Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Warm fuzzies

Today started weird because I got up at 4:40 to make it to a 5:30 hands-on rowing time only to learn at a gas station a mile from my house that the row was canceled due to cold weather. I went back home and got in bed, since I didn't have to actually get up until six, but I couldn't go back to sleep because I'd already slammed a cup of coffee anticipating a twenty mile drive and an hour-long workout. You win some, you lose some.

Also I was up until nearly eleven getting ready for class because I am teaching for the first time a subject I haven't taken myself in almost twenty years.

Engineering Dynamics!

In other happenings, Blue and Gold was this weekend and now Wes is somehow starting his LAST YEAR as a Cub Scout. This seems improbable, but Ryan assures me he is nearly in fifth grade. Why must math be so cruel?


The kids had Monday off, so Ryan kept the kids home during my first class and delivered them to me after it was over. I planned to cancel my afternoon class and just take everyone home because the last time we went to my school together was an unmitigated disaster. But after we went for a brief walk to return some library books, the kids spent more than an hour bouncing tennis balls down the steps and then further amused themselves by climbing around in the bushes occasionally exclaiming things about "SECRET BASE!" AND "I'LL MAKE YOU A SWORD TOO!" It was so adorable and calm that I managed to prep an entire class straight from the textbook without even having my computer.


Mary spent some time looking very collegiate with the Dessler climate text.


I was so thrilled I took them to lunch in the dining hall, their favorite place on campus, where they ate mostly pizza and cocoa puffs (Charley selected some kind of Indian tofu dish that was so spicy he had to alternate bites of that with bites of peaches in heavy syrup) and then James made a milkshake at the table and poured it INTO his cocoa puffs #livinghisbestlife

And then they came to my Climate Science class where they sat in the back and occasionally answered questions correctly (it seems they always come to my class when I'm talking about the global circulation, because they're getting quite conversant in the Coriolis Effect). After class, which went quite well aside from some brief shenanigans where Wes and James switched seats by army crawling across the back of the room, James told me "Mom. One of the students was shopping for pants on her computer the whole time!" and then Charley piped up "And someone else was playing a GAME!!'

At the risk of tempting fate, I will say that we have been having FUN together. Last night and this morning I found myself belly laughing with the kids, who somehow managed to hit that sweet spot where they are hilarious but not out of control. Like full on cracking up. Charley is like your favorite sarcastic friend. Wes is clever and funny. James is having some trouble with a kid at school but the way he describes it is SO OVER THE TOP and then the brothers weigh in to offer their advice and YOU GUYS it is absolutely enough to make me just shake my head when they all run out the door without their backpacks/make the whole family late because they have to empty the recycle bin RIGHT NOW/lose their everloving shoes.

(I also cry-laughed tonight while Charley told me how he and his neighbor buddy discussed skinning this road-killed coyote they saw on the main road to our neighborhood so they could make a jacket out of it. "We could make the head into a hood!" I suggested they form a secret society called the Order of the Coyote.)

Also also, we were on the way home from the second hour-plus swim practice he'd gone to in two days. I didn't know what time to pick him up so I went to watch the second part of practice and I'm so glad I did.


I'm reading _Shameless_ by Nadia Bolz-Weber, which is about a sexual reformation, but in the first chapter she talks about moments of holiness as these moments of connection with each other and how much we humans need that connection. I've thought of that multiple times over the last few days when we are all cracking up together, when I'm watching Charley do something he loves, listening to James practice his guitar (more and more he insists on playing my guitar, which is actually my dad's guitar from college, which makes it even more special), eating dinner with my parents, cracking up about coyote jackets, and watching the big boys coach James through a friend situation. We are so lucky.

We can't end on THAT sappy note, so here is a picture of spinach in my Dutch oven.


Monday, February 11, 2019

Middling domestic skills, bathrobes in public, and missing teeth

The next time I think it would be easier to put off washing dishes until the next day someone remind me how disgusting tonight's toxic sludge of cheerios and milk, scrambled eggs, black beans, and taco meat was. You can't unsee that.

(Though it was very effective when I showed it to a kid and said "You see this? You see how disgusting it is? I need you to go brush your teeth without my help so I can deal with this and you don't have to.")

Kitchen is officially clean for the next forty-five or so minutes until someone else needs to eat something.

On Saturday we went to the library after everyone spent the whole morning mucking out their rooms. It was in the thirties and raining so to sweeten the deal for myself I threw on this article of clothing I have that I've never been able to tell whether it is a sweater or a bathrobe. I rocked that bathrobe at the library, is what I'm saying. And then we went out for lunch.

Here I am in the reading bathtub with two of the kids. At one point, Charley and James and I were all in there and Mary and Wes were sitting on the floor just outside. And then they all ran off to use the computers and it took me several moments to realize that I was an adult, sitting alone in the reading bathtub, in a sweater that might be a bathrobe.


They opened a location of a brewery we like like three miles from my house so we checked it out on the way home. James and Charley got sweaty playing an aggressive game of foozball and then used the sweat to style their hair.


And then Charley used a napkin to rip a loose tooth right out of James's head.


Sunday was a weird, not so restful day that involved a lot of driving up and down the main road taking kids hither and yon in separate cars. Once Ryan and I literally high-fived each other in the street as we passed. Restful. And now it's sleepytime because I got up at 4:45 to row and OH! I forgot to tell you how I finished my cross stitch project!


My mom gave me this kit last Christmas and my goal was to finish it by this Christmas, but life happened and I needed an extra month. I am so pleased with it! I'm at loose ends now that I'm not spending every last minute working on it, so I'll start another one soon. It's on my fireplace now though. Makes me so happy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Powered by corporate coffee


I've needed to go buy white embroidery floss for about a week now, so that I can finish my cactus cross stitch project, but for some reason, going to Michaels on the way home from work has been just more than I can face most evenings.  Two evenings a week I have my sitter's car, so I don't like to run errands in her car.  One evening I pick up the kids my damn self and the other I meet my parents around 4:30.  And, you know, it's ALL THE WAY over there and also I work in a town with a disproportionately large population of senior citizens and sometimes I just don't have the patience to wait while someone has a fourteen minute conversation about yarn.  (All the time).

So today, since my class met sort of off campus and I had my car, I just popped over there real quick before the rest of my day.  On the way I bought a venti iced black tea and two cake pops and NOW I have embroidery floss but am way too jittery and irritable to face the EPA's data portal like I need to.

So here are some pictures.

From the "I'll miss this when they are all grown up" files:


My two swimfans listening to Michael Phelps's autobiography (James said "It would be fun to go to the Olympics someday. [sigh] Wait, you have to get on the bus WITHOUT YOUR MOM?!") Michael Phelps talks about his mom a LOT in his book and it is figuratively killing me to an embarrassing degree.


Wes's "Go Big or Go Home" Alamo model. After spending the whole afternoon cheerfully constructing this battle scene he stood up and said "Oh shoot! This is supposed to fit on my desk!" Our family: a microcosm.


I rowed in an 8K race on Saturday morning. The race is 8K and you end up rowing twice that distance because you have to go to the start and then back to the boathouse at the end. It was AWESOME, even though I've had to ice the palms of my hands every night since. I've also rowed one of our regular practices since then and one of my blisters looks a little bit extra after that. But I can see my triceps again so I'm going for an extra workout tomorrow. I've been in a funk and this race seems to have been some kind of turning point. ROWING4LYFE.


That's all we have time for today, folks!