Friday, October 28, 2022

5 on a Friday: tiny treats edition

1. I was a little annoyed this week because Dorothy’s dance classes have been doing cute little Halloween numbers to perform for parents, and I had to come to class early, etc. BUT the performances were darling, and Minnie could not have been more excited. Here she is literally jumping for joy.

2. I love love love our post-Little Gym coffee and cookie date. It is a highlight of my week.

3. Talk about an unexpected treat. When is the last time you saw a unicorn on a unicorn doing ballet?

4. Cookie cutters transform a boring lunch to an exciting lunch— how could I have forgotten this divine toddler truth?

5. This $3 color-on Target tablecloth and these McDonald’s Happy Meal buckets (also a very nostalgic treat) filled with old crayons and colored pencils have been keeping her busy all week. And! Everyone just sort of colors a pumpkin absently when they pass the table. It’s a tiny seasonal delight for sure.


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Hi! Welcome! I love candy.

 Hello! According to my blog stats, there are a few new readers from THIS NY Post story about letting kids eat the heck out of their Halloween candy, which came about because a nice reporter read THIS Madison Mom post from a few years ago.

So, welcome to my vintage mommy blog where I just complain about how hard it is to raise tiny humans and never try to sell you things. 

You can read about my grad school experience, as well as the births of Harry, Jack, Coop, Dorothy, and Minnie, the time I peed my pants and thought I was having a baby (and then told the world about it), and various other ridiculous things. 

Just pooping on to post this because there’s new traffic, and my current posts are kind of boring even for me. (A new water bottle! Sheet masks I barely even have time for! Boo-hoo I have to shop for Chrismukkah-- you get the idea).

OK, listen, I gotta go— this afternoon promises to be a total cluster. I got a weird bcc email from Cooper’s teacher about math homework he has to do, and Coop HATES homework. Dorothy is being very extra about dressing up for Halloween every single day this week at dance practice— in a different costume— and Minnie gathered a big bag of sticks and leaves before nap with the intention to make art with them “after I wate up.” PLUS, various kids have rehearsal for the fall play, tennis, swimming, and dance tonight, and dinner might be dicey because my stew is more of a soup, which is a bummer because last night’s soup was more of a stew. Bath humbug.

Godspeed, friends— see you on the flip side.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022


One of my favorite little happiness boosts is my monthly sheet mask subscription from Facetory. I get 7 masks and one random full-sized beauty product a month, and it is a delight to receive.  The products are usually terrific, and there have been 3 that I love so much I buy them all the time.

I can't live without  Beauty Water toner, Artemesia Balancing Light Cream (to go under regular night cream), and Yadah Green Tea cleansing balm. All of these products are lovely, made with excellent ingredients, and cost very little. What a dream trifecta!

I also feel overwhelmed when it comes to sheet mask selection-- what makes a good one? What am I supposed to even be looking for in one? Aside from the Trader Joe's mask (which is the best $2 you could ever spend on anything), I never know which ones to buy. This subscription solves that problem, and after reading the insert that comes with my curated mask collection all these months, I am starting to actually know what I like and what to look for in a mask.

BUT! Lately (like the last quarter of the year), I have fallen waaaaaaaaay behind in my mask usage. When I get my new month's mask envelope, for example, I still have last month's sealed in my vanity. Yikes!

It took weeks and weeks of dry skin and mask shame for me to realize something: I do not like using sheet masks at night. The problem? I ALWAYS used to use sheet masks at night. It just made sense to slap one on after my shower when my face was toned, moisturized, etc (most of the time, you are not supposed to wash your face after using a sheet mask-- you just sort of pat the extra into your skin and call it a day). I dreaded it, though, because I always get so cold after my shower, and the mask is cold, too. Once I sort of climb into my couch nest at night after a long day of working and kid wrangling, I am loathe to get up again, but with a sheet mask, you have to, you know, get rid of the soggy mask at the end of your 15-20 minutes.

