Friday, August 31, 2012

Working mom for a week

We have made it! Through the one week a year when I have to work 9-5 M-F! (Except not on Thursday because holy shit! 5 days in a row! I am an academic, people!) Well, we have almost made it. I am still at the office, and so is Ben. Yes! You read that right-- BOTH of us had to work! (Not him all week, but still there was overlap! We had a sitter! It was madness!)

 I can safely say I have a new appreciation for working moms with a more traditional schedule. As much as I bitch about the kids over the summer (Because summer is long and the children are many), it really does suck for me to work outside the house until dinner time, the neediest time of the day, and then come home and have to jump into parenting with both feet.

 One day, Ben met me halfway across town, and I jumped out of the Prius and into the Sienna full of screams to drive the kids back home to eat dinner while he taught a night class. (I also had to take a 2 hour lunch that day to drive home for Harry's Read! Set! Goal! first grade conference).

The next day, I came home to find the kids happily playing with their babysitter because Ben had already left to teach another night class. This was infinitely preferable to jumping in the screaming van, but I still had to slog through the mess that comes with not being the one home all day to tidy things up, you know? And I had to immediately guide everyone across the street to meet Jack's teacher. And I missed dinner because my drive home sucks at rush hour, so I had to wait to eat until the kids were in bed, and I was cranky.

Another day, I came home as Ben and the kids were busting out the door for soccer practice, so I joined them and again delayed dinner until after 7:30. BRUTAL. Today, he and I should both be home at the same time (I am going to be few minutes later so that I do not have to be the dread FIRST RESPONDER).

 And phew! The week is over.

We can go back to never overlapping each other and never having to rush out the door in the morning. This morning when we were trying to both make our lunches and get dressed whole also cleaning up breakfast and dressing the children was HARD. As much as I complain about work life balance, I really have found the magic combo for myself-- and it just takes a week of being off kilter to make me appreciate things.

Ben's the one doing a tightrope act next week. Tuesday is my first day of my freaking 8:00 am class (seriously, people, what was I thinking when I scheduled that class??). It is also the snowflakes' first day of school. And Parent-Teacher-Organization-Vice-President Ben has to host a back-to-school breakfast for all the parents at our school (except the assholes like me who have to work). So, he has to manage 3 kids, pick up donated bagels and coffee from 5 separate local establishments, take Pinterest first-day-of-school pictures in front of the house, get everyone and all his donated food across the street, set up breakfast, deposit the children, wrangle Cooper, serve breakfast, and stay for a PTO meeting. HA! FOTY material for sure.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Sorry about about the blog silence. Ben went back to work this week, and I have spent the whole week taking care of my own children all by myself-- oh, the horror. Most days, our only accomplishment was lounging by the pool (pool days are almost over!), but today-- today!-- I finally got my groove back (just in time to start work next week-- oops). We bought school supplies, went shoe shopping, trashed the playroom like 4 separate times, and I made homemade spaghetti sauce and brownies. School supplies. zOMG. 2 kids, 2 lists, $85 each. And I still have to buy Jack a cute little North Face backpack and get Harry a new special snowflake bento lunchbox. School is not cheap, huh? But soooo worth it, especially if Harry and Jack love their classes as much as Harry adored his kindergarten. I have also decided to get rid of my summer mom hag just in time for school to start. Step one was a hair cut- my first since February (except bang trims of course). I want to grow my hair super, super long, and I am on my way. It skims my collar bone now, and I want to keep going. So, I have to stop washing it everyday. But I am addicted to washing my hair everyday. I bought a bunch of shower caps and dry shampoo, and I have not washed it since Wednesday. Ew. I am stuck at a 7.5-8 pound weight loss with 6.5 or 7 pounds to go to get to my pre-Cooper weight. The last few days I have been eating more (candy corn!) I blame last week's giant farmers market zucchinis that caused me to make 2 loaves of bread, a cake, and 24 muffins. This is scintillating, I know. Pictures?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Since we've been home...

So much has happened since we came home from vacation!  Ben got Cooper's virus, an so did Jack.  I felt awful on the ride home but was okay once we got here, and Harry did not get sick (knock wood).

While Ben and Jack laid around sick, I took Harry and Cooper to the zoo.  Cooper squawked a lot, but Harry loved it and chatted constantly.  He also rode the merry-go-round on an up and down animal which he almost never does.
Becca and Ryan and their 3 boys came to Madison for the week!  They stayed with us for the first 2 nights, but then our house got ripped up by the flooring company, so they spent another 2 nights at a downtown hotel.  The kids and I hung out downtown yesterday, and Becca and the boys came over for one last playdate today.  The kids had a great time!  Jack really misses "West."

