Saturday, June 10, 2017

Concerts and Birthdays

Brennan's final band concert of 6th grade. 

Finally, and I mean FINALLY, this kid is no longer 3. There's a light at the end of this tunnel! ;-)

Kieran, I love you, Buddy. You are clever and animated and passionate. You learn songs/music impressively quickly; you keep up with those big siblings of yours; you are an angel child for your teachers and leaders. We're all super thankful you're part of our family!

He chose this little lizard from the toy selection in Primary. And this is what he wanted on his cake. Perfect. I even suggested other themes like Batman and Superman, but he just wanted his lizard on it. Easy peasy.
In the car day of, Brennan asked Kieran, "So what kind of cake did you choose? Chocolate? Lemon?..." Kieran answered offendedly, "No! It's a Lizard cake!"

I couldn't find a bow.

Shaking those maracas to the birthday song in Primary

I was lucky to get a seat at all for Asher's concert (this happened at Brennan's Spring Band Concert too. It's kind of annoying to not have enough accommodations for the audience at these events). But being in the very back row in a dark auditorium does not make for stellar photos. They sounded great though!

This is kind of random, but I had to get this side-by-side. Hollyn is almost 6 months older than Sawyer, but look at that height difference! It's a combo of her being especially short and him especially tall. Hah!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

End of May Fun Stuff

I couldn't get a good shot capturing all the lawns with all the flags, but it seemed to go on before us for a long, long way. Asher told me he was overwhelmed by the sheer number of flags, of those who have served our country.

On Memorial Day we visited the nearby Oak Lawn Memorial Park. We brought a bag of smooth rocks and pens and wrote Thank You on each rock. The kids would place a Thank You rock on a flagged grave marker until we ran out. Which Brennan immediately noted we wouldn't have nearly enough rocks for everyone. They enjoyed that activity, including reading the names and noting which war the individual had fought in.

Kieran, being "reverent" like I asked. I really just wanted him to stop dancing during the picture.

Last Saturday we headed for the coast to visit the old-fashioned (and movie-appearing) ships. First, I didn't know where in Newport to find them. If someone had just told me Bayfront, it would have been easy peasy. Brennan and I were looking everywhere online and NO ONE tells you where the boats actually are, other than "Newport". It was kind of ridiculous. Then, we couldn't find parking. We FINALLY did and walked down the dock to find one of them wasn't there, and the one that was had just closed for walk-on tours. No one was there giving info, nuthin'. We got a picture and headed over to the sea lions which were ultimately much more interesting.

Then we headed for the beach and again spent forever waiting for parking. I think I'm done with Nye Beach. It's not THAT great.

But we had a good time!

He's in the middle of complaining, "No! I don't want to smile!"

For the life of him, he just CAN'T remember where he left his body. Hope it didn't wander off...

ISO: Body. If found, please contact Hollyn

See all those people on board? That's while we were parking-spot hunting. :-/

During a recent FHE, we went outside to play kick-the-can (it represented Pahoran and the KingMen, and Moroni vs the Lamanites. Pretty epic). Hollyn's eye started bothering her, so I have her a minimum dose of benadryl, and sent her to the shower which I assured her would help.

10 minutes later she emerged like this:

She's since had it reiterated not to rub her eyes when they itch!
 She was given MORE benadryl AND eyedrops. I hoped she'd sleep it off, but her eyes were still swollen pretty bad the next morning. Enough that I kept her home from school even. She wasn't uncomfortable, but I couldn't get myself to send her looking like an alien. I have my pride.

My friend Angeli took me to The Cherry Poppin' Daddies event here in Corvallis. They sang so many fun oldies like "Beyond the Sea" and Lindy-hop favorites from the 20s and 30s and such. Of course Zoot Suit Riot came up. :-) We had so much fun!

The day of the *perfect curl*

Isn't she a beauty? The little turkey always tells people how cute she is... because "everyone tells [her] so".

It was a long 6 weeks, but track finally ended. Here's Brennan running his last 100m race of the year. He's hoping to do Cross Country in the fall... We'll see if I'm up for it. Track was a GREAT experience for him though. He isn't so competitive that he cared about getting first. (He might have cared if he'd come in last consistently - he was satisfied with being in the middle). But the experience of being part of a team, not to mention the benefits of exercise, was really positive for him.

I'll have to find the videos separately. (Vids are a lot of work to format for posting). Hollyn has no fear about dancing away in front of a crowd. Neither does Kieran.

