Did You Grow Last Night?

Since Wilson decided to potty train 10 days ago, it seems the milestones keep flinging themselves in our faces and three years and almost three months after our last baby was born, it is really hitting me how much my family is this solid unit moving forward at break-neck speeds.

Before, as we kept adding person after person (after person after person? did I do that right?), we had to revert continually and learn how to be a new family as a unit of 3, 4, 5, 6, and then 7. Each time we revisited the newborn stage and the teething stage and the crawling/walking/running stages, only to start all over again when the next little new person came along.

But for three+ years now, we’ve been working through those early stages for the last time, and even though this isn’t news to me or you, it’s hitting me in all my feels lately.

Case in point, today in the mail we received information regarding Truman’s Kindergarten registration for this fall and I about fell over when I opened the envelope because how can my littlest guy be so big? When I made that same comment to my husband he promptly reminded that my biggest little guy is about to get info on MIDDLE SCHOOL registration and then I really did feel the shock in my physical body because, what? Are you serious? Already?! Again, I’m here every day, day after day, raising them and helping them and watching them but somehow this growth still manages to sneak the heck up on me.

Ask my kids and they will tell you, one of the questions I ask most often is, “Did you grow last night?” because they honestly appear taller some mornings than the night before when I kissed them goodnight. How do they do that? I have yet to solve the mystery, but if their ever-creeping-highwater-pajama-pant-legs are any indication, I really am on to something.

In addition to nonstop growing, this moving forward as a Family of Seven means we’re actually reaching stages where we can really get rid of baby stuff. I realize I should have started that process a long time ago (I have done some) but a year+ of house reno added to almost a year of a pandemic and you know what, sorting through toys and gear just hasn’t been a priority much less a possibility amidst all the chaos and people in this house that needs such organizing. But I do want to get to that task and we made a giant leap this week by kicking our highchair to the curb.

Now, I didn’t cry but it was bittersweet to see it go. We’ve had that thing as long as we’ve lived in this house and all five kids have used it over the years. But for months now Wilson has been eating meals at the island with the rest of the Bigs and even though she’s a holy terror mess maker while doing so, it really is much easier on my back than lifting her into that seat. Normally we give away our baby gear or sometimes try to sell a bit through FB, but not this time. That thing was nasty and even if I took my dad’s power sprayer and a gallon of soap to it, it wasn’t going to be worth trying to salvage. So it went “buh-bye” and we had to have a little Marie Kondo moment of thanking it for its service through all those meals and messes along the way.

And on we continue to roll, into a year that seems poised with firsts and lasts, all of which come with some happiness and some mourning and sometimes a mix of both because that is the privilege of getting to fill the roles I do of forever getting them to the next step.

25 Things in 2020

This is a hard list to write in a normal year and I think one thing we can all agree on at the end of this insane ride of the last 123 (typo; leaving it) months is that 2020 has been anything but normal. So how is a list of 25 things, both big and small “accomplished” going to go? I have no idea but I committed years ago to doing this annual round up, so here I am to claim the tradition, even in the midst of chaos.

