Monday, March 6, 2017

Peace, Love, and Video Games

So rather than actually finish one of my many unfinished drafts that require thought and reflection (I have a New Year's resolution draft from January 2016 that's just begging to be completed. Crying out, even), I'm going to recap our weekend. Because I have pictures and I don't want to forget the Great Oatmeal Drama of March 2017 and I read Morning Star (book #3 of Red Rising) until waaaay too early this morning before getting up for my Orangetheory workout- marking the millionth time my workout has been saved by OTF's 8-hour advance cancellation rule. By the time I know I'm going to sabotage myself with reading until 3 a.m., I'm 4 hours away from my workout and can't cancel. Also, today was precisely my one-year anniversary for Orangetheory, and who wants to miss that? Not that anyone gave me a present. Unless an endurance workout with 3 miles of running, 80 push-ups, and a 1,000 meter row counts as a present, and since this is Orangetheory, it probably does.

So, the weekend! It began on Friday with a mani/pedi lunch break with a coworker (30% off at the new salon by my spin place!). I hadn't had a manicure in at least a year, probably two, and the technician took one look at my deep cuticles and rough lawyer hands and said "ohhhhh." Oh yes. I sit indoors and type all day and my hands are somehow that bad. My manicure looked amazing and I adored it for the 12 hours it looked that good.

The picture below is 48 hours later, please ignore the giant chip (argh, always), and please focus on the painful, burning, cracked and oozing patch on my top index finger knuckle. What is this??? Google and our pediatrician told me probably eczema. It popped up in January and then went away after much pain, bleeding, and seemingly unhelpful rubbings of cortisone cream and eucerin ointment. I have an appointment with my dermatologist on Wednesday, but until then, I turn to you. Help. It hurts. Even holding a pen is super painful. Do you know how often you bend your top knuckle on your index finger? ALL THE FCUKING TIME. And every time I do, my skin cracks open again. Washing my hands is so painful I have a fierce internal debate about how dirty and germy I am comfortable being. Don't shake my hands right now.

Then, when I got home, I had the brilliant idea to grab my camera and get a few pics of our beloved nanny Tara and the kids. When I made the kids' photo books for Christmas this year, I realized that even though Tara is a near-daily, and definitely essential, part of our life, I didn't have a single picture of her!

And now I do! She and Cora have a particularly tight bond and I absolutely love it.

Then after she left I found this note Claire wrote her in the playroom. As I wrote in this post last year, one of the most wonderful and surprising aspects of being a working parent is the relationships we've built with my kids' caregivers, and I continue to think "it's nothing but good that my kids have had other adults in their lives who they love and trust and who love them in return."

As Cora exclaims when Tara knocks on the door if she comes to babysit at night, "MOM! My Tara is HOME!!!" She really is part of our family.

Saturday began with James heading out to Dallas at 6 a.m. for a swim meet (he's now the all-time 3rd fastest swimmer of the 100 IM in the United States in his age group!) and all the kids getting up an hour early to show me how much they love me. I read YA dystopian novels on the couch while they watched a hotly negotiated TV show (they settled on Ninjago; and by "settled" I mean Landon paid Claire a dollar to watch it and Cora watched Beauty and the Beast on her car ride kindle that I let her get out of storage; when you only have 1 TV and you only get to watch TV on weekend mornings and you have two big siblings... you really miss out on all your age-appropriate TV shows). Then a friend took Claire to her team soccer pictures and the big bro, little sis, and I got ready to head to the game.

It was cold and super windy again, because that's just how soccer rolls, and when I glanced over from watching Claire on the field I saw these two all snuggled up together to keep Cora warm.

Ten minutes later Landon had collected another toddler and was entertaining both with an impromptu puppet show. He would really truly love for us to have 5 more babies. And until we do, he's going to borrow the babies of others.

Claire did great at her game- she remains unsurprisingly aggressive and kinda-surprisingly focused. Her two besties are on the team, so it's exactly as fun as 6-year-old soccer should be.

After the game we went to a pizza place 0.2 miles away from the field that I never knew existed- James even got to meet us there! Then we headed home to the start of 36 straight hours of grey skies and rain and a slow descent into kid-chaos. Claire blessedly played at a friend's house forever. Landon went outside to play with said friend's older sibling and another friend. Yet this was still somehow not enough friendness because by midday Sunday, everyone had been inside too long and they were making each other (and me!) crazy. The girls played pretty adorably together for awhile (Cora's grin below just screams "I'M PLAYING BIG GIRL GAMES WITH MY BIG SISTER!"), but Landon did handstands for 3 hours and got really hungry and tried oatmeal for the first time (I don't know how he missed it for his first 9.5 years) and then ate 3 packets and when he asked for a 4th and I said maybe he should have some fruit instead because I feared for his digestive system, he devolved in less than a minute to yelling "I HATE MY LIFE AND EVERYONE IN THIS HOUSE" and attempting to slam his door but our pier and beam foundation shifts all the time and the door doesn't fit in its frame at the moment so it popped back towards his face instead.

