Friday, March 27, 2015

Our Thursdays/TGIF

Y'all.  I am exhausted.  I'm so glad it's Friday.

This "Thursday" post is going to be more brief than the others, because I'm ready to relax, and Chet and I decided to watch a Netflix movie (let's hope I make it all the way through without falling asleep).

On Thursdays both girls go to school.  My neighbor drops them off, and Bubby and I go to Bible study at 10:00 a.m. (childcare provided).

Breakfast: blueberry muffins, sausage, Dole fruit cups.

I pick up all the kids (including my neighbor's daughter) from school at 12:30 p.m.

Lunch: can't for the life of me remember.

Nap time.

Chet caught the 5:20 p.m. bus home yesterday, so we walked up to the bus stop to meet him.  The girls had an interesting conversation while we were waiting:

Lorelei: Look, there's a chickmunk (chipmunk)!
Sydney: That's not a chickmunk, that's a squirrel.
Lorelei: Oh.
Sydney: Chickmunks are smaller than squirrels, and don't have tails.  Chickmunks are baby squirrels.
Lorelei: Ohhhhh.

Dinner: tacos.

After dinner we went to "the blacktop" which is a fenced-in blacktop parking lot that belongs to the girls' school.  That's where the kids play outside when it's recess time at school (there are a bunch of riding toys and playhouses to play with).  But it's open to the public during non-school hours, and that's where all of the kids learn to ride their bikes (our neighborhood has too many hills to learn how to ride on the streets).  Here's Syd last night (riding without training wheels is a new trick for her):

We were able to watch an episode of "Grey's Anatomy" last night.  We're all caught up now.

No need for a cliff's notes version of what we do Thursdays since this is so short.  TGIF!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Our Wednesdays

Disclaimer: These posts are to show you what our daily lives are like, but keep in mind that I don't write down each and every time I snap at my kids or they tell me "No!"  Hopefully I'm not making life over here seem too hunky dory, because it's not (life is good, but not perfect).

Also, because I've gone into so much detail in these posts, I feel like I've sort of missed my own point.  So here's the cliff's notes version of what we do Mondays and Tuesdays (cliff's notes version of Wednesdays at the end of this post):

Mondays: both girls go to school; Ashley and Ford go to the gym/Target
Tuesdays: Sydney goes to school; Ashley, Lorelei, and Ford go grocery shopping at the commissary

Note: Our schedule is pretty set in stone.  Obviously each day is never exactly the same, because our kids are young and unpredictable, but what we do and where we go almost never changes.  We stay home every single afternoon (except Fridays, when Syd has ballet at 2:00 p.m.), meaning that we never plan to run errands, go on play dates (not that we do many of those anyway), or leave the house "just because" in the afternoons.  We stay home, the kids play inside our outside, depending on the weather, sometimes they get bored and I start to go a little nutty, but I've learned that it's too much for us to get out and about post-nap and pre-dinner.  So, home we stay.  It's taken me a long time to get used to just being content at home, but practice has made perfect (imperfect), and this is what works best for our family, at this particular stage.

On to Wednesday!

Breakfast was mini pancakes, bacon, and strawberries.

Only Sydney goes to school on Wednesdays, and my neighbor usually does preschool drop off and pick up -- it's nice because we can focus on getting Sydney out the door, and the rest of us can take our time getting ready.

Lorelei goes to gymnastics class at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays.  We usually leave the house around 10:25 a.m.; it only takes a few minutes to get there, and the class usually starts a little late, so there's no hurry.

The class is not a "mommy and me" class, but it's laid back, so Ford is allowed to crawl around, and the moms who stay help the coach out if needed.  Lorelei loves the class, and Sydney does too (she was able to participate a few times when school was cancelled).  I think this summer I will give Sydney a break from ballet and let her and Lorelei both do gymnastics.

Gymnastics ends by 11:30 a.m., and sometimes we run a quick errand to either Trader Joe's, Harris Teeter, or the library, but this Wednesday we went straight home, and Lorelei and Ford ate lunch and went down for naps before Sydney even got home from school.

Lorelei's lunch: "wet" pepperoni, popcorn, shredded cheese
Sydney's lunch: "wet" pepperoni, a Nutrigrain bar, Cheeto puffs, strawberries

Only the healthiest for my babies...

