Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A crazy weekend of all good stuff

True confessions time: I had to briefly lift my ban on eating after the kids' bedtime because THERE WAS AN AMAZING CHOCOLATE PIE IN MY FRIDGE ALL WEEKEND.  I bought it for a small girls' night I had on Thursday and while I originally planned on giving some to the kids after dinner the following day, they quickly forgot about it when they noticed that we had pudding cups so then it was MINE ALL MINE.

Anyway, this weekend was INTENSE.  On Saturday Ryan and my dad worked all day on the kitchen while I managed the kidlet side of things.  Our first event was to walk to the park for a friend's birthday party.  It is nearly a mile away, but I figured if we walked there and back I wouldn't have to do my Olympic racewalking later when it was dark and I wanted to go to bed.  So I loaded up (a wildly protesting) James and Mary in the stroller and Charley and Wes rode scooters and bikes, respectively, and we managed to get there in a perfectly normal amount of time (THEY'RE GROWING UP.  Also I do not plan to attempt this walk this summer when we need to get to the pool, which is at the same park, because trying to get them JUST TO THE PARKING LOT in their post-swim exhausted state is soul-sucking.  I cannot imagine trying to prod them through a mile of scorching neighborhood streets).  We had a great time at the party and then made it home without incident, where I slapped down four turkey sandwiches and some fruit salad and rushed everyone through lunch before putting the little kids to bed, sending Charley out into the back yard to "play and don't get in Papa and Grandpa's way", and took Wes to his soccer game.

Somehow Wes's thirty-minute soccer game lasted two hours between picture day, the other team getting lost, and having to ford a stream en route from the parking lot after making a poor short-cut choice.  Wes played hard and it is so fun to see how much the kids have improved this season.  Seriously, we only had two kids score on their own goal.  PROGRESS!

We got home from soccer (and the requisite Sonic happy hour run) with thirty minutes to spare before we had to leave for Wes's school dance.  I took the world's fastest shower while Ryan crammed Wes into khaki pants and a nice shirt and then we were off to enjoy a rushed, twenty-minute hamburger dinner before screeching into the school parking lot ten minutes late.  But oh you guys, SO WORTH IT.  The girls in their fancy twirly dresses.  The boys looking stiff in oxfords and ties.  The awkward dancing.  The inevitable games of tag (we were in the gym after all).  The SUPREME awkwardness of being forced to slow dance with your mother to "I Loved Her First."  It was just too much.  Too much awesome.  Doing the Cupid Shuffle next to your kids' assistant principal?  So awesome.  Watching the secondary school principal swing dancing with his daughter?  So awesome.  Watching the eleventh graders playfully dance with the kindergarteners.  Awesome awesome awesome.

I didn't have much time to bask in the awesome because as soon as the last song played I had to fly home to drop Wes off and pick Charley up for his dance.  Which was just as awesome.  Again, the Cupid Shuffle got everyone on the dance floor.  Charley practiced his break dancing moves, nearly taking out a high-tech worker dad-type with his crazy flying feet a couple of times, but having a blast.  When he didn't know what to do, he would start doing jumping jacks.  He was way more into the slow dance than Wes was.  I taught him the Macarena.  You guys.

Sunday we declared a goof off day and bought a large inflatable baby pool at Target after church.  Ryan set it up in the back yard while I went to the store to lay in supplies for a lazy afternoon cookout day.  Ryan's parents came over for a nice outdoor dinner and everyone went to bed early. 

And now I am using every ounce of professionalism I can muster to force myself through the end of the semester even though the weather is gorgeous and all I want is to eat popsicles and sit on the porch.  TWO MORE DAYS.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Brought to you by procrastination!

I had a rough, forty-minute dentist appointment this morning and after spending that entire time with every muscle in my body tense and ready for combat I ditched my plan to go to Corner Bakery for a sensible half turkey sandwich and salad and made a beeline for Sonic where I obliterated a number one with cheese and mayo before I could even back out of my parking space. Then I went to the store for a box of thumbprints and ate two in the car on the way home. On my way from the bathroom to the dining room to grade some exams I passed the box and reached in to grab another one and realized that only SIX OF THE TWELVE WERE LEFT. Stress eating. It's a thing.

