Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Living the sporty little dream

Today is going to be LONG.

I am up at five to work on my online class and my other adjunct class.  Before the kids get up, I have to exercise, too.  And then we all have to leave the house by like 9:45 for a presentation I am making to parents of incoming freshmen.  And then!  You'd think I would just bide my time until bedtime and crash when the kids do, right?  WRONG because I have a fancy GNO for a friend's birthday. (A highlight, to be sure).  But still-- the path from here to the finish line seems arduous.

Swim lessons this morning-- 65 and windy-- yikes!
 She loves these magnetic princesses so much, which I love because they were EXACTLY the kind of toy I favorited when I was little-- 4 different back drops, a magnet princess, and her tiny magnet clothes and wigs.  SO FUN!
 I was so cold I had to wrap up in their towels while they swam.  And I saw a friend across the pool and had to text her hello.  Ha!
 THE ZOO!  Again!  I decided to balance out of junk food and novelty $50 trip to the FREE zoo the other week with a totally free trip where we brought our own snacks (apples, grapes and carrots-- the kids were like WTH mom are you mad at us?) and just walked around and looked at the animals. So now that's $25/trip which for entertaining 4 kids is NOT BAD.
 I love this sign because there are 4 cut-outs, which never happens.  And yes, I took a billion shots, and this was the best one.
 I didn't write about this last week, probably because I didn't take any pictures and I totally suck at blogging about things that are not pictured (because I am SO SIMPLE), but last week on Thursday, we had a total baseball snafu.  The little kids had t-ball.  Harry had batting practice for his last tournament, and Jack had a game in a far flung farm town.  After much juggling, we decided that Ben would take Harry and Jack to batting practice and request that Harry bat first so he could make it to Jack's game on time-- after feeding them in the car for the second time that week (such a FAIL in my book).  That left me and the kittle kids and t-ball.  And I had to be the coach.  Ben thought that there would be parents who wanted to help out, but there WERE NOT, just a few moms who wanted to stare at their phones.  SO. AWESOME.

Now I am not a total idiot.  I can hep a kid hold a bat and shout encouragements and stand in the field reminding the kids where to throw the ball for each batter (not that they are EVER going to get a forced out anyway you guys), but did I like it?  NO I DO NOT.  Especially because 4 and 5 year-olds are not excellent listeners.  I was literally hoarse after the game because I kept screaming "Good job!  Now throw it to first!  First base!  Throw it to first!  JUST THROW THE BALL TO FIRST-- Never mind,  Next batter!  Be ready for the next batter, guys!  Forced out at first or second!"

And the moms!  Were kind of judgey and pushy about where their kids played which ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Kids don't play real sports until they're 11.  I know this because I have an 11-year-old for whom whit just this year got real.  CHILL OUT WITH YOUR PRESCHOOLERS, world.

Anyway, I have to miss the last game for my GNO, but don't worry!  The whole fam-damily is driving 30+ minutes for Jack's game on Thursday night.  And then!  We are baseball-free!!  Until next month when we start to juggle two Little League fall balls and at least one, but possibly up to THREE, flag footballs.  LIVING THE SPORT LITTLE DREAM, my friends.

Monday, July 24, 2017

American Girl Sale Weekend!!

 As you can see from the above photo, this weekend was lovely.  We had fun things to do, a bonus babysitter night out, my mom in town, and my very favorite thing ever:  THE AMERICAN GIRL BENEFIT SALE!!

My mom and I have been going to the sale for 5 years (!), and this year, we held back on buying any more big dolls-- not because I am over buying dolls but because Dorothy has SO MANY and didn't want a specific one.  She did want Wellie Wishers-- she has one and really likes to play with it.  So, we each got her another.  I recommend these dolls completely if you are new to AG or if you are buying for a kid under 5.  She really enjoys their cute little clothes, and they are such a good size for tiny hands.  Also, they are a little more sophisticated (LOL) than Bitty Babies or Bitty Twins.