  1. I came through 2020 with my head and my heart both still intact. Pretty sure that should be the first thing on the list and really could be the only thing on the list because riding the waves of this COVID-year coaster has been so head spinning and heart breaking, just making it to this day is accomplishment enough, don’t you think?
  2. I became an ardent mask wearer. I’m not always an early adopter in life but I was this time because I believe in science and I believe in epidemiologist experts and we’ve been wearing masks in public since, I don’t know – April? Plus this fall I’ve witnessed with my own family how mask wearing works and has kept them safe at school. My favorites are the 5 for $25 masks from JohnnyWas that started out as buy one/give one to essential works.
  3. Started walking daily in mid-ish April. Didn’t miss a day until November when I had to take 10 days off after tweaking my knee (whilst trying to avoid, of all things, a Lego). I listened to music, I listened to books, I listened to my friends on Marco Polo, and sometimes I even just listened to my own breath and heartbeat. I needed a way to keep active and sane and thankfully I live in a place where I can get out and do that away from groups of people. Post knee injury, I’m learning to be OK with not doing this every day and still feeling OK in my body and in my brain; balance (mental and emotional, not just physical) is a forever practice.
  4. Threw in some running this year, too! Social media eventually pissed me off so much this fall that the only way I could process was to run it out. I started low distance and awfully huffy (why am I suddenly a mouth breather when I run?) and worked my way up to a nice 3 mile distance before aforementioned knee injury. I’ve only run a couple times since then but hope to keep getting back to it more and more in the coming year.
  5. Voted for the first woman (and woman of color) Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris! What a joy it was to place my absentee ballot for her, even if there was no chance of my district falling their way. I am overjoyed at the prospect of all that the Biden/Harris administration will accomplish and am so grateful that we finally have a woman in the top leadership in this country.
  6. Said a tearful and unwilling goodbye to my hero, Ruth Bader Ginsberg in September. I sobbed for the loss of her battle with cancer and the profound example of justice, determination, and impact that was her life and life’s work. May her memory be a blessing.
  7. Rebooted my yoga business in a new way for a new year. I haven’t taught an in-person class in almost a year and a half but this fall I started recording classes that are now available for purchase and download from Grounded Sky.
  8. Taught six sections for Bellevue this year which included two at the very start of the shutdown in March, one over the summer and fall, respectively, which was a helpful, lighter load, and then back to two this winter like I had to start the year. I realize that’s confusing, but we run on 10 and 12 week terms, so it’s not the traditional semester system and you flip the calendar in the midst of Winter Term, so it’s not an easy count to make or explain.
  9. I read 80 books. I had a huge slump at the start of the pandemic, so I’m really pleased that I was able to recover that and read so much this year. Combining audiobooks and my walks helped a ton here.
  10. I wrote 46 blog posts. This definitely came in slumpy to end the year. It has felt harder to wear my heart on my written sleeve in the midst of so much division and Internet suckage this year.
  11. Introduced my Big 3 to Star Wars. That franchise has never been Ben’s cup of tea, but I grew up with a brother who loved it, so I had some background knowledge going in and we were gifted Disney+ last year for Christmas anyway (which we didn’t use nearly as much pre-pandemic as we did after sh!t started) so we went for it. Big! We made it through all nine episodes (in order by release date, thank you very much) before summer came and then shortly before Christmas break, we enjoyed both seasons of The Mandalorian. Such a delightful rabbit hole to fall into with them.
  12. Joined a new book club that met weekly online for most of the summer months and has continued to do a few monthly online gatherings since school started. I did not know everyone well (or even at all) in the group before starting, but I greatly appreciated their time and insights in our discussion and getting to know each of them better.
  13. Finally experimented with temporary hair color. I’ve been wanting to play with that for some time now and if 2020 itself wasn’t the best year ever to just say eff it and find a little joy via hair dye, when would be? I have so far used purple (loved it!) and blue (didn’t work as well and turned my dang hand blue instead when I was blow drying it after the fact), and still have a hot pink left waiting for me in the new year. Ridiculous but fun, which was very much needed this year.
  14. Saw Bonnie and Taylor Simms in concert at The Lark for Valentine’s Day and saw Waitress performed at The Lied Center the first weekend in March, and then that was it – no more live music or shows the rest of the year, obviously. But we did live stream concerts from The Talbott Brothers, Tobe Nwige, and Rising Appalachia which were all very different and sort of a band-aid to my live-music-loving-heart. Hoping our postponed Trevor Hall tickets for next spring actually get to be a thing, and I hope to see both RA and Towr’s live in 2021, too.
  15. Learned how to make killer, from-scratch broccoli cheddar soup. It’s phenomenal.
  16. Participated in a Zoom book club video/podcast/round table for our church with two former HC Lit professors along with our two pastors in a six-week read of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It was such a pleasure to partake in the discussions plus I loved all the effort our church exerted to keep folks connected this year in new and creative ways with this being just one example of how they did that.
  17. Went six months without wearing jeans or any real pants beyond leggings, PJs, or workout pants/shorts. I don’t actually know if that’s an accurate statement but it really was a significant part of the pandemic/year before I bothered putting those on again and I feel like six months is an honest estimate.
  18. Watched way more TV than normal, including the entire SERIES of Parks and Rec, The Watchmen, The Mandolorian (both seasons), the docuseries On Pointe and season one of Little House on the Prairie (those last three were all with the Big 3 or some combo of them). I’m saving a re-watch of Schitt’s Creek for the long cold months of Jan/Feb 2021.
  19. Painted the final walls of the reno project in the basement (remember when that started over two years ago? Pandemic life slowed us down on that front, too, but now all spaces are totally useable if not 100% done). This included two coats on two sides of five damn doors in the new hallway down there.
  20. Discovered the sheer amazingness and utter shocking WHOA of using a foam roller. A friend suggested it after I started running again and she was not wrong. I love that thing and use it all the time!
  21. Went to Harlan County Reservoir for the first time. We splurged and rented a cabin near there last minute before the 4th of July so we could escape the boom-booms in town and while there we drove over to the lake and discovered that we just love it for day trips which we continued to do throughout the rest of the summer.
  22. Used the “snooze for 30 days,” “unfollow,” and even “unfriend” buttons a fair bit on social media this year. Boundaries and mental health are important and social media is often not helpful in these realms.
  23. Still haven’t found a way to fix my sleep so I don’t wake in the mid-to-early morning hours. And trust me, I tried a LOT of things this year including staying up for an entire day/night/day to try to reset my system. Didn’t work but it was interesting to accomplish. Of course, this was before 2020 really turned into 2020, and I figure most people are struggling in some ways with sleep and anxiety this year, right? Perhaps not the best year to try to “fix” what has been a lifelong issue for me.
  24. Learned how to drink black coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a fancy concoction from a coffee shop and I also still doctor up my own at home with random forms of sugar and milk (like eggnog this winter? yum!) from time to time, but for the most part, I now just drink plain coffee. I feel like such a grownup!
  25. Bought my first-ever case of wine. Not even one bit sorry about my choices. The backstory of how we found this (I may have accused my husband of not knowing who Snoop was) and how three of my friends also bought cases is just too funny not to add it as the last (and always one of the hardest items on this list) to write. (One of those pictured here belonged to a friend, I promise!)
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That’s it, folks. An odd collection of musings for an equally odd year. I know 2021 isn’t going to be an instant fix, but here’s looking forward to some good things coming as we know they must be after the muck and mire of 2020.