The day got better though because tonight was two of my research students' Capstone presentations and they both totally knocked it out of the park. Seriously. One of them has just been plugging along with almost no advice from me all semester and when she finished her talk I approached her to ask if she would email me her references because DAMN. The other one was just accepted to TWO competitive graduate programs. You guys, I AM SO PROUD OF THEM. They are going to do great things.

The new mudroom cabinet has already paid for itself in that James refers to the things you hang your backpack on as "hookers". As in, "I got my stool out so I could reach the hookers."

Charley found an old camera in a drawer and has been using it to prepare for his career (field biologist) by taking dozens of macro photos of his pet toads. To wit:

I think those were all of the frog named Puffy. The other one's name is Tommy. Sadly, the third frog, Jimmy, died last week, which was heartbreaking. Poor, sweet Charley was CRUSHED. Jimmy is lying in state in a kleenex box in our garage while we await the thaw, or just fifteen free minutes on a Saturday, for the burial. Charley, who has been observing these frogs for several months, has always told us that Tommy and Jimmy were friends. Ryan and I thought that was a nice sentiment but privately thought it was just Charley's sweet anthropomorphic nature, but when Jimmy died I KID YOU NOT, Tommy SAT NEXT TO THE BODY FOR HOURS. SPOOKY. (The reason it was there for hours was because Ryan and I made the discovery in the morning and if Charley had known there was NO WAY NO HOW we would have gotten him to school.)

Judging by the sounds I hear coming from the habitat at night I think Tommy wasted no time in becoming "friends" with Puffy. And also possibly one of them is female. Ahem.

In somewhat unsurprising news, Ryan is currently in the garage resurrecting his freaking car ONCE AGAIN with a twenty-dollar part. YOU LIVE TO DIE ANOTHER DAY, NEON!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Another cuh-razy week!

ANOTHER WEEK GONE ALREADY? Funny how the weeks go so quickly when every minute I spend in front of my class seems to take seventeen hours. End of the semester HI HO! Tonight, the three boys and Ryan are CAMPING next to a lake, which is all well and good except for the fact that a line of severe thunderstorms has been bearing down on them for the last several hours, making me a DELIGHTFUL guest at the block party barbeque I took Mary to, checking the radar on my phone fourteen times a minute, showing people the radar on my phone, talking about how everyone I love is in the woods next to a lake in a tent facing certain peril, mainlining cookies and brownies as if carb-loading had some kind of meteorological super power. Except the line is looking less severe now and they might just get some lightning and light rain. HURRAY FOR STRESS EATING.

Let's see, when we last talked I was alienating the children with my cakeball-induced fury. Last Friday night Ryan went on his two-frillionth trip to Lowes for our kitchen project and called me at ten PM to inform me that HIS BRAKES STOPPED WORKING but that he had managed to get the car to the shop and would then be walking home. Fortunately, our neighbor was still awake and her husband went to fetch him so he wouldn't have to walk down the highway, alone and in the dark. Shortly after that the shop informed us that they wanted $1000 to fix the brakes to which we replied "HA HA HA! Please leave it outside and we will figure something else out." And FIGURE IT OUT WE DID:


Ryan's reluctance to talk about major purchases is making it difficult for me to tell him that we are going to need to go drop fifteen grand on a second used van sometime next week.

Sunday was a FUN day. Ryan ran a 10K, in accordance with his New Year's Resolution to run a 10K in 2015. My New Year's Resolution to stop eating cookies for breakfast has been moderately successful as well. Anyway, we all trooped downtown before the sun came up to see him off, eat breakfast tacos while he exercised, and then meet him at the finish line. The kids had such a good time watching all the runners come in. He finished in the top twenty-five percent of people and then the kids wanted to race him too so they chose a short course up a very large hill.

After the race, we went for a walk on the river and let the kids play in the water.

Then headed to my favorite fancy grocery store for lunch, shopping, playground, bluegrass, and sangria (you see why it is my favorite, yes?)

