Real Life Wednesday 9/16/20

Happy Real Life Wednesday! Evey’s been worried about our house burning up in a fire lately, which is a stressful thing for a six year old, or anyone, to ruminate on. She said she became worried about house fires after playing a Rescue Bots game and one of the characters offered some safety tips on what to do if your house catches on fire. Thanks for trying to share helpful information, Cody, you asshole.

So, to assuage her fears, Chris and I laid out our plan in case our house caught on fire and we let her know that we’ve got safety precautions like a smoke detector and a fire extinguisher. However, she’s still stressed (I’m not surprised, my girl deals with mega anxiety) and her main worry now concerns her stuffed animals burning in a fire, oh boy.

She’s become so obsessed with keeping them safe that she’s hoarded them in a pile in our room until I made her take them out. Then she stuffed them into three backpacks, like bug out bags, so she can easily grab them and save the stuffies from a firey fate. I let that go for a week and then unpacked the bags. So now she has them all on her bunk bed, and with every new hoarding space she has added more fluffy friends, so now they take up about a quarter of her bunk bed.

I made them all nice and pretty in her bed, but I should have taken a pic of them all scattered in a messy heap, in hindsight. But I decided to make her bed look nice in an attempt to entice her to sleep there, heh heh, who am I kidding?

So I’ve now convinced Evey that in case of a fire, we can wrap up all her inanimate friends in a sheet and take them with us. Honestly, I haven’t had the heart to tell her there is no way in hell I’m grabbing those things in a fire. I’m just hoping we don’t ever have to deal with a fire so I don’t have to break her trust as she scorns me for the rest of her life because I let her buddies burn. Do your kids have any fears they can’t shake?

Bisous,

Chenay

Real Life Wednesday 9/9/20

So the saga of Max’s horrible teeth continued last week as I took him to the dentist to be knocked out in order to have a mouth overhaul. The plan was thus: crowns on the four front teeth that had cavities, unless the broken one was too small, then it would just be pulled. Clean and x-ray the teeth. Fill any other cavities they found. That’s a lot of work, especially for a three year old, so using anesthesia was a good call, and probably the only option.

The waiting was long; we got to the dentist around 7:30 and the procedure didn’t start until almost 8:30. By that time, he was not very willing to see the dentist, but I carried him and the anesthesiologist put him out within 20 seconds with gas. That part was totally unnerving for me and made me cry; it was not fun watching Max just pass out like that. But the staff were kind, as usual, and I kept busy on my phone while I waited.

Then I was called into a room where I held him until he woke up (which actually didn’t happen, the anesthesiologist had to rouse him, he was a tired boy). Max did well and had no emergence delirium like his sister did years ago🙌🙌! So he and I headed home with the knowledge that he couldn’t eat crunchy food for a little while, his gums would bleed for a couple days when brushing, and to just chill and watch TV for the rest of the day.

I have him his Kindle in the car, but the kid was still dopey and promptly fell asleep. Before he fell asleep, he was making great drunk-like faces that I managed to immortalize through photography. Best mom ever.

Then we got home and he slept forever on the couch, which was good cause Evey and I did tons of shopping for our camping trip the next day! When we got back, he was still a bit groggy but then rallied quickly and played normally for the rest of the day. So much for watching TV all day!

So he only got three caps and they pulled the broken tooth, which is fine. He looks so different though because the caps are so much bigger than his teeth before! We’re still getting used to them, but we’re so glad this is done!

And he got a visit from the tooth fairy that night. His dentist gave me his tooth after they removed it and said it was for the tooth fairy! I didn’t even think about that, but I guess it makes sense. I was given a nasty tooth with a huge root, but whatever, the tooth fairy takes all kinds and rewarded Max with a new Black Panther toothbrush and a Baby Shark plush.

Bisous,

Chenay

Real Life Wednesday, but on a Thursday

Oh homeschooling, it’s going ok so far, but I can’t wait for our curriculum to come in. It’s funny that the way I’ve decided to teach Evey isn’t that different than our normal days. We still take every opportunity, whether it be cooking or walking around the arboretum, to teach something. The differences to our day is that I’ve banned screens during school hours (most of the time, see below) we do circle time in the morning (which is part of our Oak Meadow curriculum and is a beautiful song and dance filled start to our day), and we’re working in our workbooks much more often (sometimes).

However, Evey wasn’t feeling her workbook on Tuesday, so I decided we needed a field trip to the Wilbur D. May Arboretum in Reno. It was a smokeless day, our first in a while, and it was wonderful. So much exploring and reading of plaques and experimenting with leaves and sticks in the water.

