Monday, November 11, 2019

Just a Weekend in November

Hello from my long lost corner of the interwebs! As I note at the beginning of nearly every, increasingly rare post these days, life has been busy. Occasionally overfull, occasionally angsty, but honestly just about as full and wonderful as I ever hoped for this phase of life to be.

This past weekend is a good example.

I got out early from work on Friday in honor of the holiday weekend and spent my two bonus hours making treats for Cora's birthday party on Saturday (unicorn horns from pretzel rods which were more trouble than they were worth and turned into unicorn white chocolate chex mix instead; #ThirdBaby). That night was another round of Cotillion for Landon. 1950's theme, which meant he wore jeans for the first time since preschool. Cotillion: teaching my tween the box step, salsa, and jive, and expanding his wardrobe one themed night at a time.

Our elementary school had their Fall Fest, so the girls were very excited about that. Since nearly everyone had younger siblings attending, we had the middle schoolers meet there for their mandatory pre-Cotillion picture in their old cafeteria and they planned to return after to join the fun as the Big Kids on Campus. Unfortunately Landon opted to be unusually rude and disrespectful for the entirety of that Friday afternoon so he had to be dropped straight back off at home after the dance. He was displeased, and as I worked the ticket booth later that night, freezing my toes off and watching his friends run around, I was sad too. But words and attitude matter, and it's our generally thankless job to teach him that.

The girls had a blast. We basically never saw them as they ran around, spent tickets, and hung out with their friends for three hours. I didn't get a single picture. It was exactly as an elementary fall fest should be.

On Saturday I subbed a group yoga class at 9 a.m., which was absolutely wonderful. The thrill and joy and... power I get from teaching each class remains unmatched by anything else I do. Claire had a volleyball game at 11:30 and then we hosted Cora's unicorn painting birthday party at 2. Landon, eager to restore balance to the universe, helped me prep for the party and later, when a guest arrived with their gift showing through the gift bag, Landon raced it into the house, augmented it with our own tissue paper, and assured me in whispers that the gift was now hidden and would still be a surprise for Cora.

Because yes, my third baby is turning 6 (officially, tomorrow).

Maggie was HERE for a unicorn theme.

"Are you here for my party?"

Cora was SO excited to host a party at her house. She hand-wrote and decorated each invitation and gave them to her teacher in great anticipation (we invited all the girls in her class).

Five girls were able to make it and the painting was approached with all due seriousness. They worked very hard and we finished each off unicorn bank with a spray of silver sparkly glaze.

Cora, our painstaking and independent little artist, never actually finished hers, but luckily she lives here and can complete her masterpiece at her own pace.

Her much anticipated rainbow cake was "chocolate with chocolate inside and chocolate on top." #CostcoCakesForever

It was a great afternoon of cake, painting, unicorn horn headband decorating, snacking, and running around in circles outside and screaming.

We cleaned up and then the big kids helped Cora understand how to play with her new presents, a long-held sibling tradition.

One of the greatest joys of my life is how much they continue to genuinely enjoy each other.

Landon went to hang out with a friend for the evening while we ordered carry-out pizza and snuggled in for a movie with the girls. (Fittingly, The Last Unicorn, which is one of those classics I think you need to see for the first time when you're young, because omg is it terrible. Cora loved it.)

On Sunday I got up around 8 to find the kids in the living room playing with Cora's new horse set (still "helping," obviously). I sat at the table with my tea to plan out the week's meals and make the grocery shopping list. James went to go swim. The big kids went to go ride bikes and try to find friends along the way and I got Cora started on her thank-you's. The thank-you's are an arduous process, not because she doesn't want to write them, but because she wants to write a mid-length, illustrated novel for every single one. After nearly two hours she had completed 3 and we declared it an excellent start. Meanwhile I finished up a photo book for my grandfather's upcoming 90th birthday and created an ornament commemorating Maggie's first Christmas because by spending an extra $3 I could save $35 on shipping. Maggie is going to love it.

I went to go teach my yoga and barre classes and, the big kids having just returned from lunch, James gathered up all his ducklings to to take Landon's bike to a bike shop (apparently his brakes no longer worked? something we only learned when I asked him why the soles of his shoes were worn off), get groceries, and return some library books.

