Monday, July 31, 2017

Sunday Funday

I took precisely 4 pictures yesterday, but you know what?  I think they sum things up pretty well.

1.  My shoes.  The one on the left got washed with some towels because Ben was totally exhausted from driving home from the Sox game and then staying up until 1 because we put the kids to bed at midnight and then stayed up with a hyper dog for an hour.  I ended up washing the other one, too, and they're both totally fine.  Who knew you could put Birks in the washing machine?  (By the way Dorothy calls these my dirty shoes with the foot prints which is about right.)
2.  I mentioned Ben was exhausted, but I was, too.  Clearly.  This was us looking as good as we possibly could-- which is clearly not very-- before our friends came over to have pizza and play badminton. 

3.  Cooper, testing out the Bloody Mary bar. 

4.  Badminton, with Dorothy in the way like she was.

We had a lovely Sunday full of friends and junk food-- what could be better?  We are doing this thing where instead of inviting a million people over who don't even really fit in our house, we are going to have more people over in smaller increments.  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Happy retirement!

 I only took Beatrix to the groomer because she smelled bad.  The above picture was just a happy accident.

But really, I want to tell you that Ben's dad is retiring from his company after 36 years and to celebrate the company rented out a HUGE suite at the White Sox game, and we had the best time.  Food!  Drink! Desserts!  A coffee bar!  Liquor!  It as awesome, and I tink these pictures can speak for themselves.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Notes on writing. And a little baseball.

 Good news:  I just wrote the first 2 pages to a new novel, and they're good.
Bad news:  Still working on my other book that's stalled and fairly plotless.

In other shame spiral news, I have been dreading working on my spring class because I am creating it fresh and it's really overwhelming.  BUT.  I sat down yesterday with a notebook and pen (so retro) and the wonderful syllabi that my generous friends from grad school have shared with me (feminist collaboration FTW) and wrote a class outline and in just a few minutes, I will write a syllabus!

Such a relief!  I can't make a reading list or a class schedule or write any exams yet because I just ordered a ton of books, and I am still not sure what I actually want to students to read.  But the task of figuring this out is so much less daunting now that I know what my learning objectives are and how I will assess their mastery.

Who knew there was a class outline bubbling under the surface the whole time??


At least until next month when the kids all start fall ball (FML, just a little bit)
 Jack, scoring his final run of the season.  Phew!
My new favorite snack is freeze dried peaches, by the way.  Not because they taste great-- they actually, um don't-- but because I can eat the WHOLE BAG for 130 calories.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Might be drinking the non-toxic MLM Kool-Aid

I am not a huge fan of multi-level marketing schemes and products.  I mean, sure I had my time with Shakeology. And there was my obsession with Matilda Jane.  And I flirted with Young Living oils.  Oh and I still use Nerium face cream on my eyes.  My favorite earrings are from Stella and Dot.   And I will love with fierce devotion my Thirty-One bags-- you should buy them here-- until I die.  Also, Usborne book parties are kind of amazing.  So, maybe my opening sentence is total bullshit.  Except for Lularoe, which I could ever get into, and Rodan and Fields which is always too rich for my blood, I actually appear to freaking love MLM products and parties.  And actually?  A friend was giving another friend back a Tupperware chip and dip bowl the other day, and the bowl was so cool I wanted to host a party right there on the spot.  Jeez.

So, I heart MLM products and parties, and I went to a Norwex party last night, and I wanted to throw  every cleaning products in my house away and buy the entire catalogue.  So, I think I might have to become a consultant.  I know.  Just when you though I could not BE any more stereotypically mom-like.  Everybody needs a side hustle, right?  Do you sell anything?  Do your friends hate you for it?  How do you make it work?

This is my first kid who has asked for a BOOK for his birthday (A really cool pop up dinosaur encyclopedia at the library that's not for check out.  It is also out of print and a million dollars, so I got the shark one, which I hop is a good substitute. ) Can't wait to see him all curled up on the bench in his robe reading it.
 What the hell, man?  (I assume he's buying for a restaurant, actually, but a cart full of watermelon made me giggle)
 FINALLY!  A zucchini in the garden that I could make into a cake.  A really, really, really excellent cake. (I leave out the pecans, BTW).

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Adventures in working motherhood

 I have not had a schedule snafu like the one I had this week in AGES.

I am doing a series of presentations for the parents of incoming freshman this summer, and I signed up for a couple of extra sessions to replace someone else with a schedule issue and then realized that I had to take Dorothy to the first one because every one else was camping and that I had to take ALL OF THE KIDS to the second one because Ben was working.

I could have left Harry and Jack and home, but then who would have watched the other 2 kids?!

