Thursday, January 20, 2022

Minnie worked hard today

She went on quite the cleaning binge, even climbing up on her little chair to dust her blinds.

As you can see, she napped well.
(So did Beatrix).
She's so cool, you guys.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Back to work!

 I went to WORK on CAMPUS today! I am not going to lie to you, I was super nervous. But! If it's not safe to sit in a room of people wearing N95 masks, then we are all so, so, so screwed. But still. Very people-y. Speaking of people-y! I teach a huge lecture class twice a week starting next week, so...

I actually really liked getting dressed, leaving the house, getting coffee, walking downtown, etc.

The little kids are almost done with virtual school. It feels like we made it to the end of a marathon, but, like, there are zombies at the finish line, so we kind of want to keep running. Except, you know, it's a marathon, so we are exhausted.

Harry had this week off school (finals week, but you only have to go to finals if you are getting a D or an F in class, and Harry has amazing grades and we are so proud of him); Dorothy and Cooper are home still, and Jack had a 3-day week. So, he has been the only person venturing out of the house. Except for me this morning and Ben on Friday. 

Next week, though, the little kids are Back! At! School! across the street; Harry and Jack have normal 5-day weeks, and Ben and I are doing the 2/3 days at the office shuffle again. PRAY FOR US (no, but like for real).

And now for 2 shots of Minnie making her Grumpy Monkey face:

And a hilarious mask that came in my monthly mask box:

Friday, January 14, 2022

Links, etc

 I love what a patient builder Minnie is:

Also she is packing a lunchbox Bunny by Bunny, and it's pretty cute.
Let's not even think about the COVID-y nature of the kids being back in school. Let's just think about the LOGISTICS which are a lot.

I have been developing a pretty satisfying routine by getting up early to exercise and putting Minnie down for a nap in her crib so I can get a little work done. Literally finding more hours in the day. But all of this is about to change when Ben starts working from the office 2 or 3 days a week and I work the other days from my office. This is not a one-parent juggle, is what I am telling you. So, even as I settle into new rhythms, I know they are only temporary, and that makes me jumpy.

I am reading a book that promises to help because everything seems difficult.

And part of this is pandemic fatigue, I know. I think sending all of the kids back to school will be so great in some ways-- easier to get work done with just a baby at home for one thing. But! It's just so goddamn stressful. Your Local Epidemiologist summed my thoughts up perfectly. It's hard to engage in denominator thinking when your kid is in the numerator.

I did not hate this Emily Oster post, either.

But my favorite pandemic post-- and a surprisingly clarifying one as well-- is this, the funniest thing I have ever read on McSweeney's-- which is saying a lot.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Pretty Minnie

Minnie LOVES her new dresses and felt so pretty all day long.
HAVE WE TALKED ABOUT THE TRASH CAN we bought to house the backyard hockey gear? It really classes up the room, if I do say so myself.
She looks fab in pink.
She really wanted to touch my nose through the tent.
I love this pic of her fat hand.
I asked her to stand by the shelf. She sat on the shelf.
I woke her up from her nap this morning.
She was... not happy. BUT SO ADORABLE.


Monday, January 10, 2022

Tutus for Minnie

 So, it turns out that my idea of Minnie's style and her idea of her style are not the same. I have always tried to dress her differently than I dressed baby Dorothy, who trended toward frilly. I think Minnie looks adorable in sporty clothes and sometimes buy her stuff from the boy side of Carter's and Old Navy because it's cuter.

But Minnie! It turns out LOVES the one tutu dress of Dorothy's that's in her dresser right now. She always chooses it when she picks her clothes, and she spins around and asks to be lifted up to the mirror to beam at that pretty baby. So in today's super essential Target pick up order (along with s'mores stuff and an iPhone charger cord because I spilled milk on Ben's phone serving milk and 2 different kinds of cookies that we were taste testing while playing Ticket to Ride-- regular chip beat oatmeal chip 3-1, and I was the holdout--and when Ben plugged his phone in that night he fried our chargers), I added 2 of the frilliest pink tutu dresses I could find. When we got home, Minnie pulled them out of the bag, held them to her chest, and screamed DADA before stomping off to show them to Ben. They're in the wash, so expect a style show tomorrow.

In the meantime:

I stand by the romper and pigtails as a solid look:

She's the sweetest-- we were making mad faces but mine made her laugh too hard.
Another excellent outfit, if I do say so myself
And, I mean. You guys. BABY MOM JEANS.
Some people skate. Some people make ice angels.

Friday, January 07, 2022

Hello pandemic anxiety. How have you been?

 I have been pretty ok re: COVID since the little kids got their vaccines and Ben and I both had successful first semesters. BUT THEN THERE WAS OMICRON, and now I am worried again. Pediatric hospitalizations on the rise. Our district going back to in-person learning. Unchecked community spread. The masks I ordered on 12/23 still not on their way. LOTS OF LITTLE THINGS.

