Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I Completely Forgot to Title This

Hellooo from Tuesday night! So far we've watched 3 minutes of the RNC before switching over to Peaky Blinders on Netflix. We just finished Season 1 and it is SO. GOOD. Highly recommend. It's much more soothing to get mired in the exploits of a "Romani gangster family" known for wearing razor blades in the bills of their caps in Birmingham, England in the aftermath of World War I than to dwell on the fact that there's an actual chance Donald Trump could be our next president (#imwithher). Go vote everyone, go vote. And while you wait to do that, try out Peaky Blinders. It's really, really good. (I mean, watch Orphan Black first if you haven't yet, but if you're like us and between series because show runners forget people watch TV in the summer, this is a good option).

~ ~ ~

So our weekend left off with me going to bed at 1 a.m. the morning of our big Regional swim meet. Because Claire's session wasn't until the afternoon, and 2/3 of Landon's events are at the very end of his session, we decided the boys would head out first and the girls and I would meet them midway through the morning. Sleeping in sounded wonderful, particularly when insomnia plagued me yet again, except Claire ran into my room in a full panic at 6:50 a.m. yelling, "mom! mom! Landon is missing and I can't find him ANYWHERE!".

She wasn't at all concerned that James was missing too. Nor did she remember that we told her the boys would be gone before she woke up. It was a little endearing that she was so concerned about his whereabouts, and it also gave me insight into just how early they sometimes wake up and how long they hang out together before Cora or us wake up, but after about 4 hours of sleep on my end, I wasn't feeling reflective. So the girls and I were up early and once I drank a gallon of tea, it was fun to just be with them.

We pulled out of the driveway, blasting the Frozen soundtrack and pumped for the meet. And then I-35 was shut done and since I never leave my bubble of Fort Worth I didn't know how to get out of the traffic snarl and it took us 90 minutes for a drive that should have been 40, so that was fun, but the meet went well. Long with the two sessions but the big kids dropped time in all their events and both made state! Landon won his 50 free and 100 IM and got 2nd in the 25 fly. Claire got 4th in the 25 back and 5th in her 25 free.

James won everything while still swimming against medical advice. His foot still looks terrible and he isn't allowed to complain about it. We aren't going to state this year- it's in McAllen Texas which is 500 miles south of us and basically in Mexico. So we're just proud to have qualified, thankful for a great and fun swim season, and looking forward to next year.

Landon continued his obsessive rainbow-looming (can I really call it that when he doesn't use the loom? it's just brightly colored bracelet making) and drummed up quite a side business selling custom creations to swimmers at the meet. Claire had a blast playing shopkins (I still haven't figured out how one "plays' shopkins) and cards with her friends and then waving like crazy to the stands from the pool deck.

The best part of the whole meet was the scream of joy Cora gave when we came down the stairs after Claire's last event and she was coming up to meet us from the pool deck and the sisters were reunited after being apart for TENS AND TENS OF MINUTES.

There is so much love there.

After 11 hour swim meet we had swim meet friends over to swim, as one does. The adults enjoyed beverages and everyone enjoyed Landon's leftover carrot cake and cookie cake. It was a perfect cap to a really fun season.

On Sunday I got to teach barre for the first time in FOREVER and it felt SO GOOD. Sweaty, heart-pounding, yelling over the music, muscle shaking, kicking it to Michael Jackson kind of good. Then I spent the next few hours making 5 lbs. of vegetable lasagna that tasted as good as barre felt. And after endless hours of me getting in the pool at night so Cora can swim to me after she jumps (and now dives!) into the pool over and over and OVER again, Cora finally got her first swim lesson with daddy in several weeks! I think we can get her on the team next year- the heat sheet does say "6 & under."

Tiny Swimmer from Lag Liv on Vimeo.