My perfectionist tendencies were sounding a loud alarm in my brain because we only did two worksheets that day, but I told the alarm to shut the hell up. We’re still learning, albeit in a way that is not the cultural norm, which is probably best for us, I’m finding. Next time we’re going to bring our drawing books and sketch plants and press flowers and leaves. I’m feeling like such a tree hugger and I’m loving it!

And then yesterday, Evey really could not focus on workbooks, so we read some Level 1 books, which both just happened to be about aquariums. Then, my tired brain concocted an idea: let’s watch Finding Dory to learn even more about sea life! Brilliant, right? So we watched the movie, then we played, and everything felt good.

It’s difficult to go against the cultural norm and do what feels right instead of what others tell you is right. Homeschool was thrust upon us for sure, but I’m secretly (ok, not so secretly) happy that we’re doing something different. And, as always, no judgement to any family and friends who do things differently than us; we all bring our uniqueness to the table and that’s why we’re so awesome together!

Bisous,
Chenay

So, We’re Homeschooling Now…

It took me a day of remote learning to decide that homeschooling would be best (and here I was telling people I’d give it a month at best, two weeks at worst, ha!). You know things aren’t going to work when your six year old is required to sit in a chair, staring at a screen, for two and a half hours straight. Yep, no physical breaks, although her teacher said that the videos she plays are brain breaks, but truly, that’s not enough. But kudos for her for talking the principal down from five hours of schooling a day to two and a half for the first graders.

I was incredibly stressed out sitting next to her because she can’t navigate Zoom and Google Classrooms by herself. And it’s difficult for younger kids to fully engage with someone on the computer for long periods of time, have you noticed that? She can do 30 minutes of speech therapy because it’s one on one and there are lots of games to occupy her, but even in her small online class of five, it just doesn’t work. I wonder if the teacher engaged with each kid for only 30-45 minutes a day if that would be better, hmmm…

Our first, and last, day of virtual learning

I like it when I go with my gut, especially on big decisions like this; it just makes those decisions feel even more important. We could slog through virtual learning, with stress and probably some tears (on both sides) and wait for the school to come up with a better way to teach online, but why? Why do that to us when we have another option? So I went to her school that same afternoon and got the proper paperwork to home school her. I have to tell you, it was a bit unnerving how easy all of this was: I didn’t have to fill out any paperwork for her actual school, I just informed the office, her teacher, and her speech therapist (who she is still going to see). I filled out the Intent to Home school sheet (just one, double sided) and turned it in to the school district, and that’s it, done!

Sitting outside the school district office

That night, Chris and I purchased home school curriculum from Oak Meadow after reading tons of info about our options and even taking a quiz to determine the best type of home schooling for us. It’s definitely more expensive to buy a whole curriculum, but since this is our first time, I wanted something comprehensive that I could lean on instead of just relying on myself to come up with things. The only issue with buying the curriculum is that it’s not going to be here for five weeks! Yep, lots of people are home schooling nowadays and so they’re backed up. I’m not worried, we have a couple of workbooks and plenty of opportunities throughout our day to learn new things (like baking, gardening, etc.) until it arrives.

This is not going to be easy, of course, but it’s going to be easier than virtual learning for sure. And, honestly, I’m excited about the Waldorf-inspired curriculum we’ll be learning with all of its fun nature-based and fairy tale activities! I just hope Evey will feel the same!

Bisous,

Chenay

Real Life Wednesday 8/19/20

Happy Real Life Wednesday! We love Halloween over here, which most of you know. My kids have been “playing” trick or treat at least once a week in the house, it’s super cute. Evey said she wanted to be a witch this year and Max wanted to be a ghost and I was stoked! My kids want to wear traditional Halloween costumes, eff yes!

My plan was to DIY them, but then I took the kids to Costco and they saw all those costumes. Evey immediately found the witch costume and Max started asking for a snake costume (the change wasn’t too surprising as he likes to torture his sister by pretending to be a snake) but alas, no snake costumes. However, we did find a dragon costume and he is quite happy with it.

Costumes had to be tried on as soon as we got home, of course, and they even had to be worn in the power wheels during Nova’s walk. Always fun walking down with the street with a witch and dragon cruising next to you.

What Real Life moments do you have to share?

Bisous,

Chenay

Real Life Wednesday 8/12/20

I don’t always take my kids grocery shopping, in fact I can count the number of times I’ve done so on one hand since Covid, but when I do, they look amazing in super cute outfits, bandana-style masks (thanks Yawning Mama!) and kick ass shades. I also took them to Costco after our initial Trader Joe’s run and both trips we’re pretty uneventful, but it just feels so weird bringing them. For one, I’m not used to it anymore, and two, I feel judged for bringing my kids out. The latter could all be in my mind, but there you go.

