Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Who is ready to eat themselves silly?


I am SO EXCITED for all of the candy I can hardly stand it!

Ok, really quick before all of these pictures are rendered totally obsolete by the gluttony that will commence tomorrow.  Our weekend.

No one had school on Friday.  GAH.

So, I took the 4 kids and 2 friends (Cooper's friend couldn't go, and Dorothy was meeting some people at the play place) and went to an indoor play place for a couple of hours.  SUPER FUN.  So fun that I took my 4 back before Dorothy's Little Gym class and after we tackled mount laundry.

 Cooper was kind of bummed that the big boys wouldn't play with him.
 Also that he still had his cast on and couldn't jump on the trampoline.  Oops.
 I asked Dorothy if I could take a picture of her bouncing, and she yelled "FREEZE POSE" and did this:
 Spontaneous UNO game.
 Cooper helped me fold.
 Family movie Friday: Costco Take n Bake pizza and the OG Diary of a Wimpy Kid
 We carved pumpkins Saturday morning.
 And then went to Harry's hockey scrimmage.
 And then!  Harry went to his very first JUNIOR HIGH PARTY
 While Ben and I broke into the Halloween candy and started bingeing Stranger Things 2 (we are 5 episodes in and plugging away)
 Dorothy had a birthday party on Sunday.
 And I did some alway ill-advised food crafting

 We had crab and lobster and steak for dinner, and it was both an activity and a meal.

Monday, October 30, 2017

TLC Book Tours: The Grown-Up's Guide to Teenage Humans

Another day, another TLC Book Tour.

This time, I am talking about The Grown-Up's Guide to Teenage Humans: How to Decode Their Behavior, Develop Unshakable Trust, and Raise a Respectable Adult by Josh Shipp.

Here's some book info:

About The Grown-Up's Guide to Teenage Humans

ï Hardcover:†336 pages ï Publisher:†Harper Wave (September 19, 2017) A practical guide to understanding teens from bestselling author and global youth advocate Josh Shipp. In 2015, Harvard researchers found that every child who does well in the face of adversity has had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult. But Josh Shipp didnít need Harvard to know that. Once an at-risk foster kid, he was headed straight for trouble until he met the man who changed his life: Rodney, the foster parent who refused to quit on Shipp and got him to believe in himself. Now, in†The Grown-Upís Guide to Teenage Humans, Shipp shows all of us how to be that caring adult in a teenagerís life. Stressing the need for compassion, trust, and encouragement, he breaks down the phases of a teenage human from sixth to twelfth grade, examining the changes, goals, and mentality of teenagers at each stage. Shipp offers revelatory stories that take us inside the teen brain, and shares wisdom from top professionals and the most expert grown-ups. He also includes practice scripts that address tough issues, including:
  • FORGIVENESS: What do I do when a teen has been really hurt by someone and itís not their fault?
  • COMMUNICATION: How do I get a teen to talk to me? They just grunt.
  • TRUST: My teen blew it. My trust is gone. Where do we go from here?
  • BULLYING: Help! A teen (or their friend) is being harassed.
Written in Shippís playfully authoritative, no-nonsense voice,†The Grown-Upís Guide to Teenage Humans†tells his story and unpacks practical strategies that can make a difference. Ultimately, it's not about shortcuts or magic wordsóas Shipp reminds us, itís about investing in kids and giving them the love, time, and support they need to thrive. And that means every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Josh Shipp

Josh Shipp helps adults understand teens and teens understand themselves. He is a global youth empowerment expert and an acclaimed speaker. He has appeared on MTV, Lifetime,†The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, FOX,†20/20,†Good Morning America, and in the†New York Times†and other media. A former at-risk foster kid turned youth advocate, he is renowned for his documentary TV series that followed his groundbreaking work with teens. His organization, One Caring Adult, produces resources and training events for parents, educators, and caring adults. Visit OneCaringAdult.com to learn more and for free resources. Find out more about Josh at his website, and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

My Take:

I liked this book, and I am so happy to be a part of this tour NOW while I still have a tween and can practice. Not only does Shipp compile a bunch of research about adolescent behaviors, but he also combines the data with his own experiences in a way that is really understandable and engaging.  The book is also full of hands-on guides that you could pull out and use in your own life.  I found his house rules template really useful, for example, because it is general enough to apply to a variety of family settings but also specific enough to help guide new teen parents.

He talks a lot about holding teens accountable for their behavior in respectful ways that foreground their humanity and teach them the skills the need for being humans.  In this vein, he has a great apology template parents and teen scan use to help teens say their sorry to peers, teacher, etc.  I loved it!

