Friday, September 27, 2013

Making the beds

Earlier this week James brought a pot from the play kitchen upstairs and left it in the middle of my bedroom floor.  If there's one thing I absolutely cannot stand, on a totally visceral level, it is clutter in the middle of the floor.  Stresses me the heck out.  You can imagine that Things On the Floor occupy a lot of my mental energy, with the four kids and the husband and all and YOU WOULD BE RIGHT.

For this reason, I have declared the kitchen my personal floor-clutter free zone.  My neuroses is at least justified in the kitchen--I don't need to be tripping over someone's Lego space ship on my way to dump a gallon of boiling water and spaghetti noodles into the sink.

So I've been tripping over this freaking play-kitchen pot all week and getting more annoyed every time I see it UNTIL TODAY when I was just sleep-deprived enough to make a Thing out of it.

"James," I began, sometime around 6:30 when I was super annoyed to be awake, "pick up that pot and put it back in the playroom, please."

He calmly said "no" while looking me right in the eye and wandered out of the room.

I followed him.  "POT.  GO GET THE POT AND TAKE IT DOWNSTAIRS, PLEASE" I said, more firmly this time.

"NO!" he said, more firmly this time.  And then he went downstairs.  I picked up the stupid pot and carried it down the stairs, then put it on the living room floor.

"Please put this away." I said again, because I have totally reasonable expectations of my two-year old.

He sat, looking at me, silently.

"Look, guys, if no one else is going to clean anything up around here, I'm going to stop making your beds!"

It was an empty threat; I love making their beds.

And then I stalked upstairs to remind Charlie to get dressed.  I found him making the beds in his and Wes's room.  They looked beautiful.

"Charlie, did you do this?  It looks wonderful!!"  I gave him a hug.

He said softly "I heard you say you weren't going to make the beds anymore."

And I was so very sad that my sensitive, sweet Charlie had heard my ill-thought-out threat (Wes and James don't seem to hear a word I say, though they do value other things).  Because I really do love making their beds.  If I don't do it in the morning I do it right before they go to sleep.  I love tucking everything in perfectly and imagining how comfy they'll be.  I can't stand the thought of them getting cold or uncomfortable at night.

When I traveled for work this summer *that* is what Wes missed.  He missed me making his bed cozy for him. 

So I will probably never stop making their stinking beds.

Until, maybe, they really do stink and then they're on their own.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Up in the sky! It's a BIRD! It's a PLANE!

We took the family to The Superhero Kids 1K this weekend. If you are unfamiliar, The Superhero Kids 1K is an event where five thousand people dress their kids in the same four costumes then crowd into a city street and go for an extremely chaotic one kilometer "road race." You will definitely lose your children multiple times and the odds of you tripping over a tiny, disoriented Spider Man are quite high.


It's really a miracle we made it home with the same four children we left with, especially given the varying athletic abilities of our group. For example, I have no athletic ability, especially after the pregnancy complication forced me to eat multiple batches of cookies every week and sit on the couch all day, but I managed to hang on to Mary as I chased Charlie and Wes the first quarter of a mile until Ryan managed to catch up to us pushing the empty stroller with James riding on his shoulders.


Ryan left me the stroller and continued to run with the big kids, James still on his shoulders. Man of Steel!


I stashed Mary in the big kid seat of the double stroller and tightened it as far as it would go then "ran" behind them, trying to follow the bouncing Spider Man, who I could see over everyone's heads. I finally caught up with them at the finish line, long after they had finished. Mary and I clocked in at twelve minutes. FEEL THE BURN.


The Justice League!


After the race we went out for breakfast tacos with some superhero friends. There were some smiles and polite laughter as we walked in past the outdoor seating area. Probably smiles of gratitude and relief since everyone felt really safe from purse snatchings, bank robberies, and alien invasion. Or maybe they were just worried that the parent to child ratio of the place was about to go way, WAY down.


It was a raucous and fun two-hour breakfast, but then we had to leave because Spiderman became overstimulated and had to be put to bed. Until next year!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Memory and listening comprehension are the first things to go

They say you should always leave the house looking your best because you never know what could happen, and if you know me in person, you know that this is not a piece of advice I take to heart. But maybe I should, because then I wouldn't have found myself standing in the checkout line at the grocery store wearing, essentially, pajamas--ill-fitting Adidas shorts and a boxy college tshirt, a ponytail, naturally, since I had only planned to drop the kids off and hit the store before going home--and scanning the headlines on People magazine thinking "I'm going to miss reading People at the OB's office" then thinking "OH CRAP! THE OB'S OFFICE!" because I had completely forgotten about the appointment I had for this morning at 9:45.

I checked my phone. It was 9:45!