(By the way, Ford eats too, it's just it's harder to remember what he eats because he consumes small amounts of many, many things.)

Sydney had rest time, and I did absolutely nothing productive while the kids rested.

On Wednesday evenings we go to church.  There is dinner at church every Wednesday at 5:00 p.m., and then Sydney has choir at 6:00 p.m. (Lorelei will be able to do choir next year too -- can you imagine conducting a 3-year old choir?  There's a reason I'm not that choir director...).  Lorelei and Ford go to childcare, and Chet and I go to the sanctuary, where we sing a couple of songs from the Hymnal and the Pastor does a little sermonette.  Chet and I are the youngest people in there by at least 30 years.  Probably closer to 45 years.  We love it.

Anyway, we only make it to the dinner part 50% of the time.  Yesterday we did not go to dinner, and instead ate chicken nuggets, salad, and broccoli and cheese before heading to church.

We leave church around 7:00 p.m., and the kids are always starving by the time we get home.  Between the three of them, standing in the kitchen and eating like baby birds, they consumed: 3 Nutrigrain bars, 1 applesauce pouch, and 1.5 yogurt drinks.  All in about 7 minutes.  We should own stock in Nutrigrain bars.

The kids went upstairs to get ready for bed after their snack (no baths last night!), and after they were tucked in, Chet and I commenced a more-hectic-than-usual Wednesday evening.  I moved a load of clothes from the washer to the dryer, folded a different load of clothes (Chet helped), Chet cleaned the kitchen, I baked cookies, I hung up the clothes from the dryer, Chet cleaned up the cookie baking mess, and then we signed our tax return and went to bed.  No "Gray's Anatomy" last night, since by this time it was 10:00 p.m.

Why on earth did you decide to bake cookies at 9:00 p.m., Ashley?  On Thursday mornings I go to Bible study, and I had signed up to bring a breakfast casserole and chocolate chip cookies to share with everyone.  The breakfast casserole could wait 'til morning, but baking cookies could not (unless I was willing to wake up at 3:00 a.m., WHICH I WAS NOT).

Cliff's notes version of Wednesdays: Sydney goes to school; Lorelei goes to gymnastics; church dinner (sometimes) and church choir in the evening

Remember how in yesterday's post I mentioned Ford practicing walking Tuesday night?  Below is the best video I could get (remember, his legs had already turned to jelly from overuse by the time I started taping):
Poor Bubby -- he's older than 14.5 months old, which means that his sisters officially walked earlier than he will.  But, as my dad said, "The boy can't walk too well, but he sure can zip around on a scooter!"

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Our Tuesdays

I won't go into detail about our morning routine, since I covered that yesterday.

For the breakfast the kids ate oatmeal, bacon, and strawberries.  Only Sydney goes to school on Tuesdays, and my next-door-neighbor usually drives her to school (along with her own daughter), but the other little girl was sick, so I did all of the driving on this particular Tuesday.

As soon as we dropped Sydney off at 9:30 a.m., Lorelei, Ford, and I headed to the commissary (the grocery store on base).  This is what we do 95% of Tuesday mornings: major grocery shopping at the commissary.  I used to go to the commissary on weekends, sans kids, but that took up too much precious weekend time, and I've found that the more you practice something (grocery shopping with kids), the easier it becomes.  Or, at least, the more used to it you become.

Since I bought a ridiculous amount of stuff at Costco on Sunday, the commissary trip was lighter than usual.  Lorelei and Ford are pretty good little helpers, although they've come to believe that commissary time is snack time, and immediately start demanding politely asking for snacks the moment we walk through the doors.  And Bubby still needs help with most snacks, so there's  a lot of starting and stopping and holding up traffic in the aisles.  Thankfully, Tuesday mornings are not too busy at the commissary, so we only get three dirty looks per trip, on average.

We returned home by 11:00 a.m., which is earlier than usual, so I was able to unload the groceries, put them away, and feed Lorelei and Bubby lunch before going to get Syd.

