19 June 2017

7 Quick Takes Monday - With Pictures

1. I was working a blog post about how I'm sick of the "toxic chemicals will kill you" trend going on right now, but in the end, I decided it was too controversial. It feels like it's reaching a fever pitch over here in my neck of the woods. I'm more of an "everything in moderation" type mom who totally springs for McDonalds when we're running late and it's dinner time.

Music therapy runs right through dinner time. 

It seems to me like we're turning something good - health and fitness - into an idol we've begun to worship. But I don't want to make enemies right now, so I'm just going to leave it at that.

2. School is going much better after a few alterations. In fact, life in general is going much more smoothly after we got used to the schedule changes of summer vacation. I now do school with Abigail while Eleanor and Theodore are napping (we spend about 45 minutes per day on it) and I do school with Eleanor in the evening after Abigail and Theodore go to bed (she usually spends about 30-45 minutes working). I've also altered what we do a bit. Abigail loves math and hates handwriting, so I added a few pages of math per day, cut out a page of handwriting, and am trying to do more fun and easy pre-writing activities each day. I want her to keep working at it, but I don't want her to hate school. I'd love to add another 30 minutes onto Abigail's school time in the form of game-style learning, but I want to wait another week or two until we get more familiar with the routine.

3. Speaking of summer routines, in a few weeks, Abigail will start back up in equine therapy and Eleanor will take an adorable little pre-ballet class. Eleanor is old enough to find things like Abigail going horseback riding while she sits on the sidelines unfair, but she is not old enough to understand that Abigail needs that therapy. I also never want my kids to feel like Abigail gets special treatment or that they need to be "sick" to be loved, so I searched high and low until I found an affordable option that she would like. I can hardly wait until the first day of class!

4. So we attempted camping this past weekend. I worked my butt off getting everything cleaned and organized and packed up. I lugged it all out to the car only to discover that no way on God's green earth was it all going to fit in my mid-sized sedan. With Eleanor and Theodore napping and Abigail watching Goldie and Bear, I set about going through each and every container - "Do we need this campfire toaster? No, we can live without toast this weekend" - until I had pared down as much as I could. Then I started loading up the car in order importantance. The tent, sleeping bags, food tote (the pink one), and as few kitchen/eating/tent gear items as I could bring (one of the clear totes), the cooler, the clothes. I culled the camping chairs, the screen room, and about 2/3 of my kitchen stuff. I had the trunk and foot wells packed out. Blankets (ie, sleeping pads) lined the back dash and piled on my husband's lap in the passenger seat. I also had to cull the pack 'n play. Everyone told me to bring one, but I seriously couldn't make it fit and I had no idea what else to cut. I thought since Theodore is my most...follow the leader...type kid and it would be way past his bedtime, he'd crash quickly.

My hubby got home late and we showed up at the campsite at bedtime. He was in a gnarly mood (Sorry, Babe!) and setting up camp was less than pleasant. Abigail kept throwing things, like the bug spray into the (empty) fire pit, the tent stakes behind a fenced-off propane tank. Theodore kept trying to run away. Literally, toddling down the streets in his cargo shorts like the cops were after him. (No reason why the cops would be chasing Theodore.) When we finished, we took a walk around the campground, bought some firewood and filled up our water container, and returned back to our tent in time for nightfall.

Everything I was able to squeeze in sans one tarp.

We got everyone inside and ready for bed. Eleanor was happy to stay in her sleeping pad and attempt sleep, but Abigail was not. She kept getting up and trying to start something, but I do believe she would have fallen asleep if it wasn't for Theodore. He was so exhausted that he could only run screaming around the tent, dive tackling everyone in turn. He refused to be held, rocked, or walked down. And while the air outside was quite pleasant, we had almost no airflow in our tent. I was just sitting in the middle of the tent, dripping sweat as if I had just finished up an hour of un-airconditioned Zumba with three tired, irritable, non-sleeping children and nearly 11pm. "We're done. Let's go home." And we did. It still took Theodore and Abigail a good 20 minutes in the car to unwind and fall asleep.

I specifically chose a close campsite (35 mins away) so that we could rush home quickly. Because crazy storms were expected on Saturday and into Sunday, we decided to just return the next morning and pack everything up.

