Friday, October 27, 2017

New Work Location

So, I found out a few months ago that my work group is moving to a new location, in MY neighborhood,  5 minutes from my house!  That was the 4th happiest day of my life!  (The first two being my wedding day and the girls’ birthday, in no particular order, and the 3rd being the day the girls could bathe themselves independently :))  This is going to improve my quality of life exponentially.  Instead of getting home at 6:30 or later and never getting to eat dinner as a family except on weekends and never being “done” for the day until at least 9:00, often much later, and never being home when the girls get home from school and never being available to drive them to their activities (although I do get to pick them up sometimes) or volunteer in their class (although I have taken days off to chaperone the occasional field trip), I will now get home at a reasonable time between 5:30 and 6:00.  We can eat dinner together as a family.  I can come home on my lunch break and let the dog out (she is currently going to “doggie day care” at a friend’s house).  And on Fridays when the girls have pain-in-the-ass early dismissal, instead of scrambling for a sitter I can take a late lunch, be home when they get home and then work from home the rest of the afternoon or even work from home the whole day.  If I get the dreaded call from the school nurse I can be there in 5 minutes instead of 35 or more.  If there is an event or program going on at school I can go!  This is the best thing EVER!!  Factor in the new Safeway minutes from home that saves me a good 30-40 minutes a week by not having to drive 15 minutes to the next town and the fact that the girls are involved in fewer activities this year, and my stress level should drop dramatically!  I am SO excited!  

I was a stay-at-home mom for the first 6+ years of the girls’ life.  Then, 3 ½ years ago I returned to work and I have been a stressed-out wreck ever since.  All I ever do is work, get ready for work, commute to and from work, fix meals, clean (we have a housekeeper but she only comes once every two weeks), grocery shop, run errands and help with homework and next-day prep.  Like I said, I’m never “done” until at least 9, sometimes later (and that’s because I’ve given up and not that I’m truly “done”), and then I watch a little TV or read for a bit before bed.  That is literally all I ever do, even on weekends, with very few exceptions.  I mean, I do go to most of the girls’ soccer games, and occasionally I will find time on a weekend to organize a closet or go for a walk or something, and we certainly have the occasional family outing but the fun stuff is VERY limited and has been a constant source of stress since I started working.  I rarely get to scrapbook or paint or craft or work on my long list of projects.

So in light of all that, I am over the moon about this move.  I still won’t have a ton of time for fun stuff, but getting home a little earlier and being able to grocery shop on a weeknight (or, get this:  I could shop on my lunch break, take everything home and put it away, let the dog out, and then go back to work!  Ha!) will help.  AAAAGGHHHH!  I’m so excited!

One more week at the current location, then the weekend of the 4th/5th the movers will move us, and we will report to the new location on the 6th! Can't wait!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Introducing Kona

We've been wanting to get a dog for awhile now but wanted to wait until after the cruise.  Since then I've been looking off and on on Craigslist and Petfinder and haven't found much until Saturday.  I found the cutest dog and she was being offered for adoption through some rescue organization where I had to fill out an application and because we work and the dog would be alone for about 6.5 hours per day (I should have just lied) they turned us down.  I wrote back and explained that my job is moving in a few months and I will be able to come home as needed during the day to let the dog out and also we have a friend who could dog sit during the day until I move.  So lame.  I mean, how many people have dogs who work for a living?  TONS!

Anyway, while waiting to hear back from them (and figuring I never would, which I haven't) I got back on Craigslist on Sunday and found two groups of the most adorable puppies ever and they were in the same general vicinity.  I called the first one, which were our favorite, and left a message.  Then, I emailed the second person and she got back right away and we set up a meeting at 4:30.  It was about noon at the time and she lives a little over an hour away.  So we left around 1:15 because we were going to stop for lunch on the way.  Meanwhile, the first lady texted me and she was available to meet also, which worked out great since we were going to be in the area anyway.  So we ended up going there first since we had plenty of time before meeting the other lady at 4:30 if we skipped lunch and just grabbed a quick snack from Safeway.

