Monday, February 08, 2016

Quitting the Yelling Day 9: Progress?!

Those pictures up there? Are scenes from a yell-free Monday morning. Even though I was late. And hungover. 

It was snowing at 7 when the boys went to walk the dog-- beautiful, silencing, sparkling snow-- and the babies wanted to walk, too, so we did, all of us, despite the morning rush. A

Today as we were leaving Little Gym, Cooper had a fit about going to get a cookie at the coffee shop across the street and we couldn't go to the coffee shop for a cookie because I we just a huge rude bitch to the staff about the pre-class latte I ordered that took ten minutes to arrive even though no one was in front of me. It was bring a friend week, so we had 2 preschool friends with us, and good byes were awkward because of the screaming. To cheer them up (because class ends right before lunch and the transition is always hard for Cooper), I said we could walk a couple of blocks to an organic bakery and get cupcakes for a treat. Cooper was still crying. Instead of yelling at him (which was SO TEMPTING because he would not stop and it was embarrassing and stressful), I gave him a hug. And he stopped. 

Then we walked to the bakery in the cold. And it was closed for a private party which was hard to explain to the kids because it said closed but people were in there. Cooper almost freaked again, but instead wee walked to a pizza place with a shabby playroom the kids love and we've been there for an hour. A really happy hour. 

When Ben comes home at 3, it's my turn to work, and I think I might do it from the library. 

Best day ever. 

Saturday, February 06, 2016



I think I have the virus that knocked out Harry and Jack for a week each.  I am on day 3 (it started Wednesday at dinner time) and feel like total dog shit.  I spent all day in bed on Thursday with a 103.4 fever (taken with an ear thermometer, so it was probably actually like EMERGENCY ROOM HIGH).  I took ibuprofen and Tylenol alternately every 4 hours like I was a little kid, but nothing really helped.  Occasionally, I would get down to a 101 fever and the air would not hurt my skin, but mostly I just laid around and moaned.  I couldn't even sleep.  Finally on Friday morning at 2 am, I took 3 ibuprofen instead of 2 and about an hour later, I was completely drenched in sweat and my fever came down to 99.  I felt amazing.  Then I took some Tylenol and was drenched again, and my ear thermometer read 96.5, which made me really freaked out about the 103.4 from earlier.

I was able to go to the hotel with Ben and the kids and our friends for a sleep-under staycation yesterday because the kids were off school, and now I have spaced my alternating meds out to 6-7 hours, and my fever never gets too much above 100.  I was really sick in the middle of the night last night.  I ended up getting up at 2 for a mug of tea and a popsicle and ibuprofen and an extra quilt (brining my total to 2 plus a blanket and sheets) and watching Tammy and Reno 911: Miami.  I finally fell asleep again around 5, and Dorothy woke us up at 6:30.

Ben took all of the kids back to the hotel to swim until lunch and then he took them to hockey, and I have been in bed with The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Master of None.  I got up to do laundry and clean up lunch, and it almost killed me.  If my throat still hurts tomorrow, I am going to get a strep test just to be on the safe side.  Tonight, we hope to go out with friends for dinner and a movie, but I still feel terrible.  I really want to feel better before the Superbowl, AKA buffalo chicken dip day.

Before I got sick (which had probably been happening gradually for a day or so, but I had been taking handfuls of ibuprofen every 4 or so hours, per my doctor's suggestion, for cramps, so I didn't notice until Wednesday night when I was all the sudden achy and freezing and home all night with 3 kids while Ben had the other one at hockey), I baked a and cooked a lot, just to make sure everyone who hasn't already had this virus will get it.
 Ben knew I had a rough Wednesday working from home with Dorothy and Cooper, taking Dorothy to the dermatologist during my usual writing time, cleaning the house, running errands, etc, so he brought home lovely, cheerful flowers.  And I am so happy I put them on my dresser because I was struck down with the virus from hell only hours after their arrival, and they've been nice to look at.
 I'm so pretty, obvs.
 Dorothy has spent a lot of time sitting on me and speaking loudly.  Yesterday, she climbed off me after saying, "You're stinky again.  It's your breath this time."
 The kids loved the pool.  They swam from 3-7:30 last night and from 8-11 this morning.
 IDK what this face was all about-- he really did love it.
 All by herself in the deep end.
 An important hot tub convo
 Dorothy's animals and princesses
 There were 11 kids, and we fed them all pizza in the hotel lobby after we trashed the entire pool area with snacks and booze in cans and juice boxes.  The other guests LOVED us.

