Life with THREE

In which we all really liked each other the whole weekend I KNOW

We had this surprisingly lovely weekend and I feel bad for you, Internet, because lovely weekends usually do not good blog posts make. Are you just dying to know about all the errands we ran and projects we started and the numerous pleasant interactions with our children? I didn't think so. 

But it's NOTABLE, because not all weekends are lovely, you know? In fact, most of our family's weekends tend to be Super Fun Yet Very Busy or Kind Of Stressful Interspersed With Moments Of Quality Time or Oh God, It's Sunday Night Already? 

Late Saturday morning our power went out. And right now, as I type, I am wondering if maybe the horrendously low expectations one has for a Day Without Power led to the surprising loveliness of the rest of the day? The night before Phillip and I had had one of those State Of The Union talks, you know, where you go through all the things you want to get done, the things on your List, the things that cost money, the calendar, the priorities, blah blah blah. (That was surprisingly lovely too, but another, completely different story.) Anyway, we woke up planning to Get Stuff Done. 

But I think the reason we actually got stuff done is because the power was out. There just wasn't much else to do! We were FORCED to be productive. Bunking Jack and Molly's beds has been on my list for months now and GUESS WHAT. We got it done. I bought Jack a warmer comforter (he had one of those cute-yet-slowly-crappified-Target quilts) and because it was the cheapest and because I am a sucker, I bought him the godawful Skylanders Giants theme set. Then I bought Molly a cheapie Disney Princess blanket because I wanted her to feel like HER room was going to be new too and DEAR GOD when did I become a) the parent who buys their kid whatever they want and 2) the parent who buys CHARACTER LICENSED BEDDING. (Two things I swore I wouldn't do. For shame. Really.) 

So we spent the day bunking the beds, shopping for new bedding, cleaning the room, moving the kid desks from the playroom into the bedroom, creating all this SPACE and you guys know how I love SPACE. I have approximately one frillion ideas for how to Efficent-ize and Maximize all the different areas of my house and EEEEEEEE!!! I AM EXCITED. 

But I also talked a lot with my kids. We went out for lunch and dinner. We did projects together. We laughed. We told entirely too many knock knock jokes. Jack does them pretty well. "Knock knock!" Molly's are tinged with her Jar Jar Binks accent: "Knocka knock!" And Emma is trying, she really is: "KNAWK KNAWK!" "Who's there?" "UMMM..."

MAYBE I was just in an exceptionally good mood. I don't know. I mean, I'll take it, either way. 

Last week I was feeling listless. Literally. Not a fun feeling for me! And now it's Sunday night and I've got a million things on it: finishing up the recipes for the bakery application, finding Jack a filing cabinet at Goodwill, reorganizing and rearranging the playroom, shopping for the things we agreed to shop for during our State of the Union discussion, printing my Christmas party invitations and starting the planning for that. I get stressed and overwhelmed sometimes, but I would SO much rather be those things than LISTLESS. 

Oh, here's a new big thing: we decided to retile our shower ourselves over Thanksgiving break. Yes. I am now opening the suggestion box for any and all DIY tile information. I bought a book! Phillip has watched many a YouTube video! I think we're going with the plain old white ceramic tile at Lowe's (big rectangles) and maybe doing a mosaic glass strip near the top? I think? We WERE going with the super big square porcelain tiles in the Bulk Things We Have Too Much Of section of the store, but I'm not a fan of Neutral Earthy Tones and when we wall this part of the bathroom off to make a powder room it's going to be dark. White it is. I LIKE WHITE. WHITE EVERYTHING. 

SEE. I told you. Boringest blog post ever. Better luck tomorrow, internet! Maybe something terrible will happen!


What would YOU buy?

Exciting bakery update! We have an LLC! I KNOW! It's, like, for REAL. Now I have UBI number, whatever that is, so I can apply for a business license. After that we turn in our hefty Cottage Food Permit application. AND THEN WE START SELLING STUFF. 

So that's what we're talking about now. Cakes, obviously. Katie's already been doing that, but now we'll be selling and marketing them with all sorts of officialness. Here are our other ideas, based on things she's done before, things people have requested in the past, and things we think might work:

  • Croissants. Other breakfasty pastries. 
  • Cookie platters, especially fancy holiday cookies. 
  • Jars of granola.
  • Cupcakes.
  • Savory pastries. For example, I have a friend who asked if Katie would be interested in making a whole bunch of piroshky-type pastries that my friend would freeze and put in her kids' lunches. 