On the evening of Memorial Day, Thane accompanied the kids and I to a patriotic Community Band concert (The Albany one, not "mine") in La Sells Stuart Center. Kieran was just 3-year-old wild, but Hollyn was wildly enthusiastic about the music. She used a small flag to "conduct", she danced in her chair, she ended up dancing in the aisle. Several people who'd sat behind us came up to me during intermission or at the end telling me how much they got a kick out of watching my daughter enjoying the music.

When I Grow Up I Wanna Be Like My Kids

This was originally written the day after Fast Sunday. I think I had more to write, but now I can't remember, so I'm posting as-is.

Yesterday Kieran announced in sacrament meeting, "I need to poop!" Yeah, he's that kid. So I took him out to the bathroom. While inside the restroom I could make out over the speaker that Brennan had gone up and born his testimony. He does that often so I was only a little sorry to be missing it.

As I walked back into the chapel with Kieran though, I saw Asher going up to the microphone. He bore a short but very sweet testimony himself - for the first time! As we all sat back down together Asher turned to me and told me, "Wow, it feels really good after you bear your testimony!" Awww. Brennan and Asher then proceeded to give each other 2 hugs and Brennan explained, "I told Asher if he bore his testimony I would give him 2 hugs." But Asher quickly added, "The real reason I did it though was for God."  What a sweet kid!

Brennan later mentioned fighting his inner struggle: he really felt pulled to go up and bear his testimony, but he also doesn't really want to, so he demonstrated how he holds on to the bench going "no, no, no" as if he's literally being pulled up and hanging on to the bench for dear life in resistance. He also tells me that he remembers my words about how the less often I bear my testimony in sacrament meeting, the harder it is for me to do it. He really wants to train himself to overcome his fear, so when he feels prompted to go up, he lets go of his fears and resistance. He is seriously the coolest!

Friday, April 14, 2017

And the plot thickens

Captains log: day 3 of crazy week

Happy birthday to Brennan! To celebrate, we decided to try out this indoor trampoline place in Salem. Although last night wasn't looking good for Kieran, he woke up this morning chipper and energetic and with an appetite. So, we went ahead as planned.

The place was pretty fun. Maybe not full-price fun, but going on a Thursday mid day when it was cheaper and not crowded was a great move. The kids bounced and played and bounced some more. Near the end of our time there I got a call. A police officer was informing me that he'd come by my house. Uh, yeah.

Remember on Tuesday when I went to work for TWO hours because Asher was home sick, and I'd had the camera on him so I was watching and talking to him? Well during my "absence" the school had called and Asher answered and informed them that I was at work. I almost called the school to clarify the situation but decided it wasn't really any of their business anyway. I did not forsee that the police would receive a tip about Asher being home alone "under age".

Yes, this is EXACTLY what I needed this week. The officer I think had very few details, in fact it seemed like he was under the impression Asher might be home alone right then, so he was just checking to make sure all was well I guess. When no one was home, my manager approached him to see if she could help with anything. He'd asked if she'd seen Asher that day and she said she'd seen Brennan and Hollyn, but not Asher. Curious neighborhood kids playing outside all chimed in that nobody had seen Asher for several days. Lol. Yes, he died in the two hours he was home alone and I buried the evidence. Oh man. Actually, some parents heard that an officer was there looking for Asher and they grew worried about him as a missing child. My manager had to put that rumor down quickly.

The officer also walked over and talked to my sitter, who actually had Kieran that day, so she knew I was not gone terribly long, and I'd even told her at the time about having Asher at home but with my camera on. I don't know is that's a detail she remembered or shared.

The difficult part is that I couldn't hear the officer with the noise of the trampoline place, but because I'm out of data, the call dropped when I stepped outside, out of the WiFi. So explaining things was not easy. He did mention a few times that he was not concerned about anything and just wanted to let me know about his visit. (Most of my info about his investigation was gotten from my manager). He said something about being OK with a 13 and 9 year old being home alone and I didn't correct him because our connection was so spotty, it would have basically been impossible. And the whole thing is so ridiculous.

After that fun call, we rushed home, changed into swimwear, and headed to swimming lessons. Because Brennan didn't have track on this non school day, he came along and swam laps. I admit, it was kind of cool to see him do that. He took a LOT of breaks, but there is something so grown up about a person swimming laps on their own, don't you think? He shared the lane with this older gentlemen, so he got the scoop on lane-sharing protocol, and they chatted a few times. I think he was getting some good advice.

