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.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Family float

The boys returned from camping happy and dirty, and Dorothy and I were THRILLED to see them.

Ben dropped Jack and Cooper and all of the camping gear in the driveway and sped off to part unknown with Harry for a baseball tournament.  The three little kids and I went to a bouncey house place, Subway for dinner, and the pool for disinfecting and showers and also swimming, where Ben and Harry joined us after the bad news bears' thorough trouncing.

Then all the kids went to bed and Ben and I watched the last episode of Game of Thrones Season 6.  You guys!  We set a goal for ourselves-- catch up on GoT before last night-- and WE DID IT, starting with the very first episode just 2 short months ago.  If you set our mind to it, anything is possible.

I wanted to make Harry a protein smoothie before his final baseball game yesterday morning (spoiler alert: THEY WON), but it turned into a freaking mess and a half.  Luckily, Beatrix was there for me.
 While Ben and Harry baseballed, the rest of us went to family float day at the pool. So, the pool lets us use floats every darn Sunday from 10-12, and this is the SECOND TIME we have made it.  Ooops.  Big plans for a repeat this week, though.

As you can see, we got there early and had the place to ourselves.



 I took this pic of our spot on my way out to lunch because this is where we always sit and it just screams summer to me.  I want to frame this and put it in my office to stare at during the long, bleak winter.  Also, maybe the Please No Food signs would be a good diet inspiration?
 Instead of spending $50 at the concession stand (not a joke-- this is actually how much it costs for all of us to eat and the kids to have a snack), I packed 2 snacks for each kid and lunch.  Granted, it took me over an hour to make, package, and clean everything up (because some people wanted egg salad), but  think it was worth it?  If you pretend like my time is worth precisely zero dollars and zero cents, which is the assumption that we all seem to be living under.
 Mid-convo:
 Also, lunch is DEFINITELY healthier when we pack it.

After the pool, we took the kids on a hike through a totally gorgeous park that will be lousy with sunflowers in a few weeks.  And everybody bitched and moaned and we were attacked by mosquitoes as we walked through the timothy.

So we came home and made everyone play in their own rooms while I put the finishing touches on a lasagna, which was a REALLY GOOD CHOICE.

Game of Thrones. THE END.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

EPIC girls' weekend

For me and Dorothy that is. Ben took the 3 boys camping with our friends, but I... didn't want to.  It's true that we had fun last year.  BUT, it is equally true that one night was pretty much more than I could handle.  And also, I hate being dirty.  And I just didn't want to keep the kids from experiencing a super fun and dirty time.

Also, I really only like to camp if I am drunk, and Dorothy-- as evidenced by our backyard s'mores fire a couple of weeks ago-- needs constant sober supervision around flames.  So.

I sound defensive, and I think I am.  Because I don't want Dorothy to be all scared of dirt, and it sounds like everyone had a blast.  Maybe next year?

(Also also, I thought I was going to be 5 month pregnant and hiding from mosquitos when everyone planned this trip.  And I am not.  And I am still really sad about it even though it's unethical to have kids when the planet is dying.)

But.  Anyway.  WE HAVE HAD SO MUCH FUN.

Dorothy was acting a little crazier than usual at swim lessons

 But I didn't know why until she starting sobbing when Ben and the boys pulled away in the over packed minivan.

She said she was just going to miss her family so much, which is something I didn't see coming because she never really acts like she likes anyone.

I took her straight to Toys R Us because everyone should learn about retail therapy.
 She bought a new stuffed rainbow cheetah and a bunch of jewelry, and we headed to campus for a goodbye party for my department's irreplaceable secretary (seriously-- she left some big shoes to fill).

Dorothy enjoyed the cupcakes.
 And the view.
 Also, she's not a baby anymore, huh?
 She asked for orange leaf for dinner, and I am clearly a sucker, so.
 Weird rainbow cheetah:
 Weird rainbow cheetah needed to eat when we got home.
 The pool was having a movie night, so we headed up.
 We took some pics and enjoyed the cool weather and came about as close to camping as I want to.  Dorothy ran around and played tag with the older kids.

 Then right as the movie was starting, she said she wanted to go home.  So we did.

Also, she moved right into my bathroom.
 We watched Aladdin in my bed and fell asleep before 10-- my kind of night!  Also, DAMN Disney movies used to be so violent! And so racist!

We had to get up a little early because I needed to give a presentation to parents of incoming freshmen.
 Working motherhood, man:
 We were almost late because I left my parking pass in the van and all of the visitor lots were full.  Then I remembered the metered parking in front of the football stadium that you can pay via app, but that looks like special VIP football parking and is always available and we were IN BUSINESS.
 Triumphant parking selfie:
 You guys!  She loves this cheetah.
 The talk went fine, and I think we met some new babysitters.  So we celebrated with a post-talk coffee/cocoa.
 (The walk back to the car was a little chilly).
 Her best Badger face.
 Next up: The zoo, where Dorothy bravely fought to overcome her terror of the merry-go-round by riding on the okapi, which is so tall it does not go up and down-- a good transition from the bench, which is the only place she has deigned to ride for 4 years.
 We also had to cram into the zoo train (not her-- I am the one who has to cram.  My butt is centimeters away from being too big to fit on the bench, so that's nice).
 Another carousel ride, this time on the stationary camel.
 She touched this gross lizard thing.  I wasn't listening to the woman telling us what it was.
 We split a turkey wrap (mostly me), an ice cream sandwich (all her), and a milk (both, surprisingly) for lunch,
 and then we fed some goats, which delighted Dorothy.

She also really needed to spend some time communing with this snapping turtle.
 She took a second to pet a millipede which almost made me throw up.  Not her petting it, just the disgusting, undulating creature itself.
 Quick photo opp
 She was completely passed out when we pulled into the parking lot of the swing set/trampoline place that was the next item on her packed agenda.
 I didn't take any pictures, but she played with a sweet little girl she kept calling Honey because the little girl's mom called her that (I think the girl's name was actually Adeline).

On the way home, she put in a request for Calico Critters, but I took her to Target instead and we bought a knock-off Woodeez family of ducks and went home to dig up all of the Calico Critter stuff she got for Christmas a couple ears ago.  So many families of twee forest creatures.
And that's it.  She's been playing with all of that stuff ever since.  I have huge plans to clean the house and make lasagna and cupcakes for tomorrow night before Ben and the boys get home.  They'll be home tonight after a couple of baseball games (tournament for Harry), and the 3 little kids and I will hit family float day at the pool while Ben and Harry go to another baseball game.  I am pretty excited to see everyone again, even though they are going to be FILTHY.

Dorothy has huge plans to hit an open gym at her favorite inflatable place and have a late dinner of quesadillas so she can stay up a couple hours after her bedtime to welcome the boys home and share with them her latest obsession: cocoa and cinnamon toast as the perfect "midnight feast" which is what she calls bedtime snacks, even though she eats them before sunset.