Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Back on Track. Ish.

Ohmygoditsbeenforever. I don't even know why exactly. Our life has been crazy. A contained kind of crazy, manageable even thanks to the chart I made that turned out to be a little bit magical after all, but while we've eaten dinner together every night and I've worked out every day (every day!!) since my last post, I have also finally decided to finish the Shutterfly Photobooks I started during my skin cancer troll existence from last fall and I'm re-reading a book series I forgot I loved and we watched GLOW in like 4 nights of binging and I am DEFINITELY not getting enough sleep and putting words together at 11:30 p.m. like I normally do has just seemed like too much. Sort of like Winston's feelings about getting up at the cruel hour of 7:30 a.m. each weekday morning.

So we'll try starting at 10:30 p.m. instead.

I don't remember much from the last week. Landon hadn't started running club yet (that started this week! 2 days of running club, 2 days of swimming, 2 days of gymnastics- all in 4 days! Landon is the only one excited about this), so it was a nice transition from the shit show that was the week before and the additional craziness that running club could bring (though actually, not much there, it's immediately after school so Tara handles its logistics and Landon seems to magically do his homework before school gets out? I don't know, but it all seems to work okay).

As part of my helpful "who is where when" chart, I tried to bullet point positive things that could be done in the intervals where children are missing from my house and/or we aren't all eating dinner together. So instead of being crabby and sad I could look and see that hey! I've got 40 minutes with Cora! That's special! I should DO SOMETHING with that instead of halfheartedly starting dinner and wishing all my ducklings were coloring at the counter like they used to. Honestly, it's really helped. It's not a jumble of carpools with weird 30 minute useless breaks between drives! It's a beautifully constructed puzzle of special individual time with my children!

Or something like that. On one of the days last week Tara had a pesentation to give her professor during pickup time, so the kids went home with friends. Landon's friend had a new puppy and I brought Cora over to pick him up (a pick up I knew would happily morph into 1 hour of talking to my friend, sadly sans wine since I still had to take L to gymnastics) and Cora yelled "Mommy! IT'S A BABY AND A DOGGIE!!" and it was the cutest thing ever. I realized she's never seen a puppy.

She liked him very very much.

Oh, on Thursday my grandpa got to transfer to hospital care in San Antonio!! This is huge. He'd been in a cardiac rehab center for a week or so and was doing well, so they felt he was stable enough to fly back home, first class and with my uncle flying as companion and their retirement community's head nurse meeting them at the airport, but back home he was going! My grandma looks thrilled to pieces in every picture my uncle sent. She'd been living in a Days Inn hotel room for 5 weeks and was so, so ready to be back in her home with her friends and routine and my grandpa safely ensconced in hospital care right downstairs. He's actually back at the big hospital tonight for some fluid in his lungs, but hopefully they'll get that cleared quickly and he can get back home again.

We started a garage renovation project sometime last week. Possibly on Tuesday? It involved removing all of the contents of our garage and spreading it around the patio and backyard so our contractor could rebuild the frame of our garage structure (because of course none of it was to code), add the insulation and drywall that was never installed, add electrical (also to code and not just a freaking extension cord extending out from the roof of the house to the roof of the garage; the electrician looked like he was going to pass out when he saw it; old houses are an adventure), add vents and an AC window unit, add shelving, add an attic, and basically just make it a functional building for storage. In a 1940's house without storage closets or a single inch of attic space (our roof sits on our ceiling beams), I feel like it's Christmas morning around here.

It's going to be AMAZING. And James will save $500/month in warehouse storage space for his swim products because he's going to ship them out of the house (garage!) instead. I'm so excited. Storage! Places for ALL THE BINS! Lights IN THE GARAGE! No more inches of water inside every time it rains! Between the promise of all that goodness and the fact that I made James get rid of everything he hasn't used in the garage in the last 2 years on Sunday (I literally just posted on our neighborhood facebook page - free stuff, here's our address, I'll delete when it's gone; I probably should have sold most of it, but I just wanted it gone and I wanted someone else to get use out of it), I'm feeling very good on the organizational front. And the garage isn't even finished yet so there's more goodness to come!

We had Claire's soccer game on Saturday. Her enthusiasm really peaks right before each game starts and then again right after they end, but she claims to love it and is already talking about next season. As is Cora.

While she makes a stylish spectator, I guess we're going to have let her play too. Farewell semi-lazy Saturdays.

Claire has gotten pretty good at defense. Possibly because she doesn't want to run, but she really does keep her eye on the ball and get in there and kick it out. I'm sure there are soccer words for that, but I'm still continually surprised at where they put the ball when there's a kick off (kick in? side kick?) so I definitely don't know them.

I think this position of kicker-inner of the out of bounds ball (it's a thing) lets her order people around and she likes that to.

