Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Price of gas vs. price of sanity

A few weeks ago on my msn homepage, there was an article about a new book...something about secrets of moms, and after I read a few secrets, like "I feed my kids mac and cheese 3-4 nights a weeks, I dismissed everything else and swore I would not read that book. Why? Because I thought I might try feeding my kids mac and cheese for several nights. I don't need any more bad habits. But then Monday, I did something that I think could have been in that book. You see, my mini-van was disgusting! I was trying to clean it and had 2 little ones taking things out of the trash bags, or putting stuff in the trash bags, climbing in, out and over me, Quincy figured out how to get the key into the ignition and finally I had had enough. I strapped them in their car seats and turned on a movie. I finished the project in record time, but am a little embarrassed by what some may call "creativity." I then took the car to be vacuumed and still have not even washed the floor mats that are sitting on my lawn. The van has a wonky battery, so I turned the car on while they watched the movie. It was worth the cost of gas!

Monday we had lunch at a friends house on the beach. There was a bit of a crowd, but so many people to keep eyes on my kids. Drew took Finn kayaking: they were gone a while and Finn had a fantastic time. The kids played in the water for hours and finn even did some swimming. Ended the day kayaking with my brother in law: I've never taken Alvin kayaking, but am determined to do it because I enjoyed it so much.

Yesterday was my moms birthday and she watched the boys while I went to get my hair cut. She decided that I needed some pampering and it was all her treat. Its only been 10 months since my last cut, so I was living in ponytails...can't do that now. I was exhausted though because I'd stayed up very very late, finishing a novel!

Just had a delightful surprise. A friend stopped by, delivered some wonderful fresh raspberries and stayed, helping me clean, encouraged me to clean more and gave me some much needed adult time. Thank you Trish!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

2 weeks down!

So I haven't posted many pictures lately, mostly because Alvin hasn't even looked at a computer in 2 weeks (pictures would be for his benefit too) and I spend all day every day with them, why do I need a picture. I know, for you!

I also haven't posted much, mostly because I don't want to always appear down. I consider myself usually a happy person, but the past 2 weeks have been very challenging. With out regular help with the boys, I feel very overwhelmed and with out evenings with my husband, I feel starved for adult attention. And I will always complain about Alvin stealing the covers, or waking me somehow at night, but I sleep worse in his absence: so I am tired all the time. However, this blog has been great, because I have had a few phone calls from friends who sensed my anxiety and placed late night calls (and that is when I get my dishes done!).

Back to being positive! We went yesterday to the Kitsap county Arts and Crafts fair in Port Gamble. I had never been there before this week and it is a darling little town. My mom and Sol went with my boys and I and had an enjoyable time. It was not crowded at all (bad for sales, good for me) and the weather was nice enough, but not more than 73 degrees. Food, live music and outdoors...can I do this every weekend?

We saw a reptile shows this week; one at teh library and one at the fair yesterday. The library once was good, but had too many snakes for me (and I forgot the camera), but Finn got to hold a boa constrictor, pet a tortoise and pet an alligator. The fair guy was a little smaller audience and we got to high 5 an alligator and pet a gecko and a 2 tailed monitor. The twins were a little restless, and kept gong back and forth from my mom to me.

Alvin's been gone 2 weeks and we have 2 left to go! And it has been decided that we will drive back with Alvin while he finishes, because the house will be ready enough for us to stay there.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I laughed so hard (I peed a little)

Oh, I needed a laugh and I got it tonight. It's been a rough day and what a relief to get the kids to bed and not hear screaming for a little bit. So I watched this show with Finn that Jen told us to watch. Wipeout! on ABC. I admit, I watch a lot of television, but don't see anything that makes me jiggle with laughter (should come as no surprise that I liked Jackass). This was fairly clean; loads of jokes about balls, but they are jumping on them and falling like idiots. Okay, just watch the show...I am going to go rewind a little and laugh myself to sleep.

If you watch it, post a comment so I don't feel like such a nerd.

5 year old baby sitter

I got a much needed shower today. Not that I haven't showered since Alvin left, but I got to do it when I wanted. You see, for the past week I have had to shower either at nap time or when someone else can watch my kids: both are a real pain, because I need a shower to start me moving for the day. But today, I opted to use the resources I have and let Finn baby sit. You can see from the pictures above (twins wearing the outfits grandma sent) that they had a good time: jumping in Q's crib and taking all the stuffed animals out and making a mess. Quincy can climb out of his crib, so Finn shut the bedroom door and tolerated the noise like I couldn't. I may have to pay the consequences (cleaning up their mess) but it might be worth it to shower when I want to.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Need an attitude adjustment

So I am in a crappy mood and have been for days. I have gone out and done things, but it isn't like I can be social at a party when I have to look after 2 little ones. I am just plain tired of my own company (Sol is the closest thing to adult conversation and he is only 10). So maybe I should trying some gratitude.

