Sunday, January 31, 2021

February Intentions

 1. READ MORE. I have a lot of books in my January post, but a lot of them were audio books. I didn't read as much as I wanted to, and last week, Dorothy and Cooper and I only did our 21 minutes together 3 times.

2. TAKE DOROTHY OUTSIDE MORE. She is like a dog in an apartment. The other kids can just go play, but she needs to be actively engaged outside. BAH HUMBUG.

3. REMEMBER TO SPEND TIME WITH BEN. I know-- this seems stupid because we are shut in together, but we get very caught on in kids and work and sometimes just sort of exist next to each other. I want to be more intentional about the time we spend together this month.

4. WRITE MORE 6 writing sessions a week is my goal.

My word of the year is quiet, and I think all of these intentions can go with that word. I would like to also set some sort of yoga goal, but I always disappoint myself with yoga goals. Maybe next month?

Tummy time
Dorothy had a whole week with no tantrums (another story for another time) and she wanted to bake and frost a cake all by herself as a reward:

Saturday, January 30, 2021

I planned for substance. This is...not.

 CLUE has had a major resurgence in this house, and I CANNOT WIN. Which is a bummer because the large freshman class I direct has a unit on logic.

I know it is not TOMS season, but these teeny baby TOMS of Dorothy's fit Minnie right this second, so...

This is how we spend every afternoon. I can get a surprisingly amount done like this, if you really want to know.

5 on Friday

1. We are limping through pandemic TV and finally finished season 2 of Pen15, which OMG you need to watch if you haven't already. Except for The Great, it is my favorite pandemic show.

2. THIS BOOK might be almost 10 years old, but it is also fantastic:

3. Minnie is on the MOVE. She makes slow progress all over the mat of her gym, and she also moved away from her toys on our room. Scooting mostly, a teeny bit at a time.
4. Big fan of green beans

5. I am so happy to have 2 days of nothing to dooooooooo. You?

Thursday, January 28, 2021


 I know this face doesn't really look convinced, BUT Min Min likes carrots the best of the foods she has tried (sweet potatoes, bananas, carrots, and green beans). It took her a couple of weeks to figure out how to get her tongue out of the way and swallow food which was adorable.

Green beans:

Up next: apples!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

All before coffee

 Not a metaphor, but a thing that really happened: Instead of writing this morning, I cleaned up dog pee, first from the floor underneath the thermostat and then from the actual place where most of it pooled in front of the book case and then from my clothes because I thought the puddle covered a different area, so I knelt in it and also dipped the ends of my long cardigan. All before coffee. Which I probably didn't have to tell you.

Actually, I have been having success writing this year (that was definitely a whisper) because I really have less than 30 minutes every morning by time I extricate myself from my bed without disturbing Minnie and replace myself with a pillow ledge and start laundry and make coffee, etc. I can't set an alarm because of my tiny bedmate, but I have no problem waking up around six. It's the getting up that takes awhile. With less time, though, I have to focus, and the task seems somehow less daunting. I just have to get the people out of the car and into the gym, for example. Or I just need to do this one scene at the pool. It's like an unintentional pomodoro. Ideally, I could have more time for this throughout the day, but I am working on that part.

In other news, my state is THE WORST. Not only is our vaccine rollout one of the slowest in the whole country, but also our legislature just overturned the governor's mask mandate, (well, the senate did, but the house is even crazier, so) at a moment when experts are recommending that we wear TWO MASKS. I cannot even. WHY DO WE EVEN LIVE HERE?? We are just one bad governor away from the Wisconsin Retirement System (one of the most secure pension systems in the nation) being privatized and destroyed, so we won't even be able to say we're bound up in retirement savings. GAH.

It's funny that I look so ridiculous on my walks because those walks are the only time I leave the house and see actual other people. With that frame, I should wear my best clothes.
Dorothy used the kits my brother bought her to make her own spa products-- shower gel, bath bombs, perfume, a face mask-- and had a terrifyingly relaxing little home spa day.
My mom sent Minnie this fabulous outfit because it is hard to resist the pull of the Minnie clothes.
A nap straight jacket.

We got over a foot of snow, and yesterday, the only place that was even a little plowed was the path around school, so Minnie and I walked lap after lap for 85 minutes while I listened to an EXCELLENT audio book.

