Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

I am pretty drunk on practically clear margaritas at a great New Years Eve party with wonderful friends and my brother and his partner and tons of loud kids. 

I am taking a turn watching Dorothy who is the youngest kid except for Cooper who is the second youngest kid.   The other kids are playing sweetly even though it is past their bedtime because you know my kids go to bed SUPER EARLY. 

I thought I would post one more post for a great little year. 

We got dressed up for a fun date night at a truly delicious steak house/supper club last night. 

And we ate like 6 pounds of steak. 

Today, Dorothy helped me make blueberry muffins
 And I got to debut my super sexy bib overall SNOWPANTS
To go sledding. Sledding was awesome and icy and SO FAST. 

 Harry finished his Millenium Falcon Lego that he got for Christmas and worked on for about 6 hours

Now, like I said, we're at a part. And clearly, I am a party animal. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

We have had some serious fun the last couple of days

We went to Pekin and back, came home to veg and start watching Making a Murderer on Netflix (SO GOOD YOU GUYS), went bowling, lazed around, etc.  A perfect winter break so far, and the kids go back to school on Monday (bigs) and Wednesday (littles).  AND BEN AND I HAVE 2 MORE WEEKS OFF AFTER THAT.

Showing Uncle Jon the castle that is his size exactly.

 Eating the world's messiest PB&J on my LAP on the way to Pekin after we stopped at a Potbelly at like 2:00 when I started crying from hunger and we realized nobody had eaten lunch.  Oops.
 Gizmo in his fancy sweater giving me a kiss.
 They think this rug is the Little Gym's Bi! Red! Mat!
 Kid table
 Happy 68th birthday, dad!!
 Funniest book IN THE WORLD.
 Huge sleet storm on Monday trapped all 10 of us inside all day.  Luckily, there was this fridge:  (It was a 2-bottles of champagne morning, BTW).
 Dorothy had the Big! Red! Mat! and Elsa, so she was all good.
 And cookies.  Also orange juice (which she calls yellow juice).
 Double boredom (I also took a 2-hour nap with Coper, which was awesome).
 Finally around 6 we could venture out for dinner.

 Both my brothers were home, too, so we only had one-bedroom for the six of us.  So the boys pitched a tent in the living room.  THEY LOVED IT.
 Don;t worry-- we fixed her buckles before we hit the road.
 Home and vegging after an early kiddo bedtime.  Ahhhhhh.
 BOWLING!  Ben and I played 2 games to the kids' 1.  I did not break 100 either game, and in our second game, I bowled a 71, tying Cooper for 4th place.  Ugh.

 Lunch.  She was counting TVs at Buffalo Wild Wings.

2015: What I Read, the Top 11 Edition

I read 135 books this year (WHAT?).  The number crept up on me because I don't think I read books I LOVED as much as some of the previous years.  I looked back on my monthly lists, and I chose books that didn't always clear the top 3 at the time but have made an impression over the course of the year.

Here are my top 11 books of 2015:

11.  Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
10.  Armada by Ernest Kline (Might have actually liked Ready Player One better, but I try to keep it to 2015 books on this list.)  (LIKE ANYONE CARES).
9. Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
8.  Revival by Stephen King
7.  We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
6.  Citizen by Claudie Rankine
5.  The Children's Crusade by Ann Packer
4.  A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
3.  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabirelle Zevin
2.  Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capo Crucet
1.  Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

December: What I Read

5.  Art of Memoir by Mary Karr  I really wanted to love this because I would really like to write a memoir, but I just... It was sort of for a grad class and sort of for a popular audience and it just... I don't know.

4.  After You by JoJo Moyes:  THIS WAS TERRIBLE.  It's a sequel to Me Before You, which is going to be a movie and which I really liked, but oh my goodness was it bad.  I actually have not liked any of her other books, but then Me Before You was so good that I reconsidered, but this stinker has made me re-reconsider.

3.  Golden Age by Jane Smiley:  I wrote about this earlier in the month-- a total blocker book for me.  but ultimately, I am glad I finished it because I read the others, and it concluded the series really well, albeit sadly.

2.  Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling:  SO FUNNY.  I don't even totally like Mindy Kaling, and he other book was just kind of meh for me, but this was almost as funny as Bossy Pants and funnier than Yes, Please.

1.  The Children's Crusade by Ann Packer:  THIS WAS TERRIFIC and sad and wistful and made me think a lot about being a parent.  Loved it.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas in iPhone pics

I set a fancy table for Christmas breakfast, and I never get my shit together enough to set a fancy table, so I feel like it can't be photographed enough, really. 
It looked even cuter with delicious cinnamon rolls and eggs and bacon and fruit and cute kids on/around it. 
And then I broke my little loaf pans (that I am using as fruit bowls) while cleaning up. Last year, it was the candy dish. My Spode collection is going in reverse. 
Dorothy took great care opening her stocking, obvs. 
The children are finally old enough to take nice turns opening their gifts-- it was fun, even. 
Jack was especially lovely and happy and elfy. 
Dorothy lost interest but who can blame her with that castle and new packs of guys?
Cooper was also sweet and a very careful unwrapper. 
I was trying to get a pic of Jack and Coop in their matching furry Crocs (and I cut off their feet of course) but Harry photo bombed like an extra head growing out of Jack's arm
My favorite pic of the morning:
Skeptical Baby Henry came over hot more presents
And his first cinnamon roll 
Dorothy was a big fan:
Look! She's smiling at him!
After breakfast, we got dressed "sancy" as Dorothy says and went out for brunch at a pretty hotel on the lake. 

We came back home to play Pie Face, which our Elf on the Shelf Toofy left under the tree for the kids-- they were overjoyed. 
For good reason-- Pie Face is hilarious:

Beatrix loved her new bed. She won't even sleep in her crate anymore. She just stays alone in the living room all night long. 
Cooper spent Chrsitmas night in his new Star Wars tent. 
Dorothy FINALLY took her American Girl out of the box and said "Hi Grace. I love you," and took her to bed. 
Even Harry and Jack got cozy together. 
And I realized that my tights were ripped in the foot but washed them anyway and put them back in my drawer because I  classy like that. 
Now my brother and his partner are here, and we had a fun grown up night last night and are on the way to celebrate my dad's birthday and do Christmas with my parents. Ho ho ho!