Friday, November 26, 2021

Hygge Life

 Sometimes, I start dreaming about my first cup of coffee of the following day while I am still in the middle of the current day. Does anyone else do this? I love the day's first cup of coffee like no other thing. First of all, I am old and haul my decrepit bones out of bed many times in the middle of the night with a wakeful baby, so I really do need my magic beans. But more than that, a first cup of coffee is like drinking the promise of a new day. So much potential! No possibilities are foreclosed! A cup of optimism! I used to feel the same way about the morning's first cigarette (LOLz for days).

Now, though, I frequently find myself fantasizing about putting on my favorite PJ's and collapsing on the couch at the end of the day, too. I love a good cozy morning to start things off and a slow cozy night to end them.

Sometimes I don't even want to take my PJ's off, even. In fact, here I am taking Jack to school in my jammies. We even stopped at Starbucks on the way (but he ran inside, obvi).

Hygge. It's a whole lifestyle.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Fat Kid in a Little Suit

I originally posted this in 2009, and it's still my favorite Thanksgiving story of all time.  Happy Thanksgiving-- I hope it's the best one yet.

Thanksgiving, circa 1985-ish

My brothers and me-- I was 7; Ben was 3, and Jon was 2.

Shortly after this picture was taken, I pushed past a houseful of guests to be first in line for the Thanksgiving buffet and heaped my plate high with turkey, chopped liver, stuffing, cranberry orange relish, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole-- you get the idea. I marched into the library where the folding kids' table was set up, delighted that I didn't have to waste time talking to my brothers or any guests, plopped both my plate and my fat little self down on the bench, shot my cuffs, picked up my fork, opened my mouth, and raised a heavy, quivering bite of buttered roll and gravy-drenched meat to my eager lips. And then the table collapsed under the weight of me and my leaning tower of flesh and carbs.

Happy Thanksgiving. May you eat like no one's watching.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Giving Thanks

 The other night, Minnie was like 90 minutes off her schedule which means she threw in an extra! bonus! fun! wake up. Instead of getting up just once between 3-4am, she woke up at 1:30am and then again at 4:45. When I heard her at 6:01, I just sort of groaned, and Ben dragged himself out of bed like a bear and stumbled into the kitchen to mash the brew button on the coffee pot before lumbering down the hall to her room to collect her, wild-haired and red-cheeked in her sleep sack. He handed her to me and burrowed back under his covers, tossing a diaper on my bed in case I wanted to un-bag her. I nestled her under my arm, and the two of us snuggled up together. She didn't even want to nurse, just to sleep with a hand on my face. I woke up at 6:48 when she stretched and hit me in the nose and stared at her pouty open mouth and all her sharp white teeth and her pin cushion cheeks, and I was just so overwhelmingly grateful. For her, sure, but also for all of the kids and Ben and my warm bed, and these 20 months of togetherness that reminded me how it was to be a mom to little kids even though most of mine are big, for our stinky dog and a job that still brings me joy. And that the coffee was still fresh in its carafe (because it turns off after an hours). What a wonderful life.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

A couple quick recipes

How to describe Minnie's love of pasta dishes? I think her above smile (and the orange stain on her white high chair tray says it all).

(Do you love this polite let-me-eat-breakfast smile? I do)

I am sure you have all already thought about this because you are much smarter than I am, BUT. When you are making a batch of something ahead of time to freeze for later, don't choose STUFFED SHELLS or anything that you have to, like, stuff or touch in some way. Making 2 casseroles? Easy peasy. Making twice as much soup as normal? Sure thing. Making 70 teeny lasagnas instead of 35? STOOPID.

(But also delicious.)

(I made these with a whole whole whole bunch of chopped up spinach-- I also pureed a can of san marzano tomatoes and threw like 1/3 of them in the filling)

THESE cookies-- delish!


Monday, November 22, 2021

OMG I cleaned the oven

 I never clean the oven.

I read this BHG article which promised me that if I let baking soda and water sit on every surface overnight, it would only take me 5 minutes to clean the darn thing. LOLOLOLOLOL. More like 2 HOURS of intense scrubbing. But still! MY OVEN IS CLEAN, and I only used baking soda, water, and vinegar.

BEFORE: (shameful, I know)

DURING: (momentary panic when I couldn't shut the door and thought it was broken but really the baking soda was just all hard and crusty in the hinges)


I did not clean the racks, but I DID clean the gross oven drawer:

Remind me to do it again in 10 years.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Very Sporty Weekend

Can you believe this tiny baby is eating BIG KID LUNCHES?!
She's pretty proud
Cooper played hockey this weekend, and we had so much fun watching
Especially Minnie, who really likes going Anyplace.
We are having a Very Sporty Weekend, and I know I will change my tune eventually, but we loooooooved it. Cooper has been so much happier since he started playing hockey again. I think the exercise is part of it, but he really loves playing. He gets lots of exercise swimming, too, and he likes swimming, but hockey is his true love. I am so glad he can play again.