Another concrete takeaway from this book is his idea of a notebook that parents and teens can use to communicate with each other.  When I was in high school, my best friends and I had notebooks that we would write in and pass back and forth-- and I still love to read the notes.  I imagine that kids could do this today with text strings, but I think I'll do notebooks with my own teens because having the written record is lovely, even if not all of the notes are pleasant.

The whole book is premised on having respect for your kids, being realistic about where you stand, and parenting through radical honesty.  All three of these tenets match up with my current philosophy and  also make parenting a teen--- something that sounds scary in theory-- seem doable.

I recommend this book, and if you are a planner like I am, you might want to go ahead and read it now before your kids get too big.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Quick visit

My aunt stopped by last night on her way to Milwaukee for the weekend, and the kids were so excited to see her.  As per usual I took just about zero pictures because I was LIVING IN THE MOMENT, man.  Also dealing with the explosion of crap that accompanies the kids at the end of a school day.
 And plus also it was TRUNK OR TREAT at the kids' school.

We ran into Jack's teacher who said he was watching out the classroom window for Leslie's car, and when he saw it he said "She's here! She's here!" How sweet is that?!

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Dorothy's dance class dressed up for Halloween.  I encouraged her to be something from the dress up bin, but she wanted to wear her new unicorn rainbow fairy costume because, as she said, "Mom, I have been waiting FOR SO LONG."

 Ben and Jack were hard at work on homophones last night.  If Jack can learn all the theres, bys, tos, and also accept/except at age 9, he is SET FOR LIFE.
 He can also cross an eye.
Okay for realz that's all I got.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Mid-week. I think we're going to make it! Did I jinx us?

I have lost 6 pounds in a month with intermittent fasting.   Ideally, I would have lost 8 pounds in a month-- 2 pounds a week-- but truthfully, it has been pretty easy to stick to and I have been able to eat kind of a lot in my 8-hour window. I am a fan.  If I could lose 8 pounds between now and November 22, that would be fantastic.  I will, of course, keep you posted, even if you don't really want me to.

Yesterday was A DAY.

I worked frantically all morning and then rushed out in the afternoon to help my brother enroll my nephew in daycare (we found a great place, and he starts on Tuesday, which might be a little disconcerting for a two-year-old because everyone will be in costume-- ha!), pick up the little kids to take them to the dentist, drop off a dinner I made for a friend, and then take Jack and Cooper to a cooking class at the library.  But!  Then!  We had to dash home as fast as we could so that Jack could cram a sandwich in his facehole and grab a warm coat, hat, and gloves (because after being 15 degrees above average all month, we are going to finish October with SNOW and temps that are 7-12 degrees BELOW average, bypassing normal all together) and get piked up by his Cb Scout en leader, who is a saint and drove a whole mess of fourth graders to a nature center for a 3-hour survival adventure.  They purified water.  It was intense.  Meanwhile, the rest of us ate a quick dinner in time for Harry to get picked up by a neighbor who was driving the hockey carpool.  I totes felt like Mrs. Hurdicure from Bain Candy by bedtime.

And it's not like today is any better because dance! and gymnastics/dinner! and another hockey!  and Ben has a late meeting!  GAH.

Cooper always looks too cool for school at the dentist.  He has a tooth that is weak?  The dentist thinks it is not a cavity, but rather a tooth that didn't develop properly, possibly linked to a fever?  This sounds like not-science to me, but what do I know?  Anyway, he has already had a filling on that tooth, and now he needs another one and might need a crown before he is 12.  Yikes.  Luckily, the office is amazing and Cooper loves to go there, and it takes approximately 11 minutes start to finish for them to fix kids' teeth.  Still, I hope Ben can take him to that appointment.
 The library cooking class we attended was Dragons Love Tacos themed.  The kids made salsa and taco bowls and horchata smoothies, plus they got to hear BOTH books!  It was, as you might imagine, a HUGE hit.  Dorothy couldn't come because the age range was 6-10, and she was really, really sad about it.
 Look at how carefully they were cutting!
 Cooper didn't like his tiny taco bowls, so Jack ate eight.  But Cooper DID like mashing up avocado. 
 Bedtime.  A hard-won prize. 
After the little kids go to bed, if I want to drink wine, I have about 45 minutes before my feeding window closes for the day, so I have to GET DOWN TO IT.  Usually, though, I need a few minutes to revel in the silence, and I never quite make it that far.  So, that's a perk of this diet, too.

I have a super judge-y Halloween candy post up on Madison Moms Blog today, so check it out here.  Look for a new podcast in a couple of days-- we posted one this weekend, too.  You can listen on our website or on iTunes.  Don't forget to subscribe or rate us. XOXO.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

TLC Book Tours: Daily Kindness


I am participating in another fabulous TLC Book Tour, this time for a truly lovely little book that was a delight to read.

