Ben had the big boys in Green Bay for a hockey tournament all weekend long, so it was just me and Dorothy and Cooper at home, and we spent ALL OF OUR TIME together. Like, they even slept in Ben's bed, and we all went to sleep at the same time.
We also went to a lot of norovirus-y places like URGENT CARE on both ends of the weekend (one ear infection, one phantom ear pain), an indoor trampoline and jungle gym place, the library, McDonalds and the play land, and an indoor pool (which was REALLY fun and only $15 and I will for sure be taking all of the kids there once hockey is over because it was an easy and pleasant way to kill 2 hours). I feel really light headed and queasy this morning, actually, so STAY TUNED.
Really though, despite the weather taking a horrible, icy turn we had a great time. And so did Ben and Harry and Jack.
Their BFFs from preschool just happened to be at the play place at the same time, which meant I actually got to read my book a little. Which isn't as awesome as it sounds because it wasn't a very good book.
We had 2 movie nights. The kids LOVED Rugrats, and we always love Zootopia.
Oh, the germs
We came home from swimming and were freezing cold despite sweats and warms showers so we cozied up on the couch and watched Reading Rainbow. Now I know how bowling balls are made, and Cooper is into dominoes.
Small donut break.
As long as they were in Green Bay, the boys got a Lambeau tour. Jack loved it the most:
(I actually really like RX Bars, but they are $2 a pop, and I think that is basically bullshit).
I am still plugging away at my book and various other projects and now just for fun, I have added a whole new course into the mix that I'll be teaching on a rotating basis. I am excited and it's a course I love, but geez. Lots of ball in the air. So to speak.
So, this is my plan for doing everything and not just spending days on end NOT WORKING and feeling bad about it: SCAFFOLD. I do this for my students when I design a major project. I break it down into approachable parts so they can build the assignment slowly. And I might as well do the same thing for myself. So, that's what I have been doing, and it;s working so far, in that I am meeting small goals. I write about 1500 words a day on my novel, for example. I check in on my memoir about 4 times a week, meaning I add to the outline or notes or free write some paragraphs. I am still in the research phase f my journal article, so I am reading and taking notes on stuff for my lit review each week. I am moving really slowly in all of these cases, but I am staying connected to the project and making forward progress. I have a tight timeline because I want to be done with all of these things by the end of the summer.
By August 15th, I will
Have taught my revamped summer class, meaning that I will have to you, know REVAMP it by May 15. (I am making baby steps. For example, this week, I plan to develop the schedule and put all of the discussion boards online).
Be ready to teach my fall lecture class, including all lectures, a map for my TA for discussion, course materials and readings, assignments, rubrics for those assignments, and the final exam.
Have my current class updated and ready to go for next time, which includes choosing a new textbook because the one I use and love doesn't seem to be getting anymore updates (boooooo!). This will include new lecture slides, a new midterm exam, a new syllabus and schedule, and new lesson plan.
Design from scratch another large lecture course that needs an official name by March 15-- this is a huge project, as I have to create absolutely everything starting from the learning objectives.
Prep the basic course that I direct for fall, including updating all course materials, hiring a new slate of TAs, and scheduling staff trainings for welcome week.
Have a first draft of my novel
Have a draft of my journal article ready for submission to a publication or a conference that I will realistically be ready to attend.
Move the memoir to the forefront and start writing it in a more disciplined manner.
That last bullet point kind of sucks because it's hard to operationalize "a more disciplined manner" but I have some weird shit going on that precludes me from being more specific about a word count. I want to be realistic and aspirational, but not soul crushing or defeatist. But the rest of them are goals that I can easily break into their component parts and put on my daily schedule in a manageable way. Or at least that's the plan. Wish me luck!
As you can see from the above video, Cooper is super into basketball right now. But! If you think that's cute, wait until you see him dribble:
And then of course, there's this, his dish-washing face
Meanwhile, Dorothy was SUPER SUPER CRABBY as she roller skated and had to go onside like 3 times because she wouldn't stop screaming.
