And I'm back with my week in the life posts.  I did in fact finish plug away for the remainder of the week taking photos (although less than years past) and jotting down notes as things came up, but I had trouble finding a chunk of uninterrupted time to get the blogging done.  Although I still much prefer blogging as I go each day, I do still plan to blog each day in an effort to make putting the album together less overwhelming and time consuming. Here's Wednesday, which was....well, Wednesday.  The middle of the week and another dreary rainy indoor day.

Wednesday morning started with Luke asking me if I was going to run.  I mumbled yes before opening my eyes and realizing that it was 5:02.  I lay in bed for a while longer frustrated that I had missed my running window, but still not really wanting to get up.  I finally stumbled downstairs for coffee around 5:30.  I was met by Cora shortly after who had woken early with a bad dream.  She tells me about how she, her best buddy Rory, and Blake (a school friend) were pink, green, and blue cactus and bad guys were after them.  I would imagine, that being a cactus made it difficult to escape quickly.....


The mornings oversleeping meant that I got to me the one to make the bed (my least favorite morning chore).  By the time I was out of the shower all 3 kids were up and dressed.  Beau came out of his room wearing the shorts I told him it was too cold for the night before.  I didn't say anything and could tell by the way he avoided eye contact and was being extra helpful that he was hoping I'd let him "get away" with it.  I did.  In fact, after I finished doing the girls' hair I came back into our room and the bed had miraculously been made! He really wanted to wear those shorts. 


The rest of the morning went by quite smoothly with oatmeal and apples being the breakfast choice for Beau and Cora.  All chores got done, even before being asked, and all three kids are happy and argument free.


It's after 8AM by the time all the daycare kids arrive.  Since our current upstairs location is temporary for daycare there aren't any hooks or cubbies for their things, but it works for now.  We're working on getting the basement finished and then daycare will move down there.


The later morning arrivals push everything back and we get a late start on breakfast. I realize we're out of milk.....again.  We're ALWAYS out of milk.



 The kids have been enjoying playing in the living room (with no toys) vs the playroom while I clean up meals.  It amazes me how well they can play and how long they can be entertained with just a room, couple blankets, and no toys (at least when it's their idea).  Today they play a version of house that includes a King, Princess, baby, and dinosaur.


Today's circle time includes calendar, weather, songs, and a discussion on swimming.  We're working on figuring out which day of the week it is by looking at the calendar, and counting up to the date.


After circle time they move to the art table where they color a picture about the days topic.  Then the older ones stay for an art project while the toddlers go play with the days selected toys.


Today I have some extra work for them as they go play.  We've been working on our folding skills both with nap blankets and the wash rags, which we use for drying our hands.


More rain and inside play today.  I notice less playing with the toys I give them, and more running and climbing.  Typical of littles after 3 cold and rainy days in the house.


I tuck Sylvie in for nap last so I can spend a few extra minutes talking and snuggling with her.  As I leave the room she has begun her typical sleepy routine, which is sucking her bottom lip and twiddling the fringe on her blankie.


Naptime began with cleaning up the living room and a longer PIYO session.  Do you see the corner in the above picture?  Yeah, well I didn't and as I stood and turned when stacking books I nearly gave myself a concussion.  I'll blame it on the unfamiliarities of a new house.  Kind of like when I go in a dark room and it takes FOREVER to find the light switch that I'm pretty sure is there somewhere.



Remember the candy stash.  A screaming toddler for much of nap time caused me to deplete it.




Naptime ended with laundry (or course).


As I'm finishing up folding the laundry I see the kids coming home in the pouring rain, with one straggling behind refusing to use an umbrella.  Needless to say he was dripping wet when he got home and had to borrow some of Beau's clothes.  I came downstairs to find them sliding up and down the hallway in their wet, sweaty socks covering the floor in lovely streaks.  Add mopping floor to my to do list.


