Saturday, July 02, 2022

Typos: A Note

 Hi friends! Sorry that my typos are so much worse than usual lately. I have been writing these posts on my iPad, and the auto correct is... aggressive. Thanks for the benefit for the doubt, as always.

PS: My old lady eyes are terrible, and I can never find my glasses. It's a double whammy.

Halfway day check in

Pool pic apropos of nothing, especially since this baby has less than 2 months to go before she’s 2– way more than halfway there **sob**

In honor of halfway day, I am checking in on my 22 for 2022 list, and you guys! I forgot about some of these things, but I still want to do them. I also sort of bailed on designing my summer, so maybe we can cram a bunch of college visits and playgrounds into the rest of this summer and kill 2 birds with one stone (which is a terrible metaphor this year because we are finding dead birds EVERYWHERE which, in turn, is a terrible omen).

I am doing far better than I thought I was at crossing these items off my list, and I think the key is to fill the list with things I really want to do.

 1. Go to the library on a regular schedule-- every 2 weeks and/or to pick up holds. I was doing this SO WELL until I got COVID. I am back on track, though.

2. Manage library holds so they don't come in all at once or expire. See above

3. Read my Books of the Month the month I get them. This has been SO VERY HELPFUL. I am so glad I put this on my list!!

4. Read with my eyeballs for 22 minutes a day. Same as above! Committing to actual reading has been so refreshing. I do still rely on audio books more than I maybe should, but a definite improvement!

5. Exercise 7 days a week. Except for COVID time, I am doing this, and it feels excellent.

6. Learn crow pose: Working on it

7. Run a Thanksgiving 5K: I have made progress toward this goal in that I have recruited Jack. BUT we are spending Turkey day in FL, so I have to maybe move this to another day.

8. Watch all the Oscar best picture nominees: I decided I didn’t want to do this.

9. Go to Pekin: Hopefully when we take the boys to speech camp next month?

10. Eat Monicals pizza: Same.

11. Take the kids to 22 local parks: Working on it!

12. Visit at least 3 WI state parks: Forgot about this! Will do it.

13. Take a family trip to tour Ben's campus: Still need to do this and really want to

14. Tour at least 4 UW system schools: We have done 1 and can do another when we cross of #14, so we’ll have to figure out more.

15. Tour 3 MN or IA schools: Well, this was ambitious. Ben and I need to brainstorm this one a bit more.

16. Throw fun birthday parties for all: Dropped the ball for Harry. Ooops. Also forgot Beatrix’s birthday entirely, so maybe I need to move this one to 2023.

17. Print 2022 AND 2021 pictures: LOL. Nope.

18. Finish Minnie's baby book: Nope.

19. Blog at least 12 days/month all year: Doing it

20. USE MY PLANNER: Doing it.

21. Buy a new LV bag: YEP!!

22. Either move or refinance the house or BOTH. Did one but still realllllly want to move.

Friday, July 01, 2022

June: What I Read

Three of my top 4 are audiobooks.

It was hard to read with my eyes this month.

 I was in a bit of a reading slump. COVID really knocked me out, and one of the balls that I dropped was my library stack. I just sort of let it languish until I had over $100 in fines for late books. FINALLY I dragged myself back to the library, but I couldn’t really get motivated to go because none of my holds were coming in. After I returned my late books, I logged into my library account and saw that ALL MY HOLDS WERE GONE. So all the summer blockbusters I was at the front of the line for? Now I am number 704 on like 13 copies. WHYYYYYYYYY? Anyway, the moral of the story is return your books on time.

Anyway, here are the books I read in June:

The Anne Series:

Rainbow Valley by LM Montgomery: I wanted MOAR Anne and less preaching, although I forgot all about the Meredith children. Really, though, I want to see Anne and Diana cope with all the unpleasantness of getting older and losing parents, etc. Instead, we just see Anne as she drives by in a carriage with Gilbert a couple of times or listens to a child cry about something ridiculous and doesn’t laugh because she is the best mom ever. 

Rilla of Ingleside by LM Montgomery: Oh, this one is almost too sad, even though I know it’s coming. It’s especially sad to read when I have kids Rilla’s age in an unstable world. Also, Anne and Gilbert are getting old, but it’s the last book, so I have to imagine their decline.

Anne of Windy Poplars by LM Montgomery: College Anne is adorable, but working lady Anne is even better. I wanted more Avonlea news, and it was midway through this book that I realized Montgomery just sort of abandons all of those characters. Like, Anne goes to visit from time to time, but I want to know about Dora and Davy and Mrs. Rachel.