From swimming, we swung by the store so I could make his requested dinner and get a cake. As I hurried to get the food ready on this already tiring day, I remembered that I'd intended to go to Brennan's school conferences straight from swimming because they literally share a parking lot! Now I had to drive all the way back over there to get to those. Sigh. In the middle school, all the teachers have stations in the cafeteria and you hit all the teachers you want in any order. It's MOSTLY waiting in long lines for every. single. teacher. though. Such a delight.

Headed back home for dessert and presents, then sent people to bed and took a bath.


And then the real fun began.

After my bath, I fell asleep on the couch while Brennan read our chapter book we're reading together. Later, I went up to bed, but within 10 minutes, I heard Brennan throwing up. Poor kid. I went to check on him, and it turns out he'd gotten vomit ALL over the bathroom. I know he wouldn't have on purpose so I tried to keep my irritation under control - this particular stomach bug seems to manifest in especially abrupt spells. So far all 3 who have gotten sick have been caught completely off guard and had a major mess result. So, at 1am I was cleaning the bathroom, and running laundry and all that. Brennan has continued to get up/use his bowl/cry out every 20 minutes or so.

Except the person who got up half an hour ago was Kieran throwing up again. I'm going to deal with his bed tomorrow. (Well, later today rather). Looks like I won't be going in to work.

Also... I won't go into the story on this blog, but I've had a very interesting surprise in my personal life tonight. Because obviously my life has been too boring lately. It needed a good shake up.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A day (or two) in the life of a single parent

On Monday I asked Jenny about visiting her, saying, "I need a vacation!"

Today I really, really do.

Monday evening Asher suddenly threw up before having a chance to leave his bed. Yes, he's 9 and I STILL had a clean-vomit-out-of-his-bed experience. And it was super nasty.

Tuesday morning he still didn't feel well. Kieran's babysitter had also emailed me to let me know that her little guy had thrown up the night before, but she didn't think he was contagious. I had two good excuses to stay home from work though, but really needed the hours. So I risked it with Kieran at the sitter and left Asher at home (using the home cam to keep my eye on him) and put in just a couple of hours at work. None of this was particularly difficult, just out of the routine.

The crazy started later.

Because I'd had to miss Brennan's first ever track meet last week, I'd committed to attend his next one, which was here in Corvallis. Unfortunately, I forgot that AGAIN the other 3 would have swimming lessons smack in the middle of the meet. It doesn't seem fair to have 3 kids miss their activity for the other 1's activity, right? So, both it was!

Asher hadn't seemed too sick during the day, so it was saying something when he said he didn't feel up to attending swimming lessons. I got Hollyn and Kieran dressed in their swimwear, then we dropped Asher off at Grandma's and headed over to Cheldelin. After finding parking about 8 miles away, we began the looooong trek in the pouring rain over to the fields. Did I emphasize the pouring rain? It was miserable. Hollyn and Kieran just can. not. walk at a decent speed. It's so frustrating, but especially when we're in a hurry. We were looking for Brennan to say hi and deliver him a snack, and our time was very limited. Luckily, we found him. Unluckily, he was on the opposite side of the fields, which were quite muddy, and again, the rain! Even more unluckily, Kieran decided to have asthma issues right when we'd learned Brennan was on the other side of the track. Besides the wheezing, his main symptom when this happens is a horrendous crying tantrum, demanding his inhaler, refusing to walk, and behaving like the entire world is ending. It was embarrassing, but with the nearest inhaler back at the car, it made more sense to finish our quest first. At least, it made more sense to me.

With MUCH effort, I got Kieran and Hollyn across the field, we said hi to Brennan, handed him the snack, and turned around and headed back to the car. Hollyn's shoe only got stuck in the deep mud once. :-) Kieran cried the entire way. It continued to pour. But we had no choice but to make our way back to the car.

Kieran got his inhaler, we did swimming lessons, and then headed BACK to the track meet. Thankfully, though we'd missed the long jump, we made it and found Brennan in time to watch him do his 100m race. Kieran DID fall in the mud though, caking his behind and front knees in thick brown goodness. All of our shoes were beyond hope by this point. Lol.

After Brennan's race even he wanted to head straight home. He had only his shorts and t-shirt on him, which were soaking wet and it was pretty cold. We picked up Asher from Grandmas on our way and got home with half an hour to spare before the next event for the evening.

