Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Not even a little guilty

I planned to meet Jamie and the kids at the pool around 2 this afternoon. I thought I would hang out in my office working on my fall class for a couple of hours after my summer class got out and meet them in the parking lot at 2 sharp.

Instead, I met Ben for a quick lunch, swung by Walgreens for a thick style mag, and hit the pool deck by noon thirty, where I spent a blissful hour-and-a-half in the sun. By myself. Stretched out on a lounge chair. Like the first 28 summers of my life.

The last time I lounged by a pool like that was the day I went into labor with Harry, June 13, 2006. I spent everyday between the end of school and his birth sprawled in a chair by my apartment complex pool in a teeny bikini watching my stomach lurch and twitch as Harry moved inside it. He was always still when I went in the water, and I floated a lot that summer, my belly breaking pool's surface, the rest of me blurry and submerged. Looking back on that summer and the gluttonous solitude I took for granted, I should have stocked up on thrillers and laid off the dissertation research books. And possibly the milkshakes.

In other news, Jack: Exactly like Ben only shorter.

Monday, June 28, 2010


On Saturday, ben replaced our upstairs bathroom faucet with one made in this century, meaning he also had to replace pipes under the sink. Which? Are you kidding me? I thought the project would end in total disaster (no offense, sweetie). We even booked a plumber for first thing this morning just in case. But? He did it!
You can't totally see it in the picture, but he has caulk all over his face. (zOMG I am dying laughing right now. Caulk.)

While he was busy, I took Harry and Jack to the gym, to Target, to get a hair cut, and to Panera for second breakfast. Instead of the sports place we usually go for haircuts where Jack screams like a lamb and the stylists look like they want to kill me, we went to the kiddie salon where both boys could ride in car chairs and watch Dora while being shorn. Why don't I always come here? I thought to myself as Jack enjoyed his first tear-free cut. Then I paid for their cute little summer clips and remembered that the place doesn't let you tip on a credit/debit card, and I never have cash. I felt like such an asshole-- I guess that's why I never go back. I do that every freaking time. (Also I never quite feel bad enough to drive through road construction to an ATM and come back with a tip).

This hair cut makes Jack look even more like Ben-- if that were even possible

While I cleaned the house yesterday (including a blissful 45 minutes scrubbing the fridge and freezer-- gosh I love to organize food and clean appliances-- I really do), Ben took Harry and Jack outside to splash in a kind of awkwardly large blow up pool. He even put in on a hill to create a deep end and a shallow end. Klassy.

As much as I love cleaning my hose-- and I truly love it-- in the fall, I am going to work on my book for serious, and something has got to give. That something, we've decided, is housework. I have got to find a cleaning company I like and figure out a schedule that works for us. We have had 3 different house cleaners over various times in the last 3 years, and we haven't totally loved any of them. I ended up spending time cleaning after they came, which is stupid, even when we had them TWICE a WEEK. Part of this, I realize, is me being totally apeshit crazy about cleaning my house. But the other part of it is that the cleaners have sucked. So. Before school starts, we are going to figure this cleaning thing out. We need at least once a week but would be willing to have them come more often if it meant we could never clean anything again. But we don't want them in 2 times a week if we are still going to be cleaning. Such a dilemma. It's a silly thing to get stressed about, huh? But I AM stressed about it. Tell me, how do you stay zen about cleaning your house?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

June: Not a lot going on

This blog has totally become a blahg lately. June. It's been rainy and relaxing. The end.

My summer school class is wonderful. I love my students-- they're all really smart and jaded, but they're doing really excellent work. Five speeches in four weeks, and no burnout-- that's the goal.

Everyday, I come home from school and either veg with the kids because it's monsooning out or go to the pool. The pool is blissful. We eat ice cream. I stand in the shallow end about a foot away from the edge and Harry and Jack jump off the side. Again and again. For hours. Jack treats us to his best bear impression, standing on the pool's edge and roaring so loud and hard he falls down. We get home in time for dinner, which has been salads and takeout. Or takeout salads. Because we're too busy splashing to cook.

H reunited with an old friend of his from his 2-year-old preschool class, which is funny because it's been more than a year since he's seen her and they only went to school one day a week for 2.5 hours. Still, they remembered each other instantly and play together in the wading pool when the little girl's mother and I are humoring younger siblings with a dip in even shallower water.

We've played in the sprinkler

We've gotten our Buzz on

We've spiced up our Saturday change the sheets moment with some mattress jumping

This morning, the boys slept until 7:30, late and lazy for them.

