Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm so clicking my heels together right now!

It's called Another You, and it's 50,154 words and so schmaltzy I cried all my makeup off when I wrote the last scene!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Half Full.

You know what? Despite all the bitching, I think I might actually be an optimist.

I love my morning's first cup of coffee-- scalding hot, in an oversized mug, enjoyed in solitude, holding the promise of a new day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

One Classy Parrot

Today we found all of our Christmas books and dusted the bookshelf in the boys' room which probably hasn't been dusted since last winter. Oops. Then Harry and Jack took off all their clothes and wrestled.

Randomly, Jack took one of his self-directed spontaneous naps, and when Ben and I found him, we thought maybe he shouldn't be left alone with raisins, and were relieved he was sleeping.

At dinner, Harry told us he wants a parrot, so he can teach it to say the names of girls' private parts.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stuff we did today

Ben made a fantastic mini-Thanksigivng tonight so we could spend the week gorging on leftovers-- he made turkey, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, and brownies.

We also got some picture frames for all of our creepy mall Santa pictures-- can't wait to see the creepy mall Santa this week before he gets too dirty.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving, Part 2

Okay, click on the picture below and when you embiggen it, look at the framed picture on the wall behind my grandpa-- a cartoon drawing of a guy on his ham radio (supposed to be my grandpa-- was drawn by a friend years ago)

Now look at THIS picture of my grandpa this morning on his radio

This morning we went back to my grandparents house and descended upon the leftovers like wild dogs. Jon poached a bunch of eggs for him and Ben and then ate so much chopped liver he said when he takes a shower, water will bead right off of him. He's shiny like a seal.

I saved my wild dog eating skillz for this spiced pumpkin cake with lemon glaze-- delish, if I do say so myself. And I do.

My dad went for the egg sandwich.

And really, I should not say "wild dog" because Huntley, the only dog in attendance, was quite dainty and patient (and he and my dad make the same faces- ha!)

The was much more general eating and laughing today

Harry and Jack had the most fun ever playing with my aunt and my cousin at their house. This morning, my aunt offered to switch cars with us and take the kids over to play, and Ben and I got their shit out to the car so fast her head was spinning. When we came over to get them kind of a rudely long time later, she was feeding them a lovely lunch. WIN! WIN! WIN! Jack said his favorite person to hang out with was "Aunt Boo." Pretty cute.

Speaking of H and J-- they looked cute sleeping last night

But J woke up at an ungodly hour and demanded breakfast at the hotel restaurant, of which he ate 3 bites max.

And, randomly, here he is passed out with a green donut (thanks dad) on the way home

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Perfect Thanksgiving

Today we ventured to Iowa to have Thanksgiving dinner with my grandparents, parents, brothers, aunt, uncles, and cousins. It was awesome and delicious and hilarious-- you know, pretty much the perfect Thanksgiving. The food was amazing; everyone was really freaking funny, and I drank a ton of wine. Ben and I even kicked some euchre ass. My pictures, though, are not totally awesome because I was too busy having fun. But still, I took a few.

Harry woke up at the crack of dawn excited to wear his tie.

The 4.5 hour drive did not feel as long as it was-- a rarity for sure.

As soon as we got there, the boys enjoyed a healthy candy snack.

My dad was super animated

Harry had so much fun playing with my cousins and their Nintendo DS. They also all played with my mom's iPad and Harry's Leapster-- it was pretty adorable.

Jack got in some quality bed jumping time

For the first time in recent memory, Ben and I were relegated to the kid table, but I didn't even hold a grudge. I took a couple of pictures, but I was distracted by the food nom-nom-nom.
Kid table:

The grownup tabele:

Ben was putting Jack to bed in the bedroom of our hotel room, and Harry was sitting beside me munching on Bunny crackers and watching King of the Hill because it was the only cartoon on. One minute, he was watching and eating, the next minute, he was this:

I hope to join him soon. (Like literally join him and Jack in their king-size bed because this couch that we're on right now? So not big enough for two. Might not be big enough for one, even. Lucky, lucky Ben).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oh my gosh! Almost forgot to blog!

Because I was too busy packing and cooking for Thanksgiving!!

My kid watched about 11 hours of TV today (which is why I took no pictures-- no need to memorialize that. Oh, wait.) while I made a chocolate cherry cheesecake, a spiced pumpkin cake, a million pumpkin muffins, and a green bean casserole. Last year, I made a green bean casserole entirely from scratch (no cans! made my own cream of mushroom even!) , and the only thing that was at all remarkable about it was that it tasted exactly like the canned version. This year, I bought all the ingredients for a semi-fresh/semi-canned casserole on a Trader Joe's end cap, so we'll see. Maybe next year, it'll be Green Giant and Campbell's all the way.

In the bathtub tonight, Ben asked Harry what he was thankful for, and Harry said, "My family." Total parenting WIN (so maybe it makes up for the TV FAIL?)

Happy Thanksgiving-- I hope you have safe travels and eat yourself silly.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dr. Harry's Legacy

Dude! They didn't erase the board! On my way to a meeting yesterday, I slipped into the lecture hall where Professor Harry taught class and saw this:


Monday, November 22, 2010

Dr. Harry

Professor Harry lecturing with his creepy little hand.