 We showered all the kids and took them home and they all fell asleep by 8.
 So many swimsuits.
 Before she went to hockey today, Dorothy gave me her Lollaloopsy and said I could sleep with it and she hoped it would make me feel better but please don't break it or get germs n it because it is very special to her.  I'm doing my best.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

January: What I Read

It's not that I want to stop documenting my reading this year.  It's just that I cannot remember to do shit lately, so, naturally, I forgot to document my reading this year.  It;s especially funny because my post yesterday was about NOTHING.  I mean, not that this is way more something-er, but at least I am continuing a theme.

Anyway, my reading list for the month.  I gotta tell you, this is a sensational list.  Even #10 was an excellent read!  You should take a second and add all of these to your library wish list right now.  I can wait.

10.  The Winter Girl by Matt Marinovich: SCARY and violent and creepy and just TAUT.  I highly recommend it.

9.  Re Jane by Patricia Park:  This is touching and lovely and a surprisingly quick read.  I demolished it in the car on the way to Jelly Belly and think you should read it, too.

8.  Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington.  Sad and sweet and funny and gripping-- I really liked these characters, and the narrator has an excellent voice.

7.  Auggie and Me by RJ Palacio:  I read this with Jack.  We both totally loved it, especially "The Shingaling."  It's a follow-up to the terrific Wonder, and while part of me thinks the author should just write about other kids already, the other part of me is happy to revisit old friends.

6.  The Wright Brothers by David McCullough:  FASCINATING and even made me cry a little.

5.  Carry On by Rainbow Rowell:  I LOVE her, and this book was really, really good.  It;s Harry Potter fan fiction in the best possible way.  If you read Fan Girl you;ll see the story that THAT main character was writing fan fiction about, so this is especially great for loyal Rowell readers.

4.  Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff:  Maybe my favorite kid book ever.  Auggie and Me took us a long time, so I read it to myself and SOBBED.  I could never survive it in a read aloud.

3.  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah:  I am late to the party on this one, but yes.  It;s as good as you think it's going to be.  Better, even.

2.  Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff:  I checked this out a few months ago and couldn't get into it, so I took it back before it was due and out it back on my hold list.  It finally came around again, and I am glad I gave it another chance because it was mesmerizing and haunting and perfect.  The best part is I HATED one of the main characters and couldn't stop reading.

1.  Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates:  Read this.  Everyone should.

(But seriously.  It's not just writing abut reading that I can't remember.  I didn't even put mascara on both eyes this morning:
 Or buckle Cooper in the car:
Kidding about the buckling.  We were in the preschool parking lot).

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


...because I haven't been home all day.

I am sure all that will change when we assemble around the table to eat the stew I made last night that has been slow-cooking all day and then I clean everything up as fast as I can to run out the door for PTO.

Good times.

Oops-- wait-- in the time it took my scatter-brained self to get distracted by text messages and email while typing that sentence PTO was canceled.  Yay?

More chances for yelling now, for sure.

Especially because all 4 of our DVR boxes are broken.  This especially sucks because we have been waiting to binge on Downton.  Also, I can't watch the last half of Billions from Sunday.  Also, what the hell are we supposed to do?  Talk to each other?  Absurd.  (There's also no TV on demand.  Oh the humanity!)  (We still have Apple TV)  (Thankfully)

This is like the only picture I have taken in 2 days:

Monday, February 01, 2016

Quitting the Yelling

I  had a terrible weekend.

Ben went to a hockey tournament with Harry (AND THEY WON THE TOURNAMENT AND HARRISON SCORED THE GAME-WINNING GOAL OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME), and I stayed home with the other 3 kids.  Cooper had a fever on Friday but seemed OK on Saturday.  Jack STILL has a fever today, and he threw up ALL WEEKEND.

We were basically housebound until Ben and Harry got home on Sunday.