Those puppies were super cute, but really skittish and shy.  Whenever we would (calmly) reach for one to pick it up it would pull back and shy away.  Neither Paul or I had a very good feeling about them.  We were worried they wouldn't be very energetic or playful.  It might have been that they just hadn't been very socialized yet (the owner lived alone on a big farm and they hadn't been around many people), but my gut just said no.  So we told her that we loved them (they were really cute) but we had another appointment at 4:30 so we would have to let her know.  Then we went to see the second batch and fell in love with Kona (we named her in the car on the way home).  She's some sort of Australian Cattle Dog mix.  The lady we got her from said she was blue heeler and Australian Cattle Dog, but those are two names for the same breed, so I wonder if she meant heeler and Australian Shepard.  Don't know.  We will eventually do a DNA test because I'm dying to know.  She is happy, energetic (but not overly hyper) and playful, SUPER cute and just what we wanted!  She slept all night on the floor in our room (the girls were in there too because we're having another heat wave and our room has a window a/c unit) and didn't make a sound. The girls just adore her.  We all do!

In the car right after picking her up

We are definitely finding out that puppy ownership is hard work, and not unlike having a newborn.  Up several times a night, constant stream of visitors, cleaning up pee and poop...

Lucky for us our friend who is a stay-at-home mom and has 3 dogs of her own offered to puppy sit for us during the week for as long as we need or until it becomes too much for her.  As soon as my job relocates it will no longer be an issue but I'm so thankful to have her help in the meantime.  And Kona helps keep her smallest dog entertained so it's a win-win.

Kona and Shrimp (friend's dog)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday, normally hosted the last Wednesday of the month by Shay, Mel and Sheaffer was postponed until today due to Hurricane Harvey.  Continued prayers to the victims.

What we’re eating this week
Homemade pizza, crock-pot chicken tacos, and tri tip roast from Costco.  Tonight we are going out to a restaurant that donates 20% of your bill to the girls' school on the first Wednesday of every month.

What I’m reminiscing about
Now that school has started, I've been reminiscing about being a stay-at-home mom.  Every morning on our drive to school I see moms walking with their kiddos and wish I could be one of them, not to mention my constant daydreaming about all the stuff I could be doing while they are at school.  And I wish I could be home at a reasonable time so we could eat dinner together as a family and just be there when they get home.  Sigh.

What I’m loving
This concealer.
My neighbor became a Younique consultant awhile back so I've had a few online parties and have tried many of their products and I love them, but they are pricey.  But this concealer is the only concealer I've ever used that actually works.  It's awesome!

What we’ve been up to 
Getting ready for school and soccer which both started last week.

What I’m dreading 
Making lunches every night for the next 9 1/2 months and just the busyness of the school year.  But I think it will be better this year because the girls will be involved in fewer activities.

What I’m working on
Organization (always) and meal planning.  I'm really trying to be better about planning and preparing meals ahead so the girls don't have to rely so heavily on mac and cheese, ramen and chicken nuggets.  Which they still will because they don't like anything else.  Or at least Kayley doesn't.  Olivia is pretty good.

What I’m excited about 
My work group moving to a new location 5 minutes from home.  Future post on that topic forthcoming!

What I’m watching/reading
Seinfeld reruns and:

I went to high school with the star of Person of Interest, Jim Caviezel (best know as Jesus in "Passion of the Christ").  I've always tried to watch all of his movies but in the last several years I've dropped the ball, and for some reason I've never bothered to check out this show until recently.  It's really good!

As for reading, I'm current reading In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner.

What I’m Listening to
Nothing in particular.  Just the radio to and from work.

What I’m doing this weekend
Watching the girl's first soccer game and the first regular season Seahawks game.  Go Hawks!

What I’m looking forward to next month
Fall!  Football!  Much cooler weather!

