Thursday, January 31, 2019

Back to work week 3


So funny.

Snow and cold killed this WHOLE WEEK, and the kids and I have been together every second of everyday, and since Harry and Cooper enjoyed playing with friends yesterday out of the house, it looks like we will be hosting this afternoon.

But!  I worked with my TA to figure out how to move forward virtually in my large lecture class.  And!  The Voice memo app that comes on an iPhone is an EXCELLENT tool for recording an audio file.  Not only could I export it as an mp4, which was easy to play on iTunes, but I could also post it as a streaming file on our campus learning management system.  WINNING!

I had FUN with my kids everyday, and we came up with lots of unique ways to have fun and get our energy out.

I got everything done that I needed to get done (I have 2 books that I NEED to read for a meeting tomorrow, but I think I can handle that, even with a basement full of boys), and I have just not stressed out.

It turns out that Ben's new job is a lot like intermittent fasting for me.  He is NOT AVAILABLE between 8-6, and that's so much easier for me to mentally handle than the idea that he is here but also have work to do-- does that make sense?

One more snow day and then maybe school tomorrow.  cross your fingers for us here on the frozen tundra.

Oh!  One more worky thing I did-- I realized that since the kids and I do not have the same spring break (and Ben doesn't have spring break at all, which is tragic in terms of our adorable little cheesy trips we like to take), I would need someone to watch them while I teach over break.  LITTLE GYM CAMPS!!  GENIUS!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

I have said it many times since I started this blog:


Dorothy and Jack and I headed there for an open gym at 1pm, and we stayed until 3:45 because I signed Dorothy up for a class, and she got to go to a 45-minute class practice time.  And?  SHE ALSO HAS CLASS TONIGHT at 4:45.  EXERCISE FOR DOROTHY ON A SNOW DAY?  Check.

Yesterday we:
Went to an indoor play warehouse
Saw Spiderman
Ate tons of junk food at the movies
Went to bed early with lots of extra blankets.

Harry and Cooper played with friends.
Jack and Dorothy and I were happy little sloths before the gym
And we all indulged in super extra a lot scree time.
I also recorded a lecture on Kennedy's Inaugural and came up with a pretty awesome discussion prompt.


Make fudge?  See more movies?  Go to another germy open gym? Stay in our jammies all day?  All of these things?  Definitely laundry.  And some sort of ritual to ensure that the children go to school on Friday?  Otherwise known as the day I get a massage finally. BY MYSELF.

Helping me prep dinner:

 HARRY MADE COOKIES all by himself.
 BOUNCE HOUSE!!!  This thing has saved our ife almost as frequently as The Little Gym
 Taking the dog out

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Our Snow Day

Otherwise known as my Instagram Stories, so you have probably seen this already.  OH MY GOD WE ARE STUCK INSIDE AGAIN TODAY by the way.  And!  I had to put my lecture online as an audio file AND use personal time for the privilege of this snow day. HASHTAG BLESSED.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Notes from January 47th

I am beginning to think the children will never go to school again.

Everything is closed for a snow day today, and it looks like it may be too cold to go to school tomorrow through Friday morning.  So, that's awesome.

Also!  We had no school for MLK day on Monday last week, a snow day on Wednesday, and then teacher development on Friday.  ARGH.

Today, though, Ben had to start his new job (even though his old college is TOTALLY CLOSED) so it's just me and the kids.  I AM SO BLESSED. 

Actually, I like nothing more than a good Netflix and PJ day, but I have a bunch of work to do, and as I believe we have discussed before, the kids will not leave me alone to do ANYTHING EVER.  So there's that.

Oh!  And! One more sightly complicating factor about our snow day-- it's not WARM AND SUNNY like it was last week, so I won't even really be able to send the kids out of the house.  Maybe once to shovel-- I mean, we will have to go outside once to shovel because after the plows come, we will for sure be stuck in our driveway and when Ben finally comes home (I already cannot wait) he will not be able to actually, you know, come home unless we move the giant wall of snow.  But other than that, the kids (and the dog) are going to go insane.  I am planning a mandatory dance party, some group yoga, and Harry running on the elliptical until he lacks the energy to talk back (kidding-- that will literally never happen-- maybe he should do  quick marathon or something).  Maybe later this week we can get out for an indoor play place or even an open swim at a heated pool? 

