Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Domestic Bliss

Last night, when I took Harry to the bathroom before I went to bed at 11, he felt a little warm. His eyes flew open when I set him down on the chilly bathroom floor, and he said quickly, as if he could read my mind, "What? How are you? Do I look sick to you? I feel warm."

Ben and I decided that if he woke up in the night, I'd sleep with him in our bed, and Ben would go downstairs and sleep on the couch because I am home on Wednesdays, and he's not.

At 2:12, our door burst open, and there stood Harry, Kramer-style in the doorway. "Can I sleep with you guys?" he asked, crawling over Ben to rest on my face like a 40 pound cat.

Ben thought it was time to get ready for work ad had his belt through like 3 pants loops before he realized what time it was, put his jammies back on, and stomped downstairs with his blankets (not because he was mad-- he just moves like a bear anytime before 8-ish).

Harry had no fever and claimed he didn't have a tummy ache or a bad dream, so when he kept kicking me and tossing in MY sleep, I didn't feel that bad telling him to knock it off. 20 restless minutes later, I turned on the TV for him. After Little Bear wrapped up, he slugged me to tell me he didn't want to watch Blue's Clues. I mashed some buttons on the remote and found, much to my delight, Rocko's Modern Life on Nick Toons. I fell asleep watching that for 12 or so minutes, only to be woken up by Harry dry heaving. We rushed to the bathroom where he spit on my foot with impressive precision and declared himself cured. Back in bed, he kept tossing and kicking, bringing me back from the brink of sleep several times.

Finally I yelled at him to just go to sleep already, and Ben came upstairs, suggesting I go down on the couch. Which I did. And relived my insomniac days by glaring at the clock and calculating the amount of time I had left to sleep if only I could FALL ASLEEP THAT VERY MINUTE.

I finally drifted off watching Teen Mom and wishing Amber would just put a damn sheet on Leah's crib.

When I woke up at 7, I felt like I hadn't slept at all. Then Ben went to work blithely promising to be home in just 12 short hours. Gulp.

Much to my surprise, though, Harry and Jack and I enjoyed each other's company. Harry felt fine, so we could go to the gym and 2 parks and the grocery store.

Jack was cute in that total pain-in-the-ass sort of way (seriously, he is into everything all the time. If I turn around for 2 seconds, he is totally nude, and he is completely illogical and cannot listen to reason but wants to help do everything from baking to laundry to my personal care routine).

The 3 of us did a yoga DVD that I only had to pause once to stop Jack from eating a chunk of Harry's shoulder again. And we baked Paula Deen's monster cookies. (Recipe here). There was a bad moment around 6 when I turned on the TV for H an J so I could clean up dinner before Ben got home, and Dora was on, causing Harry to burst into tears because he claims to hate Dora. I suggested he go play with his iPod if he needed some Dora-free screen time, and he FREAKED OUT because he couldn't find it.

I took a bunch of Hipstamatic pictures at the park because I was so proud of myself for being a fun mom today even though all I wanted to do was lay around and look at the internet.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I picked Harry and Jack up early from school to take them to campus to SEE BARACK OBAMA! LIVE! IN PERSON!

(That's him: the tiny guy behind the Teleprompter)

On the way there, I saw two police horses running riderless down the street, which was pretty effing freaky.

Then, Air Force One flew over us while we stood in line to get into library Mall, a place Ben and I normally walk through everyday. The plane was awesome. Lining up to walk through my own campus? Unnerving.

This building is usually just the quiet graduate library. Today, though, it became THE PLACE BEHIND OBAMA!

On his way to work this morning, Ben took a few pictures of Library Mall getting a facelift for the President's visit-- like this giant VOTE sign that popped up next to the brand new fence.

And the surprisingly efficient and festively tented metal detectors.

By the time we got there, a crowd of line-jumping students had swarmed all over everything.

And there were snipers on the library roof. Just like every Tuesday.

Clearly there was a noise associated wit this face

And this one

We opted to stay away from the standing throng of people and instead sat on some cement steps near the back of the mall. Police were keeping the cement walkway in front of our steps clear in case of an emergency, so the kids had plenty of space to run, and when we stood up, we were able to see the stage. The first thing we did was celebrate our awesome spot by eating hotdogs, natch.

Then Harry and Jack tried to kill me with my own scarf

Jack tried to tied Ben's shoes together

And they both wrestled and sprawled on the filthy ground.

Really, they were excellent kids. They played with the few toys I managed to cram in my teeny purse, and they danced to Ben Harper, the National, and a local band. I took a couple selfies between acts:

Harry played with his iTouch

and an Obama sign

Jack took his pants off and screamed "Nay Nay" and made Ben take him to the Port-a-Potty about 5 times.

We had a great time!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sick Jack

The Unitarian Church gives us a pager when we drop (a usually crying) Jack off at the nursery before service. It's a pager exactly like the ones Chili's gives you when there's a wait.

Last night when we were drinking (the delicious organic fair trade) coffee and chatting with a friend of ours in the time between service and dismissal of children's religious ed. classes, our pager lit up. "Our table's ready," we joked to each other as we finished out coffees (in retrospect, not cool) and headed to the nursery. I thought maybe Jack got sad. Ben thought he crapped his pants.


He projectile vomited Barnes and Noble brownie all over the playroom rug. And himself. And the nursery worker (who also works at my gym playroom).


Poor little guy-- the puke really freaked him out. He kept asking "What puke?" even after we explained what it was. He didn't and doesn't have a fever, and there hasn't been anymore puke. I'd blame the brownie, but Harry split it with him.

Harry was beyond annoyed that we picked him up from class early, and when he opened his car door and caught a whiff of Jack, he said , "Oh great. It totally smells like vomit in here."

