Sunday, October 23, 2016

Quick snaps

 Dorothy is kind of scared of our front porch decorations, which is super funny to me, especially since she draws what look like crime scenes all over the pavement.

I made an apple pie that was delicious.  But!  It's just not totally pretty.  Don't worry-- I will keep working.
 MINI MEATLOAVES= the kids' new favorite food.  Even when I call them meat muffins.
 I finally cleaned out Dorothy's closet so that she only has weather-appropriate clothes.  But that doesn't stop her from putting them together in truly horrifying ways.
 Dorothy finally started her ballet hip-hop class that she has been DYING to start.  It was predictably adorable, especially the hip hop portion because they made the cutest little faces while they were dancing.  Also, I am a sucker for her pink Cons.

After class, she came home and very seriously colored the first position coloring sheet her teacher gave her.  At least 6 times a day, she asks me to help her put her feet in first position.  It's adorable overload around here.

 Back to living the hockey life.  So help me, my kids are eating those horrid "Uncrustable" PB sandwiches and probably will be all freaking season.  But last year, I gave them Culver's and Little Caesars.  So maybe it'll be a win?

FINALLY took her to the doc for her 3-year well-child visit a mere 5 months before she needs her 4-year visit.  Oops.
 I chaperoned a field trip for this guy at a science expo-- it was fun-ish.
 The little kids had no school on Fridays, o their school held a fundraiser at a trampoline place and we went of course because everyone took their kids to the trampoline park instead of dropping them off at school and enjoying a leisurely morning of grading papers or reading books or writing books or doing laundry.

But the kids had a great time.  AND IT'S ALL ABOUT THE KIDS.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A weekend that really felt like a weekend and a pretty Mondayish Monday

When I got a text from a friend inviting us over on Friday night and when that encounter led to follow-up Sunday plans, I knew we were finally going to have a weekend.  Since school, started, we have had these crazy Saturdays and Sundays that pretty much just consist of us running around town and around our house buying shit and cleaning shit at a frantic pace.  But last weekend, we made time to just hang out with our favorite people.

Especially Ben, the asshole.

It started out simple enough-- Ben was looking for OSU/UW tickets to take Harry to the game.  But he soon discovered that these tickets were selling for way more than face value, which I always think is dumb.  Usually by game day the prices have gone way down.  Not this weekend, though, because this was an important game and a night game-- the only home night game on the schedule.  In the course of looking for tickets, Ben discovered that his friend had a ticket.  For Ben, who decided to go. After a whole morning of coaching sportsball.

That left me with all 4 kids and no one to hang out with since all of our friends were either going to the game or tailgating or both and babysitters were nowhere to be found at such a late date. 

This pic pretty much sums up how I feel about that:

 The kids and I packed a snack (and a book for me) and headed to our favorite indoor trampoline and playset place.  I have no pictures of Harry because he was in the back room playing basketball and soccer with some older kids he befriended.

 Then I took them to see the movie Storks.  WHICH WAS TERRIBLE.  AND SO EXPENSIVE.  $40 for tickets.  $46 the first time I went to the concession stand and another $8 when I ran back out to pick up the kids' pizza and bought Cooper the popcorn he was whining about. (You can order pizzas and they give you a beeper and page you when the pizza's ready-- so, so, so easy and no dinner mess to clean up at home)

 We came home and put the little kids to bed and then Jack and Harry and I flipped back and forth between the Cubs game 1 of the NLCS (yay!) and the Badgers (bummer!)

Sunday was another funday because we went to see a Badger hockey game in a sweet suite with friends.

 We also went out to eat with those friends but I have no pictures of that because I was throwing a tantrum as nonchalantly as I could in front of 2 other families because Ben ditched me with all the boys while he and the other 2 moms went ahead to the restaurant to have wine and get a table and the dads and I waited in line for autographs.  On the heels of Saturday, that was just too much for me to deal with.  He ended up canceling our drinks and apps because I threatened to leave but then I really wanted to stay so we did and it was awkward.  But who doesn't have horrible whisper fights with their spouse with friends around?

As you can see, Cooper got a horrible rug burn on his nose/forehead by flipping off a couch onto a beanbag chair.  Oops.  The incident happened at our friend's house Friday night, but the funny thing is that he did the SAME THING in our basement earlier in the day.
 After school yesterday, Dorothy and Cooper braved a 75-minute line at a new donut store in town to try what "everyone" says are the best donuts in town.  I still like Greenbush the best, but I am a traditionalist.