What would YOU buy? 

I'll just be honest - I probably wouldn't buy anything. I like to bake, for starters, and I've always made my own cookie platters and food gifts for people like teachers and neighbors. BUT. Last year a friend of mine asked if I had any leftover cookies that she could bring to a holiday gathering because she didn't have time to make something on her own. AND. The little Italian town we lived in had the most amazing cafe with cases full of treats. Maybe this is an Italian thing but people often bought trays and platters of pretty cookies and small Italian sweets to take home or to share with friends, all wrapped beautifully. We would LOVE to make and sell platters like that! I HAVE bought those. 

Anyway, I was just thinking about what people might like to buy around the holidays. I was thinking of bringing trays of treats for the kids' teachers, to my old office, to friends' houses, to parents' friends, littering business cards wherever I go. You bet Thumbprints Baking Co. will be catering the sweets section of the annual Cheung Christmas shindig. 

We need to start taking pictures of whatever Katie makes. She's making a birthday cake for our brother-in-law next week and while it will be the flavors he requested, it will be decorated to the tune of What Would Look Nice On Our Website? 

That's where the baking business stands right now. In the Children Department:

1. Jackson continues to be the kid that I'm most anxious about. Molly and Emma, by comparison, are so easy for me to figure out! Jack is the one where I have to really think about what he needs at any particular moment. Today, for example, he's been on the verge of tears all afternoon because (I think) he is overtired. Maybe? I DON'T KNOW. I also watched him chasing girls on the playground after school today which got me all antsy about the crew of sassy girls he hung out with last year and how they affected his behavior. Is that happening again this year? He doesn't need more sass, primary grades ladies. 

2. Molly is relatively simple. She likes art projects, pink, and she ALWAYS wants to go shopping. We're growing out her bangs. (I KNOW.) She's rarely grouchy or overtired or nasty and as long as I'm not trying to get her ready to go to school we get along great. She also looks extra adorable in the tons of Old Navy sale items I bought her over the weekend. 

3. Same with Emma. My issue with Emma is that she never. shuts. up. and I swear she's the reason I am passing out every afternoon again. Every night, from three to four in the morning she is awake and thumping her head against the mattress in combination with songs or chants or mindless gibberish. She does it at various points all night long, but it's that 3am session that always gets me and always keeps me up. And she does it all day too. We walked around the lake this morning and the ENTIRE WAY she was singing/talking/chanting to herself. MY KINGDOM FOR SOME SILENCE. 

I am thinking that right about the time Jack gets easier to understand and deal with, my girls will turn into Tweenage Horrors. We shall see, eh?!

Not that all brothers are uniformly awesome. For example, mine refer to me as Large Marge.

Phillip likes to say that I am a very hard worker, just not at anything that generates revenue. Today I took that a step further by working very hard on things that COST us money - I am now a proud member of an actual factual LLC. It cost me $200 and about a half hour of googling "do you really NEED a registered agent?" Legal Zoom, which was going to charge me $400, kindly offered to be my registered agent (for a fee, obvs) but it turns out you need a registered agent to, and I'm practically quoting here, accept mail on your behalf if you're on vacation. So. Thanks but no thanks, Legal Zoom.

You can register an LLC online in the state of Washington (woo hoo!) and now I can check the first step off my list. Once the LLC application is processed I can apply for a business license and after THAT we can put together our giant pile of prereqs for a Cottage Food Permit. I also have a URL, a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and many many links in my Bakery bookmarks folder. 

And I don't know why this is making me think of Mike Birbiglia but it IS... See, I'm doing this with my sister, who I love, even if she prefers dollar store posterboard to Excel. My FIL felt it necessary to pass on some advice his parents gave him - never go into the same business as a sibling. Ha. But I'm so excited to do this with her and it feels SPECIAL and all sorts of other cheesy things that would make her positively  DIE, but whatever. And this makes me think of Mike Birbiglia because we listened to an awful lot of his comedy in the car this weekend and he kept talking about his brother. All these adventures and funny things about his brother. And I got very MOPEY about Jackson not having a brother. MOOOOOOPEY.