Soon after this picture was taken, Dorothy ripped off her bandaid and scratched open her face.  Again.
 I left Jack on the couch at one point and took the other 2 across the street to the park because we needed to leave the gross house.
 I also cleaned the entire house and changed all 7 beds' sheets.  AND cooked the kids a vegetable with dinner even though it was just Dorothy and Cooper eating.  And everyone wore their pajamas all day long.
 Dorothy colors like she does everything else-- INTENSELY and with extreme focus. She is a lot.
 Cooper is more genial and laid back, and if you've met him you know he almost always clenched in a full body clench, so to call him laid back is saying something about his sister.
 Jack rallied to lay on my shoulder and breathe snot and puke breath all over me while we watched Tommy Boy.  He loved Tommy Boy, and even though he had never seen it before, he was able to correctly anticipate and shout out many of Chris Farely's lines, which delighted me because he's always looked a little bit like Chris Farley.
Long story short (ha!  as if!), I have embarked on a 21-day project to quit yelling at my kids.

Today was day 1.  It was... not a success.  But I have been in my office since 3, so the there has been no afternoon/evening yelling.  Erm.

You guys know I love Gretchen Rubin and her books and her wonderful podcast, right?  So I figured getting daily emails that would help me change a bad habit would be totally great.  And the first one was excellent.  It's not her fault that I couldn't quit yelling  I have PMS for one thing, and I was alone with 3 kids all weekend, and today was a bitch and a half.  We had Little Gym.  Mondays have deadlines for my adjunct class, and Ben and I tag-team work.

But!  I think not yelling would be a total happiness booster, and even though I am only a day into the project, I know from reading Rubin's other stuff that this won't really be about changing who I am, it'll be about changing my circumstances so I won't need to yell.  Today, for example, I realized that nagging Dorothy and Cooper about wearing their coats makes me prone to yelling (not about the coats but about the next thing that comes up) because I get so frustrated.  So I just threw their coats in my giant tote bag and got on with my life.  IT WAS SO MUCH NICER.

I took her 4 tendencies quiz, and I am pretty sure I am an upholder (I say pretty sure because I am worried that I just WANT to see myself as an upholder and that swayed my results).  This means I would be able to succeed at this 21-day project without any sort of external accountability, but I'm going to post about it here because why not?  A little accountability can't hurt, right?  I really do want to have more patience, and I think I need a little help thinking critically about what I am doing now to run myself ragged.

Something else that would be a happiness booster (for others, maybe even more than myself)?  If I could stop posting Hillary Clinton stuff on Facebook.  BUT I LOVE HER.  And I have a daughter now.  This feels personal.  I want to see the first woman president, and I want to see her right now!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Why I'm Fat: A Poem

Today, coffee-shop sitting drags into hours.
Blueberry scone follows lunch's cheese
sprinkled salad, carb loaded panini, whole
latte expertly foam-heart-topped by dread-
locked barista whose jeans have day-old
pastry bulges like my genes.

Yesterday, cookie baking.  Banana bread, crumbs
from children's cess pool plates.  Delicious strep
on Teddy Grahams.  Snot with mozzarella stick's nubby
end. Soggy Kix. Contagious bagel corner.
Wine post-kid-bedtime whine. Soft cheese on salty
crackers.  Cookies standing at kitchen counter,
no witnesses.

Day before, marathon office sitting lured
me to walk in gray snow so wet
my Uggs soaked through, Fitbit
arm swinging over stairs and steps, moving
toward face-sized muffins.
I ate one, of course
before sitting again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


I had to break my no-liquor-midweek rule tonight because I was home with 3 kids (Harry has had a fever since Sunday) all day.  Well, all day after preschool.  And dayum. WHAT A DAY. I was wearing the "clothes" I SLEPT IN (which I wore to elementary school to pick up homework, preschool drop off and pick up, and the grocery store until 5:30 when I lured the kids into semi submission with dinner and took a shower and put on clean pajamas.

We are going to take Harry to the pediatrician tomorrow, and he sees his cardiologist for a follow-up on Friday, so I ma not too worried about him, but I wish his fever would go away.  He feels fine with Tylenol or Ibuprofen, but when it wears off, he has a tummy ache and a fever of 101-103.  He threw up Sunday and Monday, but Tuesday and today he just laid around feeling crappy.  I finally picked up school work for him this morning, and he spent the afternoon researching the Black Hawk War and starting his Wisconsin history research paper, taking a 4-page second-quarter math assessment that I have to run over to school tomorrow, writing in his reading log, and blowing through his weekly vocab and reading comprehension packets.  If he doesn't go to school tomorrow, he'll be done with both homework and school work before noon.  Plus he has almost solved Zelda on the Wii U.  So, it's been a productive week.

Oh!  And he learned to vacuum.  Instead of reminding Ben to vacuum the basement every Tuesday and Thursday, I have decided to pay Harry $1 extra allowance a week to do it.