No Tears!

Friends, Raegan has been waiting for this day for, well, possibly two years when HD img_7413started Kindergarten, so to say that she was Ready is a bit of an understatement. She was so ready that we had tears yesterday because HD got to start and she had to wait for today! My sweet girl. Can you see that longing look in her eye in the photo bomb from his first day pics? Yep. She was more than pumped to get up today and Get It!

And you know what? It was a great morning. Much better than yesterday, actually. img_7423Maybe it was the sunshine or the fact that now, today, our real big kid school routine begins (preK will be added in a couple weeks and then we’ll have a couple/few months of normalcy before Baby arrives), but wow – total difference in everyone’s attitude and temperament (including Mama’s). Also, she told me I picked “perfectly” with her golden unicorn t-shirt for her to wear today. ūüėČ

img_7435We got to walk with friends to school as we like to do and from there, it was a bit of back and forth across the playground for myself and the littlest boys (naturally the grades in which my kids land line up on opposite sides of the building) but we got to catch up with Big Brother (who ran ahead with his buddies) for a quick photo and hug (and face wipe which I also had to do for Raegan — apparently we need to install some more lighting in our house because I had no idea they still had breakfast faces until we got out in the sunshine of the playground. Whoops.) And then it was a quick dash back to Raegge for all the same before watching her walk in for her first day.

She was a Rock Star. No tears. No freakout when I left her to go check on HD. She just flat out nailed it. And you know what? So did I! I had the sunnies ready to go to hide my blotchy face and tissues in my bag, but no tears, my friends! From any of us! I can’t even possibly explain this except that she was so solid and that helped me keep it together, too. Could the tears still come? You bet. But for now, this – a quick little note to my girl on her first day of school:

Dearest Raegan,

Welcome to Kindergarten, Baby Girl! We are so proud of the amazing person you are and on this, your first day of school, we wish you all the continued fun, learning, and excitement with which you have so anxiously awaited this day. Your strength of spirit, your creativity, and your spark for life are inspirations to your dad and I, not to mention great sources of joy for all who know you. May you always carry the tenacity, sweetness, and love you hold inside you today with you wherever you go, for we know you are off and on your way to do and be amazing. We love you, Raegee. Go get ’em, girlie!¬†

Love,

Mama*

*OK, there are the sniffles. I knew they weren’t far below the surface!¬†img_7429

 

Advertisements

Someone Loves Scissors (and other random Tuesdayness)

Oh my word. I guess the full moon before Christmas is always an interesting one, but my children have been in FINE form today. I give you a semi-chronological list of evidence:

  1. The Bigs emptied every blessed book from our shelves this morning into two huge piles on our couches in a counting contest to see who could get more in their pile. I’ve never thought there was such a thing as too many books until today. Bright side – the shelves now look impeccable because I sorted them as I made the kids bring them back to me after breakfast?¬†img_4482
  2. Lincoln, the child I can never for the ever loving life of me get dressed in anything img_4478other than pajamas, flat out refused to wear PAJAMAS for PAJAMA DAY at preschool. Last night? Totally stoked. Going to wear footies. Today? Not having it. Not one bit.
  3. While waiting in between drop off times for preschool, Raegan was like a loud pinball in the hallway – literally bouncing off the walls and chairs and floor while she played with the baby and some other friends that play the same waiting game we do every T/Th. Seriously. Who caffeinated my children this morning?!
  4. Truman has become the Mad Thrasher any time I go to pick him up for a diaper change. He wants so badly to do his own thing that clearly my desire to keep him dry and smelling so fresh and so clean, clean is totally insulting. Also, he wants to walk. And he gets mad when things or his feet or poor balance get in the way. Also, he is fighting a cold. And he gets mad when I try to wipe his face. Basically, he’s just having A (MAD) WEEK.
  5. The Middles tend to get into a lot of shenanigans while I nurse the baby for his afternoon nap, but today each one had their own infraction. Lincoln, I discovered after coming back downstairs, had taken his glass glass from lunch and chucked it on the floor, which resulted thankfully not in it breaking, but in orange juice (also fighting a cold) being all over the floor. Perhaps this explains why I did not notice RL’s issue until I went to wash my hands in the bathroom and discovered hair in the sink.¬†img_4481
  6. Yep, the girl who loves love loves to color and then cut paper, finally took the scissors to her hair. It doesn’t help that two boys have haircuts today and she doesn’t, but thankfully I can’t even see where she took the chunk out of her hair, so I guess all is well still for her preschool program at the end of the week and we don’t have to add a third cut to the hair dresser docket.

