Friday, January 31, 2014

Pants Odyssey 2014

Instead of hosting a dinner and dancing Christmas party this year, Ryan's company doled out cold hard cash as a Christmas present to their employees.  Ryan very nicely gave his to me as a thank you for several things including: creating four human beings with my body, doing most of the laundry, and not flipping out too much when he suddenly has to work late into the night.

So I have had this $150 gift card burning a hole in my pocket for several weeks, waiting for just the right thing to come along.  Originally that right thing was going to be an ass that just won't quit, because of all the running, but we all know how that ended up, so when I saw a 40% off sale at the Gap I figured I should just suck it up and buy some jeans for the ass I already have and will probably have until, well, forever (SET POINT ANYONE?).

Do you know how hard it is for me to coordinate a trip to the Gap?

First of all, the store is near the preschool, which seems convenient until you realize that preschool dropoff is at 9:00 and Gap opens at 10:00, meaning I'd have to cool my heels with Mary doing *something* (probably eating) for nearly an hour.  That's Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Tuesday and Thursday I am at work all day and while it would theoretically be possible to sneak away in the afternoon to run that particular errand, there is no Gap within twenty miles of where I work and even if there was I would have The Guilt about shopping during babysitting time.  I don't leave the house after dark as it cuts into my very important sitting on the couch in flannel pants time.

This left only online shopping, which is probably just as well since online shopping doesn't involve all the dressing room histrionics typically associated with denim shopping.

So during Downton Abbey a couple of weeks ago, I went to and went on a super fun little shopping spree for me and Mary and when my cart was at $149.50, I whipped out my trusty little gift card and entered in the numbers.

And wouldn't you know it, freaking Visa gift cards don't really work for online shopping.  Ryan took personal offense to this and spent the next hour calling customer service, both at Visa and the Gap trying to figure it out.  Finally I suggested we just use the regular credit card and that I would use the gift card for necessary in-store purchases like diapers and wine.  He finally agreed to this plan the next morning and I placed the order.

Two ice storms later, the package finally arrived.  I was so excited to see my new non-maternity skinny jeans (did I tell you I'm still wearing my maternity skinny jeans?  Because they're my only skinny jeans?  And they have an elastic waistband?  HOTT.).  I pulled them on and, oh.  They were way too short.  Like, ankle bones were showing short.  I tried to convince myself I could deal with this, but knowing myself as I do I knew I would be annoyed every time I put them on.

So last night, I broke rule numero uno and left the house after dark to go to the mall to exchange them for a pair in the same size, but in the "long" version.

I schlepped through the oddly empty mall wondering why in the world I had spent so much time there in high school and finally got to the Gap and headed straight to the jeans display in the back when the sales lady came over to ask if she could help.

As it turns out, she could not help because I wear such a freakish size it is ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE.

OK, I said, I'll just return these, then.

Oh, sorry, she said, you can only return that style online since we don't sell them at the store.

She called out after me about printing the free shipping label but I was already stalking out of the store in frustration.  I did not stop to admire the skirt I saw on the way in.  I did not stop at clearance to load up on black tshirts.  ALL I WANTED WERE SOME FREAKING PANTS.

I went home determined to wear sensible boot cut jeans for the rest of my days.  And to eat lots of brownies.

But this MORNING, I went to a different store that rhymes with Mold Maybe, who deigns to stock MY SIZE JEANS.  I picked out two styles, both of which were on sale, took them to the back, and found them to be a comfortable and flattering fit.  And I left wondering why it had been so long since I'd been in that particular store since I remember it being kind of a weekly habit in college.

Epilogue: I bought some freaking pants.  It took more than two weeks, several phone calls, a trip to the post office, and four different stores.  This is why I don't update my style very often.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Snow day! Woo hoo?

Remember that time your kids had a snow day and PBS Kids stopped working because of an overnight sleet storm sent by Satan himself? No? That's because your brain doesn't save memories of traumatic events.

This morning was actually kind of exciting because we woke up at six AM to heavy sleet and a friendly note from the school district to "Be careful out there on your way to school, which is not delayed!  It's icy!" and a flurry of phone calls and texts from our two nannies wondering what I wanted them to do since my school was delayed until 10:00 (which is when my class normally starts which meant I had to finish prepping my class IN MY HOUSE WITH MY FAMILY instead of in my quiet, cozy office all by myself FAIL).