Cooper, James, and coffee
Jack and Wes at the park (we had lunch right before this and 3/6 kids cried.  I forgot Harry's sandwich but offered him a giant cookie for lunch, but he lost his shit anyway, poor guy.
On Wednesday, Amy and her ids came to town for the day/night.  We braved Panera with all the kids for lunch.  Loud, loud lunch.
We had dinner at our favorite local pizza place that has a downstairs playroom that the kids LOVED.  They also cleaned it up in record time because the big kids read a sign that said they'd get a prize if they cleaned the playroom.  We also had pie and or cupcakes and tried to get a smiling picture of the whole crowd.
Thursday, the floor people came, and the kids and I were sequestered in the basement.  We had a sad basement lunch. (I ate a naked salad with my fingers.  The kids fared much better).
We met the Academomia crew by the lake for a walk
Spontaneous hand holding
Today, Harry built this guy whom he named 29-armed Larry.

We finished our week of friends with a lunch at Chipotle.
And Orange Leaf
The boys miss their Texas friends, but they were all thrilled when Harry found 3 Buzz Lightyear costumes.
Cooper in a duck suit and a Thor helmet
And our brand new hickory floors!
From every angle
Because I love them
So much.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

11 months

I know people who think that Ben and I are crazy cakes for doing laundry-- including folding and putting away-- every single day.  But I just spent 2 hours folding and putting away a mound of vacation laundry, and that ridiculousness just reconfirmed the sanity of my daily laundry plan.  I spend maaaybe 20 minutes a day on laundry and that is WAY BETTER than the laundry marathon I just pulled. I cannot imagine having "laundry day" every week and dealing with that mess.  I shudder to think of it!

Ben and I both LOST WEIGHT on vacation, and we still indulged in our favorites, like delicious fresh ocean fish, pina coladas,  ice cream for lunch, and even the kind of fast food that we never eat at home. On the road, I had a Filet o Fish from McDonalds, my favorite fast food sandwich ever.  At 380 calories, it is more than I usually eat for lunch, but oh my goodness it was artery clogging and delicious.  I cannot STAND McD's salads, but Wendy's makes a pretty good almond chicken salad (minus the almonds), and who can resist a kid-size Frosty?  Panera has become our go-to fast food joint because the calories counts are clearly stated; there are lots of options under 300 calories, and the snowflakes can have organic dairy products.  Even Cooper loves a cream-cheese-slathered bagel and a chopped-up fruit cup.

I have lost 7 pounds and have 7 more to go to be at my pre-Coper weight (which was a couple pounds heavier than usual, but who cares??).  I know that I am heading into candy corn, pumpkin muffin, and apple cider donut season, but I think I can be strong.  Honey crisps are coming my way, too, so that helps.

Ben and Jack got monster sick with Cooper's virus (sore throat and body aches, sustained high fever, exactly what I had in the car on the way home.  Ugh), but they feel better today. We are gearing up for a visit from Snarky Mommy and the Academomia family next week.  Which reminds me!

Have you bought Amy's book yet?  You totally should.  You can get it on iBooks, Kindle, Nook, or in paperback:  Baby Bumps by Amy Sprenger.

Oh yeah!  The other day, Cooper turned 11 months old!  Woo-hoo!  I am already scouring Etsy for custom birthday invites, looking for a perfect birthday t-shirt (for him, duh) and ordering cakes and cookies favors.  Such a big little guy!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Days 6-8

We had so much fun on Hilton Head!  What a great vacation!  To be very clear, we did not leave early-- we got to the beach a day early and decided to head home after 5 days on the beach (our original plan) on Wednesday to avoid a line of severe storms we did not want to drive through.

Harry and Jack were generally great, but Cooper?  Cooper was a whole other story.

The whole trip, we had been saying things like man Cooper was a little too young for vacation and can you believe what a pain in the ass babies are on vacation?  The kid screamed nonstop-- at every restaurant and indoor space we entered, in the room at night, on the beach if someone looked at his favorite orange shovel, in the Ergo as I walked the beach for exercise after breakfast.  He was a 20-pound scream machine, and we blamed his age or his disposition.

Then, on Tuesday, he spiked a 103-degree fever and broke out all over his body in a red rash composed of tiny dots of magenta.  His whole body-- top of the head, top of the ears, entire trunk, each tiny toe, even the bottoms of his feet.  When his fever was still 101.7, we called our doctors office, expecting a nurse to call us back.  Instead, our doctor called us back, but he was really reassuring, said we could enjoy the beach with Cooper if he wanted to and that he likely had a virus.  He said we didn't have to be concerned unless his fever went above 103.  An hour later, Cooper woke up whimpering from a nap, and sure enough, the ear thermometer read 103.5.

