Friday, May 22, 2015

Fluid Mechanics

HELLO! In a recent post I described our completely insane weekend of birthday parties and soccer and swimming (OH MY). And that after jumping our faces of at Pump it Up for two hours, eating several pieces of pizza and a sizable piece of birthday cake (C and W), we went home to "eat dinner" at seven PM then immediately put the kids to bed BECAUSE IT WAS A SCHOOL NIGHT.

Ryan and I collapsed on the couch together after that, enjoying the first face to face conversation we'd had in days that did not involve a child changing clothes in the back of a minivan. We watched Scandal, we relaxed. It was a lovely evening. We were exhausted but happy and content after a fun weekend.

Around eleven I said goodnight and crept upstairs to our room. Because I think the overhead light makes our room look like a prison, I never turn it on, and instead walked barefoot across the room towards the lamp on my bedside table.

Halfway across the room, immediately next to my side of the bed, I stepped in something cold and slimy.

My reaction was strangely calm and measured as I hopped into the bathroom to turn on the light and see what on earth was going on. Even more strange, my brain at this point was still allowing for the possibility that whatever I had stepped in was not disgusting! Like, maybe someone spilled mint chocolate chip ice cream all over the floor! Maybe it's a big plate of pancakes with syrup!

With light came truth. And gagging.

Because someone had blown some SERIOUS CHUNKS all over my bedroom floor.


I summoned Ryan in the calmest voice possible then the two of stood side by side staring at it, each waiting for the other to speak first. I mean, how does one attack a five foot diameter pool of vomit on carpet?

I helpfully brought two old towels from the linen closet and then took my book downstairs.

Several minutes later Ryan came downstairs to retrieve the shopvac and our arsenal of Resolve Pet Stain products.

In an hour the carpet was good as new except for the hurl smell which was mitigated by sleeping with the windows open and fan on high.

We assumed that Charley had done it since we had also found him in our bed directly adjacent to the puke, so the next morning I let him sleep late. When I went into their room to get Wes's uniform he woke up talking completely normally and asked me why I hadn't woken him up.

"Because you're sick, you can stay home today."

"I'm not sick."

"You threw up last night so you have to stay home today."

"I didn't throw up! I want to go to school!"

Okey dokey.

So he went to school. Mostly because I was certain that the throwup was caused by birthday party overindulgence and not a virus. Wes also denied throwing up in our room that night and James was already asleep when it happened. IT IS AN UNSOLVED MYSTERY. An unsolved mystery that STILL STINKS.

The following night we were sitting in bed talking. All was quiet from the kid rooms. Until we heard a strange water sound. It sounded like someone was pouring a pitcher of water out. It was SO LOUD. Ryan thought there was something terribly wrong with the plumbing. He jumped out of bed and ran toward the sound. The sound continued as Ryan said softly "Hey, buddy, are you asleep?"


We cleaned him and the carpet up and put him back to bed where he slept all night, waking with NO MEMORY OF THE PEEING. The only ones who remember are me, Ryan, and our poor carpet.

I feel like we should nail some Greek letters to the front door.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Newsflash: Kids are exhausting

It has become apparent that I need to stop blaming my birth control prescription for the extra ten pounds I gained last year. This is for a couple of reasons. One is that a few months after starting my olympic race walking regimen, I noticed that I had lost thirteen pounds. I do not think this is a coincidence. So that means that I now weigh N+17, with N being what I weighed in college after I quit Masters swimming and discovered the unlimited supply of Captain Crunch in the dining hall. I feel like that's a reasonable goal.

Also, my New Year's resolution was to stop eating dessert for breakfast and with a couple of notable exceptions, I've been doing a really good job with that. I think they also call this "You are a freaking adult." I should do an infomercial.

The final reason is that today I took James and Mary out of school right after their naptime (James: why you wake me up? When you wake me up you wake ALL OF US UP. Also I missed centers and snack.) and took them to the big kid school for garden group. And taking care of them while doing other activities, like weeding, watering, and talking to my friends about how annoying bedtime is, IS TWICE AS MUCH WORK AS DOING THOSE THINGS ALONE.