Usually on Mondays, Ben comes home and I go to work.  But yesterday, I waited around for the big boys to get home and took Jack with me downtown because I got to accompany his Bear Den on a capitol tour. It was lovely.

And he was so sweet and well behaved at my meeting-- not a single peep once he had the wifi password.  This is probably exactly how he'll look in college only taller and with cooler tech.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fall Optimism

I swear Cooper, Dorothy, and Stuffy Tuffy were having a fun time making pumpkin pancakes for breakfast yesterday morning, but you'd never know it to look at them.

Something about fall turns me into a TOTAL Susie Homemaker, and the kids have something hot for breakfast most days.  I used 2 dozen eggs this week, and it's only Thursday, meaning I had to leap out of bed this morning and make eggless banana muffins while the big kids walked the dog, Dorothy colored, and Cooper whined about not getting to walk the dog.  I'll have to pick up more eggs on the way home from work, even, because I think the pie crust I am making for tomorrow's dessert will need a nice egg wash.  I mean, you guys. I am already thinking about tomorrow's dinner and dessert.  Suzy Homemaker indeed.

What else?

We got a new donut store in town, and the line was around the block yesterday.  Yuck.  Also YUM.  I complain about my wight all the time, but I am not enough of a fat kid to join a 45-minute donut line.  But, I mean, I might stop by on my way home from work to pick up a breakfast surprise for the sneauxflakes.

I volunteered at the kids' school for the first time this year, and I was afraid it would be awkward, but I decided to not let it be and remember instead how much I love to be read to by third graders.  I only got through a few of the kids on my list, though, because one little girl was reading The Babysitter's Club, and I was enjoying it so much, she read to me for like 25 minutes.  It was great.  You know how much I love audiobooks, and this was even better.

Jack's tutor showed me the coolest thing.  You know how books that kids read in school are leveled?  Well, I am always really confused because curricula change-- our school has had 3 separate reading curricula since Harry started kindergarten.  It's hard for me to understand what the levels mean anymore.  First they did letters; then they switched to a numbered system, and now they are back to letters-- but a different company's letters.  Super confusing for me, especially as I am trying to make sure that Jack reads just-right books because when books are above his current level, he gets really frustrated and has a hard time sticking with them (Harry leveled out awhile ago and just reads whatever the hell he wants which is totes easier).  Anyway, according to Jack's tutor, the lexile score of a book is the most important thing and can be a common denominator among different leveling systems.  So, she showed me Reading A-Z.  When you click the blue button on the top right that says teacher corner, you can choose "level correlation chart" from the drop down menu.  There you can find the leveling system your kids' school uses and the corresponding lexile level.  Then, I can use the Level Books Wizard on the Scholastic website to search the books he's reading or thinking about and find their lexile level.  I found out that Magic Treehouse-- a series Jack still loves-- starts out in the 400's and moves up to the 800s as the books progress-- because it is designed to grow with your reader-- how cool is that?  Harry Potter is in the 800s-- just a teeny bit out of Jack's current range.  But Beverly Cleary is in his grasp, especially Henry Huggins.  He's been reading Ramona and occasionally getting frustrated, which makes sense because her lexile score is 100 more than Henry's.  It's also important for a kid who needs extra help in reading to read books that are challenging enough, so I am happy to find this tool to help Jack find "just right" books.  I checked out Homer Price for him, but it's in the 1000s, so maybe Harry would like it instead.  I am fascinated.  And I have to say that Jack is a lucky, lucky kid-- he has a wonderful tutor who lives down the street and has tons of teaching experience and is a terrific resource, and he has a really smart, engaged third-grade teacher who is helping him love school even more than he already did-- and he loved it a whole lot to begin with.

Look at me and my fall optimism!  Time for donuts and apple pie.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Shit that has happened to me since we last spoke.