So then James took everyone out on a 7 mile run/bike ride which mellowed Claire out but was not sufficient for Landon so then they played four-square in the rain for a while and THEN we decided we should all talk to each other as little as possible so James pulled out his meager box of childhood belongings and decided today was the day to introduce the kids to his old Super Nintendo.

It worked! It worked and teaching the kids to play Street Fighter 2 Turbo and Super Mariokart was the PERFECT way to end the rainy weekend.

We've never played a video game with the kids before, so they were really blown away by the sweet graphics of the SNES.

Cora and I played puzzles and matching games. It was really lovely. I gave genuinely affection goodnight kisses to everyone at bedtime 30 minutes later.

And that was the weekend! I have to go to bed now (... to read more of Morning Star), but there have been some great book recs on the last post and I always welcome more!


  1. For my son's eczema at his dermatologist's suggestion, we gently wash the area with sensitive skin Dove, rinse, pat dry while still leaving moisture, rub on some cortisone cream, and add a layer of petroleum jelly or aquaphor. That seems to be the magic formula for him. A couple of those steps still hurt him (poor three year old) but it clears up his rashes more quickly than anything else and the aquaphor or petroleum jelly seem to soothe him.

    People swear by eucerin but it only made his rashes so much worse so there have to be at least a subset of eczema sufferers who are immune or worse to it, right? :(
    Good luck.

  2. If you like the Red Rising series, you should know the author is writing a companion series right now (google Iron Gold). The first book should be out later this year/early next year. This series is a favorite of mine so I'm eagerly awaiting the companion series! Also, an answer to a question you posed in your last post...Queen of Tearling series is really good as well, I highly recommend!

  3. I get those cracks all the time- they are so painful! But they go away within a day or two if you put some neosporin on it and wrap a bandaid around it. I usually have it on for two nights in a row (and the day interim). It's a pain keeping the bandaid clean (and on- since I wash my hands a lot), but it's worth getting to heal so fast.

    Also- I've noticed I get this the most when my hands come into contact with any strong soap (dish soap, strong body washes, and detergent is the worst!). It used to happen every few weeks, but now barely ever happens!

    1. I do the bacitracin and bandaid too.

      Also started taking l lysine and haven't had any bleeding cracks in my fingers or heals for a couple years now. I used to get them a lot in the winter. Not sure why you're getting them if you live in a humid climate but too much washing and drying could be the culprit.

  4. One of the pieces of advice I got at my baby shower was to let other people love your kids and teach them, too. I had a hard time with this at first, but I LOVE how much our teachers at daycare love Miss A and how much she loves them.

  5. Our doctor tells us to avoid irritants like SLS (it's in a lot of soaps, detergents, and toiletries) and to use something very gentle like Vanicream for moisturizing. Vanicream also makes soap, which may be a good idea for washing your hands. We were also advised to take daily warm soaking baths (not hot, warm) to deeply hydrate the skin. If it's just on your hand, you could try soaking it in warm water for ~20 minutes before applying lotion.

  6. i wonder if your rash started out as eczema and then maybe a fungus crept in. i am a long-time eczema sufferer, when this happens to me my usual creams stop helping or even make the rash worse.

  7. 80 pushups? 80? That's fantastic.

    Landon has suddenly turned into a young man... Well over the past several months of your photo posting. The difference is remarkable.

  8. I steamed the carp out of my right hand while cooking, years ago. The skin is really prone to cracking at the knuckles during the winter months. It hurts so much! Lotions didn't help too much, with four kids I am always washing my hands. Bandaids - same deal. What has helped me is New Skin Liquid Bandage. The cracks heal more quickly and it protects knuckles from recracking.

  9. I'm wondering if something like impetigo crept in an eczema crack...

    Anon - jlv

  10. Work related question... is your job affected by the changes in the SEC leadership or generally what's happening at the federal level?

    I always thought I was inoculated against this… Because I'm a professor at a private institution. But turns out, some policies like the immigration ban for example, do affect my work.

    1. It is... it's not something I can talk about much, but other than a distinctly decreased lack of pride in my job (the president's portrait hangs in our lobby, right next to an image of our seal; it remains a physical punch every time I see it), we've also already had regulational and logistical changes that make our job slower and more difficult, which I guess is the goal. Sigh. My 5-year anniversary is in 2 days, so I'm definitely pondering these changes and wondering what's next for me.