Sunday, July 22, 2018

Almost None of All the Things

This was the BEST weekend. It was 118 degrees outside (for real; it's 9 p.m. right now and still well over 100 which is INSANE and terrible and why do I live here), BUT we didn't have a single thing on the calendar and it was the BEST.

It started on Friday. The kids were finishing their 5th day of golf camp with the temperatures 110 or higher. Claire got frighteningly dehydrated on the first day (headache, listless, uncontrollable shivering during dinner which freaked us all out; a dose of ibuprofen, a bunch of powerade, a warm bath, and cuddles with mom cured her), but some Gatorade powder purchased at 10:00 Monday night fixed them up for the rest of the week. As I explained, this is the rare situation where you need the Gatorade! It's not just a juice/treat, it's literally why it was invented! So on Tuesday they headed off with a half-gallon water jug each and drained it dry by the afternoon. Dehydration defeated.

Anyway, because it was still 110+ and it was their second week of golf camp for the summer anyway, James picked them up right after lunch and dropped them in my office for some air conditioned good times. Unfortunately they quickly realized that my work is not all pizza and playtime like Take Your Kids to Work Day had promised them, but they were happy to watch a movie on their kindles while I organized exhibits for my testimony next week. We stopped for ice cream on the way home. Work may not be as fun as they thought, but spending the money you make is! (Well, when it's on ice cream; not so much with the taxes and mortgage and law school loans.)

Once home, I collected Cora and bribed them all with a movie so I wouldn't have to watch them swim (seriously; it is too hot even for that) and then a new babysitter came over so James and I could have a date night! Hooray!

Date nights are my favorite. Even when we end up agreeing to sit outside to avoid an hour wait and get a free appetizer at HG SPLY. What's a little sweat for free $14 nachos? The frozen Moscow mules were also $5 and we enjoyed them very much. And luckily, my dress was machine washable.

On Saturday we all slept in and James went to swim practice. I made our weekly menu and grocery shopping list and then he took all 3 kids on a whole long list of errands (Academy! Target! Costco! Trader Joe's!) because he's a crazy person who genuinely prefers doing that with a car full of children. Cora got dressed for the occasion.

I luxuriated in the empty house, prepped our crock pot meal (this one), and then went to yoga. By 1:00 p.m. we had accomplished all we were going to accomplish for the day. James and the kids got home around 2, because he likes to wander the stores and waste time in a non-efficient manner (we don't really errand together), and Claire bought a mermaid fin with $20 in birthday money she only still had because she'd lost the twenty for 6 weeks and just relocated it that morning. Claire is not a saver.

We bribed them with more movies to keep them inside, and then James and I laid down and accidentally fell asleep and then I woke up at 6:45 p.m. 6:45!! You guys, I only nap when I have the flu or I'm pregnant (or I'm on the wrong anti-depressant, which I don't think I am anymore). I think the heat had sucked the life out of me and then the hot yoga sealed the deal. Other than being disoriented, I felt kind of amazing. Naps are great.

We ate dinner and followed it with the ice cream treats I'd picked up at Trader Joe's (the "Hold the Cones" are my favorite thing ever; so tiny and perfect) and then read books. Landon finished all 3 books he'd ordered with his birthday money that were delivered on Thursday and now he's bookless yet again.

Today we woke up early-ish (an accidental 3-hour nap will do that to you apparently) and went on a family walk before it hit 100. It was 9 a.m. and already 92, so we just made it. The kids got to swim because Claire was dying to try out her mermaid fin and we said they could stay in the water until it reached 102. James watched them while I did work (testimony prep ftw!) and then I joined them.

And by 11 we were all back in the house. Lunch was eaten, and midway through the meal Cora, wearing her pj's for reasons no one questioned, peered outside and said, "Is it not dark outside?". No, we responded, it's the middle of the day. "Then why am I in my PJ's?!!" she exclaimed incredulously. We did not know. Then she requested her Disney braids be inserted into her hair by daddy because he is the only one who knows how to do it properly. Any time I question the hassle and expense of our Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique visit (and I don't, actually), I look to the fact she still wears these braids at least a few times a week and it is amazing.