The kids are excited to see frosted/sprinkled animal crackers for snack.  We generally stick pretty closely to goldfish, graham crackers, string cheese, fruit, and the occasional pretzel.  So a treat like frosted animal crackers is pretty exciting.  I spied these on sale this week and couldn't resist.  After serving a small portion to each of the 9 kids the bag was empty and I was reminded of why snacks like this don't make a more frequent appearance.


With the rainy weather and cooped up kids (again) I find myself offering up a movie afternoon once snack is cleaned up.  Peabody and Sherman won the vote.



My photos end here for the day as Beau's homework sparked another very difficult afternoon and evening filled with frustration and defiance.  He spent most of the night in his room, and thankfully  Luke took over after he got home, attempting to talk to him about his afternoon and evening behavior. I spent time with the girls downstairs and watched an episode of Sophia the First.  I was glad that in the end we finished bedtime with hugs and even a few giggles out of Beau.  While relieved I felt drained, and after looking over a flyer for next year's preschool curriculum it was lights out for me by 9:30.  Tomorrow is a new day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

WITL - Tuesday

Tuesday was another day where I felt like I was forcing myself to move forward with this project, but as always, when I look back I'm glad I did.  I was more intentional and made a point to pick up my big camera throughout the day.  Although I'm often frustrated with the picture quality on my aging DSLR I like how I have to be more intentional about getting the shot than I do with my phone.  Photo quality aside, I find that the pictures with my big camera often tell a better story than the ones on my phone, simply because I'm paying more attention as I work to get the right exposure and composition.  My phone photos tend to be more mindless snapshots.  I still hope to get better at this as the week goes on.

Before I get started I feel the need to add/warn you that as I read through and edited this post I found it felt a bit negative and exhausting.  I was tempted to change/delete some things, but realized that's kind of how yesterday afternoon felt.  For me taking the time to do this project is about getting a picture of what is real in our lives right now, and not about painting a portrait of perfection.  And so we begin....




It was pushing time again this morning as it was almost 5 by the time I crawled out of bed.  Made it out for a run (even though the drizzly weather was tempting me to stay under the covers) and, as always, was thankful I did.


Back home in time for quiet time and coffee.


The kids get ready as I start the laundry.  Tuesday is also garbage day, and I have begun to have them collect the trash from their rooms and bathrooms and take it out to the curb.




We all convene in Sylvie's room as I help her get dressed.  Cora shows her how to turn off her scentsy (notice the less than thrilled look over all the picture taking) and Beau helps her make her bed.  They are both much more receptive to helping Sylvie with her chores than they are to doing their own.  We'll see how much longer that lasts!


Love that face (hers not mine).  Standing on the board (aka stool in most households) as I finish her hair.


This morning I was only half ready when it came time to help the kids.  After they were dressed, and hair was done I went back to finish getting myself ready.  I've found that it's often easier to stop what I'm doing to help them when they're up early than to try and finish up with constant Moooooom in the background.


Once we're ready (around 7) it's downstairs to get started on breakfast, which usually coincides with the first daycare arrivals.  One of the more exciting things of this new house for the kids was the microwave low enough for them to reach.





I love seeing the constant motion of the mornings.  I love it even more on mornings like this when there is no whining, yelling, crying, or fighting.


This mornings predicament was Cora dropping the spoon in to the sticky honey jar.  Complete with Beau's exasperated sigh and eye roll "really Cora".



The "rule" in our house is no video games or TV on school nights.  It was put in place when Beau started making a fuss about putting down whatever screen he was on in order to do homework, and then rushing through it when he did.  They received email accounts in school and he has since begun checking his email in the mornings.  While not technically a game (he's quick to argue and debate any such technicalities)  today it evolved in to a web based game.  As I finished with daycare drop offs and came to in to help them get out the door for school frustration set in as I saw no socks, no teeth brushed, and breakfast spread all over the counter.  I reminded him that there were to be no games before school.  He sighs, but doesn't argue.


Two girls that decided playing nicely was too difficult, so they got to sit at the table to wait for breakfast instead of playing.



