Monday, May 21, 2018

Weekend Idyll

Yoga.  I have done it everyday this month, but when does it get relaxing??
 Cooper, in his element during recess
 Would you believe that all of the kids in Cooper's class wanted to try on my glasses?
 Dorothy and I spontaneously painted pottery after school on Friday.
 Turns out, I am pretty bad at painting pottery.  But we both had fun.

 Oh!  Also! On Friday, Beatrix turned 4!

 We had a movie night double feature: Peter Rabbit
 Followed by Zombieland
 Saturday began with an almost disaster.
 And then Ben-- who is a department chair,which is awesome, went to graduation
 And the rest of us watched adorable kindy soccer
 And then some pretty cute baseball.
 On Saturday evening, I went to a super fun royal wedding party where we got caught up in champagne and sunshine (party started at 4:30 PM) and forgot all about the damn wedding.
 I came prepared (and also made one of these)
 So pretty!
 Then I came home to a perfect date night in.
 Sunday started strong with Twister upstairs
 and Beauty and the Beast downstairs
All of our kiddie sports events were rained out (OMFG SO AWESOME), and I got to get dressed up and go out for Madison Mom Blog photos and dinner-- it was a lovely little day with yard work, housework, and garden planning thrown in for fun.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

What We're Eating 21/52

I have a Madison Mom Blog thing, so Ben and the kids can eat whatever their little hearts desire.
Oh my gosh!  We can eat dinner together!  This is crazy!  Ben idly mentioned that he wanted us to make alfredo at home, so this, which goes with my goal of 40 new recipes. (Along with cookies I made the other day and a strawberry rhubarb crisp with yard rhubarb)  Also! The only thing I can even imagine serving with this is veggies and more veggies.  I think we will have broccoli and salad.
Kids will have a really quick dinner before soccer and track.  Grown ups are having a fattening couch date.
The kids have simultaneous baseball games!  The one day all season this happens!  We are FOR SURE eating at baseball!
Grilled chicken, asparagus, baked potatoes, strawberry shortcake
It's my second 40th birthday party.  OF COURSE IT IS.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Then End of an Era

Somehow, I missed the last day I worked from home with a kid underfoot.  Part of it was my preoccupation with turning 40. Part of it is that I am a creature of routine, and my routine changes a bit at the end of the semester-- only this semester my final exam was on a normal workday, and it all just sort of ran together.  Part of it is the simple truth that the days are long and the years are short, and I spent so much time just crossing things off my list (adjuncting online, the morning rush, preschool pick up, preschool lunchtime, laundry, dinner prep, dance, etc) that I didn't really notice the days slipping by.

After school today, Dorothy will have 9 days of preschool left.

I am not working right now, though, just enjoying her when she gets home.  This little halcyon window is lovely, but it's not the same as the particular passage of time I forgot to mark.

I meant to note the last day of the juggle that's been my life for almost 12 years, to mark the end of this time with... something?  I wanted to take a breath and savor the last day when I tried to pass as a working mom at work and a stay-at-home-mom after preschool mornings, to commemorate this specific kind of maternal gymnastics.

I am thrilled that we have made it through the little kid years and that next year, we can both work full days during school hours-- imagining the luxury of all of that time is overwhelming.


We walked around the zoo for 3 hours yesterday, her sticky hand in mine, no place to be other than right there with our picnic and the tube of red lipstick we shared.  After our fill of animals and her favorite zoo ice cream sandwich, we walked almost all the way to the car and she said, "Oh! I forgot to see the flamingos," and since flamingos are her favorite color, we had to go all the way back in and through the winding zoo path to the very center by the carousel (which we rode 3 times) to see them.  And as long as we were there, we swung by the red panda, too, and she climbed all the way to the top of a huge slide with a pack of rowdy field trip kids and came tumbling out the tube, sweaty and red-cheeked.

These interminable years have gone so fast after all.

Dressed for the zoo

Carousel rides require red lips

She's so big she wants to buy the carousel tokens herself

But she's so little she can still only ride on the bench because carousels are scary

SAND!  It;s even glittery.  And filled with the germs of a thousand field trippers.