I know that this is obvious, because this was my life NOT THAT LONG AGO. But then I went and got a full-time teaching load for two semesters and James and Mary started going to school every day and suddenly I'm all "WOW, one year olds wander away a LOT. Huh." This behavior led to MANY dashes to the edge of the parking lot to grab Mary (thirty pounds) and carry her back to the garden. It's like my very own Crossfit workout. A workout I have not had to do SINCE AUGUST.

In addition to being wildly exhausting, it was also REALLY FUN to have them there. James played with the other little siblings. Mary watered things with the watering can. Charley harvested lots of carrots and mint. I picked beans. Wes did...Wes things... like repeatedly throwing a huge rock at a concrete wall until I told him to knock it off and then spent the rest of the time in the Gaga pit, SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE!). The big kids planted milkweed in the wildflower garden for the butterflies. I kept Mary out of the parking lot. We composted a huge pile of mint branches.

It was HOT and STICKY and it was so nice to take care of something (plants) that you know is not going to send you a hateful email after grades are posted or scream at you while you make them apple crisp (both of these things happened yesterday).

Afterward we unleashed all twelve kids on nearby restaurant because we needed sangria and street tacos. I have been looking forward to this dinner an unreasonable amount since Saturday. It did not disappoint.

Street tacos are fun because you get to go to the counter and say "I'd like ten tacos please" and then they bring you a huge platter. They were AMAZEBALLS. But too spicy for the kids. Mary ate half of one then began screaming and spitting food out onto the table when she realized what was happening. Wes did an admirable job of picking all the bits of meat out around the veggies and sauce. Charley had three. James freaked out as soon as he bit into one and wouldn't stop screeching until I broke off the end of a loaf of foccacia I'd planned to take home for tomorrow's dinner and let him eat that instead. So they spent most of their time coloring on the chalkboard and had PB&J when we got home.

And now I AM EXHAUSTED. And need a shower. Three more days until summer "break"!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

An Homeric account of our weekend

OMG you guys we were totally "those parents" this weekend. We actually *birthday party hopped* Saturday afternoon. And that was after an early morning soccer game (soccer game we screeched into fifteen minutes late because *someone* (me) went to the wrong field then stood around wondering where the heck our team was for ten minutes before realizing my mistake and rushing everyone across the muddy field, fording a small river on the way to the parking lot (May has been SO RAINY YOU GUYS), driving three blocks to the appropriate field, and unloading Wes directly from the car into the game, WHICH WAS ALREADY IN PROGRESS).

After the game we hung around with some school friends at the field then dropped all the kids off at the adjacent YMCA childwatch so Ryan and I could watch Revenge of the Sith in the cardio theater. This was about as relaxing as the weekend got. Forty-five minutes on the treadmill.

And then we went home where we ate lunch and put the little kids to bed. Ryan wanted to work on the kitchen so my plan was to take the big kids to the pool, but first I confessed to my neighbor who was having an all-girls birthday pool party for her daughter, our friend, that we were headed to the same pool just for fun and we would probably see them but were definitely not attempting to gate crash an eight year old's birthday party and she said "Oh stop being silly, just come with us!" so we did and that was Party Number 1. So fun.

Sadly we had to leave that party before it was over because we had to get to Wes's second party of the day, which was at a church gym on the other side of town. This party was less relaxing (there were like five thousand loud kids in a church gym for goodness sake, but Wes had a BLAST playing tag and dodgeball) but I got to spend time with some of my nicest friends (one of the same friends from soccer that morning COMMUNITY WE HAS IT!!) and have another piece of cake. And really cake is the reason I sign up for birthday party duty (Charley would say "haha you said dooty").

When I got home the pool party had relocated to my neighbor's driveway and now involved several bottles of wine (Also, while I was at the birthday party, James was having a big boy playdate with his friends across the street, and then JOINED THEM FOR DINNER. I love this so much. He did great, they say). I hastily ate a couple of hot dogs before shooing all the kids out to play (with the sizeable throng of kids playing in our culdesac-ish-street) and joining them. Ryan was putting Mary to bed and the kids were playing and everyone was having a lovely time before Charley and Wes got into a violent screaming match over whose turn it was to drive the Power Wheel and I had to do my best Jerry Springer parenting just to get the brawl back inside the front door (made more complicated by the fact that I'm still not really supposed to lift them so there was just a lot of tugging and threats). Ryan, who was having a cozy time reading books to Mary, was surprised when I carried a screaming James past her bedroom door then deposited him in his bed with a stern "WE DO NOT BEHAVE THAT WAY IN FRONT OF OUR FRIENDS. GOOD NIGHT." Together we got the other two in bed WITH NO BOOKS BECAUSE O.M.G.

