Friday, December 14, 2018

Can't talk-- making holiday magic happen xoxo

Thursday, December 13, 2018

This totally counts as a post!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Don't even have time to scribble this one

I could write all of the reasons why yesterday's post had a huge typo right there in the heading or why I don't have time to post all of the cute pics we took over the weekend or tell you about working with the children home all day on Monday.

But, instead, why don't you listen to us complain about it all on POTY?

(This was fun, though)
Also did you read my holiday post on Madison Moms Blog?  It's right here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Date night ** Heart Eyes**

I am SO HAPPY that have more date nights was on my 18 for 2018 list.  This one was lovely: out with friends, dinner by ourselves, meet up with friends again.  So great-- AND an Instagrammable view.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Hanukkah 2018

Hanukkah this year was a bright light in the cold, dark Wisconsin winter, exactly as it should be.  We had 8 nights of warm, cozy treats and a few minutes to gather, light candles, and exchange presents.  I loved it!  But!  It is really hard to come up with 8 nights of presents for 4 kids, especially with Christmas looming on the horizon.  The past couple of years, we have developed themes, and this year was no exception.

Night 1: Advent calendars.

This only worked because the first night of Hanukkah was 12/2.  Dorothy and Cooper got toy-a-day calendars (American Girl and Hot Wheels) and dinky chocolate ones.  Harry and Jack got big chocolate ones and also fuzzy blankets because December is cold.

 Night 2: Ugly Christmas Sweater night

(Dorothy got a Christmas dress and antlers, which she lost, and then I replaced them and ended up buying a ton more clothes.  OOOOOPS).
Ben liked Cooper's H&M sweater so much, he bought one for himself.

 Night 3: Pokemon cards

(But Harry got a Guinness Book of World Records, so I guess night 3 was more like Random Things From Costco, which, frankly, is a theme I could get behind).

 Night 4: 2019 Calendars.

A surprise hit, even though that's a dorky gift.  Maybe BECAUSE it's a dorky gift.

 Night 5: ROBES!

 (Harry was at hockey, but he also got a robe-- so thrilling).

 Night 6: A Gift You Have to Share with a Sibling **sad trombone**

Harry and Jack got a knee hockey rink so they can continue to beat the crap out of each other and also the knees of their pants.
 Dorothy and Cooper are enjoying this Play Doh kitchen (COSTCO, I LOVE YOU)

 Night 7: Uggs for all!  

Harry and Jack LOVED this night.  Cooper felt meh about it.  Dorothy HATED IT.  Boots?  ARE NOT PRESENTS.


This one is always a favorite!  The kids draw names and then shop for each other and try not to spoil the surprise (LOLz).

This year, Harry picked Dorothy.  Dorothy picked Harry.  Cooper picked Jack.  Jack picked Cooper. So, from our perspective, shopping was a BREEZE.

 Harry got Dorothy a tent and a talking bird (big hit!)
 Dorothy got Harry the rainbow Vans he's been eyeing.  Another winner!
Cooper got Jack an assortment of Harry Potter stuff, like THE ELDER WAND OMG!, and Jack got Cooper and LEGO and a Hot Wheels monstrosity.  It was super fun and cute, and then we all watched The Christmas Chronicles which is darling, and I might have cried a little.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

What We're Eating This Week 50/52

Pulled pork sliders, homemade slaw, chips, candy b/c MOVIE NIGHST
Monday:  (Why the eff don't the kids have schoooooooool??)
Hockey scheduling nightmare, so half of us are having dinner on campus and the other half will go wherever Cooper wants (SPOILER: CULVERS)
Chicken breasts, salads, baked potatoes
Thursday-Saturday:  Noooooooooooo plans.  Flying blind.  Sick of pizza.

Friday, December 07, 2018

A year of book club!

I have wanted to be a book club forever, so in 2018, I sucked up my antisocial tendencies and started one.  I guess, actually, looking back at Facebook, it started a year ago next week, so technically 2017.  We meet about every 6 weeks either at someone's house or at a restaurant in the middle of us all, and we have read a great list of titles:

December 2017 Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (2)
February 2018 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (1)
April 2018 The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (5)
June 2018 The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer (3)
July 2018 Educated by Tara Westover (4)
September 2018 Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley (8)
October 2018 Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (7)
December 2018 Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver (6)

As you can see, we will read any genre, but we only read lady authors on purpose.