And then headed home to celebrate Ryan's birthday, which meant that he and my dad worked on the kitchen while the kids played and my mom and I prepped a huge mountain of food for him to grill. Grilled bell pepper skewers, bacon-wrapped asparagus, and Italian sausage, rounded out with Pioneer Woman's pink pasta, and birthday cake, plus a six-pack of a new beer I like. IT WAS THE BEST MEAL EVER.

Besides all of those fun things, the wall cabinet I've been building has been occupying every extra moment of time I have. Tuesday there were no classes for a campuswide event, so I spent the entire day priming and painting it. I put the final coat on Tuesday night, then installed the hooks on Wednesday after big kid pickup. I AM SO EXCITED by the finished product. SO EXCITED YOU GUYS. Sometimes I just walk into the kitchen and stare at it. It's like a Pottery Barn catalog showed up in my house by magic, except most of the materials came from other projects' leftovers and we did all the work ourselves SO IT DID NOT COST A THOUSAND DOLLARS. I have also had success thus far getting the kids to put their crap away, so BONUS.

ANYWAY, now the radar is looking like the Scouts are getting just enough weather to be a great story but not enough to kill anyone. HURRAY. Although James is probably PRETTY HYSTERICAL right now. And not the happy kind of hysterical. Also, it looks as though it's going to be raining up there for a WHILE. It's only an hour away. I would not be surprised to see them here tonight before I go to bed. I can't wait to hear about it. Like I wish they could call me right now.

Friday, April 10, 2015

I will tell you about last weekend before this weekend starts

So, thanks to a snow day earlier this year, the kids had to go to school on Good Friday which meant that Ryan and I both had a day off while all the kids were in school. Actually, today it is in the sixties with thunderstorms so it could not have worked out better that last Friday was in the seventies and gorgeous. We somehow managed to bring the car to a complete stop as we dropped all the kidlets off at their respective schools and then we headed downtown for some grown-up free time. Because I have to do my olympic racewalking every day to prevent the Super Knot from going into Defcon 4 lockdown, the first thing we did was take a long walk around the lake, pausing to document the occasion with this obnoxious sweaty selfie in front of the city skyline.

THEN we did something I have always wanted to try but never have because of the inevitable oar fights and high drowning probability, STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING. I always see these people standing on surfboards as I drive past this lake and I've always wondered what the heck they were doing. People say it's really good for your core muscles and since I'm supposed to be working on those this seemed like a good thing to do. I obediently got on my surfboard next to the dock, kneeling and klinging to my paddle and was unceremoniously pushed away from the dock with very little explanation regarding technique. Eventually I managed to stand up on the thing and maybe ten minutes after that I learned to paddle it without falling into the lake. Which is what is almost happening in this picture.

Doing the J-stroke (TM Girl Scout Canoe Camp 1992) from a standing position IS good for your core. An hour later we had made a long slow loop down the river to a bridge and back and were both exhausted so we went out for tacos, did some window shopping, went into a bakery for amazing cinnamon rolls, and then reluctantly headed back to the burbs to pick up all the kids.

Saturday was a pleasant day of hanging around the house. James and I made these stupid cake balls that killed my soul. Seriously the frosting step was so infuriating and I got so wound up that James said soothingly "It's OK, sweetheart, we'll figure this out together." And then I got an IPA out of the fridge and invited him to eat as many cakeballs as he wanted while I sat on the porch. By dinnertime there was no evidence of the project anywhere in the house and also no one ate any dinner.

Sunday was Easter, which kicks off the season of "Is that a Hershey Kiss or Poop on the Rug?". The big kids mowed down all forty-eight eggs before James and Mary even realized what was happening. But that's OK because once they'd removed all the chocolate they re-hid most of the eggs for the little kids to find. James and Mary had the last laugh, however, because the next day while the big kids were playing outside they ate every last Hershey Kiss and Cadbury egg in every single Easter basket. It was a sort of tortise-hare situation in the end.

