Sunday, October 31, 2010

Not Camping

This weekend Daddy has taken Lainy Ann and Connor camping. *thud* Yes, you can pick your jaw up off of the floor. Sure, we embark on adventures in this family. But all adventures include indoor plumbing and beds. This is our first real adventure; in the wild, peeing in porta-potties, campfires, hiking, and sleeping on the ground.

As with other scouting stuff this month I got out of it since I am nearly 38 weeks pregnant. I have a hard time sleeping in my own bed much less on a cot in the woods looking for a toilet every 2 hours. So I stayed home with William and Alexander. Honestly, I think its best this way. Alexander is still very much in need of his schedule and routine and William still gets scared pretty easily.

William was a little disappointed staying home, but I decided to make it fun for them too - and relaxing for me, so I don't go into labor. Friday night the kids snacked for dinner; granola bars, yogurt, a few chicken nuggets. I parked myself on the couch and the kids grazed and watched too much tv. I treated myself to a Netflix movie in bed and called it a very early night. It was great!

Saturday morning the kids had danishes and yogurt for breakfast. Then playdates all day. First friends at our house; while the mom and I chatted and folded laundry, then naps, then an afternoon Halloween party with close friends. It was so wonderful going over there in sweats and just sitting and relaxing. The kids had juice and cake and hot dogs. They were in heaven. We stayed extra late so bedtime was easy. Then William and I had date night. We snuggled into Mommy's bed and watched "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and then he slept with me all night. He was in heaven!!!!

Sunday morning was a breakfast of popcorn and tootsie pops and yogurt. Yup, we have already started digging into the Halloween candy. My only goal for the day is to grab a shower before the campers get home.

We have been so busy this fall that it has been nice to relax and do nothing. No real plans, lots of tv and all of our favorite foods. I wouldn't say we are camping per se, but it is definitely a departure from our normal routine. A very welcome one at that!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Still an Adult

I absolutely love being a mom. I embrace every part of it. I love being my own boss and creating traditions in our family. I love being able to blow off everything in favor of an afternoon of ice cream. I love making quilts and birthday cakes and party food for classes. Its not all cotton candy and rainbows, but I love it nonetheless.

But every once in a while I get a glimpse of my old life, my pre-kid life. And I realize I loved that just as much too. Just recently I attended a School Site Council meeting. I almost didn't go, just because evenings are so tough for me. In the end I did go and I am glad I did. I really enjoyed talking to other parents, not being interrupted, not wiping noses or breaking up fights. I have 2 1/2 hours of adult conversation surrounding budgets, test scores and morality versus discipline.

It seems like such a small thing. In fact, it technically still is a mom thing since I am a parent representative and we were talking about children. But it was so nice to talk about it from a theoretical business perspective instead of venting about the most recent tantrum. I am so thankful for that grown-up time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Solo Disney Trip

Connor-man is so spoiled and I am so thankful that we have the opportunity to spoil him in this way. He is always helping with the trash and other chores, defending his mom and his sister and helping his brothers. He has such a big heart.

Recently family friends were taking the day off of school and work to go to Disneyland. It sounded like a ton of fun and it just so happened our passes were good that day. But at 37 weeks pregnant there was no way I was going to be able to take 4 kids to Disney for the day. Heck, after grocery shopping I have to go home and rest. Instead they offered to take Connor along with them for the day.

I wanted to say yes, but I was really concerned about the havoc it would reap in our household. I would have at least 2 other kids in tears and screaming "not fair". But I decided its only first grade and this doesn't happen often and we let him go. Surprisingly with a combination of not mentioning it and some simple reasoning with the kids it was a non-issue when we dropped him off at friend's house instead of school.

He was gone until 10 pm that night. I couldn't believe it. He came in, leaving his new toy in the car, and fell into my arms. He was utterly exhausted. But the next morning we got to hear about all the cool rides he went on. We don't always get to go on all the big rides since we always have a littler one with us, so I was happy he got that opportunity. It was his first time on Haunted Mansion. He told me it was no big deal, you just ride in cars and see stuff and its all pretend. He also went on Soaring Over California and again downplayed it "its just a swing and a big movie screen". I think he is thinking how cool he is that he has gone on these rides and the rest of the family hasn't.

It was definitely a successful trip. No tantrums from the kids left-behind. Connor happily went to the school the next day and he got to experience a whole new type of Disneyland!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Scout Hike

I have been hesitant to write this post mostly because its all 3rd person. Since I am in my 9th month of pregnancy I have gotten out of all the fun scout activities this month. Although the morning of the hike I was grateful, I really am missing being there with my kiddos as they experience all of these fun things for the first time.

Connor is a cub scout this year and its a whole new ball game for us. First off, I am a girl, so I was never in cub scouts. I never had any brothers who were in cub scouts. And girl scouts is entirely different. This has been a real learning experience for us the past few months. I spend hours pouring over the Tiger Den handbook and reading about the belt loops on the website. Then I check our schedule and see how we can fit in these activities and if any of them coincide with the girl scout try-its, so Lainy Ann can get credit too.