But in the meantime, look how awesome last week's snow day was, back when the kids had two academic parents:

Don't feel too sorry for me.  I have cable, a hotspot on my phone just in case the wifi goes out, macaroni and cheese, pound cake, and all the stuff to make fudge.  Plus a new season of Kimmy Schmidt.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

What We're Eating This Week 3/52

Saturday: Chinese food, after the kids go to bed
Sunday: breakfast for dinner.  Also I am making this cake since my book club is talking about Circe.
Monday: PW mac and cheese, broccoli, sliced peaches
Tuesday: Chicken, salad, baked potatoes, pineapple
Wednesday: Reubens, fries, slaw
Thursday: Stuffed shells in the crockpot, salads, applesauce
Friday: Pizza

Friday, January 25, 2019

Back to work week 2

See what happens when I don't post everyday?  Suddenly, it has been A WHOLE WEEK.  Almost.  Three days.  Whatever.  I live at the edge of a hyperbolic cliff and am one good slippery slope fallacy from disaster basically all of the time.  As you know by now.

I am determined to avoid squandering this semester like I did last semester, so I have been trying really hard to get my ish together on all fronts.  I would say the results are, um, mixed at best.  I need a pedicure really bad, you guys.  And I timed my post-lecture acupuncture appointment perfectly, but then I got to my car and realized I left my car keys in the office, ad it is a good 10 minute mince from the top of the parking garage to the 6th floor of my building in the ice and snow, so I had to cancel, and I AM NOT FEELING VERY BALANCED.

On the plus side, this week I:

  • Was at work before 9 am everyday, which was YUGE for my productivity
  • Got everything done I needed to get done, even though the ids were off Monday and Friday for MLK/teacher in-service and had  snow day on Wednesday
  • Was totally pleasant to my family this week and practiced being the all-time default parent for when that shit-show starts up next week
  • Scheduled childcare without freaking out even though I was pretty stressed about the whole thing
  • Made social plans with lots of different people, even though I really would rather just stay home and watch trash TV and eat junk food
  • Worked out everyday
  • Stuck to my fast except one hour one day
  • Got way better at prepping the next day the night before, including running and extra load of wash after the kids take showers and making sure all of the dirty dishes are put away before I go to bed.

On the minus side I:

  • Did not do any maintenance house work all week besides the usual make beds/ wipe down bathrooms/clean the kitchen that is just part of being an adult and living in a space.
  • Am dreading my weekend of yoga so much even though I know I well feel better when I do it.  I can't figure what's going on here.  I really do LIKE yoga and I think the practice of it is really good for me in ways I can see and feel almost right away
  • Forgot to take my vitamins all week
  • Got super crabby with the kids in the middle of writing this because they wouldn't back off and let me do an hour of work and run on the elliptical.  This is an ongoing source of frustration to me.  They are all big enough to be self sufficient, and they have no problem leaving Ben alone when he has work to do.  But no one will back off me, EVER.
  • Did the mindless stare and scroll on the couch way later than I should have almost every night because I was just too tired to get up and get ready for bed.  I need to get back into the habit of putting on my PJs and washing my face BEOFRE I settle down to read and veg for the night.  This would help me go to bed earlier because I wouldn't dread the act of getting off the couch and doing all of the things.
  • Neglected my daily to-do lists, which help me feel really organized, especially when I am working in my office.
  • Did not open my book project for even one hot second.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

I made to class on the first day! On time!

It's the first day of the new semester, and all my stuff is photocopied, and my lecture is ready to go, and I have done 45 minutes worth of administrative tasks, and I STILL have 16 minutes before my class!

I don't look awesome because I used my eye shadow crease color under my brow and then tried to highlight on top of it, and things kind of escalated from there.  And also I have acupuncture today and no time to change before it, so I had to wear loose acupuncture clothes.  But!  ON TIME, baby!

And!  The house it totally tidy (although I did not wipe down the 2 upstairs bathrooms or sweep the kitchen floor).  The kids left happily with all of their winter gear.  I worked out for 42 minutes (which is how long it took me to break 3 miles because I TRUDGE in the morning), and I have already had 28 oz of water.

On the downside, though, it took longer to drive to campus than I was anticipating, so I have to up my game before my adjunct class on Friday that's EVEN EARLIER.  Also!  It took me 20 minutes to leave the house after the kids left for school even though all I had to do was throw on the outfit I had mentally assembled.  Turns out, I need to PHYSICALLY assemble the outfit, including boot socks (never easy to find) and jewelry (always in a snarl).  I also need to START MY CAR because holy shit it's cold outside, and I used the windshield wiper fluid to clear a little frost and then had to pull over on a side street until defrost warmed up because my whole windshield was instantly frozen over with a beautiful but totally opaque sheet of snowflake-patterned ice.  THAT'S WHAT ELSA MUST FEEL LIKE.  I also need to get my coat, scarf, and gloves ready the night before and probably my work bag, too.  Like I do for the kids.

On his way out the door, Harry goes, in the general direction of Jack;s phone, "Siri, call me sir."  And Jack's phone said in a British accent, "Okay, Sir, but I already call you sir."  And then I died laughing.