I planned to spend Friday afternoon and evening at the pool with the 3 youngest kids and my mom while Harry played baseball, but it was POURING all day, so we went to the indoor pool at my mom's hotel instead.  BIG FUN!
 We didn't wear matching suits on purpose, I swear.
 Cooper LOVES this pool.
 Since Ben wasn't there to throw the kids around, they pestered Uncle Ben, who was happy to oblige.
 This is truly the best shot we could get.  Awesome.
 While we waited forever for pizza to come (like, seriously, forEVER), Cooper was hungry, so he ate all of the display fruit in the hotel lobby and bam!  Out came his tooth!  It has been super wiggly for weeks, but he has been loathe to wiggle it.  So cute!
 Finally!  Pizza party!  (Ben and Harry were back in time for dinner, having won a game and made it into the quarter finals before the tournament was delayed for rain)
 Henry wore himself right out and didn't quite make it for pizza.
 THE SALE!!  We had 8:45 tickets, but things were WAAAAAAAY behind, so we didn't get into the warehouse until almost 9:45.
 We both grabbed all of the clothes and accessories we could find and we only ended up with one duplicate between us, which was awesome.  I also bought something I bought last year-- oops.  (The dolls at the sale are not really cheap at all.  The GotY sells for the same price she did last year (but she's no longer in stores, so that's cool) and the rest of the Be Forever dolls are like $80-105, which is a tiny price break).  But!  The clothes are half off, which IS a really good deal because they are extremely well-made and come with adorable accessories.

We went to breakfast afterwards and examined our loot:
 I put most of the stuff away for Hanukkah, as did my mom,  But I bought a beach picnic set and a swimsuit set, and my mom bought a beach dress set that we gave to her right away because it's summer!  She got some dolls (Julie, Grace, and Isabelle) dressed in the new clothes and even put a vintage swimsuit  she already had (from Molly's line of stuff) on Addy, and said, "Wow-- it's like all new dolls now that they can go swimming" and played beach for the rest of the day.
 Saturday night, we went out for a friend's birthday, and I made delicious cupcakes with peanut butter cups inside them and espresso frosting on top.  And then I left them in the car while we went to dinner and when I got them out at the after-dinner brewery, I jostled them too hard and they flew all over the carrier, and also I noticed they were a melty mess.  On the way into the venue, though, a pregnant woman stopped me and asked if she could have one.  It was weird, sure, but I was happy to oblige.  I was about to warn her about the espresso in the icing, but then I saw that she WAS SMOKING A CIGARETTE, so I figured she didn't care about a few tiny sprinkles of espresso.
 Yesterday instead of cleaning the house we went to family float day so Harry could use the new float he got for his birthday.  IT DIDN'T EVEN FIT IN THE CAR:

 So awesome:
 Dorothy brought her swimming girls.
 We had the place to ourselves for a little while, but the pool eventually filled up with a ton of totally silly floats.

 She LOVES it
 I should just walk around with this all of the time.
 Definitely a drowning risk for tiny kids:
 I laughed every time I looked at Harry's float.
 At one point it started to rain, but there was no thunder or lightening, so we didn't have t leave the pool, and it was pretty neat.  Dorothy jumped out to take a hot shower, but the boys and I stayed in and watched the steam rise from the sidewalk.  My friend got this super cool pic of Jack in his very own water tornado:
And now I  am back to being up at 5 am to cram in all my summer class grading before the kids wake up and need me to, you know, parent.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Office clean out

These pictures are from Wednesday and I meant to post them YESTERDAY because yesterday was a magical day where I got out of my domestic cage and actually got to WORK IN MY OFFICE which was amazing and lovely and grown up, and I DO have a room of my own, but it is not in my house, and that's OK.  But, you guys, I couldn't post them because I cleaned out my office and it was a DREAM COME TRUE.

I threw away 5 large Hefty bags full of just TRASH that has been accumulating n my desk drawers, file cabinets, and credenza for 8 YEARS.  Also!  My credenza!  A big hulking metal thing full of LITERAL GARBAGE!  I cleaned it out enough to move it and hauled it across my office so I could put my table facing the windows because my table is the perfect place to write, especially now with a view! 