[I also found out I'm allergic to the waterproof mascara I wore to the meet on Saturday so that was pink puffy eyed fun by Saturday night! I looked like a zombie on Sunday, but a zombie doing passe-kicks to "The Way You Make Me Feel" and everyone was too sweaty and busy to notice I might be a paranormal creature with pink eye. Fun!]

This week is busy at work. James is pushing ahead with as many lessons as possible as he faces the imminent demise of his swim school at the end of August. The big kids are in a science camp that is proving "very awesome" and Cora continues to be delighted by her new preschool/daycare. James usually drops her off and he told me the other day that when they arrive, Cora's little class is usually combined with the one next door for morning snack. So they go into her classroom and she places her lunch and nap blankie in their spots, and then she stands in the doorway between the classrooms, squares her shoulders, spins to present her chest, and waits... brimming with confidence, she waits with a smile on her face, knowing that any moment now there will be an exclamation of "It's Cora!!" and then she'll run in to give her teacher a hug. I loved it as he told it to me last night, and then this morning when our schedules got messed up and I needed to drop her off I loved it even more when I got to witness it in person. What a glorious way to start your day- waiting for your entrance to be called, just knowing your people are going to be DELIGHTED to see you.

Our menu for the week:

Sunday: my sister's amazing vegetable lasagna, garlic bread

Monday: pesto chicken salad sandwiches, chips, fruit

Tuesday: brisket enchiladas (leftover brisket + some shredded cheese, rolled up in tortillas, smear some sour cream on top, add a bit more shredded cheese, and bake at 375 for 20-30 mins; also awesome with leftover bbq pulled chicken or pork), black refried beans, cauliflower mexican rice

Wednesday: crockpot chicken taco stew, assorted toppings

Thursday: meatloaf, roasted potatoes and carrots

Friday: pesto with gnocchi, fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes (have I written about this? Trader Joe's gnocchi- 3 packages because we eat our weight in carbs, a bunch of pesto (Costco's is quite good), halved little mozzarella balls, halved cherry tomatoes - toss and serve! takes literally 5 minutes once you get the water boiling; it's a summer family favorite)

Saturday: no swim meet, so we're going to Costco! (could that be a more suburban-mom thing to say?), so something from the fresh fish or beef cases that looks good, fresh veggie sides, and a big loaf of bread with butter; wine.

My grandparents will be with us tomorrow night as they stopover on their way up to Wisconsin. I'm allegedly going to Orangetheory tomorrow morning, but oy it's late and it already hurts to think about. I did OTF on Monday, was lazy today, and will do yoga Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Plus I teach barre Thursday night and Saturday afternoon. I write my workout schedule for the week right next to the meal plan in the same chart; it helps me visualize it and stick to it because each piece fits within our overall schedule like a puzzle and to miss one is to not get it back. Like when it's 11:34 p.m. on Tuesday night and 6 a.m. seems so soon but you know because of the chart there isn't another morning you can do OTF this week, so you force yourself to press "publish" and go back your work clothes in your gym bag for the morning. Ugh. If only writing "sleep" on a schedule chart was so mystically effective. Night all!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Botany, friends, swimming, the zoo, the movies, all the restaurants, and a BIRTHDAY!

It has been such a fun past 36 hours. Yesterday I worked a 3/4 day so I could pick up the kids from their Camp-o-the-Week, Camp BRIT! It's run by the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, part of our amazing (and free!) Botanical Gardens located just down the road (we are SO lucky in all the wonderful cultural and academic offerings in our small big city, I will never get over it and never stop trying to take advantage of everything). Camp BRIT is the type of camp I usually avoid- its hours were only 9-3:30, Monday-Thursday, which isn't all that helpful for two full-time working parents, but I'd heard such good things, we decided to make it happen and I am SO GLAD we did.

