Monday, August 31, 2009

Accidental carnival

Just like last year, we stumbled upon this cute little parking lot carnival at a local high school. Unlike last year, Harry could ride rides, and Jack could toddle around eating funnel cake and playing with outsized blow-up objects instead of enjoying the festivities strapped to my chest in his Bjorn cocoon.
Harry looked really chill the whole time on this dragon ride. I got exactly zero good pictures, though, because I forgot my camera and had to use my phone and am too short. (also, Harry has really cool hair right now. I kid you not, the last time we got it cut, I told his stylist we were working on a Zac Effron 'do, so she made it really piecey, assuring me it would look so cool when it got shaggy. And it DOES.)

Jack ate funnel cake with his fists, whined when he couldn't ride rides, and enjoyed carnival games and assorted total crap prizes.

At our favorite pizza place for dinner, Harry played with the restaurant-provided legos and had a major fantasy world built by the time the salad arrived-- he is deep in imagination play here.

Cutest picture of Jack ever, huh?

And then my dumb, dumb self let them take their blow up toys in the tub. It was all fun and games and near death drowning experiences until mean old mommy took the toys away, and both boys screamed so loud Ben came in from outside where he was diligently grilling turkey breast because he heard the commotion and thought a massacre was happening in the bathroom. Fun times.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mah hair. Also, some cute pictures of mah babies. Also, also mah menu. And then I will stop saying "mah" for "my." I don't know why I'm doing that

We enjoyed fall preview weather yesterday at the farmer's market and zoo. I also realized poor Harry, he of the 3/4 length sweat shirt sleeves and unintentional manpris, needs some fall clothes, like, yesterday.
Jack, though? He's stocked. He also like to remove his left shoe and sock in the car and sniff his own toes. It's cute because he's still rear facing, so I can see his fat little bare foot and then his stubby little shoed foot when I look in the rear view mirror. and I always think about maybe pulling over to kiss his toes, but I usually don't.

So glad Harry had captive grandparents to ride the zoo train.

Ben and Jack and I checked out the porcupines and wallabies. Then we took Jack to the reptile house (which is where I went into labor with him, but not really a landmark place, since I ignored the contractions until almost 12 hours later), and Jack didn't realize that the burmese python was behind glass and he smacked into said glass after running full speed across the room chortling in delight at the snake and fell straight down on his butt. Like a dazed little birdie. We were too busy laughing to take a picture.

Here's Harry delightedly feeding the goats-- he was shrieking with pure joy in this picture.

After our morning outings, I had an appointment for a pre-semester cut and color. My super red hir was still kind of vibrant last week:

But by yesterday, it was an orange mess:

I went super light (for me), and I went back to last year's bob, with this years bangs:

When Harry saw me after the salon, he clasped his hands under his chin and said proudly, "Oh Mama! You don't look like a box elder bug anymore."

Here's our menu this week:
Grilled turkey breast
wax beans from the farmer's market

Turkey sandwiches (with the leftover turkey breast)
Veggies and dip
tater tots because the boys LOVE THEM (and I'll have to remind them of this love when they start complaining about school lunches)

Grilled chicken salads (a weekly staple)
sweet corn on the cob

the other white meat chops
roasted new potatoes (with garlic and olive oil unless anyone has other suggestions)
steamed broccoli

rigatoni casserole with ground turkey
steamed zucchini

Our food is simple and boring-- any great websites with more complex recipes you can point us toward? Especially since colder weather means we're less likely to just grill it and eat it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Saturday

We are about to take these clown to the farmers market to see Ben's parents and to buy as much organic produce as we can carry on our persons, since our new double stroller has no storage (except for a detachable fanny pack, which, really?).

It's really cold here today, which is delightful, but will really suck when it is really, really, really cold here in March.

I survived my first 40 hour work week of the school year, which was especially brutal since it was an 8:30-5 kind of work week. The rest of the semester, while still very demanding, is a more flexible academic friendly schedule, so I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Also, I liked working full time outside my home. A lot.