I made this sandwich at 8 am during my fasting window and pretty much dreamed about it all morning.

Bucky on Parade!  We have seen 8/85

She stood in an actual line to take this pic

For Cooper because penguins are his fave

Still not a gibbon.

She said Oh wait, can I ride on this? so how could I say no?

We saw the actual tortoises.  The door to their enclosure was open so they could choose to be inside or in their little fenced-in yard, and how long do you think it took them to make the journey outside?

We fell down taking a selfie.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


You know I love Happier, right?  Well, this week's episode could not have been better timed for me because it was all about planning your summer.  While I think this idea is more relevant for people whose work does not give them a big fat summer break, it is also useful for me, as I stare down the barrel of lots of work and no childcare.  Ben is working almost full time this summer, and I am most definitely NOT.  Still, I have a book to write and a class to manage, and there will be 4 delightful little cherubs home with me.  My favorite nugget of wisdom from Happier is "Don't treat a gift like a burden," so I am going to try really hard to cherish (in an un-ironic way) all of the free time the kids and I will have this summer.  I am thrilled that they don't have to spend all day in a rotating series of cobbled together camps and that I can be home and at the pool and trolling Target.  Really, truly I mean it. 

We have a vacation scheduled in August, which is the perfect time to go away because the novelty of the pool and laying around has for sure worn off by then.  The kids will do swim and dive lessons in the morning, and Harry is taking tennis twice a week in June (and if he likes it, we'll continue it all summer).  He also has baseball some more after the regular baseball season ends, and I am nagging the hell out of Ben to sign all the boys up for some kind of skating lessons or a camp or something so they don't lose all of their skills before October.  Oh!  And Harry and Jack are doing track through mid-July.  Plus I signed up again to do some parents-of-freshman orientation sessions at my school.  And did I mention Ben is teaching almost a full load and I have my summer class as usual? 

Clearly, we have a lot going on, and I have stopped telling myself that we are off.  The kids, though, will not have their state-mandated 8 hours of away time every day, so I need to step up my mom game quite a bit.

Every week, my days with the kids will have:
A Bucky hunt
A trip to the library
A visit to a new park
A movie

That's 4 activities a week every week that will cost almost nothing and will get us the hell out of the house.  Maybe some days, these will be combined-- the library has a summer movie series, for example, and lost of Buckys are near parks.  But other weeks, this could take me through Thursday with a little bit of fun and low key adventure everyday.  At the same time, this is not a rigid plan, so I will probably not totally stress and make it un-fn.

Follow along with my hashtags:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Perfect Timing

Is it just me, or do you also find that whenever you make our kids' dentist appointments is the worst time possible?  I think it's because they have to be scheduled so far in advance.  I mean, sure that random date in November looks fine now, but I am sure when it is actually NOVEMBER, I will realize it's the worst day ever and the worst time of day imaginable.  Gah.

As you might imagine, Harry and Jack had a dentist appointment yesterday.  At 8 am, which required a bit of gymnastics on our part since 2 other kids and Ben had to be at 3 different schools around then.  I didn't have to go back to the exam room with them, and they didn't have any cavities or anything, but still!  I didn't get home until 10!

On the way Jack and I stopped at target after dropping Harry off at his school because Target is on the way home, but we would not have stopped there had I known that Jack was missing placement testing.  GAH.
 Quick selfie before we walked to school.
 I was so exhausted from the dentist that I made both cold brew coffee that will be ready TODAY!!
 And also a quick cup and a half in the Chemex.
 I picked up Dorothy, and she played outside while I... did not play.