Return to Decency

Last week my children, like many of yours I would assume, participated in a school-wide mock election. This of course included the vote for POTUS. While I had prepared my children that not many people around here share my politics (we live in what fivethirtyeight.com deems the reddest electoral college district in the nation), I did not prepare them adequately enough for the ugly responses they would receive for sharing who they voted for in that fake election.

One of my children was called dumb and stupid for voting for Biden. Another was called “gay” (don’t even get me started on how much I can’t stand that particular misuse of language). And the third was shamed for their vote, being told by a classmate, “You shouldn’t vote for Biden. He kills babies after they are born.”

It may come as no surprise, then, that one of the first responses I heard from one my kids yesterday, after the initial JOY, was, “I’m so glad this happened on a Saturday so the kids at school couldn’t tease other kids.”

That *that* is the particular relief my child felt makes my heart heavy. It also makes me ache for those children who have been fed such lies and hatred and who now feel compelled to take it out on others. That this behavior rings true in the same nasty ways the president has modeled for four years hardly excuses it.

Folks, we need a hard shift in our rhetoric. I don’t care about politics near as much as I care about basic human decency and we simply must realize that how we speak to our kids about this election and those who participated in it matters in regards to how we speak to and about one another. Just because my politics differ from the majority around me doesn’t mean my children should have to worry about how they will be treated by their peers at school as a result of their “vote.”

We have to move beyond this polarization and start treating others as we wish to be treated. Our children are watching and listening and parroting what they hear and see us do. For their sake, as well as our own, we have work to do.

Let us return to decency and empathy.

Let us not mock or belittle.

Let us lead with kindness and compassion always.

Social (Media) Distance

Just shy of two weeks ago, a friend challenged another friend and I, on a Friday morning, to just perhaps, just maybe stay away from Facebook for the day. No scrolling. Just no time spent at all if we could help it.

