Wednesday, June 5, 2019

All the Other Things- and Food!

I've been going through my pictures while watching Dead to Me on Netflix with James. Turns out, when you're not blogging, you're not so good about downloading, culling, and editing your pictures on a weekly basis. I found a few that didn't make it into my already-too-long "I'm Back!" post and though I'd toss them in here. Then maybe we can move on to the present day? Or the future. I did just decide we're going to Curaçao for spring break next year and that's considerably more exciting than the lengthy to do list I have waiting for me at work tomorrow or the fact we need to leave the house at 6:15 a.m. for our first swim meet of the season on Saturday. But maybe less exciting than the new bandanna Maggie got for Pride month.

Maggie believes love is love.

Probably because Maggie IS love.

But back to things that happened during the period I pretended my house didn't have access to the internet. Like Take Your Kids to Work Day 2019!

I thought maybe Landon should go to school this year, but he was AGHAST at not being included and so cheerfully tagged along to his 7th SEC TYKTWD event.

He absolutely still has no idea what I do at work, but they all continue to find my 19th floor view very impressive. I keep trying to remind them they jumped around in a glass box hanging off the 103rd floor of the Sear's Tower, but I enjoy their sense of wonder at my lobby.

Particularly since we had one of the FBI agents we frequently work with come give a talk and the main takeaway was his job is WAY cooler than ours. (Because it IS.) But they're on a much lower floor of a less cool building, so ha! Who needs a shiny golden badge and criminal authority?

Landon also had his Math Bee Champ ceremony for the district and climbing championship competition. Possibly around the same time? May is a blur.

The Math Bee ceremony was adorable. All these little Math Bee champs at tables eating chick-fil-a and playing math games before walking across the stage to get a medal and gift bag. Despite eating 20+ chicken nuggets, Landon was "starving" so I told him I'd be happy to take him out on the way home for anything he wanted. "Anything?!" he asked, doubt in his voice. Filled with math-based love and pride, I responded, "Anything." "Awesome! Can we go to Albertson's for pepperoni bagel bites and two kiwis?"

And so that is what we did. I ended up going out for a late BYOB Thai dinner with a friend after he was in bed, but who can argue with a delighted kid and a $3.50 price tag?

His climbing competition, which was maybe the next day?, was also great. It's Ropes season which means the climbs are much higher and longer and harder. The ropes are there so you don't die when you fall, not to support you along the way, so you have to hold your grips for way longer. Landon can give you lots of technical terms I don't understand, but mostly you crane your neck up really high and hope he's doing well because you don't have the knowledge to judge for yourself.

He can't wait for Bouldering season to start again, but we're making him take a break for the summer. He'll have swim team and we don't need another expense/time commitment. But rejoining the team is making him countdown to the day school starts in a way that knowing he's also signed up for Cotillion is very much NOT.

We also had our finale Casa Manana children's play which was excellent as always. And reminds me, we need to sign up for next season. I'm not emotionally prepared to be talking about deadlines for events that start in September. (Unless it involves vacations, in which case, let me show you these three rental houses I've already picked out 10 months early, thank you.)

Oh! speaking of things I love, the rainbow colors of the new art room inspired me to finally organize all my printed photos in the house!

You see, I had this drawer of shame in the buffet that holds our wedding china and crystal and it was filled to the brim with photos from 1983 to the present. And even though no one knew it was there, it weighed on my soul. The weight increased with any random photos I tossed in there when switching out frames but it wasn't a weight I felt I could lift. Until I found this rainbow organizer at Michael's 50% off.

I bought two, put on Step Up, and organized the shit out of those photos. A label maker was involved. And wine. Things got crazy.

(the blondie in the back is me, circa 1986)

The next day I went through all the kids memory boxes and cleaned them out and re-organized them. They each have one bin with really special items from their lives so far - maybe a memorable pair of shoes (like Claire's pink star cowboy boots), or special cards, outfits, books, etc. Things that will forever evoke that child and specific moments or time periods in their lives. Landon discovered this tiny pair of shoes he got from someone much fancier than us when he was born and was DELIGHTED by their tinyness.

Then I labeled all the drawers in the rainbow art room.

My label maker is exhausted.

Something my kids very much are NOT. I worked from home today because our dishwasher was supposed to be delivered (for the third time; but this time it WAS and dishing are washing - ON THEIR OWN! - as I type) and man, were they an enthusiastic bunch of puppies when they got home from James's 3-hour swim camp. They had some reading time and then swam more when our nanny came in the afternoon. Then dinner. Then more swimming. I know that I used to be like this, but now I literally can't imagine expending that much energy.