So yeah, did you follow all of that? Bakery to sisters to Mike Birbiglia to brothers? Excellent. That is what I'm thinking about, how Jack does not have a brother and this is such a bummer to me. I am VERY VERY curious how people without a brother or a sister (or both!) feel about this - when they were kids and now when they're grown ups. Phillip, for example, doesn't feel like he missed out not having a sister. I would venture to say that if he had a sister instead of a brother, he MIGHT feel like he missed not having a brother? Maybe? I DON'T KNOW. As someone who has two of each it's hard for me to fathom. 

I am OVERJOYED that my girls have a sister. I know this doesn't necessarily mean they will LIKE each other, but I feel like the odds are in their favor and it makes me happy. I love having sisters! And it DOES make me feel sad for Jack. Sometimes I see families that are all boys and I think about how awesome that brother bond must be. What is my boy missing?! WAH. 

Now OBVIOUSLY I know that if the stars aligned and Phillip Cheung was struck by lightning and we had a fourth child, it's not like we would automatically have a boy. Even though *I* think it would be perfect to have two of each, that doesn't mean the universe ponies up. We could have fifteen more kids (calm down, Phillip!) and Jack STILL might not have a brother. 

So it's not really a "oh, we should have more kids" feeling, but a "oh, this is the sort of family our kids will have" feeling and a big fat wondering of what it will be like for them. I am always surprised when I recognize (remember? acknowledge? dawns on me?) that our family is NOT just like mine! We are different! We do different things! My kids will experience things UTTERLY DIFFERENTLY than the way I did! BRAIN EXPLODING!

Will Jack have some sort of stunted emotional growth from the lack of a brother? Probably not. Already he seems closer to his sister than I ever was to either of my brothers. He DOTES on Emma. I also take comfort in a boy/girl sibling pair I know who are SO close and SO awesome. AND all of you who are onlies, who are all, "Uh, only is the only way to go." Seems like most people prefer how it worked out for them. 

I know it's sort of a dumb and pointless thing to think about, but I DO think about it. All right, this pause in bakery talk is brought to you by Mike Birbiglia and the siren call of a chocolate bar, luring me out of bed. 

An aimless yet still bakey sort of day. Also: happy bacon.

Today I wanted to do ninety thousand things and couldn't on account of having to take care of CHILDREN. ARGH. If I hadn't had Emma and Rosie today I would have a website, business cards, and rate card all set for Thumbprints. OH YES I WOULD HAVE. 

Katie and I were kicking the idea around, but Carla pushed it to the front of my brain: we should just start now. Katie's already making cakes on the side, but I could "officialize" things and get the name out there. For starters. It's SOMETHING. 

But you know that feeling? When you want to do EVERYTHING but you're STUCK? I hate that feeling. 

I'm trying a couple of new things. First thing: keeping my house clean. SHOCKER. Okay, I should probably clarify that. What I'm trying to do is clean things up AS I GO. Instead of getting totally overwhelmed by the kitchen only to leave it for after dinner when I am sure to be MORE overwhelmed. Straightening up the homework table before the kids need to use it. Putting clothes away when I see them, not when I'm forced to move them so I can walk through my own house. That sort of thing. And I am wondering if this commitment to pick-up-itude is contributing to my sense of Desolation today. I feel like I've been working all day! But doing WHAT?! I AM happier when I go into the kitchen and it's clear. Yes. But the bathrooms are still dirty and I'm just going to have to mess up the counters again for dinner sooooo, yeah, I am not sure how long this experiment will last.

The second thing is what food I buy. The morning after I got back from the Blathering I was scrolling through links and articles on Twitter, as you do in your bed before you have to go get the kids ready, and I just HAPPENED to read an article about... I am just going to say Factory Farming. And I don't know why THIS article was the last straw, but it was, and I now have to double our grocery budget so I can buy happy meat and eggs. I'm not going vegetarian (although I think I, personally, could) and I haven't figured out what I think about ALL animal products, like cheese and milk, but bacon? I now have opinions about bacon. I will now have to go to the hippie grocery store to buy the bacon that says These Pigs Led Cheery Piggy Lives Before We Decided To Eat Them and/or become one of those people who buys half an animal from a hippie farm to store in the freezer in the garage. 

Katie said, "Are you going to require cage free eggs for the bakery?" YES, YES I AM. At some point. Maybe not right away. I'm not even sure we can afford to pay our employees with sad caged eggs in the budget. But seriously, this is now a Thing for me. I'M SORRY, EVERYONE ELSE. 