I worked a little more and we put Cora to bed for her nap. Then I put James and I to bed, again, because I thought we should test my new hypothesis that snuggly naps under the ac vents on boiling hot days that suck your soul are awesome. I set an alarm just in case because I was teaching a barre class at 1:30 and was shocked to be awoken by the buzzing at 12:55. Maybe the heat is actually killing me?

My barre class was AWESOME. My biggest class yet, with lots of newbies, high energy, great music and lots of sweat. (New favorite song: Miracle by CHVRCHES.) I got home to kids wanting to go outside so we bribed them with another movie because my phone said it was 113 and felt like 118 and just no. Not okay. I forced myself to start a photo book because I'm a full year behind and the kids have spent time EVERY single day for the last two weeks reading their photo books and exclaiming over the stories and pictures and memories and ugh, it's not just me who loves them you guys, but they are such a pain in the ass. Part of what takes me so long is I weave in little snippets from my facebook posts and blog stories along with the pictures and of course that's what both Landon and Claire exclaim every EVERY TIME because their words and stories are hilarious and give them such a snapshot into versions of themselves they don't remember and dammit, I really need to get started on 2016-2017.

But I started a re-read of the third Kate Daniels book instead. Book 10 comes out in August and I'm going to re-read the whole series by then. And THEN I'm going to photo book for realz.

In the theme of delaying work and things that are hard, we randomly decided to go out to an early dinner because it was too hot to cook and I felt a perfect combination of lazy and exhilarated after my barre class. Our Mexican food hit the spot and then we played Monopoly and then we finally let the kids swim again even though it was still too hot but they needed a physical outlet. And now they're in bed, all cozy and tired and they don't have any camps this week because we're leaving Friday for the state swim meet.

This week is going to be super busy at work (two days of testimony in two different cases) and then next weekend is crazy as we drive to College Station then Conroe then back to College Station then to Houston and then back to Fort Worth, but this weekend was GLORIOUS (my other favorite song right now: Glorious by Macklemore and Skylar Grey). So much lounging. So many movies. Two Kate Daniels books. TWO NAPS!

Sigh, it was a really, really nice two days. Now food:

Monday: Fettuccine with Prosciutto and Peas (the linked recipe plus a bunch of cut up prosciutto and frozen peas added at the end).

Tuesday: Chicken Tacos (3 frozen chicken breasts in a crock pot with a jar of salsa, shredded, in tacos with all the toppings), Mexican Rice, Refried Black Beans.

Wednesday: Chicken Chow Mein with extra Veggies (Trader Joe's frozen chow mein with a big bag of fresh shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, and whatever other veggies I scrounge up from the fridge).

Thursday: Black Bean Quinoa Enchilada Bake (probably with the leftover chicken from Tuesday).

Friday: Spaghetti at Uncle Eric's house (I'm sending him a detailed list of ingredients and will make it up when I get there).

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Non-Stop Swimming. Also Partying.

Our last weekend was insane. I'm only just now recovered. Except not really because we had an accidental pool party last night from 7-9 p.m. with about 35 people. It all started with a happy hour at our favorite local taco place that was offering $2 margaritas for the month of July. I hadn't taken advantage of it ONCE and felt strongly about fixing that, so I sent out a text to my mamas and they responded in force. It's 150 million degrees outside this week and my kids are sweating their way through golf camp and I drank my margarita in their honor. I had the second one at home because it was 8:30 p.m. and still 105 degrees outside. The impromptu swimming party was very fun and I spent today recovering from that.

So let's get back to the weekend!

It started with our Regional swim meet all day on Saturday. The boys were in the morning and left the house at 5:45 a.m. The girls compete in the afternoon, so we slept in a bit and left the house at 8 to get cheer on our men. In between we got a delicious lunch and I got a burger as big as my head because I wasn't swimming at all.

