Saturday, January 31, 2015

Basketball! And other stuff.

 Thank goodness Jack wore his red shoes to basketball because I forgot my zoom lens and had to take pictures from really far away.

The whole game was adorable.  Two weeks ago when he had his first game, I was at home with the horrible stomach flu, and Ben took all the kids, which must have been terrible for him because it was pretty stressful with both of us wrangling.  Crowded gym. Not a lot of personal space.

 As you can see from the above pictures, Jack  took the whole thing incredibly seriously.  It was great.  Before the game starts, they turn off the main lights and use spot lights when they announce each player-- totally cute.

Also cute, Dorothy cheering and shouting Go Jack!  Not cute?  Dorothy repeatedly running onto the court, which she thought was a the funnest and funnies thing in the WORLD.
 Also not cute?  Harry's pony tail.
 And Cooper's fifteen million tantrums.
 Someday, I hope he is the kind of kid who can handle someone denying him a Gatorade from a vending machine.
 But until that day comes, there is Minecraft.
 I literally had to throw Dorothy in the air and catch her for the last solid minute of the game.  Otherwise, she screamed to run onto the court or, you know, ran onto the court.  SO FUN.
 (she also colored)
 And walked up to Ben and the camera and dais Cheese.  Cheese, dada, cheese, until he took her picture.
 Speaking of cheese...
 I loved this outfit and would wear it myself.
 That kid has 64 teeth.
 Her love of stacking knows no bounds.
 She's also a big fan of chocolate chip cookie bars when the big boys get home from school.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Blog Tour Book Review: Where Have I Been All my Life?

Once again, I am a stop on a TLC Book Tour.  I love doing these reviews because I am reading all kind of books I never would have read before-- look for more reviews soon.

Today, I want to tell you about Cheryl Rice's memoir Where Have I Been All My Life

This is an extremely intimate book-- really, really intimate.  At times, I wondered if I was supposed to be reading it, but I did read it-- gobbled it up, in fact-- because the intimacy drew me in.

Rice begins the book by talking about her mother's death from cancer and noting that this life event was the impetus she needed to finally write the book that had been living inside of her forever.  Rice is a life coach and a therapist, so she knows how to talk about her grief, and she does a wonderful job of personalizing her words for her audience so that she can show her readers exactly how she felt.  Rice writes that the loss of her mother called into question every other aspect of her life, and she claims that he journey through grief became a journey home.

She picks up the theme of homesickness early in the book writing about her summers at camp when she longed to come home, and she carries this thread throughout the memoir, revisiting her childhood home, and searching for her mother in what she terms a motherless world.  The book's penultimate chapter, "Strike up the band," is a joyful story of homecoming that lets the reader know Rice is well on her way to wholeness that mad me cry happy tears.

Rice's voice is strong in this book-- funny sometimes, critical the next, and, ultimately, so honest that she made me uncomfortable.  The format of the book helps amplify this voice-- the chapters are not really chronological and most of them read like stand-alone essays.  She throws in letters and other dialogue throughout that both lighten the mood and help illustrate how far she has come on her journey.

I have a soft spot for memoirs, and this one was satisfying.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Toddler hair. I could talk all day about toddler hair.

 We went out on Saturday night for the first time in what feels like forever.  We have canceled our last 2 nights out-- one to see Jerry Seinfeld because it was to damn cold and one to Milwaukee for an overnight because I got the stomach flu (we also canceled that one to spend time with Henry and fam, but you know, the stomach flu).  So ANYWAY, we had plans to go out with friends of ours, and we have had these plans forever.  Then their babysitter canceled, and we found ourselves on our own.  It was really fun!  We had a low key dinner at a newish place (kale salad and old fashioneds for me; spicy burger and bloody marys for him) and saw Whiplash, which was EXCELLENT.  And the movie theater by our house now has a full service bar, so AWESOME.

And!  You guys!  We have plans to see Imitation Game and American Sniper this weekend and Selma in 2 weeks and we watched The Grand Budapest Hotel last night on TV, and we can watch Boyhood anytime.  And then!  On 2-17, Birdman and The Theory of Everything will be on iTunes, and WE WILL SEE ALL 8 BEST PICTURE NOMINEES BY 2-20!  Cannot WAIT for the Oscars because this has not happened for us in YEARS.  I think 8 of them.

On our date night, I found my favorite leopard stilettos that have been in Ben's car since we walked home from the golf course bar months ago and I swapped my date night shoes for Uggs that I packed just in case we got too drunk to dive, which obvi.