My solution? Do a mask in the morning. This is genius on several levels. It makes me floss basically as soon as I get up because flossing with a mask on is no good. It makes me exfoliate my face every morning, which is something I wasn't doing regularly. I would just use toner and put daytime lotion over last nigh's lotion. Now, even on non-mask days, I wash my face with exfoliating cleanser because it's a habit. It makes sure my face is washed and moisturized really early -- I do a mask right before I clean bathrooms-- which is getting me out the door on time to baby activities and  office hours, depending on the day. AND-- it takes about 15 minutes to clean 3 bathrooms and to do a face mask-- perfect multitasking. Multimasking?

As of tomorrow, I will only be one month behind in my mask use, and my skin looks GREAT. I plan to do 8 days of masks every morning and then go back to my more relaxed 2 times a week schedule, and I will be current before my December envelope arrives.

(Besides sheet masks, I also love Glossier's Mega Greens mask, Cocokind chlorophyll mask, and Milky Piggy carbonated bubble clay mask.)

Any other mask recs? In case you couldn't tell, I have a bit of an addiction...

Night masks are fun with a partner

Monday, October 24, 2022

Holiday Madness

 We are gearing up to launch into holiday season, friends, and I am NOT READY. 

Our family birthday season spans March-September, and then we barely catch our breath before HALLOWEEN———>CHRISTMAS unfolds with Hanukkah and Thanksgiving somewhere in there.

Ben and I strolled Costco on Saturday night (the best date nights start at Costco), buying Halloween candy and putting odds and ends (stocking stuffers, mostly) in our cart. We realized we have no idea what to buy the kids for the most part. GAH. And have not even started thinking about each other or other family. Where are we going? Who is coming to visit? What’s our NYE plan? We are going to Disney for Hanukkah (but not technically over Hanukkah), so that’s simple enough. But still Christmas and all the special magical pressure.

Also, there are still some Halloween kinks to iron out (booooo to Trunk or Treat at school, but we will go because kids are only kids for a second) and stuff to assemble for class parties. BTW, I am not volunteering in the classroom because I really do not have enough Minnie-free time this year, but Coop told his teacher that his mom can’t volunteer because she won’t do the background check. So, that’s awesome. PAY ATTENTION TO THE NUANCE, KID. (It’s true, I said I was not going to do the background check but it was about not having time to be in the classroom anyway, not the check itself LOL).

Then, of course, Thanksgiving and the matching turkey-themed dresses I need to procure (for Dorothy and Minnie, not me). Matching t-shirts for Disney, NATCH. And Christmas and all that comes with it. I am pre-stressed, which I guess is a step in my process. So, yay? Pre-stress is so fall-y and festive. I love that for me.

Not stressed? These witches:

Look at these dirty little feeties— we had the most perfect weather imaginable

Barefoot in the park in OCTOBER in WISCONSIN? Oh, I love it so much.

Also loving Minnie’s little haircut and that she call headbands crowns.
Oh! And how could I forget— she’s really into doll houses, which is just precious. She plays with little plastic figures like a real little person.

Friday, October 21, 2022

5 on a Friday: High school kids are hard edition

 1. On one hand, a lot is fabulous about having high school kids. Harry and Jack are so smart and funny and grown up. It's like we suddenly got a couple of charming new friends who also live with us. I love when they want o hang out with us, and in the late evening when they're home and showered, and eating snacks and winding down for the night, the 4 of us have a blast together, even just watching bad TV. They are so capable and generally willing and excited to help, and watching the 2 oldest kids with Minnie is a top-tier delight of a lifetime. Having another driver in the house is SO HANDY, and I love when they just walk out the door and go to school without any assistance from us, especially after a year of driving to high school with Harry, dropping him off, coming home, sending Dorothy and Cooper across the street, and loading up Jack and driving him, too, across town to middle school EVERY SINGLE WEEKDAY and then repeating the whole thing like 6 hours later.

2. On the other hand! Having a high school junior is STRESSFUL because you are basically asking these kids who are really still BABIES to decide REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS about THE REST OF THEIR LIVES, and they are BABIES who DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. But! Parents cannot make college decisions for kids. That's the who point of college-- to help them grow up.

3. I wrote THIS POST for Madison Mom, which basically is the talk I give to parents at freshman orientation in the summer, and I think it's all true, but HAVING MY OWN JUNIOR IS IGNITING MY HELICOPTER-NESS like never before. And you guys! It is not like I have been chill up to now, you know?