I think all of the books generally came out pretty high in my list of best books of the year, but I ranked them in parentheses anyway.  Man The Hate U Give was amazing.

And!  Since the December meeting was at my house, I served gingerbread and cocoa.  AGAIN.

 We also had an ugly ornament exchange, but the one I got was so beautiful Dorothy out a dolly on it.
So there you have it!  A year of talking about books with other people who like books as much as I do.  Pretty fantastic. (We are kicking 2019 off with Fed Up by Gemma Hartley-- canNOT wait).

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Jan Brett! At my library!

Not only did we endure a middle school cast party, we also met up with awesome friends to see the amazing children's author Jan Brett at our library (and then we had pizza and hot chocolate a our house, and I only mention the menu because, hilariously, along with gingerbread people, that's basically all I served all weekend to anyone who walked in the door). Also, AS USUAL, I took NO PICTURES of all 6 of our kids together because I am THE WORST.

It was Jan Brett's birthday, and all the ids sang to her, and I almost died from the cute. Also, I love that her birthday is December 1 because Brett is the author I always associate with cozy winter story time.  Here are the kids in front of her bus.  HER TOUR BUS because she is a children's book author and illustrator and also kind of a rockstar, apparently.
 Standing by their letters.

 Jack has to pick a secondary letter because there is no J is Madison Public Library.
 I bought a couple of books before the talk because OF COURSE I DID, and Dorothy and Jack went in to save seats (on the floor in the front row because they are awesome).  Cooper stayed outside with me, and I asked him to take a selfie of him and Hedgie while I waited because he was getting kind of jerky.  Amazingly, he came back with these two pictures for me:

 As more people came and the rows got compressed, Dorothy got rowdier and rowdier.
 And art lesson!
 Dorothy had to come to the mom section on the side of the room.  Just like library story time when she was a preschooler.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018


You guys know I am socially awkward and generally an introvert, right?  Well, last weekend, we had 3 events in a row at our house, and it almost killed me.  But now!  I can close my doors for the rest of the year.  Kidding.  Sort of.  But probably not really.

Harry was in a play at school, and we had the bright idea to host the cast party.  And before you knew it, there were FORTY CHILDREN in our house, eating pizza, drinking soda, singing Hamilton songs, and exchanging gag gifts.  OH EM GEE.

Harry with his break a leg flowers from my parents:
 Harry onstage:
 Harry post-curtain call.  Only there was no curtain because we were in a gym slash lunchroom.  AND IT WAS DARLING.
 Those nervous few minutes before a party starts when you think maybe no is going to come.
 HOLY SH*T BALLS.  The basement was also full of children.  And only 1/10th of them were mine!
Cooper, in the dead center of the action:
 Um.  We ordered too many pizzas.  So this week, if you are thirsty, pour yourself a nice glass of PIZZA.
 Excellent gag gift offering
 I snapped this when I was in the home stretch.  OMFG.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

How to get totes ridiculous hair in 7 easy steps

1.  Have PMS because for some reason, you lose your ability to understand or manage time when you have PMS.  It's so awesome.
2.  NEED to wash your hair because it has literally been a week, and even though you made it 8 full days last time without a wash, yesterday, you smelled something pelty, and it was YOU.
3.  Want to make Pioneer Woman's turkey tertrazzini with the very last of the Thanksgiving turkey.  This is not an easy recipe, but it's only hard because there are so goddamn many steps, which you won't remember until there is flouer in all of the places, and you forgot to cook the bacon and wow that spaghetti that's been draining in the sink is still really hot.  Also, you need to want to make this recipe in the morning.  Even better if it's a really busy morning and at least one of your kids freaked out because their snow gear feels funny.
4.  Make sure it snowed last night, so you need to leave earlier than usual to get to work on time.
5.  Take a shower and finally my god finally wash your damn hair but then get caught up in dinner prep and lose track of time (see 1) so that you have to leave with it still a little wet, no blow out, no flat iron, smelling like a garlic mushroom roux.
6.  Leave your long-suffering husband to do the dishes and voice-to-text an email to your students apologizing for your tardiness on the way to campus.
7.  Hold class in the zoology building instead of your usual building so you can smell like roux and lab rats.  This is just  bonus.  It doesn't affect how dumb your hair looks, but it does make you need to wash it again before Hanukkah is over.