We follow a preschool curriculum that shapes the majority of our mornings.  Sylvie is working on writing her name on her own (vs. tracing it).  She is doing pretty well with the letter shapes, although her name is usually either written backwards or with the letters all there but in no particular order.



I found this at the grocery store last night and had to try it.  It did not disappoint.  Seriously SO good.  I need to find a good hiding spot in the fridge.


Nap time consisted on another PIYO session, catching up on some computer work and of course laundry.  Although the pile was much smaller than yesterdays.


Snack time started with Sylvie's typical whine/cry because she didn't want apples for snack.  I told her if she didn't want apples then she should eat her crackers and leave the apples in her bowl.  The crying continued through snack as she sat and ate every last bite of her apples.


The happy demeanors that left for school this morning did not return this afternoon.  At least not for Beau.  I was immediately greeted with him requesting that one of the daycare kiddos be able to get out his tablet.  No.  Not the answer he was looking for and he let me know it.  Although he did do his homework (which I checked, calculator in hand) the attitude pretty much went down hill from there.  By supper time I was feeling defeated and fed up with defience, arguments, and power struggles.


Cora came home just as happy she left.  She's not one for power struggles, and generally finds it easier to do whatever we're asking, and only occasionally pouting the whole time she does it.  Far less exhausting for me.



Daily sweeping of the floor once the big kids were sent out to play and the littles had finished their snack.




I checked in on Beau to make sure he was getting his reading done before heading outside with the littles.  I let him know the math problems he needed to recheck and was met with silence, which I'll consider a step up from the sass.


Swings were the favorite pastime outside today with the exception of Sylvie who spent most of the time on my lap complaining of the cold.  I can't say that I blame her it was cold, windy, and damp.  Definitely one of those days where I wished it would just actually rain so we could stay inside guilt free.



However, if we thought the backyard was cold it was nothing compared to the soccer fields.  It always feels at least 10 degrees colder there and WAY windier.  It was a chilly game to say the least.  Thankfully, by this point everyone had switched gears and Beaus attitude had improved dramatically.  It's often that we say he can seem like a completely different kid hour to hour.




We returned home about 8:15, frozen and ready for warm baths and showers.  While I gave the girls a bath, dried hair, and brushed teeth Luke installed a towel bar in the kids bathroom.  It was past 9 (quite late for our kids) by the time they finally made it to bed.


I tried to warm up with sweatpants, socks and fuzzy blanket as I got in to bed shortly after the kids.  I spent a few minutes reading and contemplated starting a 5K running plan in an effort to solidify a running habit before it's time to start training for this fall's half.  Jury's still out.




WITL 2016 - Monday

Last year when I did this project I was really focused on telling stories.  Looking at each of the pictures and telling the story that you can't see.  My goal was to capture the behind the scenes story of our daily life.  I ended up with a LOT of content, but looking back on it now, I love all the little details that I ended up with.  My focus this year is observation. More on taking notice of who we are right now and observing how we move through our days.  Having just moved to a new house and neighborhood everything is new to us right now.  Routines are still developing and we're still figuring out the rhythm of our new surroundings.  I don't have as many stories about the way things usually are, or the schedule of our days because we're still figuring it out!  In some ways I love the newness of everything, and in others I'm desperately searching for those routines that keep me moving forward and ensure things are getting done.

Day 1 felt a little bit like an after thought.  I found myself constantly thinking oh yeah, take a picture. In the end I think I got enough to capture the story of the day, but I'm hoping to be more intentional as the week goes on.



My alarm went off at 4:30, but I stayed in bed until the very last minute I could.  Luke leaves for work at 5:30am so I know if I am not up and getting ready by 5 a run will not happen.  My running routine and early waking is one thing that I'm really struggling with since our move.  I'm not a morning person so in order to get up before dawn on a daily basis I rely solely on habit.  Throw in a move and a week long vacation and that habit gets pretty disrupted.  I'm hoping the warmer and brighter mornings will help me in this area.




