Friday, April 28, 2023

5 on a Friday: Pics of the weeeeeeeek

 1. This one is super old, and I forgot that I even did something so silly with my baby when it popped up on my FB memories. Dorothy was 13 months old, and Jack was a brand new 7 year-old. Behind them is a giant Zappos box of ugly shoes for the whole fam to wear to Disney World with some particularly tragic Merrell Mary Janes for me on top.

2. The next one is actually a video, but seriously, how adorbs is Minnie hauling her own little self out of the water? If you ask her how her new big kid swim lessons are going, she will say “I do weally well” because that is what her teacher (THAT GIRL HAVE PINK HAIR MAMA) says about her after class.
3. Laurie Birkner forever- right nowMinnie is constantly asking Alexa for “These Are my Glasses”
4. Little League in Wisconsin: WEAR YOUR PARKAS and DRINK YOUR HOT BEVERAGES.

5. Coop heads to dive regionals this weekend on his quest to qualify for nationals— send him all your good vibes!!

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Toddlers— so literal

 Sometimes I am THE WORST, and I don't even MEAN to be.

The other night, Minnie was off her routine. I think her naps have gotten too long again. For a little while there, Ben and I were both super good about waking her up at the exact 90--minute mark. But you know-- April the cruelest month (esp. in academia), etc, and her naps have crept back up to a couple of hours.

I had a late night on campus because I stayed until 7 so I could bing Coop home from dive, and when we got home, Minnie was happily splashing in her bath like a baby seal. She was thrilled to see me (I MISSED YOU HO MUCH) (I love that she cannot pronounce "s" at the beginning of a word and uses "h" instead). I was impressed that she was bathed before Dorothy even got home from dance and anticipated an early bedtime for her and for me.

But then! Midway through her interminable lotion/jammies/book/nursing situation, she was like I HAVE A TOMACH ACHE. DADDY TAKE ME TO THE DOCTAH. We weren't sure if she was saying that her stomach hurt or if she was recounting her Easter morning ED experience, but she got more insistent. She finally hollered I NEED A NACK.

She ate SO MUCH you guys! Banana, strawberries, a clementine, a piece of toast with peanut butter. Dorothy came home (Harry is THE EST-- he took her dance and brought his pre-calc stuff so he could study and wait to bring her home) and took a shower and I took a shower, and Minnie was still eating. She nursed, had a bottle and a refill in her crib (TERRIBLE FOR HER TEETH— I KNOW), and finally went to sleep way after 9.

At 1:00 she screamed MO BABA (which means “I would like another something to drink please”), and she never really fell back to sleep. We both slept sort of, listening to her talk to her toys and complain quietly. She started crying around 2, so I brought her to bed with me (I am too tired in the middle of the night to make good choices). She just laid there STARING AT ME. I would doze, and then she would just STARE until I opened my eyes.

After 45 minutes, I was like, “Minnie, it’s night night time. You gotta go to sleep so I can go to sleep. I can’t take care of you tomorrow if I don’t get some sleep.” Ugh— the library— making cookies— playing Lego, etc— all the things she wanted to do the next day and talked loudly about during her bedtime routine. They sounded like a lot on 3 hours of sleep.

Ben offered to go sleep on the floor in her room, so she could go back in her crib, but she said, “No. I nuggle in Dada’s bed.”

I happily passed her over to Ben, and, magically, all three of us fell asleep.

Somewhere in there, I changed my 5:40 alarm to a 6:30 alarm and figured I could cut out the cup of coffee and Wordle in bed part of my wake up routine and phone my workout in/move yoga to nap time. At 6:30, Ben and Minnie were still sleeping, so I tiptoed out of the room and took a quick walk. I broke up fights between the other kids, jumped on the elliptical, listened to the sounds of Ben and Minnie stirring above me, etc.

By 7:30, Harry and Jack were almost out the door; I was adequately exercised but under-caffeinated; the three youngest kids had breakfast, and Ben was ready to go. I went into our room to say good morning to Minnie (she eats breakfast every day in Ben’s bed), and she looked at me with big serious eyes and said, MAMA. YOU TAKE CARE A ME TODAY PUH-WEASE?