Today is an asynchronous day. I told the kids they could have phones, iPads, Nintendos, Xboxes, and TV until 9 am and then not again until 3:45 pm. After they finish their school work, we have cookie-making, card-playing, and maybe a round of CLUE on the agenda. I am also hoping someone can watch the baby from 11-12 while I hold live office hours, but I doubt I will get any takers On the office hours-- they will for sure hold the baby). My class this semester has a schedule that is very uniform, but I think will take students a bit to get used to, so this week, their assignment is to explore the class and figure out the online textbook. We start with the actually meat of the course next week, so soon I will be covered up in grading and will have plenty to complain about. Usually, I teach with a TA and do not have grading to do, but this semester, my class is small. I have a grader to help with the papers students write (4 short papers over the course of the term), but the week-to-week grading is my responsibility. I am glad for the chance to see what students are up to but also nervous about maintaining a short turnaround time.

To augment student learning in our large asynchronous public speaking class, we are offering 5 live Zoom sessions with the course directors this semester. I am up for one in 2 weeks, and it is about nonverbal delivery and word choice. Naturally, I am going to use Amanda Gorman, and I crowdsourced a lesson plan on Facebook yesterday and got wildly fantastic input. As I have said here, I DO NOT prep my semester during the actual semester (and this is a tip I would recommend to any aca-parent). As a result, my semester is often not super responsive to current events. I have an attendance question activity that I do every day in real-life classes, and that's where I normally am able to use current events and speeches. Because these live Zooms are brand new and recently grant-funded, though, we are planning them as we go along, and it is nice to be able to keep the content super fresh. But I would still caution any academic parent against planning the semester as the semester progresses. Start the semester with everything fully prepped-- lectures, exams, activities, rubrics. You will not regret it.

**steps off soapbox**

Monday, January 25, 2021

Lookin' good

 Helluva look huh?

We made muddy buddies today, and you should, too.

(Carrots are her favorite so far)

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Night night

 It's hard because I wanted to write more frequently, but I also wanted to write better posts, and so far, I just have the frequency thing going for me.


In news no one asked about, I am suddenly OBSESSED with my French press, and it is the only thing I use to make coffee first thing in the morning. But! It takes FOREVER. Like, I kind of need a Keurig cup to have my shit together enough to make coffee. You know? Also, Ben's parents got us this coffee pot for Christmas, and it is amazing. Automated pour-over. WHAT COULD BE BETTER?

I get to Zoom with Isabel Wilkerson tomorrow at work and am pretty excited about it. If you haven't read Caste you really should.

Min Min had carrots and really like them-- fave food so far. Green beans are up for tomorrow. Or maybe Tuesday. I will make them tomorrow, though.

That's all I got past bedtime on Sunday...

Saturday, January 23, 2021

So big

She sits! 

And today? SHE ROLLED FROM BACK TO TUMMY, meaning she can roll both ways.

She's had sweet potatoes, bananas, and carrots, and how is she getting so big so fast?

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Read Madison Mom-- just pics here

 Here are some pictures, and here is my latest Madison Mom post.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Crush the Patriarchy

 TODAY! A woman Vice President TODAY! I mean don't get me wrong, it would be terrific if the last four years happened a totally different way and we were like too jaded to appreciate a woman Veep, but I AM SO EXCITED.

A friend shared these awesome coloring pages for kids, and we are set to watch. Harry has no school all week because he has no grades to work on between now and report cards, and the end of the quarter means that everyone else's asynchronous day is more ow key. My class doesn't meet until next week, so I am also feeling less frantic than usual. In other words, we are ready to snuggle up and watch a peaceful transition of power. I mean I hope this part is peaceful since I guess you can't argue that the whole thing has been peaceful.

I heard Cooper on a Zoom explaining white privilege to his third grade class, which was pretty awesome. He said he is white and that means he doesn't have to worry about traveling. He could go anywhere in the country whenever he wanted to and would never have to worry about his safety. It was a pretty spot-ion observation spurred by neighbors of our canceling as trip south because they didn't want to be traveling through the south right now. His teacher called it white privilege after he gave the example and then the class talked together about other areas of life that might be always affected by race. It was fantastic.

Crushing patriarchy and her sweet potatoes

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Minnie is not impressed

 After a year of keeping the Instant Pot in the basement in its box because I am scared of it, we are USING IT and starting to love it. I am still working on timing because it takes forever to heat up and then to release steam, and sometimes the meal prep is a pain, but so far YES. 