The kids loved it. I picked them up on the first day to take them back to my office for another hour and they could barely breathe between telling me all they had done. They were now Botanists-in-Training! They had dissected a cactus and an aloe vera plant; toured the research laboratories; met a research fellow and learned about her research; played games outside involving predators and prey; hunted grasshoppers; made botanist boxes; collected plant samples to graph and chart. Claire had learned a song about photosynthesis and Landon described the layers of rock separating dinosaurs and humans and that was just Day 1. It was really, really awesome. I love science and I love scientists and I LOVE when they make my kids love the same.

On Thursday there was a performance of the tree song by Claire's group and we got to see a slideshow of pictures and videos of the kids. There were only 10 kids in two groups so you got tons of glimpses of your kid being a botanist and obviously I cried. Earnestness and academia will get me every time.

The kids had a great body of work and legit scientific journals with their observations and leaf drawings and charts and it was so great. A real effort was made to keep it substantive, with added labels with scientific names and plant facts the kids looked up, and they were so proud.

High on science, we stopped for 7-11 slurpees on the way home, and then frantically straightened up the house because our friends from Austin were coming over that evening! We met at Yucatan Taco Stand, our favorite margarita and nacho place- 2 moms, 6 kids, 2 margaritas, 2 plates of nachos, plus some food for the children. It was so fun.

Jenny is one of my best friends- she taught biology with my mom many years ago before deciding to go to law school. She was looking at Northwestern and University of Chicago, so my mom told me to have dinner with her when she came up to visit the city. I said sure, expecting someone much closer in age to my mother, only to find someone almost exactly the same age as me! We hit it off immediately and she ended up choosing Northwestern. From there, we both had babies in law school and both ended up at the same firm in Austin, starting one year apart. She's funny and frank, we're frighteningly similar in so many ways, and I miss her terribly now that we're in Fort Worth. Luckily, she has a minivan and isn't afraid to use it.

Landon, passing on his bracelet-making art

After dinner we came back to our place so the kids could play and swim and eat pre-birthday cookie cake. We have so many kids now.

After cookie cake sundaes, they headed to a nearby hotel, and we planned to meet at our fabulous zoo in the morning. Also in the morning (so, today; or rather, yesterday, since it's now after midnight as I write this) it was Landon's birthday! We had the birthday dino out and ready and he opened presents- a real Rainbow Loom (now that he's a rainbow-looming bracelet making fool), and a new kindle!! He's been so sweet helping Claire with her new (and much improved) kindle, without ever mentioning that his is super slow and has absolutely no memory. He was THRILLED with his new one and kept saying he "couldn't believe it." He's the cutest.

He also got an ant farm and a book on ants from Papa and Gigi and it is AWESOME. We'd opened it when it arrived the night before because we were concerned about the living ants staying alive and James and I spent an undisclosed amount of time chatting while staring at them last night. They're just so BUSY. They were the first thing we checked this morning, and we might have been even more excited than Landon when we exclaimed over all their new tunnels.

After the birthday singing and presents (and ant checking), we were off to the zoo! It is so fitting that Jenny was with us, because she was the person I called when my water broke 5 weeks early at a restaurant downtown and I ended up in Northwestern's Hospital with absolutely nothing except a wallet and rapidly dying cell phone. She lived across the street and ran over to sit with me in triage while James and her husband drove out to Wicker Park to collect my hastily scrawled list of items- camera, phone charger, chapstick. Nothing like my carefully packed back for Claire and Cora's births.

And now we have so many more kids! Hard to believe when we met we were carefree newlyweds embarking on a grand adventure in a big new city.

The zoo was super fun- the kids all get along great and were so good. The splash park opened late, which worked out great because we got to see some animals before everyone got wet.

new UPF protection gear!

Jenny is a fellow skin cancer survivor- hers more serious and found younger than mine, and she is the one who told me all the UV gear I now needed, so we were fellow water burka mamas. Obviously, I still have a ways to go to reach her (now totally cancer free!) level.