We started freaking out at this point because we planned to start our drive home Wednesday instead of Thursday sine we got there a day early and since  there were horrible storms forecast for SC/TN/KY/IN on Thursday.  (We were really flexible on both ends of the trip because we knew we would have to adjust for weather.  If Cooper were not sick, we might have stayed until Friday, but leaving on Thursday was never an option as the weather picture came into focus.)

We called the island urgent care, but they said we should go to the ER with a fever that high.  That sounded freaking horrible, so we gave Cooper some Motrin, and when his fever went back down a little, I took Harry and Jack back out to the beach, and Ben and Cooper headed to urgent care.

In addition to our rashy baby, the afternoon's patients were a woman our moms' age who had a giant lump on her forehead from where her grandson hit her with a golf club (accidentally) and a man who fell off his bike and ripped his ear halfway off his head.  The ear guy refused pain medicine, claiming it did not "sit well" with him.  Ben could hear the doctor arguing with him in the next room, telling him that sewing his ear back on would be painful (!), and the guy asked for something to bite on or maybe some ice.  The doctor finally convinced the guy to have some novocaine, and the guy said "I want you to know you are putting this on for you, not for me."  Ben also said the guy was sitting calmly in the waiting room with a T-shirt wrapped around his ear.  WTH?  And also, the doc in the box can sew an ear back on, but a fever is too much?  Anyway, he agreed with Just a Virus and ruled out strep and scarlet fever.  We rotated Tylenol and Motrin every 4 hours, and by today, both the rash and the fever are gone.  Cooper's lack of appetite also made the drive home pretty convenient.  But he has not slept more than 2 hours in a row since SUNDAY NIGHT.  So that sucks pretty hard.
Such a tiny torso


Face rash
Celebrating their last night with room service dessert

Jack made a stuffed animal during kid activity time

Last lunch at their favorite resort cafe

Playing horse in the waves.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Day 5

I'm not going to lie to you. Today I wanted to go home. It was a combination of a trifecta of terrible behavior and making the mistake of looking too closely at the freshly "cleaned" toilet in my bathroom. I miss my well-behaved kids and my sparkling bathrooms. Also, everything is a pain in the ass when you are away from home with small kids. And if things like meals and shopping for essentials are easy, that means you are paying out the nose. It seems like a no-brainer and something I should have known going into this trip, but vacation with kids is tons of work.

As it turns out, we will likely leave a day early due to weather, but that's why we worked so hard to get here a day early-- we knew storms could change our travel plans, especially in the middle of midwest summer. 5 days on the beach was always the plan. Also, Cooper has a low grade fever and a rash on his diaper area and trunk-- his 2nd fever and first rash-- so we kind of want to be home. Did I mention he is sleeping like shit? Yeah.

Today was our 7th anniversary, and we ended up having a fantastic day, although Harry was SUCH a pain in the ass, we had a shitty afternoon for awhile. It's not that he doesn't listen-- he does. It's that he does THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what we ask him to do-- whatever we ask him to do, whether it's something low stakes like hey, don't use so much wet sand, you'll never be able to make a castle with that bucket or something more important like hey, don't go in the bedroom and wake up the sleeping baby. Whatever we say, he does the opposite. Hopefully it's a short-lived phase.

We rallied, showered, and went to dinner at a fantastic fish place where we ate on the harbor. The kids slept for 20 minutes in the car and woke up refreshed and ready to pig out and shop for cheesy island souvenirs.

We came home from dinner still in good moods all around and took some pictures on the beach.  For some reason, my photos imported in random order, but trust me-- it was a good day.

Jack falling in a hole, of course.

Lady taking our picurue was concerned that the kids didn't all smile at the same time.  Yeah.  Welcome to my life.

We built Mt. Gloopmore at 3 this afternoon and it was still there at 7 pm (a little diminished, but still standing).  the boys were thrilled.

Ben and I had brownie sundaes for lunch at our favorite ice cream pace today after feeding the kids their favorite hotel kiddie meals in pails.  A win all around.

Ben took H and J for pnoy rides while Cooper and I had an afternoon nap.

This poor pony looks really small under Harry

Much more Jack's size
Cooper is an emphatic drinker

So! Much! Food!

Outside the hotel

Ha!  We retook this selfie.

Kids smiling under threat of losing their new stuffed animals.


Searching for Mt. Gloopmore

So cute

A little dangerous