Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Lots of Family and Then Tables for Three

Much has been happening! I'm not nearly as depressed as I was last week! (This hilarious article was written at the always fabulous McSweeney's, but it feels like it was pulled straight from my soul. Pair it with a soothing episode of The Great British Baking Show like I am right now.) Things -- the little things in my day to day life and not the big things like our international reputation and the state of our democracy or the fact that our President just lies constantly and no one cares -- are quite good!

First up, my sister came to visit on Friday! She was in town for her national sales meeting and tacked on an extra day to spend with us. It was so fun! I realized that I don't think I've ever spend a day with my sister as an adult, and certainly not one since she also became a mother. It's so much more fun to tell (and I'm sure to hear) stories about your life as a parent when the other person is one too. It was really, really nice.

I taught her a barre class, we ate a delicious lunch with the finest Gorgonzola fries in Texas and possibly anywhere, picked up Cora super early from school, took all the kids to the water gardens even though it was 115 degrees outside, got snow cones, swam in our pool, drank rose prosecco in the midafternoon while eating a whole bag of Trader Joe's caramel cheddar popcorn, walked Winston, cooked a delicious dinner, went shopping, and then talked until late while alternating between petting Winston and telling him how handsome he was.

It was a good 24 hours.

So handsome.

She left for the airport on Saturday morning and I remembered we were supposed to be at the big kids' school for a yard cleanup day. It was really hot. Cora was not impressed. Then I had to go straight to an Orangetheory class I'd stupidly signed in to the day before. I've never arrived at class already sweaty before; it didn't give me an edge.

On Saturday afternoon the canine behaviorist come over (I really will talk more on that later, but the long story short is "we do not have a bad dog; we just have a bulldog." One who needs basic behavior training but is truly not aggressive and should be a fabulous family pet, if a bullheaded one), and then had friends over to swim which turned into an impromptu potluck dinner. I made another ice cream sandwich cake because it's my new signature item and it's amazing. Both big kids were hankering for a sleepover until they both said their stomachs hurt and they looked like zombies on the couch and no one would take them. I decided they weren't allowed to get sick, so we just gave them water and powerade and pretended nothing was happening. Sometimes ignoring reality works.

Just a Bulldog.

Then on Sunday I went to a new barre class (Class Pass FTW!), followed by the grocery store, followed by waiting for my mom to arrive! Yes! TWO family visits in one weekend!

My parents had wanted to do a second year of the newly created Camp PapaGigi with Landon and Claire. We'd planned for an earlier week in July, but that ended up being my Aunt Mary's memorial up in Wisconsin at my grandparents' cabin. We couldn't attend, but I was glad my parents could, so of course we rescheduled camp. Then my dad had to go to London for work, so my mom decided she'd drive over (instead of us driving the kids down and staying to play for the weekend) and then drive the kids back herself on Monday, solo grandparenting for a day (brave Gigi) and then my dad would be back on Tuesday. I was just glad we could still make camp work and I always love a Gigi visit.

Since she was about to have lots of quality time with the kids (the big ones anyway), we abandoned the kiddos and went shopping almost immediately. In a complete upending of our sacred discount shopping tradition (and my tradition of never driving more than 10 miles a day in my little Fort Worth bubble), we fired up Waze and headed to the Nordstrom out at Northeast Mall to explore the Anniversary Sale. We don't have a Nordstrom in the Fort, a surprising oversight, so I haven't been to one since 2012. I will pink puffy heart my Ross dress rack forever, but it was lovely to be fancy for an hour or three.

I accidentally bought two pairs of boots (one gorgeous and one needed), 3 cute tops (2 knotted tees I've been searching for forever and this one that was super cute and possibly not even on sale), and a jade green super sale sweater that I love with my whole heart. My mom did similar damage. We eyed our receipts and decided we should leave immediately and not even enter the rest of the mall. I got lost driving home (I really don't ever leave my little citytown; my car is 2.5 years old and has 14,000 miles on it), so mom got a tour of entire Fort Worth surrounding area as we eventually made our way home arriving from the opposite direction of the mall. What's important is that all four pairs of our new boots were safely delivered home.

the knotted top of my long-enough-to-wear-with-leggings dreams

We hung out at home for a bit, enjoying the kids and Winston, and then decided we should indulge in another mother/daughter tradition - a movie and popcorn with tons of butter, cheezits brought from home to mix in to the bucket, and Mike and Ike's pre-purchased so we can sort out and burn all the strawberry ones with fire. We added a stop at a new Italian place to split a pizza beforehand so we didn't get sick on the popcorn. Because nothing softens the butter-laden brick of movie theater popcorn in your stomach than a nice foundational layer of pizza. It's science.

We saw The Big Sick, featuring a favorite character from my beloved new show Silicon Valley (the show is not new, but it is new to me and James and I LOVED it and watched all 5 seasons in like 10 days). The movie was SO good! We didn't really have any idea what it was about, we were just in it for the popcorn and cheezits (and butter... and Mike and Ike's), but it was funny and heartfelt and we absolutely loved it. Go see it if you can!

On Monday morning I had the big kids all packed up for 5 days at Papa and Gigi's, they said goodbye to Cora and Daddy, and then I stopped to get Starbucks with them on my way to work.