And you guys, this was all before 1:00 p.m.! These children, I tell ya!

But in some not-exasperating-at-all news, I picked up a post at Her View From Home this week and it is live on their site today. It’s about telehealth which I totally didn’t even really know what a legit thing until we tried it over the weekend. Have you ever used it?¬†Fascinating stuff!

So – the rest of Tuesday….well, TBD, I guess. Here’s hoping the shenanigans are out of the way!

Game OVER

In what appears to be an alarming trend this month, we – the Welschies – find ourselves in the midst of another long and rocky week. Like FULL to the max with commitments for the grownups and still not done as tomorrow is a 12+ hour-long day for Ben because of PTCs.

Apparently the Little Welschies wanted to add to the fun and hilarity of our schedule because they started their Wednesday at 5:30 a.m. – except neither Ben nor I realized that because the little buggers SNUCK DOWNSTAIRS AT 5:30 IN THE MORNING AND TURNED ON THE WII AND PLAYED MARIO KART UNTIL WE GOT UP AND FOUND THEM AT 6:45.

WTFAYFKM – all rolled into one – is how one might describe the looks on our faces when we realized just how early they had gotten up and just how they had been spending their time.

A little backstory: weekend before last, we attended a fundraiser for Food4Thought, one of our local faves when it comes to mission, donating, and events. They do amazing work in the community and are excellent at engaging kiddos in their cause. They have this not-so-little fall shindig with a Mario Brother’s obstacle course that our crew adores, and this year the event also included a projector hooked up to a Wii with Mario Kart on tap.¬†img_4517

Now, Mario Kart is not entirely foreign in our house. I am positive my kids have seen Ben play it before (but not nearly as obsessively as he did in college, tyvm) and have maybe even tried it themselves, but not extensively, by any means. But they got a chance to try it at the fundraiser and liked it (even though, really, a 3yo? Not exactly the best racer skills…), so we’ve played a few family rounds with our own copy of the game since then.

OK. Fine. No harm done.

Until this morning when one of them got a freaking wild hair to wake up his (I’m guessing here) siblings and entice them to go downstairs where they raced for an hour and fifteen minutes unawares to their parental units.

Actually – that’s not entirely true.

I was totally woken up by thumping above my head, but since I don’t (can’t) sleep near a clock, I have no idea what time that was and, at the time, I just assumed it was bathroom breaks (except then no one came down to tell me good morning and after a bunch of tossing and turning I fell back asleep only to be woken up later in the middle of a really weird dream to the news that my children were downstairs helping themselves to video games before the crack of dawn. Awesomeness).

As you can imagine, their behavior and awake factor was wonderful the rest of the day.

Actually, I could already see the ill effects of that much screen time that early in the day before anyone left/went to school, and I honestly considered sending apology notes to their teachers but that would have involved explaining the apparent free-for-all nature of our house and that just didn’t seem like a good idea.

Somehow everyone got through the day without falling asleep (except for the sweet babe who still naps), but the end of the day was not without tears and extra long stalling, because that is what overtired children do best. They also excel at getting up really early instead of sleeping in to recover, so you can bet we are unplugging and hiding the Wii to avoid future such adventures.

For Pete’s sake. Or eff’s. Take your pick.

 

Here I Am, Stuck in the Middle with You (and You)

When I found out on RL’s first birthday that I was pregnant with Baby #3, I was surprised to say the least. When LT came out exactly 8 months later (they are 20 months – to the day – apart), I probably should have figured right then and there that these two close babes would be, well, close. And now that we have sweet Truman in the mix? It’s official – our Middles are quite the pair.

As a product of a two-kiddo family, I don’t actually get the whole Middle Child thing. I mean, I know enough from pop culture to get the gist, but¬†when I refer to Raegan and Lincoln as our Middles, I don’t know if I am fitting or fighting the MC stereotypes. What I mean, simply, is that they are without comparison, except for maybe each other.

They are partners in crime, best friends, at each other’s throats, and all the other cliches in a matter of minutes, all day long.