We ate breakfast and rushed through our morning routine to get Charlie going and then Ryan and Charlie about to walk out the door when I found out via Facebook that there was a two hour delay.

Charlie was understandably quite excited.

Around this time Ryan got an email from work telling him not to come in until 10.  So now everyone had to be at school/work at 10, which made things kind of interesting considering those three locations are all about ten miles from each other.

Then about thirty minutes before we would have had to leave to drop Charlie off and get everyone else to their various places my school was delayed until 1:00 (which means NO CLASS FOR ME!).  And then my mom told me via FB that Charlie's school was canceled.  And lo!  There was rejoicing in my house. 

Ten minutes after that Ryan checked the school district site.  Which still listed a two-hour delay.  Hrmmm.  I told Charlie not to get too excited.  After some furious refreshing of all the local news outlet webpages, a friend finally retweeted a school district post about school being canceled.

Charlie ran out the front door cheering with excitement.

Middle school kids who had been waiting for the bus in the twenty-six degree sleet were running down the street screaming with joy.


And that's when Ryan put his coat on and said "Welp!  Better get going.  I want to allow some extra time and take the back roads."


That was at nine thirty.  By eleven o'clock we had exhausted DVDs, baking cookies, playing outside, and PlayDoh, the house looked like a war zone, and James had colored his entire left arm brown with a marker.

I stood amid the chaos and shook a box of Annie's Mac 'n Cheese until everyone stopped screaming and looked at me.  Lunch was sort of OK except for the constant begging for cookies and mediation of fights over who knows what and threats about naps.

After lunch they/we built forts and settled into a nice game of "camping" complete with a fire made out of yellow and orange felt (their doing, not mine, lest you think I'm good at this sort of thing.  When the screaming and fighting started I spent much of the morning hiding, hiding in the pantry "doing laundry", hiding upstairs "making beds", hiding in Mary's room "putting the baby down for a nap" Eventually they stop looking for you and FIND SOMETHING TO DO).

OMG forts! I win snow day creative imaginary fun!

But as these things do that game eventually soured when Charlie and Wes couldn't agree if they were playing "daytime" or "nighttime" and it devolved into a screaming match with one side screeching "cockadoodledoo" and the other side sitting by the fire "roasting marshmallows" and screaming that the other side was an idiot.  SO FUN. After I broke that fight up Wes became frustrated that the roof of his fort was too low and fixed it by jumping on top of it from the couch, which both obliterated the fort and kind of hurt, judging by the look on his face. MAGICALSPECIAL.

NOW, James and Mary are both sleeping, Wes is playing xBox, and Charlie has been banished upstairs for screaming at Wes over the xBox game and being rude to me (WHEN DOES ADOLESCENCE START AGAIN?!). Ahhh, so quiet! Three hours until Ryan comes back and then it's time for the State of the Union Facebook Snark a Thon. PARTY ON GARTH.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Winter reprieve

Thursday night we had enough sleet to cancel school for all of us on Friday and Saturday afternoon it was seventy degrees, YAY TEXAS. To celebrate we took Ryan's parents to my school and unleashed the kids on their bikes.

They have a huge car-free area to ride and spent over an hour racing in giant loops around the grassy mall and stopping to talk to any student who made eye contact.

Wes and Ryan's dad spent some time messing around with this fountain while Ryan's mom and Charlie and I went in the library because Charlie wanted to "check out some books about war."

Reading about the Alamo in his natural habitat.

In other news, Mary eats real food now!

Except we realized tonight after she was asleep that we forgot to give her real food today. She didn't seem to be too jealous as she sat in my lap watching me eat chili and cupcakes at my friend's house today. Oops. Life's rough. But at least it can be seventy in January sometimes.

Gonna be in the twenties again by Tuesday. Mary does not approve.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Sarah just reminded me that I haven't blogged all week and the reason is that I CANNOT KEEP UP WITH WHAT DAY IT IS.  Seriously.  It is Friday.  But I just wrote that blog about going out for ice cream yesterday, right?  Only that was actually on Sunday.  TIMEWARP.  You see my problem.