Then we rejoined our friends in the driveway with the wine because OBVIOUSLY. I made it until NINE before I could no-longer contain the yawning and headed home for some Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Wes coughed his croupy cough all night last night so I took him to the after hours doctor this morning while Ryan took everyone else to Sunday School (He has croup, duh. Croup that really wasn't that big of a deal once we left the doctor, who prescribed a spoonful of honey as needed and to try letting him stick his head in the freezer). After stopping at the store for honey and dinner ingredients we made it home with about twenty minutes to spare before we would need to leave for Big Church (which was the plan if Wes didn't have strep, which he doesn't). I was standing frozen with overwhelm in my kitchen when I realized that after our crazy Saturday and given our tight Sunday afternoon schedule that staying home to put dinner in the crockpot and make cookies for Charley's piano recital rather than taking a hasty shower and throwing a half-assed mess of ingredients into the slowcooker before forgetting to turn it on in a mad dash out the door would probably be a lot better for the family.

So I spent an amazing couple of hours in the kitchen cleaning up, making cookies, and making dinner while Wes did Wes things and a gentle thunderstorm went on outside. You guys. It was like the anti-Saturday and I soaked every minute of it in. When Ryan and the other kids left Big Church we met for brunch. By popular demand, Ryan ordered a basket of truffle fries for the table and the kids fell upon it like they were returning from six months at sea. When all the fries were gone Mary pitifully signed "more" over and over while Wes pulled the tissue paper out of the bottom of the basket and licked it clean of all truffle oil residue.

I entertained James and Mary for several minutes by taking their pictures and then showing them themselves on the screen.


Later James outdid Wes's truffle fry licking behavior by leaping from his chair and running to the men's room, pulling down his pants while still in the dining room (not pictured). Charley loudly exclaimed after every bite that his fish and chips were "a delicious mess of food" and Mary dropped so many pieces of cutlery that there were no forks left on our table which had been set for ten (I also dropped my knife a good five times, either because the table was at awkward height or because I have a motor-neuron disease, but probably the table).

In short: it's been a LOOONG time since the kids have been to a restaurant without a playground. Or a speaker you have to yell into.

Ryan and I viewed the chaos differently, since I had spent the morning baking in my cozy kitchen and he had spent the morning making kids sit through big church.

Once we got home we had to get ready for Part II of The Weekend of All the Things. Ryan had to go to his choir concert and Charley had a piano recital. Miss N was coming to watch James and Mary, who are not the type to sit quietly through an hour of piano music and my parents were meeting us too.

Charley did amazing, as did all the other kids. I loved everything about it. I am so proud. He has worked really hard this year, practicing every day, memorizing his music, playing for all his friends, even playing for his class during music one day. He truly loves it and I am so glad we found his amazing teacher. JUST LOOK AT THAT BIG KID!

After the recital the kids ate approximately six cookies each while we chatted in the backyard and then we jumped back in the van, changed out of our recital clothes, then drove to ANOTHER BIRTHDAY PARTY. This one was at one of those indoor jumpy house places, which was the perfect place to work out all the nervous energy from the recital and also the massive plates of cookies. They re-emerged after an hour, bangs plastered to their foreheads, for pizza and cake and then we FINALLY went home at nearly seven to eat second dinner, the potato and sausage stew I'd put in the crockpot that morning.

Bedtime was unsurprisingly easy tonight, especially with two kids on Benadryl and alllll thaaaat jumping.

And now all I have to do is read the last hundred pages of Deathly Hallows before I go to bed. Should be NBD.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A typical morning

Wes came into our bedroom at 2:30 this morning and told me he didn't feel well. I felt him (no fever) and asked him if he was going to throw up (no) and then sent him back to bed because TWO THIRTY IN THE MORNING. He told me again that he didn't feel well in the morning when we all got up for the day and I let him eat breakfast in his pajamas instead of his uniform, but when I got out of the shower he was wearing his uniform and shoes and I thought all was well.

