Friday, November 22, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: Baby It's COOOOLD Outside, Edition

1. It's thirty-nine degrees and raining today, which is really wonderful weather if you live in Nova Scotia, but a little too close to "winter" for most Texans. Of course, since it is only November, I am really enjoying it. I get to wear my coat! My scarves! Still not wearing socks, but let's not get crazy. It's not like it's February in Iowa.

2. Mary is dressed in jeans, a tshirt, and a cardigan JUST LIKE ME. I almost wore a very similar shirt to the one she has on without realizing it, but decided to go with basic black at the last minute. Then I added a scarf so we wouldn't look like a Hanah Andersson catalog. Any more than normal. Do I dress like a child or does she dress like a thirty something year old mom? Don't answer that.

3. Since it's so freezing and wet this would be a great time for Charlie and me to work on the autumn leaves garland he wants to make. I am strongly considering dragging everyone to Hobby Lobby for embroidery floss and needles so we can do this. But, see above, freezing and raining. Wondering if it would be appropriate to hire a babysitter to run this errand for me. See also: lazy, entitled.

4. We're having pizza for dinner because that's what we do every single Friday without exception. Special bonus for today is that yesterday I ran to Trader Joe's and bought seventy dollars worth of snack food in anticipation of this weekend's cold weather. So, please, come over! I can offer you clementines! Dried fruit! Cheesy rocket crackers! Star shaped chocolate covered cookies! Candy cane Joe Joes! I would say hummus, but Wes ate the entire container of hummus for lunch yesterday. You are welcome, Wes's colon.

5. Some friends are going to meet us at church on Sunday and TAKE ALL OF THE CHILDREN TO THEIR HOUSE FOR THE AFTERNOON. I don't think I have to explain how exciting this is. I can't decide if I will have an uninterrupted conversation with my spouse or take a nap first. SO MANY POSSIBILITIES! (Hi S and N!!)

6. One thing I will not be doing Sunday afternoon is grading, but OMG. That pedagogical workshop I attended this summer was awesome for generating tons of great ideas to make my class more effective but sadly did not include any information about WHEN IN THE HELL AM I GOING TO GRADE ALL OF THIS STUFF?

7. It's almost the end of the semester. How is that possible? This is about the time every semester when I realize that I will probably never see most of my students again and it makes me sad. They have been such a great group. On the other hand, it's also the end of the semester for my own kids, which is kind of a thumbs up thumbs down situation. Thumbs down, no more preschool, thumbs up Charlie will turn back into his happy little self and stop dressing in all black, swilling coffee, and composing angry poetry in his room after bedtime. YAY FIRST GRADE!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Some portraits from my daily life

In the interest of posting more than once every nine days, BEHOLD! Weird pictures from my SD card!!

First up, we have James, standing at the back door in an outfit of his choosing, telling me "Me wan go back yard?" Two points for the jacket. Zero points for pants and shoes. And yes, he did go out to play and no, he did not put on pants first. Shoes? Hahaha, you make me laugh.

Next up we have a shot I like to call "Self Portrait with infant, no head". I took that one because my internet friends were asking to see the yellow tights I was wearing after I asked via Facebook, "Can I wear yellow tights without looking like I'm wearing a turkey costume?" You can judge for yourself. I LOVED wearing them, FWIW, and might finally dig out those purple tights I bought two years ago. Scarf cleverly styled to cover, ahem, boob leakage, which is a Don't for fall.

And finally, we have one I will call "A study in futility." You can have kids who brush their teeth or kids who put things back where they belong. Or kids who know about the dishwasher, but who are not able to use it properly. Or something like that. I found this situation while UNloading the dishwasher, meaning this tube of Kids' Crest has been thoroughly cleaned and should not have any water spots!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


The other day the kids and I were walking up the sidewalk to their school when I noticed that everyone was dressed nicer than usual. Wes and James, who were wearing, I have no idea what because my only standard for leaving the house is that you cover your swimsuit area, stood out more than usual among all the mini hipsters and hipsterettes.