We left the house at 9 am for an 11 am talk because I was paranoid about parking and getting where I needed to be on time.  Since I only live about 25 minutes from campus, that was kind of a dumb plan.  But!  we had loads of extra time to explore my office and building, which is where I got this random pic of Dorothy:
 The kids looked to be pretty well occupied before I went into the auditorium for my talk, which went fine.
 I was relieved after to find everyone in one piece and still happy, and if I had longer arms, this would have been a picture of all of us.
 Sometimes I cannot believe that all of these wonderful, growing kids are mine, especially when I see them all fanned out in a public space.
 Jack is a natural college kid.  He likes everything about being on campus and he just fits right in.  I expect to see him leaning in the doorway of a frat house popping a can of beer, shirtless and scratching his stomach at 10:30 am.  HE IS GOING TO LOVE IT SO MUCH.
 Taking them all to the cafeteria is still dicey because only Harry and Jack can hold trays.  I fully intended to go back through the line and get myself something, but lunch was $35, and that was more than I wanted to invest in cafeteria food.  Harry and Jack got burgers and fries and desserts and fountain drinks, and Harry snagged a banana.  Totally fine and normal lunches.  Cooper got a bowl of plain spaghetti, an M&M cookie, a bowl of Fruity Pebbles, and a chocolate milk, and Dorothy had Froot Loops, a grilled cheese sandwich, a mint brownie, and 2 white milks.  SO FUNNY.  (Clearly, I did my best not to influence their choices because watching them assemble a weird meal in a cafeteria is a serious joy of mine-- I need to do it more often)
 Cooper watched all of our trays all the way into the dishwashing room.  I assured him he could get a student hourly job washing dishes if he wanted to.  He seems keen on the idea.  Except by then the dishes will be washed by robots and only lords-- and I would say ladies, but the way it's going it'll just be lords-- will go to college. #plebian
 I spent the afternoon beating Harry in badminton (ha! still got it!) and getting demolished by Ben who is freakishly good at badminton-- like seriously good-- and then rounding up the little kids to go to the library and triumphantly turn in their summer reading program folders.
 I was really, really tired last night, but I rallied for the birthday of a friend.  We started with beers on the Terrace which is basically the first thing you should do if you ever come to visit.  The we headed all the way downtown to a fancy new tapas place that got a terrible review in the paper.  The review basically said you should look out the window and not down at your plate.  This was SOLID ADVICE because the views were outstanding.

This is a shot of the view of the lake from the BATHROOM, which is the prettiest bathroom I have ever been in.
And this is a shot of the lovely bathroom itself because I am a total rube who takes pictures of purty bathrooms.

This VIEW!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Living the sporty little dream

Today is going to be LONG.

I am up at five to work on my online class and my other adjunct class.  Before the kids get up, I have to exercise, too.  And then we all have to leave the house by like 9:45 for a presentation I am making to parents of incoming freshmen.  And then!  You'd think I would just bide my time until bedtime and crash when the kids do, right?  WRONG because I have a fancy GNO for a friend's birthday. (A highlight, to be sure).  But still-- the path from here to the finish line seems arduous.

Swim lessons this morning-- 65 and windy-- yikes!
 She loves these magnetic princesses so much, which I love because they were EXACTLY the kind of toy I favorited when I was little-- 4 different back drops, a magnet princess, and her tiny magnet clothes and wigs.  SO FUN!
 I was so cold I had to wrap up in their towels while they swam.  And I saw a friend across the pool and had to text her hello.  Ha!
 THE ZOO!  Again!  I decided to balance out of junk food and novelty $50 trip to the FREE zoo the other week with a totally free trip where we brought our own snacks (apples, grapes and carrots-- the kids were like WTH mom are you mad at us?) and just walked around and looked at the animals. So now that's $25/trip which for entertaining 4 kids is NOT BAD.
 I love this sign because there are 4 cut-outs, which never happens.  And yes, I took a billion shots, and this was the best one.
 I didn't write about this last week, probably because I didn't take any pictures and I totally suck at blogging about things that are not pictured (because I am SO SIMPLE), but last week on Thursday, we had a total baseball snafu.  The little kids had t-ball.  Harry had batting practice for his last tournament, and Jack had a game in a far flung farm town.  After much juggling, we decided that Ben would take Harry and Jack to batting practice and request that Harry bat first so he could make it to Jack's game on time-- after feeding them in the car for the second time that week (such a FAIL in my book).  That left me and the kittle kids and t-ball.  And I had to be the coach.  Ben thought that there would be parents who wanted to help out, but there WERE NOT, just a few moms who wanted to stare at their phones.  SO. AWESOME.

Now I am not a total idiot.  I can hep a kid hold a bat and shout encouragements and stand in the field reminding the kids where to throw the ball for each batter (not that they are EVER going to get a forced out anyway you guys), but did I like it?  NO I DO NOT.  Especially because 4 and 5 year-olds are not excellent listeners.  I was literally hoarse after the game because I kept screaming "Good job!  Now throw it to first!  First base!  Throw it to first!  JUST THROW THE BALL TO FIRST-- Never mind,  Next batter!  Be ready for the next batter, guys!  Forced out at first or second!"