Dorothy LOVES them
 I have been doing a new thing where I put bows in the BACK of her hair, and I love it. I can make the pony tails higher and use the bows to catch the extra hair, and she is not constantly yanking her bows out.  (yes.  yes I do put too much time and thought into Dorothy's hair.  DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG I HAVE BEEN WAITING TO HAVE A LIFESIZE DOLL LIKE HER?  my whole life).
 Jack is the sweetest, funniest, most adorable kid.  I volunteer in his class on Tuesday mornings, and it;s so great because the first grade is a whole room full of cartoons. THEY ARE SO CUTE.  One little girl told me today that she has to wear glasses because when she takes them off, the whole world looks like Candy Land.  I mean, seriously.  Could that be any more adorable?  Jack told me very seriously that he is working on drawing non-stick people.  And he is!  And it's hard!
 Dorothy required 2 jumbo terrible-for-you muffins, a pack of M&Ms, my phone, Ben's phone, her own iPad, and a coloring book to sit through a 50-minute hockey game on Sunday.  Erm.
 Cooper is not even pictured from hockey because he needed so many trips to the snack bar and then spent the rest of his time eating a huge hot dog from his fist and whining.  I think he has ADHD-- neither he nor Harry can stay in their seats during a meal or any other event.  Ben and I joke that we will have to shoot him in the ass with a tranquilizer dart as he walks to school in the mornings.  And it's only kind of funny.

But seriously, back to the hair. How cute is the high bun and bow in back?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

You Guys! I figured out Early Dismissal!

For years now, early dismissal has filled me with dread. So many children at home! So much unstructured time! So little chance I will get my afternoon nap!

And to make matters worse, Ben usually works on Fridays, so early dismissal is me.  All me.  And, you know, all those kids.

So yesterday, we decided to conquer early dismissal by checking into a Hampton Inn down the road that has a great kid pool for a little Friday afternoon/evening swimming and pizza.  And this hotel has a breakfast buffet, so we came back for more swimming this morning!  We got our $113 out of that room, that's for sure.

It's going to be an early dismissal tradition-- there's a Holiday Inn in town with a WATER PARK, so we might try that next time. Although maybe not-- we had a poolside room, and we were always the only people in the water, from 3-8 yesterday and from 8-11 this morning.  HEAVEN.

I took pictures, OF COURSE, but there was other stuff on my camera, so let's talk about a some random stuff, huh?

Before the got THE PLAGUE, we visited baby Henry in the hospital (YOU ARE SO WELCOME, HENRY'S PARENTS)
I always let him hold his own brothers and sister without help, but I did not want him to break someone else's baby. 
So many kids!  Who might break the baby!
This week was the final class of LAST SEMESTER at baby gym.  We have missed the last 5 weeks, one for Disney, 2 for xmas break and then 2 for horrible plague, and in our time away from the gym, I forgot how much Dorothy loves it.  If I had remembered, I never would have hesitated to sign her up.

Look at her bounce!
Clearly, I was looking-- I took about a million pictures of her frolicking with her John Candy in Spaceballs pig tails.

What was Cooper doing?  Sitting outside the gym eating M&Ms and playing iPad.  I asked him what he was doing and all he would say was "Brains!  Eat brains," so I guess he was playing Plants versus Zombies.
Such a little monkey
This is her concentrating face.
She is only 22 months old!  And she can walk a balance beam by herself and jump off the end!
I mean, sure, it has an extender, but still!  Look how high she is!
She was very serious about getting her ribbon

When she smiles nowadays, she actually SAYS cheese-- it's my favorite.
She even loved the high bars
And the photo props in the lobby
I almost made this my FB profile pic, but I really think people should be IN their profile pics.  Should have given Cooper my camera or used my selfie stick.

Okay seriously, how cool is this hotel pool?
Dorothy and Cooper didn't want to go yesterday, so Harry, and Jack and I swam our faces off and Ben stayed home with the babies.

Then the boys ate an entire large stuffed crust cheese pizza by themselves.  Gross.
Also gross, this weird folksy campaign at Hampton Inn.  My friend staying at one in the burbs last night posted this same note on FB, so it's a THING.  So weird.
Cooper wanted to come this morning, so the three of them destroyed the breakfast buffet, and then all 4 of us swam from 8:30-11.  SO.  PRUNEY.
Loving the shorts and Uggs look
After swimming, the 3 boys relaxed in bed and watched Disney tween shows until we had to check out.  I read a book.  It was lovely.
And now?  I am looking forward to the next early dismissal.  Who knew?