I miss being able to see the sun rise as I spend a half hour reading my morning devotionals and drinking coffee, but I'm so happy we have another large window in the living room.  I have to be much more disciplined in this house making sure that I don't extend my quiet time much past 6.  Now that our bedrooms and bathrooms are on a separate level from daycare I have to make sure I'm ready and have time to get the kids ready before daycare begins to arrive at 7.  This means that Sylvie now has to be woke up with Beau and Cora so I can get her dressed and do her hair.  I love that all our bedrooms are upstairs and having a separate bathroom is AMAZING, but it has been a change that has taken some getting used to.


I also absolutely love that we have a window in our bathroom!  Being able to have natural light, fresh air, and hear the birds sing while I get ready is always something I longed for in the other house.


My kids aren't late sleepers so it's rare that I have to wake them up.  Beau and Cora are usually up and dressed by the time I'm out of the shower and long before their alarms are set to go off at 6:30.  Sylvie will often sleep longer, but usually wakes up when she hears me throw in the mornings first load of laundry.  It's rare that we have a morning where someone isn't grumpy as we all get our chores done.  This morning it was Cora, who didn't want to have her hair done. She's my quiet pouter in contrast to Beau the defiant arguer, and Sylvie who whines, cries and clings to my leg.  Of the 3 Cora gets over it the most quickly and is the easiest for me to keep my blood pressure in check.  Mostly because she just needs to be left alone. 


See....Cora 10 minutes later.


Beau was amazingly cooperative this morning.  Not even an argument when I asked him to go in and cut his fingernails.  He's been cutting his own fingernails since he was about 3 (typical of Beau).  Oh the fits he would throw when it was time to cut his nails!  So as soon as he started demanding that he do it we gladly let him.


Sylvie and I sported matching hairstyles today.  While hers varies mine is almost exclusively the messy "mom" bun (wet) complete with sunglasses on my head and big gold earrings of some sort.


Our house faces south so I love opening up the big door and letting in the morning sunshine.  I took an extra minute to enjoy it this morning since the weather is calling for a rainy week.


The kids have been eating oatmeal for breakfast the past few weeks.   Typically with a little bit of butter and drizzle of honey. I spent a few days teaching them how to make it themselves in the microwave.  For us it is important that the kids have breakfasts available that they can make themselves.  With daycare kids arriving at the same time as they are making and eating breakfast I'm not always available to make something for them.  I used to feel guilty that I wasn't whipping them up pancakes and eggs and serving them at the table but in reality they prefer to do it themselves.  There have been many an argument and often tears over who gets to take the bowl out of the microwave, drizzles the honey or sprinkles cinnamon on the toast.



Sylvie and I eat breakfast with the daycare kids around 8.  Sometimes her whining is more than I can handle and she'll snack on some dry cereal to tie her over.  Giant mugs of coffee for me.


I notice the dishes are clean as I start cleaning up the kids' breakfast dishes.  I begin unloading and realize that even after nearly 10 years our colorful dish selection still makes me smile.


Beau helps in making sure their breakfast dishes get cleaned up and put away.  He does better than Cora in this area who tends to forget her dishes on the counter and if she does remember seems to think anywhere in the vicinity of the sink is equivalent to in the dishwasher.


As is typical Cora asks me to look at her teeth and asks "are they like half grown in?".


In an attempt to combat Sylvie's whining, crying, and listening behavior (especially in the mornings) we started a sticker chart.  I picked up a few of those "mystery bags" that have a mystery Care Bear figure in them, and when she gets 5 stickers she gets to open the bag.  She's working toward her second one and the 5 stickers tend to take are about 2 weeks to earn.  This morning she gets one from yesterday and Cora helps her put it on.