Lots of preschool happenings on the horizon, as I am officially a room mom for one of Harry's classes and am ridiculously excited about it.

Not ridiculously exciting? The super scary pandemic emails I keep getting from the U about H1N1 and the potential for decimation. Bummer, dude.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Paint it black

Yesterday, I ran into Urban Outfitters over lunch to grab a pair of cheap and huge sunglasses. I stood in line behind a group of students just back to campus who were stocking up on poser hipster decor for their new apartments. While they waited on a price check on the clearance paper lantern they were buying, they complained about all the books they had to buy for class. One of them rolled her eyes and said, "Yeah, and I probably have to buy even more because one of my Com Arts classes didn't have any book information posted."

And I had a mini heart attack right there in line, clutching my enormous black plastic glasses and feeling the burn of the 30 Day Shred every time I shifted my weight from exhausted leg to exhausted leg. Was she talking about my class? Did I forget to post my books and send my course reader to the coffee shop?

I really couldn't remember because since I had kids, I have totally lost the ability to remember events that happened last week. A shame, really, because I used to be so smart. I think.

In other news, Harry didn't go to bed until almost 10, and Ben and I had no idea what to do with him because we didn't want Jack to wake up, so we let him come downstairs and listened to him whine about T E and TELEVISION! for almost an hour, until he collapsed in a little puddle on the rug and allowed himself to be pottied and tucked back in bed.

I woke up in a foul mood and abandoned my diet in favor of Keebler graham sandwiches, Teddy Grahams, mini ice cream bars, and grilled cheese and fries from Mickey's Dairy Bar.

At Target today, I realized another expense working moms incur that SAHMs probably don't: extra midweek toys you buy your kids because you feel so damn guilty when they call you the baby sitter's name. So if you're thinking of quitting your job and wondering how much money you'll save at home, add that one in with dry cleaning, work clothes, lunches out, parking, gas, and childcare, m'kay?

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Triumphant (for now-- I fully expect future nights to end in disaster) Return to the Bedroom and a Pretty Sucky Weekly Menu

Last night, this guy

and his brother, this guy


We gave Jack a bath at 7 (well, I did) while Harry helped Ben grill burgers for tonight (and they played golf with Harry's plastic clubs) and read to him like always. When I carried Jack to his new room, he pointed at his pack n play and asked "Nigh nigh?" When he saw the crib (where he happily naps) filled with is Ugly Dolls and his blue fleece blankie (Harry gave it to him the other night, and I never want to quash any generous impulse, so we went with it, and Jack seems to be pretty safe-- how old are they supposed to be before they get blankets anyway?), he smiled and cozied right in.

Harry helped us cook and chop our farmer's market veggies (and he made a sticky mess cutting strawberries with a butter knife) until 7:50, when Ben gave him a bath. Then Harry watched Wubbzy, and we read to him on our bed and helped him tiptoe into his own room at 8:30. It's dark now at 8:30 (which sucks), so we told Harry he was staying up super late and had an extra special big boy bedtime, and he ate it up.

We had a rough moment at 11-ish when Ben and I (giddy with the freedom of sleeping in our room, we dawdled over Monday-morning preparations that we could perform before bed instead of immediately following dinner with screamy kids "helping" us (ironing has never felt so clandestine)) went to bed. I checked on the boys like I always do, and when I was covering Jack back up, his eyes fluttered open, and he stared right at me. I fled the room, but he started wailing. Ben and I held our breath for a few minutes until his cries subsided, and then we all slept until a little after 6.

All of us woke up by hanging out in our bed drinking milk and coffee and watching our shockingly awful local news (where the lead anchor woman brought in a Bud Light coaster from a bar on which she had scribbled the names of her Saturday night drinking buddies so she could give them an on-air shout out), and Harry told us that he didn't sleep well because Jack screamed so much.