In that week I've taught class twice, muddled through Monday's day off of school, attended a church school board meeting and made several intelligent comments, fed Mary in the middle of the night at least six times, made five or six dinners, and taken a lot of Robitussin because SICK.  Actually I just took some like thirty minutes ago so if this makes no sense you'll know why.  I'm actually just biding my time until it's an acceptable grown up time to go to bed.  Like after eight o'clock.

I'm still getting around to an update for Project Man I'd Like to be Fit (MILF), including linking to all of your contributions, but let me just tell you, Ryan and I have had the PLAGUE this week, with all the coughing.  So much coughing.  And I have not worked out.  But I have eaten a lot of crap.  Gonna go weigh myself at the Y tomorrow morning.  Should be neat.

Who wants some random pictures?

James had an ear infection. Mary is a five month old. Neither of them wanted to be put down. I had to make dinner so we improvised. Thank goodness I only had to make the guacamole.

Word play.

My largest skillet can no longer contain our family dinner.

We had a "snow day" today because everything was covered with sleet. The kids made a sled out of the top of the turtle sandbox. Ryan, Charlie, and Wes took it out to our greenbelt where we have several big hills and attracted a following of fifteen kids before they came in because James couldn't feel his feet.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Meanwhile, in CBTland

Wow, a post a week, huh?  This is what happens when everyone in the house has been felled by the justavirus of doom.  First it was Ryan, that was three weeks ago, he's still not 100%.  I've been coughing and unable to hear out of my right ear since last Friday night (although, I did take James's nose spray the other night and seem to have fixed the sinus problem for now, which is a huge improvement to my quality of life, I must say).

And I know I don't need to remind you the amount of laundry we generate.  It defies the laws of thermodynamics.  That's what I did today.  Laundry, not thermodynamics.  Sadly.

James's justavirus turned into an ear infection and Mary's turned into some kind of weird amnesia that she was once able to sleep like a human being.  Ryan is in there with her now because in a moment of desperation I drank some of the kids' cough syrup and I'm hoping to give it another hour before I feed her.  Not that a snuggle with me would be all that soothing because as I mentioned before, the COUGHING.

But in the midst of all that (and my semester starting because WHY NOT), we have been doing a project that started out to help Charlie most of all when he was struggling near the end of last semester.  Instead of just being sad and grouchy all the time, I decided to force the family to be nice to each other and then document those nice acts on a piece of poster board I hung in the kitchen labeled "1000 Acts of Kindness."  The original (unrealistic) goal was to get to a thousand during Advent and then we would go do something special as a family.

Yesterday morning we were at ninety six and we told the kids that if we got to a hundred that day that we would go out for ice cream. And they EXPLODED WITH KINDNESS. Charlie recorded the last item on the poster during dinner and we were off to Orange Leaf.

Ryan read all one hundred acts while we ate. Because our family size doesn't do enough to draw attention to us in public.

And then we took a really nerdy family picture with our poster.

And then this morning Charlie and Wes had a kicking fight in the bread aisle of our store and I almost had to walk out of the store empty handed to make a point. MULTIPLE PEOPLE took me aside and told me in gentle tones, "I had four boys. They're all grown up now. I survived and so will you." My favorite was the woman who said "I had three boys" and when I smiled politely and said "Oh, how nic--" she cut me off and said "And then I got my tubes tied." Then when it was time to pay Mary got her leg stuck in the Ergo somehow and it was so wedged in there she had red marks on her calf for the rest of the afternoon. And also the screaming. So much screaming! So it was a really good trip to the store. Time to start on the second hundred, is what I'm saying.

Monday, January 13, 2014

autocorrect off

I have so much to do you guys but I am entering hour three for the day of being trapped beneath a nursing baby. "Day" beginning at midnight of course. During the last break from being a human vending machine I ate lunch and cleaned James's room. I am sitting here now watching the clock tick and trying not to think about how the "second cup of coffee" window is about to close and I really need a Claritin.

What else? Oh! Wes left a banana in his backpack all weekend and then it got stepped on in the car, so that is my next project.

Charlie went to a talented and gifted playgroup this weekend hosted by a friend from church who is the teacher for gifted kiddos at a school in oir district (not ours, sadly). She also happens to be one of our nanny's mother so she knows a lot about Charlie's strenghts and issues and has given me so much great advice and is teaching me all the language I need to have to ask the school to accomodate his needs (though, fingers crossed, the first week of the semester went very well!).

