Aunt Allison — Week Two

Monday Christopher and I extended our anniversary and enjoyed our second annual breakfast at Salish Lodge. This year, I probably ate a third of the The Salish Lodge Country Breakfast, which includes a baker’s basket with fresh-squeezed juice and hot chocolate, pancakes, fruit, yogurt, steel cut oatmeal, three eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns, and a biscuit, with Devonshire cream and local honey. And this view:

salish

When I wondered how I managed to eat basically the entire breakfast the year before, I remembered that a year ago I was still breastfeeding. This year, I took home the leftovers to that baby, and after the big kids stole all the sausage and bacon, he finished off the oatmeal, eggs, and pastries.

Tuesday I took that baby for his two-year-old checkup. He weighed 28 pounds (50th) and is 35 inches (50-75th). Using my mom’s formula, he will be 5’10” as an adult, although based on the way he was wiggling when they tried to measure his height I think there’s some room for error. He was very clingy around the doctor, my first kid who is wary of strangers instead of hamming it up. He was extremely offended when given his one shot (Hep A) and refused to select a sticker in protest. The doctor and I discussed whether he may have a speech delay, probably because I couldn’t answer her questions. “About how many words does he speak? 20? 50?” “Um, I have no idea because he’s my fourth child.” “Do strangers understand him?” “Um, I really couldn’t say. I haven’t been paying attention.” At any rate, because he had ear tubes, I’ll start watching him a little more closely, but I think any delay he has is based less on a hearing deficiency and more on the fact that he can’t get a word in edgewise around here.

Wednesday was another busy day in which I was grateful to have Allison around. Our first stop was to the middle school for “Taking Care of Business”. Megan primped like crazy and we paid a bunch of money in fees and supplies. She got her picture taken for her student ID and got her locker combination. After making sure she knew how to open a three-way combination, we headed to the elementary school to drop off paperwork for the boys. The promise is, you fill out your paper work, you get your teacher assignment, but apparently there was an influx of third graders and Gavin’s teacher is still TBD.

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Thursday I took advantage of Allison yet again. Shay had asked her to babysit, but I had tickets to Shrek the Musical at Youth Theatre Northwest, so I took the big kids with me and left Allison with four little kids. The idea was Brooklyn and Logan were supposed to be napping, and Ben and Rylan were supposed to watch a movie, but Logan didn’t nap and Ben didn’t watch a movie, so that was a bust. For Allison, visiting me is the best birth control ever.

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Gavin was yawning because he wanted to stay at home and play Legos and DS. I think he ended up having fun, though.

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Friday Megan had 6th Grade Spirit Day and Allison and I took the little boys to the park. Briefly. Ben and Logan have both been really rotten the past few weeks. I don’t know if the vacation upset their sleep schedule or what, but it has been rough. Sweet Logan, who just weeks ago was my champion sleeper, now will scream, for hours, until someone lays on the floor next to his crib. Then he plops down and goes right to sleep. Ben has also been fussing at bedtime. I think we are just going to put them together, and then, at the very least, we only have to lie down in one room.

After Megan’s Spirit Day I took Allison out to lunch. It was the least I could do, and it was some of the only kid-free time we got during her two weeks. That evening we left her again, this time with Logan, and Christopher and I and the three big kids drove down to Maple Valley. When we mentioned to our tenants that we were planning to sell our house when their lease is up next year, and if they might like to buy it from us, they invited us to dinner, which was really thoughtful of them. One of the stove burners had stopped working and the guys (both rocket scientists) were planning to fix it, as well. We ate grilled chicken, salad from their huge garden, and pasta salad I had made. We played a game while we waited for Amazon to deliver the stove part. Unfortunately, it took several hours for the engineers to figure out that they couldn’t fix the stove without another part, but it gave Heather and I a chance to chat and they had a Wii, so the kids were fairly good. It was weird and good to be back in that yellow house. It’s a mess, but nothing fresh paint and carpet won’t fix. We’ve definitely put off improvements, anticipating putting it on the market when the prices recovered. Thankfully, over the past year, and especially this summer, the Maple Valley house prices have started rising significantly. Unfortunately, our tenants weren’t interested in the house at the price we offered, and they didn’t counteroffer, so that put an abrupt end to that negotiation. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get the house ready to sell and negotiate a price that will cover our once underwater mortgage.

Saturday was a big shopping day. Allison, Megan, and I headed out early. First, we stopped in Redmond so I could quickly give blood as part of a new research study called the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). Then, we drove up to Marysville to the Seattle Premium Outlets. I should have known that the Saturday before school starts would be a complete zoo. Not to mention, we only had about four hours to shop. We buzzed around Ann Taylor, LOFT, J. Crew, Banana Republic and Gap. We bought two pairs of women’s Saucony sneakers from Stride Ride. Megan is only half a size smaller than me now, and the shoes were BOGO. I asked if I could get the same pair as her and she said no. I like hers better. I bought a ton of clothes, mainly from Ann Taylor. We really needed more time, especially because it was so crowded. There were lines for the dressing rooms, lines at the cashiers. We didn’t even get to hit Aeropostle and American Eagle for Megan. I was hoping I could find her some cute stuff at Crewcuts or Gap but she is definitely moving up to the tweener clothes. Sad.

We raced home, fighting crazy traffic, including about half of British Columbia. Apparently there are no stores in Canada. Thankfully, after we finally got out of the mall, they turned north while we were headed south. When we got home I threw on my bathing suit and comfy clothes because Christopher and I were late for The Amazing Race, which deserves its own post.

Sunday morning I sadly took Allison to the airport. I really wish she could have stayed for another week. Or two. But alas, she started school Monday morning. Sunday was another disaster, with the best part being when Christopher left for church, Gavin hid out in his bedroom until they were gone. Christopher thought Gavin had ridden to the airport with me (I took Ben), and Gavin was content to stay in bed.

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Monday I was already missing Allison. Megan had a physical so I had to pay a babysitter. She is perfectly healthy and approved for all middle school sports. I wonder what she’ll pick. She is 87 pounds (50-75th) and 57 inches (50-75th). We’re probably getting to the point where she won’t want me to keep posting her stats, but I do think they are interesting. I think Megan will definitely be bigger than me, weight, height, and feet. My first driver’s license read 95 pounds. I had never met the physician’s assistant who performed the physical, but she was cute, young, and most importantly female, so Megan was perfectly comfortable.

After a Costco run Megan and I headed home. She said, “Mom, thanks so much for spending time alone with me and buying me stuff.” A trip to the pediatrician and Costco, a couple of camisoles and a pack of socks. That girl sure is easy to please.

Monday night the most notable event was after we put Ben to bed, and ten minutes later our neighbor called to let us know Ben was at her house. These are our new neighbors, they are super nice, and they have a five-year-old daughter who is cute and bubbly. I’m hoping Ben gets sneaking out to meet girls out of his system now.

Allison had a bookmark with the following quote on it, and I think it sums my life up perfectly.

“The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.”
Marjorie Pay Hinckley

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