Tuesday, May 28, 2024

A Monday-ish Tuesday

 My coffee pot broke this morning when I needed it the very most. It was a Christmas present YEARS ago and is not even around anymore (it was a pour over brewer, programmable, etc, AND IT MADE POUR OVER COFFEE at the touch of a button and I will miss it forever). But! Have you ever tried to manage the task of BUYING A NEW COFFEE POT without HAVING ANY COFFEE FIRST? Omg. I hope Wirecutter does not lead me astray because I panic ordered their best budget drip coffee maker because I could not even contemplate some sort of investment purchase at 5 am. As you can probably tell from the caps in this paragraph, I did manage to drink a bunch of coffee thanks to my emergency Mr. Coffee. THANK GOODNESS.

Other things on my mind this Tuesday that feels like a Monday:

1. I forgot how much towel laundry I suddenly have when it is pool season

2. My favorite pool towels are from Costco in literally 2017, and I hope Costco brings out some new ones this season because they have holes but are still so giant and absorbent I cannot part with them.

3. I have a massage this morning, and I cannot decide if the necessity of neck and scalp massage is actually worth having greasy hair all day long, but maybe because my neck hurts? I need to book massage on weekend mornings or later in the day.

4. We have a kid pick up situation today that is an impossible logic problem and this is why my kids have phones when they’re in fifth grade. Finally, garbage parenting pays off.

Minnie is a total water baby

It was high 60s and windy yesterday, and she swam until her lips were blue and her cheeks were purple.

And! SHE DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE despite being freeeeezing. Ben took her back after dinner. I really think, you guys, that we will linger at the pool after her swim lesson most nights until it’s time to toss her in the locker room shower and bring her home already in PJs and ready for bed.

I, however, DID want to leave because I needed to stay close to Minnie, meaning I was standing in the water and getting splashed and IT WAS FREEZING.

Coop played with her until the first adult swim, meaning I could stand by the edge with the giant men’s shirt I wear for a cover up still on, but then he was too cold to even think about getting back in.

Dorothy just sort of did this the whole time

On Sunday, Jack had drivers ed on the east side of town, so we all went along to stop him off in a bank parking lot where the driving instructors pick kids up (SO WEIRD), and we went to a Menards on the other side of town just for funsies because we know how PARTY.

And these days when I say “all” I really mean Ben, me, and the three youngest kids because Harry is WAY TOO COOL for us, and Jack usually is, too. I am crying on the inside, don’t worry.

I made DELICIOUS bean and veggie enchiladas this weekend with carrots, sweet peppers, tomatoes, sweet potato, chili peppers, and spinach (plus so much cheese) in the pinto bean filling. I ended up just sautéing all the veggies with cumin, garlic, chili powder, etc, before I added beans and rolled them up. Then I smothered them is sauce and more cheese and baked them casserole style. 

Also— thanks for the recipe comments on my dinner post— can’t wait to try!!


Monday, May 27, 2024

What’s for Dinner

 Ben is a pescatarian now you guys. This is fine with me— I am not a huge meat fan and only eat chicken because I can’t think of anything else for protein in salad besides cheese since eggs hurt my stomach (and so do avocados, olive oil, and some nuts).

Soooo, we are both getting more creative with our menu plans.

This week:

  • Salmon burgers, corn, watermelon, slaw (yes, we sure did have this last week, and it was DELICIOUS)
  • Grilled cod (?? Giant slab of frozen fillets from Costco), roasted potatoes, giant salad, snap peas
  • Bean and sweet potato enchiladas, chips, salsa, guacamole, etc.
  • Costco pizza
  • Rotisserie chicken Caesar wraps (Ben is gone)
  • Salmon/quinoa bowls

Sunday, May 26, 2024



Those three were the first kids in the water (always apply your first round of sunscreen at home) and got right back into their summer grooves.
Spirit fingers!

We order a pizza and a giant salad (with, honestly, a surprising mount of meat) first thing and could cross our first trash meal of the summer off the list before the season’s maiden adult swim. WINNING!