Bisous,

Chenay

Camping, the Ultimate Covid-19 Vacation

We are not really a camping family. Chris and I camped a few times before kids, never buying any supplies, just borrowing them. And then we camped once with Evey when she was two, and once again, borrowed all of the camping paraphernalia. I camped with my family in a tent trailer when we were kids and Chris’s family didn’t camp, so despite our lack of camping knowledge, we’re not too bad at it.

Right before the pandemic hit, we were shopping for tent trailers and actually even looked at one. But then the world shut down and we decided not to spend the funds. But then a couple months ago, I saw a big ass tent on sale at Costco for $200, and the rest is history. My parents got my kids some camping gear for Christmas, so they were set on sleeping bags and lanterns, but we needed loads more stuff, naturally, like a stove, a grill, utensils, towels, and so much more! Some things I bought from the thrift store, so that made me feel a bit better about the buying spree.

We’ve only gone twice, and to a campground that’s only 15 minutes away for weekend trips. We’ve gone with friends both times and the kids have reveled in lots of play time with their buddies and I’ve enjoyed chatting with other adult people. The kids get extremely dirty, and I try to hide most of my disgust in their general appearance and stop myself from giving them a complete wipe down every 10 minutes. Although, after one particular dirty day, I did give them sponge baths because I did not want them close to me on the blow up mattress smelling like nastiness and leaving dirt streaks all over me.

Our next camping adventure is in September, but we’ll probably schedule something for next month, too. We seem to be getting into more of a groove of packing and organizing the car and getting unpacked and packed in an efficient fashion, which is how I roll of course. And yes, everything in our tent is nice and organized and has a spot to live, because I’m crazy. This includes our queen size air mattress, Nova’s crate, and a super fancy camping toilet (hey, it’s a pandemic), and room for the kids to have little dance parties and playing games by lantern light (we fit eight little critters in the front of the tent, and it seemed like they were all sitting comfortably.

I hope you guys have found ways to change up the monotony that is the pandemic. And if not, wanna go camping with us?

Bisous,

Chenay

Professional Photos And Why We Do Them Every Year

Last month was annual photo month! Yes, we did them even during Covid because we trust our photographer and kept our distance (she told us how to pose and told us how to move the kids into just the right positions).

We’ve been doing annual family photos since Evey was a baby and we enjoy the tradition and changing out the photos in our frames. To me it seems like most people do annual family photos, judging by their Christmas cards, so I was surprised when our photographer told us that she doesn’t do annual photos! She has two little kids and said that she would like to do them, but just doesn’t plan the time. I’ve also had some friends tell me that they too would like to do annual photos, but it just doesn’t work out.

We all have priorities in our lives, and perhaps I make our photos one of our priorities. I’m always aware of our family photos because they’re very visible in our small house, so I think of what our next annual session will be like on from time to time and plan when I need to contact our wonderful photographer. I know that June is our photo month, so in April I’m contacting our photographer to see when she’s free.

So if someone asked me for some annual photography tips, I guess I’d tell them this:

1. Put a potential photo shoot date in your calendar. It doesn’t matter if it’s a year away.

2. Put a reminder in your phone of when you should call your photographer to book a session, or to find a photographer. Plan to call them a month or two in advance. If you need photographer suggestions, ask your local friends and family.

3. Buy frames for your pictures and hang them up, even before you have pictures to fill them! This is totally weird, but maybe motivating??

4. Then just go and get those pictures taken! Don’t wait another year, just do it! I know this year I was a bit apprehensive because I’ve put on some Covid weight (oh yah, that’s where all the blame is going), but it doesn’t matter. I’m awesome, regardless of weight gain, and it’s important to me to document our family every year, in all of our ages and stages.

Hooray for annual photos! Our kids are getting older so they’re easier to pose and their attention span is much longer, thank goodness! I’d love to do some really fun and creative shoots in the future, but we’re still a couple years away from anything like that.

Bisous!                                                                

Chenay

Self-Care

Ugh, self-care. It’s such an annoying buzz word now as it’s every where on the interwebs! If I could think of a better word for it, I would, but, shit, it’s the most reliable one I can find right now. Self-care is important, duh, right? We need to make sure we are meeting our own needs so that we can help others, that whole put your oxygen mask on first thing, blah blah blah. And obviously it’s true, especially for moms. And even if moms know this, and preach it, we don’t always do it. Or we do it half-assed. This weekend, I decided to self-care whole-assed.

