Monday, February 18, 2019

Catch-up and Collages

Alright, it's been 12 days since we had a substantive update and since there are 6 of us now and Maggie count for at least 7 children in terms of picture-volume, I had to make some collages. Even I know that no blog post should have more than 30 pictures in it. 30 separate, individual pictures. I have the day off, the kids have school (working mom win!!), I'm on my 3rd cup of Earl Grey tea, Maggie is snoring beside me, and The West Wing is on TV. It's time to check in with the Lag Liv family.


First of all, Maggie remains simply the best.

She sits with her tiny feet tucked in between her big front paws and it is my favorite thing. Such a lady. Such a delicate balance of weight distribution. She's very skilled.

Through an intense campaign of constant pets and praise, I have eclipsed James's status in her adoration. I'm first and I'm very proud of this. I tried to take a selfie with her when I got home from work the other day, but she needed snuggles and filled my camera's view finder with her love.

It's been chilly here. Maggie has discovered that her bed in our bedroom (as opposed to her beds in every other room of the house) is located directly under the heat vent.

She resists strongly any suggestion that she should move from this spot when it is below 50 outside.

We've had a few struggles with accidents in the house. Apparently it's hard to resist peeing in a really soft bed, so we have new beds of mesh that do not invite a sprinkling of urine with their soft fluffiness. And also maybe we maybe pooped a few times indoors, but no one's perfect.

But! We've upped our reward game for outside pottying (deli turkey; so delicious), we keep the girl's door closed (the pink carpet just calls out for some pooping, who can resist?), and we're on a routine and we're doing GREAT! 3 days accident free. We're going to put up a sign like a factory floor.

Spa Day!

We had our first session with our dog trainer last week and she did so great. In the words of our trainer, "Maggie strikes me as a sweet little girl that just wants to know what is expected of her ahead of time. I believe training is going to be simple and easy as long as you are consistent and rewarding. She likes the communication and she likes to learn."

Learning makes her tired, but only because she works so hard. We've got "sit" down, "follow" is 95% effective (sometimes we're just too tired to follow, what can you do), and "leave it" is going great. We've got her completely out of the walk-in pantry and though we started scratching at closed doors, we now leave them be. Training is amazing. She's deaf, so we have to be very consistent with the hand signals, but she's really doing great and I think she gets comfort from seeing the expectation and then knowing she has fulfilled it. I completely understand; knowing you've checked the right boxes is very pleasing.

She continues to be so chill and patient with all children and dogs. It is such a relief, we can literally take her anywhere and she's just happy to be part of the team. I had to take Landon and I friend to school early one day last week (they're on News Crew and do the video announcements broadcast to the school in the morning) and Maggie came along. It was early for her (she prefers to wake up about 8:30), but she kept everyone safe and loved.

She got a new hoodie last week (it's important to change up your wardrobe to match the holidays before you) and I told her to strike a pose.

Sexy beast.

We've been trying to introduce her to toys, but she doesn't understand why you would use your hand to hold a toy when you could be using your hand to pet her.

But we persisted and she now almost likes this heart. Sometimes she even gnaws on it. We make sure it follows her wherever she goes.

Couldn't care less about the bone; almost cares about the heart

Moving on to the humans, Landon was home sick from school one day last week for a short but sudden for a stomach bug. He felt pretty terrible, but assured me when I got home from work that "Maggie got a LOT of love today mom. A LOT."

We all know what's important. Valentine's Day was Thursday and it is one of my favorite days. The kids worked hard writing their names on their Target Valentine's. Landon went with a surprise taco-themed pick; Claire was unicorns and jungle animals; and Cora went princesses, obviously.

As always, we decorated the table the night before. I love our traditions- the kids LOVE our traditions- and one of the best parts (for me, as the orchestrator of traditions) is how simple they are. We've had that $3 heart table cloth for years. The kids' plates were purchased two years ago at the Target dollar spot and the kids can no longer remember a Valentine's without them. The heart garland was taken by one of the kids after a school party years ago. I keep it all in a plastic bin labeled "Valentine's Day" in our closet and it's taken out once a year for just that day. I will use those plates in high school. Traditions are the best.

James picked out special cards for each kids; the girls got a nail polish and Landon got gummies. I sprinkled a new kind of Hershey Kiss I wanted to try on the table. Joy and happiness exploded all around when the table was discovered at 6:50 a.m. We took our traditional Valentine's Day picture.

Dinner was pink pancakes for the kids and a fancy steak dinner for James and I after they were in bed, along with pink champagne and the best vanilla cake. And a new Top Chef. You can practically see the pink puffy hearts floating in the air.

On Friday, Cora's school hosted a Valentine's Dance and it was the cutest. All week she had been showing us dances she learned in class and she was SO excited and so precise and I wondered for the millionth time why she decided to quit both ballet and gymnastics, but the complex workings of Cora's mind are not meant to be understood so I moved on.