The rest of the morning was a little confusing because Mary was SCREAMING to be let out of her high chair, but when I attempted to unbuckle her she just screamed louder. James was screaming because he could only find one of the boots he wanted to wear and I told him he needed to either find the second boot or wear sneakers because OMG GET IN THE CAR. Charley was following me around defending his dissertation on the reproductive habits of the North American toad. And Ryan was in the shower.

Wes continued to whine and complain about going to school but still, no fever, no throwing up. Then he told me he was having a substitute today and he was really nervous. BINGO. So I held him on the couch and told him I wanted him to just try and that if he was still feeling bad the nurse could call me and I would come get him. He did NOT like this idea, so then I had THREE KIDS SCREAMING.

I left Wes on the couch and wrenched James into the car, sans shoes. I threw the sneakers in the passenger seat and resolved to let his teacher handle it.

After gleefully running around the front yard for several minutes, acting perfectly normal, Wes defiantly buckled himself into the van with James meaning "I'm not getting in the car that's going to my school because I am going to stay home no matter what you say". Then I got a screamy Mary out of her seat and buckled her into the car.

Ryan came down out and bodily removed Wes from the van through the rear hatch, kicking and screaming, then buckled him into his car to go to school.


Charley went to his happy place, which is probably a world where he is not related to all these insane people.

We finally left only to have to sit in the car around the corner while I waited for James to buckle his seatbelt (which he had unbuckled while having a massive tantrum about the shoes that involved throwing every loose object out of the van and onto the lawn.

Right before I dropped James and Mary off Ryan called to say Wes was refusing to go in the building.

I relented and asked Ryan to bring Wes to me at the preschool so I could take him home. This worked out well because in all the chaos Charley had put his lunch in the van instead of Ryan's car so Ryan needed to take his lunch (French toast with syrup, OMG of all the things I don't want to hand to the office staff to pass along to my kid. Though yesterday I dropped James and Mary off with the food police COVERED IN DONUT GLAZE, WINNING) to school for him. Also TEN POINTS FOR DECIDING ON THE PRESCHOOL THREE BLOCKS FROM THE BIG KID SCHOOL.

While I waited I exchanged texts with a friend about how I couldn't attend the fun 2nd grade event that I didn't even know was happening because of some weird email snafu because I had a "sick" kid. 2015: The Year of Missing All the Things. (Also I searched my email when I got home and for some reason I just DID NOT GET THE EMAIL.)

Neither of us believed he was really sick. When we got home I explained in my less than warm and friendly voice that he had to read a book before he could watch any TV and explained that even if he was "feeling better" after school that he would have to stay inside until tomorrow. No bikes or scooters or trampoline I warned. When he calmly agreed I softened. I wrapped him up in a quilt and handed him a book then went to the kitchen table to answer some work emails and look at my capstone student's paper and when I looked up this is what I saw.

Oops. Sorry buddy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Somebody please explain to me why it is mid-May.

SO! Finals week happened. It was insane. I thought I'd have all this time to work on a couple of papers I need to look at but instead I found myself in a constant hair-on-fire scramble from the time my feet hit the floor until I finally collapsed in bed at night. By Thursday of finals week the kids all had tortillas instead of bread for breakfast AND LUNCH and I became expert at conjuring dinner out of the dregs of my pantry because ain't nobody got time for the store.

Friday was good. Friday I declared hookey day and accomplished exactly nothing except breakfast tacos with a friend and making a huge bowl of pasta salad for our dinner and dinner for a friend with a new baby. And then I invited two friends and their kids over after school and eleven of us ate four pizzas, a watermelon, and a bottle of wine. It was GLORIOUS.

Saturday was another work day on the kitchen, which should be done soon (soon in home improvement language, which means we might be eating at the breakfast bar sometime during Hillary's second term). The good news is that all the new cabinets are now fastened down to the floor and wall which means WE ARE DOING THIS NO TURNING BACK.