Everyone did great. James won everything, as usual, and had QUITE a fan club going in the stands. No one around us knew I was his wife and I caught some pretty hilarious conversations, including some running commentary from an 18-year-old fan-girl who made all her friends come watch his races. Landon got all best times and ended up with two firsts and one second. He doesn't get beat often, so I liked the competition. He'll go to state in the 50 free, 100 IM, and 25 fly. Claire was her usual erratic and speedy self, dropping some time and adding in others, but winning her first-ever Regional race in the 25 breaststroke and making state in the 25 free too! This will be her first state meet. And Cora rocked her 25 free and back without any stress or protests, remained the youngest swimmer in the meet, and even beat a few competitors in both her events.

It was a long, hot day and both girls passed out in my car before we even pulled out of the parking lot. We drove directly to a favorite Mexican place in Fort Worth and managed to order our round of margaritas 3 minutes before happy hour ended. A good day for all!

That night James and I forced ourselves to prep for Landon's birthday in the morning. We did our usual sweet hodgepodge of table decorations and wrapped his gifts.

I cannot BELIEVE he is 11.

He and James went out to get the traditional donuts. The birthday song was sung and the birthday candle-animals blown out. Cards and gifts were opened from my parents, grandparents, and us. He always takes time to read the cards and points out that it was so nice for that person to pick out that one just for him. He was THRILLED to open his fit bit from my grandparents (they're so hip ;). He loved his Under Armor duffel bag from us and then loved it even more when he realized his new Under Armor uniform polo shirts were inside. He had requested them as his only present from us (they're pricey!), but it was so practical I threw in the bag from Ross ("mom now I can pack for all our vacations by MYSELF!") and the Heely's he'd wanted for YEARS. He's easy to please and we like doing it.

My parents added an Amazon gift card to the bean bag chair they already got him so he could buy a few books to read in it. He agonized over their selectino but ended up with a new Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The River (the 2nd book in the Hatchet series which he loved and didn't realize was a series), and the Young Reader's edition of Flags of our Fathers. I'd say that list captures him pretty perfectly.

Presents opened, I ran to the grocery store while everyone else cleaned up, and then we headed to a water park for Cora's school summer party!

It was hot and sunny, but we got there the minute it opened at 11 a.m. and had SO much fun. I love a good water park.

It was just the right size for some big fun slides to keep the big kids busy (and our crazy daredevil water-fish-toddler) while not making me feel like we had to stay with them every second.

Not that Cora ever let us rest; we rode in double tubes with her pretty much non-stop until my legs couldn't climb all the stairs anymore.

And then I left to teach my barre class. James and the kids stayed for another hour or so, while I spent 8 minutes trying to finangle my skintight leggings over my chlorine and sunscreen covered legs. But it was a GREAT class and it did feel good to make myself move and sweat in a new way than I'd already managed that morning.

Then I raced home because we were hosting Landon's birthday pool party at our house in one hour! It's the Sunday that NEVER STOPS NEVER STOPPING.

It was a blast though. Landon took his party theme very seriously and spent quite a while in the party aisle selecting his decor. He settled on a pineapple wearing sunglasses and then picked out table cloths, napkins, utensils, and favors to coordinate. It was all very him.

He invited 7 boys and 4 girls, 10 of whom were able to make it (so rare for a summer party!). We planned our menu of Landon's favorite things (watermelon, pizza, brownies, and these disgusting Taki chips he ADORES and I refuse to buy because they are more radioactively orange than even spicy cheetos and I can't handle it), and, having learned my lesson from last year, I bribed two friends to stay over and drink margaritas and lend moral support and picture-taking angles.

There was general pool time full of chaos and laughter.

Then some relay races and games, which I directed and the kids took VERY SERIOUSLY.

This is my demonstration of how to swim while holding a cup on your head. It's very technical. Don't try this at home.