We stopped at a fave local restaurant that has amazing french fries on the way home the zoo and then said goodbye to J and crew. We loved playing with them- Cora and her youngest even look oddly alike with their light colored curls, and Landon LOVED having another toddlerbaby to dote on. We got home in time to tease Cora with a short nap and then we woke her up to go see the Secret Life of Pets! It was so cute and a great way to fill a super hot afternoon with an indoor Landon's birthday approved activity.

Cora was too busy eating popcorn to take a picture with me; she takes it very seriously

After the movie we tried a new pizza place (Blaze Pizza- so good!) for dinner that was super good (my pizza had mozzarella, feta, goat cheese, ricotta, tomato, kalamata olives, and spinach; omg), and thanks to a coupon that came in the mail the day before, super cheap! Feeding my family on less than $20 is a birthday miracle in and of itself.

We capped off a most excellent 9th birthday with cleaning, packing for the Regional swim meet tomorrow, and homemade carrot cake with excessive amounts of homemade cream cheese icing. It is a really good thing I'm teaching 6 barre classes in the next 12 days.

And so Landon is 9. I have a letter to him I need to finish, but I really can't believe it was 9 years ago that I called Jenny to say "my water broke! can you come hang out with me at the hospital? I have nothing and James has to go get my camera!" and she was already out the door. 9 years ago right now he was in the NICU, walking the line between being intubated, and we were two days away from holding him or hearing him cry. And now he's our tall, strong, fast, smart, athletic, awesome Lanman. An amazing big brother, a lover of animals, and an enthusiastic part of everything he does and sees. He has been such an adventure, I ache a bit at the time already gone, but I'm so excited about all that is ahead.

And right now, what's ahead is Regional swim meet warm-ups at 7 a.m. across town and an alarm clock that's going to go off in 5.5 hours. Happy 9th birthday Lanman! As he noted when he went to bed, we're just 364 short days away from the next!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Things I've Bought/Made That I Love; Also, Staples and Hugs

A random roundup of things I bought or made recently (or also maybe last year) and love.

1. The big kids' Planet Box lunchboxes.

I bought these lunchboxes last August, before school started and the kids used them nearly every day, and then I took the above picture after school got out in June. They look amazing! Even the outer bags look good!

So I'm obsessed with them. They make it SO easy to pack lunches in the morning- just throw stuff in the compartments, with no wasteful baggies and no washing of tiny containers (I hated the washing of the tiny containers), AND it encourages variety and fresh fruits and veggies because it's so easy to just toss them in and the many small compartments peer pressure you into filling them with a variety of colors and healthy foods (except the tiny compartment; that's for a treat, usually m&ms). They're dishwasher safe in the BOTTOM RACK, and they're clearly indestructible. The big kids have the whole Rover system, with the carry bag and cold pack. I spent over $100 on the two sets for Landon and Claire and they were worth every penny. I'm going to send them with them to college. I'll maybe even spring for a new carry bag when they go.

(For Cora we did the smaller and cheaper Lunchbots Trio set. It's perfect for her right now and also looks amazing after daily use, though you do have to wash it in the top rack of the dishwasher. The lid also isn't quite as tight as the Planet Box system, but we've never had it separate in her little Skip Hop butterfly lunchbox. We'll use it for her again this year and then she'll probably need something bigger, which will absolutely be another Planet Box Rover.)

2. Hydro Flask with straw lid

I got this one for free in a raffle at my hot yoga studio. It was very excited because (1) I didn't know I was in the raffle; (2) I've never won a raffle; and (3) even though I didn't know what a hydroflask was, it turns out I always needed one! It's 40 oz. of powder coated double-walled vacuum insulated stainless steel. So it holds a ton of water that stays cold forever and never sweats or leaks. I love it. I switched out the standard top with the straw lid I linked to- it has a great little loop for a finger handle and I drink WAY more when a straw is involved which is why I'm not allowed to order sangria anymore. So I love it, and while I got mine for free, if something terrible ever happened to my seemingly indestructible cup, I would buy another one immediately.

