Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Solving small problems

 The other day at the pool, I saw a lady YELL at her kids because they lost some of their diving rings. She was searching all around the pool for rings and even took some out of the pool’s community ring box to make up the difference. It was kind of a bummer to watch.

So, this week, when I found myself getting annoyed at small stuff, I decided to just quietly solve the problems without yelling. I bought Minnie a bunch of clothes (and a bathing suit!) with Elmo on them because she never wants to get dressed or take off her Disney pajamas. Problem solved! She can’t freaking wait to get dressed in Elmo clothes (eyeroll). I also ordered a bunch of water bottles on Amazon (I think they are meant for a team LOL LOL LOL) because the kids keep leaving theirs at baseball, dive, tennis, the pool (and I will still track them down, of course, but now I am not stressed about it at all, and I know at a glance which water bottles are TEAM JEDD, which will make it easier for me to grab them). Harry keeps losing his car keys in the steaming hellhole pit of trash, dishes, and baseball cards that is his room, so I bought him an Air Tag keychain and PROBLEM FREAKING SOLVED.

So, thanks, mad lady at the pool, for reminding me not to sweat the small stuff.

Another thing that helps? Dinner out. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Savor: A check in on my word of 2022

I have been trying to walk more. Like, whenever I have a second, I throw on some Birks and hit the road, even if it is just for 10 minutes. Sometimes Dorothy comes with me., Sometimes Ben. Mostly I am alone. (I would wear gym shoes, but I am trying to preserve my summer pedicures because it is honestly really hard to find an hour to sneak away and get my nails done— cry me a river, I know). The sunset above is from last night— a perfect moment of suburban zen.

On the way to work this morning (oh, the life affirming magic of wearing a pretty dress and going to campus for coffee and teaching twice a week), I listened to Happier for the first time in forever, and got the advice to check in on my word of the year, since 2022 is almost halfway gone.

My word is SAVOR, and I have been doing a pretty good job of holding small moments close and also eating salty snacks when my first instinct might have been to reach for something sweet. It’s easy to savor the last last year with a one-year old (shut up— I really mean it this time for serious) because everything is  so final and so darling. 

To be fair, all of the kids are at wonderful stages: a new license, more freedom, and more responsibility for Harry who has excellent graders and is on the cusp of his college choice adventure. A new beginning for Jack in high school after he had a wonderful end of middle school, has a new job, enjoys an excellent group of funny friends, and is in the middle of his dummer dive season, his favorite time of the year. Cooper is so athletic, grown up, caring, and responsible, but also he has his Apple Watch set to Mickey and often presses the button just to hear Mickey’s goofy voice tell him what time it is. Dorothy is like living with a cartoon— one made for adults— because even though she giggle and dances incessantly and is beautiful and always smells like flowers, she has the darkest, most grown up sense of humor.

And Minnnie! Knows all her letters and is working hard on numbers up to 9. She can do puzzles and gallop and jump. She uses 2 words together (mostly nouns and some adjectives. I don’t think the baby has a single verb, although the way she uses MEEEEEE and MIIIIIINE is very action-oriented) and has a delightful repertoire of animal noises. Her frog noise “ribby” is my favorite, of course.

And Ben and I are trying really hard to appreciate each other and the contributions we make to our family in this batshit crazy time in our lives. We have even started sneaking away for dinners and drinks as often as we can (which, I mean, is not supper often, BUT STILL). 

This is where I am having office hours this morning, in the spirit of savoring.


Monday, June 27, 2022

We relaxed! Between all of the things!

 Ok, listen. I LOVE to clean the house. In fact, one of the reasons I was so insistent that we build a new house (ELEVEN YEARS AGO!) is because we would start out with a perfectly clean place. And we did! But then we lived in it for 11 years and now? We have to get house cleaners.

We had a weekly cleaner when Harry was a baby and a twice a week cleaner when Jack was little. And then we moved. And here we are, cleanerless and scrambling for time on the weekends.

So, we must outsource more of the housework. Yard work, too, probably, but baby steps. I will keep you posted. (I know people have monthly and twice a month cleaners, but I also know that I need more frequent help, so the details of this will be FREAKING FASCINATING, I am sure).

Despite having to clean our own house AND attend a swim meet and a baseball game, we also had time to just hang out with the kids (I think because the groceries just magically appeared on the doorstep). Something Ben and I want to do more of is incorporate spontaneous fun hangs, especially those geared toward Dorothy and Cooper (which is wha made me think of getting house cleaners— something that has been on my to-do list since April). We are really feeling the pinch of taking care of a baby who still is not the best sleeper and also staying up late with our big kids, either to hang out with them or make sure they got home in one piece. It’s easy to not do special things with Dorothy and Cooper in the midst of all this, especially since they are the ones with seventy billion weekday sports. 