Basically, we have a lot more soccer Saturdays in our future and I'm okay with that. Maybe I need some sort of soccer mom t-shirt? So people know I'm legit.

Also on Saturday we went to see the Lego Ninjago movie. Landon had been looking forward to that movie since we saw the preview over Christmas? Easter? I don't know but it was a LONG time ago and he's asked about it weekly ever since. He loves Ninjago. He desperately wants me to love it with him and he is not at all put off by my refusal to learn any of the characters, powers, or hair styles. Rather than taking this as an obvious lack of interest, he adorably and somewhat insultingly things I just can't mentally grasp the complexities and has made me several charts and cheat sheets to help. He spent the drive over to the theater explaining the back story and let us know he was available for questions on the way home.

Despite the terrible reviews it was not the worst movie I've ever seen. I maybe learned what Ninjago is and I enjoyed my beer, popcorn, and peanut m&ms VERY much.

Outside of the movie popcorn and m&m's on Saturday, I've cooked all our meals since the pizza we went out for 10 days ago and was feeling so proud of myself for being all healthy and economical and working out every single day and teaching extra barre and really starting to feel like my formerly strong fit self who fits into her jeans instead of the me who just drinks margaritas all summer and cancels workouts, and JUST as I gave myself a solid pat on the back Tuesday night and acknowledged my feelings of strength and pride, I packed Cora into the car to eat dinner at R Taco and texted James to meet us there with the big kids.

Apparently even thinking about margaritas in a negative space makes me want one. I have no regrets.

Tonight we were back on track with an Egg Roll Bowl and no tequila of any kind.

Cora was not impressed and told me "I just gonna eat this for dinner, 'kay mom?"

Luckily it's organic grass fed plastic, so it's fine.

Speaking of Cora, other than an outlier event on Friday evening when James went to drop Landon and a buddy at open gym (because what he needed was MORE trampoline time) and I texted James a string of emojis full of the horror, tears, wine, and angry cat faces I felt were appropriate descriptors of the situation, she's been delightful.

She is loving the new primary class at school and takes her education VERY seriously. She always chooses to do her written work first, then puzzles, then sorting. Apparently frivolity and imaginative play is only for home. School is a serious business.

We got her first teacher report, full of glowing reviews (or as glowing as check marks can be), with an added note that, "I must say, her coloring skills are quite impressive!" And on Monday night she finally got to bring home a project she'd worked on for days, "Look Mom! I finished coloring all my con-ti-nets!"

I love that her bow game is strong as her coloring skills. (And that her bow game is reserved exclusively for outside school hours; they are clearly TOO FRIVOLOUS for her work.)

though judging dinner is also serious

And now it's nearly 11:30 and I've basically just spit out a bunch of random happenings and iPhone pictures, and I have to go to bed because Winston keeps farting from one of his beds right in front of me and I think it's probably toxic. Also I have to get to work early and then teach barre on my way home.

Tomorrow night it will be back to kid activities and photobooking after they're in bed. So far I've watched Down With Love, What Women Want, and Sister Act (thanks Becca!) on HBO to keep me minimally entertained while I agonize over the millimeter placement of yet another photo.

I'm also doing a lot of fall wardrobe and Disney-trip related online shopping. The kids still don't know about the trip, but we're 45 days out (squee! I cannot believe how excited I've grown to be over this; I, who never wanted to do a Disney trip at all, have now purchased a Disney shirt FOR MYSELF and am agonizing over obnoxious light up holiday necklaces to wear to the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Who am I? Do I need the polka dot sneakers with mickey ears on them I assumed were for small children but then realized were for adults? MAYBE.) I do very much need to make the kids' autograph books but it's so much more fun to online shop for the perfect park bag and the most beautiful cheapest ponchos and then read a few more blog posts about the magic of Christmas at Disney and how much fun we're going to have. Feel free to add to my important research and fact gathering on these points.

And finally, recipes! I have some!

Mediterranean Tuna Orzo Salad - so good!! Loved the dressing and I kind of forgot you could get tuna from a can and it could be good. The kids loved it; will definitely make again.

Cheesy Vegetarian Chili Mac - also delicious; will definitely make again. Hearty without feeling crazy heavy. Also easy to serve Landon's before dumping in the sharp cheddar cheese for the rest of us.

Crock Pot Red Beans and Rice - a fave I first tried several weeks ago, another for the "healthy but hearty" category.

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos - the crock pot is the answer to all of life's problems right now. This made a bunch of simple, tasty chicken that I put on tostadas one night and in a BBQ Southwestern Quinoa Salad the next.

Sunshine Lentil Bowl - posted many times, made even more than that, we love this recipe. I think it's James's favorite new recipe of 2017.

Have a great rest of the week!