We didn't think much of it-- even though she was super pale all day-- look at how ghostly she was in this pic of her and Ben voting (also wearing a baby headband, which is awesome)
And then right at 5:00 when the doctor's office was closing, she started sobbing and saying her ear hurt. This was not a surprise to me because she has been complaining of ear pain for like 3 days off and on, but she never seemed very upset about it and she had NO OTHER SYMPTOMS. I mean, not even a little cough or a runny nose. We got the earliest appointment at urgent care (7:00, her bedtime) and saw a completely lovely doctor who we had been thinking would be our primary ped when ours retires until the governor totally screwed us and cancelled our health insurance and we have to switch everything next year anyway unless something magical happens in the meantime. Anyway, she has an ear infection, and I will take her pain claims seriously going forward. Probably.
But! To make this totally about me, in an effort to keep her from falling asleep in the car, I stopped at the best donut shop in the world, one I have been literally DREAMING about on the Whole30 and got a dozen donuts for the fam. Dorothy ate one and Ben ate 3 last night, and I enjoyed smelling them, but that was a bout it. Then I had a dream that I ate one and I woke up feeling terrible about myself and was THRILLED to realize it was a dream, so I think breakfast will be NBD.
I can always tell that I am really focused on work when I have like ZERO pictures on my phone. And all of the photos from yesterday's post and the ones from today came from Ben's phone because I am in over my damn head with my book, the memoir I have going on the back burner, and my first serious foray into scholarly writing since 2009. And plus also the responsibilities of this semester and the brand new class I am lecturing in the fall plus redoing my online summer class because the University for a new learning management system. I mean, I would not even be blogging right now except it's my New Year's resolution, and as an upholder, I ALWAYS keep my resolutions.
Anyway, the boys got haircuts. This is big news. I do not have a picture of Cooper's because he had snot coming out of his face and mixing with whatever dirt was around his mouth, and you don't want to see that. It looked like shiny peanut butter.
But, here's Harry's hair before (he was competing in the district's Super Book Bowl)
And here's Jack
I CAN SEE THEIR FACES AGAIN!
But don't worry, the clock is ticking on their respectability. Both want stripes and/or numbers shaved into the sides to day after school. So, that's awesome.
And you know what? I am going to have one on March 3 when my Whole30 is over.
I started this endeavor in February because February only has 28 days, but now I am totally committed to the 2 extra days (who am I even?), but on the day it ends? There will be Greenbush donuts, and I will love them. Probably also pizza, too. But then I am getting right back on the horse and sticking with the program. Maybe I can do a cheat day once a month? I really like the way my skin looks (so clear! so not blotchy!), and I LOVE that my jeans are loos again. My muffin top is almost all gone! And it's wonderful.
You know what else I have gained? Help in the kitchen. I initially asked Harry and Jack to help me do the dishes and clean up after dinner because I knew that having witnesses would stop me from eating forbidden food off their plates. And you know what? It made clean up go really quickly. Then last night, Dorothy and Cooper wanted to help, too, and it was amazing! We had a total assembly line, and everything was cleaned up in like 15 minutes. It could take me 45 minutes to an hour by myself.
She said she's a pot head.
Jack insists on gloves.
Health code violations aside, Cooper was the best helper-- so industrious and capable of way more than I thought he'd be.
Speaking of health code violations, she was drying the dishes. On the floor. Ew.
We are enjoying end times weather this weekend-- 60 and sunny and all of the snow in the neighborhood is gone except in our back yard which only sees sun for like 5 minutes a day, and not even 5 full minutes because the trees are usually in the way.
The kids played outside all day and got filthy, especially Jack who was so dirty that he stayed outside from noon to 5:30 and came in for a quick shower before he ate amazing amount of dinner and collapsed in bed.
He and Cooper event went to the school park and ran into Jack's friend (whose dad was at the park with him because most parents are not terrible like us), and they were all in shorts and flip flops and had a surreal snowball fight with dirty playground snow.
I got to say things like "close the door" and "stop running in an out" and "throw away your popsicle wrapper," and these are all spring things to say. It's supposed to snow next week #theplanetisdying.