We went to campus for burgers and ice cream and made s’mores after the baby went to bed, and both of these things were fun for us, too, and they delighted the middle kids.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Groceries on the couch

 Listen, if you don’t already grocery shop via app, I recommend you start doing it. Minnie and I have been hanging out in the basement watching Moana, and I have already “gone” to Target, Costco, and Whole Foods and am waiting for deliveries. It’s pretty great.

Dorothy, Cooper, and Ben are at a cold, rainy swim meet (and the kids forgot their parkas, which is better than last AM meet when they forgot their sunscreen. By the end of the summer swim season, I bet we will remember all of the things at once), and Harry and Jack are still asleep. I have had… a lot of coffee, and I am thinking about maaaaaaaybe getting off the couch soon.

Minnie is her own stylist

Friday, June 24, 2022

Life lately (which, really, is what I could call every post)


No but really. Could they be any girlier?

We have had a supremely sporty WEEK.  Dorothy and Coop have done 2 swim meets (well, the second one is tomorrow morning) andJack and Coop have had 2 dive meets (the second one is tonight). Coop has a tennis tournament this afternoon, and he also plays in a baseball play off game tonight. Harry has worked like 30 hours this week and done tennis lessons, and Jack has spent every single second of free time at the pool working on his dives. (Which is paying off. He won his meet on Wednesday night and got his 3rd best score ever).

Jack and Coop with their dive meet ribbons:

Minnie has discovered her love of the sprinkler

But also, she and I are uninvited from basically all baseball games going forward because we are coolers. When we arrived at Coop’s Father’s Day game, his team was winning 16-0. The game ended in a 16-16 tie, and I feel responsible.

Cheering anyway:

Why yes, Ben is wearing pool spirit attire. Why wouldn’t he?
Minnie is still loving The Little Gym, but I have nothing in common with the other moms, who are so so so young and mostly pregnant with their second babies. I do like some of the grandmas, though.

I am trying to stay on top of posting pictures because I really do love being able to look through my archives and remember what life was like at a specific moment in time. In fact, I feel like I have outsourced a lot of my medium-term (LOL) memory to this very blog.

I want to remember that 22 month-old Minnie, for example, LOVES to clean up. What a great trait! Also, I asked her how old she was going to be on her birthday, and, while she did not know, she did tell me there will be a party with Elmo and balloons and maybe hats (which she calls haps), so I gotta get on that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A margin-free summer: YIKES

Oh look, Baby Harry is teaching swim lessons:
Remember when Baby Harry TOOK swim lessons? Yeah, me, too. Barely.

We had our second day in a row of 90+ temperatures, our 9th day this year (boo hiss), so the kids and I tried again to bake cookies in the car. 

This is after 6 hours of baking in the sun: SAD TROMBONE. Luckily, I am sure next year it will be even hotter, and we will try again (maybe next week even).

Also! I need to buy her 3T jorts because she does not have a 2T tummy or 2T thighs, and these are really constricting her movement.
Her frustrated face:
The baking process:
PERFECT for those important meetings where you really want to take notes, yes?
Optimistic bakers at the start of our journey
OMG I find her adorable when she is grumpy.

Honestly, though, summer is stressful, even with the addition of another driver (which, actually, really does lessen the load). I think the real problem is that I have NO MARGIN. I teach on Monday and Tuesday morning, and then I have to rush home immediately so Ben can go to work or at least take calls from home and it's a lot. The other days I am home and free (except for asynchronous online course things, but I have been juggling those for a decade and am so used to it). And Ben! Just, like, accepts in-person meeting invites willy-nilly, doesn’t put things like all day seminars that randomly take him to campus on odd days on our shared calendar,  and casually told me yesterday that he will need to go to work on a day we had previously scheduled as mine ALL SEMESTER, and it’s not like he checked to see if I have commitments that day (which I don’t— it’s totally fine). I like being the person everyone can count on, do not get me wrong. I literally planned my life around being a mostly at-home parent because it’s really what I want, and I also LOVE keeping my foot in the academic door. But damn! I need some wider margins. You know?

It doesn’t help that my entire life in the summer is putting sunscreen on angry, squirming people who would prefer to just set their skin on fire, taking those people places, unpacking the bags they took with them washing their wet stuff and their water bottles, and then packing up new stuff to go back out the door. Also cleaning pee off the boys’ bathroom floor, nagging people to eat before they go to tennis so they don’t hulk out from hanger, and being a pop-up referee whenever fights emerge. THIS IS WHY I GOT A PhD??


