Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The long, long, long, REALLY long winter

This winter was a humdinger.  It was so, so, long--like, school was still getting cancelled and delayed well into March, long.  And it was so, so, hard--like, we'd had more accumulation of ice and snow before Christmas than I remember getting most winters of my whole life.  And I've lived in Chicago.  And it was so, so, COLD--there is usually a hard, deep freeze in January any place that has a winter when the temperatures dip and stay well below freezing for a week or two, but this year we not only got our scheduled one in January, we spent the entire second half of February and part of March in one as well.  And besides all that...it was so, so lonely--Grant was on the job market, and traveled so much, which is great because it meant he had a lot of interviews...but man...it was a big ball of suck logistically.

But!  We made it!  I honestly wasn't sure there for a while because at several points I gave myself a marker, "We just have to hold on until..." and have three blizzards in a row hit or something similar.  I'm really not exaggerating when I say, "big ball of suck".

Christmas loot gave plenty of distraction, and the biggest hit by far was this awesome track set my Dad sent one of the boys.  It's seriously amazing because you can easily shape into any formation you want and since there are no grooves in the tracks, you can drive anything on them, so while the monster trucks that came with the set got plenty of miles in, our extensive train collections finally had tracks to ride.

But, infinite possible configurations of track...and their favorite was a straight line.

Having 3 babies in less than 3 years means life often looks like this.  Which is awesome and exhausting and overstimulating and wonderful somehow all at once.

Pig Piles remain a favorite pastime amongst our children--there is actually someone under that blanket calling out, "Pig Pile on ME!"

And I wanted to capture the boys in their coats and hats--we got smiles and reactions every where we went, so I wanted to remember.  Note that Paxton's is EXTREMELY bright.  I did that on purpose because he's the flight risk.

We also went to Wegman's a few times--this particular store is a problem because they changed the type of car carts they have and I can only seat two children at a time in them, or put two children in the basket of a regular cart to put the baby in the seat up front, which is risky because the main things I buy at this store are produce and fresh bread and...little boys tend to squash things that can be squashed.  And Elliot was just still too young to walk with us.  But it was still a good outing from time to time, because we'd only buy our treats (though there are a LOT of treats available at Wegman's...seriously, I'm going to miss this store so much) and since we were only buying treats, the actual shopping only takes a few minutes, which leaves plenty of time to stand and watching the model train that goes around tracks hanging from the ceiling.   We seriously spend over 75% of every trip to Wegman's watching the train.

 When Grant travels, I like to keep my life as simple as possible, because I've found that keeping things low key while he's gone means I'm not crazy frazzled when he gets back.  At least not too crazy frazzled.  But one way I do that is I buy 2 dinners while he's gone--we get pizza once and McDonald's once.  They'll definitely eat both of them, and it's brainless with no prep and little clean up for me, which is by definition a Win.  I typically hit the drive through and bring the food home, but I went the bold and daring route and took them into the restaurant a couple of times as well.  And they'd blow my mind being such awesome kids that it was manageable to do on my own with four of them before the oldest was even six years old.

Bridget went through a short but adorable tongue-sticking-out phase.  Luckily, we caught it. And when I went through the winter pictures, I couldn't help but notice how many more pictures there were of her than her siblings.  This fourth baby has no shortage of captured moments of her infancy...

Finger painting is a highly recommended Sensory Play activity.  Paxton likes to do it in ketchup and syrup, which as far as I'm concerned is a Win because that's two activities with one mess.

And the box our Amazon Subscriptions come in every month continues to be a favorite toy.  While at first it was more of a house-type structure, this winter, it was usually an "egg".

Elliot spent most of his time at home in the Fall going completely naked, which...whatever, as long as he's using the toilet and letting me wipe him, I don't care.  But when Winter settled in, finally started wearing underpants, albeit backwards more often than not.

And Bridget found the one cabinet I purposefully do not baby-proof, the one where I keep the tupperware.

Kendra decided to make all her Valentines this year--so for every single one of her 22 classmates, her teacher and the 2 aides, she came up with something like this:

She was even able to sneak in a visit to Daddy's school, which is a special treat she really treasures.

And, looking back on all these pictures, the thing that really comes to mind is the little "We Did It!" song at the end of every episode of Dora the Explorer.  Because we did.  Sometimes just barely by the skin of our teeth...but we did it!

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