Friday, September 22, 2023

5 on a Friday: Gratitude Edition

 1. SO GRATEFUL that Minnie feels better. I had SUCH a productive day yesterday, and it took me awhile to realize it was because I was not spending every other second tending to a grumpy lump. BUT she was extremely active and charmed Harry into buying her a (ceramic LOL) tea seat and played an elaborate water pouring game, SOAKING her bedroom. Then she cleaned it up herself with WET RAGS.  She also spent more than an hour running back and forth from her room to my bathroom to take nail polishes one bottle at a time and set them up in her play kitchen while playing a genie/potion game inspired by Shimmer and Shine. All of this AFTER taking a walk to gather fall leaves, gluing them on paper, and taping them to her door. I noticed she was better yesterday morning when she climbed over the back of the couch and ran away mid-amoxicillin dose.

2. Grateful for this perfect upper midwest fall weather. Chilly mornings and cool evenings with long sunny days and trees just starting to turn red. **chef's kiss**

3. Grateful for an intellectual exercise in course prep for spring. I am teaching a reproductive justice class and having s delightful time pawing through old research to design the syllabus.

4. Grateful for ICE CREAM FRIDAY with the 3 littlest kids after school today. It's our third Friday of the school year, and we have been loyal to this new tradition each week. I am excited to see if they can keep it up in the desperate cold.

5. Finally, I feel buckets of gratitude for this season (like, the weather AND this time in our lives) we're in and the ages our kids are and the routine we're developing and the activities they have chosen and on and on and on.

Yay dance season!

Yay puddles and morning walks!


Sick baby from early in the week but SO SWEET


Maybe Starbucks Wednesday-Friday, too

Thursday, September 21, 2023



I complained about Minnie's fractured sleep for literal YEARS. Then she started sleeping like a person, and I just sort of instantly took my full nights for granted like I had learned nothing from the struggle-. THEN SHE GOT SICK, and now I am a zombie.


She feels ok except her mouth still hurts she says. What if she has hand foot mouth (something we have escaped thus far) on top of strep? I might take her back to the ped today, if only because Harry's pericarditis started after a bout of strep when he was 6. (Although, ultimately, docs decided there wasn't a link and took his off his prophylactic penicillin? The whole thing remains unsettling). She ate NONE of her lunch at school yesterday, but when she got home, she drank 20 ounces of milk, so that's something.

(Actually, I felt like a jerk sending her to school but she really wanted to go, was fever free for more than 24 hours, had 72 hours of antibiotics under her belt, etc.)

Remembering the Harry link made me feel way better, I must say, about my own anxiety this week. NO WONDER I GET WORRIED.

She accessorized with her first day of school name tag that she has been keeping taped to her desk at home because 3 year-olds are SO WEIRD.

It is much much harder to be a parent of a preschooler in my mid-40s than it was in my late 20s or early 30s. OR EVEN LATE 30s. With Dorothy, I was 37 when she was Minnie's age, and at the time THAT felt so much harder than turning 29 with toddler Harry. But this? OMG.

So many things are easier, though, so it's a win ultimately.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Apples and painting and sore throats oh my!

 APPLES! WE PICKED APPLES! Minnie loved it— I don’t think she’s ever gone before.

And! Maybe Minnie NOT TOUCHING her donut should have been a clue that she was getting sick? Poor baby.

Ben and I made apple cider margaritas with 4 ounces tequila, 2 ounces triple sec, 2 ounces lime juice, and 6 once’s cider (for 2). We used cinnamon sticks garnish and cinnamon sugar and salt on the rims of our glasses— delish!

Now we have a truly daunting supply of apples and plans to make caramel apples and… not sure what else. I have already done a batch of apple zucchini muffins and made an apple crisp. Pie maybe? These cookies?

Before she got sick and just turned into a sad grumpy little lump, Minnie was really into painting. So into it, in fact, that her easel became a permanent kitchen fixture

Ugh, I feel so bad for Minnie. If she doesn’t feel better by lunchtime I am going to call the pediatrician to see about bringing her back in— she’s miserable. Ugh.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Mom Brags and School Germs

 HARRISON! APPLIED! TO! COLLEGE! DONE-ZO!!!!! All he has to do between now and spring is wait for decisions to roll in.