What else is new
We got a puppy!  Separate post to follow.  Someday.

And for this month's bonus question, which I always forget, what are my best lunchbox ideas and tips:  Easy.  Search Pinterest!  I see so many great ideas on there but most of it my kids won't eat anyway, so I make like 3 things all the time: turkey sandwiches (meat, cheese and white bread only), bagels with cream cheese, or noodles with butter and cheese.  Every once in a while Olivia will have peanut butter and jelly or a roll-up/pinwheel of some sort, and they used to buy lunch every Wednesday because it's breakfast food but I don't think they are going to this year.  But the good news is they are starting to help me make their lunches, if not making them themselves sometimes.  Yay!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Last Days of Summer Break

I had off the last 3 days of summer break (Friday of last week, and then Monday and Tuesday) and we had such a good time.  I already posted about our Nelson Family Day of Fun.  Then on Saturday, my oldest and dearest friend, Kristen, came down to spend the weekend of her birthday with us.  She actually ended up staying at or friend Jen’s (who she just met on the cruise last month and who actually has a guest room) house, but we still spent a lot of time together.  We went to a wine release party at a local winery on Saturday afternoon with Jen and Laura, then we all (including husbands and children) went to Jen’s for a cruise reunion get-together.

Women who wine

On Sunday Kristen, Jen and I all went out to brunch and then did a little shopping at the outlet mall.  Later, we just hung out in Jen’s backyard while Paul took Olivia (Kayley didn’t want to go) to the back-to-school barbeque.

On Monday, Paul’s mom and I took the girls school shopping and out to lunch, and then I took them to Rattlesnake Lake with some friends (met them there) for the afternoon, and then to soccer practice.

Tuesday morning I was finally able to just work on a few small projects around the house, then we went to the Meet the Teacher event and then Olivia had a hair appointment.  Then, after dinner (which, by the way, we ate together as a family!) I took Kayley last minute shoe shopping and then for the first time in months, made school lunches!

Having those days off really was reminiscent of my stay-at-home mom days.  Sigh.  I was wishing SO much that I could have had Wednesday off too, so I could have some time to do something (scrapbook, organize, whatever) while they were at school, but alas, I only have so much PTO.  Next year I really hope to take the whole week off when school starts.  We'll see.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

First Day of 4th Grade

By some miracle I have a few extra minutes this morning to whip out a quick post.  Yesterday was the first day of school.  It went really well.  We made lunches the night before and the girls picked out their outfits and laid them out.  Olivia wanted her hair French braided and I don't really know how (I think I could remember if I had plenty of time) so I asked one of their friend's mom who is 3 doors down from us and she was happy to do it and they got up early enough to have plenty of time and all that.

I dropped them off about as early as I could (8:45) because I had a 9:30 meeting to get to, and that went super easy and I made it to work with about 10 minutes to spare.

Kayley has been straightening her hair a lot lately and I love it (but I love her curls, too)

Olivia had a mint in her mouth, thus the weird expression

Friday, August 25, 2017

Summer Break: Week 10

This was the last full week of summer break.  So bittersweet.  I look forward to not having to worry about sitters (except for early dismissal Fridays but that will be easy, especially once my work location moves) and just being on a normal schedule, but I dread the craziness and having to make lunches every night (although they can totally help now).

I took Monday off and took the girls to the neighbor's eclipse viewing party.

Reflection through the trees

All the kids with their glasses on

After that I took them out to lunch at Subway and then we went shopping for school supplies.  When we got home they sorted them into their individual piles.


Olivia's and a few things for both classes, like tissue

Tuesday through Thursday we had a back up babysitter, because our summer nanny is back at college (and Paul was off the last two weeks so we didn't need one until Tuesday).

Today (Friday) was our sort-of annual Nelson Family Day of Fun.  Paul and I both had the day off so we went to Seattle to finally ride Wings over Washington, which is like Soarin' over California at Disney's California Adventure, but all Washington scenery, obviously.