Lately they have been giving me fits in the (ha – shocking) middle of the day when I am trying to nurse TJ and get him down for his afternoon nap. In order to do that, I have to leave the Middles to play on their own for an extended bit of time, which on Tuesday resulted in me coming down to find them with Amazon packages that they had COLLECTED THEMSELVES FROM THE FED-EX GUY (OR WAS IT UPS? I WOULDN’T KNOW! I WASN’T THERE!) AT THE FRONT DOOR AFTER UNLOCKING IT AND OPENING IT WHEN HE RANG THE DOORBELL.

Can you sense my frustration here?

For the love of all things holy, how many times have I told them not to go outside without me?!

Their defense? We didn’t go outside, Mama. We just opened the door.¬†

And they also managed to disable my iPhone to the extent that it locked itself down for so many minutes before I could access it again.

Insert Face Palm here. Doh. And WTAF?!

So, after a lovely conversation about how opening the door to people when Mama is not around could result in someone coming in our house or someone TAKING THEM, I made them swear and promise and pledge and all the other things that they would not do this again. And don’t touch Mama’s phone!

Then, a day later, because I have learned a thing or two in life as a parent of wee ones, I told them what I wanted them to do should the doorbell ever ring when I am with the baby instead of focusing on what not to do. Come get me, I said. Come tell me that someone is at the door and we will deal with it together.  Because I would much rather interrupt nursing and nap (seriously) than have this crap continue.

Sure enough, yesterday they came scurrying to find me, to tell me that the doorbell had rung (no, we don’t have an Amazon problem, tyvm), and I was so proud of them. They listened! Yay, Middles!!

Flash forward to today. No doorbells. No deliveries. No interruptions. I put on some music and they were still playing when I came back down after putting Trumy down, but right away I noticed no music. And there was Linky telling me, “Raegan touched your phone.” and Raegge telling me, “NO I didn’t!” but it took all of one glance at said¬†phone to see pictures of Lincoln that I did not take to see that yes, yes she did, but oh wait, there was also a missed call from my MIL, so I called her back.

And you know what we discovered? She was calling me back but I never called her, so really neither one of us really meant to call the other, which is to say that the Middles totally caused these shenanigans when they clearly were not touching my phone.

DOH. Again.

Oh, well. At least this time they didn’t leave the house¬†or open the door to a stranger or disable/break anything. And actually, they gave us a pretty good laugh when we realized what was going on and that no one needed anything frantic or urgent in the middle of this TGIF day.

Oh, RL and LT. You are so many things.Entertaining is certainly right up there toward the top of the list.

Photography by Raegan:

img_4043

Shoe Tying Hell

So it’s been a few years since I read Dante’s Inferno, but it is not hard to remember the basic concept of various levels of hell (connected to various levels of sin, but so not where this post is going, so let’s skip that part, OK?). Today I discovered that certain tasks of raising Littles must come straight from a Parenting Purgatory, in which it too has levels, and one level is definitely dedicated to sleep, another to laundry, and still another, teaching – that is, teaching life skills, such as wiping one’s own ass (also not where this post is going, thank goodness) and tying one’s own shoes.
Shoe Hell is where we found ourselves on this, the last day of summer break before school starts tomorrow.

Do I feel in part like a (not so proud) Bad Mom that my now 7yo/first grader still doesn’t know how to tie his shoes? Yes. But do I also have confirmation from friends who also have first graders who cannot tie their own shoes? Yes. Whew.

This life skill was a total summer goal of ours and we totally didn’t even try it until today. Not the best planning on my part, eh? But you guys, I totally believed the Pinterest lies, I mean links, that told me this could be accomplished not only in just one day but in five short minutes! I even watched the video last night and thought, OK, that should work.

Here was what we will now call Attempt No. 1: Magic Fingers

It very much did not work. I am sorry, but Magic Fingers, My ASS.

img_3391Problem No. 1: my¬†children cannot even do the “simple, like normal” tie that is the foundation of the whole damn process. Automatic red flag, my friends.

Problem No. 2: the video goes way fast and does not keep repeating instructions so it is either get it or get super frustrated.

Problem No.3: I can’t freaking do it. I sat on the floor with my two oldest and my very own shoe, watching and listening and trying for 5 minutes times at least 5 or 6 and NO DAMN DICE. Not once did I – the 34yo – actually tie my shoes using this method.