Lorelei's lunch: scrambled eggs (her request, after she saw I was making hard-boiled eggs and didn't want to partake), black olives, popcorn, and blueberries.  We bought a pint of blueberries at the commissary just an hour earlier, and they were going to turn sooner than the strawberries, so we all loaded up on blueberries yesterday.

We picked up Sydney at 12:30 p.m., I put Lorelei and Ford down for naps, and then Syd had lunch: "wet pepperoni" (which means regular, greasy pepperoni, as opposed to healthier, dry turkey pepperoni), a "bar" (Nutrigrain bar), popcorn, and blueberries.

While Sydney was having rest time, and the younger two were still napping, Chet called and told me that we were chosen (via lottery) for this year's White House Easter Egg Roll -- can you say woo hoo?!  I'm super excited -- it's the day after Easter.

Besides taking Chet's call, I also worked on my Bible study and caught up some paperwork while the kids rested.  For the rest of the afternoon, until dinner, we just hung out.  It's been so damp outside lately, it chills me to the bone, so no fresh air for us until things dry out and warm up a little (apparently I'm a wimp who hasn't heard of jackets).

Easy dinner last night: commissary rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, salad, corn on the cob, and-- you guess it -- blueberries.

I cleaned the kitchen and put in a load of laundry while Chet took the kids upstairs and bathed them.  They were all just playing in the girls' room, cheering on Bubby while they tried to get him to walk.  I could tell that he was doing better than usual (his usual being two steps before falling), and finally I went upstairs too.  They were very excited to show me his new tricks, but apparently his chubby little legs had already turned to jelly, and he could only manage four steps by the time I got up there.

After the kids went to bed we watched an episode of "Grey's Anatomy," then went to bed ourselves.

Did you have a good Tuesday (even though you're probably reading this on Thursday)?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Our Mondays

I realize it's Tuesday, but I'm going to update you on what our daily routines are like these days (since we lead such scintillating lives).  I'll post each day this week, recounting the previous day.  (Trust me, a little time to reflect upon/forget about excruciating details is in your favor.)

So, Mondays.  I try to get out of bed as early as possible each and every day, because I love quiet mornings, but usually it's hard.  On average I get up at 6:30 a.m.  Chet leaves the house between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.  The girls come out of their room at 7:00 a.m. (sometimes Sydney sleeps a little later than that).  When the girls get up they watch a show on TV and drink some orange juice, while I get dressed (I cannot, cannot, CANNOT bring myself to get dressed before they get up -- why waste precious, quiet, morning minutes on getting dressed?!).  Getting myself dressed is easy on Mondays because I head to the gym after preschool drop off (Sydney and Lorelei both go to preschool on Mondays), so no need to spend a lot of time choosing an outfit or primping (as if I ever do that anyway -- HA!).

Ford wakes up between 7:00 a.m and 8:00 a.m., and we just fit him into the morning routine.  After I'm dressed I feed the kids breakfast.  Yesterday was cereal, bacon, and strawberries.  Sydney ate Crispix, while Lorelei requested "white crispies" (Rice Krispies -- actually, Crispy Rice, since I buy Harris Teeter's brand).  Each morning I clean up the dining room and kitchen as much as possible; my goal is to at least get the table cleared and all of the dishes into the kitchen, and to wipe down the table.  It gives me hives to come home later and see a disastrous dining room the moment I walk through the front door (you can pretty much see our entire downstairs just by walking through the front door).

During the breakfast routine I pack the girls' snacks for school, and then we head upstairs to get the kids dressed, fix hair, brush teeth.  By the time all of this is done, it's time to rush out the door.

Preschool drop off is at 9:30 a.m.  After drop off, Bubby and I head to the gym.  He normally falls asleep in the car on the way to the gym, so I park in the underground parking garage and let him take a quick nap while I comb through e-mail, read, etc.  I like to drop him off at the gym's daycare by 10:30 a.m. so that I can do a quick treadmill warmup before the 11:00 a.m. "core" class that I take on Mondays.  The class is only 30-minutes long, but it's really good, and I'm usually sore for 2-3 days afterward.