(Oh, the bakery is going to "focus" on Local stuff. We're sort of over the organic thing, but we are big on Local and Sustainable and all that jazz. "Happy Animals" to be added as soon as we won't go broke.)

(Isn't it HORRIBLE how much it costs to be picky about where your food comes from? I HATE THAT.)

(If you want to read the article, here you go, it's by the dude who wrote Dominion, one of those books I've avoided. BUT HE GOT ME ANYWAY. Spoiler alert: is way churchy.)

Where did THAT come from. Is this a foodie blog? NO IT IS NOT. I'll have you know that dinner tonight is grilled cheese and soup out of a can. For the kids, anyway. I will be having handfuls of cookies out of the box like a proper grown up. 

Just because it popped into my head right this second, what do you guys think about making a quick little logo for biz cards/Twitter/FB/web page and then going the full branding route once we have a storefront? I very much want to spend $$$ on an Identity (MAN, I wish I were a graphic designer. Next life!), but we can't do that NOW. We're not even quite sure what the identity IS yet. But I do feel like we need something if we want to start marketing the name, you know? If Katie is going to pass out cards with her cakes, it needs something. What do you think? I'd do it myself except I can pay an Etsy person $25 and get something way more awesome than I'd ever come up with. 

All right, I've just had my zillionth request for another snack. That's a good sign I should start dinner. 


Wondering how you a) manage recycling and b) after school activities and c) yes, this is a really boring post

Okay so I have two questions for you tonight. For comparison purposes. I don't know why I am obsessively thinking about these things today, maybe because I'm going out of town and therefore can't do anything constructive, which is the BEST sort of fretting don't you think? And knowing what OTHER families do will help me fret even BETTER. 

The first one is about garbage and recycling. HOW DO YOU MANAGE GARBAGE AND RECYCLING? We have Lola, the fire engine red garbage can, and two smaller bins for recycling. However! Only one recycling bin fits under the sink and the second one just sits out. For a long time I was diligent about putting the second one out of sight, but for whatever reason our family is generating so much recycling that the two bins have found permanent places in the middle of the kitchen floor. We can recyle paper, glass, cans, and lots of plastic, so these bins are CONSTANTLY full. Constantly. And it makes me crazeeeeeeee

I feel like this problem won't be solved until Jackson Cheung is old enough to carry the garbage and recycling out of the house by himself. Our kitchen is on the second floor. It's not terribly convenient and/or easy to carry a giant bag of garbage and two overflowing bins of recycling through the house, down the stairs, and out to the garbage and recycling bins on a regular-ish basis. At least, not when it's just me at home and I'm getting lunch ready or I'm late for school or WHATEVER. I feel like this is a Cheungs Are Just Supremely Lazy problem, but also: SO MUCH RECYCLING/GARBAGE! Maybe it's all the diapers? I don't know. I always think of this columnist I used to read who was married to a woman born in China and how that woman's family would generate one small plastic shopping bag of garbage PER WEEK. Now. Granted I am a modern middle class lady living in the USA, but STILL. For shame! 

Don't get me started on composting. Again: when a certain someone is big enough to cart the food waste out of the house when his mother orders him to, maybe we'll compost THEN. 

My SECOND question is about After School Activities. I have never been ANTI after school activities, but I've also been decidedly uninterested in becoming the mom who has practice every evening and games on Saturday mornings. At least not now. But it's occurred to Phillip and me that Jack, at least, could really use an outlet for all his crazy energy, and he's been interested in tae kwon do (he saw it on TV). So today I sat down and looked up all the martial arts/sports/dance classes at the community centers and the Y, trying to figure out if it's at all possible for us to pull off the activities thing. BUT. Molly has no interest in martial arts and there are NO community center classes she'd like to do at the same time Jack would be doing karate. We'd have to go to Jack's class one night a week and Molly's class another night a week and I'd have the two extra kids with nothing to do while we wait for the other one and UGH. 

At the Y I can put them in a gymnastics class or indoor soccer league together, but the Y isn't close and it'd be at a crappy traffic time and what would I do with Emma and that's another night a week when dinner is crazy or we don't see Phillip until bedtime and UGH. 

If I wait until Emma is older, Jack is missing out on some prime years of learning things. And it's not just that my friends' kids are on soccer teams and stuff, I've got the Asian in-laws asking me when they're going to start piano lessons. ACK! I don't know!