After breakfast we dressed in our coordinating pastels and headed to church, where we took a series of terrible photos as is our tradition. After this one James and Wes had a crab-walk race all the way across the gym that got so heated Wes bonked his head on the wall on the other side. I tell you that to explain his expression in all the rest of the pictures.

Even the promise of donut holes in the Narthex wasn't enough to cheer him up.

Still no.

I could keep going. After church we headed to my parents' for brunch. Charley and my niece, Sibley, manned the bar.

My parents' Easter Bunny set up the traditional sock Easter Egg hunt. We ate yummy food. The kids ran around. We had cake for my dad's birthday. It was lovely and restful. Until we had to go home, which was a forty-minute car fight followed by an especially hellish dinner and bedtime.

And now it's cool and rainy and Friday again. We have a busy Saturday planned and Ryan's birthday on Sunday with hopefully some more work on the kitchen in between. I will leave you with this picture of the Megacarrot Charley pulled out of the school garden.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Laundry Procrastination Basically

Yesterday was kind of "eh" for a variety of mundane reasons and I was completely exhausted by the time the kids went to bed, and not the kind of exhausted where if you just push yourself a little bit you'll get a second wind. I was so tired that I really didn't even want to watch the end of The Middle before bed. And then I collapsed into my bed and was almost asleep when I realized I hadn't submitted the letter of recommendation I needed to turn in BY MIDNIGHT for one of my favorite and most capable students. So I dragged myself back downstairs and took care of it. Thank goodness it was already written.

Also last night was a night for saying "screw it" to the new healthy eating goals and ordering thirty bucks of awesomely terrible take-out to be eaten 1) after kid bedtime and 2) in front of the TV. Some things can only be helped with truffle fries and Cadbury cream eggs amirite?

Anyway, I slept like a ROCK and woke up feeling almost refreshed at 6:40 this morning after (apparently?) hitting "snooze" four times without realizing it. This was a problem because on Wednesdays the whole fam-damily needs to be in the car promptly at 7:10 to get Wes to reading tutoring by 7:30. Somehow I had everyone dressed with shoes, meds and bagels on board, and lunches nearly finished by 7:05 when Ryan came down from getting ready. Ryan took everyone to school and since I didn't have class until 11:00 I had a LOVELY MORNING ALONE. I went on my olympic race walk (I thought doing it in the morning would be more efficient but I found myself looking forward to my walk all day only to realize I'd already done it and then feeling disappointed WHO AM I?), I drank a slow, quiet cup of coffee. I watched Justin Timberlake sing "Friends in Low Places" with Garth Brooks (still trying to decide if it makes me happier simply that this video exists or that Garth Brooks is dressed like someone's dad on his way to a highschool football game. Probably the latter. Also, GB needs to sing "Sexy Back" next and then my life will be complete). I washed dishes. I started the laundry. And then I got to work a little before ten AND THERE WAS A PARKING SPACE RIGHT BY MY BUILDING. This never happens. It was a good morning.

Less awesome, but funny, the aftermath of the floor project is that now when the kids have friends over and the friend asks to use the bathroom they ask "#1 or #2? If it's #1 you go in the backyard and if it's #2 you go upstairs."

I graduated from physical therapy a couple of weeks ago. She released me with two pages of core-strengthening exercises that I am supposed to do every other day. In three months when these exercises become too easy, I am supposed to go online and find harder ones and do those instead. These exercises are to be done on a fitness ball because apparently you have to choose between dignity and having abdominal muscles capable of supporting your upper back. I went with abdominal muscles because my days of slinging children onto my hip and stalking angrily out of the grocery store are far from over. I got started tonight even though the ball arrived from Amazon more than three weeks ago and has been sitting uninflated on my stairs ever since. With every crunch I think about how much less weird I'm going to look at the pool this summer. Looking pretty weird for now, though.

And finally, and this never happens, but Ryan and I both have the day off on Friday and NONE OF THE KIDS DO. When we gleefully made this realization during dinner on Monday night Charley exclaimed "Awww, no fair! Why do you guys get to drink champagne all day while we're at school?!" I THINK HE'S ON TO SOMETHING. Now I am off to fold some clothes/ work on my cross stitch project/ read my book.