Now that we live so close to the school Beau and Cora get to walk in the mornings.  This means that their time at home is a lot longer than it used to be.  At our old house they would have to leave for the bus stop at 7am, and now they don't even need to get their shoes on until 7:45.  I love having them home for a longer time.  Our mornings are much less rushed, and we have time to recover from grumpy mornings before they head out the door (decreasing my all day mom guilt a TON).  It also means that the 45 minutes before daycare breakfast where I used to catch up on food program paperwork, bills, and bank work as the kids had free play is now gone.  It's one of those routines that I'm struggling to find where it fits.



As I walk through our current preschool room I sigh as I see the kids' art books sprawled all over the shelf.  I stop and "squirrel" (as Beau would say I'm famous for) to put them in a basket and then make name tags for each so they can see whose is whose without digging through them all.


By the time we are done with circle time and our preschool activities this morning the rain has already begun, so it's indoor playtime today.  See those curtains?  Yeah....one of the to do list items I mentioned in the last post.


All lined up for story time before nap.




Today's nap time consisted of a quick PIYO session.  I haven't done it for a long time, but when I took a minute to look through past week in the life albums I was reminded of how much better I feel when I take the time to do it.  I also potted the flowers I got over the weekend  and hung them on the back porch, prepped a grab and go pre soccer supper, and folded lots and lots of laundry.  Gotta love catching up on laundry from the weekend.


The big kids got home from school just before 3.  I have been getting their snack ready first so they can eat and get started on homework while I get the littles up from nap (and today rush to finish folding all that laundry).  Cora and Rory tell me that they are done with homework for Kindergarten and since I don't see any in Cora's folder they get busy with their go to indoor activity.....art.  


More rain and indoor play this afternoon.  "Please sit on the furniture", "no running" and "indoor voices" are phrases that I say repeatedly on days like this.  At one point when I tell them "no running in the house" Sylvie says "can we run gently?" "no running is for outside".  She immediately begins whining and says "but then I won't get big muscles and I'll get little like the babies!".  


We get word around 5 that Cora's 5:45 soccer game is cancelled tonight.  I alternate between being ecstatic over the unexpected FREE night and frustration that my supper prep was wasted. 


yogurt.....a favorite dessert around here.


On the plus side we had supper on the table, eaten and cleaned up all before 6pm.  Freeing up enough time for me to get a meal plan and grocery list put together and head to the grocery store.  As I'm working on my list Luke and I see that it is "new name day" tomorrow in kindergarten.  Luke says "Cora, tomorrow is new name day at school, what do you want your new name to be?"  She hollers in from the other room without hesitation "Cupcake".  Um ok then, that's that.


After some silly dancing in the living room the girls ask if it is bath night.  Which actually means "can we get our jammies on".  I tell them they can, which also means I get to head to the grocery store solo.


Lots of bananas that will be gone within days and an eggplant.  I stand there wondering if I've had eggplant before, and wonder how to cook it.  Then as I'm standing in the checkout I realize I think I have had eggplant and didn't enjoy it.  We'll see.


What?  I couldn't decide between the two.  It is rare that I come home from running errands without some sort of candy that will then get hidden in a compartment of the yukon for me to sneak out and enjoy over the next couple days.  That is if I don't eat them all on the way home.  There's a reason that on BOTH Beau and Cora's kindergarten Mother's Day projects where it says Your mom's favorite thing to do is........"eat candy".  Seriously what are the odds they would answer exactly the same 2 years apart?  I may definitely have a problem with sugar.



The kids are watching TV when I get home from the store.  The girls on one TV and Beau on another.  We are left with plenty of time for stories once the groceries get put away.  Beau generally opts to read in his room while I read to the girls, but tonight he joined us with his book of jokes.  Which we was appropriate since we were all full of giggles over silly stories (say Dora!  seriously...corny enough on TV but when the book tries to talk to you as you're reading I just can't keep a straight face).


After the usual stalling the kids are in their beds around 8:15, where I find Cora spinning a top on her windowsill as she waits for me to tuck her in.  I get ready for bed shortly after when I hear a soft tapping on the bathroom door.  It's Sylvie "my nose tuffy" meaning she wants Vicks.  She's up again at 1AM needing to go potty and asks for more Vicks.