We are not fooled by the smoothness of this first night and fully expect our night life to totally suck for a few weeks. Also, holy hell is our mattress uncomfortable and we are soooo buying a new one as soon as sleeping in our bed is a habit again).
Here we are at Harry's end-of-summer school picnic. it rained, so we had to wedge ourselves into tiny chairs

But it was really fun, and Harry's class made ice cream that they proudly served us. (And now just as I am starting school, Harry has a 2-week break. Awesome sauce).

So, I am working like extra super full time this week, so our menu SUCKS:
Today: Burgers, corn, and snap peas from the farmers market
Tuesday: Panera
Wednesday: Grilled chicken salads with twee heirloom tomatoes, green beans, and fruit salad
Thursday: Noodles & Company
Friday: BBQ chicken sandwiches, Jack's favorite steamed carrots, and corn again.

I'll keep you posted on the sleep sitch because I know you are all riveted.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Things are looking up

The highlight of my day yesterday was opening a box of public speaking textbooks I planned to give to my TAs on Monday and finding the box filled with tomes titled Tonal Harmony. I'm sure this is a lovely text. But it's not the lovely book I need first thing Monday morning, you know?

So, I new today HAD to be better than yesterday.

And so far it is exceeding my modest expectations.

We went downtown this morning and pushed our way through the crowds at the farmers market in search of organic produce and chocolate croissants

We also enjoyed the terrace one more time before the students descend next weekend.

Here's Jack's fat fist waving hello (or maybe goodbye) to the duckies

Harry and Ben did some serious kite flying

Moments after this idyllic shot, because we were at the student union, Ben and I reminisced about the time Ben was building manager of the Ball State student center to supplement his grad student income of $436 a month and the building caught on fire and Ben was supposed to be the last man out, but he so resented helming that sinking ship that he never went back to work there. Also, since the building burned down on his watch, he was taken off the schedule. And then Harry asked seven million questions about the fire, and kept asking the same questions even after we answered them several times, and we had to gouge our ears out with knitting needles we borrowed from an old lady pulling a wagon full of sweet corn and tissue box cozies. The end.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jack Jack: The Follow-Up

No H1N1.

Good thing, too, because we had been dosing him up with Tylenol and/or Motrin and dragging him pretty much everywhere.

We saw the other pediatrician at our pediatrician's office, and she said he had the remains of healing sores in his mouth and throat and that he probably had hand, foot, and mouth which has been going around like crazy. How she saw anything through the Veggie Booty crumbs is beyond me, but she seemed pretty sure.

I was actually a little bummed that it wasn't swine flu because he was already on the mend, and if he got it now, maybe he won't get really sick this winter. Speaking of? I think I'll be avoiding the gym daycare like, um, the plague during cold and flu season. And giving Harry a Silkwood shower everyday after preschool.

But seriously, assholes like us are the reason for pandemics. On Saturday, we masked Jack's fever and took the kids to a fantastic brunch at a cute local organic cafe-- the kind of place with a kickass bakery, cozy benches and armchairs, and an extensive wine list. Ben and I both had wine with our food (vanilla french toast for him and a grilled veggie pita for me), and children were the only patrons NOT imbibing in the whole place.
Jack mostly smeared himself with cupcake and ignored his grilled cheese (a little too sophisticated for a toddler, with pesto and aged cheddar)

Harry snarfed some of Jack's infected sandwich, my mozzarella covered zucchini slices, and Ben's french toast and berries in addition to his own scrambled eggs and fruit cup, and he practiced turning into the Incredible Hulk

We haven't paid as much attention as we usually do to Harry because Jack's been sick, but he managed to occupy his time

Ben tok this picture of me chasing Harry on the playground, and it cracked me up-- look at my legs all flopping to the sides while I run. Once a waddling fat kid always a waddling fat kid. At least I have finally learned how to dance like no one's watching.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I'm stuck inside until my test results come back. Send toaster waffles and whole milk. Maybe some Dora DVDs. STAT.

