Thursday, February 02, 2023

Thursday randoms

January 2023; January 2022

Facebook memories always get me in the feels.

We had SUCH a lovely day on Tuesday. Dorothy felt better thanks to the magic of antibiotics, but she still had a low grade fever Monday through lunchtime, so I kept her home to rest for one more day. Minnie was THRILLED to have her bestie back because Dorothy wore a mask and stayed in her room the whole time she was sick.

Dorothy got to come with us to swim lessons and take pictures for the Gram, and after, we all went to Target. I cleaned out Dorothy’s closet and drawers on Saturday (donations and stuff to pack away for Minnie— some of the boys’ clothes were unsalvageable even for donation piles when I would clean them out at this age, but Dorothy only had 2 pairs of sweatpants with ruined knees), but then she got sick AND we got like 14 inches of snow, so we didn’t have time to shop for the specific items she needed to replace.

She NEEDED black leggings (like, the athletic kind, not the cloth kind) for dance competitions (they wear them between numbers with their team jackets and shoes), and we found those (although I wanted to buy one to save for dance and one for daily wear, but she only likes high-waisted, full-length ones, and Target only had a single pair in a medium). She also really needed another pair of jeans because she is down to one single pair, and they are wide legged, high-waisted, and acid washed, in other words very memorable. BUT! She hates jeans and found zero that she could imagine wearing. She did find another pair of athletic leggings and a pair of joggers, though, so that’s helpful. Right now, her wardrobe is mostly dresses, and she hates tights **eye roll**. She also imprinted on a fuzzy fleece sweatshirt (she has a bajillion sweatshirts) and found 2 (you guessed it) dresses. I bought a pair of cheapy black leggings to wear under them, and she found THE CUTEST loafers. 

We had fun, and she picked out some adorable things, but her wardrobe still has big gaps. That I plan to address with spring clothes **shrug**.

Meanwhile, in toddlerville, Minnie found a Little Mermaid sleeves tutu dress (SO PRACTICAL), Frozen Mary Janes, and a necklace/bracelet set that she HAD TO HAVE. She has worn the entire ensemble 2 days in a row (I washed after bedtime), and yesterday she lost the bracelet somewhere between the couch, the dance studio, and the salon for Dorothy’s bang trim. I HAVE ALREADY ORDERED A NEW ONE FOR TARGET PICK UP. And yes, my spending spreadsheet knows my shame.

Cutest loafers— pretty sure I had them 30 years ago

She feels good as hell in this dress., so **shrug**

Caught her

Will wash hands for stamp

Will ONLY wash hands for stamp

Beatrix never judges me when the laundry backs up on a sheets day. She’s happy to help keep it company.

Living the impossible shrimp taco dream.

Before I had so many kids, I should have thought more critically about the likelihood that a family this size would involve bunk beds. I HATE CHANGING THE TOP BUNK. And! Since Dorothy maintains both her own bedroom and the top bunk in Cooper’s room so she can sleep where she fancies on a particular night, I have TWO top bunks in my life and UGH. (Also, every other week, these beds have matching dino comforters, but the off week sees rain blows and transformers (**shrug**) (Also also Dorothy sleeps with LITERALLY 19 stuffed animals and about 6 books).

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

January: What I Read

Welcome, friends, to a brand new reading year! I have one serious contender for BOOK OF THE YEAR and another 2023 book I really loved. The other 4 current-year books are just meh thrillers (although the Hendrix book is HILARIOUS).

I got 2 older (2022 LOL) feminist reads from Libby that I adored— Burnout, a self-help book that is both helpful and really, truly FEMINIST and The Change that asks the question what happens when post-menopausal women stop giving a shit about the patriarchy and answers SMASH WITH SUPER POWERS.

20 books this month, and here’s how they stacked up:

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover: I am actually excited that this was a #1 of more. **Audio

Night Shift by Robin Cook: Terrible but also strangely addicting. 

You Have a Match by Emma Lord: Cute YA book with deeper characters than I expected and a twistier plot. **Audio 

Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan: I listened to this one, and it was a lovely little distraction. **Audio

The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle: This one was entertaining and quick but also very predictable.

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez: Another lovely little audio romance. I will say, I do not usually like this author, but this one was darling. **Audio

What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall: Bleh. This was … fine? It was my January Book of the Month pick, and really? I should have just skipped January. When nothing looks good, I default to the thriller, but I am rarely satisfied. **2023

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover: I ACTUALLY LIKED THIS ONE A LOT. **Audio

Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli: This book was excellent. It’s about grief after suicide, and it’s very sad and raw. I almost started to get impatient with the narrator for being so sad for so long, which is how the character accuses her family of acting right after I felt that way- very well done. **Audio

The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes: Ok, this was SO CREEPY. **2023 **audio

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister: I FINALLY snagged this at the library, and I liked it, but it was very into its own technique, you know? 

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman: This was a BOTM that I neglected last year, and it was GREAT— very twisty and suspenseful. Loved it.

Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore: I liked Oona Out of Order better, but I enjoyed this one. I really like the author's take on multiple universes (in both books), and I adore the way she plays with form. **Audio

All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham: This one kept me guessing for quite a bit. **2023

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finley Boylan: Like, listen. I understand the impulse to look down your nose at these books, but if you do that? I think you might be missing a really good time. Or there’s like some kind of intellectual virtue signaling (kind of like what I do with Colleen Hoover) like oh I read this but I am not of this. But you know what? I AM OF THIS.

The Change by Kirsten Miller: When women go through menopause, develop superpowers, and smash the patriarchy. **Audio

How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix: Ha! So funny! So creepy! Liked it a bunch. **2023

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins: YES, PLEASE, MORE LIKE THIS. Love love love this writer (and her romance persona) and this one was great and so fun. **Audio **2023

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski: A feminist self help book that has systemic causes but believable personal solutions? YES YES YES. Their discussion of evidence based way to use gratitude journaling effectively was the best part for me, but I also like the way they describe patriarchy for the newbie. **Audio

Sam by Allegra Goodman: What a delightfully sad coming of age story.The characters are so well drawn, and the narrator grows up on the page in a really charming way. **2023

This Month:

20 books

6 books published in 2023

 9 print and 11 audio

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Ingredient house?

 I have a fun know yourself better question inspired by a friend’s Facebook post. 

Are you an ingredient house or a meals house?

We are definitely mostly an ingredient house, although we do have a pantry cupboard of granola bars, pretzels, goldfish, etc. We stock frozen pizza on the regular and sometimes Uncrustables, but we generally are not a prepared meals/snack kind of place. Harry goes through Hot Pocket phases, and Ben bought a box of frozen cheeseburgers on buns (BARF) at Costco the other day, but generally, we just don’t buy that stuff. We do eat chocolate chips out of the bag and put frosting on graham crackers, so it’s not all clean living or anything silly like that. I just tend to buy ingredients at the store— which is why PB&J with Doritos or a salami sandwich with corn chips and mustard are 2 of my favorite snacks from childhood through college to now LOL.

Growing up was the same— as you can tell by my ridiculous sandwich penchant (unless my dad was shopping— then it was all Bagel Bites and mini corn dogs and frozen egg breakfast trays— but my mom was a SAHM so the groceries were almost always her responsibility).

I wonder if this is a gendered/default parent thing- do women or family caretakers buy ingredients? Are we socially shamed for selecting pre-made stuff in a way that the partner who is in the role of household helper is not?

What about you? Ingredients or meals, and is your partner the same? Is your shopping preference about gendered expectations or is it a result of the way you grew up?

Monday, January 30, 2023


It is not possible, in my experience, to explain to a 2 year-old that the fresh new snow is not actually snowman snow. I heard my neighbor tell her kindergartener a couple weeks ago that the snow was not sledding sow, but that’s crap. Any snow is sledding snow, but sometimes parents don’t want to go sledding. Only wet snow can make a real snowman, though. But powder? Makes a pretty good snow blob. Also, we have gotten OVER A FOOT of snow since that picture. GAH.

Other things we have: A SICK KID. It’s Dorothy, who spiked a 101-degree fever on Saturday afternoon but was feeling fine when I snapped this pic of 2 sisters choosing earrings (it was pajama day at school, hence Dorothy’s pajama pants. Minnie goes absolutely nowhere on Fridays, so she wears he princess nighties as long as she wants to).

Dorothy and Cooper have not had COVID yet, so every time one of them gets sick, I am really worried. So far, D is negative on home tests, but I might take her for a strep test just to make sure it’s not that. She just had flu-A, but maybe she got lucky and now has B?

She had dance, swim, and cheerleading on Sunday, so her illness simplified a busy day #silverlining

On Friday night, we got to watch Jack dive at a home meet, and he made the final round! It was so fun to watch him excel at something he loves. I can’t believe he’s a high school athlete already. HE WAS JUST A BEBE.

So, Minnie adores this library dollhouse so much, I kind of want to buy one for the basement. But will she love it as much if she can play with it every day?
Minnie kept stage whispering I BE SO KIET (quiet) and I WEALLY KIET at the dive meet, so she and I watched the majority of the action from the lobby instead of the bleachers. Coop has a dive meet in Chicago in a couple weeks, and I think one of us is going to have to stay home with Min because despite her declarations, she is not actually so quiet, really quiet, or even KIND OF quiet.
She has had basically no practice at eating out, but we are sloooowly working on that, one plate of pancakes at a time.
Pro-tip: If you ever need your toddler to sit still for a few minutes, give them a mani pedi they really like and tell them to be super careful while it dries.
4th place in oratory!
Someday I will love telling Minnie that she liked to play in her teen brothers’ dirty sheets while I changed their beds.
Strings concert (that we got to watch on YouTube- thanks for real, COVID) on pajama day—ha!
We definitely ordered a sugar cookie appetizer.
Another thing I got recently? A really unfortunate dye job. I was just supposed to get my existing gray-covering high and lowlights retouched, but I ended up… a brassy blond. Probably I should have called the salon back the next day and asked for a fix, but is there one? And won;t that make everything awkward?