Mother's Day I was awakened by an eager kid bearing a cup of coffee including alllll the half and half in the container, flowers, and a stack of adorable cards. James painstakingly traced out "Happy Mother's Day" on his. Mary made a construction paper collage in the shape of a heart. Charley made me a pretty bag of bath salts and then told me "If you don't want to ruin all my hard work you can just smell it" so I think that's what I'll do. Wes made me several different cards to open during the day, my favorite of which said "I like when you cotle" which translates to "I like when you cuddle." COULD YOU JUST DIE?

We had breakfast at one of our favorite places, then went to church where we were gifted with three enormous bags of bagels from the moms ministry who had extra and figured (correctly) that our family could put away some bagels. It's been a great breakfast week.

Brunch number one.

After church we had brunch with my sister and my parents. We got there early and while Ryan went inside to get us drinks Charley climbed up a tree and ripped off a huge scab he had from a scooter accident last week. Before I could get to him he had wiped the blood on his FOREHEAD because "Now I look like a MAN!" which was awesome. It's amazing what you can overlook when you're drinking peach sangria at a shady picnic table.

Peach sangria. My new favorite thing in the universe.

Another one of my favorite things in the universe. With blood on his face.

And then we went home to laze around in the backyard while Ryan grilled London Broil and bacon-wrapped asparagus for dinner followed by early bedtimes and more work on the kitchen, making lunches, and graaaaaading. Somehow between grading, professional development, and a rip in the fabric of time, the big kids only have a week and a half of school left and I will have a FIRST GRADER AND A THIRD GRADER. SOMEBODY PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME. (Little kids have school for another month so the big kids and I will be spending a lot of time eating popsicles at the pool and finishing up odds and ends home improvement projects since I decided to take the summer off. I'm kind of excited about it).

I will leave you with this video that I call "LEARN TO USE YOUR PHONE, MORON"

Monday, May 4, 2015

I'll go anywhere you tell me to, Chet Garner

Hola Amigos!

We spent the weekend an hour south of here, which for some reason makes it South Texas instead of Central Texas, hence the Espanol.  It was fascinating to me how the river we played in looked so different than the rivers at home (an hour away) and it made me want to bring my Earth Science students down here in the fall to show them.  I had a huge awesome lab all planned out in my head and then remembered that I have more than forty students, which might make such an endeavor slightly challenging in the logistics department.  Still have to think that one over.

Anyway, my parents gifted us two nights in a cabin at this campground on a river.  We finally were able to make it happen this weekend, even though we had to strap a feverish and nauseous Wes into the car Friday afternoon and hope hope hope he felt better in the morning.  Fortunately, he managed a half grilled cheese in the car, fell asleep upon arrival, and woke up good as new.

We woke up too early to use the pool (and also before the camp store opened, much to my chagrin, because in spite of remembering to bring a veritable CVS of children's medications, I FORGOT TO PACK THE KEURIG, so by 10:30 I had this CRAZY HEADACHE that only felt better if I closed one eye and looked away from the sun.  At 10:30 we made it back to the cabin and camp store and I went in to find FREE COFFEE.  I've never enjoyed drinking coffee in the eighty-three degree sunshine more.  Also: we also forgot to pack beer, but remembered to pick some up at a gas station just outside of camp.  Priorities.).  Since it was too early to use the pool we decided to go for a family walk to see the river, which my sister had described as too muddy to swim in.

James says PISH POSH MUD:

This activity was made even more exciting when I saw a SWIMMING SNAKE on the opposite bank. The opposite bank part was vaguely reassuring until I saw the same snake SWIM ACROSS THE RIVER AND INTO SOME GRASS NEAR WHERE WE WERE WADING.

I did not tell Charley about the snake because he would have wanted to catch it and I was not interested in anyone being airlifted to the nearest hospital for antivenin.

Until he decided to walk right through that very patch of reeds and then I screeched "OMG GET OUT OF THE GRASS GET OUT OF THE GRASS GETOUTOFTHEGRASS."

Mary was happy to sit on a towel and watch for a while, then whined pitifully until I asked her "Do you want to get in the water?" and she said "YEAH!"

After lunch she napped and the boys, including Ryan, spent nearly three hours in the pool while I drank coffee and read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (sidenote: OMG.) on the shady porch. This activity was made considerably more enjoyable by the George Strait cover band that was playing nearby for (I think) a BBQ cookoff that was happening at the campground.  Hashtag Texas.