During last season's swine flu scare, I told Harry we couldn't play on the mall playground anymore because if he did, he'd get swine flu for sure. I sure do know how to effectively communicate with children, huh? He has shunned the play area every time we've gone to the mall, hanging tighter to my hand as we passed it and never once asking to go in.

When Ben got his nose fixed, though, sheer boredom, rainy weather, and a need to leave Ben the heck alone drove us to the nasty cesspool of a play area (after a nutritious and surely germ-free food court dinner). Harry gasped with horror, surprise, and excitement when I told him we were going to the indoor playground.

"Won't I get swine fwu?" he asked. I assured him he wouldn't. And it turns out he probably didn't.

But Jack did.


The test takes 3 days, and he only just got swabbed on Saturday. When we were at urgent care for 2 freaking hours crammed in an exam room because we were a health risk in the waiting area. And no one would come in to see us without full haz-mat gear.

Effing mall playground.

I'm going to put you on speakerphone, so I can gesticulate wildly. I said STAT. STAT!

I don't know how I can be so happy with a fever either. Maybe I'm a psychopath.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Here piggy piggy

What are we eating this week? Lots of charred animal flesh because Ben just got a new grill (that he and Harry assembled while I took Jack to get tested for H1N1 yesterday afternoon. Awesome)

And last night? We ate the WORST meals. Ben came home from the store with wine, Hostess powdered Donettes, and kosher hot dogs and that's pretty much what we had. With leftover taquitos, sliced grapes, and TJ's baked cheese crucnhies (like cheetos with real cheese).

But I swear, we'll do better this week.

So, I'm thinking about this:

so help me, we're going to Pizza Hut again. with a coupon. we are so cosmopolitan it kills me.

blanched green beans and pea pods, carrots, and celery with dill dip
(this meal is a bit of dieter's dilemma for me because I can either eat a teeny, tiny hamburger (like 2.5-3 ounces) or I can eat a regular sized veggie burger. blurgh)

chicken salads
sliced pears

steamed broccoli or cauliflower (whichever looks better)
more strawberries

chicken tacos
veggies and salsa

dinner out-- maybe we'll brave the throngs of incoming students and have dinner on the terrace or maybe we'll try this ridiculous place across from Ben's office called like Fat Sandwiches or something that serves things like mozzarella sticks and french fries ON a sandwich. the possibilities, I am trying to say, are endless

baked potatoes
tossed salad
(all of this prepared fresh, not the night before, and hopefully eaten after the kids are snug in their own beds and paired with a lovely red)

Hmmmm, sometimes, my menus sounds JUST LIKE school lunches. But none of the fruit is canned, so that's a key difference.

Here's Jack, spreading a horrible virus all over town. More about that later.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Okay, so I have 14,465 pictures in my iPhoto library. Most of them are of my kids, but ya'll know my favorite thing to do is to put pictures of myself on my own blog, so I'd say a good 1500 of them are just of me.

And about 14,300 of them just suck.

Like this one

And this one

Aso this one

I am no Jamie or Gina, that's for sure.

I mostly take pictures of Harry and Jack's butts and feet (not on purpose)

Or wait until something awkward is obscuring a face before I snap

I have 14,465 pictures in my iPhoto library, and I am out of memory-- I didn't even have enough spare space to update my freaking iTunes software. I got an error message that I swore to Ben meant I needed a MacBook Pro, but he was not buying that (my interpretation of the message OR the computer). He suggested I back my stuff up to my time machine and clear my iPhoto library. This seems like a reasonable suggestion, and I know that the 10,000 pictures (of Harry! Just Harry! 10,000!) that used to reside on my now-defunct PowerBook are just fine on my external hard drive. But they're all the way upstairs in my desk, and I am all the way down here on my couch, so they might as well be in Siberia (speaking of? I'm totally freaked out about rogue asteroids, and I blame Ben because he had a glib FB status update about a potential impact in 37 years, and I started googling all this crazy shit about asteroids hitting the earth and Siberia 1908 was at the top of the list).