3. Studded sandals from Target

Aren't these adorable? They're on sale right now for $24 and I've worn them so much I'm not even mad that I spent $32. Super cute and comfy, I've worn them with my navy shorts or skinny jeans and a flowy tank. Love them.

4. Glass Storage Containers

I got these two years ago and I LOVE them. We've eliminated most plastic from our life and I love that nothing sticks to these, that the lids are completely leak-proof, that you wash them in the dishwasher and they look perfect, and that you can reheat your foods in them, even in the oven. I have two sets of 3 and they have their own little drawer in our kitchen.

5. Rash Guards! My Cabana Life order came in the mail and I love their stuff!! The rash guards are made in a thin, cool fabric with vibrant colors. I decided to keep these two:

also zips up all the way

Even the suit underneath is really cute. Not that anyone will see it, because that biopsy scar yells at me anytime I think of taking the rash guard off.

6. Surfer suits! The kids' Coolibar order also came in (we're swimming in UPF materials around here; all the Coolibar sale items are an extra 25% off with free shipping right now!). Much of it was too big because I guessed on sizing instead of actually knowing the height and weight of my children, but the items were very high quality and I loved the colors and patterns. Cora's surfer suit is adorable. Not that she'll let me take a picture of it.

Claire's hoodie is equally adorable and she's so excited about it. Landon got a long-sleeved rash guard from Target that he is less excited about but seems willing to wear, mostly because I told him he has to or he can watch us swim from inside the house.

7. FOOD! Now we move on to recipes. I've been doing yoga during lunch 2x a week (today I did a chin stand to up dog; squee!), which means I've been eating lunch at my desk. As any reader will know, I have very strong feelings about lunch. It's my largest, most favorite meal of the day and I look forward to it from the moment I wake up. So grabbing a quick Subway sandwich across the street from my building to then eat at my desk was hurting my soul; also, I don't mind paying for lunch when I get to chat with coworker friends and eat a giant pile of $10 nachos, but spending nearly the same for a sad sandwich, even with delicious cookies, is annoying. So I'm making lunches! It was just a PBJ, pretzels, and apple slices for a few weeks, but now I've upped my game and mason jars are involved.

I'm not entirely convinced that the mason jar is necessary, but it does make layering easy and means the greens don't get soggy from the dressing on the bottom. I've been eating this Protein Egg and Quinoa Salad and it is so good. I get excited to eat it every day and think about it with happy heart thought bubbles during yoga. I make the full recipe in one quart sized jar for each day. I don't know who can eat a 200 calorie pint sized salad for lunch and feel satisfied, but I am definitely not that person. I just shake it up, dump it into a bowl (actually one of my glass containers from #4) and eat happy healthy food. Next week I'm going to start mixing it up with some of our other favorite quinoa combos - Asian Quinoa Salad, BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad, whatever ingredients are in my fridge quinoa salad...

And don't worry, I still eat a whole pizza or pile of nachos a few times a week too. We can't be too crazy.

~ ~ ~

So those are some things I love right now. I'm excited to be swathed in UPF protection (I also got the sun wrap from Coolibar and it's so nice!) and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's mason jar salad. The rest of life is going pretty well. A nurse neighbor friend of ours came over Monday night to take out James's Frankenfoot staples. It was intense. He yelled. More than once.

But now, thanks to our patient and awesome nurse friend, he is metal free! Still bruised, swollen, and with an obvious foot wound, but able to get through airport metal detectors with ease.

Switching gears: 2.5 year old Cora is my new favorite Cora, which seems impossible given how much I adored all the other Coras that came before this one. But she's a joy. She is funny and imaginative, enthusiastic and brave, chatty and full of songs, and she hugs with her whole body. The other night she hugged me until her arms gave out and then she hugged me more.