Jack was sad because we told him he could pick our Saturday night dinner spot, and he chose Chipotle ('potle, in Jackanese). Instead, Ben ran out for sandwiches, and Jack puked before and after eating. it was dreamy. Today, though, he has kept down all his meals (including lunchtime 'potle). He still has no fever. Weird.

Since he was feeling better today, we put him to work.

He was so cute playing castle. He was making the knights talk to each other, and the horses whinnied. I should have filmed him instead of taking this faceless picture.

A 4 episode Dora marathon made him feel a little better.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More randoms.

Not a lot going on around here.

Today was school picture day, which was a mild pain in the ass because the boys don't actually go to school today, so I had to bring them during their assigned picture times (not like we had a lot going on today, but still. I had to change out of my jammies much earlier than usual). Luckily, their class pictures are just composites, so we were able to do them both at the same time. I also got a rare glimpse of School Harry who is very obedient and says a lot of shit in Spanish.

A little girl greeted Harry with a huge hug and another said, "Oh Harry! You look so handsome!" Two other little girls giggled and said they had never seen a kid in a tie, only their dads.

Jack also wore a tie and looked remarkably like his dad

I should get a little credit for not dressing them totally alike, right?

Uncle Ben made Harry those Batarangs with cardboard and electrical tape. Pretty awesome.

Poor one-sock, W-sitting Jackers. Proof that you actually CAN clean your floor too much-- he slipped on an aggressively Bona-ed spot and slammed his ear on the train table -- huge welt, lots of crying, much ice. Ugh.

Monday, September 20, 2010


The other day at the zoo, the boys were only interested in statues of animals, not the real deal.

Harry was smitten with this painted up sheep.

Notice that they are both staring into the same weird spot in space as their similarly postured animal statues.

Jack is making Pooh Bear climb the penguin in direct violation of the no climbing signs posted all over the creepy painted zoo animals.

Harry the badass

The little weirdos made me take their picture clinging to the big red Target ball

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pumpkin Bread From a Pumpkin and Why Grad Students Should Have Babies

Yesterday, my wonderful, fabulous department had a colloquium on balancing family and work, and it was great, full of both good policy information and terrific human interest stories. I was so into listening that I forgot that I said I would maybe say something about being a graduate student parent, so when I did stand up and blurt some crap out it was all random.

But what I really meant to say was that I love my life. I love teaching classes in my specialty. I love assistant directing a large public speaking class. I love writing my Planned Parenthood book.

And I love being a young hands-on mom to my fantastic kids.

Having kids in grad school was a great decision for me. Here's why:

1. Healthcare: At my university TAs with families pay $35 a month for healthcare, which includes NO COPAYS ever, free dental and vision, and $5 prescriptions. I had 2 kids for FREE. ANd all of their sick and well-baby visits? FREE. (Now that I am a faculty associate, I pay $65 a month for the same coverage. Still ridiculously awesome).

2. Babysitting: Our wonderful nanny was a former student of mine and though we could never take advantage of them because of Ben's non-grad student salary, the University has low-cost daycare options for students, and the campus women's center provide 4 free hours of babysitting a week to student families.

3. Time: Because grad students make carny wages, I never felt bad about flexing my time to be with my kids as close to full time as I possibly could.

4. Discipline: My babies grew up alongside my dissertation, and I became a very efficient and dedicated writer. I had no time to wait for my muse to strike. Instead, I had a set writing schedule dictated by nap hours, Ben's work schedule, and my babysitter's availability. I learned how to write everyday, as part of a careful routine, and this is invaluable to me now, as I juggle a book into my mix.

5. Partnership: Both Ben and I climbed our corporate ladders while balancing kids and careers. As we entered the jobs we hope to have for a long time, we came to them with good habits already formed, expecting to flex our hours together to spend the most time with Harry and Jack, helping each other out on our late nights and neatly dividing our household tasks. As our professional responsibilities grow, they do so within the boundaries we have carved for them-- we're never in danger of our jobs sucking away our home lives because we've grown with the need to juggle.

6. Potential: I am not on the tenure track, and I don't plan to be in the next 6 years. I plan to keep working the job I love and have more babies. The great thing? Is that I also plan to write books and publish essays and I know that the TT will still be there when my kids rely a little less on my physical presence.

In other words, having babies in grad school-- I had a 1 year old and a 3 year old when I finally got my diploma-- has allowed me to have my cake and eat it too.

And today?

That cake was pumpkin, with chocolate chips. I used this recipe, only instead of canned pumpkin, the boys and I pureed our own. We also added a large bag of chocolate chips (well, most of it. We had to, you know, test them first). And! Bonus! We toasted some pumpkin seeds, too!

Harry and Jack were really excited to use this pumpkin they lovingly picked out at the grocery store on Sunday. Jack couldn't even wait for me to wipe off his cream cheese mustache.

Once I hacked it apart, Harry dove in up to his elbows in pumpkin guts, and Jack hung back a bit.

Harry and I had harvested all the seeds and scraped off all the pulp before Jack reached one finger toward the shell.

After I cooked the pumpkin and sliced off all the meat, there was a minor blender mishap

But really, it didn't take long to go from giant pumpkin to neat little bowl of puree

and colander of seeds.

Also a huge freaking mess.

The bread was supposed to cook in 30 minutes, but it actually took 90. That's okay because it's amazing.

So are the muffins, which I made on the fly when I realized I only had one loaf pan and enough batter for 2 loaves of bread.

The seeds are fab, too.

My helpers lost interest along the way

We had a great day-- the gym, the library, the grocery store, some serious baking. Jack crapped his room (yes, you read that right), and everybody got crabby around 4:45, but that's par for the course around here. Excuse me. I've got to go get some more chocolate chip pumpkin deliciousness.