4. I just think about when Cooper is a junior, and we will have already had 2 kids graduate (please God) from college by then and we will be old pros and so chill and laugh at the selves we are right now. I am not one to wish time away but I wish I could just have a teeny glimpse into this future, you know?

5. ALSO! Our school is very pointedly NOT taking away cell phones during the school day (in contrast to schools on the east side of town), and it's REALLY HARD to convince these tiny infants who are in charge of giant pieces of machinery and also THEIR OWN FUTURES MY GOD to put their effing phones away and focus in class. I just. Gah.

My feelings about this are delicious: pancakes with a friend and a sandwich so big it needed a box. ON THE SAME DAY.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Baby’s First Haircut


Here’s the last known photo of Minnie’s mullet:

Well, I guess there’s one more because I couldn’t stop taking pics because she was SO serious and in love with the pretty baby in the mirror.

 She has mostly stopped twisting and pulling her hair (FINGERS CROSSED THAT I DIDN’T JUST JINX IT), and it has filled back in on top. But one side is just thicker than the other, and there’s a light patch next to her crown. It looks so so so cute in piggies, but the super staticky dry fall air makes it lay flat and look weird otherwise.  So! The stylist cut the mullet off and layered the rest the best she could to make it look even. The result is pretty darling.

I couldn’t stop taking pics at the grocery store

And I am also a fan of the bow:

Monday, October 17, 2022

Water Bottle

 I felt like a real jerk not driving back to the Dells for my water bottle as soon I noticed it was missing. I spent over $40 on that water bottle, which seems like, I don’t know, too much to walk away from. But! The more miles between me and my Hydroflask, the more I realized that I never liked the darn thing.

I prefer a see-through water bottle so I know how much I have to drink. I also really like something without a straw but with a spout. Mine could either have a spout with a straw on the inside or a twist-off lid, and I liked neither of those.

I have put “drink more water” on my list of improvements for months now, and I know that doing a job is easier when you have the right tools, but for some reason, I thought that since this was a pricey water bottle (and since Ben, Dorothy and Cooper all have and love theirs), I already had the right tool.

Anyway, I replaced it with a 2-pack of BPA-free, dishwasher safe see-through Contigo bottles from Target for $16 (less that half the price for twice the product!) and I have already had over 100 ounces of water EFFORTLESSLY today. (My old water bottle NEVER EVER leaked and kept things really cold, so there’s that).

Is this a metaphor? I mean, if I thought more about it, I am sure it is. But really it’s a story of me being a wasteful jerk and also needing to pee a lot.

Minnie chose herself a winter jammie capsule wardrobe. AND! She is traumatized by last week’s visit to the Target Halloween aisle:

Also she doesn’t like her black NorthFace coat (that used to be HARRY’s), so when we walked through the clothes section, she kept saying “There cute coat!” And “Cute pink coat for Minnie!” She even said the coat did not fit her, so Cooper tried it on:

Meanwhile, Dorothy has no misgivings about brotherly jacket hand-me-downs, rocking a jacket and a puffer vest:
She also loved that little back coat:

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Dance Mom, Part 2

8:36 am

 I tried many many many times between leaving the convention yesterday and coming to warms ups this morning to convince Dorothy to start her day in the junior/senior combo room doing tap. I told her it’s so cool that this convention even has tap because most don’t. I texted friends and told her who’d be in the room to dance with. I even let her know that her day 1 crew wasn’t arriving until later in the day, so she might have to do the other class by herself.

BUT she was put off by the combo room because she started her day there yesterday with a hip hop friend (even though I wanted her to do the junior jazz class) and then stayed there for leaps and turns with the same friend even though that meant she was going to miss the only ballet offering of the convention, and the combo room is much harder than the junior room. She elected to do her first this morning in the junior room (hip hop again), and she is having NO FUN because she’s not with anyone she knows, which DUH.  She was just standing on the corner of the stage with her hands in her pocket. I told her she either had to try harder/act happier or take off her team shirt at least so her teachers didn’t see her acting like that (I AM SUCH A GOOD MOM). She was like ok fine I’ll go to tap, and I was like duuuuuuuuuude they’ve already learned half the dance. 