Crap crap crap! I willed (mentally) the checker to hurry and she did but as she was bagging up my food we both noticed a pack of Italian sausage that had fallen under the carseat and I had to check out a second time. Finally around 9:50 I was in my car ready to go and thanking myself of three years ago that I had chosen a doctor's office so close to my house, FOR THIS VERY REASON. I was going to be about ten minutes late, but I figured I'd earned enough on-time karma in my three years of on time or early arrivals that it wouldn't be a big deal.

(Plus: SIX WEEK OLD BABY. You can do whatever you want when you have a six week old baby. Like almost steal Italian sausage, cry at work, go to Sonic in your pajamas, and carry your two-year-old fireman style across the preschool parking lot when he refuses to cooperate. If you do that last one, someone will even FEEL SORRY FOR YOU AND COME OUT TO HELP.)

I was ten minutes late, but I still felt the need to falsify my check in time to make myself only five minutes late (SIX WEEK OLD BABY).

And then I sat down to wait. And wait. And change a really disgusting diaper on my lap. And then they told me that my doctor had run across the street to deliver a baby "real quick" and that I should go back to an exam room to wait.

Which is how I found myself nursing my SIX WEEK OLD BABY sitting on an exam table with nothing on but the shirt I slept in and a square yard of paper sheet that I nearly ripped in half accidentally while trying to adjust it (you can't cover both the front and the back. you just can't). And a ponytail that never should have left the house.

Oh wait! I forgot that Ryan took a picture of me this morning. I call that look "Harried-chic".


(The reason Ryan took the picture is because he is amused at the way the kids turn into freaking barnacles every time I feed Mary. So cozy! Also kind of annoying. And sweet.)

While I waited I lied my way through the post-partum depression screen because "Are you tired and irritable?" Um YES, but not CLINICALLY. There was no box for "About as much as you'd expect given my current life-situation," so I was forced to guess at their intent when asking the question. "Do you fall asleep at inappropriate times?" Like the car line at the elementary school? Possibly. However, once again I don't really think that would be considered unexpected. "Are you forgetful?" LIKE THE WAY I FORGOT THIS APPOINTMENT? If the test had been on paper I would have written "SIX WEEK OLD BABY" across the top. And then likely dribbled a little breast milk on it. Everything is fine. Except my weight, of course.

I should probably take a shower, though.

Monday, September 16, 2013


It's ten thirty in the morning and I'm eating a bowl of chili. Because I am starving and will probably eat all the kids' raspberry star sugar cookies if I don't have something solid soon. So there you go. Also I am wearing a new pair of jeans with a real live waistband and button and zipper, which is, you know, progress. It's much harder to justify binge eating the kids' cookies when you are not wearing an elastic waistband.

Saturday Charlie asked if we could all put on our jammies and go to Sonic for milkshakes after dinner and Ryan and I said "Get in the car, you are a genius-child." Who is this kid with all the awesome ideas all of the sudden?


I even wore my jammies.


I also got really into it and wore the purple sequined scrunchie the kids think is so hilarious because it's not like we were going to see anyone we knew!

Guess what? We ran into a friend of Ryan's from work. In my pink tie-dyed capri length pajama pants. And my purple scrunchie. Super.

Yesterday we took a family trip out for lunch and to the outlet mall where I went to buy bras after I RIPPED MY ONLY BEIGE ONE IN HALF yesterday trying to put it on. Nursing is messy, you guys. Anyway, after I picked out my bras Ryan seemed to have things under control at the mechanical toy area in the middle of the mall and I ducked into the Gap to try and find some pooch-friendly shirts. I had found several contenders and was in the dressing room looking at my butt in the mirror in a pair of curvy-straight jeans wondering if it was Too Soon for Denim when I heard James's distinctive growl scream coming from somewhere in the store.

Thinking Ryan had come in looking for me I quickly changed and grabbed all the clothes and ran out of the dressing room to find Ryan standing next to the bathroom with Mary and James. There was lots of giggling and shrieking coming from inside the bathroom (where Wes and Charlie were), so I ran to check out while Ryan dealt with that so we could get out of there.

(I bought the jeans. In my pre-pregnancy size, which is not the size I want to stay at, but is good news all the same. I'd say I'm not as huge as after Charlie but not as miniskirt ready as after Wes. Something in between. I'll take it.)

It took us nearly fifteen minutes to walk the two-hundred yards to the car and by the time we got there only one kid was still walking under his own power and two kids were screaming. Ryan looked at me and said "Geez, so THIS is why you can't go anywhere during the week!" INDEED, wise husband. This IS why we don't leave the house during the week.

Epilogue: We bought a pizza on the way home and started bedtime just after six PM. Because, DUDE.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mary's Quilt

A couple of months ago, before Mary was born, I received an email from a blog reader, Erika, who makes quilts and runs an Etsy shop. She said that she makes quilts to sell and that she likes to give one away for every four she sells and she wanted to know if she could give one to Mary. It was such an unexpected kindness and I was THRILLED. We don't even know each other, except in the way that longtime blog readers "know" each other. But after our brief correspondence I think we could be friends. She asked what I liked and several weeks later a sweet little baby quilt arrived in my mailbox. And it was PERFECT. You may have noticed it in the background of many Mary pictures.