And I while I couldn’t help it 100%, I took her challenge that day and ran it with it for over a week.

I still continued to post articles, memes, and pictures of my life, from both Instagram and Facebook. I thought I would just check and respond to notifications, but then, since bad habits are hard to break, I allowed myself 2-3 minutes tops of scrolling a few times throughout each day, thinking that would help.

Of course it didn’t.

Naturally I would see something that would either hurt my tired heart or make my blood pressure sky rocket and then I would chastise myself for falling into the trap of still being on there. And even though my phone informed me that my screen time from last week dropped by an embarrassingly high percentage number (think: a passing grade on an assignment), I entered this week still feeling like the games of comparison and judgement that come with social media use were taking far more than they were giving me in return. 

So, I stopped.

I turned off all notifications for FB, IG, and Marco Polo. I kept Messenger because I still wanted an easy way to connect with people who might not be able to text me. I didn’t delete the apps entirely because my “click impulse” was already relaxed after last week to not be touching those little icons as much (although I fully reserve the right to go back and delete them or move them to a back screen on my phone for good measure).

I then messaged a handful of people who I knew might be wondering about my sudden radio silence, letting them know that the next week will be a no-social-media zone for me.

And then I semi-failed because, Lordy,  I still posted several things throughout the next day! (insert palm to forehead emoji here) Apparently my fingers and brain are twitchier about this than I realized but I did manage zero scrolling, responding just to whatever was said on those posts and that’s it. So, baby steps?

Maybe it will last longer than that. Maybe I will continue to cheat (I’ll have to in order to share this post or others that I write in the future). But if you’ve read this far as to why I’m not online as much, perhaps you’ll understand my spotty response and my attempt to get to full SM shutdown, at least for a little bit, before this summer is over. There’s just too much noise in my head and heart these days and I need to sit with that without the distraction or the addition of all that is social media land. Will it work? We shall s

How Are You Doing *Really*?

Has anyone else noticed the awkward pause these days that has started happening when a conversation starts with the classic, “How are you doing?” question? This has always been a loaded inquiry that most of us never really answer truthfully (because who has time and usually the person asking isn’t a) looking for a novel-length amount of truth or b) a safe place in which to give such), but wow is it a total load of crap in COVID life.

And I say this as someone who still finds the words falling out of her mouth upon seeing people across the street or in a driveway (at 6+ feet of social distance)! Just like I can’t seem to kick the habit of asking, I also can’t help but sad-chuckle when it happens because you can see the truth written all over people’s faces (with their raised eyebrows and sort-of-there smiles) and you can definitely hear the disbelief in their “suuuuure, fine, yeah, you betcha’s” that now always comes after a pause as we all consider the absurdity of even asking or answering that.

Yesterday, though, I caught a twist on this question when I happened to see an Instagram story from my beloved Sara Bareilles in which she was participating in a tag-each-other challenge of answering the question, “How are you doing *really*?” which is to say, if you were going to answer that honestly, what would you say?

My answer has been rattling around my brain for the last 24 hours and if I’m being honest, it keeps landing back at “not great.”

For one, I live in a state that is already opening back up even though we never really shut down and have yet to see verified, complete (i.e. transparent) numbers of COVID cases decreasing.

For another, I live in a county that lives next to another county that both have some of the highest number of cases in our state and originally we were told we’d all have a couple extra weeks (until June 1) to keep restrictions in place to all of the sudden having that ripped out from under our feet by the Governor last week when he decided, “J/K” and said that our counties too would be loosening guidelines starting today. Excuse me, what?! The whiplash on that one sent me on a tailspin last week that has yet to let up.

For yet another, we now have to be the ones calling the shots about where and what our kids will be doing as some summer activities begin in the next couple weeks. We are of course always in charge of that and ultimately still are, but as things like baseball and dance start up again in June and some families around us start to participate, we have to explain to our kids why that won’t be the case for us. And sorry folks, but we won’t be doing either because to us the reward doesn’t outweigh the risk and that’s coming from two parents who very much love to watch their children do these very activities. I don’t know how we’ll explain to them that we aren’t when others are, but instead of as a state reevaluating at the end of the month, supposedly, here we are, being forced to send those emails of decline. Now. Two weeks before any sort of evaluation and real look at the state of affairs in our state.