We also checked out the infamous "Gum Wall", which, surprisingly, I had never been to in all of my years living in the Seattle area and hanging out in areas nearby.


Proposed Schedule

School starts next week and it has a new start time, so I’m in the process of figuring out our new schedule.  Last year school started at 8:35.  I could drop off the girls as early as 8:15 which allowed me to get to work by 9:00, but now school isn’t going to start until 9:05, which means I can’t drop off until 8:45, which means I won’t get to work until 9:30ish, and won’t get home until 6:45ish.  That sucks.  6:15 to 6:30 was already way too late.  But soon my work group will be moving to a new location 5 minutes from home (AHHHH!!!! I’m SO excited!  More on the that in a future post) so then I’ll be able to start work at 9:00 and end at 5:30 and be home by 5:35 or 5:40 (unless I walk, and then I’ll be home by 6:00ish.  Still way better).  But in the meantime, here is our proposed schedule:

7:00-8:00 – I get up and get ready
8:00 – Get the girls up, they get ready, eat breakfast
8:40 – Leave
8:45 – Drop off at school
9:30 - Arrive at work
6:00 – Leave work L
6:45ish – Get home LL
6:45 – 9:00? – Eat, clean up, make lunches, next day prep, help with homework if not already done and facilitate showers/bed time routine and nightly reading
9:00-9:30 – bedtime for girls, or at least the cut-off where they have to be in their rooms and quiet and leave me alone :)
9:30 or 10:00 - 10:30 or 11:00 – “Me” time, and hopefully all of the above will already be done but I know it won’t always be. Last year, even with the slightly earlier schedule I sometimes wasn’t “done” until 10.

They will have soccer practice on Mondays and Wednesdays (through mid-November), so on those days they will have dinner around 5:00 and leave around 5:50 for soccer.  Sometimes I will go straight there after work and pick them up and then go home and eat dinner and other times I will go straight home and eat dinner while sending Paul to pick them up.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Summer Break: Week 9 and the Most Inefficient Way to School Shop

Well, not a whole lot to report this week.  Paul was off this week so he got to do some fun stuff with the girls. Monday they went shopping for all of their soccer gear, one day they were running around trying to find eclipse glasses and ended up visting his work since they were in the area, they went to lunch at Chick-fil-a for the first time (we've had it for a few years but it's not super close so they've never been.  It's close to my work so I was able to go once and frankly, I can take or leave it), they checked out the humane society for a dog but didn't find one, and Friday they went to Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.  They mainly wanted to try the zip line that we didn't do the last time we were there, but I guess they weren't too impressed with the one that they were able to do (there is a bigger one for people 18 and over).  They still had fun, though, and got to see lots of cool animals.

Then, over the weekend, I took the girls school shopping.  A few years ago I decided that it would be much easier to take the girl shopping for school clothes one at a time and still shop for supplies together, or preferably, just me without them.  But of course, they want to pick out everything.  So we did that the last few years and it worked out ok, but this year for some reason it was crazy.  Last weekend, Paul took Olivia somewhere, and while they were gone Kayley and I sat down and shopped for clothes online at Old Navy.  We found a bunch of stuff she liked, which was great because up until a few weeks ago she would shop nowhere but Justice.  Now all of a sudden she doesn't like Justice anymore but she also doesn't like Target, Children's Place, Macy's or Kohl's so I didn't know what I was going to do but she agreed to look at Old Navy and she actually liked a bunch of stuff.  We'll see when it gets here if she still likes it.