And then I heard someone say "Be sure you smile really pretty in your picture, OK?"


Spoiler alert: I forget every single year/semester.

Well, good news, the proofs came back yesterday. James's is so, so sweet. Look at that smiling boy! By a miracle I can only chalk up to good karma earned by changing a thousand poopy diapers, he had a recent-ish haircut! And, what an appropriate outfit! THAT I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.

Apparently, James's teachers put him in someone else's potty accident clothes, which are beautiful, because they Get me. Or feel sorry for me. The difference is not terribly important. Although, do you know what my kids have in their backpacks in case of potty accident? Me neither. Probably something really useful like two too-small shirts and a Batman cape.

Wes's teacher decided to keep it real, and I'm glad she did, because I want to forever memorialize the fall Wes refused to wear anything other than those ripped pants and a superhero shirt every single day for several months in a row. And OH, I just noticed the bonus knee stains. But, my goodness, so cute and happy, who cares? Hopefully not CPS.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Saturday: The best of times, the worst of times.

Saturday morning we dropped Charlie off at piano then were headed back to our house when I abruptly turned left instead of right and headed to Sonic. The little darlings had spent the last twenty-four hours fighting like Jerry Springer guests and we were totally exhausted. We both ordered the giant Super Sonic Breakfast Burrito with the jalapenos and tater tots and sausage because DAMN. And then we threw tater tots at all the kids in the back seats so everyone would PLEASE JUST BE QUIET FOR THIRTY MINUTES.

And then we tried to figure out how we could order milkshakes without the kids noticing. At ten o'clock in the morning. Because stress eating.

I asked Ryan if I could find a sitter for tonight so we could get out. Instead, he said, we should do something fun as a family. I was dubious. They'll wreck it! They'll fight the whole time and it'll be miserable! No, he said, we have to do this. We have to force ourselves. He was unusually resigned and promised me Chinese food and ice cream after bedtime so I went along with it.

We decided to go hiking and then get cupcakes after. My god I am talking about junk food a lot.

You guys. This is what Charlie looked like at the beginning of our magical family forced march through the woods hike.


He ran ahead. He refused to stay with us. He yelled at Wes a lot.

See! This is special! This is so special!

Look, Mary wore her big girl jeans for the occasion!


Wes had to stop approximately forty-seven times in the first quarter mile to get rocks out of his shoe. When I finally asked him where all the rocks were coming from he said "Probably from this this big hole in my shoe."


After calling Charlie back a thousand times we finally decided to send Ryan ahead with him so he could go at his own, very fast pace.

This turned out to be a good call because Wes liked to meander along with his hiking stick and talk to every single person we pass. And pet every dog. And examine every rock, leaf, and insect in our path. And take multiple potty breaks.


When we caught up with the rest of the family, Charlie was returning to his normal self. Three quarters of a mile of near-running on a rocky trail was good for him, apparently. I told him about cross country. He said it sounded too complicated.

Ryan took some really amazing pictures of James.


We admired the creek for approximately ninety-seconds before everyone started begging to put their feet in the water. No pictures of that because they just took their pants off and waded right in. While the kids splashed around half-dressed in the muddy creek, I was sitting on a fallen log feeding Mary. NATURE! The van smelled disgusting the next day.


James's pants were not salvageable.


By the time we got back to the car we were all having so much fun we decided to have dinner TOGETHER AS A FAMILY instead of Chinese after bedtime. WOAH. So we took them to Schlotzky's and got sandwiches and let them play with the computerized drink machine and many, many times looked at each other over their happy little fuzzy heads and wondered aloud "WHO ARE THESE HAPPY CHILDREN?" Because, you guys, it is honestly impossible to overstate the amount of screaming and fighting and antisocial behavior we were dealing with JUST THAT VERY MORNING.