Despite Harry's face in this next shot, we couldn't be having a better summer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I have recently gained a little bit of weight-- nothing too bad. Just 5 pounds. It's been a year (next month) since I lost my 15-ish pounds of dissertation stress weight, and 5 pounds have crept back on.

1 pound by last September. Then another after Christmas. Another in February, followed by another in March. I jumped right back on Sparkpeople at this point because 4 pounds seemed like a lot. I lost 2.5 and called it a day. Ben and I had cheese and wine pigouts almost nightly, and I had dessert at lunch and diner most days.

3.5 pounds later, and I have regained 5 of the 15 I lost. Crap. 5 pounds seems like something I need to do something about. And by something, I mean eat sensibly and exercise. Blah. I have been eating well for 2 days, and I have only lost 0.2 pounds, and I am STARVING. I am proud of myself for coming home from the gym and eating carrots and sugar snap peas (and only 5 Teddy Grahams), but damn! Dinner seems like it's a million years away.

Some painless switches I have made? I traded my 90-calorie Snicker's mini ice-cream bars for 60-calorie Dove minis (Genius!!). I started eating a salad from the grocery store by my office for lunch instead of a (fattening and delicious) sandwich wrap from the deli, and I get my (formerly medium and sugar-filled) lattes small and skinny. I have also traded my daily Zbar (140 calories) for a FiberOne bar (also 140 calories, but has fiber and protein and keeps me fuller longer.) I swapped my organic, pro-biotic 90-calorie breakfast yogurt for an 80-calorie piece of string cheese (which, paired with 1/2 a bagel with peanut butter makes a very filling breakfast for less than 300 calories). Even though I don't serve chemical-laden foods to my kids, I did pick up a pack of 50-calorie FiberOne yogurts for me, and I mix a 45-calorie box of raisins in them for an afternoon snack. After dinner, I am not eating ANYTHING, but I am having wine, beer, or a cocktail if I want one (usually I want one).

What's your favorite diet snack?

(I am not posting this to hear that I don't need to lose weight blah blah blah. I WANT to nip this backslide in the bud before the whole 15 pounds shows up around my hips again) And actually? I blame my freaking gym. The scale I use everyday in the women's locker room was BROKEN and had to be sent back to the manufacturer. This whole process took 2 weeks. I was without scale for 2 whole, snack filled weeks. And yes, I have a scale, but it is not THE scale that I use everyday, so its reading is totally meaningless. Ugh).

In honor of healthy eating: H and J filing their whine holes.

Oh! I am also at AKoP today weighing (ha! weighing!) options for a new bag. Check it out!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A weekend in Iowa

Now that Harry is 4, he is exceedingly brave.

On Wednesday, I took Harry to his pediatrician for his 4 year well-child check up. Our nurse (whom we love-- she has twice now squeezed us in with our doctor when we had appointments in urgent care-- she just ran into us in the office lobby and said, "I didn't think you had an appointment with us today," and when we told her our doc was full and we were seeing someone else, she worked us right in, both times) handed me the scary CDC vaccine warnings and side effects handouts she distributes on shot days. "I didn't think he was due for vaccines today," I said. "Well," she told me. "He needs to get them before kindergarten, but if we do them today, you can save him a lot of worry because he hasn't been anticipating them and he won't hear his friends talk about how terrible they are." That made perfect sense to me, so at the end of the visit, we surprised Harry with his kindergarten vaccines a year early. AND HE DIDN'T CRY! Because, he told me afterwards clutching the stuffed rat the nurse gave him as a consolation prize for the surprise shots, 4 year olds don't really cry. Except when their babies take their new toys.

So there you have it. Exceedingly brave. When Jack bashed him in the face with a heavy store door this weekend at a Children's Place outlet where we sought refuge from a wall cloud and 70 mile-an-hour winds, Harry just jumped up and down and turned bright red. No tears.

We drove to Des Moines to see my grandparents and help celebrate my grandpa's 90th birthday. We had a great time, stopping at Adventure Land with my parents and seeing some of my cousins and my brothers, too. SO much fun. Here's photographic evidence of our fabulous time:
Jack on the carousel

Harry on the ferris wheel. (He also rode a grown up log-ride that was too scary for me)

Jack ran to greet Harry when the wheel stopped spinning.

The dog freaked Jack out, but not Harry because he is 4.