(I mean, he has to figure out how to send his transcripts to one school because he didn't use the Common App for it, and his counselor has to send transcripts to Common App schools, and he needs to make sure the teacher he asked to write his rec letter does just that, but otherwise-- ALL DONE.  MONTHS AHEAD OF THE DEADLINE. Likely because he could not deal with my nagging anymore.

We actually had no internet at home this weekend, so he had to go to the library to do it. But then it took so long that the LIBRARY CLOSED, so he had to finish the task at Panera. 

Then he celebrated by spending his entire last paycheck on AirPods and a new windshield for the Prius. It turns out that when Ben and I tell the kids not to play basketball when there is a car in the driveway, we aren't just being fun wreckers. **Eye roll** Coop used his birthday money for AirPods, too, but the ones he wanted were slightly more than he had the funds to buy, so Harry paid the difference-- he's the best! (Also, he got a new job, so he was feeling flush).

Speaking of bragging! You guys! MINNIE MARIGOLD can SWIM for real! 

Also, she has spent 5 mornings at preschool-- and she already has strep throat **whomp whomp**

She had a stomach ache and a low grade fever Sunday, and we kept waiting for her to puke, but she never did. Then after lunch, she fell asleep on the couch and woke up with a fever of 102.5, and it hit me like a lightening bolt-- STREP STEP STREP! Ben took her to urgent care, and sure enough--- strep. She says her tummy feels better but her mouth (throat?) hurts, and she's 2 doses of amoxicillin in. POOR BABY. She hates her meds, BTW, and will only take them if we let her crack and egg in the street after. KIDS ARE SO WEIRD.

Friday, September 15, 2023

5 on a Friday: The Getting My Work Groove Back Edition

 I have been to campus 4 days a week for the last 2 weeks, and I have meetings and classes scheduled 4 days for the next 2 weeks, as well. Eventually, I hope to WFH during preschool hours and Thursdays and Fridays because we drive to campus and back every single day for Coop to dive-- I would adore saving myself the commute time here and there. BUT. STILL. This is more than I have been to campus since before the panny, and I AM LOVING IT.

1. I have been DOING MY HAIR EVERY WEEKDAY. Partially this is because I got a haircut last month, and I no longer have long shaggy hair that is demanding to live on top of my head in a ridiculous pile. It is also because I made some tweaks in my morning routine to allow time for grooming (LOL). But whatever the reason, working on campus and having pretty hair are linked so far. EVEN THOUGH as soon as I cut my hair and added some bangs, the weather went from crisp and dry to completely suffocatingly humid, which always makes my hair look bananas. I HAVE SOLDIERED ON, you guys, lunch lady bangs and all. (Silly universe! I sad LADY WHO LUNCHES hair).

2. My email is always contained. NO NEW MESSAGES and most things in my inbox dealt with or pinned to the top of the page to deal with when I have specific dedicated time. THIS IS SO HUGE FOR ME. In previous semesters, I would have maybe 2 days where I would answer and deal with harder emails, and my box was always a mess and quite literally dreadful. I never want to prioritize emails over other work, so letting my box get clogged was a deliberate choice when I was pressed for whole-brained work time-- but having dedicated time most days to slog through my inbox is lovely. (Obviously, I check it regularly and deal with emergent issues as they arise).

3. I always get active minutes when I walk to and from my parking garage and building. LOVE THIS FOR ME because I am not wearing my watch when I exercise, so I have to look for time in my day to increase my activity, and going to campus is the perfect opportunity.

4. A commute with no kids in the car? BRING ON THE COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES SERIES. What a delight.

5. Every semester, I say oh this is my favorite class about whatever I am teaching, but this semester, I really mean it (I say that every semester, too.). Because it is the third time I am teaching my campaign and revolutions class about US feminist movement in the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries, the newly revised and freshened up class is both smoother than the last couple of times and also still challenging for me, and I LOVE IT. I love it so much that on Monday, I only got through 12 of 23 lecture slides because I just wanted to say ALL OF THE THINGS. Sooooo maybe I need to dial back the love a bit.

Yay work!

Wednesday, September 13, 2023


 I have lived a whole life before my family gets out of bed.