Everyone needed some down time after three hours in the pool so we loaded up in the car and drove into town for ice cream at a place we saw on the PBS show "Daytripper". I had "goat cheese and raspberry jam" ice cream, while the kids and Ryan enjoyed banana pudding, s'mores, and chocolate milkshake flavors. SO GOOD. And the place was built into an old alley so the six of us took up the entire seating area. Strongly recommend Rhea's Ice Cream. So fun. Also fun, negotiating city streets with four kids and no stroller. We have lots of practice to do before our Griswold's Family Vacation to NYC this summer.

Back at camp we enjoyed lots more playground time and convinced Mary how fun it is to stay on the porch, so Ryan and I could relax too. The playground was visible from our porch, so the boys could all run free, this is a genius way to travel.

Dinner was hot dogs, fruit, potato salad, and s'mores. Mary kept climbing things and falling off, so she had to go to bed before s'mores.

We were all in bed by 8:30 and slept soundly until the sun shot laser death rays through our window around 7:00. Ryan and I packed up the car and then headed to the playground where I struck up a conversation with another mom who turned out to be a NASA engineer with a NASA engineer husband. Ryan and the dad talked about motor control for nearly an hour while pushing babies on swings, which was adorable. When I told Ryan in an offhand way that the mom worked on a humanoid robot that lives on the ISS, his eyes got really big and he exclaimed "ROBONAUT?!" You guys. Charley even had his Goddard Space Center shirt on. WE ARE TOTAL SPACE NERDS. Serendipitous!

We finally tore ourselves away from that conversation with promises to catch up via LinkedIn (Ryan) and headed back into town at a taco restaurant also recommended by the Daytripper. We had to delay breakfast by a few minutes because James had a tantrum in the parking lot and we were waiting for him to calm down (which he declared emphatically he would NEVER EVER EVER NEVER DO) but Herbert's Tacos did not disappoint. It was off the beaten path with great food and great atmosphere. It was empty when we arrived but the line was out the door when we left. My migas were out of this world, the salsa was fresh, and the kids' meals were huge and filling. We loved San Marcos and mentioned several times the large state university in town and wondered hmmm... We really really really love our current city. It's a struggle.

After breakfast we got back on the road and drove an uneventful hour north to our house, uneventful except for the massive blowout Mary had in her carseat that had Charley hanging his head out the open window as we pulled into the neighborhood. Ryan had to hose her off as soon as we pulled up. Her carseat will never be the same.

Then we shared the kind of gut it out just make it to bedtime post-trip afternoon we were expecting. Except in addition to the five loads of laundry and unpacking the car, we also had a Cub Scout meeting, exams to grade, and a dinner for the seniors to attend. But we made it. We were grouchy but we made it. Phew!


Friday, May 1, 2015

Sort of like a James Bond movie, without all the special effects and sex

FUNNY STORY!  In all the chaos of this semester I accidentally let my custom domain expire and I didn't find out until I tried to post something and learned that my old url now belonged to a Ukrainian software developer!!  So I spent many frantic minutes trying to figure out how to get it back and finally called GoDaddy (who were very friendly but ultimately unable to help me) who said basically "You could try emailing the Ukrainian and negotiating to get it back."

Since I don't know any Ukrainian and I don't feel like getting into an international battle over a $2.99 domain name that he probably bought with the hopes that I would pay more to get it back, I have decided to go back over to and hope HOPE HOPE that all of you come back over there with me.  SO!  If you know someone who is wondering where the heck I went and if I started selling software, please please pretty please tell them what is going on and give them the new address.

Anyway, I've heard that Ukraine is a lovely country populated by warm and hospitable people, so if they want to sell software using the blog name I invented for my MOMMY BLOG almost NINE YEARS AGO, then KNOCK YOURSELVES OUT.

I've got other things to worry about right now.  Like the forty-three essays, fifty-six final exams, several hundred thousand journal entries, and thirty problem sets I have to grade BEFORE MONDAY.  MOOOONNNNNDDDDAAAAAY.

Also, we are going to be CAMPING THIS WEEKEND.  Grading by the pool anyone?

Also, PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE DOMAIN.  In fact, if this post gets more than five-hundred hits I will post a video of my whole family dancing to Uptown Funk.  THAT'S A PROMISE.