Anne of Ingleside by LM Montgomery: Again! I still want to know Anne. The last chapter where she’s mad at Gilbert and jealous of his old college flame? MORE LIKE THAT. I also think the way Montgomery romanticized marriage and kids and motherhood influenced me more than I can say. I actually think I cared less about college and may future career because part of me thought I would just work until I had kids and then I’d have my old big old house (but not my own Susan Baker darn it-- and the house turned out to be cozy and new) full of kids to take care of. I guess I should have married the town doctor? I am actually still made at myself for not going to med school— or for not even considering it as a thing I was capable of doing? And I sort of blame Anne Blythe. So many odd little details about marriage and motherhood stuck with me from these later books, only I didn’t realize they were Montgomery’s doing until I read the books again. What I am saying, even though it sounds very Anne-like and dramatic, is that these books shaped my world view. I read them a hundred thousand times as a little kid and tween, and I think they just sort of seeped into my consciousness. A feminist with a checkered past, indeed.

Anne’s House of Dreams by LM Montgomery: My favorite of the series. So heartbreaking, but it also does such a great job of capturing the potential of a young marriage.

After giving the whole series a thorough reread and examining my own ideology, here’s my definitive Anne Shirley Blythe book ranking:

1. Anne’s House of Dreams

2. Anne of Green Gables

3. Anne of Ingleside

4. Anne of Avonlea

5. Anne of Windy Poplars

6. Rilla of Ingleside

7. Anne of the Island

8. Rainbow Valley

ALSO! I bought the series on eBay so I could enjoy the same Bantam editions I read as a kid, and this added to my enjoyment, I am sure. And I had excellent vision when I was a kid-- dang are those pages teeny.

The rest of June:

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner: Believe it or not, I have only recently started reading Weiner, so I am checking out her backlist. **Audio

The Night She Went Missing by Kristen Bird: A completely serviceable suspense book. Liked it a lot. **2022 **Audio

Meant to Be by Emily Giffin: Not my favorite of hers, but I borrowed it from a friend and am delighted to have read a big summer book on time. **2022

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune: Corey recommended this one, and it is a DELIGHT. **Audio

Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C Ford: This memoir is outstanding, and you should read it. The author reads the audio book, which is also terrific. **Audio

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn: Solid meh. Although I, too, have a thing for plucky WWII lady fiction (no commas for more meanings). **2022 **Audio

The Lies I Tell by Julie Clark: This twisty thriller was my June Book of the Month pick, and it was everything I wanted a light summer read to be.

Home or Away by Kathleen West: If your kids play hockey, you must read this. If your kids play another competitive sport, you should for use. Not great lit but very appealing. **2022 **Audio

The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner: Yep. An excellent summer read. **2022

The Lifeguards by Amanda Eyre Ward: I really liked The Jetsetters, and this one was great, too. Very twisty and summery and about insecure moms, a subject about which I have a soft spot. **2022 **Audio

This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub: I loved this book, but it made me cry.  A lot. And basically all the way through. I loved the main character's ironic stance on time travel even as it happened to her, and I really, really loved all the tiny stuff she remembered to remember after she started traveling. This book is a delight. But a sad one. **2022 **Audio

This Month:

16 Books

8 books published in 2022

8 print books and 8 audiobooks

This Year:

126 books

47 books published in 2022

64 print books and 62 audiobooks

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Solving small problems

 The other day at the pool, I saw a lady YELL at her kids because they lost some of their diving rings. She was searching all around the pool for rings and even took some out of the pool’s community ring box to make up the difference. It was kind of a bummer to watch.

So, this week, when I found myself getting annoyed at small stuff, I decided to just quietly solve the problems without yelling. I bought Minnie a bunch of clothes (and a bathing suit!) with Elmo on them because she never wants to get dressed or take off her Disney pajamas. Problem solved! She can’t freaking wait to get dressed in Elmo clothes (eyeroll). I also ordered a bunch of water bottles on Amazon (I think they are meant for a team LOL LOL LOL) because the kids keep leaving theirs at baseball, dive, tennis, the pool (and I will still track them down, of course, but now I am not stressed about it at all, and I know at a glance which water bottles are TEAM JEDD, which will make it easier for me to grab them). Harry keeps losing his car keys in the steaming hellhole pit of trash, dishes, and baseball cards that is his room, so I bought him an Air Tag keychain and PROBLEM FREAKING SOLVED.