I felt terrible! She took an off-hand, middle-of-the-night comment SO SERIOUSLY, the poor baby.

But, I mean. At least she went to sleep?

(Literally would never let her watch Super Why and eat yogurt in my bed)

(We made cookies right away)

Monday, April 24, 2023

Anxiety, my old friend.

 (Midway through the day today, I realized that I absolutely should have washed my hair last night. I just, you know, thought I could squeeze in one more day, but I clearly could not.)

Um, my legs are 2 different sizes. AND THEY ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. My right leg is just thicker a little bit between my knee and ankle than my left leg. I looked at leg pictures of myself going back YEARS (how weird is that???? I have PMS-fueled anxiety FOR SURE) and discovered that this has always been the case, even in 1995.

The lady doing my pedicure (not on Friday— that went fine with Minnie, BTW) last time was like WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR LEG WHY IS IT NOT THE SAME SIZE AS THE OTHER ONE, and then I decided probably I was dying of DVT or something.

Before I looked at myself knees down from HIGH SCHOOl WHICH IS A THING THAT NORMAL PEOPLE DO I AM SURE SHUT UP, I remembered this picture from 2018 because when I posted in on FB I was like oh weird why is one of my legs fatter than the other?

Also, those are both really weird pictures, and I have just given them such a strange context. But! The first one! Is Ben and me in HIGH SCHOOL at SPEECH CAMP where we met, fell in love, and decided to go to that very place for college.
And then other pic is me standing where our beloved bronze statue lady Lydia Moss Bradley usually stands in Peoria, IL on Bradley’s (the same undergraduate institution we went for speech camp and college) campus. Someone bumped into her with their car, and she had to be repaired, so I took a picture standing in her spot because I love her and we are same size and like the same hairdo.


Now I have just made everything MORE WEIRD.

Friday, April 21, 2023

5 on a Friday: Mom Hacks

 1. Okay— this is one I have not tried, but I have seen people do it, and I am going for it today because I REALLY NEED A PEDICURE: Take your toddler with you to the salon and ply them with screens and maybe some toe polish. Minnie and I have to take a kid to the therapist this morning and then we are hitting the nail place. WISH ME LUCK (but seriously, I do not have any free time to get a pedicure right now, and I haven’t for the last 2 weeks (which is how long I have needed one— things are getting desperate) and I have to spend all day tomorrow at a dance competition, and the place is closed Sunday).

2. If you plan to be gone all morning returning around, say, lunch time (AKA a toddler’s daytime witching hour), make lunch BEFORE YOU LEAVE. I did this for Minnie and me this week, and it was lovely to come home to plates of food in the fridge. She was a happy, chatty little clam, and I did not eat random bits of her lunch while making mine because I was starving. Something else that happens to me when we come in hot and need to each lunch ASAP is that I make hers first, and but the time I am sitting down with mine, she is done, and I have to go play blocks or something and then I spend the first part of nap cleaning the kitchen and eating my lunch, which kills my productivity.

3. Easy dinner on repeat over here (and leftovers pictured on my (way too big— I usually use a salad plate for lunch but I wanted to eat all the leftover salad) lunch plate) is a rotisserie chicken wrap with a bag of salad. SO easy! So few steps: Bag of salad that you can put in the wrap and eat on the side (any Taylor Farms variety is a delight IMO), wrap (I like the Mission Carb Balance ones that are only 70 calories, but my family uses the big fluffy 250-calorie burrito ones). Rotisserie chicken picked from the carcass. Some pre-cut fruit or veggies from my awesome veggie tray. Chips or pretzels. DONE-ZO. Want some variety? BUY A DIFFERENT BAG OF SALAD. (Can you tell that we are in a busy activity season? LOL).

4. Sometimes a variety box of cookies is the only thing you need to keep your toddlers happy at dive practice. Your high schooler who was done with his activity at the same time you were headed to campus and got roped in to the whole 2 hour affair doesn’t mind them, either.