And I want them to do these things, don't get me wrong. I would LOVE for Jack to pick up a sport or hit blocks with his forehead or find something fun like that and I know Molly would love to take dance lessons. I TOTALLY want them to take piano. I just don't know how to fit all those things into our week while still maintaining some sort of relationship with their father, for starters, and not eating McDonalds twice a week and all that. 

But I also know that I have never been as talented as many of my friends at Activities - I've known this since Jack was a BABY. I've never been good at going to the zoo and the museum and hitting up all the kid goings ons. And our family is a little different than my good friends spend their free time with two big kids in one soccer league with the same schedule. I feel like for me to be successful at managing Activities, they need to be close to our house and overlap OR be something they do together AND I have a clear idea of what to do with myself and Emma while the big kids are busy. I haven't hit on that combination yet. 

So, what are YOUR kids doing after school? Are you driven to drink every evening? I really do feel like Jack and Molly are missing something... it's not exactly peer pressure or family comparison or whatever, I just feel like you don't have a lot of time for pee wee soccer and tap shoes. 

All right. I now release my stress into the internet!


I think I'm due for a good long parenting rant, yes? I feel like I've had a long stretch of Fine - always the irritations and frustrations, but no full on Parental Meltdowns. Maybe it's the crazy pills. They have yet to kick in today though because RIGHT NOW I AM FURIOUSSSSSSSS!!!

Here are some Truths about living in this house with these three impossible children, ages 6, 5, and 2, ie: PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF THROWING SOMETHING IN THE GARBAGE.

  • If someone's mother graciously allows them a packet of fruit snacks after school, even though the mother repeatedly warns the snack eater that if he/she leaves her garbage on the floor she will send them back to the Dark Ages ie: Before Touch Screens Existed, there is, without fail, a fruit snack wrapper on the floor at all times. 
  • Every pillow and blanket in the entire house comes out to play in the living room every afternoon, and the people who bring the pillows and blankets to the living room swear up and down they have no idea where said pillows and blankets originated. 
  • There are socks on the floor. 
  • As soon as the even-tempered sweet-natured mother gets the kitchen counters cleaned off, someone covers them up with dirty dishes. Usually ones with uneaten fruit, the better to attract fruit flies. 
  • No one knows where their shoes are. 
  • At least one of them won't eat whatever the poor hardworking mother made for dinner. 
  • "Can I watch a show" and "Can I have a snack" are said, on average, 572 times a day. By each child. Even the 2-year-old. 
  • No one knows how to pick up more than one thing at a time. 
  • On nights when there is no dessert, at least one child is positively baffled, offended, and ready to call CPS.
  • The exhausted mother wonders why she vacuums at all, seeing as how the children leave a trail of crumbs, bits of paper, beads, BeyBlades, socks, milk drips, and cap-less markers wherever they go. 
  • No one knows how to flush. 
  • The award-winning multitasker mother can remind her older children a dozen times to put their homework folders in their backpacks and get their lunchboxes and wear rainboots and still one of them will strap herself (HERself, AHEM) into her car seat and wait for her ride to school, coat-less, bag-less, and wearing maryjanes with no socks. And still look at her speechless mother with innocent wonder, like, "Oh? You were talking to ME?"
  • If one dumps out all the Jenga blocks, one is required to pick them up. Every time. Really. This rule even extends through the next day and the next. The mother realizes sometimes it's hard to keep everything straight, but she doesn't see why one can't just ASSUME the Jenga blocks need picking up. Every time. 
  • Just because she is 2 doesn't mean you can eat all her snacks when she's not looking. 
  • At least one houseplant is dying, at least one room looks like a nuclear nightmare, at least one meal isn't cleaned up, and at least one child is whining about how at least one other child is being mean. At all times. Every day. 

Insert a very screechy pillow-thumping expletive-filled SCREAM right here. Don't worry, I've sent the kids downstairs so they can't hear. 

Would you like to add your own House Truth? That might make you feel better. 

Something else that makes me feel better - listing Things I Am Good At. Since today I am so very terrible at 1) cleaning up and 2) being nice to my children, I shall focus on:

  • I make very pretty spreadsheets. 
  • I ran today. Your grandmother could have lapped me in a 5k, but I ran longer than I have in a good while and I'm proud of myself. 
  • Sucking up to my kids' teachers. 
  • Envisioning bakeries.
  • Watching my DVRed news show almost every day. 
  • Saying yes when my husband wants to go out. Like tonight. Damn him. 
  • Eating the CSA fruit before it rots. 
  • Applying white/aqua color schemes. (For example: the bakery.)
  • Calling my mother. 
  • Using sarcasm when I'm screeching at my kids. I am THAT awesome. 