I read something the other day about hugging a child and never being the first to let go because sometimes they need a longer hug than you think. It's been an interesting experiment. I've learned that Claire can hug forever until I finally give in and whisper something like, "should we get back to [whatever we were doing?]" and then she'll say "okay!" and we'll go off to do it. But otherwise, I think she'd go at least 30 minutes before considering separating her body from mine. With Cora it depends completely on how long her imaginary to do list is in that moment. At bedtime, her list is done, so we hug for a long time. Landon is more brief, but still longer than I was holding on before. And James laughed when I didn't let go right away and asked if we were having a contest. And maybe we were. I won.

Okay, I'm off to bed (with fewer accessories than Cora)- Orangetheory in the morning, quinoa salad at lunch, giant piles of nachos with friends coming over from Austin for dinner! I may even wear my new sandals. Hope all your weeks are going well!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

So Much Swimming, plus a Pool Party and ALL the Cheese Balls

The good thing about having a Saturday that is 35 hours long and full of all the things is that a Sunday bookended by hot yoga and a date night with just a few quick errands in between seems utterly luxurious. I've been sitting on this couch for so long I'm on my 3rd episode of Property Brothers, Landon is on his millionth rainbow loom bracelet, and it's possible I even nodded off for a bit. James is at the pool, Claire is at a friend's, and Cora is napping her beloved naps. I love today.

Yesterday began with a 5 a.m. wakeup call to drive to our last regular swim meet about an hour away. Cora tried to put herself back to sleep multiple times while we tried to get out the door, but we ended up at Granbury City Park just before sunrise, as bright eyed and bushy tailed as we could be with the sun literally rising behind us. 

The meet was really fun. They always are. Granbury was the first swim meet we ever went to, back in 2014 when I was by myself with a 6 year old, 4 year old, and 6 month old in a never-used baby carrier. I hung out in the wrong team area for a while before finally realizing we were the Rockets and not the Seals and oops now we missed warmup. But I mentioned James's name and next thing I knew I had friends and helpers and the morning turned out to be so fun. We haven't missed a swim meet since.

The big kids learned how to make those rainbow loom necklaces, continuing our tradition of catching on to fads several years after they've blown through. They're now obsessed, and we ran to Michaels this morning to buy supplies with their birthday moneys in hopes of some non-UV-laden inside play time. There were also some older girls painting nails, so Claire jumped right in on that action, and then painted a friend's nails too.


James swam with his Frankenfoot wrapped in saran wrap and waterproof tape and a promise "not to kick much." I made no comment on this terrible idea.

The meet started out breezy and surprisingly nice but got pretty hot and stagnant around noon. We finished up at 1:30 (because James and Landon swim the last two events, yay) and then yelped our way to a delicious restaurant in the Granbury town square for lunch. Cheeseburger with avocado and a fried egg, french fries, plus a funnel cake and a giant cup of thrice-refilled iced tea? YES PLEASE. Our far flung meets have led us to some super cute and tasty main street type restaurants in neighboring towns, so that has been fun. We need some sort of passport book.

We got home about 3, sweat-dried and mildly delirious. Cora fell asleep in the car and then immediately asked to be put in her bed when we pulled up the driveway. She napped until we woke her up at 6:30. Literally no one likes to sleep like Cora likes to sleep. Claire insisted she was not tired, and then pulled out her old preschool napmat- the one I bought in 2011 and constantly wonder if they've outgrown so I can give them away- and stretched out on our living room floor.

not tired

James had to go out to his summer pool to check chemicals and lifeguards and whatever else he does for his endless hours out there and I took a nap cleaned the house and got ready for Landon's party. Because oh yes, in two hours we were hosting Landon's 9th birthday party! Who's in charge of scheduling around here?