Cooper is too cool for a swim shirt/rash guard and also too cool to properly apply sunscreen because he uses a spray and NOT ENOUGH OF IT. Soooooo he is pretty burned on his shoulders and back— even his bro friends were giving him a hard time. Minnie has red cheeks. Dorothy has freckles (really cute ones) on her nose and cheeks, and I have a burned shoulder because I relied on Minnie to put sunscreen on my back, which was maybe not the best plan in retrospect. But! We were at the pool for 6.5 hours and put sunscreen on every single hour, so I feel like we get a solid B.

Dorothy and Minnie ended up eating this pizza all day long.

Dorothy decided she wants to join the summer league dive team and got herself 6 dives: front, back, back half twist, somersault, back summersault, inward.
Minnie’s bestie from preschool was there, and they played for HOURS and even hung out together by themselves at adult swim. Her friend was sitting in the snack area eating a corn dog like a regular person (which made us realize how very much we baby Minnie) and happily joined in for our kids’ second garbage meal of the day (another pizza! With fries!). She also shared her squirt guns with Minnie, and they were SO CUTE.
I wish I would have had someone take my picture in my mom suit because I truly think I found THE PERFECT MOM SUIT from Lands End. I liked it so much I bought it in purple AND black.

My dance mom friend came running over to me mid pool sesh to say THE SUMMER DANCE PLACEMENTS CAME OUT, and we ogled the list for quite awhile (luckily Ben was back from golf by then). But then! When I looked at the class schedule, I noticed a bunch of conflicts (as in classes meeting at the same time)… soooooo I still can’t plan because I imagine the schedule might change again? 

Ben and the boys golfed in the morning, which is adorbs, and they had a tee time for this morning, too, but it rained. And will rain aaaaaaall day.

Harry and Jack came on duty at 4 for their first lifeguard shifts of the summer.

But Jack still had a moment to take his little sister on the slide

We stayed from noon to 6:30 pm and ate TWO garbage meals plus all the snacks, and still it was not long enough for Minnie who was SO SAD to leave. (And slept from 7:15 pm to 6:45 am).
New slide! Same Dorothy!

Friday, May 24, 2024

5 on a Friday: Big Kids Are Fun (21/52)

 I spend so much time blathering on and on about how darling Minnie is that I sometimes forget to document how much I enjoy my big kids.

It is so fun to be the parent of big kids, you guys. And I am someone who adores newborns and loves loves loves toddlers and thinks elementary schoolers are darlings. BUT I ALSO LOVE BIG KIDS.

1. They can make their own plans. This is lovely. (It can be hard to throw them birthday parties, though. Jack is great at organizing his own parties, but we have been trying to nail down details for Harry’s 18th for weeks, and last year, he didn’t celebrate in any kind of organized way for the same reason.)  I like having kids over and doing nothing to make it happen. Dorothy even ran out of the house and jumped into a friend’s mom’s car the other night (a car with other giggling kids already in it) tossing over her shoulder that she was going to the park. SO CUTE! SO EASY!

2. Their sports are hands-off. So far, we have only experienced this with Jack and Harry because middle school sports are BANANAS (get ready, parents of elementary kids. If you thought lower grade travel sports were a lot, BUCKLE UP) and in our experience require the very most parent participation. (And Harry’s tennis team experience has been weird— parents are SUPER DUPER involved and even, like, organize snacks for the ADULT PEOPLE playing the sport. We are definitely the weirdos who pay zero attention to any of this and expect our kid to run his own sports life— but thankfully that’s an outlier). It’s wonderful to just attend events as spectators and not even worry about how your kid is getting to or from the field.

3. They stay up late, which can feel at first like it’s infringing on your off-duty hours, but they are genuinely fun to stay up late with and like normal TV and appreciate funny things and can talk knowledgeably about popular culture and world events. They’re like fun friends who live with you and want to hang out most of the time but also never bring any food and eat all of yours.