After dinner we went for cupcakes and as we were walking to the trailer Wes found a bottlecap for Charlie's collection and Charlie was so overcome with gratitude that he wrapped Wes in a huge, spontaneous bear hug. We were officially on another planet.

Mary was so excited to get to the cupcake place after her bedtime then held high in the air next to a giant rotating cupcake for our amusement.


Then handed to a seven year old for more magical photo memories.


What happens when you tell everyone to jump and say cupcake!!!


We had such a lovely time. And the moral of the story is, when your kids are being jerks, take them out into nature against their will. It's the stuff memories are made of. And therapy.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

3 months! And random other pictures!

Baby Girl went and turned three months old on us yesterday, which all at once sounds incredibly grown up and also a very short time, considering how seamlessly she has integrated herself into our family. She is a smiley, happy girl and has started laughing occasionally. Hard to believe in another three months she'll be eating real food and sitting up! We are in no hurry, though. She is perfect.


James is absolutely enthralled with Mary. He talks to her while they play, "Hello baby girl! Hello baby girl! Hello baby girl! You cold baby girl? You want blanket? No cry baby girl." And today when she and I returned from work, he told me "I miss Mary." I caught them playing cars on Sunday.


I really hope their sweet friendship continues because James is the only brother she'll go to highschool with and I am fairly certain that that kid is going to be a BRUISER. Mary will be well-protected.

So what's going on with the other kids? Well this evening after dinner I told the kids to go put on jammies so we could watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and after twenty minutes of calling Wes to come downstairs I finally went upstairs to check on him and found him in his closet with his legs stuck in the doll cradle.


He had to sit there like that while I made two trips downstairs, the first for the camera and the second for the memory card. Poor Wes. Also, seriously.

I stumbled on this sweet brother moment the other day when Charlie was home sick from school. They are such great buddies.


And Charlie is doing better! He went back to school today and was so well-behaved I got a happy email from his teacher saying that he made up the other three days worth of work in class today, (which, yay? Because if he can do four days of work in one day maybe there's something to his endless complaints about being bored in school).

Tonight Ryan was playing with Wes and James outside and Charlie came up to me and asked if we could "do our reading thing." We got all snuggled up in the big bed and talked about what is going on in our books and then read together for a while. Love it!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Is it too late to join NaBloPoMo?  Because I really need to get back in the swing of things blog (and MY WHOLE LIFE) wise so forcing myself to write every day might do the trick.  Might.  We've had kind of a weird week because Charlie has been sick and home from school every day.  Which is probably why I keep thinking the week is almost over only to realize that it's only MONDAY, or TUESDAY.

Today is Wednesday, so maybe we're going to make it.  Not having Charlie's afternoon pickup has greatly simplified our schedule and James and Mary don't even know what to think about their long, uninterrupted afternoon naps.  I think he'll be back tomorrow and we are all a little sad about it.

Although yesterday our nanny told me she came downstairs from putting James down for a nap to find Charlie and Wes screaming at each other "YOU SHUT UP!" "NO YOU SHUT UP!" and surmised that we'd all had a leeetle bit too much together time so she gave Charlie a book and sent Wes outside where he spent forty-five solid minutes running at full speed around the front yard (in his jammies!).  Ahh, screentime overload.

I am hoping we can make it through the day without spiking anymore 103 fevers because I watched an alarming and exceptionally ill-advised Frontline about antibiotic-resistant bacteria right before Mary developed her big baby-fever and someone in the house has had a fever ever since.  Welcome to anxiety-town!