I mean, maybe not a whole life, but MOST OF ONE. I have been setting my tiny little coffee pot (not to be confused with the big family coffee pot) to brew at 5:05 am. When my alarm goes off at 5:15, and I brush my teeth and stumble into the living room, coffee is ready for me to drink while I do the Wordle and play Connections. After my coffee (just one cup or I am so jumpy by the time everyone else wakes up that they think I am in a bad mood when I am just emphatic), I clean the boys' bathroom and exercise for about 45 minutes (cardio, weights, abs, etc). Next, I clean the upstairs bathrooms (I NEED to wipe down all three bathrooms with bleach spray, windex, and a seasonal Mrs. Meyers cleaner EVERY SINGLE DAY. Once a week, I also clean floors and tubs) and then go for a 23-minute walk with Dorothy.We get home around 7, which only gives her 30 minutes to get ready for school. This is time I use to loosely supervise everyone's grooming and breakfast routine, break up various fistfights, start the process of making myself look human, find Ben's phone/AirPods/other phone/keys, etc (usually just ONE item on that list) and tidy up all the bedrooms. After Dorothy leaves, I commit to getting myself dressed in earnest while Jack plays with Minnie. The big boys leave before 8, when Coop takes over Minnie duty, and I clean up breakfast, gather all of the dirty clothes that remain on bedroom floors and in common spaces (WHAT THE HELL, GUYS?) even though Ben and I have asked everyone more than once to gather their dirty clothes, but whatever. I also have to take Minnie to the potty and get her dressed, make sure she and I have all of our peripherals, etc. But! Three hours after I wake up, everyone has left our tidy little house, and we are usually all dressed in outside clothes. IT IS AMAZING. How long can this efficiency last, I wonder?

Things that make this sort of work:

Early bedtimes for all (hard to manage my own early bedtime with a teenager's curfew, but we are making it work)

All lunches prepped the night before (need I say more? Ben and I even pack our lunches, and if I am planning to be home with Minnie, I make sure we both have food ready to go as well because nothing makes coming home hangry better than a pre-made meal).

All activity bags laid out the night before stocked with snacks, water bottles, etc.

All kid clothes laid out the night before (this is on, them, obvs, but they've been doing a good job so far)


Getting UP. That alarm is a real bummer, and I think cold weather is going to make it worse.

Limiting myself to just one coffee.

GOING TO BED EARLY when my kid is not home

Things I love:

Having a clean house before I leave it

Being fully exercised by 7 am-- SO satisfying

Being dressed before preschool-- I have wasted many hours of childcare doing my hair and makeup alone.

We have kind of a rolling start this year, which is also working on our favor. Last week, the kids had 4 days of school and no activities. This week, they have a full week of school and plus also, hockey, diving, the fall high school play, and speech team has begun. Next week, all of these things happen, and Dorothy starts dance team. We have a second to get our bearings before another layer of responsibility pops up, and this so far working really well.

But, I mean, yes. It IS a lot.

Also, the sky is just impossibly pretty here:

Monday, September 11, 2023

Happy 12th bday to COOPER (on 9/9)

 We had a delightful time celebrating Cooper on Saturday. In lieu of a party, Ben took him and 3 friends (plus Dorothy and a friend) to a water/amusement park a couple of weeks ago, so there was way less pressure on the big day itself.

Cooper wanted to wake up to Dairy Queen cake and presents. Then he wanted to go to a trampoline park with a buddy (and he let Dorothy and her friend go, too). He wanted to spend time playing Fortnite in the afternoon (LOL), and then he requested a fancy dinner with just me and Ben. So easy to make all of these dreams come true, plus we did a fire with s'mores Friday night to set the tone for a Cooper-centric day Saturday.

I have never used Reese’s PB cups instead of Hershey bars on my s’mores before, and I have been missing out!!

Bday morning, complete with a baby sister placing candles in the cake AND helping to blow them out. Also, can you believe that  Jack held the teeny piƱata while Cooper beat it with his new hockey stick and no one got hurt??


Bonus bday hockey practice
“Fancy” dinner

Quick Blizzard (his all time fave) on the way home

And just like that (I LOOOOVE that show including every single cringe-worthy Charlotte story line), our family birthday season is over for this year, resuming in March 2024. Just in time to start Chrismukkah shopping!