And the moms!  Were kind of judgey and pushy about where their kids played which ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Kids don't play real sports until they're 11.  I know this because I have an 11-year-old for whom whit just this year got real.  CHILL OUT WITH YOUR PRESCHOOLERS, world.

Anyway, I have to miss the last game for my GNO, but don't worry!  The whole fam-damily is driving 30+ minutes for Jack's game on Thursday night.  And then!  We are baseball-free!!  Until next month when we start to juggle two Little League fall balls and at least one, but possibly up to THREE, flag footballs.  LIVING THE SPORT LITTLE DREAM, my friends.

Monday, July 24, 2017

American Girl Sale Weekend!!

 As you can see from the above photo, this weekend was lovely.  We had fun things to do, a bonus babysitter night out, my mom in town, and my very favorite thing ever:  THE AMERICAN GIRL BENEFIT SALE!!

My mom and I have been going to the sale for 5 years (!), and this year, we held back on buying any more big dolls-- not because I am over buying dolls but because Dorothy has SO MANY and didn't want a specific one.  She did want Wellie Wishers-- she has one and really likes to play with it.  So, we each got her another.  I recommend these dolls completely if you are new to AG or if you are buying for a kid under 5.  She really enjoys their cute little clothes, and they are such a good size for tiny hands.  Also, they are a little more sophisticated (LOL) than Bitty Babies or Bitty Twins.

I planned to spend Friday afternoon and evening at the pool with the 3 youngest kids and my mom while Harry played baseball, but it was POURING all day, so we went to the indoor pool at my mom's hotel instead.  BIG FUN!
 We didn't wear matching suits on purpose, I swear.
 Cooper LOVES this pool.
 Since Ben wasn't there to throw the kids around, they pestered Uncle Ben, who was happy to oblige.
 This is truly the best shot we could get.  Awesome.
 While we waited forever for pizza to come (like, seriously, forEVER), Cooper was hungry, so he ate all of the display fruit in the hotel lobby and bam!  Out came his tooth!  It has been super wiggly for weeks, but he has been loathe to wiggle it.  So cute!
 Finally!  Pizza party!  (Ben and Harry were back in time for dinner, having won a game and made it into the quarter finals before the tournament was delayed for rain)
 Henry wore himself right out and didn't quite make it for pizza.
 THE SALE!!  We had 8:45 tickets, but things were WAAAAAAAY behind, so we didn't get into the warehouse until almost 9:45.
 We both grabbed all of the clothes and accessories we could find and we only ended up with one duplicate between us, which was awesome.  I also bought something I bought last year-- oops.  (The dolls at the sale are not really cheap at all.  The GotY sells for the same price she did last year (but she's no longer in stores, so that's cool) and the rest of the Be Forever dolls are like $80-105, which is a tiny price break).  But!  The clothes are half off, which IS a really good deal because they are extremely well-made and come with adorable accessories.

We went to breakfast afterwards and examined our loot:
 I put most of the stuff away for Hanukkah, as did my mom,  But I bought a beach picnic set and a swimsuit set, and my mom bought a beach dress set that we gave to her right away because it's summer!  She got some dolls (Julie, Grace, and Isabelle) dressed in the new clothes and even put a vintage swimsuit  she already had (from Molly's line of stuff) on Addy, and said, "Wow-- it's like all new dolls now that they can go swimming" and played beach for the rest of the day.
 Saturday night, we went out for a friend's birthday, and I made delicious cupcakes with peanut butter cups inside them and espresso frosting on top.  And then I left them in the car while we went to dinner and when I got them out at the after-dinner brewery, I jostled them too hard and they flew all over the carrier, and also I noticed they were a melty mess.  On the way into the venue, though, a pregnant woman stopped me and asked if she could have one.  It was weird, sure, but I was happy to oblige.  I was about to warn her about the espresso in the icing, but then I saw that she WAS SMOKING A CIGARETTE, so I figured she didn't care about a few tiny sprinkles of espresso.
 Yesterday instead of cleaning the house we went to family float day so Harry could use the new float he got for his birthday.  IT DIDN'T EVEN FIT IN THE CAR:

 So awesome:
 Dorothy brought her swimming girls.
 We had the place to ourselves for a little while, but the pool eventually filled up with a ton of totally silly floats.

 She LOVES it
 I should just walk around with this all of the time.
 Definitely a drowning risk for tiny kids:
 I laughed every time I looked at Harry's float.
 At one point it started to rain, but there was no thunder or lightening, so we didn't have t leave the pool, and it was pretty neat.  Dorothy jumped out to take a hot shower, but the boys and I stayed in and watched the steam rise from the sidewalk.  My friend got this super cool pic of Jack in his very own water tornado:
And now I  am back to being up at 5 am to cram in all my summer class grading before the kids wake up and need me to, you know, parent.