I am grateful for my friends.

Kate the great (I hope she laughed). I don't know too many people who have had a best friend since they were 5, but it is so great to tell things to someone who has known you so long, you don't have to explain the history. And she is polite to my family, but willing to dish the minute we get a chance. It's like a sister who hates the same family members you do. And Kate still talks to me after I puked on the table at a favorite restaurant.

Then there is Jen. I have known Jen since high school, maybe middle school, and for a while we were just christmas card friends. But we reconnected recently and I have enjoyed her company more than most. I get afraid she is going to realize I am so attached to her, she is going to dump me! But then she calls me in the middle of the day, just for a chat. This friendship came at the time when I really needed a friend close by. I just wish we could leave the kids and go out!

Sure there are other things I am grateful for, but that seemed to help my mood already.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Homewreckers

By Thursday, despite me efforts, my house was messed up again and I am searching for a reason to ask my sister to babysit again at nap time. My dad, on fathers day, dubbed my boys "the home wreckers" and suggested that the next time we have dinner together, it should be at my house. Really, I prefer it at my house.

Oh crap! While typing this my little ones just figured out how to open the fron door and escaped. I caught them before they got away (the other day I turned my back and they were across the cow pasture and barefoot) and now am resorting to the deadbolt. And I am going to have to teach Finn not to ring the doorbell when he is locked out.
Wednsday, Finn spotted 2 oranges on the counter and decided that he should make orange know where this is going. He waited until his brothers were both awake and started in on his project. His brothers loved the juice, which was very pulpy and they resorted to shaking their cups to get a sip. I got the kitchen cleaned and mopped (a few times) while the boys screamed at the gate. Finn thinks we no longer need to buy orange juice, and I think I may not buy oranges for a long time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 1, Not too bad

Alvin left Sunday morning and drove to Santa Clara (he arrived at 2am) and yesterday I completed my first day with out him. I cheated and had help and the say was pretty good. I tolerated the screaming as my sister watched the kids so I could shower and ran out the door, where the eye doctor told me the problem with my eye was gone (2 weeks with out contacts and antibiotics...what a nightmare). Spent a little time with the kids and headed to Silverdale.

Originally, I had planned to go alone but got the reminder call that Paxton had an appointment to check his weight. See when you have small kids you have to take them to the nutritionist to make sure you aren't starving them. Paxton has gained less than one pound in 2 months and he is still under the 3rd percent on the growth charts, but a gain is "improvement" (Quincy is over the 3rd, but not to the 5th and so he doens't have to be monitored...he stared out my smallest and but at this point he is the biggest). So I had time alone with him while we shopped & unfortunately he isn't my child that will sit in the cart. Hit a few stores, spent $$$ and came home.

Arrived home to an empty house, but the minute I opened the door, I could tell something was different. There were no shoes lying all over the entry way and things were hanging on the hooks (my little ones play with shoes, coats and hats several times a day and I have given up cleaning up after each time). No wonder why Kate is always in a good mood when her cleaning lady comes....and my kitchen wasn't even cleaned! I guess Quincy slept for several hours and Sol played with Finn, leaving my sister to fold 3 loads of laundry, vacuum and clean. It made the day so great that I wouldn't let the kids play inside the rest of the day.
On my shopping trip I bought a new swim floatie to take with us to the beach (but when) and the boys played "aliens," kind of like bumper cars, this morning. Now hopefully we will have good naps and I might get some sewign done...Would I be weird to take my sewing machine outside...I could do it while they play.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

make your own Laundry detergent?

This seems a little further than I am ready to go (right now at least, because I just got a giant box of laundry soap), but a great idea. There is even a "recipe" for dryer sheets, let me know if you want that.

3 pints water
1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated (or whole bar of other soap)
½ cup Super Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer)
½ cup 20 Mule Team Borax
2 gallon bucket/container
1qt hot water

Mix grated Fels Naptha Laundry Bar Soap in a large saucepan with 3 pints hot water and heat on the stove over low heat until dissolved. Do not allow to boil. Stir in Super Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to 2 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture and mix well. Fill up bucket with additional hot water, leaving a few inches at the top and mix well. Set aside for 24 hrs or until mixture thickens. Use ½ cup per load.