I also boxed up a huge box of stuff to be destroyed/shredded and filled a giant hallway recycling bin with paper of all manner.  It was lovely.

To my delight, I found a broom in the copy room, and I swept my office floor for the first time in actual years   Then!  The best part!  I worked on my picture walls that have remained unchained since 2010.  I am going to cover every damn space of my office walls with gummed-on photos--like a real-life Instagram feed.  And I am going to hang up some of my subversive cross-stitches.  GOALS.  I have them.

(I also had meetings and TA interviews, so it wasn't all housework and picture arranging)

But, anyway, my pictures.

Cooper is going to for-real KINDERGARTEN in September, so I ordered him a lunch box that he very seriously customized (color of the carrier and water bottle, style of the magnets), and he was thrilled with it when it arrived.
 He got it out yesterday too, just to practice zipping and unzipping the case and filling the water bottle.  IT WAS ADORABLE.  Dorothy joined in for a side of cheese.
 Cooper has been really into edible dishes ever since Harry read him a Sport Illustrated Kids article about Japan wanting to use edible cups at the Olympics.  I haven't been able to find cups, but I did repurpose our taco leftovers into taco salads in tostada bowls.  He was excited in theory, but in practice he just filled his bowl with avocado and cilantro rice and gave it to the dog.  WHO WAS THRILLED.
 Tornado warning on Wednesday night.  More storm to come today!  YIKES.
This text stream between Harry and my brother slays me.  The kids do not understand yo mama jokes at all, to hilarious effect.

Here's the wall over my desk:
 I haven't nursed a baby in YEARS-- can probably ditch the milk tea now.  Also, there was some oatmeal in there from 2009.
 The wall over my credenza:
 Ben and I went out last night for dinner, just the two of us, and this is the only picture I took LOL.
But!  Even though I was hungover when I woke up and Ben and Harry went to a baseball tournament ALL DAY LONG and the kids are fighting, I feel so much more optimistic about basically everything in the world.  Date nights are the best, and we haven't had one that's just the two of us in a really long time.  More on tap!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Baseball and Gluttony

We have this amazingly terrible pizza chain-- Toppers Pizza-- and they have this amazing sauceless pizza-- Toppers Stix-- so greasy that the box practically dissolves by the time you get it home.  Yesterday, I stopped there on my way to Jack's baseball practice with Harry and Jack and got them a large order to eat in the car because Jack's baseball practice is about 40 minutes away in traffic.  Talk about a MOTY dinner, huh?  Well, it gets worse!  I ATE THEM TOO because being trapped in a Prius with a giant box of Stix was too much for me.  Then I texted Ben and was like OMFG I just ate so many Toppers Stix (which totally sucked because I had SO MANY SUPERFOODS yesterday and was planning to basically clean out the produce drawer for dinner.  Ben said he was going to make nachos, and I was all holier than thou and was like no way am I eating NACHOS and then I ate a million pounds of cheese and crust and grease.)  Anywho, my text made Ben need to have Toppers Stix, too, so I grabbed ANOTHER large order on my way home from baseball.  In short, baseball is fattening.

We went to the library for what should have been a lovely trip.  Jack, Dorothy, and Cooper finished their library reading logs, and it was the LAST story time session of the summer.  Our usual routine is for Jack and Harry to return the giant bag of books we haul to the library every week and Dorothy and Cooper and I go straight to story time.  But yesterday, even though we arrived riiiiiiiight on the very dot of story start time, Dorothy started putting the books away.  Jack protested, and I reminded her we needed to go to story time, and she started yelling BOTH BOTH BOTH.  I told her to be quiet like 3 times, but Jack kept protesting, so she kept yelling, and long story short, we had to leave the library.  Which made Cooper and then Jack (OMFG-- unexpected) start screaming, too.  SO FUN.  And I was the total monster who was like NO BOOKS FOR YOU, KIDS.