Jack's amazing Friday morning dog walking outfit
On Friday afternoon, Cooper went to coach speech with Ben, and I was SO TIRED. I tried really hard to get Dorothy to snuggle on the couch with me and watch the Trolls movie, but, alas. The 55-degree afternoon beckoned her.
So we loaded up Caroline and went to the park
She chatted the whole way.
Ben and Cooper and Jack had the Cub Scout Blue and Gold banquet (Cooper canNOT WAIT until he's a Scout), so Harry and Dorothy enjoyed Dairy Queen OUTSIDE at NIGHT in FEBRUARY. SO WEIRD.
Something else weird: I was not even tempted a teeny bit to have a bite of their ice cream. WHO AM I? Also, I have been weighing myself even though the Whole30 says NOT to weight myself during the 30 days, but I am clearly a bit disordered about my body or I wouldn't be doing this in the first place, and my weight loss has stalled at 7 pounds, around the same time I have discovered the magic of berries with coconut flakes and almond butter. Go fig. But! I really want to lose 12 pounds because that is my immediate weight loss need. The rest can be slow. But 12 pounds will get me to where I was when I first got a Fitbit (eff you, Fitbit! I shake my fist at you!) and thought I was fat to begin with. And! Another weird thing: Last night I made cookies and did not eat one speck of dough or have a single bite (and they were flat and terrible for the first time in 2017, which is a sign that if I want to make good cookies, I need to EAT THE DOUGH). I WAS tempted to eat it, especially when the cookies came out flat and I decided not to make the last dozen or so in the mixing bowl. I had to immediately fill it up with soap and water to keep my fat fingers out of there).
Jack read his entire library book lying on the front porch amid snack refuse. Pretty much my perfect day.
Not only is it making me less up in arms about the horrible shit show that is our political nightmare (because I am hungry and also thinking about what the hell I am going to eat next), but it is doing exactly what it promises to do, and it is changing my relationship to food. Seriously, this plan promises total food freedom, and I GET IT. On the one hand, I am even more enslaved to food because I am trying to figure out what in the hell I can eat and when I have time to cook and eat it, but in a larger sense, I am free from french fries (and donuts and brownies and mindless handfuls of kid food all day long) because those things are literally off the table for me.
I LIKE coconut milk in my coffee BETTER than cow's milk. When I am hungry, a handful of almonds or cashews and a couple of cuties is the perfect snack. A bowl full of berries mixed with almond butter is heavenly. When I eat eggs and meat for breakfast with lots of veggies sauteed in lard, I am not hungry until mid-afternoon. I am going through spinach by the pound, and I eat protein at every meal and snack. These are wonderful, healthy habits that I think I will be able to put into practice for the rest of my life.
Also! Larabars at the world's perfect snack, especially with a piece of fruit and some more nuts.
It's nice to never have sugar crashes, and my cravings are basically gone. When the rest of the family devoured 3 boxes of Girl Scout cookies last week, I was momentarily jealous, but the feeling passed quickly, and I had an extra cutie or two as I cleaned up dinner. I have made pancakes and brownies and sugar cookies and bread machine white bread and garlic bread and stuffing and basmati rice and mac and cheese and frozen pizzas, and none of it calls to me. Harry's blueberry bagel slathered with cream cheese looked pretty effing delicious this morning, and my mouth even watered a little, but I sat down to two eggs scrambled with spinach, onion, green pepper, and chicken apple sausage plus a huge bowl of mixed berries with almond butter, and I felt great.
Jack was on a student panel at a parent forum at his school last night, and he was predictably adorable. When asked how to improve the school, he suggested that all students be allowed to use the elevator.
V-Day (and also PJ day) in this one's class today. I felt a little guilty because Cooper's friends all gave little trinkets with their cards (their special snowflake preschool does not allow candy), but I purposely didn't buy anything because I didn't want to give people more plastic junk. Dorothy is also taking Valentines sans trinket, but it's kind of an unprincipled stance because I totally let the big kids take Nerds and suckers.
back to obsessing about food AND politics because have you seen the headlines today?
Is it wrong that my favorite moment of the day might be right now when the rest of my family is asleep? I have had my workout, and I am drinking my first cup of coffee, and I have almost an hour of time to cross things off my to-do list before everyone is awake and needs me to do all of the things.
