Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Thursday in the Life and the Beginnings of Holiday Happenings

Last Thursday was a day. They all are really, in this phase of life, but Thursday hit all aspects of my life and ran the full emotional gamut.

It started with a failed attempt to login early to work from my kitchen table because our whole network was down. Our office is being painted so we were encouraged to work from home, and apparently our network couldn't handle quite that much encouragement at once. The morning continued with a few scheduled calls I looked up from my work iPhone and then, once I could log in, moved on to document drafting and emailing.

At 10:00 I drove to the funeral of our dear former nanny's father. At 10:20 I was holding our sweet Tara tight as we both sobbed silently in the church lobby.

I've mentioned this before, but my aunt's funeral two years ago really drove home the importance in showing up for the funeral. I had never met Tara's dad, but she was our nanny for three years and an older sister/young aunt to the kids by the end. She spoke of her dad often- a former DEA agent, now member of the FW police department. He sounded like a wonderful man, dedicated to family and a life of service, and he certainly helped raise an incredible daughter. I hadn't seen Tara in over a year- turns out, she'd moved to Houston!, but I saw her tagged in a post on facebook about the funeral and I knew I needed to be there. And even though I couldn't stay for the service, the way her entire face lit up when she saw me across the lobby and exclaimed, "I can't believe you're here" and then broke down in tears when we hugged reinforced everything I know about why showing up matters. I'm so glad I was able to be there.

Even if I was taking slow breaths in my car and reapplying my eye makeup in the little visor mirror fifteen minutes later because at 11:00 I was scheduled to give a career day presentation to Claire’s 4th grade class. At 11:30 I was doing the same to a group in 5th grade. My job is a little hard to explain, but the kids were very attentive and asked great questions! I grabbed lunch in the library and headed home to work a few more hours. At 3 I used a couple vacation hours to log off early and head out to finish up my Christmas shopping (I hadn't wanted to cancel our after school nanny and my goal as always is to enter as few stores as possible for the entire month of December). Five stops later (mapped on a post-it for maximum efficiency and satisfying cross-off ability) and I was done! At 5:00 I was pulling into the TCU parking lot to teach a full high-energy barre class and at 6:35 I was picking up Claire at the friend's house where she'd been while other two were at swim practice because she (and the friend!) had a volleyball game at 7:00. James, Landon, and Cora met us there and at 7:50 we were congratulating the girls on winning the first game of their tournament and calling in a pizza pickup order- an extremely rare midweek restaurant meal, but it was a perfectly timed fundraiser for Landon's school. At 8:30 I walked in the door with the pizzas and the girls were stepping out of their shower. We all ate, Landon doing homework next to his plate, and everyone was in bed only a little late while I sat on the couch and realized with some shock that it was not Friday and I would need to work again tomorrow.

And though it was a long day full of all the things, as I sipped my glass of wine while wearing my very fuzziest pajamas, I was genuinely just overwhelmingly thankful for a life that is that big and a job (or jobs) and city and family that allow me to live it to the absolute fullest.

On Friday my work-from-home logging in went much smoother this time. Maggie was my coworker and unlike my children, she's totally silent on conference calls, making her the perfect work companion. She also appreciates a good fire and we indulge as much as possible.

Her favorite part of the week remains the Friday pickup from school where she is adored by all.

Cora marched out of Kindergarten wearing a turkey hat, which was delightful.

We should always have a Kindergartner in the house.

On Saturday I taught an early morning yoga class and it was peaceful and strong and wonderful.

After class was a family walk and Maggie was totally annoyed by the pause for a photo. She's quite fit these days and feels strongly about forward movement.

I ran errands after lunch and came across this delightful fellow at an intersection deep in the heart of Fort Worth. I honked and waved.

At 3:00 I had pasta sauce simmering on the stove for any human in the house to periodically stir and I headed over to my friend Sarah's house so she could help me create t-shirts for James's big swim meet coming up next week. (Remember when I posted here that he went 0.01 off his lifetime best to qualify for U.S. Nationals for the first time in 17 years? Well Nationals is finally here!!)

I am NOT crafty, so I'm very thankful for friends with fancy machines who are. Especially when they prepared for the project by sending their husband to the store for rosé.

It took about 4.5 hours (and the opening of a second bottle of wine) AND I had to finish out the ironing at home (an iron I had never before used on clothing, just those plastic perler bead creations of the kids) while watching a Christmas movie until late in the night, but they look AMAZING and I love them.

8 shirts! Sparkly vinyl for the ladies. His company logo on the front and TEAM JAMES on the back for the adults and TEAM DAD for the kids. The meet is in Atlanta and we leave a week from today! My aunt, uncle, and cousin also live in Atlanta and are coming too! He may be the oldest person entered in the meet, but he's also going to have the most stylish section!