He hasd suchagoodtime. Therewere a couple of bumps, but overall, watching him play with gifted kids was really eye opening. I told Ryan it was like watching Wes play with other kids, which is to say not fraught with anxiety (my anxiety. And his). Truly, he was in his element. My mom said " It's so good you are doing this for him now instead of waiting for him to find his niche in college like we did with you."

Wes went to my sister's while we were at Charlie's thing and declared vehemently through screechy tears that he would like to live there and never come home so I think he had fun.

Mary's done and my mom is coming over later to make dinner and provide moral support so I don't drive off into the countryside flinging ryan's dry cleaning out the windows like in that book I read over the summer and cannot remember the name of. So I should put a little effort into this housekeeping thing. And also figure out which hotel I made reservations at for the conference I'm going to in February.  And make my poster (panic slowburn BEGIN!).

Also, school starts tomorrow for me! Non-sarcastic woo hoo!!

UPDATE: I put Mary on her tummy on her quilt with some toys then went off to figure out my schedule for the conference and while I wasn't looking SHE ROLLED OVER.  #leaninbetches #developmentallynormal

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ikea No Pants

Ikea on a Saturday with Mary and James in tow was perhaps a mistake, but the kids needed new plastic dishes and we let our Amazon Prime lapse, so really I had no choice.  When we arrived, there was fierce competition for parking spots and dozens of people walking up and down the aisles of the parking lot.  I nearly gave up, but I had a plan and I was sticking to it.

The original plan was bulletin boards for Charlie and Wes's room and some shelving to go over their beds.  But then that morning Ryan pulled yet another cracked kids' bowl out of the dishwasher and I'd told him "OH!  I'll just pick up some more dishes while I'm at Ikea buying shelves!"  Because when you almost never buy things, picking out new dishes is FUN.  Guess what I didn't buy today--bulletin boards and shelves.  Because by the time I got to that department I had lost the will to live.

Obstacle one on every trip to Ikea is getting the child-laden shopping cart up the gentle grade to the front door without the wind catching it wrong and sending it careening sideways across the parking lot into someone's house-sized Toyota Sequoia.  Making matters significantly more complicated was the fact that Mary was in the Ergo and the wind was gusting over twenty five miles per hour.  By the time we reached the door I felt like I'd done three hours of pilates and half of the Thirty Day Shred.

And you guys.  I did not know this, but today was "Take Your Inconsiderate Slow-Walking Texting Oaf Relative to Ikea Day".  Had I known, I would have let James out of the cart.  And let him ram some people in the ankles with it.

Needless to say, after getting stuck MORE THAN ONCE behind whole families walking four abreast, taking up the entire aisle, eyes glued to their phones, I was kind of over it by the time I pushed my cart sideways (whyyyyyy?) through the "short cut" to the dishes department, but if I went home with no dishes then this entire slow meander through retail hell would have been for naught.  Which is how I ended up picking out six sets of stoneware salad plates and bowls for the kids.  Because the only plastic ones they had were those miniature colorful plastic five for two dollars ones everyone in the universe (including us) has.  I like them for breakfast and lunch and sand toys, but for dinner I think they should have plates as close to normal as possible.

Mary started squawking somewhere around textiles and no amount of peppy talking and jiggling could make her stop.  Things were bad by the time we got to the self-serve warehouse.  And then we got in the longest line in the universe.  Behind someone with an incredibly complicated looking closet organizing system comprising three hundred and fifty three individual pieces which had to be scanned individually.

Mary squawked.  I bounced.  I tried to talk to her soothingly.  And then James piped up "I have to go potty."

I scanned the room in a panic, but there was no potty to be seen.  He looked at me plaintively from the cart and repeated himself.  "I haffa go potty."  I replied in a stage whisper "We have to wait in this LINE and then I can take you to the POTTY!!" hoping someone would feel sorry for me, but no.  I told James (while still bouncing Mary) "You need to try to hold it.  Can you hold it?  Can you be a really, really good big boy and not go potty right now?  I will take you as soon as I can!"

We spent the rest of the time in line having the following conversation "I no go potty in my undies?  I keep my undies dry?  I a big boy?  I no go potty here?  I no go potty in the Ikea?  I keep my undies dry?"