So, internets, what do I do? Is it safe to clear my library after I back up my photos, or will my kids' memories be destroyed? Should I tell iTunes 8.1 or whatever to shove it and never add another thing to my hard drive (except pictures! I take more shitty pictures everyday!) Should I upgrade my memory? Delete bad pictures before they make it from camera to computer?

Or was I right all along, and I just need the MacBook Pro? (also wow-- spellcheck thinks MacBook is a real word now-- neat).

Thanks in advance for all the advice.

(and this is where I would say something sweet and post a lovely picture from my library, BUT I DON'T HAVE A LOVELY PICTURE BECAUSE I AM BAD AT TAKING THEM. so I'll leave you with this gem)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Even yippies get the blues

Today has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Which is odd because a lot went right today.

I saw the sun rise out the gym window at 5 something this morning, and according to the locker room scale, my driver's license weight is no longer a lie. After my shower, Ben and I snuggled in bed with Jack for at least 20 minutes, which might be the longest he's ever had us to himself in his whole life. Harry slept in until 7:30-- which is like noon to a a normal person-- and woke up dry and chipper. The boys and I got dressed early and hung out on Harry's school playground for an hour before school, and Jack and I had a relaxing pre-Little Gym coffee (and milk) date. Jack took a surprise mid-morning nap, and I watched some HGTV before heading to the office to wrap up some loose ends, a task I accomplished with shocking efficiency. On the way to my car , I bought a fairly disgusting amount of Nerds gumballs and chewed 3 packs on my drive. I was home by 3:45, secure in the knowledge that my dinner was already made and waiting for me in the fridge-- the kids' plates were even filled with food cut into bite-size chunks and snugly Pressed and Sealed-- and ready to take Harry and Jack back to the playground.

And that, my friends, is when it all turned to crap.

(not totally fair, I guess, to blame all of my day's angst on coming home, I guess. I was murderously angry when my alarm went off at 5, a feeling that did not dissipate until about 8 minutes into my sluggish workout when I finally broke a real sweat and felt the first drip of endorphins. Harry almost made me stab myself in the ear with my tweezers because he could not stop tattling on Jack while I tried to get dressed after breakfast. Jack was a crabby slab of crab at LG and didn't want to do any of the skills and almost sunk his chompers into another baby's roly poly arm when she took his blue ball. my office thermostat was set on 55 when I got to work today, and I was wearing shorts and a tank top and my toes turned a little blue by the time I left. so, yeah. there were annoyances scattered throughout the day.)

When I walked in the door after work, the kids were red faced and sullen, eating little bowls of Teddy Grahams and watching the wildly inappropriate Incredible Hulk cartoon they are currently in love with. They had been playing outside, and Jack's morning nap was his only one of the day, so both of them were nearly hysterical with fatigue.

"Hey guys!" I said. "What did you do today?"

"Nothing," Harry replied. "Can you move? I'm trying to watch the T E."

As saintly Jamie gathered her stuff and gave me a run down of their day (which sounded really fun and outdoorsy, 2 things that don't always describe the days the 3 of us spend together), Harry and Jack both just sort of whined at nothing in particular.

"Want to go back to the playground?" I asked them.

"No fank you," said Harry, who has been working on saying "pease" and "fank you" at school and loves to practice at home. "I want to go to the toy store and buy a toy," he told me.

"Nah," I said, dismissing his request automatically.

He blinked at me in disbelief, opened his mouth, and screamed a long, loud, wail of distress. "I want a toooooooooy," he cried, tears instantly appearing in his eyes and raining down his cheeks.

Jack pointed at Harry and laughed, then he shoved another fistful of Teddies in his mouth and turned back to the Hulk.