And for yet one more, in a comedy of errors that has dragged on for a year and freaking half, we are still faced with what to do with our unfinished house projects. The carpet that we ordered in late February and have been putting off installation of for months now comes next week. Do I feel great about that? Nope, but I also want very much to have my house put back in order so I can actually put stuff away and have my house the way I haven’t had it (a.k.a. mine and done) since December 2018. DECEMBER 2018!!!

img_7893And I can’t think of a better metaphor for quarantine life than this: six weeks ago our side door, the one we use All. The. Time. broke. Just broke. I came in it. Ben went out it. And then it never opened again. Thankfully this less-than-a-year-old door was still under warranty and it didn’t cost us anything to fix, but that break happened SIX WEEKS AGO so all this time we’ve been without that, feeling even more trapped in our own house than we would have otherwise in this bizarre time. The good news is that the actual fix only took 20 minutes and the dude who came to fix it was super nice AND (even better) wearing a mask, so that helped alleviate some of my tension, but y’all, the anxiety train is running fast these days with the thought of what it will take to get to the point of actually being done with all this (renovation and Coronavirus, to be clear).

So how am I doing, really? I’m a mess. I’m wondering who to trust and what to believe, questioning what is safe and what is right, unsure of what to do and anxious about pretty much every choice we make. Are they the right ones? Who knows. Is this really any different than normal life? Maybe not. But it sure feels like the stakes are higher and the tension DEFINITELY is, so even if this isn’t all that different than the typical uncertainty of life, trying to figure out how to move forward from “this” has left me spinning.

I hope you get a second to think about how you are doing, really, and maybe even get a chance to share it with someone or write it out a bit. I know that’s not the magic bullet for everyone, but these times, they are worth a ponder and finding a writing utensil to document, that is for sure.

Choosing Relationship

Week Four, folks. Week. Four. How did we get here already and are we sure it hasn’t already been four months and not just four weeks? I don’t remember a time when time has been more slippery than it is now; do you?

For us, Week Three was hard. Lots of big emotions. Lots of hiccups and challenges at finding (and failing) at a routine and of course with realizing that in terms of school, this really is how it is going to be for the rest of the academic calendar. Even with seeing that coming from a mile away and being relieved by that call, we all felt it in our souls and were saddened by it.

Trust me when I say, I acknowledge and give thanks for the privileges and comforts my family has right now. That being said, this is still an extreme challenge, and since literally none of us know how to do this current crazy life, it is still so, so hard, and there are moments all day long that make me question if we are doing the right thing.

Mostly that applies to our kids, their education, and their well-being.

We are definitely still trying when it comes to their school packets, we are. We appreciate the effort their teachers are putting in there and we want to try to keep some sort of retention/”school” going for next month and a half. But I’ll be honest and admit that my relationship with my children means far more to me than completing worksheets or going on websites/virtual tours/etc. right now.

I feel far more worried about damaging their own little stressed and confused, sad and disappointed hearts and minds than I do about science, math, or social studies right now. Yes, we will keep trying, but also yes, we are going to give ourselves as much grace, outdoor time, board games, and even movie marathons as we need (together and separate) to get through this never before seen challenge.

Part of what I’m missing most right now, though, besides my old anxiety levels, is having easier access to my support system – my family and friends that have always been around for past moments of chaos and crisis. But now we’re all in chaos and crisis simultaneously and we literally cannot and should not be doing it physically together which sucks so very much.

And bless it, as much as I don’t know where I’d be without technology these days and all the ways to video message, sometimes the virtual interactions leave me more depleted than a real-life social gathering because the being together without being together is heart-hurting. I don’t want to give them up but they are also a stark reminder, each time, of what we can’t actually have right now.

I’m still choosing relationship, in whatever form it can come with both my roof-sharers and allll the people I miss in real life right now, but I’m also having to process a lot of big feels after doing so, which I guess is just part of going through a collective mess of indefinite uncertainty. I hope and pray it ends as soon as possible, just like I hope and pray for the strength of all relationships – personal, professional, familial – that are being tested right now.