Here is Jack downloading a toothbrushing app, which he swears will help him remember to brush his teeth,  CROSS YOUR FINGERS.  Also, I outsource my memory to my smartphone, too.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Fitness reset?

It's still the first month of the year, and I already need a fitness reset.


Right now, for example, I should be grading for my online class, but instead I am sitting here noticing how tight my jeans are while eating a bowl of Frosted Flakes and some Red Vines.  WHAT IN THE HELL??

This ant farm is SO COOL.  When we feed the ants (every couple of days), they go NUTS with productivity
 Someone who does NOT go crazy with productivity
So, for realz.  Tomorrow.  I will stop eating like a crazy person.  And!  5 days of cardio and 3 30-minute yoga sessions between now (did cardio!) and Sunday.  Also lots of spinach and oranges.  Cheers!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

New Semester; New Problems

It turns out that last semester, the one where I was always bursting onto campus just minutes before my class and spent ZERO time with my writing projects?

Was the one, single semester of my entire working life that I would get to spend totally unencumbered by childcare and family responsibilities.  I had all the kids in school!  I had a partner who was always at home when I was at work!  I even had the flexibility to teach a night class!

And because I thought it was the beginning of a whole new era, I wasted all of that luxurious time.  Like when our online adjunct college used to give us EACH five sections a term and we basically flushed money down the toilet.

Last week, Ben accepted a new job.  A new job outside the academy.  A new job that he cannot work from home.  So guess who's back to being the DEFAULT PARENT?


Now let me just say, it is an AMAZING job and one he is so, so, so excited about and knew he had to accept.  I knew he had to accept it, too. Wanted him to-- was over the moon when he called with the news, etc. And I am thrilled for him and for an exciting and fulfilling path rolling out in front of him.  So keep that in mind when you read the rest of this whine.

I am also so freaked out for me.  For my two late nights a week that can't be rescheduled and the childcare we absolutely do not have.  For the three impossibly early mornings I have each week that were going to be WAY EASIER with a partner at home to see the kids off to school and clean up the hurricane they leave behind each morning.  Or at least supervise them partially while working from bed so I could get a head start on the hurricane.

Ben got his teaching job when Cooper was a baby, so I don't know what it is like to be a working mom of so many kids with a partner who keeps normal business hours.  I suspect it sucks.

It's true that Ben has worked incredibly long hours, especially since he became department chair.  Almost every night, he worked well past when the kids went to bed, and he started his day working from his bed while the crazy school rush raged around him.  It's also true, though, that his time is completely his own. He decides when to go to campus; when to schedule meetings; which meetings he can Skype into while on dad duty; which classes he wants to teach; if he wants to teach in the classroom or online.  My two late days-- both of which are built into the department time table and have been on my calendar since I was a grad student in 2003-- have never been an issue.  When Harry and Jack were tiny, we had a nanny.  Then they went to a preschool that let them stay late 2 days a week when Ben worked at Study Blue.  And then, since the end of 2010, Ben has been home with them on those nights.  AND WHAT DO WE DO NOOOOOOOW??  In the middle of a school year when on-site wrap around care is full, and their big brother has a different dismissal time??

(We have a plan and another one for next semester, etc, but I thought the days of stressing about where the kids would be when I was working were over, and I wasn't even going to miss them.)

What does this mean about the fifth baby I still dream about even though my old lady body appears to be rebelling?

For the 2-week summer institute I am directing in another state this summer?

For the summer school class I will be teaching online with no grown up to man the children at least a few hours a week?


But!  You guys!  I am not a terrible person.  I am absolutely happy about this opportunity and ready to be a great partner, and even though I am still not someone who irons, I can totally be the person who picks up the dry cleaning and remembers to put Downy Wrinkle Releaser on the Target drive up order.  That's for real and also, I think, a metaphor.

More about the new gig soon, and you KNOW there will be more about my selfish fears because you know why?  This is my blog.

If you work and your partner does, too, HOW THE HELL DO YOU DO IT ALL?

I mean, there's a reason we could both be PTO president at the kids' school in consecutive terms.  FLEXIBILITY.  How do we cope without it?  I am really asking-- gimmee your best tips.

On an unrelated note, Dorothy is into doing her own makeup, and I am here for that.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

What We're Eating This Week 2/52

Spaghetti and meatball, like for real, not from a jar, green beans, garlic bread
Pork chops, broccoli, stuffing, brownies
Jack and I have a date
Saturday:  MOVIE NIGHT.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Back to work week 1

This was a perfect way to eases back into the semester.  I started the week with a 2-day seminar on Monday and Tuesday all day.  Then I had assorted administrative tasks on Wednesday and led a full day of meetings today.  Tomorrow is just odds and ends, and the students come back next week.