The good news is that yesterday my good friend Helen talked to my class about storm surge and mitigation and came and helped out with my lab afterward.  So much fun.  And it's going to be in the forties overnight so I can stop sweating under the winter blankets I stubbornly put on my bed because IT IS NOVEMBER, WEATHER, TIME TO STOP BEING SEVENTY-FIVE.  Maybe I will bake something!  It's my last day of unashamedly parking Charlie in front of the TV for hours at a time so I have to make the most of it.  And GO!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Little of everything: Halloween, a birthday, a FREAKOUT

Good lord you guys. It's like Mary's baptism happened, and then all of the sudden it was Thursday and I was having kind of an embarrassing nervous breakdown about the situation with the house looking like a cesspool and me sucking in almost every area of my life. AND THERE ARE A LOT OF AREAS. And now it is Saturday again! HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN?!

For instance, I have to get my spring class ready. DURING MY FALL CLASS. WHO INVENTED THAT SYSTEM? And I there was a proposal that was due Friday for the summer research program that I did this year and even though I tried to write it, it was just NOT HAPPENING. Instead, what was happening was me sitting on the couch with my mouth open feeling overwhelmed every night for an hour before I felt it was late enough to justify stopping working to go to bed (learn from me: if this happens multiple nights in a row just GO TO BED AT NINE. You will feel amazing the next day). And can we just not talk about grading right now? You understand, right? MOVING ON.

So, if the work situation was a flat tire, the situation with the housework was more like what happens when you drive around for two weeks with the oil light on. KABLOOM!! Crap, EVERYWHERE! Scum, ON EVERYTHING. Trash, NOT TAKEN OUT. WE WERE OUT OF JELLY FOR THREE DAYS AND THE CHILDREN ALMOST RIOTED. Also, diapers. James can wear a size two if necessary, in case you were wondering.

Oh, right, and it was Halloween. Thank goodness the kids wanted to wear costumes we already had. They can sense sharp declines in my mental health.

They were adorable and so excited. Charlie and Wes were at least three houses ahead of the rest of us at all times and we only had to go into one house to retrieve James.

Charlie would like you to know that he was Frankenstein, NOT the Hulk.

Mary was a spring roll! She fell asleep shortly after this picture was taken. I knew that would happen, which is why I chose a costume I could make out of a swaddling blanket.


Friday, after my day-long tantrum about the house Thursday, my parents came over and watched Mary AND cleaned the whole entire house within an inch of its life. It looks beautiful. I did not even know it was possible for it to be as clean as it is now. And while they were doing that, I finished and submitted that proposal I'd been dreading AND got a big chunk of my syllabus for the spring done. I've spent the last seven years choosing between professional accomplishments and an orderly house and to have both in one day was AMAZING. Big thanks to the parents.

Last night we went to the Homecoming parade and pep rally for my university and had a great time and then this morning when Charlie woke up he was SEVEN YEARS OLD ALL OF THE SUDDEN.


Naturally, we had cupcakes for breakfast.


And presents! (It was a Beyblade stadium and tops! Huge hit!)


We had a nice morning, but when I went upstairs to nag him about getting dressed for piano I found him in bed, under the covers, shivering with a fever of 101.1. Which meant he couldn't take friends to the football game as planned. I had to make some very disappointing phone calls. I explained that we were still planning to go, if only for one quarter, but we didn't want to get other kids sick, so we were postponing the fun. Charlie took it in stride, which should have been an indication of how awful he felt.

To cheer him up we gave him ibuprofin and took him to the game as a family, but he stayed curled up in Ryan's lap almost the whole time.

We sat with our wonderful babysitters and their friends and it was a nice day, so we made the most of it. Charlie loves to watch football, so he rallied enough to cheer and get into it for a while. Wes gave him a jersey for our team that Ryan helped him buy at the game that he loves so much he is sleeping in it tonight. One of our babysitters gave Mary this cool bandana.


And James was dubious about this huge inflatable mascot.


At halftime we dragged Wes kicking and screaming to the car and took Charlie home and cuddled up to watch James and the Giant Peach before a birthday dinner of pumpkin waffles. Now I am watching my Red Raiders and gearing up for a long night with Charlie (judging by the coughing I've been hearing, poor baby). Thank goodness we have one more day of weekend. And also this game is stressful to watch.