But recently I had a day off from scout planning. The pack leader had organized a Pack Hike - they picked the location, learning points and figured out the appropriate award. All I had to do is make sure the kids had a sack lunch and appropriate hiking clothes. That in itself was a bit of a challenge. It doesn't get very cold in California, so we don't invest in heavy duty cold weather wear. If its going to be that cold, we just stay home and change our plans. Well, apparently scouts are tougher than that and will hike even if its raining (okay, to be honest it was more of a drizzle).

Lainy Ann, Connor and Daddy set off on a 2 mile, mostly level hike, to a waterfall. I was thankful for the cool weather so I didn't have to worry about dehydration or sunscreen. I had to spend a bit of time explaining to Lainy Ann why we wouldn't be taking an umbrella. But since she was excited to be doing 'big kid' stuff she was pretty agreeable. I dressed the kids in shorts, long sleeves and raincoats, worried that Daddy would end up carrying the coats the entire time. Daddy had on his emergency/outdoor gear with all the pockets and a first aid kit and even waterproof matches, just in case. I couldn't pick a better or more well-prepared person to take my kids hiking.

Then they left. They were out of cell range and I had to hope for the best. So the rest of the story is all second-hand from Caskey.

It was quite a large group, 50+ people. Each person picked up trash as they walked in the true nature of scouting. At the midpoint of the hike they all stopped and ate lunch at the waterfall. Apparently the older scouts took this opportunity to splash and play in the water, even though it was 58* and drizzling. On the way back down the hill they had to cross a river 2 or 3 times. Connor-man was happy to walk through the river knee deep. brrrrrrr My princess on the other hand hopped from rock to rock as Daddy stood knee deep in the water holding her hand. Apparently older scouts had brought a change of socks which seemed smart, but on second thought what good are dry socks if the shoes are wet . . . .

I am so impressed that my kids stuck with it. Connor apparently did quite a bit of whining near the end, but I don't really blame him. What miserable conditions. Caskey tells me that near the end of the hike he looked back to check on Lainy Ann who walk walking along silently . . . . she was quietly walking with tears streaming down her face. :-( My poor sweet girl. I am so proud of her though. Just that simple act showed me how much she has matured in the last few months.

I wonder how camping will go . . . . .

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More Cleats

I don't know how it works for your AYSO region, but in Region 88 the team mom takes on the responsibility of snacks, banner, collecting money, and the end of the year party. She is the secretary of the team. The coaches job is usually just to coach and lead practice (for U6+) and referee. Its quite a time commitment with the training and extra meetings, so the team mom (and other volunteers) try to pick up the slack for the coach.

I am *not* team mom for U5 this year, but somehow I have been left in charge of snacks, banner, disseminating information about picture day and a few other things. I really don't mind. And honestly I don't want the pressure of being team mom, especially in a few short weeks when I will be in the hospital for a few days having our newest addition.

But imagine my shocks when our U5 coach, whose only responsibility is to show up for the game on time in uniform (neither of which he was doing) sent me an email telling me that my banner design had failed and that *I* was supposed to be responsible for the banner the rest of the season.

EXCUSE ME! Already, each and every week I manage to wrangle my family with 4 kids to each and every game, snacks, chairs, etc all while being VERY pregnant. I just don't see why its my responsibility to also lug the banner each week, especially when he is coming to the game with one child - not a toddler who is looking for an opportunity to engage fat-mommy in chase.

He went on to tell me that my snack choices (that had been pre-approved 5 weeks prior) were bad and that I needed to change them. I should *not* have oranges at any future games.

I could go on and on about the he said and she said. But it doesn't matter. A carefully worded email has explained to our coach that games do indeed need to start on time, the coach should be wearing his uniform at every game, and that I do snacks because I enjoy it. However, I am happy to give the responsibility back to each parent and we can rotate.

Every game since then has been a pleasure. The coach thanks me for bringing oranges to the games and appreciates my efforts as I waddle around the field dispensing snacks and collecting trash.

The good news is that I am that much more appreciative of the great coaches we have this year for U6 and U8 and have told them so numerous times. I see a great end-of-season gift in their future.

Happy 400!

'Tis the season for pumpkin patches and hay rides! As we are blazing through fall once again, thanks to typical southern California weather of 95*, I am reminded that I have never taken my kids to the pumpkin patch. Never. We have been parents for 7 years and have yet to set foot on the hay laden floor of a pumpkin patch.

You see October is the end of the birthday season for our family and also our wedding anniversary. So as a gift to us every year my mother and step-father keep the kids overnight, spoil them rotten and then bring them home the next day sticky and sweaty with face paintings from the pumpkin patch. I am in no way complaining. In fact, it gives us a much needed break and is nice on our pocket book too. The kids have snow cones, Happy Meals, and popcorn. They climb the hay bales, go through the maze and ride ponies. Then they can pick out any pumpkin they want, provided they can carry it by themselves, and bring it home. I can only imagine how much that costs for 4 (soon to be 5) children.

In celebration of my 400th blog post I want to thank my mom and step-dad. Hubby and I truly appreciate a few hours of quiet, a meal alone, and a chance to get a word in edge-wise. But even more than all of that I know that the kids truly cherish having something special to do with their grandparents every year. Lainy Ann and Connor are older and they can remember past years visits to the pumpkin patch. They pass on the stories and the history to the younger ones who can't quite remember last years adventure, but get excited at the idea.