Anyway, so she was mostly done (yay!), and then yesterday Paul took her hiking with some friends and I took Olivia shopping for her clothes (Justice, Target and the Gap outlet.  Oh, and Claire's for earrings).  It would have been nice to buy supplies at the same time, but Kayley wasn't with us and I want to get everything all at once.  Then, today Kayley really wanted to go shopping with me.  I thought I was done with her, at least for now until the weather gets colder, but no, she still wanted to go shopping because I took Olivia yesterday.  So today I took her to all the same places I took Olivia yesterday, almost.  Target (more for stuff for her room), Gap (just a sweatshirt) and Claire's (and a few other places at the outlet mall but didn't find what she wanted).  And now tomorrow (I took the day off to take them to the neighbors eclipse viewing party), I will take them both shopping for supplies.  Grrrr.  That's ok, though, because it was so crazy at Target today, shopping for supplies there tomorrow will be much better.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Summer Break: Week 8

I was family-less last week!  Paul was on PTO and is again this week, and I'm not, so he took the girls (and at the last minute, their friend) to Crescent Bar.  I was really looking forward to having some alone time to work on all the projects I never have time for.  Unfortunately, between working, errands and chores like watering plants, cleaning the litter box, etc, I STILL didn't have much time for anything else.  I managed a blog post on Monday, and some consignment sale  prep on Tuesday but that's about it.  I really wanted to do some scrapbooking and some organizing but it just didn't happen.  But it was nice having the house to myself all week, and having it still be clean when I got home from work everyday!

Friday after work I packed up and joined them at Crescent Bar.

Some other friends went over on Thursday and stayed until today at the campground across the street.  We all went in together to rent a pontoon boat for the afternoon.  We went the "the Dune", a big sandbar that is a popular hangout spot for Crescent Bar vacationers.  Then we did some tubing.  Really fun.

Today we came home and now we're watching the first Seahawk pre-season game, which they are winning, 41-17 at the moment.  Whoo-hoo!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer Break: Week 7

Last week was very uneventful.  It was our nanny's last week with us before heading back to school.  She took them swimming a few times and out to frozen yogurt.

Te Sunday before last we went out to dinner with our friends John and Laura and their daughter Lindsay, who is a year and a half older than the girls.  We hatched a genius plan for this last weekend and it was executed brilliantly.

On Saturday we met on Mercer Island to watch the Blue Angels (part of Seattle's annual Seafair festival).  Then we brought Lindsay home with us for a sleepover, allowing John and Laura to have a date night.  They were going to camp out in the back yard in a tent, but after Paul going through the trouble of putting it up, they decided not to after all!

Then, on Sunday, John and Laura came to get all 3 and take them home for a sleepover at their place, allowing Paul and I to have a date night as well.  Win-win!

For our date, Paul and I went to the movie Dunkirk.  We had heard great things about it but it was just ehhh for us.  But that was the second movie we've seen in theaters in less than 3 months!  That's a record (since the girls were born).  Then we went to dinner at Agave on their outdoor patio.  Paul is off the next two weeks, so them having a sleepover on a Sunday was ok since he was home today and could go pick them up.  Then he was taking them to Crescent Bar for the week but they ended up taking Lindsay too.  I have to work this week so I will join them on Friday night, but in the meantime I have the house to myself for 4 nights!  I can do whatever I want once I'm home from work every day!  Too bad I have to work.  It would be awesome to have a few full days to work on all my projects I never have time for, but oh well, I'll take what I can get.

The Blue Angels thing used to be a tradition for us and John/Laura/Lindsay before I was working and could go on Friday when it's less crowded (although I'm not sure if it really is less crowded or not).  But this was the first time I've been since I started working.  Instead I can sometimes watch from the rooftop of my office building but it's not a very good view.





This is the I-90 floating bridge between Mercer Island and Seattle that they close down for the show.  It's pretty to cool to walk out on a big freeway to watch the show.

So now we are in week 8, and only have 23 days until school starts.  It goes so fast!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Summer Break: Week 6

This week was just getting back in the groove after our vacation.  It was so hard going back to work on Monday!  And I just finally got caught up on laundry this weekend.