(After he was done drawing on the board this weekend in the very official tab room of Ben's speech tournament, I boxed off his squiggles and wrote SAVE above them-- do you think they are still there, confusing the shit out of some lecturer today? I hope so).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jack's happy place

Jack's happy place is on a swing. He could swing for hours.

While we generally don't push him for hours, we do push him until his fat cheeks feel like squishy ice cubes. I love fat baby cheeks in cold weather.

Today, we hung out at the park despite near-freezing temps. We even had a pumpkin muffin picnic on a rock (not pictured: ben's and my steaming hot beverages that we used to keep the freak warm). Harry loves to bring a trick-or-treat pumpkin full of sidewalk chalk to the park to draw cut little preschooler graffiti all over rocks and jungle gyms. I should have taken a picture of the way he writes his name-- the letters are sort of in proximity to each other, but the order is totally random.

Harry perfected the art of climbing a jungle gym in winter gear at preschool last year (kids are hearty in this state-- they go outside at school twice a day as long as it isn't 20 below. Um. I stop taking the kids outside when it's 20 above.)

We had another lovely, quiet day. In keeping with the theme of finding happiness in ordinary moments, we have also tried to simplify our lives, spending fewer material resources and more time with each other. So far, everyday has been a blessing, as cheesy as that can possibly sound.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wish List

Today at breakfast (which I attended after sleeping an extra hour by myself after the kids joined us at 6:20, and Ben rolled out of bed, gathered his quilt, and took them downstairs to watch a movie for awhile-- best.husband.ever.), we went around the table and everyone said what they'd like to do to make their Saturday perfect.

Jack: go to his favorite park and play. We can bundle up and do that.

Me: go to the gym. Check- the childcare room opens at 8, and there's a fantastic library book and an elliptical machine screaming my name

Harry: watch the iCarly/jack Black special that was on Nick last night on demand while he eats lunch. No problem, little buddy.

Ben: make a nice dinner-- we're thinking a roast and then we'll make the leftovers into italian beef sandwiches later in the week. Yum.

How nice that we can make all of our wishes come true and we didn't even need Harry Potter's magic wand.

(Whenever Harry plays Harry Potter, Jack says that he's Jack Potter and calls me Mommy Potter, which totally cracks me up.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Brotherly love

It used to be that Harry and Jack were always fighting. Seriously, if they were in the same room with each other for 2 minutes, they;d be screaming, hitting and biting. I was spending half my day telling them to knock it off, and it was making us all tense. Lately, though, they have been-- wait for it-- getting along with each other.
Here they are the other day playing in their room. They were happy the whole time I put the laundry away, and I even had time to lie on my bed and look at the internet until I was discovered. Even then, they weren't fighting-- they just wanted me to read to them which I did because I'd be a pretty huge asshole if I didn't, right?

Today, we found a Playmobil race car set that must have been forgotten after the toy fest that was Harry's 4th birthday. It was in the box and everything. After I assembled it for them, they played together for almost an hour-- and they only stopped playing because they wanted lunch, not because someone was bleeding or something terrible like that (which has been why they've usually stopped playing). When we opened the package, harry even said, "Oh good! There's 2 cars inside so we can both have one." So nice (and weird).

They still fight-- don't get me wrong. The minute I turn on the shower and step inside and unwrap a fizzy aromatic lavender shower capsule, in fact, they fight. I'm so happy for the moments when they play together, though. It makes my job a heck of a lot easier.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Lately, I have been working a bit more, and I don't always make it home for bedtime, which means I sometimes miss out on our family picture.

At the beginning of the year, we tried to find interesting locations to snap our daily family shot, and I was really good about getting everyone together before Ben went to work. Then we hit a period in the middle when we forgot to take pictures, and I stopped posting them everyday, preferring instead to save up 3 or 4 and post them all at once and fudge the post dates to make it look like I have been posting faithfully all along. The last couple of months, we have been pretty lazy about the whole process, jumping on our bed nearly every night when the kids are fresh from the tub. Even though our pictures aren't as interesting as they were at the beginning of the year, they have finally become part of our routine.

If Ben or I forgets, Harry or Jack will remind us. Harry likes to pretend to pout or cry in the pictures for some reason (and Ben always tells him that when he's older, he'll look back and think he had a very sad childhood which usually makes me laugh), and Jack has been screaming "Happy Halloween" in the camera's flash for month. The picture has become a part of our night time ritual, like pre-bath playtime and laundry folding/putting away, like splashing in the bath with whatever odd assortment of action figures they choose to bring in, like snuggling with a towel-wrapped Jack while Harry slithers through the suds until every drop of bubbly water is sucked down the drain, like feeding the guppies who live on Ben's dresser, like brushing teeth and listening, drowsy, to library book after library book.

10 seconds together while the camera beeps and flashes its red light. Then a click and pop of light and we spring off the bed, scattering as one to look at our picture, see if anyone's face is obscured or if anyone looks to terrible for posterity. Then a chorus of goodnights and I love yous and two little boys who go to sleep two different ways.