I quickly made some dinner. As I went to place the food in the oven, I saw to my horror that the oven was sparking inside, in 2 different places! I turned the oven off, hoped that would be sufficient, and ran next door to report it to my manager and beg to use her oven for my prepared food. She wasn't home. Going back inside my house, I saw that my element was STILL sparking, and white hot, and was creeping down the line. At that point I pulled out the fire extinguisher. Here's a weird thing: I couldn't pull the pin on the extinguisher because it was zip-tied in place. I had to grab my scissors and cut it off first, so I could pull the pin and use the device. Doesn't that seem a little counter productive on an emergency tool?

Anyway, I did that (then had to run outside to breathe and spit out the nasty taste). Michelle let me use her oven to finish dinner. By then, it was time to head to the RS activity, which I really wanted to attend because I'm on the planning committee and annoyed by the poor attendance we've had over the last year. I REALLY don't want to be part of the problem.

Anyway, by the time I got home after 9pm I was exhausted. Good thing I still had a kitchen to clean up before maintenance came today. :-P

This morning I had an interesting day at work. There could potentially be some big changes there for me, depending on what I decide to do. So the day started off different. After that I had parent-teacher conferences at the elementary school. Kieran had been napping at Grandma's so I went back to pick him up when the conferences ended about 4:30. Mom was getting him up when I arrived and undressing him because he'd thrown up pretty good in her bed. He got a quick shower while the other 2 waited in the car. After not too long though, we headed home. Sadly, as I was turning onto our street, Kieran started throwing up again in his hands. You can imagine how swiftly I jumped out the car after parking. (Later when I was looking for my keys, I found them still in the ignition, hahaha).

So he got ANOTHER shower. I retrieved Brennan's birthday gift from the mailbox and hid it, then helped Kieran redress as Brennan arrived home from track practice. By this time, it was time to head out to Pack meeting. Brennan agreed to watch Kieran and I did carpool to the 6pm activities. I left early enough to get home for Brennan to be picked up for his 7pm Scouts, which was to be a farewell pizza party in his honor. Kieran threw up in the middle of the living room, and then like every 3 minutes because I gave him juice-then-water, which he couldn't keep down longer than that. Eventually I cut him off from all beverages, which made him quite unhappy because he claims he's hungry and thirsty, but dash-it-all, NOTHING will stay down!

I hoped to wrap Brennan's gifts earlier, but I guess I'm staying up late to do that.

The good news is, we have busy plans for tomorrow (probably will have to postpone indefinitely if Kieran's still sick), so I'd already arranged for work off tomorrow. Also good news, I got a new oven element today which could have been tricky to be without an oven over Easter weekend.

Now I just need to get through the next 4 days: more conferences, dr appointment, swimming lessons, ward social, camas commons party, egg hunts... I'm excited that some time between 8am and 5pm on Friday OR Saturday (because why limit the window?) the dryer vent cleaner is coming, so I'll hopefully get my dryer rehooked up and bathroom put back together before my inlaws come, haha. Then I'd better get my Easter and Ordination plans in order for Sunday. Maybe even die some eggs, oh sheesh.

Even without the twists and turns I knew this week would be crazy busy. It's hard not to be a little wistful about how much harder it is to do things when you're a single parent. And yes, I know I can drop out of the unnecessaries this week. I wish I didn't have to. It's the FUN stuff that has to be sacrificed, but it's the fun stuff that gives me the motivation to keep going, that makes me feel like I'm not a complete failure because my kids will still have a normal, happy childhood and not miss out on things as a result of the choices of their parent(s).

Anyway, that's my last 2 days. How were yours?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NOT about our Arizona Trip. (Whew!)

We love us some free cones at Dairy Queen! I must have put it in my calendar last year, because it was sitting there on March 14. Quick Goggle search later, I got the 2017 date. Definitely going to have a yearly reminder to look it up.

Last Sunday was sunny so we hopped on our bikes again and made a pit-stop at the park. Hollyn was into the climbing wall a bit and approached me with pride for having climbed kind of high, on the straighter side. She said, "But I didn't go to the top, I can't do that." In my mind I was thinking about her small size and the tricky curve of the wall and ALMOST said, "Yeah, that's probably too hard for you." or something validating like that. Instead, what came out of my mouth was, "Really? Why not?" She thought for a second. I saw the little light-bulb above her head light up. She ran back to the wall and seconds later, was conquering the top!

The kids built "Grand Central Fort" in the living room I got the tour inside were they each had roomy bedrooms. Every year coincidentally just before St. Patrick's Day I clean out under the couch cushions. The rest of the year I pretend there isn't a problem there, and the cushions must stay in place to hide it. ;-) But when those leprechauns come through and move the cushions, it ignites fort ideas with the kids. So basically, I had nowhere to set for several days after the holiday.