5. I'm really glad we gave it a shot and I did learn a ton.

Like, we need to figure out how to put up our rain fly because whatever we did here wasn't letting in any air. And if you can't get to a campsite early, bring the freaking car DVD player and let the kids watch a movie so you can set up the tent. And a pack 'n play is super essential. Which begs the question, what would I have left so it could fit? I have no idea. It makes me wonder if I simply couldn't have physically fit everything I needed in the car. Oh, I also learned that blankets don't make good sleeping pads. Lots of people suggest we camp in our backyard to get the kids used to sleeping in a tent, but to me, the idea seemed so stupid. How silly, to play with your toys inside then go outside to sleep. Plus why on earth would I sleep on the ground when my bed is a mere door away? Sleeping outside is fun when you're at a campground full of people doing it, you can smell campfires in the air, and your belly is fully of roasted marshmallows. I can let go and be sticky and sweaty and smell of sun, but not so much when I come inside my air conditioned house, walk past my mascara, and see my...outdoorsy...reflection in the mirror to pee before bed. So I'm not exactly sure what we'll do right now. Maybe we will camp in the backyard. Or maybe we'll rent a car top carrier. Or maybe we'll finally buy a minivan (I mean, three carseats in a row is crazy crowded anyway).

I don't know yet, but I'm glad we gave it a shot, I learned a lot, and I definitely plan to try it again.

6. I'm still hanging out at the gym on a regular basis. It took a while, but Theodore finally doesn't cry when I drop him off at the childcare. My girls beg to go every day, but YMCA is a mouth full, so they just make up letters. Abigail usually calls it "AWY." Sometimes she'll just look at me, "W?" Eleanor asks, "Mommy, can we go the CYA?" They have a huge space full of outdoor toys, like a play castle and a slide, plus two huge shelves full of fun toys we don't have at home. I was really worried they'd pick up colds and be sick all the time, but so far, we've only had one cold and it could have come from school.

I can carry the kids longer before I get tired and I set the weights to 100 pounds on leg day. I love the me-time, really. It's sooooo nice to do something uninterrupted for an hour straight, and the endorphins I get when I run on the treadmill leave me in a great mood all day.

7. I did move Eleanor into Theodore's room and Abigail's bad behavior has decreased significantly. Theodore and Eleanor are social butterflies who never want to be alone, but Abigail is definitely more of a loner. She retreats multiple times per day to her room, full of her favorite toys, and closes the door. She'll read books or organize ABC blocks or even just lay on her bed with her blankie. Eleanor and Theodore get along well together, but they are both keeping each other up late and night and then taking super long naps during the day. Hopefully they'll get used to each other and that will wear off. Either that or I'll just have to get used to a long nap time. Eleanor naps on our bed, otherwise they'd keep each other from napping too.

Everyone but Eleanor on Eleanor's bed
I am so surprised at how many times I shuffle kids around, it seems like every developmental age brings about a new sleeping arrangement in a new room. I would love to paint the walls something other than the brown we moved into, but mark my words, as soon as a ballet pink goes up, I'll be moving Theodore over. I try to console myself with the fact that the kids are hard on the walls right now anyway. It's better if they take it out on the hides-everything-whatever brown instead of the pretty-soft-feminine pink.

1 comment:

Iseoni Austin said...

Here are some things to do to reduce cargo

-Try no cook food and ok-to eat noncooked food. Coldcuts, hotdogs, applesauce packets, cereal bars, etc.

- Use an inflatable nap mat for the kids, rather than added blankets.
Having a sleeping bag can make it warmer if needed.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015LJOGSQ/ref=asc_df_B015LJOGSQ5042044/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=394997&creativeASIN=B015LJOGSQ&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167139747563&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=8052830835601487165&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9002262&hvtargid=pla-304700720786 something like this. They don't need pillows, either so save a ton of room. They actually have nice ones for adults, too....and they come with inflatable pillows.

- A smaller tent, ( 2 man) especially one that has a lot of screen before you put on a rain fly, can be zipped and secured with a caribeneer. It's much smaller and way more portable than a pack and play and can't be climbed out of. They take seconds to put up and with some inflatable beach balls can be a real attraction.

- Only bring two gallons of water. Campsites have water all over the place. Use one as a tote. The best way---freeze the second gallon and use it rather than ice.