Now Cora is a temporary only children and the big kids are in Houston having the best week ever. I mean seriously. On Monday my mom stopped at Buc-ee's on the drive home. We don't EVER stop on car rides, so that was a treat in and of itself, and Buc-ee's is like a disneyworld of gas stations in Texas. She took them to see Dispicable Me 3 ("the best of all the Despicables Mom!!"), with candy and popcorn OF COURSE, then to get fried chicken at a restaurant we totally never go to, then to a park, then to a magical sub-zero ice cream place that makes ice cream out of milk and liquid nitrogen, and then to bed.

On Tuesday they got to go to IHOP for breakfast, another thing we've maybe never done, then to the grocery store to pick out LUNCHABLES to eat later (the fact that Landon hates cheese but loves lunchable cheese should cause alarm bells to ring in your whole food eating brain, but not at Gigi's house), then to the Houston Zoo to see the animals and an awesome lego exhibit, and THEN to the butterfly museum.


And then THEN, upon getting home and reuniting with our globe trotting Papa, a they enjoyed boat ride to dinner with Uncle Eric to eat pizza on a patio overlooking the lake.

You guys, my children are living their best life and it is not with me.

Wednesday started with a boat ride to a secret island with deep water and lots of rope swings made by pirates (or just other water jumping enthusiasts, whichever).

There was a boat picnic with the much anticipated lunchables and then slime making because Gigi loves a science experiment.

After that they headed to Main Event where they were joined by Uncle Eric and played laser tag, a round of bowling, a ropes course, zipline, and apparently a million games because Landon got enough tickets for a large stuffed bulldog that "looks just like Winston!!!!!" The excitement really came through over the phone and even Winston lifted up his giant head and was like "what is going ON in there?!"

Tomorrow they head to Schlitterban in Galveston because seriously, my parents are the funnest.

Also fun? Having one child. I mean, in general I truly find having multiple children to be easier than one. They have playmates, you've had some trial and error along the way, they create a pack and seem to implicitly understand that only one can misbehave at a time... life as a party of five is pretty easy and always fun.

But whoah. Life as a temporary family of 3 with one highly verbal, very structured, super independent 3.5 year old? SO EASY. The energy level in our house is so low we're all practically bulldogs.

I pick up Cora from school and she disappears to the playroom to "do some work Mom." She pops out and asks if I'd like to see her dance. I do, of course, and then maybe we color a picture together while she tells me repeatedly how beautiful my coloring is. We walk Winston. I cook dinner and she works on a puzzle in the other room and maybe saves a deer with a broken leg. It is delightful.

She misses Landon and Claire and asks daily when they are coming back, always checking that they will be able to watch her recital Friday night (they will! and yes, another recital!!!), but she's also totally rolling with this only toddler thing. And I'm loving this extra time with her. It's a little different hanging out with your third baby as if they're the oldest/only one. The big kids are so wrapped up in her day to day- it's wonderful, and basically why we had multiple kids- but I'm getting so much extra direct interaction with her! It's really been very special, I'm a little sad I never got to do something similar with Claire.

We went out for dinner last night (table for three!) and James and I could talk like grown-ups while our sweet tiny person colored a picture and sadly informed her dad she will not be a doggy when she grows up.

(Earlier dream-crushing conversation:
Cora: "Mommy when will I be a dog like Winston?"
Me: "Well, you won't, you'll just stay a human."
Cora: "Awww, I will NEVER be a dog? I will just be a baby again?
Me: "Um, no, you'll stay a big girl, and then you'll get bigger and be a grown up girl!'
Cora, despondent: "Aw man, I will never be a baby again either?!! ... But then maybe I will be a dog?")

So while I knew that this week would be very special for the big kids to have these memories and solo time with my parents, I did not realize how special it would be for me to have this extra, individual time with Cora. When she's old enough, she'll go to Camp PapaGigi too and that will be wonderful, but for now, I'm loving our own little post-preschool Camp MamaDaddy. And not just because it gives me an excuse to do things like go out for cupcakes after work on a random Wednesday.


  1. Boy I want to go to Camp PapaGigi! Sounds like a blast! My youngest son spends a lot of the summer at Camp Grandma's and loves it because it involves Ramen noodles (which I never buy), mini Lemon pies and sewing (which I do not do!). She is the costumer at the theater he attends camp at so it's a win win for all of us!
    I find it so disconcerting to only have one child at home. Almost like I am forgetting to do something all the time!

  2. My older 2 are at Camp Grandparents right now too, and we're just home with the 2 year old - it's EERIE. He's so confused about why he's getting all this attention :)

  3. So glad to hear the good news about Winston (and looking forward to a more detailed discussion about your experience with a behaviorist/trainer coming to your house). It's been recommended that we have one visit us, too, for our mastiff.

    On a different note, have you guys ever visited the Museum of Health or maybe it's the Health Museum (it's right down the road, literally, from the Natural Science Museum)? I used to work there, and although I may be a bit biased it's a FANTASTIC museum for kiddos (and grownups)! I think Landon, especially, would have a blast!

  4. The Health Museum, in case you HAVEN'T been, is in Houston by the way (not Ft. Worth)...

  5. My parents pulled out all the stops this year at Camp Grandmommy/Papa, too. They went caving, swam in a natural springs, (the kids, not the g-parents), did an Escape room, saw the Blue Angels show on the beach... I mean.... insanely fun stuff!