I retrieve Bubby from the gym daycare by 11:45 a.m., and then we usually go to Target afterward.  The gym and Target are attached, so I don't even have to get in my car to go there.  Yesterday I didn't even need anything, but there's an awkward amount of time between finishing at the gym and picking up the girls.  So yesterday we just walked around, but Bubby and I both enjoyed it (who wouldn't?!).  After we left Target we had time to run to the dry cleaner to pick up my cardigan that I live in when it's not at the dry cleaner.  Then we picked up the girls at 12:30 p.m..  Since it's only about a 2-minute ride home from the school, we're usually home by 12:45 p.m., unless the girls are moving especially slowly (tell me my kids are not the only ones who move at an injured turtle's pace).

After school I feed the kids a very simple, quick lunch.  Yesterday was rolled up turkey slices, Cheetos, and strawberries (I bought a gigantic container of strawberries at Costco on Sunday, so I'm pushing the strawberries before they turn).  Then Lorelei and Ford go down for naps, and Sydney has quiet time.

Yesterday during nap/quiet time, I started a project I didn't plan on starting: completely reorganizing our desk.  I didn't take a "before" picture, but here's the "after" picture:

Our desk is actually a door, held up by a filing cabinet on the left side, and two table legs on the right side.  (It's the girls' closet door.)  I love it, but we have to be deliberate about what goes on the desk, since there are no drawers to hide anything in (the filing cabinets are full of files).  The dark mass to the left of the black filing cabinet is a shoe holder, with a boot tray on top.  The front door is what you see in the far left side of the picture.  The dining room is on the far right side of the picture.  Underneath the desk, just to the right of the filing cabinet, is a Trader Joe's shopping bag full of things I need to shred, but never seem to get around to.  The white box sitting on the floor, to the right of the office chair, houses the power strip to the computer, because Bubby's favorite pastime is flipping the power switch on the power strip.  The box on the floor, just inside the dining room wall, is full of stuff that I need to file.  Just keeping it real, folks.

I digress.

This little project took me most of the afternoon/early evening, but it was a good project for yesterday, because we had maintenance men show up at the house to fix a couple of things, preventing me from going about my usual routine.  The workers showed up around 2:30 p.m. (by this time, Sydney and Lorelei were up from naps), and they first fixed the bricks on our front walk that kept falling every time you stepped on them (thanks to all the moisture we've had recently).
(See that big dark patch of asphalt on the street?  That's where the water company worked last week, lulling Bubby to sleep with their jackhammers.)

They fixed the bricks pretty quickly, but then needed to run to Home Depot for the correct faucet (our kitchen faucet had a pinhole leak on the left side, spraying water every time you turned it on).  The one they brought back was defective, so they had to go back to Home Depot (not an easy trip during rush hour on a Monday), and were finally able to finish the job around 8:00 p.m.  We are very happy to have a new faucet.

Meanwhile, and before 8:00 p.m., Bubby woke up from a nap, the girls mostly played in their room (the weather in the above picture looks pretty, but it's still quite chilly outside!), and I soldiered on in my desk organizing project.  Chet caught the 6:00 p.m. bus home (later than usual for him), and we had leftover Costco lasagna for dinner.  Well, Chet, Sydney, and I had leftover lasagna; Lorelei and Ford ate scrambled eggs and...strawberries.

After dinner everyone headed upstairs to get the kids ready for bed (baths, pajamas, teeth, vitamins, a post-dinner-pre-bed-good-Lord-didn't-you-just-eat snack).  With the men working so late on the faucet, we were a little thrown off schedule, but the kids were tucked in by 8:30 p.m.  Then we had to clean the kitchen, since we couldn't before without a faucet.  (We almost always get the kitchen cleaned before putting the kids to bed.)  While Chet washed dishes, I sat at the dining room table and worked on my Bible study (David Platt's Counter Culture).  Then Chet and I watched an episode of "Grey's Anatomy" on Hulu and went to bed.

If you're still reading...bless you.  How was your Monday?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sydney and Lorelei enjoying the spoils from Grammy's St. Patrick's Day package:

Sydney and Ford were excited to wear green this morning, but Lorelei refused.  In fact, she recoiled in horror when I showed her the adorable shirt I thought she should wear (Syd's shirt from two years ago--it says "LOVE," and a glittery green shamrock is the letter "O").  Instead, she wore her nightgown until the last possible minute.  I did talk her into wearing a green bow in her hair, and green socks.