 This tree is gorgeous for exactly one day, and yesterday WAS THAT DAY.
 The countdown is on!!
 This is how mermaids watch Rock Dog.
 He's wearing REAL PANTS!!  For the 6th grade band concert.
 Ben and Harry went to the concert and mentioned they were also going to Five Guys, and I abandoned all thoughts of grilled chicken salads and took the kids to Culvers where we all got kids meals.
 The library tree is pretty today, too!
 Cooper, all grown up.
 The one and only road that runs between our house and the library is under construction and closed in spots, so we had to detour through a neighborhood the other week and discovered this random park, which is now a standard stop on our trip.
 I stayed in the car because I am a terrible mother.
Then!  I met my friends at the bar for an after PTO-meeting drink only I didn't drink because my 8-hour eating window was closed, ad now that I am 40, I am incredibly responsible.  It took awhile, though.

As predicted, we are jut now settling into our semester's routine.  Now that the semester is juuuuuuust about over.  Perfect timing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Happy 40th to me

 We started my birthday weekend on Friday afternoon because why the hell not, right?  Ben had a meeting at UW-Whitewater, which is on the way to my parents' house, so the kids and I joined him.  We hung out in the student union while he was in his meeting, eating junk and bowling.

 Dorothy didn't want to bowl, so she played on her iPad even though I reminded her that she was staring down 3 more hours i the car when she would really only have her iPad for enjoyment, but she didn;t care at all and -- surprise, surprise-- got super bored.  TOLD YOU SO.
 One of these things is not like the other.
 He's a beast!

We stopped at a pizza joint in Pekin and then hit up my favorite ice cream place in the world, which is called Double D's, and Ben said he was going to get me double d's for his birthday, too, and it took me way too long to get the joke.
The next morning, my dad and I took the kids to Andy's my favorite diner ever.
 And then we went to the Illinois River, which hasn't changed.
 Still a beast.
 Ben and the kids ran some birthday party errands, and I hung out with my high school bestie.  We went to the only department store in town for THE LAST TIME EVER since the whole chain is closing.  I used to shop at that store with my dad's mom, and I really will be sad to see it go.
 Jon and Caleb flew in Saturday afternoon, and we went to lunch with my parents and to the Pekin Wal Mart, which is always a treat.  I wasn't sure if there'd be any cake leftover from the party-- or even if Ben planned a cake, even though I was pretty sure he did-- so  grabbed done for the kids to decorate.
 Which did not disappoint.
 It didn't disappoint her, either.
 My parents watched the kids, and Ben, Jon, Caleb and I headed to Peoria, for a party I knew basically nothing about except that it was happening at my favorite college restaurant/bar/coffee shop
One of our favorite friends from college flew in from Austin, which was awesome.
 THERE WERE BALLOONS and my favorite snacks from the restaurant.  Also waiter who brought me drinks every 4 minutes
 And a cake from the bakery we used for our wedding.
 Also my BFF since first grade!
 And amazing friends I used to hang out with every damn day in college but, of course, don't see on the regular anymore.
 This could have been any night of the week 20 years ago-- how amazing is that???
 So many candles!
 Serious candle work here
 It was wonderful.  ben kept telling me my party was going to be really fun but was also no big deal.  I thought he was trying to keep me in the dark about the deets, but it turns out that was a pretty accurate description.  People traveled to be there, which was touching, but the actual event was super chill.  Lots of drinks.  Sitting around and talking,  Cake, Cards Against Humanity.  A trip across the street to our favorite undergrad bar.  It was perfection.

 The next morning, I drank coffee like I was an internet troll.
 Pretty much.
 And then!  Wonderful kid-made mother's day gifts

 And also birthday presents galore!
I could not figure out my corsage pins, but even I am not too dumb for a rubber band:
 Before brunch we went to my favorite park to walk around and look at all the dead fish (!!!) and baby ducks and geese and, of course, take pictures.

 Then we had brunch at was used to be the country club we belonged to when I was a kid but is now a public golf course and restaurant that has CEMENTED OVER THE DAMN POOL and paved the tennis courts.  Here are the kids in what used to be the shallow end.
 The ride home was exhausting, obvs.
But do you know what was waiting for me when I got there?  More presents!  Sandwich delivery!  My favorite champagne!  AND ANOTHER CAKE!  And plus also, early bedtime fro 4 overtired kiddos.  What a weekend!