Monday, December 03, 2018

Lighten up! Who cares that your tree is too big for your living room?

This year, I really wanted a Christmas tree shaped like an eggplant.  This wasn't a conscious decision on my part or anything like that.  I was just drawn to the fat-bottomed trees at the farm, noticed them standing firm in the middle of skinnier, more stately firs.  They all looked so shaggy, so silly, so-- as Kenneth Burke would say-- appreciative of their own foibles.  Like, when we sing the O Christmas Tree song, maybe the unwieldy tree is the one we're supposed to be picturing.  You know?  Anyway, I loved the fat trees the most.
Ben, as always, was right there to humor me, after confirming that the beast we all chose was short enough to the living room.
Yes, that sure is a saw.  Also, Cooper is biting Ben.

 THIS IS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT FOR HOLIDAY SEASON 2018.  Jack is embodying at least 2 definitions of light at once.  I LOVE IT.
 I also decided to play this song really loud on my phone the whole time Ben and the kids sawed the tree down.  I AM MADE OF WHIMSY, PEOPLE.
 Do you see that tree with legs in front of Dorothy?  That's not a walking tree, you guys.  IT'S BEN!
 Our fatty tree was h e a v y, but don;t worry-- Dorothy was RIGHT THERE to help.
Speaking of traditions, this is the SEVENTH year in a row that Jack has chosen this exact ornament at the gift shop.  And then he comes home and writes the date in it-- SO SWEET
 Another tradition.
When we got home, we planned to out the tree between the couch and the kitchen table-- a YUGE area of dead space in the living room.

You can see this space in the picture below, but it's full of a GIANT table and big ole wood bench.


It also wouldn't fit in the huge area of blank space in the picture below.
And then we moved the couch and tried to put it in front of the window.  BUT IT ALSO WOULD NOT FIT THERE.
So finally (after thinking about taking the couch out of the room and also about putting the effing tree on the curb, we moved the bench to the basement moved the entry way table where the bench used to be, and sorry of jammed the tree up against the wall where it almost but doesn't quite eat the couch.


Then the kids got to town (after Ben strung lights and we all ate another round of Thanksgiving leftovers) decorating.
I love their happy chatter while they exclaim about their favorite ornaments and decide where to put things (and also, Ben rearranged everything after they went to bed, and they REALLY NOTICED.  It is a continual source of amusement for me).
The star!!  Next year, I want this tree-topper so badly so my tree can look exactly like the one on my favorite Christmas dishes.
Jack with his collection of trucks o his bedroom tree.
I don't even like snow globes, but Dorothydoes, and I like what makes her happy.
She's such a nice little accessory.
Ben and I noticed the tree was leaning, but we did or best to ignore it.
But then.  The next day.  It almost fell down the damn stairs, and we knew we had to fix it.  We did a few cuss at each other while one person holds up the tree and the other person loosens, repositions, and then tightens the tree stand screws.  But, alas.  We knew that the tree's surprisingly skinny trunk was just not suited to out ginormous tree stand (which we used because the tree is so fat) so we put the whole effing fully lit and decorated tree in our smaller tree stand.  Which, I have to admit, fixed the lean but was just so stupid.  WHO PICKS UP A TOTALLY LIT AND DECORATED TREE?  Me and Ben.  Sap.  Needles.  Cussing.  Using the "c" word as a unit of measurement.  And, of course, laughter.
Santa pics!!
Thanksgiving over there, and Christmas over here.
He finished book 4!
My favorite Dagwood Bumstead Thanksgiving sandwich.
The most wonderful time of the year, indeed!