We have made butter chicken, mac and cheese, and tomato soup and loved them all. Right now it is slow-cooking some chicken for tacos tonight.

Can I just tell you that my NYR to eat seven servings of fruits and veggies has changed the way I eat? Like, I must eat 2 fruits with breakfast, which crowds out other bullshit, and I aim for 3 at lunch, which means I do salads or veggies and hummus, not sandwiches. I usually have 2 at dinner, which, again, crowds out other bullshit. I still eat a TON and much of it is carbs, but, also now so many veggies.

I am having a hormone-related milk drop this week, so I made a batch of these perfect cookies, and I am covered up in milk again. Magic!

Also, read about our thousand hours outside challenge right here.

She is never impressed, and I love that about her.

See? NOT IMPRESSED with her librarian outfit. But I was.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Quick pics

Minnie's best angle:
Such a big girl:


Thursday, January 14, 2021

5 months old and first food encounter!

 Our pediatrician told us the recommendations have changed re: food introduction. When H and J were babies, it was 4 months, rice cereal first. ForkDorothy and Cooper, it was 6 months, veggies and fruit. Now it's 4-6 months fruit and veggies. 

So, we picked the middle of the road-- 5 months, sweet potatoes. Minnie is cautiously interested and a little judgmental.

Of course we took a bunch of pictures with her stickers, and even though I posted 5 on FB and IG, here is a huge dump of all my faves:

The picture with the doll is my favorite because her sweet little smile! Oh my gosh this baby. We love her so much.

We got an email from the chancellor telling us we should all be vaccinated by the end of the summer and to plan fall like a normal semester. I have... feelings about this. I planned to offer my large lecture online in the fall because I am worried about Harry's heart inflammation virus reaction and really want him to be vaccinated before our family ventures out into the world. But! Standing on a stage in real clothes talking about the things I love? YES PLEASE. I am teaching my feminist movements class in spring 2022 and I am already excited about that. Two mornings and an afternoon working on campus? SOUNDS LIKE A DREAM COME TRUE if I am being honest.

I am listening to Parenting Without Power Struggles on audiobook right now, and I hate the lame nautical metaphor the author uses (parents are CAPTAINS OF THE SHIP). She also says some disturbingly clueless things about children in Africa growing up joyful without being bogged down by the weight of the Western world. AND she credentials herself constantly as a mother of one kid, which makes me sort of not trust her sibling rivalry advice when she says it was forged in the fire of experience. BUT OTHER THAN THAT, I really like it and recommend it if you have a Cooper in your life. 

I usually listen to podcasts on my walk, and I will still tune into my favorite daily ones, plus the first half of Pod Save America twice a week and both Happier and Happier in Hollywood. Other than Girl Next Door, which is twice a month, I don't have any that I love every day, so I end up scrolling IG WHILE I WALK which is dumb. I am hoping that an audiobook for walks and for cleaning the kitchen will help my book total for the year and be engaging enough for me to resist the scroll. My only issue is that I want to spend zero dollars on these books, so I use the library's Libby app (the new Overdrive-- it's way better), and there is quite the wait for new books.  Since I only like to read 2021 books in 2021, this is a challenge. And a fascinating one ** eye roll** Sorry.

Oh! Minnie had a diaper blowout so extreme yesterday that I needed a shower afterward, so don't think having a baby is all sunshine and rainbows. Even though it pretty much is.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Today's post made yesterday's go away??? SO here's yesterday's but today's is dated yesterday?

 Did the post I just write make me stumble into the multiverse? WHAT IS HAPPENING?

And I tried to recreate the other post from Feedly and all my pictures uploaded in backwards order. So here is what was called TINY LITTLE SLICE OF LIFE in another world:

I have made a deliberate choice to read instead of stare at my phone when I put her down, and it is lovely.

Oh yeah! The other kids!

They are still logging tons of outside time. Here's Harry on the ice and the rest of them post-sledding:

SO HAPPY to be my bouncing little helper.

She adores being front facing in the Moby-- it has saved our afternoons. I am more productive between her third and fourth naps (always a touchy time for her), and she is much happier.

SHE'S FIVE MONTHS OLD and such a big girl.

I must say, Beatrix and Minnie are not the fast friends that Dorothy and Beatrix were, probably because Dorothy and Beatrix were puppies together. Still, they contemplate each other warmly, and I think when Minnie can crawl, there will be more connection. Or maybe Beatrix will eat her-- who knows?