1.  We bought Jack a new computer. Unlike his older brother who got a MacBook Air the second he came home from school with his email log-in information,  Jack had to nag the hell out of us for like 2 weeks before we finally took him to Walmart and purchased an Acer Chromebook.  Which, I have to point out, he totally and completely loves.  It's actually way more practical for a third-grader, not only because it is literally 1/10 of the price of a MacBook but also because the kids do everything through Google Apps at school, so when Jack logs in with his school gmail, he has access to every app his classroom and library use, and he's all logged in to all of his accounts from Pebble Grow to ABCya to Kahn Academy.  It's awesome, actually.  And the screen is HUGE.  I highly recommend if you have a middle child you need to buy a computer for because you bought one for that child's older sibling.

2.  In addition to the computer, I got this unbelievably sexy nightie and have plans to venture back to Wal Mart for another one or two.  So cozy.
3.  I had the most hellacious grocery shopping trip EVAR where I bought so much shit that it was falling out of my cart and I ended up balancing paper towels and granola bars between the cart and my chest as I wobbled to the check out line.  I need to put Costco back into my shopping rotation so I don't have to buy big stuff at the store.

(No, I don't usually buy Dots, but I was headed to the movies Saturday night with the boys, and movie candy is only $1 at the grocery store, so...)

3.  Saw the James Patterson Middle School movie with 4 other moms and 7 other kids-- all the moms cried.  I was wiping my eyes and saying, "But I don't even like this movie."  Also there a preview for a movie about dogs that made me cry in 3 separate places.  IN THE PREVIEW.  You watch it and see if you keep your shit together.

4.  Had the sportiest Saturday ever with football, football, and baseball to fit in around the hellacious grocery shopping.

 Ben coached in Cubs layers
Dorothy was a good little baseball spectator because she played happily at the park for 2 hours.  In other news, BASEBALL GAMES ARE TWO FUCKING HOURS LONG.

5.  We picked some apples because why the hell not.

6. Jack used his Cub Scout Bear Handbook to make a perfect apple crisp with minimal help (I peeled the apples and cut in the butter).

7.  I almost killed Beatrix by taking her on a walk.  On Saturday morning, Ben and the kids got up early and went to campus for a debate tournament, and I was going out for my usual morning walk when I realized that the boys wouldn't be able to walk Beatrix.  So, I decided to take her with me because I hear that's a thing that people do-- they walk their dogs.  She LOVED IT.  She trotted along happily the whole time and made sure to take a huge dump after we walked past all of the pet waste stations so I got to carry a (literally) steaming bag of shit for a couple of miles, but other than that, it was great.  Sunday afternoon-- a sunny 63-degree day-- Harry and I took Beatrix for another walk, again for about an hour.  30 or so minutes into the trip, she started breathing really heavily and panting loudly, but this is not unusual for her-- she is a snorter and a snorer and a snuffler and we've all gotten used to her noises.  After 10 minutes, though, Harry was a little worried.  I made sure we were heading toward home (but we were at least 20 minutes away, especially since we had to slow down our pace after Beatrix slowed down her pace.  I called Ben to come pick us up, but he was running errands with the other 3 kids and would be a little while.  We had no choice but to plod on.  7 or so minutes from our house, Beatrix could go no further.  She threw up a bunch of foam and I noticed her tongue was blue-ish black.  I carried her for a few hundred feet, but 35 pounds of limp dog is a lot of limp dog.  We waited the last few minute sin the shade for Ben to come get us, and I called the emergency vet who told us to come in immediately.  It turns out, she had a temp of 105 (!) and was suffering from heatstroke.  The vet gave her a sedative, some IV fluids, and a comfy bed surrounded by fans for a few hours and then sent her home with a bill for $300.  Gah.  A very expensive walk.

(Sidenote:  My brother Ben killed our fat family beagle, Daisy, the same way.  He took her for a walk, and she got overheated, and my dad saved her life by hosing her down until she stopped wheezing and panting.  Then the next day Ben took her for ANOTHER GODDAMN WALK and this time she died on the table at the emergency vet's office and my mom cried and cried because she never got a chance to make Daisy her favorite spaghetti and meatballs one more time.  I have learned from that tragedy and will never walk my fat dog again.  Also, Daisy was mostly my brother Jon's dog, and he never would have let her be walked for the second, fatal time, but he was in the Bahamas with his friends celebrating high school graduation.  A totally great trip until he came home to a dead dog and an empty garage stall because my parents sold his Beamer.  And he never went on vacation again.  J/K.  But he did move to the east coast.)