4. Speaking of food! They suddenly eat like normal people, and all the little kid food quirks and restaurant restrictions and general mealtime headaches go away.

5. They like to do what you like! For me this is shopping, going out for fancy salads, and getting our nails done. Plus movies. And errands— which they make more fun by helping with. IT IS MAGIC.

Minnie? DID NOT ERRANDS EASIER THIS WEEK. But maybe she made them cuter.

Thursday, May 23, 2024


 YOU GUYS. I am getting SO TWITCHY about my incomplete summer calendar. 

We are still waiting on Dorothy’s dance schedule- which is fine because classes don’t start until we get back from vacation, and she is spending the first week of summer at a hip hop intensive at a partner studio. BUT ALSO. I want to put it on the calendar especially since I now know Coop’s travel team diving hours, Minnie’s nursery school camp and swim lessons, Dorothy and Coop’s junior lifeguard lessons, Coop and Jack’s summer dive league, etc. 

The way it works at Dorothy’s studio is that summer— the whole 8-week session— functions as team tryouts for the following year. So, you don’t just sign up for classes. Instead, you fill out your team interest survey, and the director assigns classes based on the teams you are auditioning for and your skill level. This is a really smart way to do it because the classes end up being really really good, and the kids end up learning SO MUCH in terms of both technique and choreography over the summer. It also lets the director match teachers with teams, start thinking about themes and music, and prepare for the year, and it builds strong cohorts of dancers who end up staying with each other until graduation. As you can imagine, this goes a long way toward fostering team unity, making the competition season (September-June) even more fun, and helping kids freaking love dance, their dance friends, and their studio. I also love that using the whole summer for an extended tryout means no audition-day pressure and jitters and rivalry. 

Because I am a Dance Mom and have just sort of embraced the whole identity, I am also signing her up for private lessons which go quick, so you have to jump on those sign ups, even if you don’t actually know when your kid will be in class or how much they cost.

Anyway. These are problems of my own making— I get that.

But you can’t be anxious about every little thing without being anxious about EVERY LITTLE THING, you know?

SPEAKING OF DANCE. Minnie’s class tried on their hip hop costumes for the recital (they got their ballet costumes a few weeks ago), and the cuteness almost killed me. Minnie’s was too big (it is being swapped for a smaller size), and she was super worried it was going to fall off her shoulders, so she danced with her worried face AND I LOVE THESE PICTURES SO MUCH.

It looks like I will teach my class while Minnie is either home or at camp. Then I will come home from campus, get Coop, take him to dive (also on campus), come home and take Dorothy to dance, take Minnie to the pool or somewhere else fun, collect Dorothy and Cooper, go to Minnie’s swim lesson, take Coop to baseball, make dinner, collect Coop as needed, go to the pool again, put everyone to bed, repeat. Maybe I can shower Minnie at the pool and bring her home in her jammies? This would be awesome. Maybe some nights, Harry can let Dorothy and Coop close down the pool and bring them home when he closes for the night and they can play pickle ball or something while they wait for him?

I want to prioritize taking advantage of $5 Tuesdays at the movie theater to see any kid movie that comes out this summer. I want to do Sweet Treat Thursday this summer and Friday movie nights at home. I’d love to visit a new park every week and let Dorothy and Cooper host as many friends as they want any time they’re home (which won’t be that often LOL). I hope it gets hot enough to bake cookies on the car dashboard and fry eggs on the sidewalk. I hope Minnie sees her first fireflies (early bedtime— what can I say?).

Oh, summer!! I can’t wait! (and maybe I don't need the summer schedule from dance to know what I'll be doing...)

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

That one time I actually listened to the tornado sirens

Anyone who has read this blog for a hot second knows that I am an anxious person. I just rescheduled a post about how our lack of a dance schedule for summer is making me twitchy, for example. I RUN ANXIOUS. (Acupuncture todaaaaaaaaaaay thank goodness).

Something I am not anxious about? Storms. 