Running, decks, babysitting, busy, getting away. Most exciting title ever. You totally want to read this one. No way would I click "mark as read". By the way, what am I supposed to use when Google Reader disappears?

It appears that the way to get me on the treadmill every day is to buy the entire second season of Scandal on Amazon Prime. I AM NOT PROUD OF THIS. Of the many things I should not have purchased this month, a season of soapy television is high on the list. But! I've run three days in a row, one episode per day, and tonight the ONLY reason I got on that treadmill is so I could watch episode three. So for right now it's money well spent. OLIVIA POPE FOR PRESIDENT!

I wanted to run in the morning - that's my plan, to run while the kids eat breakfast in front of their babysitter, Mrs. TV - but my deck guys get here at 8 which is about when I'd start AND my treadmill is in the laundry room, which is where they happen to plug in their saws. AND there's a window where they'd get a LOVELY view of my backside. So no. Not while the deck guys are still here. 

Jack thumped my thigh while I was sitting on the couch the other night and goes, "Mommy, it's like a WAVE!" 


Oh, and my deck is coming along nicely, despite the constant forecast for rain which threatens to derail the whole thing. They have to put four coats of this special paint on the plywood floor. It takes an hour to roll on, then 3-4 hours to dry. So they can do two coats a day which, amazingly enough, they did today. I wasn't expecting that. But it's supposed to rain tomorrow so who knows when it will get finished. The stairs are looking awesome, though I can't remember if they are staining the railing or if we decided to take that on ourselves. And the slide is supposed to be delivered tomorrow. YAY! I kind of can't believe I didn't get talked out of the slide but hey, when you're renovating the ENTIRE DECK, what's the addition of a slide, eh?

I babysat my niece today. She was pretty unhappy with me the entire time, which would have been horrible except that she took a nearly three-hour nap. I'm still exhausted though. Even though the high maintenance baby is taking a three hour nap, you still have two antsy fidgety big kids stuck at home. And can't even go play in their own backyard. So they are arguing. All. Day. Long.

And tomorrow - TOMORROW I have swim lessons, then driving to the opposite side of town for Molly's kindergarten entrance appointment (with a school psychologist, groan), then making dinner for Phillip, me, and eight college students involved with the NDCF. I was not pushed into this. I gladly volunteered. And now I am all WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO MAKE FOR THESE PEOPLE? That I can transport a half hour away? For 10 of us? With one of those people having a DAIRY ALLERGY? I told myself I wouldn't worry about it until my niece went home, but that was a few hours ago now... I'm thinking... rotisserie chicken and salad fixings? I thought about pulled pork, but for 10 people? How much pork is that?! GAH I AM SO BAD AT THIS. Also: waiting until the last minute. GO ME.

The other day I had to email someone and say: "I am sorry I dropped the ball on this. I am actually a very reliable dependable person. Like, to a FAULT. I'll do better. I promise. You can count on me." Only... less suck uppy. I hope. 

Did I tell you I'm going away this weekend? Nearby, just a ferry ride away. A friend has a friend with a cabin on an island and we're just gonna go hang. Ever since Blathering #1 I've become pretty skilled at going away with friends. Thank you, husbands! Anyway, I'm looking forward to it. I don't feel like I NEED it, but I'm guessing it will be good. I'm bringing books, my Kindle full of NYT crosswords (I'm getting better at them! I'm so proud of myself!) and a bunch of art projecty stuff which will hopefully turn into things I'm not embarrassed to hang on my living room wall. I know. Just saying that = should not put it on my living room wall. BUT WE'LL SEE. Adventures with Mod Podge. 

Oooh, Phillip is done putting the kids to bed which means I get to watch Justified now. Olivia Pope and Raylan Givens are my new besties. 


Better question: when is MY nap?

I have no idea how I'm going to do tomorrow. 

8:45 Jack drop off

9:00 School assembly (Jack is singing with his class so I want to go) (of course I can only stay for 15 minutes because see below)

9:30 Molly drop off

11:30 Molly pick up

12:15 Preschool end-of-year picnic

2:00 Jack pick up

...and Emma naps when? 