Our county mask mandate expires on 11/27, and -- despite rising cases-- public health officials have said they will not renew it. So, we figured we'd take Minnie to the rink while the taking is good. If I can get all my house work done, I plan to spend the afternoon at dive with Jack and Cooper where I have big plans to read 2 books in 2 hours. CAN IT BE DONE?

What about masks in schools? Our district has said they'll be in place until 1/21 and then they'll reevaluate. Neighboring districts have said they are going to mask optional in January, and I don't know if ours-- the biggest and most economically stratified-- will follow suit. I hope not, but I think it will be OK because all 4 school-going kids will be vaccinated AND wearing masks.

How are you feeling about loosening restrictions/rising cases? Vaccinated kids without masks in school?

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Fat baby in a little onesie


And looks like Chris Farley.

Remember when JACK looked like Chris Farley?

Friday, November 19, 2021

Busier is Better-- Who Knew?

Am I the only person who has pretty much abandoned LIPSTICK? I never thought it would happen, but when I go places, I wear a mask, and it just seems superfluous.
Ok, guys. I think we solved our evening problems by NEVER BEING HOME. After I posted my sob story, I realized that I started taking my Monday evening meeting at home instead of the dance school parking lot, and this is where my real problems began. When I take the meeting at dance, I am off limits until 5:30, and then I get a 15-minute drive with just one kid to ease into mom mode. This is SO MUCH BETTER than sitting at the table while life happens around me and jumping in as soon as the meeting is over even if I still have emails to send, etc.

Also, it is fun to mix up who is home. Sometimes Harry holds down the fort, and I drop a kid off somewhere solo. Sometimes Ben does a bunch of pick ups in a row and feeds everyone fast food. Sometimes I stay home and feed them packed lunches. Every night is different, and that helps things feel fun.

One other tiny tweak is that Jack and Harry occasionally take the bus home when things are hectic, and this has been YUGE.

For some weird reason, tossing hockey in has smoothed everything else out. Totally unexpected.

Here we are on the way to swim, after a quick dance and high school pick up and a dinner at home pit stop:

When I got home from the dropping, leaving Ben to do a round of picking up, I found Minnie in her favorite pants:


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Course prep rabbit hole

 I am about to five into the rabbit hole I mention in the title of this post. By Thanksgiving, I want to be completely prepared to teach in the spring so that I can enjoy every single second of the holiday season with little kids. Little kids are THE BEST around the holidays. They think every stinking thing is magical.

I guess, though, that the title of this post and that rambling bit above has nothing to do with the random pictures here. But this blog is nothing if not a brain dump, so...

Minnie and Dorothy both love my ginormous pink driving glasses.

Oh, Minnie. Baby tights and a baby pony tail.

Her little fake crinkly nose smile!
You should see her try to walk in these boots! They're super heavy, and if her pants are tucked in they get sucked down. Winter is a struggle.
I told you they love my glasses.

Ok-- I must dive into syllabi and academic calendars. BRB

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Hard Pants November

 I pretended to be an IG influencer on Saturday and took pictures of myself in the LOFTdressing room. And then didn't post them because I mean WHY WOULD I? (My friend had a LOFT shopping party, and I love nothing more than meeting up with area bloggers and also discounts).

Def bought this sweater, and wish I had bought this one, too. because it is SO pink.
This was a big nope, and looking at the pics, I am glad it was.
I DID buy this sweater, but I think I will wear it opn?
This turtle neck/sweater is my fave-- totally a grown up little kid outfit
These are my real clothes. I have been doing Stitch Fi again, and this sweater! Might be my favorite thing I have ever gotten from there
I am trying to wear hard pants all month, and I think I am much happier on my home days when I get dressed for real. There is something to be said for feeling pulled together all the time. I remember a million years ago, Kate told me to ditch my stretchy pants if I really wanted to lose weight, and I think the same can be said for maintaining weight. CROSS YOUR FINGERS

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Nosy neighbor and baby Harry

 Good news: I have HALVED my screen time by staying the eff away from my phone.

Bad news: I barely take any pictures.