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Car Stuff

Nearly 12 years after Ben bought himself his Prius, he gave it to this guy, a licensed and insured driver. CAN YOU EVEN?
I drove Ben’s new car to get a pedicure and pop into Target yesterday, and I parked it a zillion miles away from everyone else because Ben loves this car to bits, as he should. It is his first new car in 12 years.
(In the last 12 years, I have had a Camry, a black minivan, a red minivan, another black minivan, a gray minivan, and my current blue minivan)

(Also, after you look at these car pics, check out tiny Jack and tiny Harry buying our first minivan)

So, listen, it is hard to get a car these days. Like, you cannot just go to a dealership and buy one. You have to find the kind you want and get on a waitlist. We, for example, joined a waitlist for a hybrid Highlander that was 8-9 months long. And then! About 6 weeks ago, we got a call saying our dealer was getting one that a person no longer wanted and we could have it! So we bought it! Sight unseen! And we didn’t get to choose the color or the trim package or anything and we feel so lucky because that’s how you buy a car in the apocalypse. 

OMG this car seat box picture still makes me laugh days later. THAT POOR MIDDLE KID.
So boring, you guys.

Then Cooper found the kids’ room and drank 4 Dr. Peppers, and we didn’t even care because cars these days are expensive. The least the dealer could do was get our kid high on soda.

Happy new car day to Ben on Father’s Day Eve. I wonder what car he’ll drive 12 years from now. (A blue hybrid Highlander, perhaps?)

(Also this car could legit be Dorothy and Cooper’s one day in the not-so-distant future. OR EVEN MINNIE’S— HOW WEIRD IS THAT? ACTUALLY NOT WEIRD AT ALL BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS SPEEDING UP.  THIS WAS HARRY JUST THE OTHER DAY. 

Wasn’t it?


Saturday, June 18, 2022

 This has been a weird week because Ben and Harry were gone on Monday and Tuesday and Ben has the whole week off. It’s my last week before summer classes start, and it has been so tempting to settle into a routine and live there. But! We cannot! This is not exactly how the rest of summer will go, and times of transition are always so unsatisfying for me even when I a enjoying myself.

On Monday, I kick off an 8-week online class AND a 6-week in-person class, so this new summer normal we’ve been toying with isn’t really going to be normal. Which, honestly, is probably a good thing because Cooper, Jack, and Dorothy are WAY TOO TAN. (Harry is, too, but his lifeguard cubby is fully stocked with sunscreen, and I feel like I have done all I can there— the other three are definitely my responsibility, even with more freedom to go to the pool whenever they want).

So far, summer is far sportier than I anticipated it would be even though I knew the kids were doing a bunch of stuff. I only knew it, though, in a vague way because I avoided looking too closely at any schedules because I knew seeing a color-coded Google calendar would be a major summer buzzkill. 

Jack only has dive team, so he’s pretty chill, although he is working his first pool job, so he has that to juggle in. 

Harry is just lifeguarding and playing some tennis— again, pretty relaxed.

Minnie has one Little Gym class a week and might check out some library story times.

 But Dorothy and Cooper! OMG. Both are doing swim team and tennis (starting next week, they’re doing tennis at different times of day and Coop is going to play matches and something that went from a way to make swim team last 2 hours instead of just one is quickly becoming its own THING), and Cooper is diving. These things happen every single day.

 But then!! Dorothy does water ballet 2 nights a week, and starting July 5, she’ll be dancing seven hours a week, too. IT IS A LOT. And it kind of creeped up on me. Plus she plays softball.

 And here’s the big one: Cooper is on THREE DIFFERENT BASEBALL TEAMS: his regular little league team, a tournament team, and the little league district team. Ben coaches the regular team and the district team, so he’s got a lot of baseball happening, too. 

We are basically just never eating together again, and we are spending all of our money on sports equipment that the kids immediately lose and we have to replace and also on Costco and Whole Foods grocery delivery. Summer!

Yes, actually, she is in the driver’s seat. It’s not just a metaphor.

Kona Ice night at the pool.

We took advantage of Ben being home and me not having to grade anything and went for lunch at our favorite greasy spoon. It’s been 3 years, so I absolutely did have my very own chocolate malt.

Um, this is supposed to be synchronized? (Water ballet practice)

The Little Gym repainted and took down for good the baby pics that have been hanging over the gym for 9 years. We got to take baby Dorothy home with us, and Minnie is a fan.

Minnie had a great time and was even able to do the skill of the week! I really want her to be participating more in the skills as opposed to just running around the gym by the end of the summer session, and she crushed that goal yesterday. I, however, started class just too darn enthusiastically and struggled to maintain that level of excitement for 45 minutes.

I saw Dorothy dancing and throwing this bat in the air and I immediately  thought fire batons and Miss Wisconsin. I couldn’t even help myself.
In his favorite place.
I mean, the better question is why wouldn’t she take a walk with a tennis racket and a mermaid?
Jack spends all year excited for summer dive season, and it’s finally here!

When she wakes up from her nap,. Minnie needs to watch Super Why and eat a snack on a plate on the couch in her diaper. She is very specific about this, and I love it.

I really want to go to the pool and take pictures of Harry teaching swim lessons because OMG how adorable, but so far, do dice. Cross your fingers, though— probably with some pics of him taking Hawks swim lessons. I cannot even.