Thank god for the pool. It's like a hamster wheel for children. I sit on the side and supervise while they splash and play until I'm light-headed from the mosquito-induced blood loss.

Okay, it's 11:00 and time for me to go to bed (to read until an irresponsibly late hour), but first, our dinner tonight was amazing and it reminded me that I haven't done a recipe post in forever! So here's our meals this week (it is SO HARD to make myself come home and cook in the summer; something about the weather and pool time just makes me feel like we should eat out, but thanks to the dishwasher/transmission/oral surgery situation, we are being VERY good about eating all our food from our own kitchen. If you have any exciting recipes, please send them along. It's getting harder and harder to resist the siren call of the taco shop down the street.):

Monday: Roasted Veggies and Sausage, Parmesan Orzo (boil, cook, and drain orzo, toss back in pot with some butter, garlic salt, and parmesan cheese; stir until melted. So simple. So very delicious.)

Tuesday: Claire's Birthday Dinner! She could choose anything she wants and went with BBQ Quinoa Salad, much to her siblings disappointment. She was DELIGHTED. (BBQ shredded chicken from the crockpot, black beans, corn, quinoa, diced tomatoes, avocado, shredded cheese, cilantro, squeeze of lime, swirl of ranch and/or BBQ. Eat with chips). She requested chocolate chip cookies and mint chocolate ice cream for dessert, so that is precisely what we had.

Wednesday: Greek Turkey and Rice Skillet, naan (from TJ's frozen), feta, extra kalamata olives, and sliced cucumber, tomato, bell pepper on the side.

Thursday: Pasta with tomato cream sauce, frozen meatballs, steamed broccoli. End of the week simplicity right there. I've learned my limits.

Friday: James and I are going out on a date for the first time since mid-February. The kids will eat something from the pantry and they'll love it more than anything else I've made this week (except Claire re: her quinoa salad, which comforts me).

Have a great rest of your week- it's only 24.5 more hours until Friday!


  1. So glad you're back! Everyone looks lovely as usual, and that art room is amazing!

  2. Oooh Curaçao! Also, the amount of rainbow items in this post is thrilling.

  3. Cotillion? Please explain! Also "light headed from mosquito induced blood loss" * snort *

    1. I second this question! From what I could find online, maybe it's classes that teach you how to be fancy? Which sounds great for middle schoolers, and also I wish I knew how LL keeps finding these unique but awesome extracurriculars and summer camps.

    2. Ha, it's a set of lessons on manners, etiquette, and dancing. A local dance studio puts them on and parents organized a group of 100 (50 girls, 50 boys) to be able to sign up (it was first come first serve). It's a set of 8 lessons, once a month, throughout the school year on the first Friday evening of the month. As I understand it, each lesson has a different theme for the dancing (sock hop, waltz, country, etc.). And then after each lesson there's an "after-party" for the kids sponsored by a few sets of parents. My general understanding is it's very social and the kids also learn some things. When I told Landon he was doing, he was horrified. I told him he could make new friends and his response was, "I already have friends. I have the BEST friends. I know- I checked them all out before picking them!" Nonetheless, he's going, and it's going to be great.

  4. Welcome back!!

    I don't know if you've ever tried any of the meal kit delivery services like HelloFresh or Blue Apron, but my husband and I started trying them out a few weeks ago after years of deriding them as overpriced and not really much of a time saver.

    I *still* think they're a bit pricey, but that's partly because our idea of "eating out at a fancy place" is Macaroni Grill, and "expensive" = $15/dish. I took advantage of a Blue Apron special of $20/the first 12 meals each, and was hooked. (Unfortunately, gone are the days when they used to offer the first x meals free.) It turns out that, while I love to cook, with a full-time job that often requires travel + caring for 4 fur-babies (one of whom has cancer), we've actually gotten into a rut when it comes to our meal planning, so this was a wonderful way to try out new recipes without having to worry about ingredients that I may never use again.

    It works especially well for us now as we're in the middle of moving to a new house, and just about everything we have save for a couple of suitcases of personal items, is in storage. Our temporary home has all the basic kitchen essentials, which turns out to be all we need to try out all the dishes.

    Anyway, just a thought! I calculated that each meal (for the 2 of us) comes to just over $11/person which is such a huge bargain, and it has never taken me more than 20 minutes of total prep time (some of them take even less than that).

  5. This comment is not important!

    First, I am SO glad you are back.
    But also, I keep getting ebates emails and don't you think Rakuten or whatever is the worst possible name?!

    1. Thanks Michelle!! And YES I HATE the new name. Why did they change it? It is terrible and I keep being surprised to find it where my Ebates app should be! (Though at least it still works the same!)