In case you're bored stiff, here are links to two other St. Patrick's Day posts (both cleverly titled, "Happy St. Patrick's Day!" just like this one):


Last year on St. Patrick's Day, all schools and government buildings were closed due to snow.  I remember staying inside all day, wading through boxes, trying to unpack as much as possible while Chet was home to help.  *Shudder*  I'm glad that was last year and not this year!  Today we reached 70 degree weather for a few minutes.

If you look closely at the last picture, you may notice that Sydney lost her first tooth (or, as my dad says, her first milk tooth.)  It's been loose for a couple of weeks, and she was dying for it to come out.  So Chet yanked it out while we were sitting at the dinner table last night.  Lovely.  The Tooth Fairy left her a $1 bill under her pillow, which Sydney promptly squirreled away in her piggy bank.

Sydney: "Mommy, what color dress does the Tooth Fairy wear?"
Me: "What color do you think she wears?"
Sydney: "White."
Sounds good to me, Syd.

In other news, Ford slept through the night last night (something that he does not do regularly, unfortunately), but Chet and I did not.  Why?  Because there was a busted water main in front of our house, which Virginia American Water fixed between the hours of 11:30 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.  Chet said, "We should exchange Ford's white noise machine for a Soothing Sounds of a Jackhammer machine."  Touché.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snowy Day/1 Year Ago/Reading Update

It's a snowy day here.  School and work were both cancelled, and we've been watching the snow fall (constantly, and quite heavily) outside our windows since 8 a.m.  It's truly beautiful, but I would love if it were the last snowfall of the season.

I can't confirm for sure if it was exactly one year ago, but I seem to remember that last year on March 5th, Papa Greg's birthday (happy birthday, Papa Greg!), I was standing in our 5' x 5' kitchen, waiting for the movers to arrive to unload all of our junk belongings from the moving van.  I was really glad that we were finally all together as a family in our new home (not really new -- it was built in 1939), after getting delayed in Atlanta for a few days with Baby Ford.  I was thinking about the fact that Ford was 2-months old (happy 14-months, Bubby!), and wondering how on earth how Chet and I were going to handle getting moved in and unpacked with three kids underfoot (rest assured, it wasn't easy).  There was snow a year ago too; the movers tromped through it while unloading the moving van.

A year later, same weather, but seemingly totally different life.  Things are just so different (easier) after you've had a year to settle in, and you no longer have a newborn on your hands (or 300 cardboard boxes, filled with who knows what).

Now, a reading update.  Falling into the category "a book recommended by someone with great taste" is Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  It was recommended by the author of the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy (and creator of the 2015 Reading Challenge), and I was truthfully skeptical.  It's a Young Adult novel (not an issue for me though -- I'm not above reading YA), and falls into the Fantasty/Sci-Fi genre, which is what made me the most skeptical.  But I decided to give it a go, because I think Modern Mrs. Darcy has great taste.  It was an enjoyable book -- easy to read, but well written, and very clever.  I'm currently reading the second book in the series, Scarlet.  I'll probably take a break from the series after I finish this one though.  I like the books, but I don't love, love, love them.

I finally finished the Harry Potter series, therefore Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows falls into the category of "a book you've been meaning to read."  Considering it took me 11 years to read the entire series, I think it's a title well earned.  I keep a list, which I started in May 2003, of all the books I finish.  I searched the document for "Harry Potter": I finished the first book in the series January 3, 2004.  I was appalled to discover that I read the 6th book twice: the two finish dates were 8/11/11 and 9/24/14.  Obviously 9/24/14 was fairly recently, but I had no recollection of reading the book before then.  Embarrassing.

My cousin Laura gave me some recommendations, one of which was Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (this book has also been recommended by Modern Mrs. Darcy).  I decided just to go ahead and read it already, and it was amazing.  Read it!  Thank you, Laura!

I've tentatively chosen some titles for a couple of the other categories of the reading challenge:
--Matilda by Roald Dahl ("a book from your childhood")
--The Help by ("a book 'everyone' has read but you")

What do you, my readers, recommend for "a book you should have read in high school?"