Tuesday, August 29, 2023



For the past year/2 years, my periods have been coming every 21-34 days, but my cycles have usually been around 24 days. Regularly irregular is how I described it to my doc on January. I weaned Minnie and my period went a teeny bit bananas (a TWO WEEK cycle), but then I had several new-normal months, etc.




I am only 45-- what does this mean for my bones and my heart?

IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME? I had a period that DID NOT END when Minnie was teeny, so I had an endometrial biopsy and a super freaking intense dye contrast ultrasound in early 2021 (normal). I also had a (normal) pap in 2023. Soooooo, in terms of big scary stuff, I am not really that scared (WHAT ABOUT MY OVARIES? WHEN IS THE LAST TIME SOMEONE CHECKED IN WITH THEM besides a pelvic exam?), but.

MY DOCTOR RETIRED. She has been my doctor for TWENTY YEARS, so this freaks me out a bit. Also! I have a brand new PCP and am already bombarding her with ovarian concerns. By the time you read this, I will have also been on the horn with an RN from my OB’s office. I GUESS I AM PRETTY ANXIOUS AFTER ALL.

It would be WEIRD though if my period just quietly peaced out with little fanfare. I am the person who gets their period at precisely 6 weeks postpartum even with exclusive breastfeeding. I am the person who has had labor-like menstrual cramps and life-structuring PMS since I was a teenager. WILL IT REALLY END WITH A WHIMPER?

Although. Ok. I have had a few months of really strange periodic night sweats that don’t seem to correspond to weather. I have gained weight and it is very much in my stomach. I HAVE BEEN ANGRY FOR WEEEEEEEEKS around this non-cycle, and, as you can tell from this post, my anxiety is OFF THE CHARTS.

So maybe there have been warning signs?

GAH. Anyone have menopause stories/advice to share?

(At least it is pumpkin drank time)

Monday, August 28, 2023


 Last week, I met a brand new crop of instructors for my large gen ed course and spent a few days on campus getting them ready for the new semester. It is always a lovely, nostalgic time for me because I went through this same orientation when I came to campus as a grad student TWENTY YEARS AGO this week. 

Past Welcome Weeks have been hard to juggle, especially when we had nursing babies. Oh, the year my parents babysat baby Dorothy IN THE NEXT ROOM— seemed like such a cluster at the time, but HOW SWEET in retrospect. This week was easy (for me, since I was the one at work), and wow is it a cinch to just have one small kid instead of many at once.

Things I loved: 

  • Not being a SAHM for 3 days.
  • Dressing up.
  • The coffee shop next to my office that I have missed.
  • Taking walks on campus during lunch even when it was triple-digits outside.

The beginning of a new semester never fails to remind me why I love my job.

Friday, August 25, 2023

5 on a Friday: Things I Will Miss About Summer

 1. Not worrying about the big kids’ school work. There’s a (cultural and school-specific) expectation that parents keep track of their kids’ assignments and grades via the school’s learning management platform that sends a million notifications, and it stresses me out.

2. Long, lazy, light nights. Soon, it will be dark and cold at 5 pm, and I am never ready for that.

3. Walking out the door with kids and without coats, gloves, backpacks, etc. Right now, we have water bottles and maybe nothing else (Minnie has been showing up without shoes more and more lately).

4. Pool nights. And days.

5. Late starts to every morning, waking up without the pressure to go anywhere, no need to make sure the children groom themselves or look presentable. It is going to be so weird to wake up with alarms and leave the house again.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Coming up for (humid, stagnant) air


Hot makes me MAD. And! I was delighted to read in my favorite old lady magazine that I still subscribe to in print because OLD LDAY that this is pretty normal.

Here I am walking to my car after work yesterday when it was 99 outside but felt like 116. At 5pm.


Also! I have been SO busy. And! All we did was add 2 hockey practices a week (that we are CARPOOLING and for, so not even something that demands much effort on our part as parents— although rounding up gear that fit, cleaning out last season’s stinky bag, etc, was a lot) and 3 full days on-campus for me. (WHICH WAS A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM, but not a wholly unwelcome one). 

Our apple cart was pretty shaky, it turns out, because those two teeny things really upset it.

It is some kind of privileged to complain about the heat in a super air conditioned house and then take your kids to their private pool for an evening swim and then complain some more, huh?

Also, looking at Minnie stuffed into her swimsuit at the end of summer reminds me SO MUCH OF ME. Apple doesn’t fall far, etc.

Did I mention that when we switched around kid rooms we got a bunch of LED voice activated light bulbs (at Jack’s urging)? SO FUN to ask Alexa to change colors and brightness, etc. Dorothy is a big fan. She is in the middle of redirecting, but all she has been able to commit to is cool lightbulbs and a poster from 5 below— baby steps.

Monday, August 21, 2023

“New” Rooms, part 100

 Thanks for the room suggestions!

We have pretty much maxed out all available space in this house (that seemed SO BIG when we moved in with 2 tiny boys and another on the way).