Skipping the picnic, skipping the picnic. So... keep EJ up until Molly pick up, then rush home and hope she gets an hour and a half before Jack pick up? Sometimes she's still up for a morning nap - maybe I try that instead? And then a super early bedtime (because we know she won't deign to take an afternoon nap!) 

Obvs I'll just see what kind of kid I have in the morning and go from there. And it's only one day. THE LAST DAY. 

Next week? Next week my kids wake up, I get them breakfast in front of the television, I run my measly handful of miles while they eat. Every morning. I just DO it. Hammer those suckers out before 9am. I caught a good look at myself in the mirror at swim lessons tonight and HOO BOY. Running needs to happen around here. 

I had the kids write a few lines on cards to their teachers tonight (we're giving them cards and a potted geranium or dahlia, the end) and Molly ended one of her cards with "Have a good day!" I think that's a swell ending. Have a good day, Internet, especially if it's your Last Day too. 

What we learned this year

The last week of school is going annoyingly. By which I mean it's not Friday yet. It's the regular feeling of "isn't it Friday yet" coupled with "let's get this school stuff over with already" and BLARGH. Today was my last true day of The Schedule and while I did get a bit sniffly at the coffee shop, the rest of the day I traded sentiment for impatient irritation. 

Tomorrow is my last day with just Molly and Emma at home and THAT might be hard. Where it was questionable if Jack would survive the months before kindergarten, Molly is happy at home. She entertains herself, she's happy to fold clothes with me or help empty the dishwasher, she works on projects without needing attention. Not that I have any interest whatsoever in homeschooling, but I can PICTURE doing it with Molly. If I were doing it with Jack one of us would be dead. ANYWAY. All that to say I'd like to do something fun with Molly tomorrow. I don't know what, though. My girl is always game for shopping...

Friday is a silly little day of early releases and I'm going to cap off my year of not hanging out with the preschool moms by blowing off the end of the year picnic in the park. It's at a bad time! Whatever. I actually did make friends, you know. This morning one of the moms said she was going to email me over the summer to do this thing at the library with our babies and while it sounded totally boring, I was all, "HEY. THE PRESCHOOL MOMS LIKE ME!" 

Maybe this whole time they've been seeing me drive up in my minivan, watching my kid hop out on her own, and feeling jealous as I drive away. Maybe this whole time they've been wishing THEY could blow everyone off. 

I really hope I remember to take a picture of Molly and Jack in front of the house on the last day of school, to juxtapose with the first day of school picture. Things are SO DIFFERENT. Molly is just - I don't know the right words. She has grown up SO MUCH. I was so worried about my little preschool drop out and then this year she was all, "I don't need no brother to do all my socializing for me" and had a blast. Jack grew up too, but in a different way. Like he's been exposed to life outside his family and he's trying out all these voices and mannerisms and I have to keep saying, "I DON'T LIKE IT WHEN YOU ACT LIKE [INSERT NAME OF FRIEND]." Also he reads and does math and makes books and his handwriting is terrible and he has blisters on his palms from the monkey bars and every single pair of jeans is holey. His hair is always a mess. He's going to be a first grader. I have a first grader

And Emma? Emma learned to walk. I spent the first half of the year reminding myself to put the Ergo in the car so I could carry her into the school for pick up. She was always bound up next to me, no one saw her face. And then the second half of the year, when I was still carrying her, but on my hip and putting her down once we got inside. And then holding her hand while she walked. And then trying to get her to hold my hand before she gets run over by the hordes of elementary school students running to the bus. Babies change so fast, I know, but the school year really quantifies things, doesn't it. 

It's going to be crazy with Molly in school. I mean the time flying by thing. It wasn't so long ago that I was writing about my two babies. SO CRAZY. Although it's still not entirely certain she'll GO to school - next week we meet with a school psychologist, the second of the two kindergarten early entrance assessments. Her teachers, Jack's teacher, and my personal collection of teachers all say she's ready and I think she is too and I'm not really worried about it, but it'll be nice to make it official. 

And NO, Teachers From Molly's Preschool, I am NOT putting my baby in the Twos program. No no no. 

But first: summer. Lots of summer. Swim lessons, VBS, YMCA camp, Grandma and Grandpa's house, Vancouver, the beach, the spray park, cousins, birthdays, a deck with a SLIDE. It's going to be awesome.


