Monday, June 10, 2019

Butterflies and Rainbows and Bulldogs

Summer has blasted off in the Lag Liv household and if May wasn't quite so completely insane, we might feel a little busy right now. But since I didn't spend last Wednesday getting two children to two different activities on the opposite sides of town that both start and end at exactly the same time, without a nanny and/or without a second vehicle for my co-parent, or host three parties in seven days, it felt very nearly luxurious. Maggie though is still EXHAUSTED.

We're hard a hard pack to keep up with, but she generally manages with grace, beauty, and a heart full of rainbows.

Tuesday morning was Clairebear's birthday and she is 9! NINE! This happy butterball baby who we all dubbed Biscuit and who taught us that babies can be easy and fun and who made Landon the enthusiastic big brother he was born to be is now a long, lean, affectionate, cuddly, increasingly grown up big girl.

We celebrated in our traditional family ways.

The breakfast table decorated with things pulled from my dining room drawers, party leftovers, and sacred animal candles and Target dollar spot birthday plate after she went to sleep. Landon woke up early to slice peaches and arrange them in a smiley face for her. He remains a truly dedicated and enthusiastic big brother (92.5% of the time anyway).

She got to open her family gifts- a much-requested and anticipated Instax camera from my parents (like a polaroid! but newer!), an equally requested and anticipated FitBit from my grandparents (I found her jogging in place yesterday trying to beat Landon's step count), and a new Kindle from us because her old one shattered and I selfishly need her entertained on family road and travel trips. An unusually electronic birthday for us, but she is DELIGHTED.

Particularly with the addition of the makeup kit that arrived from my sister.

I also found her a set of Babysitter's Club books on eBay. I'd bought them for Easter but had split the bounty between her basket and her birthday. She hasn't bonded with them yet, but Landon LOVES THEM. It has cracked me up. He's very distressed that after #8 the numbers jump around. How does he know what happened to Dawn in California? When did Jessie and Mallory join as junior members. We'll never know because he had to go from book 8 to 32 and it is a real problem for him.

Also a problem? Understanding the entire premise of all the babysitters being in one room at a designated time with its own separate land line. "But can't they just take the phone with them? Why does it matter what time they're there?" Ah, my 2007-child, there was a time when you could neither make nor receive phone calls UNLESS you were home. And you had to share the same line with all your family members! And no one could call in while someone else was on the phone! So advertising the availability of a group of babysitters at a certain time on a certain dedicated number was a huge plus for any parent looking for one.

I'm still not entirely sure he gets it. I mean, he understands my words, but the extent to which people were generally unreachable from each other even in the modern phone age is pretty unfathomable to a kid who thinks he should get his own cell phone when he turns 12. (No.)

But back to Claire's birthday! She got her traditional donuts with dad in the early morning, got sung to by all of us, opened her gifts, and then packed up and headed to dad's swim camp with all of her siblings while I went to work. Swim camp was great and then I left work early to take her for a birthday manicure and pedicure, courtesy of Papa and Gigi.

And boy did she LOVE it. She chatted away with her technician, giggled through the foot rub, and had lots of questions and comments all along the way. It was a very fun hour spent together and she even got a birthday Sprite to go with my glass of champagne.

Dinner was her beloved BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad and dessert was "chocolate chip cookies with mint chocolate ice cream in the middle." Done. The singing was enthusiastic and our birthday girl felt very celebrated indeed.

Later in the week (I don't know the days; the kids had swim camp every day and I went to work, it was on one of those), one of my mamas down the street closed on a new house entire MILES away. Another good friend lives the other direction down the street and we frequently meet up at night on dog walks or to chat and I was so sad those random meets were ending (with Brooke anyway; Kim, I'm still expecting them). I was sitting on the couch with James in my pj's, face washed, and bra off when Brooke texted- "I'm on my way over. I've got a box of wine, cooler of ice, and Solo cups. Meet me on the curb."