Yesterday was perfect! (Reality check: I have 3 kids and 2 that don't talk. There were tantrums. There was food throwing. The hour while I was making dinner was complete chaos. But there was a great part of the day that was perfect) I hope to have a lot more like that in the coming month. I went to the beach with a friend and her kids. This friend seems to adore my little ones, and didn't mind when they threw sand at her or sprayed her with water and her kids are old enough to help with mine and play with Finn. We spent over 2 hours just hanging out on the beach while the kids played in the water and sand. The weather wasn't too hot, or too cool and there weren't too many people about. And the view was fantastic, as you can see from the pictures.

Today is exactly the opposite: I am feeling very anxious, and not in a good way. Alvin is leaving tomorrow and won't be returning until mid August. He is going to remodel a house for his brother in California. His original plan was to have us all go with him, but I wouldn't agree to it. We did that when we just had Finn and it worked out great, but now the kids outnumber me and a house completely under construction is not the place for 2 kids under 2 years old. So, he chose to go alone to do the job. For those of you who know Alvin and his work, you also know that he underestimates his time and I know that a month could turn into 2, or possibly 3. He's a perfectionist, not that he is lazy, but things take longer to get perfect.

So I am just feeling overwhelmed. Yes, I do have family near that can help, when I ask, but it isn't the same as expecting your husband to watch the kids while I make dinner. And who is going to unload the dishwasher and take the trash out on garbage day. And is it going to be a month before I can spend 30 minutes in the shower just to escape? On the bright side, I have the whole bed to myself, can go to sleep with out the tv on, and don't have to do his laundry.

So, I may be posting more pictures, maybe even daily. Just in case Alvin can get to a computer (he won't be taking one with him) and wants to see his kids.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Best little helper

Sol has been so helpful since he has been here. And the twins adore him. Quincy even calls him by name and sometimes, prefers Sol to me. It is going to be so helpful to have him here when Alvin is gone (next week). Sabine is good too, but she is still too young to be as helpful as her brother.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Okay, so I've gone green-ish and make my own "green" cleaners. Maybe it's where I live, who I hang out with, or all the tv I watch (planet green), that got me started, but I love the way they smell, and it's cheap and we are poor. And I feel good about using them around my kids.

Antiseptic All Purpose Cleaner

30 drops tea tree oil
3 tablespoons liquid soap (I use dr bonners peppermint castille soap)
2 cups water (I use purified)

Mix in a sturdy spray bottle and use anywhere you might use 409, mr clean. I use it to clean my table and counters and I dilute it and use it on my kids bums when they need a little "freshening".

Scrub Happy

1 cup baking soda
30-40 drops essential oil (lemon, lavender, orange)

mix in shaker for powdered sugar or red pepper flakes at the pizza place. Lemon is my favorite and I get cheerful from the smell. dfexsqqw

Use to clean kitchen sink, tub or anyplace you might use comet or ajax. I haven't used it in the toilet yet.

Vinegar and Water

mix one part vinegar to 3 parts water in a spray bottle.

I use this to mop my wood floors and to spry down my shower daily (helps with soap scum build up). I also use it as a quick wipe down of the bathroom floors when I don't have time to rinse.

I buy vinegar at costco 2 gallons at a time and add it to every wash load in the fabric softner thingie.

Happy cleaning!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Cousins are HERE!

Our cousins are here for the summer. This is good and not always good. Sol is 10 and Ella is 7, and while Finn loves to play with them, he often plays like a 10 year old for months after they leave. On the flip side, they love to play here and that is helpful in accomplishing things in the twins presence. But, know that if you call me this summer, I may have 5 kids in my small house and it's bound to be chaotic.

Side note, Paxton used the potty for the first time tonight. I hope we didn't overdo the praise and clapping. I have waivered recently about buying cloth diapers (better for the environment and they potty train sooner) but Alvin won't agree to it (stink and hassle of more laundry and not as easy). If the boys stop using diapers soon, then I won't have to consider it again. And, if you stop by this summer, know that there might be naked boys roaming the back yard.

At last weekends Rotary Auction, my mom bought this giant inflatable water slide...for the kids. We set it up in our yard for a few days and Finn had a great time: Quincy and Pax weren't sure about it and when they felt the cold water, they decided it was best to stay away. Finn, Sol and Ella played on it for hours today (weather dropped to 70s and they didn't care). Afraid that we might run out of water (we are on a well that ran dry last year), my mom and I moved it to her paddock where it will probably be for the rest of the summer. I now feel like we have something to play with when we invite people over.