(Also a Tupperware of Legos is a good distraction in a pinch, and it turns out that dive practice is the only time I had all day to watch her closely enough with them (choking hazard, etc).)

5. Don’t forget that 5th babies like to see your office, too.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Grief, every day

 My dad died 4 years ago (4 years next week, actually), and losing him was much worse than losing Beatrix. I liked my dad a lot, though, and I have raised a passel of kids along with our sweet dog. She was very clearly my dog and not my child (although who knows how I will feel about a future empty nest dog). Still, there are a couple of ways my Beatrix grief and my dad grief are alike.

First of all, it’s the quotidian reminders that level me— especially when I am not expecting them. When I am making a sandwich with deli meat, no one is there to catch an extra slice of turkey, for example. We had steak on Jack’s birthday, and I had no furry shadow hoping for scraps when I cleaned the table. The living room is silent in the morning when I sneak out to grab a coffee cup. No one is excited to see Minnie and me midday when we come home from the grocery store. When I open the front door in the morning to get fresh air and extra sunlight through the storm door or the screen, no one clicks her way across the hall to see what our neighbors are doing. No one barked at the recycling truck this morning.

To this day, the thing I miss the most about my dad (besides, of course, having another person on the planet who loves me all the time no matter what— which I also miss about Beatrix— and is no small thing as you get old and lose your parents and grandparents, etc) is calling him to shoot the breeze whenever the urge strikes me— in traffic, because I am bored at work, during nap, etc, and also answering the phone when he called to talk about nothing.

The second way this grief is familiar is its awful finality. Never again. Her soft fur. Her goofy smile with her underbite and pirate teeth. Her terrible smell. I miss all of these things every day, and unlike most other things I miss—people who live in other cities, places I love to visit, those really good bagel sandwiches I ate when I got my MA— this absence is permanent, and that’s just too awful to contemplate all at once. Instead, it’s an organizing principal for my everyday EVERY DAY, which is also terrible, but more of a bite—size terrible.

One other way my dog grief is bound up with my dad grief: my dad knew Beatrix, and losing her is another way we are farther away from a time when he was alive and part of our everyday as well. I know it is sappy and maudlin, but as I sobbed with her head in my lap after she collapsed last week, I reminded her about my dad and assured her he would be there waiting for her— wherever there is. 

All of this is to say, I really miss Beatrix, but it is not even close to the worse grief I have experienced, so I am doing OK, all things considered.


Monday, April 17, 2023

Happy birthday Jack!

 Jack turned fifteen!! FIFTEEN?!?!?! I can’t even believe it. He planned his own party (AND DID NOT INVITE US) and had a lovely, low key weekend. 

He went with me and Minnie and Dorothy to Cooper’s dive meet on Friday night and with me and Minnie to the second day of diving on Saturday (Ben and Harry were in Milwaukee for tennis on Friday, and then Dorothy joined them for the second half on Saturday because the pool where Cooper was diving was MISERABLY HOT and she could not even. For the record, I could not even, either, but I had no choice). He had a golf course hang with friends Saturday night, and then skipped the third day of dive to sleep in and play Hogwarts Legacy (a birthday present we gave him on Saturday night since I would be gone at dive on Sunday morning and he would have to wait to open presents until Coop, Harry, and I got home) on his actual bday. He took calls from relatives, hung out, opened gifts, went shopping with some of his birthday cash, ate a steak dinner and his traditional favorite cake, partnered with me to destroy Ben and Harry at euchre, etc.

Such a lovely, relaxing weekend. Big kids are SO FUN.

Friday night dive: SO HOT WE COULD NOT EVEN.


Coop won 5M platform— his first time competiting in it.
LOVELY outside, though.

Saturday dive and a brunch at our favorite birthday bar (Coop got a PR in 3M springboard and took 3rd in a really competitive field)

Saturday night golf party:

He requested Pasture and Plenty croissants for this bday breakfast, and they did not disappoint

Our fave bday banner:
HP game!!!
Never too old for a decorated bday table:

Sunday dive— Coop took 3rd again— this time on 1M — and nailed the reverse dives he didn’t quite nail the day before