For reference, we live in a 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom, 2500-square-foot ranch with a finished walkout basement. And we probably will live here forever and ever because 5 kids in college, bananas housing market, etc etc etc.

Harry and Jack have shared a bedroom since Jack was born-- even when we had TWO UNUSED BEDROOMS in this house, but lately, they have been chafing at the constant togetherness. Roommates! Classmates! Colleagues! It was a lot.

They used to share the room that is Dorothy's currently, and baby Coop had Minnie's room. (and since he was still cooking when we moved in, Harry and Jack were technically roomies with THREE unused bedrooms!) Their bedroom downstairs was the guest room, and the 5th bedroom was a playroom (hence the vinyl floor).

Then! We had Dorothy, who moved into the nursery. Coop moved into Harry and Jack's room, and they moved to the guest room. (A slight upgrade when they outgrew their train table (LOL))

Then! We had Minnie, who took the nursery. Dorothy bumped Coop to the toy room, and that's where we've been for 3 years: Dorothy and Minnie up, the three boys down, the 3 little kids with their own rooms, and Harry and Jack sharing for FIFTEEN YEARS. We have had little interludes where D moved herself in with C, both in his upstairs room and in the former toy room, but she has always maintained her own room as well.

I LIKE the girls up/boys down split right now because the upstairs kid bath is also the guest bath, and it is easy to maintain as a little-kid-only zone. Harry and Jack are murder on a bathroom, and I love that theirs is tucked away. So, I was reluctant to move Dorothy and Minnie together and give a boy the other upstairs room. ESPECIALLY because the upstairs rooms are very small, so it made not as much sense for 2 kids to share one. Dorothy and Minnie COULD move downstairs to the former toy room, but Minnie is not really downstairs material yet-- but I could see this working down the road with the upstairs bedrooms for kids home on college breaks, etc.


Longer story long, we moved Coop and Jack together and gave Harry his mojo dojo casa room (thus named because we bought NOTHING NEW AT ALL for him and filed his closet with extra sheets and blankets in storage containers, took all of Jack's favorite stuff off the walls and covered the holes with flags and pennants, etc.)

We ONLY bought a rug, Command hooks, under-the-bed boxes, storage bins for sheets and blankets, some power strips, a lamp, throw pillows, one single storage bin for an old bookshelf, and voice activated LED bulbs for the new room-- under $250. I am THRILLED that it only took 48 hours to complete the switch and shocked by how much stuff we re-used. We need to think about a long term solution to the old bunk in Harry's room. Ideally, that room would be Jack's when Harry goes to college but would also be Harry's when he comes home. But the bunk bed has a low weight limit on top, so it has really outlived its usefulness. Maybe sturdier bunks? Maybe 2 twins and less other stuff in the room? Not sure yet and also not in a rush.

The new rooms:

Same bed he’s had since he was like 5! A chair from his grandparents’ old house in IL! IKEA Expedit shelves worth their weight in gold! Jack’s old desk AND his desk because eff it!

Coop and Jack:

Cross your fingers that this is the room arrangement everyone loves.

Friday, August 18, 2023

5 on a Friday: A life in 1-liners

 1. I am stalled out reading a book by my literal favorite author-- what is even happening?

2. Minnie and I both got bangs.

3. 5 kids plus 5 pairs of tennis shoes equals TOO MANY KIDS.

4. The big boys need their own space; the Fed raised interest rates, sooooo creative ideas welcome.

5. I have 3 days of meetings next week and am thrilled at the prospect of consistent adulting.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Life lately: assorted photos

How cute are they taking a walk after dinner (through a cloud of mosquitos)
She kept throwing this big old heavy Barbie plane to get it to fly.
Our garden has produced one single tomato and one giant zucchini. The rabbits in our yard are very fat.
We went out to a fun restaurant for our 18th anniversary, and then the place was out of s’mores pie, so we walked to an ice cream shop, and it was lovely.
Now that diving is over, we can have pool mornings. Only I forgot to pout sunscreen on Minnie’s face, and she got a “hun burn”
Dorothy and Ben went to Chicago for a dance intensive with a view 
I would really love it if Harry went to Ben’s campus next year. SO low stress and affordable.
Minnie is a gibbon wannabe
Best milkshakes in Madison.
Cooper, pancake artist.
Minnie very carefully holding her berry berry smoothie which she needed after exerting herself at gym class, natch.
Another anniversary pic
Riding home from the pool
Another buggy night walk
It took both of them to get the wilted balloon out of the Roomba
More and more Minnie wants to JUST WEAR MY TUMMY
I sure did make this doll her very own teeny pancakes.
Swim class baby! She talk to the teacher THE ENTIRE TIME.
Morning walk buddy
AAAAAAND we’re back to the anniversary date
I am clearly way too happy about the zoo train
There’s the smile I was looking for.


Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Fall Schedule Goals

 As much as every IG influencer posting behind-the-scenes footage of their Halloween spon con set up makes me want to plan for fall, I really canNOT until Dorothy’s dance team placements come out, Coop tries out for hockey (my family mocks me incessantly when I call sportsball try outs auditions), and we find out when his diving practices will be. BUT, I can make some larger goals and think about some rhythms I hope to create.

Minnie has no barriers to fall planning, though, and when she found the perfect costume at Costco the other day, she made sure to bring it home:

(ALSO, listen, I am SICK of IG influencers showing me how the sausage is made. Like, I get it, you have to make a bunch of videos, and it can be hard to actually live your life around the filming. But I can either like someone’s brand because they keep it real (which means I am not a huge fan of their staged content) OR I can watch them because everything is perfect, and I want their whole life. NOT BOTH.

(And middle school is the very hardest in terms of being booked solid with sports and practices, so it makes sense to center Dorothy and Cooper’s activities in terms of family calendar planning, but Jack will have a bunch of stuff he needs rides to also— excited for him to get his license. In April. **whomp whomp** I am really careful to keep Minnie's activities to non-preschool days-- emphasis on DAYS-- not evenings or weekends for her my goodness can you even imagine scheduling THAT in????)


I have done a way better job of using my planner this summer, so I am hoping to roll into fall feeling already productive. Usually, I have to remember how to be a human who does things for a few weeks/months. I think not going on vacation (while supremely shitty) helped in this regard since I have had one foot in the work world all along (and we are planning 2 vacays in the next 6 months, so all is not lost).

Some things I want to do this fall:
1. Take advantage of the one precious day a week I have Minnie all to myself and stack her activities and as many errands as I can into this day. Since I am hands-off for her activities starting next month, I have 30minutes of work time while she swims and an hour while she gyms, plus another hour while she dances (although I can’t squeeze all 3 into one day).
2. This leads really nicely into another goal, which is to eat more fish. We don’t eat a lot of fish but only out of laziness. The grocery store closest to us where we always get our grocery pick up orders has a yucky seafood counter, and the mom and pop store where we buy our coffee, cheese, and wine got rid of their seafood counter altogether after the panny. We don’t eat Costco-sized quantities of seafood those are the 3 places we regularly shop. BUT! Right by The Little Gym is an excellent co-op where we have a severely underutilized membership, and it has a wonderful fish selection and great local veggies. SO. Minnie and I are going to start hitting it up every week, and we will do seafood Wednesdays and maybe add fish tacos to our Tuesday rotation.
3. Speaking of themed food nights, I want to give each weeknight a loose theme like the ones above and then rotate easy recipes weekly for each theme. Slow cooker Monday, pasta Thursday, etc. 
4. Refresh my water bottle supply and buy more Bentgo snack boxes/lunch boxes. I have been a Planet Box loyalist, but they are so leaky. I got Min a Bentgo for the one day a week she’ll stay at nursery school for lunch (heart eyes), and I noticed that Costco has them in 2-packs right now. I think Dorothy could use one for dance dinner nights, and Coop might also need one to eat his dinner between diving and hockey some nights. 
5. Buy myself some sweaters and sweatshirts. I cleaned out my closet, and this category is lacking. And also! Buy new shoes for myself. I only have Birks, Rothy’s, Tieks and Uggs. Must diversify.
6. Find a library story time that fits Minnie’s schedule so I have a weekly library day. This is the best way for me to stay on my reading routine.
7. Remember to get gas when I am at Costco. I mean, duh.
8. Figure out how to give Dorothy and Cooper later bedtimes. THIS IS TRICKY. We always hang out with Harry and Jack after the 3 little kids go to sleep, and we actually do not want to hang out with the little kids at all after 8pm. BUT Coop sees middle school as his time for a later bedtime, which will mean Dorothy also wants to stay up later, and UGH.
9. Schedule weekly coffees and lunches with friends and monthly (at least!) date nights with Ben.
10. Get back on the yoga mat.

Anyone else taking advantage of September as the other January to build new routines?

Monday, August 14, 2023

Happy birthday, dear Minnie

 What a lovely little third birthday.

Although! It is important to note that Minnie does not want to be 3. 3, she says, is too big, and she is still tiny. So, she plans to be be 2 again this year. This sounds great to me, and I think I will stay 45 for a couple of years. **Shrug**

Her last pic as a 2 year-old on Saturday evening

Her silly cake and completely ridiculous cupcakes with Dora wrappers and a wild assortment of toppers she chose at the baking supply store.

We started her day with cake and presents at 7:30 am (and warned the big kids the night before that they were going to be on 3-year-old time)

Despite the cool temps and clouds, we hit family float day at the pool to keep the party going

My mom and my aunt sent Minnie some birthday cash, so she and I took a trip to Target to spend it

The karaoke machine! It’s hilarious, but WOW does she watch too many Disney movies

She picked the dinner spot, natch

We played with her new toys and read our favorite book before bed

A pretty perfect second second birthday