Which led us to what we will now call Attempt No. 2: Magic Molly (seriously, folks – what’s with the magic?? You are making a Muggle out of me because I just ain’t buying it!)

It also very much did not work.

Problem No. 1: Because this was just what came up next on YouTube, I had no idea what she was going to say or what prep work (knots and marker colored strings) was involved, so we immediately got lost and the children started blaming me for not helping them/their stuff not being right (I was mad dash scrambling to tie knots on one side of their laces and use masking tape – the closest thing nearby – instead of markers on the other).

Problem No.2: See above — yelling, whining, finger pointing children. No way. Not having it.

Problem No.3: I said “No way. Not having it.” and took a step back rather than trying to continue down this purgatory spiral (as continuing would have easily resulted in my flipping the eff out) which totally backfired because then the children also wanted to quit (face palm) and the whole thing was just clearly not happening.

We needed snacks and hydration at this point, so I don’t know if this method is actually flawed or if our timing was just bad, but as it was, it still was not the answer for us.

And then, because FB and the universe are little bit crazy, we landed on Video No.3 (look for vid on shoe tying, of course), which a friend happened to just share on the FB this afternoon, as she was also trying to teach a Little to tie shoes today. No mama alone, right? Right.

So this one looked good. No mention of MAGIC in the title, for one thing, and her voice sounds just like that of one of my dear friends, however, the same fundamental flaw also found in the first video — assuming my children understand the basic first loop/tie move — exists here, which is tricky. I’m not sure you can call something the EASIEST if in fact the first step is actually not yet easy for the attemptee. Anyway. It’s not like anything could go much worse than the first two rounds, so I decided why not? and gave it a whirl.

After a little work with just me and the two of them on the assumed step, we watched the FB video to see the remaining steps and lo and beholdimg_3394HD did it! Only once (he tried again for good measure and was not happy when it didn’t pan out a second time), mind you, but it was totally there for a moment, so I am taking it and running with it as a victory, damnit.

RL was still in frustrated whiny tears over the assumed step, but you know, considering she’s not even 5 yet, I figure we have a couple years, not a matter of days, to figure out this crap.

Also, there is this – a three-minute TED video my uncle shared with me about the science of shoe tying that explains that pretty much all of us are doing it wrong anyway. WHO KNEW THIS WAS SUCH A COMPLEX SUBJECT?! Guess I will cut myself some slack in the mom department on not knocking this out of the park today.

 

 

Mama Dates

Seeing as I am leaving this weekend for my First-ever Girls’ Getaway Long Weekend Trip Extravaganza (you guys, when it is the first time happening EVER since becoming a mom almost seven years ago, it deserves a big fancy title!), these few days leading up to the trip itself are a bit different. Yes, there is planning and packing that must take place yet, but also some extra special time with my Littles is needed, too, because, oh my gosh, this is new territory for us and even though it is only four days, it feels (to me and perhaps Ben) like I am going to be gone for. ev. ER!

To counter being gone all weekend, I asked the kiddos if they would like to do Mama Dates this week and when they found out that Mama Dates could equal Mama DESSERT Dates of their choice, they were even more pumped.

I thought we might spread the love out one kid per day but RL just couldn’t handle that, so she and HD both got their turns yesterday. And they both picked Cherry B’s (thanks, RL, for super cute nickname for Cherry Berry), which is to say that Harrison picked it first and then Raegan had to do the exact same (which caused me to flat out tell the gal at Cherry B’s, “see you in a bit!” so she wouldn’t look at me like a crazy person when I came back 20 minutes later with a a second kid).

Harrison love loves Cherry B’s and thanks to some school thing, he had a free 8 oz. cup which he topped himself with junk galore, and dubbed it Extreme Sugar. Sounds about right, but it was free and he didn’t waste any of it and we got to hang out in the seats of his choosing, and he was watching baseball stats on the TV (OK, Little Ben), and all was well.