Dayna, our awesome nanny, did some fun stuff with the girls.  They went to Starbucks for breakfast on Monday, since the housekeeper was coming and they needed to get out of the house.  Then another day they went out for Thai food for lunch, and yesterday she took them to Michael's for craft supplies.  They ended up getting a tie-dye kit and some plain white t-shirts and then on Friday they dyed them.

Thursday night our neighbor took his girls and ours to the outdoor movie in the park and then Friday night they went to a birthday party at the pottery painting place and then a sleep over at the birthday girl's house (same neighbors/friends that they went to the movie with).

Saturday was the first weekend day in forever with no plans.  I was finally able to work on some of my projects, in particular getting some items ready for the upcoming consignment sale.  I also spent some relaxing time on a lawn chair outside reading a book, and maybe taking a short nap :)

Sunday we went to church and then the girls went to a friend's for a playdate.  While they were there some friends that we went on the cruise with called and wanted to meet up for dinner so we did, and then stopped for free ice cream at the brand new Bartell Drugs in our neighborhood.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Caribbean Cruise! (Summer Break: Week 5)

So, after a little over a year of waiting and anticipating, our big Caribbean Cruise was last week.  It was so fun!

We flew to Ft. Lauderdale on Friday, the 14th, spent the night and took a shuttle to the cruise terminal on Saturday.  We met up with all our friends who had flown in on various days, boarded the ship and we were off!

A view from the ship before leaving Miami

Sunday and Monday were both days at sea, so we spent most of our time by the pool and exploring the ship.

One of the two pools

The H20 deck, with movie screen, bar, 2 hot tubs and a cool cave-like water feature

One of the water slides

A giant chess board

Ropes course

Cave-like water feature

We went to a few shows during the week.  One was a comedy/juggling show, one was a regular comedian, and one was a dinner show with a singing group.

The girls and friends at the juggling show

Meeting the juggler, Scott Cavanaugh or something like that, after the show

Tuesday we were in St. Thomas.

The girls' friend, Lindsay, in the middle

We went on a snorkeling excursion.  We rode on a catamaran to St. John, to a place called Honeymoon Beach.  We snorkeled for an hour or so and then rode back.  They were serving rum punch and champagne, but I didn't have either because I forgot to take my Dramamine and was feeling a little seasick.  Plus, I don't like rum or champagne.  I prefer vodka and wine, or margaritas.  Although, I did have a Bahama Mama one day poolside and that became my drink of choice for the rest of the cruise.

Wednesday we were in Tortola.  We went on an excursion to a place called the Baths, on the island of Virgin Gourda.  Absolutely stunning.  You hike though all these caves and rock formations and it's really beautiful.

L-R: Family friend Calvin, Paul's sister Cheryl, Olivia, Me and friend Lindsay

I took this with my water-proof camera and all of them turned out blurry but I thought it was cute anyway

Blurry again

Thursday was another day at sea, and then Friday we were in Nassau, Bahamas.  The girls got their hair braided, then we went on an excursion to swim with dolphins.  So fun.  They don't let you take pictures, and since we had just done it in Mexico last year we didn't buy any of the photos so I have nothing to post of that adventure.

Saturday morning we arrived back in Miami and went on an excursion to the Everglades.  We rode around in an airboat but didn't see much, then they have a little show with some alligators and some reptiles on display.  The girls got to hold Snappy, a baby alligator.  So cute.

That tour included transportation to the airport, but we were about 5 hours early for our flight, because Alaska only has one flight per day out of Ft. Lauderdale and it was at 6:50 or something.  But we just read and the girls had their iPads and we had an early dinner and it was finally time to board and head home.

Long wait at the airport

There were 19 people in our group all total, including Paul's parents and sisters and a bunch of friends.  It was so fun.  We all did our own thing during the day but we did do a lot of the same excursions, and we were usually with at least a few other people from our group most of the time, and then we would all met up for dinner most nights.  It was great and I'm dying to go on another one.

Trying out the mojito bar

Wine Tasting