Tuesday, December 31, 2019

What I Read: Books of the Decade!!

According to Goodreads, I have read 1,015 books since 2013, so let me give you my TOP 10 Books of the Decade!

10.  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

9.  The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

8.  The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

7.  A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

6.  Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

5.  Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

4.  We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Folwer

3.  Prairie Fires: The American Dream of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser

2.  The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

1.  The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

This list is probably missing Olive, Again, but what should it replace?  Also Night Film.  And probably Everybody's Fool.  Discretion is hard.  (This could be my motto).

Monday, December 30, 2019

19 for 19 follow up

SPOILER:  DID NOT DO most of these.

19.  Less phone but more pictures!  I got a Canon Elph that's so teeny, I have no excuse for leaving it behind and also an SD card reader for my phone so I can have instant photo access when I do want to post.  Also, for the love of God PRINT THE EFFING PICTURES MY GOD.  Every month. (I have set up Google calendar reminders, so hopefully this will help?)

Not only have a lost that camera completely (and forgot about getting it until I read this, but I printed ZERO pictures last year.  TOTAL FAIL

18.  19 dinner dates.


17.  Monthly pedicures

YEP.  At home.  **sad trombone**

16.  Regular massages

LOLz.  Try Z E R O

15.  Cardio 5 days a week


14.  Yoga 3 days a week

I CANNOT make this habit stick

13.  Read 200 books, at least 150 by women authors and at least 10 poetry


12.  Finish my novel.  FOR REALZ.  Also, I have been setting this goal and failing for YEARS now, and I wonder if it's time to let it go?  Or at least figure out why I'm not meeting the goal?


11.  Do meaningful PD every quarter.  Just because I have a terminal degree doesn't mean I should be all done learning, right?!


10.  Girls nights out:  I want to say monthly, but I am in 2 book clubs, so that's 2 nights a month.  A GNO, too?  I mean, a girl can dream.

NOT great with this, but I did have so many wonderful lunch dates.

9.  Move.  Or come to terms with not moving.  Either way.  And both of these would including painting the basement and fixing up the boys' bathroom.

Not moving nay time soon.  Did nothing to fix up the house.  Might buy new kitchen stools this week.

8.  Write poetry

Baby steps.

7.  See all the Oscar nominees for best picture before the Oscars

We did for last year (Feb 2019)

6.  24 POTY podcasts

Instead, we quit.

5.  Family movie nights (aim for 3 a month)

Totally biffed this one.

4.  WORK ON MY ABS for the first time in 12 years

I lost 20 pounds.  Does that count?

3.  Get a puppy?  Why do I want to do this? Not sure.

LOLz.  Nope.

2.  Remember my vitamins

Sort of.

1.  Find perfect black heels.

Did not find.  Forgot to look

Well, shit.

Here's picture of all of our pretty holiday cards.  They distract me from total failure, so maybe they'll also work for this post.
You know, I did really like my word of the year: CORE.  I think we really did try to focus on the things that mattered most this year.  LIKE PURGING OUR CLOSETS.

What about you?  Did you keep your resolutions?

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Best winter break ever

This is the best winter break ever.  We barely have left the house.  Everyone is into LEGO.  I have eaten many pastries.  It's been magical.

Hanukkah ends tonight, and the kids are so sweet about the gifts they get-- even the super lame ones like calendars and lap desks.  We cleaned out all of the closets and took down the inside and outside Christmas stuff.  I wish it could be winter break forever.

 We even cleaned the toy room!

 Oh!  And Beatrix loves her new bed.  That's it.  You are totally up to speed.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

CHRISTMAS!! (And Christmas Eve)

We spent Christmas Eve with Ben's family, as is tradition.  His parents are in town from Naples, so we kicked the celebration off with a festive Benihana visit.

 Never too cool for the hats.

The kids are truly at the perfect hibachi humor age.
 I do fried rice heart Benihana.
 Also Ben's mom got me this genius pillow, and I love it.
 Then we went to Ben's grandma's house, which Ben has been doing his entire life, and I have been doing for at least 17 or so years.

 We got home around 11 pm, and Ben and I finally fell into bed around 1.

We woke up BEFORE SIX to the sound of scampering feet and kids checking out the tree.  We ignored them until 7 when we found them all wearing the new hats from their stockings (the stockings that Santa delivers to their rooms because he is a freaking GENIUS), and then we spent like 2 hours opening gifts.
 We made them go one at a time, obvi, and we mixed it up each round.  Sometimes they passed out to each other, sometimes they picked their own, sometimes we picked.  It was super fun.  We paused a lot to just enjoy the gifts and each other and everyone's reactions to the gifts and also to clear up wrapping paper.  It was magical.

 Finally, at the end, we asked them to choose their favorite gift:
 This was mine!!
 Also, Ben and I are still working on finding our own Christmas morning rhythm.  Like, we want to open gifts with each other, but we also don’t really want the kids all up in our grills.  We're working on it.  Last year, we did them super early.  This year, we waited until the kids were occupied.  Some years, we have done them the night before.  Other times, we add ourselves into the order.  I think the whole thing would be easier if we had fewer kids or if we weren't such present-loving babies ourselves.

Cooper spent the rest of the day hover boarding.
 Except when we were playing board games.

 Buddy the Elf went right to work on his Legos.
 And we ended with a delicious dinner.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Finally waking up from the holiday explosion!!

Since I want to catch you up on the last week, it is SO PERFECT that Blogger uploaded my pictures in totally random order.  As you know from reading this blog for 13 years, I always just use pictures however they are uploaded, and I never fix typos.  So, welcome to lots of pictures and an apparently disjointed narrative.  That at least I can blame on picture order.

HANUKKAH NIGHT 2:  Books and Calendars
 The weather here!  It is freakishly wonderful-- sunny and high 50s.  We have been doing all of the outdoor things
 One costume day at dance.  I COULD EAT HER UP.
 Ben and Cooper twinned on the last day of school/work before the 2-week break.  God bless a husband who uses his vacation to match the kids' school break. 
 Also!  HE HELPED ME PREP SNOW MAN CRAFT KITS for Dorothy's class party
 Dorothy had no ugly sweater for ugly sweater day, so she wore pajamas instead.  As she told me seriously, rompers are very in style.
 Meanwhile, these yahoos rounded out spirit week with 80s day for the 8th grader and 60s day for the 6th grader.
 Dorothy got a special citizenship awards at school, 4 times a year, each teacher nominates one person.  Harry own it back in the day, but Cooper and Jack are award-less.  Dorothy and Harry are v. smug.

 Nothing like finishing the first grade holiday party prep literal MINUTES before the first grade holiday party.

 I snagged a super mature second-grade helper to come with me.
 Dorothy and I had a spa night to kick of break while Ben took all the little dorklings to see a Star War.
 We met up with Ben's parents and sister for a day of swimming in the Chicago land area.
 We spent the first night of Hanukkah at the ice rink for the annual ugly sweater skate.  Cooper and Harry soon ditched us to play hockey with one of Harry's old coaches and his kids.

 The first night of Hanukkah: sweaters and slippers:
 On Monday the 23rd, we declared it CHRISTMAS COOKIE DAY and made and ate a billion of them.

 More outside fun!  Walking the lake!
 Checking out a cool Rose Bowl photo wall
 Playing on the marching band's turf field and modeling their first-night-of-Hanukah sweatshirts.
 Aaaaaaand we're back to the zoo.  FULL CIRCLE.  Thanks, Blogger.