There was duck-duck-goose with a sponge called drip-drip-drench that was a HUGE hit and resulted in some adorable flirting/non-flirting interactions. When emotionally stable, tweens are the BEST.

Landon felt strongly about the neon sunglass party favors. Pictures were taken.

The girls were photo-bombed.

I wiped neon-orange Taki dust off my baby boy's mouth.

Landon's "cake" was a double layer brownie with double-stuff oreo cookies in the middle. Because why not.

He took a huge inhale to blow out his two candles...

and then choked on the powdered sugar topping.

It was a great afternoon.

Siblings of the party-goers came over after to swim some more before bed and then sometime around 7:30 it was back to just our pack and James and I were laying across the two parts of our sectional couch while Landon opened his gifts on the floor and we tried to stay conscious until we could put them all to bed. We both gave Landon goodnight kisses while he thanked us for the party and his presents and pondered all the treasures he could buy with his birthday gift cards. He's already written his thank you notes.

He is such a sweet kid. We are so lucky. I can't believe he's 11.

Happy Birthday baby boy, we love you so.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Typing So Very Quietly

It's Friday night and we're watching A Quiet Place on our TV and it is SO STRESSFUL. I'm just trying to eat the new tropical flavored Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Kids and type out a blog post and every time I touch my crinkly sounding bag I jump. Typing is nearly out of the question, but I will try to do it without attracting any homicidal aliens.

not related to the previous discussion

This week was full and busy. Last time we talked I was trying on my perfect interview suit outfit only to discover that not a single element of it fit. Luckily my mama friends came to the rescue and I ended up settling on this ensemble of a random black skirt and jacket I bought at TJ Maxx several years apart that are not actually the same shades of black, a pink top from Ross that I bought and then regretted because I never tuck in shirts and wasn't sure when I'd ever wear it, old black heels that I discovered later had lost all the rubber at the end of each heel and clicked metal on the ground with every step, my grandmother's pearl earrings and the pearl necklace my aunt who passed away last year gave me for my 18th birthday. All in all, it worked.

And in addition to my clothes and a sleepless night answering interview questions I kept making up in my head, I had my war paint.

Let's do this. (Nervous pre-game fake smile.)

I taught barre after work and then had to get ready for round 2 of interviews the next day (these after an intense 3 hour block of written exercises two weeks before; promotions in the government are hard to come by. I'll keep you posted if I make it to the next round). After my closet adventures on Monday night I was already resigned to wearing my same "suit" on Wednesday, but I jazzed it up with a different shirt, necklace, and shoes that weren't broken. Dress for the job you want you guys.

Luckily after my second interview I got to meet up with my favorite ladies for a happy hour that was actually at the time of a regular happy hour!! Usually I get together with my mom friends at 7:30 or 8, but James's pool was closed this week for renovations so I got to go somewhere straight after work! The pool closure was not great since you can't make money when you can't teach, but it was fun to know he was getting the kids every day and I could come home to dinner already in progress and/or goof off downtown after work for a little while.

I had my first Mambo Taxi which is a famous local margarita that involves sangria swirl and brandy. Or something. It's very very good, especially when it's $5.

Moms, margaritas, much talking, and sweating outside in a faux-suit I already know I have to dry clean. It was a really, really nice night. I've said it before, but these women restoreth my soul.

Our happy hour ended at 8:30ish (oops) and I came home to find the kitchen spotless, all the kids in bed, and this cake on the counter.

Apparently they all had a part in decorating it and the design was the result of MUCH discussion. I heart them all so much and went to give all the kids laying excitedly in their beds big hugs and thank yous. James got a few hugs and thank yous as well. Putting yourself up for a highly competitive in-office promotion has been a surprisingly vulnerable process and I have felt very loved by my crew this week.