James picked up corsages for the girls and canceled his last two lessons so he could pick us up on time. We were all so excited about our date. Cora picked out my outfit and both girls got to wear a necklace from my jewelry box. (Landon was at a friend's house playing video games and eating flaming hot cheetos; we were all living our best lives.)

Cora felt strongly that she needed to eat first at the dance, then find all her friends, and THEN dance with her daddy. Claire found the older brother of one of Cora's classmates who is in her class, and was in fact captain of her BOB team, and they chatted the whole dance. I took this picture covertly. It was the very cutest.

We enjoyed an after-party at our fave taco place and then I hung out at my friend's kitchen island bar while we opened a bottle of wine pretended we were going to make the boys pack up and leave any minute. One hour later I drove him home.

And he did need to go home because he had a climbing competition the next morning! In Tyler, 2.25 hours away! James drove him and they listened to podcasts and generally bonded. Landon got second (!!!) in the comp- his second ever with ropes, and, he was quick to point out, he's the youngest in the age group. The boys who got 1st and 3rd were thirteen mom. THIRTEEN! He, for the record, is 11. Climbing remains his great joy and we're loving getting to know this new sport. (As long as he keeps it indoors and not on the side of El Capitan or wherever his dreams are currently taking him.)

My work is going well. I'm thankful we've averted another shutdown and I appreciate the transparency that comes from just admitting we need to spend billions of tax payer dollars for the idiot wall instead of lying about Mexico paying for it. I also look forward to the next Democratic president being able to declare National Emergencies over climate change and gun control since we can declare those whenever we want now.

I spent the last week with my door closed writing and escaped only for some lunchtime yoga that made my makeup smear all over my face and wonder why I'd bothered at all, especially since I literally spent all day with my door closed.

In other news, we enjoyed our Casa Manana children's play last weekend. The next one in the series is a magician and Landon is SO EXCITED. I have to admit, I am too.

Yesterday was a lovely lazy day. The girls and I had done all our errands while the boys were driving across Texas for the climbing comp, so we didn't have much on our to do lists. We played games, Maggie learned that she likes a good fire, and the girls had friends over at various points.

I taught my barre class and then afterward went to see "Isn't it Romantic" with my mamas. It was cute and silly and a perfect culmination of my years of watching romantic comedies. I didn't get any pictures of my ladies, but I did get my movie prep documented.

For the rest of my day off (all 5 hours that are left before the kids are done with school; it goes so fast!), I plan to go to yoga, stop by Half Price Books to find Claire some more books (she's flown through the first four Betsy, Tacy, and Tib books and it makes my heart SO HAPPY), go to the Disney store to get Cora and my niece this swimsuit which was Cora's favorite two years ago and which they've brought back and I feel strongly both girls need one and it's the Friends and Family sale (they won't get these suits until Easter, but I like to be prepared), and then pick up the kids and take them to their various activities. I will also spend at least an hour petting the dog. It's going to be a busy one.


  1. I'm so happy that Miss Maggie has become such an integral part of the LL family! She's an absolute doll!!! How were the kisses? I saw a bag at Target and didn't purchase them (Lava Cake flavor, right??), and now I regret it since I can't find them anywhere anymore...sheesh, Valentine's Day is just barely over, but I know it's all on me that I didn't take a chance.

    1. Yes, that's what they are and they are so good! I mean they're not so good that you need to regret missing them for the rest of your life/year, but they are great and if they come out again next year you should definitely get some!

  2. Hello! I would like to become (as silly as it sounds) a reader. Since you are an passionate reader do you have any advice for me? I read maybe 10 books a year and it's not like I don't have time but I spend it mindlessly scrolling away.

    1. Yes! Read something really frivolous and really fun and that is 100% purely for entertainment. Find one in my book list-- the In Death series is great for a futuristic murder mystery flair, or Outlander is addictive historical fiction, Montana Sky by Nora Roberts is a great intro to romance... there's so many good books out there. What do you think you'd be interested in? What kind of TV do you like? Don't pick a book for the betterment of your mind, pick a book that just sounds like fun :).

  3. I just can’t even with Maggie... that tongue. That look on her face in front of the fire! All the heart eyes ever for that cute mug. : )

    And the wristlets on your girls!! So so cute.

  4. I have a daughter who (like Cora) is really strong and coordinated but (also like Cora) doesn't like gymnastics. She just started parkour and LOVES it. It uses all her gymnastics abilities but in a way that she finds more appealing. Just a thought!

  5. Can you link to where you got the mesh dog beds? We're struggling with some incontinence here for our older dog and they seem like a good solution!

    1. Sure the Coolaroo is the original brand for that type of bed, but apparently they've switched to plastic frames whereas the Amazon version still has metal frames and that's much better. They're super reasonably priced- I hope it works out for you! (And if nothing else, they're very easy to hose off!)
      Amazon Outdoor Dog Bed

  6. I am smitten with Maggie's Valentine's hoodie! SO CUTE.