Jack loved driving these trucks on a track, and Harry humored him

Harry on the baby version of those rides that lift you straight up in the air and slam you back down

Cars on a track


A healthy snack

Believe me when I tell you, they were not making beautiful music

How sweet are H and J sleeping together in this fabulous king-size suite bed? Not as sweet when you consider that Ben and I were on the fold-out couch in the "living room." Next time, we'll get a 2-bedroom room, I guess. (Because Ben and I still need a living room for drinking and watching TV) (we're klassy).

On Saturday, we saw Toy Story 3, and it was fan-freaking-tastic. Jack got a little squirmy by the end, thanks to the 5 too many Disney previews that turned a 90 minute movie into a 2+ hour viewing experience. But still. Awesome.

We also hit the hotel pool

And went back to Bomma and Jack's in time to dress the kids as tiny knights and let them attack their uncles

We went to my aunt's house, and Harry and jack had a great time playing with my cousin's old toys and eating kid food.

Another comfy night's sleep for the babies and some couch bed for me and Ben

And then poor Jack spiked a 103.2 fever (and we bought a supercool forehead thermometer), and we got out of town before we infected our aging relatives

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I don't want to freak you out, but...

Yesterday morning, I was driving to campus congratulating myself on leaving the house for my first day of my summer class before 8 am and looking pretty darn cute. I should call Ben and tell him how together I am, I thought, taking a swill of Diet Coke. At that exact second, my phone rang, and I looked down to see that Ben was calling me. Perfect timing, I thought, and answered with a cheery "Hola!".

"I don't want to freak you out," he said. "But I am in an ambulance on my way to the ER."

"What what WHAT?" I screamed.

"I told you not to freak out," he admonished. He explained that his heart wouldn't top racing and had been racing for 20 minutes when he called 9-1-1. The paramedics clocked his pulse at 150, which is pretty freaking scary. I spoke to one of the EMTs who told me he thought Ben was probably fine but that they were taking him in to be monitored. Ben came back on the line and told me to go ahead and go to class.

So I did, long enough to pass out my syllabus to a group of students who didn't look too bummed to get out of class early and freak out our department secretary when I told her I was going to the ER to be with my husband who thought he was having a heart attack (note: the ER doctor, who was both an MD and a PhD, said a fast heartbeat is NOT a sign of a heart attack. Good to know, Dr.Dr.).

I started to mince toward the hospital, which is half a mile from my office, because thought it would be faster than retrieving my car from the garage, driving through campus road construction, and parking at the hospital. Mid sashay, I realized that Ben came in an ambulance, so I needed my car to take him home. OMFG.

By the time I got to the hospital (which totally has valet parking, so it was a cinch), Ben's room was empty, and I freaked out for a minute, thinking he was dead. Luckily, he was just upstairs getting a chest X-ray. Which was fine. As were both of his EKGs. As was his blood work, except that his electrolytes were a little off, and his blood sugar was a little high.

"Why is my blood sugar high?" he asked a nurse.

"Well," she considered. "It's not THAT high. What did you eat for breakfast?"

"Peanut butter silk pie," he admitted.

Dr.Dr. said she thought he was probably dehydrated and that he didn't help anything by stopping for an espresso to calm down when he first felt his heart rate accelerate. He followed up with his primary care provider today, and everything was normal.

Except for his cholesterol, which was a tiny bit high. This elevated number, which has nothing to do with his heart incident (which is completely unexplained) coupled with my own gain of 3-5 pounds made us reconsider our eating habits.

Every night after the kids go to bed, we sit on our couch and eat soft cheese and pretzels.

We go through 14 ounces of this shit EVERY WEEK. Not to mention at least one-- but usually 2-- bags of pretzels.

No more, I tell you. We have purged the cheese. Starting now. (Because there is still birthday pie in the fridge).

But enough about the scariest thing that's happened to us in forever. Back to Harry's birthday.

He started with presents

hand-delivered by his faithful servant

who got a couple of bears as a consolation prize for it not being his birthday.

The infamous birthday pie

My grandparents sent Harry and Jack gift cards to Build-a-Bear for Harry's birthday, and they had the best time ever making their bears. Jack (who was totally the trendsetter--he picked his bear skin first, and Harry copied him) refused clothes for his bear but demanded a stroller. Harry decked his bear out in Star Wars gear and named him Darthy. Darthy Vader.

We ended Harry's birthday with dinner at a new chain restaurant that opened down the street. Harry has been wanting to eat at this pace since it opened, but we usually avoid chains. We said he could eat anywhere on his birthday, so that's how we ended up at a "thteak" house, where Jack fed his bear and Harry had a "thteak."

This morning when my alarm went off and Ben didn't move, I put my hand on his chest to make sure it was rising and falling. It was. He's okay.