I did snap this one of my very nosiest neighbor:

Let's see: 

  • Thanksgiving! Right around the corner. As I admit in this Madison Mom post, though, we have outsourced a lot of the cooking.
  • Also, I am reading a lot of romance novels lately. They are pretty much all I want to listen to when I am exercising or doing housework because the world feels like a lot. You can find my recent faves here.
  • I am in shock that the end of the semester is approaching, and I have spent some time taking stock of the ways COVID has improved my work flow. I will post about it soon because November has a lot of days, and I am running out of thoughts.
  • I don't know if I am ever going to be ready to eat inside a restaurant again, and I know how weird that makes me.
  • The kid who I named this blog for? IS GOING TO DRIVE A CAR SOON and what the hell happened? He was just a baby the last time I checked.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Monday Minnie

Oh, you guys. I thought this baby was waking up early before the time change. GAH. And! She has a sixth sense about when my alarm is going off so I can work out, and she wakes up JUST RIGHT BEFORE IT.
She loves nothing more than being one of the kids. It's the cutest thing.
Well, except maybe cream cheese. She might love cream cheese the very most. Did you know that cream cheese is a finger food?
The fuzzy hair! The bare foot! The little face all buttoned up!
That little bit of chub between her sock and her pants leg is my favorite spot.
My dad bought baby Dorothy this silly hat, and it's the cutest thing. I love the fleece roses, the ear flaps, and the fact that it ties around her chin, especially handy because Minnie hates hats and will fling them all off as fast as she can. But not this one **evil laugh**


Sunday, November 14, 2021

Chain reaction

 Last week at virtual school, Dorothy's class was studying chain reactions. Her teacher asked the kids to make a video of a chain reaction, and Dorothy immediately decided she needed to set up an entire rainbow line of dominoes. She started this project at 1pm and spent 20 or so minutes sorting her dominoes. Then, she tried to set them up on the kitchen table, but after the 10th time she knocked them over setting them up and shouted, I made her relocate to the basement, where she had to start the sorting all over again. From 1:45-2:30. she kept setting up and knocking over her rainbow chain. Cooper and I suggested she scale down her project and choose only 5 of each color, but she wanted a 6-foot chain. She was getting rammy at this point, and Cooper and I convinced her to let us help. The three of us worked together setting up and prematurely knocking down the dominoes until FINALLY at 3:30, we had a really impressive rainbow line. At first, I was frustrated by the whole thing because Dorothy kept knocking over our chain and refusing to stop helping, but then I just sort of lost myself in the zen of it all. When the whole line was assembled, Cooper sat at the purple end, and Dorothy sat by the red end.  I sat to the side holding Dorothy's school Chromebook at a weird angle so we could video the chain reaction using the SeeSaw app. I pressed record, and Dorothy gave the clip a really cute introduction, explaining that she had butter fingers and we spent 2.5 hours working on the dominoes. And then COOPER knocked over a purple domino, and Dorothy was SO MAD because it was HER chain reaction, so she SMASHED THE RED END TO PIECES, stopping the whole thing mid-orange. More than 2 hours of work ruined milliseconds from completion! And then they had a screaming fight about who was the bigger jerk and woke up the baby. And if that's not parenting in a nutshell, I don't know what is.

Cooper's still-baby hand pointing out the place where the reaction was thwarted:

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Stuff and nonsense.

I don't usually dress Minnie in some of Dorothy's fussier hand-me-downs because she looks so darn cute in more casual clothes. But this dress coat is all the heart eyes.
Ben's Harry Potter glasses that he wears to read Harry Potter to the children LOL
Full contact basketball and Christmas lights
Why has it taken me so long to realize that every single time I cook something, I need to cook two somethings and put one in the freezer? It's the most genius life hack that everyone but me was already doing already.
Oh, Minnie.


Friday, November 12, 2021

Social media detox

Hockey is going well, and surprisingly? Having another thing to do is making our nights go smoother. I have no idea why it's working that way, especially because the time change means I am always driving in the dark, which I pretty much hate. 

Speaking of Happy Gilmore:
The other day, I participated in Laura Tremaine's cool Instagram thing #OneDayHH where you take a pic every hour of your day and share it. I LOVE this day on IG because it is so fun to see how people do their lives. But! I noticed that I was distracted and irritable ALL DAY. The next day, I didn't open Facebook or IG all day, and my day? Was wonderful. I spent time one-on-one with every kid, got tons of work done, cooked and cleaned a lot a lot and didn't get crabby once even though I for sure have PMS.

So then I stayed off social media the following day, and ... SAME.

Even though I get screen time reports from my IOS and KNOW that I spend a ton of time caught in the scroll, I had no idea how much time it really was and also how fractured it made the rest of my time feel. WOW.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Mostly just pictures of Minnie, if I am being honest

Someday I will stop taking pictures of this adorable baby when she is sound asleep, but that day has not yet come, apparently.
The little kids had no school one day last week, and I attempted to make kid math work in my favor by stirring up a crock pot of hot cocoa, popping a ton of popcorn, and inviting a mess of kids over.

The girls had dramZ and not a lot of fun

But the boys were happy little clams.
Sign of times to come? I HOPE NOT.

Harrison had a backyard party the next night, but he also had a student congress tournament that he participated in virtually. I walked by his bedroom with some laundry to hear hum giving a fiery speech about organ donation. The pandemic just keeps getting more weird

Minnie passed the time by taking lots of neighborhood walks.
That serious face! THOSE MITTENS!
Have I mentioned that she's a writer? 

Well, SHE IS:

Also a voracious reader