Harry screamed, danced, jumped, and repeated his request for a new toy, pulling his hair, rending his garment, and raising his voice even louder when I politely declined.

His tantrum was so funny, I called Ben 3 times-- until he left a meeting to take my call, sure that something terrible was happening-- just so he could listen to the dramz, and he agreed it was worth the interruption.

He calmed down (under threats to turn off his movie), and I hauled 3 loads of laundry upstairs, thinking the crisis had been averted. Just as I was folding the first dish towel, Jack happily tearing books off the bookshelf next to me, Harry came pounding up the stairs screaming.

He took it upon himself to see to his own toilet, and he sprayed the downstairs powder room really impressively-- the hand towels were wet. The tissue box was wet. The roll of toilet paper was soaked through.

I mopped up the mess while keeping half an ear trained on the thumps Harry and Jack were making upstairs. I finished wringing out piss-soaked towels about the time Harry decided he HAD TO HAVE MORE TEDDY GRAHAMS RIGHT NOW and did not like it when I told him we were out.

If you think the chocolate cats from Trader Joe's are a good substitute for Teddy Grahams, you are a stupid effing idiot.

Three minutes later, he was falling apart because he needed a cup of mini marshmallows -- NEEDED IT--and didn't care when we were eating dinner.

Then Jack-- he of the heinous diaper rash and the intense hatred for grooming of any kind-- crapped his pants and had to be wrestled into a fresh diaper.

Sometime during that ordeal, Harry misplaced his medium-sized Buzz Lightyear doll (not to be confused with his small Buzz Lightyear doll or his big one whose mission log doesn't open and who is a constant source of disappointment for this reason) and when I went into the toy closet to see why Harry was keening, I wasn't surprised to see Buzz gone since every toy Harry and Jack own was ripped off its hook, scooped off its shelf, or dumped out of its bucket.

From the time I got home until Ben rescued me, I only had the wherewithal and free hands to tweet like 6 times. It was that bad, people. I was cut off from teh interwebs for goodness sake.

I thumbed Ben some franticly incoherent text messages, and when he got home amid delightedly angelic cries of "Dada!", all I could say was "I will NOT be the first responder every night. It's like freaking triage when you walk in the door. We need to coordinate our schedules, damn it! DON'T LEAVE ME ALONE WITH THEM AGAIN!"

Gosh! I am exhausted just writing that. I need a drink. Thank goodness for the bottle of organic, sulfite-free red on top of the fridge because even yippies get the blues.

Caution: Children pictured on this blog may be crabbier than they appear

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nose Job-- it's actually a terrible sweet 16 gift, if you ask me

I left Ben's surgery totally bummed out because the whole ordeal was so freaking terrible, I know I'll never get my spider veins fixed or have those giant boobs I've always wanted or even let someone suck out my saddlebags.

Seriously, I'll never elect elective surgery.

When I went out to the (super plush) waiting room, I said good bye to this guy:

And I came back to this guy:

who look like this without the ice pack:

It just sucked, you guys. His face hurt. The percocet made him feel creepy. The ice hurt his nose, but NOT having ice hurt worse. The antibiotics destroyed his stomach. Ibuprofen was not enough to keep the pain at bay, but percocet just made him want to lay in a dim room and whimper. The dissolving packing has not yet started to dissolve, but it is hanging out of his nostril and looks like a black hornet's nest, so he has to wear a gauze pad and looks very Michael Jackson. He's really weak-- we thought he felt okay on Saturday, so we took the kids to the splash park and dinner and then decided to hit up Trader Joes, and Ben almost passed out in the juice aisle, and we had to leave. He said he felt heat strokey (it was like a million degrees outside and so humid you could drink the air) and drank a vat of water in the car with the AC running full blast. Poor guy.

He was much better yesterday:

I was back to nagging him to pick up his own trash and arguing over who had to bathe the little beasts in record time. Phew.