But the day!  It started out so well!

Harry had his LAST 7 AM BASEBALL PRACTICE OF THE SUMMER!!!  And we celebrated with donuts and coffee (me/hot chocloate (them)
 Swimming and diving went swimmingly, mainly because I remembered art supplies and snacks.  (Also, I have totally changed my expectations.  The 30 minutes when the boys are all diving is NOT for me to talk to my friends-- it is for me to keep Dorothy happy and chill with her.  This tiny change has made all the difference in my happiness)
 Harry and Jack worked cooperatively on Jack's big summer project from his tutor: to build a game.
 And, hilariously, the game is called Stay Away and the object is to make it from the front door of the house to your bedroom without encountering any little siblings.  And then Jack PLAYED IT WITH HIS LITTLE SIBLINGS. Ha!
 His baseball practice is 90 minutes, and I finished my 11th book of the month and relaxed.
 I also chatted with Harry, who brought 2 magazines, a book, and a kindle with another book he's reading and READ NONE OF THEM.  I just cannot even.  How did I birth and raise someone who doesn't actually like to read?  But he's a really fun person to hang out with because HE'S AN ACTUAL PERSON with ideas and opinions and interests-- it's really cool.

Ugh, you guys.  I have the amount and intensity of grading that can only be accomplished IN MY ACTUAL OFFICE.  So, I am off to work today and so out of practice.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Even our down time is busy.

We had the most un-relaxing relaxing day every yesterday because our time was segmented in ways that made us run, run, run all day long.

We ran into the pool with just seconds to spare before dive lessons and then sprinted out of the pool an hour-ish later in dry clothes to go to the zoo.

At the zoo, we saw like 2 animals because the kids wanted to spend their time on the train and carousel, feeding the goats, having a picnic, and eating ice cream.  Add in a long walk to and from our car, and we were running back to our parking spot so we could haul it across town and dump Jack at his tutor's house.

While he was at the tutor, I dashed around like mad putting away a mountain of camping laundry and washing sleeping bags and making beds.  Then everyone slammed on their swim suits and we hit the pool after picking Jack up.

There, time slowed a bit, and I played with the kids in the water for 2 solid hours, taking a break during adult swim to float like a Fantasia hippo all by myself in the water while the kids ate the Goldfish and fruit snacks I packed. (But I did have a tantrum about a sunscreen stick that went missing between our house and the pool-- a literal 3-minute ride--when we first got there, but then I made like Elsa and let that shit go even though it still kind of makes me mad to think about because special snowflake face sunscreen does not grow on trees).

4-6 was a mad dash to take a shower, start the pool laundry, and make dinner before the kids filled up on popsicles.

We decided to make an ice cream run again after eating tacos (and I didn't want to get my own cone because FAT but I did also because FAT but then Dorothy decided she liked mine better and stole it after like 5 bites, so things worked out great and next time I am just going to share with her or at least convince her to get the same thing I am having).

And then!  8:45 and all was blissfully quiet.  I read a whole book on the couch before 11 and went to bed dreaming of the hot hot hot coffee I knew would greet me in the morning because I programmed the timer on my pot to have it fully brewed before my 5:00 alarm.

Really that's the only rub about summer.  I need to wake up a good 2 hours before the kids if I want to have any time to work or work out, which means I am ready for bed only moments after they are.

This month, I used most of our cell phone data on social media which is just not healthy.  So!  I set up FB and Insta to NO use cellular data, meaning I can only use them on wifi, and I have been using my phone so much less, I didn't even take it into the zoo.  Con: missed some cute pics.  Pro:  Everything else.  Maybe I should get a digital camera that fits in my purse again and go phone-free more often.

Packing his zoo picnic (he wasn't really giving me a dirty look-- I think this was just a bad angle).
 Happy picnic and breakfast chaos:
 Crafting while the boys dove:
 Diving:
 Reading during the little kids' lesson:

 After his zoo ice cream:
 Ice cream thief:
 Another ice cream disaster
 Sun's out, guns out.