And so we enjoyed a Wednesday night toast in the street lights. Me in my llama pants (now with a bra though), plastic cup of ice and room temp white wine like the classy broads we are. I love my people.

On Friday (apparently I can remember a few days!) James and I went out on a long overdue date. Months overdue, it was a lovely 90 minutes of tasty food and subtle flirting. It's so fun to look up into the face of the person who has been sitting next to and across from you on dates for nearly 18 years and think, you're still my favorite.

On Saturday morning our alarm went off at 5:50 a.m. because it's SWIM MEET TIME!

Maggie met her rude awakening with an appropriate amount of joy. But I managed to carry her outside and make her go potty and then cajole her back inside where I assume she napped for the entire 8 hours we were gone.

I left James in charge of all things swim meet related, cheerfully getting ready while he made the kids breakfast and attended to all the things I normally do before we leave the house. This must be what it's like for him to go on vacation, I thought as I clicked up the volume on my Spotify playlist. He forgot a few things and we left 15 minutes later than hoped, but not a beat did my heart rate rise and I did take pity on him and let him know he'd left the cooler of snacks on the kitchen table as we were pulling out of the driveway. But by 7 a.m., there we were in the team tent, ready to rock summer league meet #1!

I had two of my favorite mamas to keep me company and together we kept the number of events we missed to a bare minimum (we have a lot of children and the walk to get into the pool was long and far from shade). We also wondered how hard it would be to bring along Haley's margarita machine while her husband couldn't figure out why no one was tailgating in the parking lot. It was their first summer league swim meet, but I feel like they might be on to something the rest of us have missed...

It was a Saturday of first for the Lag Liv family swimmers. Landon moved up an age group (11-12!) and swam his first 100 yard free AND first 50 fly.

Claire (still in 8 & Under due to a well-timed birthday) did her first 100 IM and finished with good cheer despite very much looking like she might climb out after the breaststroke (length #3 of 4).

And little baby Cora, in 6 & Under for the 3rd year, swam FOUR events (previous high attempt was 2) including the 25 fly!

She was the tiniest cutest butterflyer and finished the whole length with big smiles and nearly legal form.

She also, OF COURSE, brought her "hard work" to the meet and worked intently in her handwriting workbook any time she was not actively swimming.

Hard work waits for now baby butterflyer.

James swam everything and won it all, as always. He's fun to watch, particularly as he's become more famous in the stands. "Ohh James is about to swim. He was in the Olympics you know." is something I overhear often. It's wrong- he was not in the Olympics, but it's fun to be married to a local super star. I also LOVE that he's always on deck to give the kids some advice, encouragement, and high fives as they swim.

The meet was insanely hot - our first day over 90 this summer and it was an an outdoor swim meet without shade anywhere near the pool deck. It was also very long. We finished around 1:30 and headed home with plans for lunch, followed by naps, followed by margaritas. Or apparently that was the plan for the adults. The kids did without the naps or the margaritas and thus looked like this around 4:00 in the afternoon. Not even Maggie could fix the situation.

Luckily we have a pool and friends nearby. We joined some friends for dinner on a nearby patio and then all ended up at our pool. Cora rallied, Maggie was petted, and the adults drank the leftover margaritas from our last day of school party that I'd frozen in gallon sized freezer bags. Let no margarita go to waste, I always say.

Maggie modeled a really spectacular new unicorn dress and peace reigned across the land until the early bedtime we all insisted upon and no one protested.

On Sunday James and I didn't get out of bed until nearly 9. I couldn't believe the time when I checked my phone. When the kids were tiny I thought this day wouldn't come until they were all in college. Landon had spent the night at a friends and the girls woke up around 8:30. It was magic. I put on my new favorite shirt in honor of Pride month and got to making a meal plan and grocery list while drinking my tea. The usual Sunday morning shenanigans.

We had a few errands, the kids did yard and sprinkler work with James, and I taught my barre class. The kids swam, I prepped dinner, we all watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2. Dallas got hit by an insane storm while we didn't have anything except a sudden, much appreciated drop in temperature. We took Maggie on a walk, unaware that trees and homes were being smashed just 45 minutes away. Weather is weird.