Also— WHY do I know and care what classes are offered and have an opinion on which ones she should take? I know absolutely nothing about dance, and the best part of this whole thing is how happy it makes her.

Well, no. The best part of this whole thing is this random kid from another studio’s convention blanket with her swag hat, extra shoes, and GALLON SIZE BAG OF FLAMING HOT CHEETOS. Just the essentials.

SO. That’s where we are after another 5:30 am wake up on a dang weekend. I mean, she didn’t wake up until 6:20 for a 6:30 leave time, and yes, I am jelly. Also, Minnie woke up once after 2 nights of no wake ups. It was 3:30, and I was back in my bed before 4, but then she had some sort of LOUD nightmare where she just kept saying NO and DOP (stop) but was not awake (Ben and I both were tho). So, blergh. (And before all this, I woke up randomly at 3:16 and was juuuuuuuust falling back to sleep when Minnie woke up. I blame the 3/4 glass of Prosecco I had before bed, which always makes me sleep terribly).

I don’t know about America, but I definitely needed to run on Dunkin this AM.

So many moms bought themselves a convention sweatshirt, and I just … like, why?

10:00 am

She is a million times happier after taking a contemporary class with her friend where they hugged each other a lot and danced with their emo faces. I LOVED IT. Also I really cannot even tell if people were supposed to be doing the same dance or if there was some free styling happening. In other words, listen, I do not understand contemporary.

(Ben is taking Minnie shopping for winter jammies that are not sceddy (she is scared of some fleece Dino’s and some fleece monster print ones in her drawer, and she’s turned off all winter jams as a result, but her room is drafty, and her nighties are not going to cut it) and I wish a little bit I was there because taking a 2 year-old to a store and letting her choose clothes is, like, one of my top 5 favorite things to do in the world).

Now I really am going to get back to writing, I swear.
12:49 pm

I DID write. But on Google Docs, and I really prefer a Word file. Also, I am losing my narrative threads because I have been working on this thing forever. Chapter breaks? Just throwing the, in wherever I want. GAH.

Dorothy liked her contemporary class so much that she wants to stay for contemporary improv this afternoon, but she’s belly dancing (LOL) right now, and I don’t think she can make it through one more hip hop class, let alone an improv one, too. 

I packed us both apples, PB&J with no crusts, pretzels, and oatmeal choc chip cookies for lunch, and we had a delightful car picnic. She’s having so much fun, and this whole convention has been incredible. It’s so neat that these dancers get the chance to learn so many different styles and from so many different teachers. I have also noticed that Dorothy and her friends are getting much better at learning choreography quickly.

Kickline class:

Teams pic that she took a running dive into at the last second (LOL)
Belly dancing— watching her fight with her veil was a highlight of my day for sure
She finally threw it around her neck and over her shoulder like Isadora Duncan, and I loved it.

I thought she’d want to leave after that class, but as I type this, she is back for another round of hip hop. WOW.

3:15 pm

She did NOT actually make it for the improv class, and we are HOME. Even though it snowed a little. And also I left my Hydroflask there and realized it kind of close to the hotel but didn’t go back because I could not figure out how to get off and get back on the highway. Going to target for a lesser water bottle momentarily. 

Meanwhile, here’s D in a giant tub of magnesium:

Saturday, October 15, 2022

DANCE MOM, part 1

 I mean, listen. THERE MIGHT ONLY BE ONE PART. But also we are coming back here tomorrow, so maybe there will be more.

TL; DR: We are at a dance convention, and Dorothy is having the TIME OF HER LIFE.

We left at 6:38 this morning, so I did a 5:30 face mask to wake the hell up.

Also, I am way too proud of myself for putting my kid in the car and driving 50 minutes away on a highway like a regular person. I KNOW. My bubble is a small one, what can I say?
Dorothy’s job is to spend the next 2 days taking as many different dance classes in as many different styles as she can. My job is to do nothing to get ready for the week ahead or clean my house or pay attention to my other kids and also pay for it.

So far, we are both excellent at our jobs.

She started with hip hop. Then she did leaps and turn. Then she did more hip hop. Lunch. Another hip hop. And then old school jazz, where a 64-year-old woman who keeps imploring the class to KICK YOURSELF IN THE FACE claims to be teaching Fosse. I LOVE MY LIFE.