On Sunday I was woken up at 7:45 a.m. by an alarmed Claire who told me there was poop and pee on the floor in Landon's room. Maggie was questioned, but could provide no useful information. Was kind of hurt to be asked, to be honest, but loved us anyway.

After that excitement, the kids did our Christmas cards while I decorated the house for the holidays. Maggie put her hurt feelings aside and helped.

Usually I wait until after Thanksgiving, but with Thanksgiving being so late and our trips to Atlanta and Denver in December, we have so few days at home to enjoy the decorations, so up they went! While Christmas carols sang merrily from the speakers and James wore noise canceling headphones.

At some point the kids raked a big pile of leaves. I dropped Maggie in the middle thinking I'd snap a quick classic fall photo.

But she settled in and became Queen of Autumn and it turns out I didn't need to be quick at all.

I think maybe she thought she was camouflaged?

After a while the girls waded in and walked her out so they could take over. I think she misses it.

(She was back hanging out in the pile today; Claire went in to join her. This is her throne now.)

Other happenings of the last few days: quizzing Landon on his spelling bee words (he's constantly asking and I feel like the world's worst parent when I inwardly groan and try to find excuses to get out of it), watching our favorite Christmas movies, teaching yoga and barre, cooking things, working, seeing Frozen 2 in the theater (loved it!), reading our Christmas books that only come out at Christmastime (which, as previously discussed, we've decided is now), feeling jealous of my former self as I look at six years of Thanksgiving trips in my facebook memories (this afternoon we cleaned out the art room, which is almost as cool as jumping into a waterfall and zip-lining through the rainforest this time last year?), and adoring my furriest child.

Oh and I chopped 4+ inches off my hair. Initial reactions ranged from "I don't like it" (Claire) to "Oh mom, is your hair still like that??" (Cora, the next morning), but I don't hate it and it dries a lot faster.

Last night James and I watched Brittany Runs a Marathon on Amazon and even though I despise running and I had hip surgery at 18 and am not really supposed to run and I'm not any good at it despite a body type that promises otherwise AND I inexplicably kicked and bruised the back of my own foot yesterday morning while getting out of my car at work and had to limp all day, I feel like running a marathon is something I must do. Or at least I did last night. In the morning light, I'm skeptical of the plans midnight-me was making.

Maggie was skeptical from the start

Tomorrow we head to San Antonio to eat Thanksgiving dinner with all four of my grandparents, which is something I am very thankful for. I hope you have wonderful Thanksgivings and if the holidays get to be too much,

just take a page from Maggie and step away for a little while. Tuck in and tune out.

And then maybe get a little caffeine. Possibly while wearing festive headgear.

Happiest of Thanksgivings to you all.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Fall Photo Reel

Now that we've caught up on our new 6-year-old (who would proudly tell you she's had all green smiley faces this week because she is NOT talking when the teacher is talking), it's time to go back (and forward!) and recap the rest of October and what appears to be 2/3 of November. Thanksgiving is a week from tomorrow and Christmas is 5 weeks from today! I love this time of year. Countdowns are my favorite and all the big/best days come at you fast from Halloween to New Year's- huzzah!

But! Going backwards- I realized I never blogged Halloween! As usual I put the bare minimum effort into their costumes and everyone had a fantastic time.

Landon was a swimmer (all items he already owned), Claire was Audrey from The Descendants (a reference few got but she was delighted by the fancy Chasing Fireflies dress I got for $12 off our neighborhood buy/sell page), and Cora was a mermaid (thanks to a dress I'd bought years ago on Amazon because it was super cheap only to realize it was super cheap because the sizing was WAY off and I'd only just re-found and the headband I'd bought to wear with my costume last year and then forgot to wear). Claire was THRILLED when I let her wear some of my makeup and suddenly she looked about 15 years old.

Cora also allowed a little eye shadow, which was a first that she had to show off to everyone. For all that she's in to dress up, she's remained staunchly anti-makeup. Also, after much debate Cora, finally deigned to wear a long sleeve t-shirt under her costume in the 30 degree weather even though "mermaids don't wear shirts OR JACKETS." Because realism is important when you're a imaginary/mythical figure.

Maggie was a pumpkin.

I was a mom keeping warm in two coats and a yeti full of hot toddy and James was coming in late from coaching swimming.

His costume was a surprise throwback to his Disco Stu of last year, this time with his dressy Chicago coat I hadn't seen in 10 years. He walked into our friend's house in his 3" fish platforms, open shirt, and a personal Disco playlist blasting out from inside his coat pocket. I'm not sure who this man is, but I love that I get to take him home at the end of the night.

