It's hard keeping up with a house full of kids and pets, but I do my best. Some days I succeed and the house gets clean, at least one kiddie craft gets completed, and someone actually cooks a full meal . Others, we call it a win if everyone gets out of pajamas and into regular clothes before bedtime. Leftovers and take out it is! Welcome to life.
Lately, with Gabe doing his best to win the Most Terrible Two Toddler award and Kimmie having medicine-induced anger issues, I feel lucky to survive each day. Gabe's behavior is to be expected, if not enjoyed, but Kimmie's issues were an unforeseen side effect of her newest ADHD medication, which we've now discontinued and switched out for one that is not supposed to have such an effect. It's going to take a while for it to actually be effective for the ADHD, but if we no longer have to worry about her instantly becoming angry and trying to destroy the house, we can deal with her being a bit hyper and unable to stop talking for a little while. Maybe.
One of the best things for all of us is having our furry babies roaming the house with us. We have Izzy the Pug; Bella Bunny, Lilly-Belle our pot bellied pig, Jerry the immortal fish, and the five cats: Princess Leia, Clark, Annabel Lee, Zooey, and Cleo. Gabe adores his kitty-kitties and they love him. He's somewhat of a cat whisperer, not to the degree Derrick is, but he's getting there. Kimmie loves them and does her best to be the center of their universe whether they want her to be or not; one day she might learn to leave them alone when the claws come out. Candace likes them, but she's not completely enamored with them like the others. Sissy likes them as long as they stay out of her room. Lilly has decided she prefers to stay outdoors most of the time and thinks that water troughs are to be flipped immediately after they are filled. So, she now gets to eat and drink outside and Izzy's water bowl has been moved to our bathroom. The cat's food and water are safe from piggie pushes inside their outdoor enclosure. Thankfully, everyone is house trained and the only messes I usually have to clean up are from when Lilly knocks over their food storage canisters.
The hobbits are getting better at cleaning up after themselves with only a little reminding. Kimmie was so proud of herself the other day that she did everything on their list with "only a little whining." I'm hoping that we'll get to the no whining stage soon, but I'll definitely take a little whining over the usual temper tantrums and refusals to clean. They both want to help with the dishes, but they're not quite ready to help without dropping the breakables, so for now, they just get to put away the silverware. One day, they might be able to pay enough attention to what they're doing to not cause severe breakage and we will definitely appreciate the extra help.
We've got toys separated into different rooms for the kids. Gabe's are in the living room, so it currently looks like a toy car and train lot. That boy loves his cars and trains! The little cars go for rides in the big cars. The little people and animals are tucked safely in their boxes or might watch from the side lines, but they don't get the pleasure of riding around the house. That fun is reserved only for the other cars and trucks. His favorite toy to carry around and take with him everywhere is not a toy, but rather MY pillow. The one I've had since I was a baby. I think it's time to make one for him, just like I had to do for Derrick when he was little. Some things never change.
The girls' toys are are in the den, and I gotta tell you, the pink and purple do kinda clash with the red, black, and white theme for the room. However, it does keep the bedroom clean and keeps Kimmie from breaking anything when she gets into one of her rages. If we can get her bipolar disorder under control, we're hoping everything can go back in their room and we can use the den as an actual den. Until then, there are a lot of Barbies, dolls, ponies, and dress up clothes stored in the girly cubbies!
They each have their own bookshelves, which are full of great age-appropriate choices. The girls are generally requested to read at least one hour each day. Thankfully, they love to read, so this is an easy task for them to complete. Candace does "extra" reading every day at bed time. She loves to read a few chapters in her book before going to sleep. I love that she has become an avid reader. They also have some summer work books that will keep them sharp and introduce some new concepts that we'll be learning this year. They decided on their own that they should do three pages a day. It's nice when they take the initiative.
We try to limit TV time as much as possible because we really don't like the electronic babysitter. Sometimes, however, it's the only thing that will calm Kimmie down. I don't know what it is about that particular medium, but she can sit and watch television for hours, even when she's in a manic state. You've gotta do what you've gotta do to survive the day. One time that we do enjoy television is when we all sit down and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation. Gabe calls it "star ship" and he loves to dance to the theme song. The hobbits sing along with the music and can pretty much tell you the plot line of every episode they've seen. They also watched The Princess Bride for the first time the other day. It's a double win, in my eyes.
Derrick's van still hasn't been replaced and Sissy doesn't have her license yet, so part of my daily routine is getting the both of them to and from work. Some days it works out that Todd can take them in or pick them up after he gets off work, but those days are few and far between. They both work two miles from the house and about a block from each other, so that makes pick up and drop off fairly convenient. On days when the weather is nice, they don't mind walking back and forth, but right now with temps in the 90s and thunderstorms popping up constantly, that's not an option. If only we could get their work schedules to coincide, that would be great. Even better, would be a car for them to share so I don't have to do any more driving. Well, for them at least.
Thankfully, vacation is right around the corner. There is a spot on the beach calling my name. I can't wait to answer.