At least confessing it's been rough is evidence of character growth? Maybe?

As I sit here listening to my daughter scream bloody murder in her crib I'm thinking, "Shoot! This is why I still have ten pounds to go! This has been a CRAZY NEARLY-TWO YEARS!"

As smitten as we are with Miss EJ and as teeth-pulling as it is to get me to admit that anything is hard, THIS HAS BEEN HARD. Those of you who had third baby twins? Or you have a fourth baby? I'm just... I thought I could be you, but I'm not so sure anymore. 

I certainly don't have the hardest kids in the world, they're healthy and thriving and mostly behave, so I truly don't have anything to complain about. Although I don't really feel like I'm complaining right now so much as flopping backwards onto the couch and dramatically touching the back of my hand to my forehead. Listening to your sweet baby shriek her head off every single time you put her in bed is that exhausting. 

She's either not napping at all or napping too long and I have to wake her up. She's either not walking or she gets mad if she's not allowed to walk. She either eats everything or throws it all on the floor. Ninety percent of the time she's ADORABLE. The other ten percent is the reason I can't exercise, eat all the cookies at 10pm, constantly behind on housework, fall asleep on the couch in the middle of the day. All you people who said third babies were easy were LYING! PANTS ON FIRE! YES, I AM POINTING AT YOU!

Not that first and second babies are easy. I think maybe we were just well into Preschoolerhood when EJ arrived and it's not so much the baby work and baby stages so much as the adding BABY to PRESCHOOLER and KINDERGARTNER. If that makes sense? And I'm only speaking for myself. Jack and Molly are 15.5 months apart and yes, a lot of Molly's babyhood is a blur, but they were basically doing the same thing within a short amount of time and I HANDLED THINGS. This time? I feel like it's been almost two years and I still don't have a good grasp on managing the hours. First it was new baby and work trips and moving and then it was arranging life around the big kids' school stuff (and work trips, ahem.) I feel like that's legitimate. It's been hard. Sometimes really hard. 

The only thing going for me right now is that this is the last week of school. Tomorrow is my last Monday driving to kindergarten and preschool and then home and then back to preschool and then home and then back to kindergarten and then home. My upcoming weeks of no more drop offs and pick ups are so close I can taste them. I've scheduled the big kids for a couple weeks of daily summer swim lessons, but praise the Lord they're at the same time and other than that half hour? NOTHING ELSE. We can go back to doing whatever we want whenever we want and maybe I can finally urge EJ into an afternoon nap instead of this horrible mid-morning nap we've had going for months.

So this is encouraging. It is. And I'm not even that nervous about what to do with everyone this summer. Sure, some days will grate, but we have swim lessons, we have a couple of week-long camps, and lots of family get togethers. Summer will fly by the way it usually does. And come September I'll have two big kids going to the same school for the same hours and order might finally return to my world. I'm trying not to depend on that, but I don't see how it can't be SO MUCH EASIER than this last year.

A friend of mine has a newish baby and I got all Ooooh Snuggly Baby Gimme! over her yesterday. I just LOVE babies. And have I been thinking about a fourth baby? Sure! Not REALLY, since we all know where PCheung stands on that, and it's only been in the last month or so that I can fathom physically HAVING a baby again. (Seriously.) I love love LOVE the idea of a sixth person in our family. I really do. I'm not sure I feel like anyone is missing, necessarily, but it wouldn't be hard to talk me into it.

That said? I honestly don't know if I could hack a fourth baby. I don't know how you do it. I am SO tired, SO fed up by bedtime, SO drained on just a regular average day. Bad days are when I have to go shut myself in the bedroom as soon as Phillip gets home. (Poor Phillip.) The thought of doing it AGAIN? Starting OVER? No no no no no no no.

Everyone wanting to leave a comment about, "Oh, fourth babies just blend in!", I would like to inform you that that's what everyone said about THIRD babies.

Anyway. That's where my brain is right now. Phillip just emerged from Emma's room announcing, "I guess we have to rock her to sleep now!" OH GOODY.

I am really looking forward to the end of this school year, you guys. You might want to unfollow me from Twitter right now as I have no intention to hold back on the "This is my LAST MONDAY!" and "This is my LAST drop off!" tweets. GOOD RIDDANCE, CRAZY YEAR.