Although I will be glad to say goodby to virtual school. Good lord the past 2 days have been busy and crowded, and Dorothy and Cooper-- in virtual school through the end of the quarter in a couple of weeks-- are getting sick of it and anxious to see their friends.

So, we are going back. Monday for the bigs and 1/24 for the littles. In total insanity, we decided to bring Dorothy and Cooper home for lunch every day. And we are sending Harry and Jack with Yeti straw tumblers and protein shakes and asking them to leave their masks on. That's not too crazy right? (I know it is-- you don't have to humor me. If Minnie were vaxxed I SWEAR I would have more chill).

Here's our full house from Thursday's virtual learning

My workspace:

Speaking of! Look at this giant toddler!!
Best puzzle:

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Both and

 Yes, I think our district taking this week (and maybe more) off of in-person learning is a good idea. And yes, also, I am not looking forward to having all of the kids doing school from home. We have a small house and many people who live inside it. 4 kids plus Ben all working from home while Minnie and I also try to exist and sometimes make noise? NOT THE EASIEST THING EVER. Was not a highlight of my 2020, you know?

The weather is screwing up my life. It is suddenly FREEZING COLD here. Last year, I was wearing literal chains on my boots so I couldn't fall down and snuggling Minnie inside my coat so she could take her morning nap walk. This year, at 17 months old, she still takes a morning nap (!!!), and she still prefers to take it outside in the BOB stroller. Unfortunately, even with the stroller cover on, she's never going to be as warm in there as she was under my coat, so sometimes, it's too cold to walk. Also unfortunately, she doesn't like napping in her crib in the morning and I don't like it either because it screws up her life-giving afternoon nap. After a few days of crib naps (where I worked out double on the elliptical-- I try to do a half hour first thing in the AM and then I take my nap walk, so when she naps in her crib, I have to elliptical more), I put her in 2 fleece suits over her clothes, a hat and mittens, and a Harry's old toddler bed comforter. Then I put the stroller cover over the stroller and hoped for the best. After fussing for awhile. she slept so soundly that when I got too cold to walk any more (and also closed the red circle on my watch) and unloaded her in the garage, she didn't wake up right away and I almost freaked out.

In other sleep complaints: Minnie keeps waking up for the day pre-6am, and I just cannot. I think this might be related to the morning nap (she probably doesn't need 2 a day anymore), but I will still need a walk probably and BLAH. Happily, though, Dorothy, whose room is right next to Minnie's and is the reason we get Minnie up right away when she calls in the morning, has started sleeping on Cooper's top bunk (because we put a TV in Cooper's room, I am pretty sure). So! Dorothy is much better rested, and Ben and I feel like we can start letting Minnie and her crib stuffies entertain themselves for a half hour in the morning.

Here is Minnie looking at pictures of Ben because that is how much she misses her beloved DADA when he is on a work call and cannot hang with her. Today while I exercised, she hung out in the family room while he worked, and she was totally content and having a terrific time. Until I finished my workout and came in the room. Then, she started grabbing her diaper and saying diaper and pulling me toward the stairs. Turns out, her diaper CAME UNDONE when she pooped and she had poop all over her jammies and legs and was not going to say a word about it to her dad. WHAT THE HELL?

Cooper has been sciencing the shit out of the last few days.
Minnie has to help herself to seconds.

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

I scheduled time to worry, and it worked for me!

 Year ago, I listened to an episode of Happier and heard Gretchen Rubin and Liz Craft tell their listeners to reduce anxiety by scheduling time to worry. Because I like to worry all the time about everything, I marveled at this strategy and thought it could never work for me. After I waited for over two weeks for the results of a biopsy during a rough postpartum stretch after I had Minnie, though, I thought about scheduling time to worry again and wished I had done it. Think of all the perfectly lovely time I wasted when Minnie was mini being worried about a mole that turned out to be totally fine. I wish I could have that time back. 

So, last month, when I needed yet another biopsy of a lady part, I decided to give worry-scheduling a try. Here's how I made it work:

1. I had a month between visiting the doctor and having the ultrasound and biopsy. I knew I wanted to put the whole thing out of my mind for that month, so I asked a million questions at my initial appointment, and I told the doctor I needed something to treat the problem I was having (a period that would never end) in the short term so I wouldn't worry about it over time.

2. I followed up with my GP for a physical a few days after the OB appointment and filled her in on what was happening, asked her advice, asked even more questions. These 2 things helped put my mind at ease, even with a procedure hanging over me.

3. Every time I started thinking about a sonohysterography, I calmly batted the thought away like it was a balloon-- like you do with wandering mediation thoughts-- and reminded myself I could worry about it on January 3rd.