On Thursday I had a day of work without an interview so I wore jeans, just to balance at all the suityness of the week so far. I subbed a TCU barre class to help out another teacher who normally teaches yoga during that time and had so much fun bringing barre to a set of yogis. They'd been warned the class would be different and they all seemed to enjoy it! I mean, no one walked out, so that's a good sign.

Then, as I was walking up the stairs to head home, I saw my favorite swim coach and three of my favorite swimmers through the window of the pool!

Their outdoor summer league practice had been canceled so Coach Dad brought them over to our neighborhood university. I loved seeing them! I took Cora home while her big sibs finished up their practice so we could prep dinner.

It was "Quartino Night" in our house. So named for a favorite restaurant in Chicago where we enjoyed our first-ever charcuterie board in 2006, it's the night when we serve up lots of cheeses, meats, fruits, olives, crackers, and breads. We used to use it as an in-home date night after the kids were in bed when they were little, but now it's one of their very favorite dinners. It's like a picnic! Of all their favorite things.

Cora in particular LOVES a good charcuterie spread. At one point she abandoned the carbs in lieu of "spreading this cheese on this meat, okay mom? I'm just going to eat it like a baby burrito." That's shallot and onion boursin on salami with one happy toddler.

The big kids were in zoo camp this week which they LOVE. It's Landon's all-time favorite camp and in Claire's un-ranked top 3.

They had a fabulous time, saw all the animals lots of times, and made many new friends. One of their best weeks of summer for sure, though I am glad to no longer have to wash those shirts every night so they could wear them again the next day.

Speaking of doing wash, Landon has been doing his since he turned 10. Sometimes James or I will still throw his in to a load we're doing, but 90% of the time he does his laundry from smelly start to folded finish. It hasn't been a big transition- laundry is not difficult, and he's never complained about it, but he does sometimes forget that you need to start it BEFORE you're completely out of clothes.

This past Saturday was one such day. He emerged from his room (always fully clothed; ALWAYS. No pj's outside of your actual bed if you're Landon) in a pair of way too small size medium shorts that somehow survived all my clothing purges, his mickey mouse shirt he has not worn since he was within the walls of Disney's Magic Kingdom, no socks, and also possibly nothing else. He was horrified. Laundry was started immediately, but the morning walk still went on.

Later, properly fitted and Mickey-free clothes now donned, Landon decided to "beat his best planking record" and held a high plank for 12 minutes until his sweat was dripping on the floor and I made him stop because I thought he'd mess up his shoulders. He is so his father's son.

When not randomly planking for inadvisably long periods, Landon is WAY into his crafting. Pixel beads in particular.

Cora had apparently asked him for an "Elsa" and he worked pretty hard to create one. The circle rainbow is also for her. Love it. A panda, whale, tree frog, and dolphin have since joined the collection. He's going to need more beads.

Luckily it's his birthday on Sunday. He'll be 11!! I gave him full creative control over his party which he felt strongly should be "summer themed." He carefully selected plates with pineapples wearing sunglasses surrounded by Hawaiian flowers, napkins with flamingos, bright yellow tablecloths and green polka dot napkins, neon sunglasses for party favors, squirt guns for extra fun, and rubber duckies wearing goggles to use during pool games. He is so excited.

And then there's this nonsense:

Pizza and watermelon (and co-ed crew of 10 friends coming over to enjoy all of the above) not pictured.

Quite the opposite of last weekend we have one million things planned for this weekend. Our all-day Regionals swim meet is tomorrow, with the boys swimming in the morning and girls in the afternoon. I'll make Landon's requested oreo brownies that night and cut up watermelon. On Sunday we wake up to our birthday boy somehow being 11 (11! Have I mentioned this? He's really growing up and it's going by SO FREAKING FAST!) and head to Cora's school-sponsored cabana at a local water park for splashy good times. I'll leave early to go teach my barre class and James and the kids will come home and clean up the patio and start party prep. I get home at 3 and the party starts at 4. It will be a DAY, but a fun one. And then next weekend we have nothing again and I can't wait for that either!