After that it was a quick trip to Miss L’s Little Free Library where all the kid books were pretty well gone, but he nabbed a cooking magazine instead (why? I don’t know, but he was happy about it) and then we headed home for him to do his screen time while I grabbed Raegge for her turn.¬†img_2734

In some sort of weird sibling twinning phenomenon, Raegan picked the same exact place to sit at Cherry B’s, but her treat was a different concoction that together we named Chocolate Extreme. Note: Mama did not have back-to-back Cherry B’s, thank you very much. The first was good but plenty! Instead, I just hung out and chatted with Miss RL while she ate hers.

After, we hit up the final days sale at a flower stand to snag a few more plants for our front flower beds. Raegan picked the colors: Purple, Red, and Yellow, and even helped put the big cart away when we were all done with it. Sweet, sweet girl.

img_2738

I totally thought I was going to be making a third trip with Lincoln yesterday as he was just getting up from nap when I got home with Raegan, but he heard the other kids talking about playing in the kiddie pool in the backyard and instantly wanted nothing to do with ice cream. Crazy, right? But no big deal, we just saved his date for this morning when I took him to Runza for, yes, ice cream before lunch. No wonder my kids love Mama Dates so much! Who wouldn’t?! lol!

img_2752

In pure awesome fashion, LT got to enjoy his free kids’ cone and I ordered some fries for us to share, so once again, a good time was had by all. Linky and I didn’t run any extra errands, but we did drive by the “Big Grilla” (read: huge inflatable gorilla outside one of the fireworks stands) and enjoyed our little morning getaway all the same.

Getting one-on-one time with each kid is pretty rare these days, so I am so glad when the opportunity/motivation comes along to make it happen. And really, even though we “ate out” three times, the grand total for all three dates (minus flower purchase) was roughly $10 which is pretty good.

Hopefully in July we can do another round or two and maybe we’ll find some non-food destinations/activities, but I don’t know — the little Welschies might have it in their brains now that MDDs are the only way to go! So more froyo and french fries could be in my future summer plans? Sounds just fine to me! ūüėČ

 

Coming up Welschie

If I could revert back 25 years or so, I would think today was a pretty kick-ass day. For the record, as a 34yo, I still think today was pretty kick-ass, but I’m trying to look at it the day from the eyes of my Littles, and I would say that vacation days don’t get much better than what they got to do today.

First on the agenda, hotel breakfast. Who doesn’t love a good hotel breakfast? HD certainly does as he attempted to eat his weight in cinnamon rolls, blueberry muffins, and waffles (and cereal and OJ, too) this morning. All that carb loading came in handy soon after, though, as the kids hit the ground running and did not stop for long the rest of the day.

img_2508While Trumy and Mama napped/hid in the bathroom (yep, still doing that) this morning, the Bigs and Daddy met up with Great Grandpa for some park time near the river (boo! no pictures of that!) and then later collected us from the hotel so the Welschies Six could do the South Dakota Discovery Center together before lunch. You guys, how can you not love this building, much less all the awesomeness it has in store for kiddos? We try to hit this every time we are in Pierre and we are never disappointed. Today’s hottest hot spots were PVC pipe building (HD made a parking garage – lol!) and the Vet Office, Paws and Claws (where RL and LT played forever). Personally, I wanted to take the giant windows with me – love the light!

Next, while I once again hid in the hotel room while the littlest boys napped, Ben and the big kids did lunch (hello McD’s playplace and ice cream!) and then the pool, where they stayed for the next TWO hours – Lincoln joined them for the last 30 minutes or so. They were all in LOVE with the pool.

After showers for all, it was off to Zesto, another Must Stop spot in Pierre for (gasp! more!) ice cream with Great Aunt Jackie. Banana Laffy Taffy sherbet cones (HD and I looooove Banana Laffy Taffy and apparently so do the other kiddos and my aunt!), to be exact, and HD was so pleased, I think his little boy heart about popped out of his chest. img_2555

Then it was on to Great Grandpa’s place for a grill-out of hot dogs and hang-a-burgers (thanks, RL!) and some games, and just general hang out time before we loaded everyone up to come back and crash at the hotel so we can hit the road home early tomorrow.

But just thinking of this day – of sunshine and play time and swimming and treats and family time (which is what this whole trip has been about, anyway), makes my heart smile. I would say there isn’t much that is terribly easy about traveling with this many small children but that doesn’t mean doing so isn’t enjoyable, and it is certainly worth it for them to make memories with each other and extended family to boot. Somehow, I think they agree. ‚̧

img_2560