This is another Wednesday of all of the things, only instead of the hockey/gymnastics shuffle, I have to take everyone to Harry and Jack's school because Jack is on a student panel that he's really excited about. Gah.
The Whole30 is going better than I thought it would. I mean, right this second I am starving, but we had an amazing V-Day dinner last night: (Also that's sparkling water with frozen raspberries, not wine. For me. Ben had wine. My FAVORITE wine, actually).
And there's nothing stopping me from eating a huge breakfast right now except my own laziness because this couch is comfy and the dog next to me is really warm.
I've been a little stressed about next year because we decided not to send Dorothy to full-day 4K, even though that's what we were leaning toward because it would be so nice to have more work time. Instead, we decided to send her to afternoon 4K, which is less work time, but more mornings like this, so, it's a win, I guess.
Oh, Cooper. He's really ricking that awesome pedicure. he has also ripped all the knees out of his sweat pants right about at the exact moment that all the store have swept sweatpants off their shelves, so that's awesome.
I took the boys to see Lego Batman with friends yesterday night, and Ben took Dorothy to Build A Bear, where she has been DYING to build a Poppy doll from Trolls. She got the Trolls DVD for V-day, and it was pretty much the best ever. And yes, she is wearing my pink hat from the Women's March. She calls it her kitty cat hat and tells everyone it's her mom's but I let her wear it.
All it takes is one adorable class Valentines party for my faith in humanity to be restored. It's really simple. Take 22 kids and fill them up with sugar then make them play silly games, decorate treat bags, and pass out love notes to all their friends. And everyone's happy.
We did a bunch of minute to win it games-- they had to take hearts out of the bowl with chopsticks, suck them out with a straw, stack hearts into towers, and balance a cookie on their foreheads and get it into their mouths without using their hands. All funny and adorable.
Then they decorated cookies that I made. Instant party success.
This is Jack's self portrait from the 100th day of school. Pretty accurate:
Not only did I bake cookies, I also put little hearts on the kids' door with things we love about them
Because V-day is my FAVORITE.
Even my sweet college kids, who are juniors and seniors, remember the wonder of their elementary school Valentine parties. I take a attendance by asking everyone a question that they have to rite the answer to because I have over 40 students, and it;s hard for me to see who's there at a glance. Usually the question is germane to the subject material of the day, but today I asked them their favorite Valentine tradition, and over 30 of them write about grade school, decorating treat bags and boxes and passing out cards to their friends. SO SWEET.
Jack dressed up at a 100-year-old man for school last week, but Dorothy comes by her geriatric style naturally:
The Jack had ANOTHER dress up day-- pajama day. AND his class earned a show-and-tell day, so he put Pooh Bear in jammies and brought him, his fold out chair bed, and his entire wardrobe to school.
Harry went on and on about how he was so glad he was wearing PJs to school so he could finally be comfy when all he wears to school are grubby sweats EVERYDAY. Like, there was literally no difference between his normal outfits and this get-up except that he usually only sleeps in those pants but he has been known to wear them outside to play so who even knows?!
This was the grocery order I had delivered on Friday. What do you want to bet we are completely out of food by Wednesday afternoon?
And also I bought tons of garbage for the kids' classes for V-Day. Lots of groceries is what I'm saying.
It's wrong to be jealous of your dog, right?
Sometimes they're just so sweet.
We had a hockey game in some far flung WI town, and we made bad nutritional choices (well, not me, because I am still firmly on the Whole30, but the kids definitely had Happy Meals).
Cooper had a game on Sunday--he's the one in the way back
And here he's the guy with his shirt tucked into his breezers. 4 and 5 y/o hockey is really really cute.
Beatrix likes purloined English muffin pizzas so much she has to take them outside to eat them.
Cooper and Jack are both having special weeks at school, so they worked hard on their posters while Beatrix looked on:
Could he possibly smile any bigger?!
He needed a mani/pedi to get ready for the big week.
So proud of his poster!
Dorothy's fire truck bed Charlotte celebrated another birthday over the weekend, and all of the furniture in Dorothy's room got dressed up to attend the party. She slays me.