This week I:

  • Kept up with house work.
  • Read a ton of books.
  • Cooked dinner every night and came in under budget grocery-wise, even with a few lunches out
  • Adjuncted online with relative efficiency.
  • Was generally pleasant to my family, despite being a bit stressed out.
  • Wasted a bit of time online.

This week I did not:

  • Stay on top of my fitness goals.

There were days when I only drank coffee and wine-- no water at all.  There were days that I ate way out of my eating window and basically abandoned the whole concept of intermittent fasting.  There were days when I used my elliptical as a sanding desk, which is not really a workout. So, next week, I need to get back on the fitness horse with water, 5 or more servings of fruits and veggies, and also EXERCISE that makes me sweat.

  • Write my book.

So, listen.  I lost about 50 pages in the computer disaster, but I haven't been making good progress for awhile now. It could be maybe that the computer disaster if for the best/isn't as bad as it appears on the surface.  But also that could be wishful thinking.

  • Take very many pictures

I think this is because I feel so bummed about my computer, and it's so hard to do anything with pictures on this old thing.  But!  I finally turned on Messages (which was an ordeal and please don't let this thing crash before I get a new one), and now I am back in the mundane business of documenting my food.

This salad, though:
Dorothy gave herself a makeover:

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Still worrying about that computer; thanks for noticing.

What I need to do is take this entire iPhoto library (because that's what it is on the giant old computer-- an actual iPhoto library, not a Photo library and not a collection of pictures that talks at all to the Cloud) and drag it onto a hard drive.  And then I can feel better about my computer life.  Because it has been 1184 days since I have backed this sucker up.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!

A new laptop (ROSE GOLD!!) is on the way, and lots and lots of my stuff was in various places-- google drive, Canvas, Box, etc.  But not all of it, and it is going to be really hard to know what I am missing until I go to grab something and am like OH MY GOD WHERE IS MY PRECIOUS?

It's going to be an exciting semester, is what I am saying.

In other news, I have had to go to work every day this week and classes haven't even started yet.


Pro: I wore these shoes today

Con: It took 7 minutes to get these pics into this post.
Imagine waking up from a nap and seeing this:
Scary, yes?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

What We're Eating This Week 2/52

Sunday: Pasta casserole, garlic bread, green beans
Monday: Fish sticks, mac and cheese, peaches, more green beans
Tuesday: Crock pot chicken noodle soup, bread, apples
Wednesday: Some weird mash up of leftovers, plus also things we can air fry and or frozen pizza (PLANNING TO FAIL)
Thursday: Grilled chicken, salads, baked potatoes

Friday, January 11, 2019

Laptop no more

Oh man. My laptop is toast. 

My department’s tech expert cannot salvage the data from my SSD. On Monday he is taking it to a 3rd party for possible data extraction, and I have to get a new computer. I am blogging this on my phone because my other computer is older than half of the kids and I don’t even want to try with the pictures. 

It has been a year since my last back up. 

I have no exams for my large lecture class. 

If I think about all of my lectures, I am definitely going to cry. 

I am a moron for not backing up more frequently. 

But! My outlook is fairly sunny, all things considered. I think that’s because I did acupuncture this week and nothing can harsh my zen. Nothing! I will tell you all about it when I don’t have to type with my thumbs. 

But you guys! I am getting so good at the pancake writing:

I had a fairly  comfortable procedure at the doctor’s office today (another story for another day, too) and I saved myself some pancake batter for this lovely set up when I got home:

Think good data extraction thoughts, friends. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Say a prayer for my laptop

Oh my gosh!! My laptop died today. I rushed it to th tech guy at work and got a very not good report. It’s been a year.  A YEAR. Since my last back up. And I realize that makes me the world’s biggest idiot. But the fiiiiiiiiles! Oh my god the fiiiiiiiiiiles. 
A breakfast pic. Back when I had a working laptop. WHAT AM I GOING TO DOOOOOOOOOOO???

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

This s the real break. Now that I have the house to myself.

I had a massage.  Worked on my online classes.  Thought about my adjunct class syllabus but didn't translate that thought to any sort of action.  Did a quick tidy of the house.  Went to Target again.  And then it was almost time for the kids to get home.


Total Star Wars character look, but the reference is lost on her.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

What We've Been Up To Lately

I went to Costco and only spent $35, including fudge pops that were completely not on the list.
 I got these shoes for $7, and I am pretty sure I had the very same ones in like 1994 or 1997.
 Cooper found some good hiding places:

 And a cool new (to us) library.
 We watched a lot of hockey games.
 Ventured to the EAST SIDE
 Made a perfect apple pie
 Got back on the board
 Started a BYOB coloring club
 Watched the first Bears Playoff Game in more than 10 years
 Did a Lego meant for 8-14 y/os that resulted in lots of tears and eventual triumph