Leap Day

After being a relatively calm germ zone for the first seven weeks of 2020, our house got hit HARD in the final week of February. In fact, I haven’t been this ready to be done with a particular month in years (the last was back a few years when we had a really nasty April, I believe), so I’ll be honest – I’m not thrilled that this February happens to come with an extra day.

It started with poor Mr. Lincoln who woke up in the middle of the night last Thursday-into-Friday and from there we entered the most bizarre virus holding pattern I have ever witnessed. It looked like this: someone gets sick middle of the night and is terribly ill for somewhere under 12 hours. Then comes a night of calm followed by a good day (we played baseball as a family the day after LT was sick), but then that night another person would fall sick, in the middle of the night of course. And Repeat, repeat, repeat.

It was NUTS.

And even though we had high hopes that someone, anyone, of us might escape the madness (I can’t even tell you how many times I washed my hands, how many Clorox wipes we used, and how much laundry I did), it just wasn’t meant to be.

All five kids, both parents. Down and out over the course of eight days.

See why I’m ready to see this month GO? But that wasn’t meant to be because of course this happens to be a Leap Year.

Actually, though? That might be a good thing. Since our last woman standing (RL) was in agony yesterday, that meant we had today to have our first All Clear day in over a week knowing that that’s it. All she wrote. No shoes left to fall with this virus.

img_6928Even though it feels like my brain/heart would have liked to mark this Leap Day with something(s) special, I’m plenty good with what we had instead; in fact, no pukers and sun shining was plenty special, thanks. Instead of worrying about any fanfare, we treated today like any other Saturday – watching Lego Masters, going on a family walk to feed the ducks, and about 10 loads of laundry for me to process (Lord in Heaven; so much laundry, even when we don’t have gross sickies in the house). After the last eight days, typical, low-key, even a little hum-drum was a welcomed, happy change of pace.

And now? Cheers to my month: March!

A Mama’s Mantra

Does anyone else remember that feeling from childhood when time stretched on forever and days lasted weeks or sometimes years? How about from your early 20s when you thought 30 seemed old and how it’d be ages before you were 40? And then did you blink and find yourself suddenly 37?

Yep.

Me. Too.

I think any adult, especially one upward of 30, would agree that you get here (whatever your age/here is) faster than you think because that molasses time really is reserved for the young only. As you age, time only speeds up, and days/weeks/months can fly by, even though something all parents (especially those of the stay-at-home variety) know is that those days can also still be forever long and challenging.

This week started off for me with illness – something no mama has time for ever but hard as we fight it, our bodies just know the best way to slow us down and force us to rest. In a way, that’s OK because B and I already don’t try to cram every bit of joy and holly jolly into the month of December, so a little fire-throat-induced-reprieve early in the month was doable.

For two days.

Then, suck it up Buttercup – it was time to dive back into parenting and life.

As I explained to a few folks I saw yesterday, being upright was basically happening against my will and the fact that I was dressed and had my hair curled was only because I was faking it with coffee, to which a wise friend responded by saying that she’s been doing that her whole motherhood and all I could think was, YES, Sister, YES.

Because ready or not, like it or not, we are of the age where time flies and life (thankfully) just keeps coming at us full speed. With this many little people along for my ride, I need a little extra fuel in my tank and not just on the weeks where I’m trying to recover from a germ bomb. I promise, coffee isn’t the only form my fuel takes, but by golly, it is today. And probably will be tomorrow, too.

Honestly? I’m OK with that.

Because by “faking” it, I don’t meant that I don’t enjoy the journey; I just want to make sure I’m awake for it. 😉

Faking it with Coffee

 

Early to Rise

It’s no secret that we’re Sleep Sticklers and have been forever and ever. This has earned us some awe, some confusion, and some disbelief over the years, but for real: since RL entered the picture, HD has been an EARLY riser (5/6s for years now, but trained to stay in bed and not turn lights on until 6:30), which means we’ve been going strong for seven years now of early to bed because 1) our children are tired and 2) we are tired. There’s no staying up until even until 7:30 on a regular basis for any of them because Mama don’t play when it comes to the fact that they need sleep and if we let them stay up late, they are STILL going to get up EARLY (sorry for all the shouty caps and long, crazy sentences. My brain is as tired as the rest of me right now.).