After our short slow walk left Maggie panting, we decided she needed some wagon training (after rest and rehydration, of course) so we could use an alternate means of umbrella-covered transportation in the hot summer months ahead.

Maggie was EXTREMELY unsure about this.

We had many unauthorized exits, but after some practice, a lot of treats, and a LOT of pets, we made it up and down the driveway two times!

Wanting to end on a high note, we all went back inside where Mags got more pets and we all told her we were so proud of her. She couldn't hear our words, but I think she heard them in her heart (and/or her stomach heard them through her treats).

We ate a dinner of my favorite salmon, roasted potatoes, steamed carrots and broccoli, and fresh watermelon. James and I watched the premiere of Big Little Lies season 2 for dessert and it was delicious.

The kids are in running camp this week and this is what we're eating:

Monday: Turkey and Spinach Veggie Lasagna
Tuesday: Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Wednesday: Oven Jambalaya
Thursday: Tricolor Summer Pasta from the Skinnytaste cookbook.
Friday: Leftovers, maybe pizza? Definitely eaten by our pool, probably with other people.

Hope it's a great one! Remember, Maggie loves you!


  1. Love all these updates! The birthday girl (my daughter loves her Instamax, too) & that well deserved date & those swimming videos & #maggieforever! 😍 🌈 Do you happen to have a link for that t-shirt? As a proud mama ally I definitely need that. 😊

    1. Thanks Misha!! And absolutely - it's from Amazon:

  2. Thank you for your return to blogging!
    I missed you!
    I LOVE your t shirt but as I live in NY might perplex people with the use of y'all ;)

  3. What's your cell phone rule? I have always told my daughter "middle school" but now we are one year away from middle school (7th grade where we live), and I'm panicking. As it is, she is one of the few kids in her 5th grade class without one. I'm now suddenly terrified of her having one in another year, but I try to keep my parenting promises. If she gets one in 7th grade, she'll be 12, nearly 13.

    1. Ugh, I honestly don't know. Our middle school starts in 6th grade and he's not getting one now. We've told him maybe 7th, since that's when they start athletics and his school pickup times become more variable. But I'm hoping for the strength to make it a flip phone because seriously, there is not one single piece of medical, sociological, or other academic literature that does not talk about how incredibly destructive phones, screen time, and social media is on developing brains and god knows his brain is still developing!

    2. FWIW, our rule is 7th grade. That is the year they transition schools (our district is largely K-6, 7-12 with some odd ducks mixed in there. OUR school choices are pre-K-6, 7-12). At 7th grade they no longer take school buses but instead our local buses and pick up from after school activities, etc. are required then. I t just made sense BUT adds a whole lot of stress on my behalf because everything you said above is 110% true.
      2/3 of my children got a smart phone when they finished 6th grade. 2/3 of my children are addicted to social media and rarely pick up a book anymore. It's an issue for sure!

  4. There are graphic novel versions of the first six baby sitter club books that have some modern updates. My daughter loves them!

  5. Long time reader but hardly ever (never?) comment. As part of a two mom with 3 children household, I love your pride shirt!

  6. My 12 year olds (triplets) do not have a phone. They will be starting 7th grade at the same Catholic school they've been attending since preschool. They are dropped off at school and picked up from aftercare, they don't ride a bus and my husband coaches the sports team two of them play on. They are never by themselves in want of a way to be in touch with me or me with them that can't be met one way or the other. I'm thinking maybe at the end of 7th grade (right after they turn 13), but I'd prefer to wait until they turn 14. One of my boys thinks I'm mean as many of his friends already have a phone. I don't really care. He has an ipod that will allow him to text when he can connect to wifi.

  7. I was delighted, tickled, and VINDICATED to read about Landon's BSC absorption and volume availability issues! I hope he finds them soon--do the libraries no longer stock?