(bounce bounce bounce)

Finally, mercifully, it was our turn.  The total was much higher than I expected, but I would have paid MORE money to not have to go back into that store at that particular moment.  I think that is actually Ikea's business model, now that I think about it.  I carefully reloaded the cart with my non-plastic children's tableware and ran off in the direction of the potty.

You'll never guess--there was a line for the bathroom.  James continued with his dry pants affirmations and by some kind of miracle he was still dry by the time we got him to an actual toilet, approximately seven hours after the initial "I haffa go potty."  I had Mary in the Ergo so I kind of awkwardly bent over sideways and pulled his pants down enough that he could go.  When he was done I repeated the awkward side-bend squat maneuver and pulled his pants back up.  I couldn't reach the snap, so I just pulled them up and hoped for the best.  He washed his hands and we went back out to get the cart.

Having tasted freedom, James was loathe to get back in the cart and since I couldn't really pick him up with Mary in the Ergo I told him to hold the side of the cart and walk with me back to the car.  But OH NO.  He had to PUSH the freaking stupid Swedish devil cart ALL BY HIMSELF.  I was not to touch the freaking cart or even glance in its direction.  I let him do it all the way to the parking lot but then it was MY TURN.  The wind, the hill, the sideways freaking wheels, the cars.  It was just more than a three year old could handle.  So I grabbed the front of the cart and pulled it along behind me.  James was obediently hanging on to the side by one hand, but screaming all the way about how he wanted to push the cart ALONE I WANT TO PUSH THE CART ALONE!  He was very clear on this point.

I was ignoring him but as we crossed the main aisle of the lot, the whining stopped and he started crying.  Concerned, I stopped, ignoring the five cars that had stopped to let us pass who were still sitting there waiting.

He was wailing "Mama, WOOK!  Mama, WOOK!"

I looked.

He was standing in the middle of the road with his pants around his ankles.

His pants around his ankles and his cute little chubby legs and his little red Osh Kosh briefs.

Time stood still for a moment as I glanced from James to the drivers of the cars to Mary and then back to James.  He was MAD.  And HALF-NAKED.  And INDIGNANT.

Stifling a laugh (made more difficult by the fact that EVERYONE in the cars was CRACKING UP), I grabbed a handful of fabric from his shirt and dragged him over to the median, dragging the cart behind me with the other hand, Mary swinging perilously from the Ergo, where I worked his pants back up and snapped the snap.  And then we continued our walk to the car with him protesting about not being able to push the cart ALONE ALONE ALONE MAMA.

I have never been so happy to buckle a child into a carseat as I was this afternoon at Ikea.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A new year a new project to quit after five days

I know it's cliche and cheesy to resolve to make a New Year's Resolution about weight loss, but you guys.  I had a baby five-ish months ago and am in the midst of planning a trip to the beach with my gorgeous friend who works out every day and that trip is in MARCH, so I really have no choice in the matter this year.

It's not really a resolution, exactly, more like a panic attack brought on by more than a year of varying degrees of inability to exercise combined with a crapton of stress eating.

So, I'd like to introduce you to "Project MAN, I'd Like to be Fit!!!" (Project MILF).

Right now my weight is N+22 where N is a number between 0 and 500 that represents the weight I was when I defended my dissertation and was surviving only on coffee and prayer. I was kind of a disaster that semester, but I looked GOOD.

Everything I've read and also common sense says the best way to lose weight is to start slowly with small changes to your lifestyle that you can sustain over the long haul. The two changes I will be focusing on first are working out most days of the week and not eating six desserts a day. I call the second one "You are thirty-three years old."

I have schlepped the kids (all four because this is Christmas "break") to the Y multiple times in the last two weeks and have been running on the treadmill and doing crunches and planks. I don't think I need to tell you that I feel like a moron doing these things and the only reason I keep going back is because I want to wear a swimsuit at the beach that could not double as academic regalia in a pinch.

So who's with me? All you have to do is write a similarly self-deprecating post on your blog, briefly mention your goals, whatever they may be, give yourself one or two small goals a week, and link back here.

Here's a random picture of me from today. We took a really lovely family bike ride around the lake. See? Good choices? (The only reason we didn't get ice cream after was because I couldn't find a parking spot.)