4. Then, yesterday, I worried all day long, and I was a mega bitch this morning.  The appointment itself was fine-- uncomfortable and inconvenient-- but fine. I asked a ton of questions because today was still technically a worry day, and I walked out feeling... not worried at all. I plan to revisit my worry when the clinic calls with biopsy results and not a moment sooner.

And I bought donuts to celebrate the procedure being over and my scheduled worry time working like a charm!

Also not worried:

Monday, January 03, 2022

Happy New Year!

 How's it going for you all so far?

I have a scary ultrasound tomorrow to make sure my decrepit uterus is OK, and I have done such a good job of not thinking about it for a month that when I finally did think about it, I got super stressed out. So, there's that.

Also, our school district is taking an extended winter break and then doing 2 days of virtual learning and hopes to go back on 1/10, barring continuing staff shortages. I should note that this only affects Harry and Jack because Dorothy and Cooper have to stay virtual through the end of the quarter (January 24) and we were already planning to keep the older boys out because our county is a hot covid mess. I think our district's decision is a great one, and when I noted that on social media, I lost actual friends. And other friends explained privilege to me like I am not an academic. So rude and condescending. Also! When nonwhite parents are asked about closing schools to stop covid spread, they are more likely to be in favor of school closings than middle class white parents are. ALSO, middle class white parents use the image of nonwhite children living in poverty to justify their desire for school to stay open. BUT THAT DESIRE IS THE EPITOME OF WHITE SUPREMACY. It's about the career ladder and kids falling behind and cultural practices/traditions parents feel their kids are "owed." And I said NONE OF THAT on social media because I didn't want to offend anyone. But people just assumed I am an ignorant white lady floating on a privilege bubble and I just... ugh.

We had a lovely NYE, and it was not different than our usual NYE because WE ARE LOSERS.

We all made it until midnight, except Minnie who seemed to feel left out and has added an extra night waking every day this year. Cool.
Minnie, by the way, is teething and not thrilled about it.
She is thrilled with her standing desk, though
DJ Minnie
We just keep trying to re-Jenga all of our rooms to make room for all of the Christmas stuff.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

December: What I Read

25 books in December to make 195 books for the year. Here are the December deets:

Not as good as I hoped

Friends Like These by Kimberly McCreight: I hated everyone. And not in an especially entertaining way. Still, her plots are always great. **2021

Survive the Night by Riley Sager: Scary and then sad-- that's Sager's specialty. **2021

The Night Before by Wendy Walker: A perfectly serviceable thriller. **Audio

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner: WHY DID EVERYONE ELSE LIKE THIS?? **2021

Definitely Entertaining

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett: Collected essays-- all excellent. **Audio

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls: So excellent **Audio

Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard: The suspense in this book! I knew something terrible was going to happen, and it was killer to have to wait for it. *Audio

The Sixth Wedding by Elin Hilderbrand: A quick jump into the world of the 20 Summers cast-- loved it. **2021 **Audio

All the Ways We Said Goodbye by Beatriz Williams: Solid meh for this historical fiction. **Audio

Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane: This book really grew on me, and the narrator was a delight. **2021 **Audio

How to Kill Your Best Friend by Lexie Elliot: I wanted this to be better. I did not see the twist. Because I didn't care. **2021


Warcross and Wildcard by Marie Wu: THIS PAIR OF BOOKS IS RIGHT UP MY ALLEY. Like Ready Player One but also romance-ier. I started the second book the moment after I finished the first one-- so satisfying.

That Summer by Jennifer Weiner: Loved it-- great characters and a very snappy little plot. **2021

White Ivy By Susie Yang: SO GOOD. **Audio

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore: Read with Jenna never lets me down. I listened to this one, and the narration was excellent. **Audio

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall: Another Read with Jenna delight. **Audio

These were really wonderful:

The Turnout by Megan Abbott: SO CREEPY. Loved it. I love books about the seedy underbelly of the dance world. **2021

The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee: Such a tightly argued book! It's about systemic racism and ties together so many threads-- a great read.

Bewilderment by Richard Powers: THIS IS WONDERFUL. One of the best of the year, for sure. **Audio ** 2021

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich: LOVE HER SO MUCH. This is a good one. **2021

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult: OH YES. THIS IS ONE TO READ. And there will be a MOVIE! **Audio **2021

Billy Summers by Stephen King: Loved it. Not supernatural.Not horror. Just a good old thriller. **2021

The Plot by  Jean Hanff Korelitz: Twisty and so readable. **2021

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr: OH THIS BOOK. It is a love story about 2 enslaved men, but even though the tragedy is inevitable, there is JOY and BEAUTY and POETRY. You should read it. **2021 **Audio