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I’m currently staying  at an Airbnb in Reno, just me, for the weekend! Incredible, right? Right before the world shut down I was considering doing this then, but then shit got super real and now, 2 1/2 months later, we’ve got our Covid-19 days down to a science at home (ha, not really, but it’s better than it was at the beginning) and I realized I really needed to take a fucking break. Cause being home all day with your six year old and almost three year old, and crazy ass puppy (we’re one of the Covid puppy people; hi, I’m Chenay and I am bat shit crazy) gets real hard after awhile. Chris is working from home, mostly, although there are days he has to go into the office, and I totally take advantage of him being at home and I ignore the pup because he’ll work outside and play with her in between calls and meetings. 

And shiiiiitt, I needed a break, and I just finished reading Motherwhelmed by Beth Berry, who I feel reached through the book and gave me the permission to do what I needed to do for myself. Read this book, people, it’s damn good. I might even go out on a limb and say it has been life changey for me, which is a huge thing to say, I know, but hell, it nudged me in a direction I’ve been meaning to go for a while.

So now, I’m chillin in my little apartment in Reno and reading, writing, eating, sleeping, and going to puppy training with the fam. Yah, that one I couldn’t get out of, but I peaced out soon enough and told the kids I loved them and I’ll see them tomorrow. It’s been lovely not to have to consider anyone else’s needs or wants and to do what I wanted. I’ve been here less than a day and I’ve already read 220 pages and now I’m writing a blog post, something I haven’t done in over six months!

I thought I gave myself some me time before, but no, an hour at Starbucks once a week does not cut it. Not that I need to go away every weekend, but maybe every quarter. Also, giving myself permission to not be all the things to all of the people in my life, especially my little family, is wonderful. Yes, I’ve never been away from the kids for two nights (one night has been the max) and they’re kinda sad, but that’s OK because they have a wonderful dad who planned a special movie night for them and made them pizza. And he even picked up McDonald’s for lunch today after puppy training; now that sounds like a damn good weekend for the kids.

So Motherwhelmed has been an awesome resource, but so has my therapist who I, thankfully, started seeing right before the shut down. She’s helped tremendously with my baggage and anxiety during this crazy time. So in addition to the book, go get a therapist too, you know, if you need one. I always joke that if I could afford it, I would see a therapist constantly, but really, it’s no joke. Therapists are amazing, if you have the right one, and mine kicks ass.

I hope you are taking care of yourself, but if you’re not, you should start. Yah, just like that, go do the thing/make the thing/write the thing/read the thing that’ll make you happy right now, or take a break for a day or two. I cannot guarantee long-lasting happiness, not even for myself, but these little steps can make a big difference in our overall contentment.

Bisous,

Chenay

 

Dumb Plans That Work Out Ok

This past weekend we went to Sacramento in order to use zoo passes that were going to expire in December. And we decided to go to Fairytale Town, because it’s just across the street from the zoo. Annnd, we had to go to Ikea, cause we were in Sacramento and therefore just had to go. That’s a lot to jam into one day, but you know what, it freaking worked.

We left two hours later for our adventure than we had planned, but no matter, it was lunch time when we got to the zoo and who doesn’t want to pay $50 for zoo lunch for the whole fam??

And we rented this snazzy zoo mobile. It was totally worth the $8 cause it coralled the crazies, I mean kids.

We saw wonderful animals and scary fake dinos, and the weather was decent so we weren’t sweaty messes by the time we left.

Then we headed to Fairytale Town, which I didn’t have high hopes for, but I found it to be much more charming than I thought it was going to be, and the kids, and Chris, had a blast.

I wish we lived closer to this little gem as the kids would love visiting at least once a week.

Next it was nap time, a very short nap time, but whatever, the kiddos got a brief respite in the car before venturing off to Ikea!

Our first stop at Ikea was the dining area, naturally, since it was dinner time and I wanted meatballs, really, it was mostly about the meatballs. I was super happy that the kids both ate a decent amount of food, but of course the chocolate cake was the favorite as they scraped the plate clean.

We didn’t get much at Ikea, but we looked at bunk beds for the kids and eyed some sofas.

Toward the end of the shopping trip we were racing to the checkout because we were just done, so tired from a very long day, and we still had two and a half hours to drive. The drive getting to Sac was fine, but going home was a bit trickier because Max was beyond exhausted. But, his Kindle, a bunch of food, and two stops helped calm him down.

We won’t be doing a marathon trip like this again anytime soon, but we’re so happy it went swimmingly, and sometimes that’s all I ask for!

Bisous,

Chenay