Actually, it wasn't too bad because I kept things SUPER simple. He had invited over his 6 closest friends, 4 of which could make it, for a faux sleepover that involved the boys coming over at 5 to swim, play, eat, swim, play, eat, and watch a movie, and then go home about 10:30 when the movie would end and everyone would (or should) go to sleep anyway. I did this mostly because I wanted to wake up on Sunday morning and be lazy in my bed because my kids are old enough to fend for themselves and I'm still not done soaking up that little miracle, and also because I wanted Landon to sleep (and sleep in!) after the swim meet, but really mostly because of the lazy morning thing. We didn't even shop for the party until Friday, when Landon and I went on a date to party city to pick out the decor- he went with a ninja theme which I found surprising until he explained, "Mom, it's because the party is at NIGHT."

I also let him loose in the Target snack aisle. He was cautious at first, not really trusting my promise that he could pick out any five things he wanted, but soon we were loaded with gushers, fruit by the foot, gummies, fire balls, and this monstrosity.

totally organic

He agonized over selections that each of his friends would like, and finally I promised we could open up the bowels of our pantry should anyone need something outside of what our cart provided. And then we added a watermelon. For balance.

We had some thunderstorms around the party's start time, but with only 4 guests and a whole night ahead of us I wasn't worried about it, particularly since we've been SO lucky with all our other pool parties. The boys shot nerf guns at each other, then swam when the skies cleared, and then ate Costco pizza and swam some more. And did water balloons, and swam and swam and swam, and then mixed it up by swimming after dark with glow necklaces.

At 8:00 Claire had to come inside to go to bed, as the evening portion of the party was just for the birthday boy and his guests. She was VERY upset about this as she stomped and harumphed her way inside, telling me, arms crossed, "I just want to be Landon right now. Except still a girl. And still named Claire."

They came inside about 8:45 for dessert- brownie ice cream sundaes with all the toppings, though Landon was the only one who actually had the ice cream. We sang Happy Birthday and I chose not to linger over the fact my baby boy is turning 9. We'll leave that for the real day on Friday. At 9 we had them adjourn to the TV room for a candy buffet, terrible snacks, and Landon's carefully chosen movie- the 1994 classic (ish) that I recalled fondly from my own elementary school years and have only now realized... is really not very good. Thrillist breaks it down for you. But its harmless and the boys loved it. At 10:30 I drove them home.

It was so fun and they were all so good and so cute. The picked up every single scrap of water balloon, said please and thank you, and just generally were so good I almost wouldn't have minded having them there in the morning. The only downside of the party was that two good friends couldn't make it and Cora discovered a deep, borderline obsessive love of cheese balls. I might have to keep those around for potty training.

Today the girls were up at 6:30 as usual, but Landon slept in until 8:30!! I left for yoga at 8:15 and came back to the kids running around the front yard in the "cool" low 90's morning temps. James told me Cora had a new trick - biking over obstacles just like the big kids!

She kills me. Sometimes almost literally. 

It is now 11:00 p.m. and I'm doing Orangetheory in the morning (lol, my morning self promising I'd go to bed early tonight), so to wrap up- at some point in the afternoon I had to get off the couch and turn off Property Brothers to be a parent, wake up Cora, and supervise Claire and a friend in the pool. And then James and I got to go on a date! It was lovely and full of all the food (7 dishes; 2 apps, 1 salad, 1 pasta, 1 pizza, 2 desserts), drinks (3; we had to be reasonable somewhere), and chatting. We got home right at the sweet spot, just after bedtime when the house is clean and quiet and we get to give snuggly kisses to sleepy children and continue on with our grown-up evening.

It was a full, fun, and very tiring weekend, but with three kids they pretty much all are and I love them. At one point today, when I was coming home from running a quick errand with the big kids, I could see Cora run through the playroom wearing a pink superhero mask and James racing behind her in a ninja mask. And it was through the windows, so I couldn't hear anything, but I knew that when I opened that door I'd hear happy screams and giggles and the sounds of joyful chaos. And that's what our house sounds like much of the time. And I love it even more than Cora loves cheese balls.