When I come home long after the boys are in bed, I know Ben will have a picture waiting for me to post. The other night, he also had this:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sorry for the dramz

You guys are awesome. The emails, the phone calls, the FB messages, the wonderful supportive comments. Thank you.

We are okay. Like really, truly okay. This Bad Thing is not a matter of life and death at all, and I am sorry I have been so glum. It's Bad, and I can't really talk about it on here, and I am sad and need to vent, and this blog has always been the place where I vent. So. The dramz. That's why.

But I have so much to be thankful for. Beautiful kids. A wonderful husband. A house I am learning to love again. A job I adore. A storage room full of Chrismukkah presents. Leftover Halloween candy my kids have forgotten about that contains FULL SIZE TWIX BARS AND KIT KATS still-- silly kids.

And these

It's Girl Scout Ccokie season-- I can eat as much as I want and not feel bad because I won't have these babies for another year!

So, to recap: Thanks for the support. We're okay. I might continue to write depressing things because I am a little blue, but we're fine. And we have cookies.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Put on a happy face

Today I am grateful for a job I love so much that I am happy to get to campus when the sky looks like this

In my bag, I have a Pyrex dish that contains a packet of instant oatmeal already moistened. I will throw it in the microwave when I check my mail on the way to my office, will dump my heavy load of books and peripherals on the floor by my desk and go back to the mailroom to retrieve my cereal, store my lunch in the fridge. I even brought milk to mix in when my oatmeal's cooked, a strawberry cereal bar to eat on the side. I will breakfast alone at the table in the corner of my office, my laptop open, knowing that I get my best work done in these stolen moments before the hall is filled with people and after they've all gone home.

Walking up the large cement steps to my building this morning, I saw dark sky toward the lake, but the rising sun slowly kissed the side of the business school in front of me, turning the bricks pink as it moved through the sky that dared to blue itself I think maybe just for me, for us, for my husband patiently gathering our preschoolers and their things, for my four-year-old who surprised us by spelling "Bill" at the breakfast table, for my two year-old who woke up with red cheeks and lightening-strike hair on the left side of his head, for our little family bouncing in rough waters and hoping we don't capsize, thinking we won't, guessing we might, wishing we'll float.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Making his list

I am almost 23,000 words into my novel and will likely not finish.

It is not like me to quit things in the middle, and I feel very unsettled about it. I used to thrive on deadlines, even self-imposed ones. That's what grad school is all about, really.

Ever since The Bad Thing That I Can't Blog About happened, though, I have no ambition for a frivolous project, have to drag myself through even the most practical ones. My daily must-do list swells, and at night, I can barely keep up with the plot of a TV show, much less remember details of a dream world I created under slightly different circumstances.

I took this picture of Ben and Harry yesterday.

Ben was faithfully taking dictation for Harry's Chrismukkh wish list that we promised to mail to Santa but really just stuffed in our kitchen mail/junk basket so we could take it with when we shop. He started the list by thanking Santa for all the candy-- so much that it spilled from his stocking all over the floor, a detail that's stuck with him all year- and telling him that he appreciated the train table. he said that he and Jack have been sort of good this year and that they have tried to be really good which cracked us both up because that's just about right. It was an adorable moment, one that made Ben and me lock eyes and take stock of the little things we're thankful for. Especially the little 40 pound thing in front of us and the 30 pound thing snoring upstairs. THEN HE ASKED FOR EVERY TOY THAT HAS EVER BEEN ON TV, which wasn't as cute.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quiet weekend

We had a lovely, quiet weekend. Lots of cooking, which was a nice change of pace from our usual weekends, which are spent inside one restaurant after another. I even made a delicious chocolate layer cake, and if I had it to do over again, I would put more chocolate between the layers, but other than that-- delicious. I even topped it with chocolate shavings from Hershey bars from the boys' long forgotten Halloween stash.

Harry loved it

(Jack did too, but he ate his before I could take a picture.)

Ben surprised Harry with a trip to the Badger game on Saturday, and when Harry found out where they were going, he jumped up and down and clapped his fat little hands. "Just me and you Dada?" he asked. He looked at his shirt. "Mama!" he said. "You put me in a Wisconsin shirt this morning! Dd you know I would be going to see Bucky?"

He had a great time despite the freezing rain and a long walk to the stadium

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Scholastic book orders sure have changed

Harry and Jack's are totally online now, although their teachers still hand out the good old flyer (you know the one-- it hasn't changed since you were in school). We perused the flyer at the coffee shop after school the other day, and in the morning before Jack woke up, Harry and I placed our online order.

I was such an old lady about the whole thng-- found the website really hard to navigate and had to call customer service twice- once because I couldn't find my ten-digit customer number and once because I pushed "send" too many times and ordered 5 of my shopping cart. D'oh.

When we selected our books-- chapter books for Harry, a bunch of interminable Dora books for Jack, some blended holiday books, and a few funny stories from my childhood that I'm excited to read-- I thought about all the quiet bedtimes these books will bring with them, fat little fingers that point to the pages and lisping, lilting voices that will ask plot questions, soft, damp heads that smell like lavender, and smooth, shiny cheeks pressed against mine, sweet dreams surely to come.