Erika is not only a very talented maker of quilts, she is also an anthropologist who found this blog as part of an academic study on mom blogs. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?


So if you need a baby gift, or something for your nursery, consider checking out her shop. Because she's super nice and VERY talented and she totally gets my "girly but not TOO girly" vibe.


I have been absolutely blown away by the kindness and generosity of my friends and family and even someone who lives far away that I've never met. It's overwhelming. And wonderful. Thank you Erika!


Monday, September 9, 2013

Not so much complaining as standing back and marveling at the overwhelmingness

Holy kamoley you guys I can't believe how much crap there is to do around here (literal and figurative crap, that is) to keep the place running. My plan this morning was to spend "preschool hours" working on a paper my coauthor wants by yesterday (OOPS), but I am just now sitting down to write AND I HAVEN'T EVEN BEEN PROCRASTINATING.

I did dropoff. Then our weekly grocery shopping. Then I put the food away. Then I switched the laundry over. Then I changed the Deepwater Horizon of diapers. Then I changed Mary's outfit. Then I fed Mary/dealt with my work email.

And now it is ELEVEN O'CLOCK. I have to leave to get the big boys at 12:30. Which is why I am here talking to you and eating chocolate chips, naturally.

AND, I still need to unload/reload the dishwasher, fold three loads of laundry, make a pan of veggie enchiladas, pick up the various children at their various schools, and I should really REALLY get around to washing the sheets, but HA HA HA. There's only one thing on that list that I will be held accountable for so GUESS WHAT'S GETTING DONE. School pickups! So I don't go to jail!

Fortunately Mary will be at student seminar with her colleagues Duck and Zebra for another few minutes.


Maybe I can get through the Analysis section. MAYBE. Possibly my time would be better spent writing another apology email to my coauthor.

Friday, September 6, 2013


Just back from Target where I went to buy nipple shields and lunch boxes because we were fresh out of both. Somehow I managed to lose my last remaining shield last night after a church meeting. I got home with a fussy Mary, looked in my purse for the shield, and IT WAS GONE. This was a big problem since, while she can nurse without one during the day, we'd never tried it at night. Turns out she CANNOT eat at night without the shield! Just a lot of crying and looking at me in sad confusion!

So at 4:00 this morning Ryan and I spent a tense hour attempting to teach a four week old baby a complicated new skill then finally pumping and feeding her a bottle. In between there was time for lots of bickering. I pumped the morning feeding too and let Wes give her a bottle in the car on the way to school (Duggar style!) and then went to Target for more shields after dropoff and breakfast with a friend and when I got out to my car a hundred dollars later YOU'LL NEVER GUESS WHAT I FOUND IN MY PURSE! You guessed it, the lost shield.

I guess I should be relieved that I didn't leave it on the table at church last night, but really, COME ON.

Also I found the chevron print maxi skirt I've been looking for my whole life and some cheap tshirts I'm hoping will be baggy (fat chance, haha get it?).

We are out of lunchboxes because Charlie lost his at camp and threw up in Wes's after he tried to read Harry Potter during a car trip. True story.

Here's a special back to school picture for you!


I call it "NO HELP, MAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And have I shown you Charlie's yet?

So tall I can't STAND IT.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Week Four: The dirt is winning.

Man, what a well-timed long weekend. I'm not sure what kind of trippy Lean In moment I was having when I decided I could totally swing teaching a lecture and two labs this semester (I actually remember the moment clearly, I was sitting at my desk talking about the fall schedule with my department chair and he asked when I wanted to have my earth science class and I said something like "Actually, I should tell you we are expecting another baby this summer" and then to take the focus off me and my cuh-razy body I added "but I still plan to teach in the fall, so let's shoot for a Tuesday/Thursday slot." And then I avoided eye contact for the rest of the month.), but getting all (FOUR OF THE) kids to bed and then sitting down to prep for class is kind of brutal.

Which is why I'm blogging, naturally. Tomorrow I have to talk about igneous rocks, which is kind of a cool subject (it's actually hot, very very hot, lots of pressure and heat and magma and lava). But I also have to come up with a "take home lab" which is what I hastily scribbled into this week's lesson plan several weeks ago when I figured I had plenty of time to figure out exactly what that meant. Guess what, it's later!

Other areas in which I excel at awesome is domestically, where this dirty dishtowel went unnoticed on the kitchen table for so long that it can now support its own weight.


But look who's getting all clean and stuff...


Yes! All four of the children bathed multiple times this weekend after Charlie told a guest "Saturday is bath day" and Ryan and I were like "Haha, he's so funny--wait a minute."

Mary finds this new experience strange, but pleasant.