Here are the details:

About Daily Kindness

ï Hardcover:†464 pages ï Publisher:†National Geographic (October 24, 2017) Lead your best year yet through 365 days of kindness.With enriching quotes from celebrated luminaries and striking†National Geographic†photography, each page of this moving book will inspire you to live with sincerity, compassion, and benevolence. Each month, you'll practice virtues like patience, respect, and generosity that will focus your mind and heart, creating fulfillment and contentment. Both inviting and motivating,†Daily Kindness†invites you to reflect on life's big and small moments, providing a way to embrace new ideas and enrich your life every day of the year.

Purchase Links

National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

From first glance, I loved this book.  I mean, you guys.  LOOK AT THE COVER:
And the inside is even better.  

Imagine gorgeous National Geographic photos with some of the best-ever quotations from literature, philosophy, and art.

It's a good mix, too.  Everyone from Erasmus to Kristen Wiig is in this book dispensing wisdom.  The quotations are organized by month, and each month has a theme like mindfulness, authenticity, love, etc.  I flipped through the whole book so I could write this review, but I think the best way to experience it is to read a quotation everyday.  This morning, in fact, I enjoyed a cup of green chai tea and today's quotation, which was this:

The month of October's theme is generosity, and it couldn't come at a better time for me, for reasons I hope to be able to talk about later this week.

Daily Kindness: 365 Days of Compassion would be an excellent gift-- especially a holiday party hostess gift.  It is also a wonderful little pick-me-up.  It's like a perfectly curated Instagram feed right there at your fingertips.  Buy it.  Read it.  Soak it in.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fall, at last

 LOOK AT MY AMAZEBALLS 90'S HAIR.  (For a Madison Moms Blog Mom's Night Out costume-- super fun event, BTW).

Cooper, our resident adorable kindergartener LEARNED TO READ!!!!!!!!  Right now just one book, but he has read it A LOT.
 Friday morning, I volunteered at school playing literacy games with the entire kindergarten (all! 4! classes!) for 2 hours.  2 hours is a lot of hours to play literacy games with kindergarteners.
 Then I baked.  168 of these babies.  (ALL GONE).
 Ben and I had a lovely relaxing date night on Saturday and we went to the grocery store on the way home for donuts, cinnamon rolls, and Frankenberry cereal.  WAY easier than making another run in the morning.
 These two discovered that Room on the Broom is not only their new favorite Halloween book, it is also a TV show.
 I decided to multi task and make Sunday's home lunch for everyone, plus pack a round of Monday school lunches.  That's 9 peanut butter sandwiches and a huge jar of applesauce, BTW.
 We missed a 76-and-sunny day at the pumpkin patch to hit it up when it was 50 and raining.
 But!  The shitty weather ensured that our trip was EFFICIENT

It's finally gloomy and cold-- my favorite weather.  Happy fall!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Adorable all around

 Jack, above, joyfully playing outside before school.  I love that he plays with friends every morning and runs across the street when he hears the bell ring.  This is exactly what I envisioned would be the awesomest part of living across the street from a school.

Yesterday, Dorothy needed 3 vaccines (2 and a flu shot), and Cooper had to get a flu shot and it was SUPER DRAMATIC.  Dorothy SCREAMED at the top of her lungs and almost threw up from crying.  Cooper tried to be brave, but he cried, too.  IT WAS HELLISH.

So, we went to McDonald's.  PARENT OF THE YEAR right here.  But actually?  If you want to bribe your kid with McDonalds right now?  It's a good time to do it because they have both My Little Pony AND Rescue Bots.
 Dorothy pretty much kept that mask on for the rest of the day, which was also awesome to behold.
 When Harry and Jack got home from school, we took them to get shots, too, and neither of them flinched.  So, in a few years, flu shot season will be NBD.  Also, if you see Ben, SHAME HIM because the entire rest of the house got our shots.

We celebrated with a round of Blizzards.
 Then Ben got to take the boys to gymnastics, and I took Dorothy over to her school to paint pumpkins.  SO FUN.
 She freaking pink puffy hearts glitter.
 And she took the whole thing totally seriously.
 This was her "I ran out of glitter" face.
 Luckily, since the pain is washable, this baby is an INSIDE PUMPKIN.
 How cute are Cooper and Beatrix passed out together on the couch?
 Yesterday began cute with Jack playing outside and ended cute with a boy and his dog and his book. And then!  Harry got dressed in 3 layers of Cubs pride this morning plus a hat, meaning today started cute as well.  And THIS is why I had so many kids.