Sunday, February 3, 2019

Capturing the last 75 days of January

January was 75 (hundred) days long and I am so glad to see it over. We spent the first 6 days of that month on a fabulous ski vacation with family and friends in Colorado and it still felt it went on FOREVER. February, come take me away with your 28 days of champagne, chocolates, and my birthday.

The last week brought us back to our happy, normal, busy but balanced life. Mommy was back at work and everyone was happy about this. Neatly stacked papers and dual computer monitors and cups of tea and post-it flags how I've missed you.

(The succulent lives! This is the only kind of plant I can keep alive and not even a 35-day furlough can stop me.)

Our nannies are back in our lives and everyone is happy about this too. Particularly Maggie, who now has two new people to adore her.

(I texted our Monday nanny to check on my baby - the dog, not the human children who I figured were fine - and she responded "she's perfect." And I was like, I know and I MISS HER.)

I was chatting with my mom on my drive home from work and she was asking if Maggie gets up on the furniture. "Oh no!" I exclaimed, "she's too well behaved and perfect for that." And then this is the scene that greeted me as I walked in the door.

"Um, mom. I have to go." To take a picture, obviously, and then to tell the dog to get off the couch. Except she's deaf, so I'm not sure it got through.

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In a bit of catch-up backwards blogging, we went to the Rodeo last Sunday! The weather was perfect and the rides were colorful and only occasionally rickety and death defying.

Claire wore her best cowgirl couture and I was here for it.

And this glimpse of college-Claire.

Cora went unicorn rainbow shirt, purple sequin skirt, pink leggings, and pink princess boots. She was in it for the thrill rides.

I was too. And the ribbon fries.

It was a super fun afternoon.

Landon ate a fried snickers, Cora was finally tall enough for all the rides, and Claire took the prize for the bravest of all. (The ride we went on not pictured, but I have a strong stomach and I'm pretty sure I was green the whole time. My stomach was definitely not in its preferred location.) Someday we'll go to the actual rodeo, but until then, we sure do enjoy the Midway!

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It's been a little while since we've had a Cora story and this made me laugh out loud Tuesday morning. We are coming to realize that her being everyone's favorite person in the house for her first five years might not bode well for us for her next 15 or so, so we're trying to remember how we raised her generally helpful and responsible big siblings. Turns out it involves a lot of work and consistency and follow-through (and not having older siblings who just cheerfully do everything for you) and we kind of forgot about all that.

So, over the last few years she has developed many creative and sneaky ways to get out of cleaning up her messes (putting away 10% and pulling a "Mission Accomplished," claiming with confidence that only the original owner of the toys - never her/#ThirdBaby - has a lifelong responsibility to clean them up, putting her toys away in new and non-approved locations, some of which frequently require more work than just putting the damn things back where they go...), but we’ve been trying to crack down. On Monday night we told her in no uncertain terms that she was to clean up ALL her toys and put them back where WE have told her they should go.

On Tuesday morning I noticed our bunch of bananas had grown by one and I appreciated her subtle resistance to our orders.

And then on Wednesday, she pulled some more third-baby-logic:

Cora: Mom, look at my lovey I brought to school today!
Me: Oh, that's nice... wait- isn't that Landon's falcon?
Cora: Yes, but I put Claire's doll clothes on him so now he is mine. Isn't he so cozy?

I should note that this logic does not break the "whoever the toy belonged to originally should have to pick it up" Cora-rule. Obviously.

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Moving on! Maggie got a new dog blanket and she loves it and would like one on all her (five) beds please. I have not made a single online purchase for anyone in this family since December 21st. I have not been inside a Target since December 23rd. We made substantial and occasionally harsh cuts to our personal budget during the furlough and I'm hoping to stick with it through our next credit card bill.

But in the last week five boxes have been delivered to our house. 100% of them have been for the dog. She deserves them.

She had her first appointment with our vet on Friday and I finally read through her full medical history with the rescue club and it was heartbreaking. She was found collapsed under a tree in July in 105 temperatures. She had a fresh c-section scar, the chemical burn, and had either escaped from or been dumped by a bad puppy mill. At less than 4, her body showed a clear history of too many litters too fast, especially for her little frame. She was heartworm positive with two infected ears, an infected tail, and several infected teeth. The teeth and tail were removed, four inches of belly skin and scar tissue was removed, and she was spayed and treated for the heartworm. At every entry, after any medical jargon, the always vet noted "patient is very sweet" and she IS. We love her so much.

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Now that I'm back at work and pleasant to be around again, AND now that our missed paychecks are being processed, James and I got to go on our fancy holiday date night! Originally scheduled for December 23rd, it was regretfully canceled when furlough became a reality, but very joyfully rescheduled for last night. I wore a new dress my mom had bought me in October, gorgeous 4" Ann Taylor heels I bought on clearance for $8 in 2009 and keep faithfully in a plastic box in my closet for just such occasions, and carried this beautiful purse I inherited from my aunt/godmother after she passed away two years ago.

It was an excellent evening. There is nothing I love more than a fancy and delicious date night with my favorite person at our favorite place. We ate all the things and talked and flirted and enjoyed our first night out without our children since October.

And then on our way home we stopped to pick up Landon from a friend's, except he decided to spend the night, so I hopped out of the car to play with my mama friends and James took Landon home for a change of clothes and other necessities. Then I accidentally stayed over for two more hours before coming home to a James who had just finished a terrible show I didn't want to watch and was now ready to cuddle. It was the best night.

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And now on to recipes! (Cora just announced to me, with a sigh, while eating lunch, "Mom. I think I'm getting close to not liking pickles. I mean, I still like them right now. But maybe not tomorrow." Luckily, there are no pickles in this meal plan.)

Sunday: Pizza rolls, lots of them, in many varieties, for a Superbowl Party I asked a friend to have so I could go to one.

Monday: Black bean and veggie enchiladas, mexican rice. I made these up a little while ago - chopped zucchini, yellow squash, carrot, onion, and garlic, sauteed in a bit of olive oil, cumin, and chili powder. Add drained black beans and shredded Monterrey jack cheese and scoop the mix into tortillas, roll, and top with a verde cream sauce (jar of verde salsa simmered with some cream cheese to make it creamy). Bake. So good.

Tuesday: BBQ chicken sandwiches, chips, fruit. I'll be at a PTA meeting, and James and the kids love this meal more than I do, plus it's super easy for them to pull together when they get home late from swimming.

Wednesday: BBQ chicken quinoa salad. Claire's most beloved meal. Leftover bbq chicken over quinoa with black beans, corn, chopped avocado, tomato, and cheddar cheese. Top with a swirl of ranch and/or bbq sauce. Chips on the side for some crunch.

Thursday: Pasta with tomato cream sauce, garlic bread, steamed frozen veggies. I have a future 6th grade parents meeting (how could that possibly apply to me?), so I'll be gone once again and this is another meal James loves more than me. (I like it very much; James could eat it daily and loves making it.) And it comes together fast for when they get home at 7.

Friday: Lemon chicken orzo soup. We loved this so much last week we're having it again on the day our weather is supposed to drop 50 degrees.


  1. We too went to the stock show and my Landon sized only child refused EVERY. SINGLE. RIDE. I was perturbed and a bit relieved. We looked at chickens and cows and exhibits and went home.

  2. That purse is so gorgeous. I love it.