  1. Have you tried the Instapot? Big crock pot fan here, and I love the IP more. Weeknight dinner in 20 mn.

    1. I bought one last Christmas, got intimidated, and sent it back. But I really should try it again because everyone tells me how much they love theirs!

    2. I was also really intimidated but it is great. And I'm no good with technology and a Crockpot devotee.

  2. YAY more recipes for me to pin! Thank you! I've made that red beans and rice twice since you last posted it! LOVE it, thank you!
    I get the scheduling craziness - 3 kids with different activities here too! Last Thursday a friend referred to me as an unpaid Uber driver! Maybe I can make some extra cash picking up fares. As long as they need to go somewhere between the dance studio (3 times a week for my son's ballet class/Nutcracker rehearsals), the theater, various other theaters my youngest performs/rehearses at, the music school, the soccer field, the school running club is run out of.... That is all literally in a 15 mile loop around my city!

  3. Question about your crockpot: I don't know if, like me, you leave the house at an ungodly hour and stay gone for, sometimes, 11 hours. Do you set it to cook on low for 8 or 10, and then just trust it to stay Warm? (I mean, it automatically goes to "keep warm", but is that enough/too much?) I used to love crockpot cooking, but started to worry that I was leaving food too long. (Stupid long days.)

    Also I am so glad you posted. Have missed your updates!

    Also also I am sorry we'll just miss you at Disney! We're going the week of Tgiving (with the masses). Would be so fun to run into the Lagliv family!

    1. James usually starts the crock pot meals around 10 a.m. for this very reason. Our crockpot does automatically go to warm and I've found that's almost always fine. The only time it might not be is if you're cooking something that's more of a straight protein v. something brothy or soupy. Like a simple chicken dish might not do well, but some chicken breasts swimming in a broth to be shredded before serving seems to do fine. (I also always use frozen chicken breasts so I think that helps; they just take longer to cook.)

      And thanks so much for the shout out about missing updates; it always makes me feel so good to know people are reading my late night ramblings! And how awesome you're going to Disney too- I'm so excited!!

  4. I could have written the Ninjago stuff word for word about my 9 year old daughter. Down to the study guides.

    1. That made me laugh out loud. What is it about this crazy city (it's a city, right?) and its primary color teenage defenders that gets them so obsessed? Landon's never cared about a TV show before at all and with this one it's like part of his soul.

  5. The Very Merry Christmas party is super fun, but if you have time also try and check out Epcot's Holiday celebration! They do holidays around the world where each country has performers/story tellers that tell about the holiday traditions from their country and it's super interesting! Probably not as captivating for the younger kids as the MK celebration but they still do a great job and you can stop and get drinks along the way as they listen :)

    1. Oh awesome, we've got a whole day at Epcot and will be checking out the Christmas festivities there for sure!!

  6. Hey! Sister Act! It's so good. I should rewatch all the movies of my youth to glean new insights from them. That's a tall order for most 90s movies.

    I also have bookmarked all of your meatless recipes. Beautiful. Thanks!

    1. Love it; tonight's photo booking movie is going to be Strictly Ballroom. I need to do a facebook post brainstorming ideas for others. I know there are so many movies I loved and would love to see again but apparently my brain can't think back that far. Getting old is hard.

  7. ok my comment keeps disappearing. in a nutshell. I get you on the ninjago-confusion. we saw the movie and at least I now know who is who, so I can better prepare for the birthday party we are throwing next weekend. I wish wish wish my kids would get their HW done at school. its my least favorite, trying to make tired kids after a long day put off playing boardgames with me (also my FAVE and as good a reason to have kids as any other) to trudge through worksheets and reading logs and blah. I used to do my HW at school too, it was apparently uncool to have a backpack at that age, and my arms were to scrawny and weak to carry my books home.

  8. We spent the week before Christmas at Disney Paris last year. So magical!

  9. The light up necklaces are absolutely essential for the party! We went last year and had a ball. The parade was our favorite! Sit close enough to smell - yes, smell! - the floats. :)

  10. Unrelated to the post but I have to say I finally got to try out the Brick and it is the bomb!!!! I just had a baby so I'm trying to get my core back in shape and my kick sets feel so much more effective using the brick compared to using a regular kick board. Thanks James and lagliv fam for a great swim product!

    1. That's so awesome to hear!! I can't wait to tell James and am so glad you're loving it!

  11. I was not a "Disney-person" either but you should totally do the light up necklace, and the shoes, and whatever else seems fun and festive. You will (likely) only go once or twice. Christmas is a magical time to explore the park. One thing we did which as a total lifesaver was buying Disney themed lego minifigs. The kids could open one a day and that cut down on the constant requests for toys! Also Lego + Disney = Awesome! We also brought refillable water bottles for everyone one and tons of pre-package snacks. Also, Starbucks instant coffees came in super handy!