Miles were walked in the freezing cold for candy while parents with booze wagons followed along. It was a great night.

My parents came for a visit that following weekend! We hit some favorite Fort Worth hot spots- the water gardens, The Bearded Lady (Pigmento sandwich- an improbable combination of bbq pulled pork, sharp pimento cheese, and blueberry compote grilled on sourdough- FTW), and Melt for ice cream after.

Maggie loves her grandparents very much and she was appropriately adored back.

We went on a long family walk to the park, with plans to eat our favorite brunch (Blue Mesa buffet forever!) after I taught my yoga class. My mom planned to attend, and at the last minute, my dad joined too! I got to teach both my parents their first ever yoga classes! And they loved it! My dad was so inspired he bought me a handmade mala I've been eyeing in our studio for months and months. It was such a special hour and the mala commemorates so much for me about my sweet studio and my yoga practice and teaching.

Brunch was wonderful and then my parents headed out on their way back to Houston while we wrapped up our weekend at home.

Other highlights:

Cora picked out her big girl bike with my grandparents' birthday money. She dressed to match it and loves it VERY much.

I voted in our local elections because we VOTE IN ALL THE THINGS.

Maggie still picks the girls up from school on Fridays and is still a perfect angel soft and wrinkly therapy dog.

Maggie has turned into a fire worshipping flame goddess.

When the fire is on, she's testing the strength of the fireplace gate. When it's not, she's staring into the cold logs, wondering why the goddess is not blessing her.

It's makes Maggie so happy when the flames deem her worthy of their warmth. Only then can her limbs be fully tucked and her tongue at rest.

Oh! back before Halloween I taught my yoga seminar! I was immensely proud of my stick figure visuals. You can't imagine how little artistic talent I have, so I practiced my stick figures on scratch paper, divided out the poster board with a ruler to play where each figure would go, and did many a pencil etching before committing to marker, but I think they really helped!

The workshop I created was called "The Yoga Dozen" and the idea was to really dive into the most common poses you see in any vinyasa yoga class. My hope was that beginners would then feel comfortable trying group classes, that home-practitioners could get the benefit of the in-person instruction and correction to take back to their mats, and experienced practitioners could get a tune-up on their own form and alignment and maybe find out how they could uplevel those and other postures. And it was so great!!! I was exhausted after the two hours were over, but I had corrected, adjusted, and cued every pose for every person and the feedback was really positive. I love love love teaching this beautiful, powerful practice.

We had a Friendsgiving at a friend's new house and I made the most delicious salad. It was a total pain the neck- I think I was in the kitchen for 4 hours making it after yoga on Saturday, but it was INCREDIBLY good. I highly recommend it, especially if you can get someone else to make it for you.

James has added some t-shirts and hoodies to his online store, something that has required a surprising (and yet not at all surprising if you know him and his obsessive nature) number of hours designing and then photographing them under blinding lights in our sun room.

My grandpa Nordin turned 90 this past Monday, which is a goddamn miracle between being shot down in Vietnam and rescued by helicopter under heavy fire and then having what should have been a fatal heart attack in Wisconsin two years ago. We're spending Thanksgiving with all four of my grandparents next week and I am so very thankful.

I'm less thankful for the fact I'm still really struggling over gaining 10ish lbs over the last year or two and just being a size up/different from what I was two years ago. I'm EXTREMELY annoyed that it really does fuck with my head because every rational part of me knows I look fine, I feel great, and I'm as strong and healthy as I've ever been. But ugh, it is simply the truth that it is a regular struggle to talk myself off a ledge of self-loathing every time I'm reminded of something that used to fit but doesn't or simply fits differently. And then I battle the fact that if I really wanted to work at it, I probably could look the same because I am 100% just eating more than I used to, but I honestly don't want to work that hard or say no to delicious things and I don't really think I need to. But then I put on an old pair of pants and fuck, and so it continues, silently, in my head, on repeat, while I also internally yell that it's so superficial and ridiculous and omg I look FINE and I feel GREAT. And back and forth we go.

So I'm working on being intentionally thankful for the strength and flexibility I've built in my body, and for the love and camaraderie that is wrapped up in the great, whole, often-but-not-always healthy meals I get to cook for my family, and hope that eventually my inner critic will embrace those things too. Because I AM grateful for all of that and I'm deeply annoyed that my psyche is so distracted by the nonproductive self-defeating inanity described in the paragraph above.

Particularly because, as I always try to remind everyone, Maggie loves you (and me). And she thinks we're all perfect.

Even if she wishes you would stop talking to the neighbors on our walk because unlike some people, she's trying to work on her fitness.

Happy mid-to-late November to you all!