After I dropped Dorothy off at dance last week, Minnie and I went to Ulta in search of purple shampoo and conditioner to tone it a little, so it’s not brassy anymore. But still very blond.

Minnie LOVES Ulta, BTW. I think it’s because the merch goes all the way down to the ground, and all of the makeup is open on display. Minnie licked 2 blushers and a powder compact before I could stop her. And she found her hold-still nail color


Friday, January 27, 2023

5 (new dresses) on a Friday

 Amazingly, all of the super clearance dresses I ordered from LOFT are AWESOME, and I am keeping them. Well. I am keeping them all. A couple of them are not maybe awesome and one is super cute IRL but photographs poorly. I wore one with leggings to The Little Gym on Thursday, and it looked pretty terrible in the full-length mirror there, but I blame my hair and earring choices, really. 

ANYWAY. Let me show these dresses because I can’t even believe I liked them all. We have a LOFT nearby, so I figured I would just return what I didn’t like, but I am pretty sure I liked them all. Enough to keep. For less than $30/dress.

Smocked flounce dress: I am a petite medium in this one, and I like it A LOT. It looks kind of meh IRL with leggings, and mini Uggs TBH, but I think it will be really cute in the spring with a jean jacket and Air Force 1’s. 

Plaid swing shirt dress: I also got a PM in this one but I really should have bought a small. It’s tricky with button-ups at LOFT because sometimes they gap, even though I have small breasts **shrug** This is my very favorite style of dress and one I have bought a million times in my life from childhood, through high school, through RIGHT NOW. I plan to do gray tights and red ultra mini Uggs with this one, but my red cowboy books would be cute, too. It is WAY CUTER in person than in this pic (but I could size down).

It’s super soft flannel and I heart the  teeny red stripe
Yes. We have separate beds.

Leopard print midi shirt dress: THIS IS NOT LEOPARD PRINT; I think it is important to note. ALSO, this dress is my least favorite. It’s just kind of blah. I was torn on a 4 or a 6, and I went with a 6 because it buttons up the front. It fits fine and is super comf. I have a really cute pair of strappy-ish suede leopard heels and a pair of really cute navy booties that would look good this one, and I think I have some earrings and eyeliner that will make it pop. I do love a petite midi dress, though, because that length is so fun but SO TRICKY when you are super short. I think I could do sweater tights, mini Uggs, and a chunky white cardigan, too, if I want to be cozy and teach my class.

I think

Cuter on her

NOT LEOPARD— also NOT a tummy pooch but the pattern is questionable.

Vine smocked flounce dress: I also have a TON of dresses like this— sheer arms, floaty with a belted waist, rando floral pattern. I got a medium in this one, and really a small would be better maybe but the belt makes it work. I have purple tights and purple booties to wear.

Can I just say, I am using wrinkle treatment on my lips to help exfoliate and moisturize EVERY SINGLE DAY and they are still chapped little nothings?! Also, if you have proportionately heavy arms like I do, sheer sleeves are SO GOOD. Also, clearly I will not wear ANY of these with a sports bra IRL.

Flecked button back swing dress: I have an almost identical dress from Anthro that’s striped, and this one is EVEN CUTER. I got a PS, and it was the right call FOR SURE. The back buttons are too cute. I will do blue booties with this one or maybe my ancient Frye riding boots, assuming they still fit my calves (LOL but also crying face, and not the happy one).

My class only meets once a week this semester, so this haul takes me just about to spring break. Definitely shop the LOFT super clearance— it’s so good. Anybody buy anything cute lately?

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Toddler life lately

Oh, Minnie. She’s the most wonderful thing to wake up to. After 6 am. She’s so boisterous and ridiculous. You should see her do yoga with me. It is such a joy to look at the mat next to you and see 35 pounds of toddler hugging her knees to her chest or holding her fat little hands at heart’s center. Today the video told us to feel our bodies, and she started patting her stomach. I can’t get enough. Which is good because she is my shadow.

Minnie and I are loving our routine, you guys. Swim class! Gym class with a cookie after! Trips to the library, watching tons of TV while I answer emails. Every day is a delight.
Can you even believe she made me take this out and just do a plain old low braid over her shoulder? NOT ENOUGH VISUAL INTEREST IN THE FRONT, she said. (She is the funniest person I know).
Sometimes butterflies need to make a call, you know?
Have I shared this amazing lazy mom enrichment hack? Store all the puzzle pieces in one basket and dump them all out at once. (I keep the boards on the bottom book shelf) Not only does she have to do the puzzles (which individually are a little too easy for her), but she also has to sort the pieces. Takes a loooong time and holds her interest. WINNING.
She loves to bake. Every day she asks to make something specific, and I am here for it. This was a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.
This week, she really really really wanted Ben to go to The Little Gym with her, and he was able to make it work on the way to a meeting (like he left the big red mat and went straight there— I had to tag team and help Minnie get her stamp, etc— as soon as Ben was done banging that drum (it’s a Little Gym joke--maybe too niche), he was OUT). How adorbs are these pictures? I forgot to mention to Ben that Minnie NEVER does the warm up, so he cajoled her the whole time and took her non-participation personally