Sure, I do not like to drive in them and would prefer not to have to take shelter in, say, a walk-in cooler in a Walgreen’s back room (which is something the weather man actually advised people who were out and about last night to do), but once my people and I are all at home, I am not worried. I never even go in my basement when the sirens go off. Instead, I watch the radar and reserve real storm prep for tornadoes that are actually in my neighborhood. And? Spoiler: THEY ARE NEVER IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD.

Except for last night.


This weather alert made me lol:

But Ben’s response was THE BEST:

The kids were CHAMPS. Except one kid  **cough cough** COOPER **cough cough** who was upstairs eating a snack just before we lost power for real (after 3 flickers that made us know power loss was imminent and wish we were the kind of people who had flashlights in the house) AND LEFT THE FRIDGE OPEN.

We introduced Minnie to Zingo, and she is a FAN
But then! We had to move from the random toy room part of the downstairs that has windows and sliding doors to an interior closet area because ACUTAL TORNADO IN OUR AREA, and Minnie decided she hated storms because it’s weird to be hanging out in a closet. With your whole family.

Still she Zingoed on.
Bedtime with no power was… like camping? No one washed themselves (quick hands, face, teeth), and everyone was eventually just super bored and fell asleep. Minnie kept telling me she could not sleep, but I played a lullaby playlist on my phone and gave her my book light (note to self: charge book light— and maybe get some flashlights? OR A GENERATOR), and she literally starting snoring as she was complaining about not being able to sleep. (She slept in Ben’s bed and snored all night long like a little white noise machine).

I woke up to power mostly on (had to reset some breakers) and this absolute bummer of an email
Also, I am very worried about my peonies underneath this portion of a different tree

Aaaaand I am not super stoked about going out to look at Harry’s car parked in the driveway durning massive hail or, you know, the roof.

But! Things could have been SO MUCH WORSE! These storms were terrible, and we were so lucky. We got local news through our CBS station via the Paramount+ app, and our newly ordered weather radio (besides making a terrible high pitched alert that sounded like a firework beginning to detonate and making everyone super duper tense) was a champ as well. Also, it arrived JUST AS the first severe weather alerts came rolling in— phew!!

Monday, May 20, 2024

I also have to know what people are EATING?!

 I mean, listen. Last night we had salmon burgers, corn, watermelon, and salad. Saturday, we were slated to have french toast casserole and made-to-order omelets in Jack's omelet maker, but Dorothy and Cooper invited a crowd for a water balloon fight, and we ended up feeding everyone Costco pizzas, chips, s'mores, etc. (Ben and I also ate salad).

Rain might disturb our routine for the next couple of nights (anyone else basically cancel all plans that require leaving the house when there's severe weather?), so I don't know when we will be home, etc. BUT. MEAL PLANNING DOES NOT WAIT FOR SCHEDULES. Here's what I can make:

Ham and swiss sliders on Hawaiian rolls

Slow cooker tomato soup with grilled cheeses (we did not eat this last week)

French toast casserole with eggs, fruit, etc.

Mini naan pizzas and salad

Black bean and cheese burritos

Shrimp tacos

I also have some Brussels sprouts that really need someone (me-- it's me) to cook them. Air fryer maybe? and a bag of spinach that probably wants to be a salad if it doesn't get eaten in omelet form.

Minnie got smacked in the eye with a water balloon and we thought for a second we might have to take her to urgent care, but otherwise, 12 kids and 1500 water balloons made for a super fun Saturday night. (Jack was on lifeguard duty, and Harry got the he ck out of here after getting attacked by 12 year old boys and taking a missile to the neck (that's what happens when your little bro has club baseball friends).

Like Harry, she was unprepared for the boys' enthusiasm. LOOK AT HER FOREHEAD AND CHEST.

 Tough little Minnie

My salad in a bag obsession continues.
Yes, our back yard IS all mud now-- why do you ask?

Dirty baby!
I sure do buy 2 or 3 of these at Costco on the regular-- that's normal, right?