When I pulled up in the driveway 2.5 hours and 2 classes later, the big kids had returned, now with two additional tweenagers in tow and they were all playing tag in the front yard. Then they disappeared again. Cora was back to her thank you notes, but quickly abandoned them to go help James start the weeks-long process of hanging lights in our giant oak tree. The next hour was me going in and out of the house depending on whether James needed someone to hold the ladder, Cora playing "scientist" in the dirt ("my hands are SO dirty mom. That's because I'm A SCIENTIST!"), and Maggie standing guard directly under the giant ladder that would absolutely crush her if it fell.

At 4:45 I got a text from a friend about a mile away letting me know that the kids were at her house "resting" before they headed back home. She noted that it was Claire wanted her to text me so I didn't worry and to ask if here was a time they needed to be home. Because in a gaggle of tween boys, the 9-year-old girl was the only one looking out for the mom. At 5:15 they biked up the driveway, flushed and sweaty and triumphant after their afternoon of gallivanting and my heart burst a little at their afternoon looking a lot like my every weekend afternoon growing up.

We made dinner - a new recipe that was delicious - while Cora "cleaned up" her horses and the big kids helped and chatted. James rolled meatballs, I sliced a million tiny baby bell peppers. The meal was GREAT. Landon started doing the dishes a few months ago (Claire empties the dishwasher, Cora clears the table) so James and I get to sit and chat when the meal is over while our elves clean up dinner. It took 12 years of time and training, but it's pretty great now.

We closed out the evening on the TV room couch, reading Cora her book before bed (she goes down at 8:00-8:15), playing Uno with the big kids (Claire goes to bed at 8:30; Landon goes to his room at 9:00 and then reads until 9:30), and taking selfies. Landon loves that.

And that was the weekend! It was great. Full, fun, flexible, and everyone got to do the things they wanted to do. It just doesn't lend itself to a lot of time for reflection, uploading photos, and/or opening blogger. At 9:30 last night when such a thing was possible, I did actually upload photos, but that was the furthest I got before answering some PTA e-mails and making our ski rental reservations for Christmas. At 10:00 I opted for a very hot bath and a few more chapters of the latest Nalini Singh book, Archangels War. It's fine, but I'm in desperate need of a new smart, fun, action-filled series and/or for a few authors to step up their publishing schedule (Kresley Cole, I'm talking to you! where is the final book of my Arcana Chronicles series? Ilona Andrews, you're on pace, but I would really like an early production of the 2nd Elara/Hugh D'Ambray novel, thank you). Then it was 10:40 and we thought we should be responsible and go to bed. I took Maggie out for her nighttime potty break, tucked her into her fluffiest bed, and then high-fived James because it was before 11 (10:59!) and that's a persistent, rarely met goal of ours.

Today is Veteran's Day and a federal holiday. One of two holidays all year where my children are in school and I am not at work. I am doing many things later- each child has an event or activity tonight (4:15 gymnastics for Cora, 5:00 swimming for Landon, and 6:00 PTA performance for Claire) and a pumpkin vegetarian chili has already been prepared and placed in the crockpot, but until I pick up the girls at 3, I'm sitting on the couch snuggled under a fuzzy blanket while the temperature drops 30 degrees outside. My freshly washed bulldog is snoring nearby, wrapped in a comforter because I thought she looked cold. I could be doing other productive things, but instead I canceled a 10:00 orangetheory class and am probably going to not go to the 12:00 yoga class I planned on because while I love nearly every minute of our crazy, busy, big-kid and community-involved life we're living, I've learned to savor the quiet.

I'm sitting in unnecessary yoga clothes watching a completely terrible Netflix holiday movie, finalizing my 2019 holiday card, and reviewing my Christmas shopping spreadsheet (nearly done!). I ordered all four of our family photo book last week (HUZZAH! Unlimited free pages promotion taking a total of $760 for four, full-color, 105-page books to $85, which is insane and worthy of a champagne toast in and of itself). Things are moving, largely inside my computer, but at this exact second, I am not.

Spirit animal


  1. I am in the most annoying reading slump right now, so I'm re-reading the Ilona Andrews books, which you introduced me to, so thank you! I also just discovered the most awesome podcast. It's called Fated Mates, and the first season was all about IAD. And then they do interstitial episodes where they talk about romance and feminism and writing and it's like it was made for me personally :)

    We live in a kind of spread out area, and as much as I love our house and our privacy, it does bother me that my son is missing out on the joys of tearing around the neighborhood with a pack of friends. So glad that there are still kids getting that experience. Also, Maggie's cute squishy face is making me smile.

  2. Oh my gosh! Love your posts. I always check. Sounds like a good weekend with some relaxing thrown in! Finally. You needed that.