Case in point? The Big 3 got to have their first sleep overs last night and now this morning we are all already in fall out mode with meltdowns and irritability.

This is, of course, entirely our own fault.

A few months ago we planned a date night in Omaha and rather than stick the grandparents with all five children for dinner and bedtime, we farmed a few of them out to very kind, very gracious, very helpful friends for their first-ever not-with-grandparents night away.

Based on the reports and pictures, everything went great. There were a few tears from a few kids, but everyone made it for the long haul, including Ben and I who drove to and from Omaha for dinner and a concert in a total of 8 hours.

And even though he’s better, Truman’s still fighting off germ bugs and it would appear Wilson is, too, so let’s just be clear that the Welschies 7 are on the Struggle Bus today.

But the children in particualr? They are a whole new level of exhausted and we’re only halfway to bedtime at this point. I know no one expects a lot of sleep from a sleep over, and we have zero qualms with what transpired for them last night (seriously: if you housed one of my babies last night, I give you nothing but the utmost praise and thanks!!!). But you give my oldest an inch and apparently he’ll take a good four hours to go to bed and STILL get up at 5:45 the next day.  This means the rest of the day is going to be a true test for all of us. Tomorrow will be much the same. Because as anyone with an Early Riser will tell you, it doesn’t matter how late you let them go; their bodies are still going to get up at the (bum) crack of dawn. So now have to try to keep our eyelids and our attitudes skyward, because, parenting. And adulting. They just don’t stop for the tireds or birthdays (HBD, Husband! I love you always, even when exhausted.)

At least we still have a tiny sense of humor this morning (check with me by 5:00 today. It might be dead by then) and managed to document our “tired faces” for the camera, including eye masks for me because my bag and circles have bags and circles at the moment:

Coffee, anyone?

 

Home Improvement (Remodel Update)

Our house projects have been underway officially for over a month now, and updates here have been slow because progress has been a bit of the same. That’s partially because of the holidays, partially because of life, and partially because I don’t think these kind of projects ever go quite as one would hope in terms of time or cost.

Fortunately we’ve reached the point with the basement side of things that most of the potential “issues” have been uncovered. Don’t worry; I’ll go knock on wood now that I’ve made such a braggy boast, but with the bathroom and laundry room and floor plumbing and electrical all roughed in now, we’ve been able to see what is and is not OK down there.

Unfortunately, down there has shown us that some things up here (i.e. on the main floor) fall into the NOT OK category.

As it happens when you go poking around in an older home, taking down the ceiling in the basement showed pretty quickly that our main floor bathroom was struggling. Actually, just the shower, really, but that’s kind of a big deal. The grout we’ve tried to patch with in recent years just wasn’t enough to seal (literally) the deal, nor could it deny the fact that there was definitely a leak there for a while.

So, a new shower led us (*ahem* let the record show: it was my husband’s idea first) to decide to put in a double sink vanity in the main floor bath while everything in the basement is still open. The toilet started leaking, too (because, why not?), and the flooring has clearly taken a beating over the years, so when it is all said and done we are getting a 90% new main floor bathroom in addition to the previously planned projects.

Ooof.

BUT, this is good to discover now because who wants to spend all that money on new construction downstairs only to have the upstairs mess it all up anyway? There’s no need for us to suddenly have two showers in the basement, if you catch my drift.

img_2816It looks hopeful that we’ll have walls by next week which means we can move on to flooring and installments of all the things in both of the “new” rooms downstairs there soon. That’s good, because then all that main floor bathroom stuff is going to arrive, and so are the kitchen cupboards, because yes, that’s been part of the plan all along, too. And while I have some choice, choice words to say about that process already (many of them are colorful and contain four letters) if you ever want to hear them in person, I know that eventually we are going to have turned this house into SUCH a functional space for our not-so-little family.

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