So, thanks, mad lady at the pool, for reminding me not to sweat the small stuff.

Another thing that helps? Dinner out. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Savor: A check in on my word of 2022

I have been trying to walk more. Like, whenever I have a second, I throw on some Birks and hit the road, even if it is just for 10 minutes. Sometimes Dorothy comes with me., Sometimes Ben. Mostly I am alone. (I would wear gym shoes, but I am trying to preserve my summer pedicures because it is honestly really hard to find an hour to sneak away and get my nails done— cry me a river, I know). The sunset above is from last night— a perfect moment of suburban zen.

On the way to work this morning (oh, the life affirming magic of wearing a pretty dress and going to campus for coffee and teaching twice a week), I listened to Happier for the first time in forever, and got the advice to check in on my word of the year, since 2022 is almost halfway gone.

My word is SAVOR, and I have been doing a pretty good job of holding small moments close and also eating salty snacks when my first instinct might have been to reach for something sweet. It’s easy to savor the last last year with a one-year old (shut up— I really mean it this time for serious) because everything is  so final and so darling. 

To be fair, all of the kids are at wonderful stages: a new license, more freedom, and more responsibility for Harry who has excellent graders and is on the cusp of his college choice adventure. A new beginning for Jack in high school after he had a wonderful end of middle school, has a new job, enjoys an excellent group of funny friends, and is in the middle of his dummer dive season, his favorite time of the year. Cooper is so athletic, grown up, caring, and responsible, but also he has his Apple Watch set to Mickey and often presses the button just to hear Mickey’s goofy voice tell him what time it is. Dorothy is like living with a cartoon— one made for adults— because even though she giggle and dances incessantly and is beautiful and always smells like flowers, she has the darkest, most grown up sense of humor.

And Minnnie! Knows all her letters and is working hard on numbers up to 9. She can do puzzles and gallop and jump. She uses 2 words together (mostly nouns and some adjectives. I don’t think the baby has a single verb, although the way she uses MEEEEEE and MIIIIIINE is very action-oriented) and has a delightful repertoire of animal noises. Her frog noise “ribby” is my favorite, of course.

And Ben and I are trying really hard to appreciate each other and the contributions we make to our family in this batshit crazy time in our lives. We have even started sneaking away for dinners and drinks as often as we can (which, I mean, is not supper often, BUT STILL). 

This is where I am having office hours this morning, in the spirit of savoring.


Monday, June 27, 2022

We relaxed! Between all of the things!

 Ok, listen. I LOVE to clean the house. In fact, one of the reasons I was so insistent that we build a new house (ELEVEN YEARS AGO!) is because we would start out with a perfectly clean place. And we did! But then we lived in it for 11 years and now? We have to get house cleaners.

We had a weekly cleaner when Harry was a baby and a twice a week cleaner when Jack was little. And then we moved. And here we are, cleanerless and scrambling for time on the weekends.

So, we must outsource more of the housework. Yard work, too, probably, but baby steps. I will keep you posted. (I know people have monthly and twice a month cleaners, but I also know that I need more frequent help, so the details of this will be FREAKING FASCINATING, I am sure).

Despite having to clean our own house AND attend a swim meet and a baseball game, we also had time to just hang out with the kids (I think because the groceries just magically appeared on the doorstep). Something Ben and I want to do more of is incorporate spontaneous fun hangs, especially those geared toward Dorothy and Cooper (which is wha made me think of getting house cleaners— something that has been on my to-do list since April). We are really feeling the pinch of taking care of a baby who still is not the best sleeper and also staying up late with our big kids, either to hang out with them or make sure they got home in one piece. It’s easy to not do special things with Dorothy and Cooper in the midst of all this, especially since they are the ones with seventy billion weekday sports. 


We went to campus for burgers and ice cream and made s’mores after the baby went to bed, and both of these things were fun for us, too, and they delighted the middle kids.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Groceries on the couch

 Listen, if you don’t already grocery shop via app, I recommend you start doing it. Minnie and I have been hanging out in the basement watching Moana, and I have already “gone” to Target, Costco, and Whole Foods and am waiting for deliveries. It’s pretty great.

Dorothy, Cooper, and Ben are at a cold, rainy swim meet (and the kids forgot their parkas, which is better than last AM meet when they forgot their sunscreen. By the end of the summer swim season, I bet we will remember all of the things at once), and Harry and Jack are still asleep. I have had… a lot of coffee, and I am thinking about maaaaaaaybe getting off the couch soon.

Minnie is her own stylist