Sunday, May 24, 2020

Kids, PSAs, Food, and Happy Bulldogs

Two posts in 5 days? What am I, an almost regular blogger who didn't even stay up until 2 a.m. this morning reading A Court of Mist and Fury?! (Except that I did totally do that.)

I have happy news to report: Maggie's teeth are clean! Because of her history of seizures and her "everything is complicated" bulldog anatomy, and the starting price for full anesthesia tooth cleanings at $800 at a nearby animal hospital, I was on a hunt for a better solution. It wasn't just the money- though, I mean, that's a lot, anesthesia is risky for Mags and if it could at all be avoided for this otherwise routine procedure, I wanted to do that.

Enter Cowtown Canines and their anesthesia free tooth cleaning service! Highly recommended by the woman who boards Maggie when we travel, I talked to the tech who performs the cleanings, took flash-on close-up (utterly horrifying) photos of Maggie's teeth so the tech could make sure they weren't clearly infected (which would then require the hospital), and brought a VERY excited Maggie over to the office on Friday morning. They took Maggie back, I went to Target nearby (my first trip since February; I wore my mask and it was a little surreal and weird but also a little bit nice and normal), and they called me 35 minutes later to say she was done!

And you guys, her teeth are SPOTLESS. They glow like teeth in a toothpaste or sugar-free gum add. Her breath, if perhaps not fresh, no longer smells like a dead and rotting fish and she was totally awake and calm and being petted the whole time. I had no idea this solution even existed until my googling, and I'm so thankful for it. It's not an option for aggressive dogs or if there is infection present or actual dental work is needed, but for maintenance, it's amazing. The bill was $90 and she'll have yearly cleanings for life. Afterward, like any lady in quarantine, she wore her athleisure wear, did not work out, and looked forward to happy hour.

Who knew a successful tooth cleaning could bring me such joy?

To continue with the theme, Maggie got a bath, which she endures, stoically and sadly, until I can wrap her up like a baby seal in a fluffy towel. That moment, she LOVES. If I don't wrap the towels tight enough she bobs her head until I fix it. Who doesn't love some post-treatment pampering?

Her other favorite part is when her bedding comes out of the dryer. It's 90 degrees outside but the a/c is turned down so our bulldog can enjoy her warm towels. She deserves it.

Maggie's recent adventures have apparently reinforced for her that she is my canine co-pilot and she takes her job VERY seriously. I was going to the store yesterday afternoon and she flew out of the house, opening the door with her big head, raced around my legs and jumped nimbly into the driver seat and then over into the passenger seat where she sat, yawned, and looked ready to go. This is a dog who forces me to deadlift her 48 pounds into the car every time we go on a ride. I was cracking up and had to enlist Landon's help in getting her out so I could leave.

In other family news, James met my mom halfway between here and Houston to pick up our human children who'd had an AMAZING time at Camp PapaGigi. I am DEEPLY grateful for the break we got- for the break THEY got- and from that place of gratitude I will note that I think we perhaps needed 12 more days apart. I hadn't realized, in the moment, how much we were all wearing on each other until we stopped. And things have been really good! Generally very smooth and the kids play so well together and there's been very little fighting or problems at all. And yet, the ability for me to just WORK, to close my door and write and research for 8+ hours was so needed I didn't even break for lunch until nearly 3 p.m. one day. And for James, to just work on swim school stuff, answer emails, be on the phone, run his Board meetings... other than my evening daytime TV watching, we mostly just worked a lot and it felt GREAT. The constant awareness of the kids and their needs, not at all something I even realize is a weight when we're in it, was gone for a brief while and it was like a rock had been lifted off our shoulders. I had no idea how heavy it was. I'm a little (lot) worried about summer, without camps or childcare, and with the swim school partially reopening and my work still very busy... I'm a lot stressed about that.

But the kids are, as always, very good. Cora has created a vast open floor-plan doll house in the playroom. She has been such a trooper with her Kindergarten lessons on the Kindle and works SO hard on her school work. We've all learned to practice patience as Cora spends 15 hours carefully coloring in her every assignment, very few of which actually require coloring. But her work is important to her and I love that.

I know she misses Kindergarten so much, the routines and songs and interaction, but she cheerfully participates in her weekly call and loves the lessons with songs. She is, as always, a source of joy for the rest of us.

Claire turns 10 in 11 days and I cannot believe it.

I mean, I can- she's tall and lanky and finally moving to a new clothing size (she's been a Girls medium for like 6 years and I am so sick of everything she owns in that size). She misses the social aspects of school VERY much, but has handled the transition to distance learning much better than I feared (and far better than I have handled the transition to life from home). She logs in and works every day without complaint, sends messages to her teachers whenever she can, and remains a cheerful, very affectionate member of our pack.

She also makes lists for EVERYTHING and it cracks me up. This was one of several she had around the house before we left for Houston. Whether it's nature or nurture, it's fun seeing glimpses of yourself in your children, even if most of the time I'm awed at how wholly they are themselves.

Landon has been the biggest surprise to me as we've all spent every waking moment together for 10 weeks. He's so social- he loves his friends and is such a chatterbox, I always saw him as an extrovert like me and was worried SIP would be really hard for him. But turns out, he's been completely fine. More than fine. He logs in each morning, does his work all day with no involvement from us at all, and seems completely content. He has never called in for a single Zoom call (they're all optional as long as they're on pace for their work) or requested a phone or FaceTime call with friends. He misses them, and he'll be so glad to see the, but... he's fine. In recent weeks we have started letting him play Frisbee Golf outside in our street with one or two friends and he loves that, but I think he's much more of an introvert than I previously realized and I'm glad to have this insight into another angle of Landon.

He's also read every book in the house, is a proud holder of the record for "most words read" for 6th grade this year (nearly 5 million), and (we recently learned) finished his required schoolwork weeks ago and has just been doing every extra assignment his teachers offered. When at my parents' house he lost every single game of Left Right Center and never complained. And he took this selfie when I asked him to take a picture of me and my brother. He turns 13 in 6 weeks and while simultaneously bracing myself, I can say I wholeheartedly look forward to getting to know teenage Landon.

In house news, has anyone removed Plantation Shutters? Ours came with the house- they're very heavy, solid wood, and custom made, so I know they were very expensive and every post I've searched for on "removing plantation shutters" just results in finding people who want to install plantation shutters, but they block SO much light and you can't ever fully open them and we took off the dining room shutters to paint and now I don't want to put them back up.

The view isn't pretty- it's just our fence and neighbor's house, but there's a lot of green and when you sit at the table there's so much more light. I think we'd leave the ones in the kids' rooms, but I'm also considering removing the ones in the kitchen. Thoughts? Has anyone done this? Is it as crazy as all the online posts wanting to add them make it seem?

And finally, I've mentioned that James is President of the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition which does amazing work in the community teaching water safety and providing free water safety classes. Like so many, their work has been drastically altered by Covid, so they made a quick transition to online learning. He was on 2+ hour calls multiple days a week with the Board and other stakeholders to make the switch and this is their first PSA video and I'm SO PROUD. I think it's amazing.

As are those child actors they hired, right? This was filmed under SIP restrictions, so that's our pool and the videographer's pool and James and the kids are the only participants. I love it and their message and mission and look forward to more.

And with that, I'm off to prep to teach my Sunday barre class, so here are our meals for the next two weeks!

Sat: Mexican rice, toppings
Sun: Jambalaya, Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits (from the box; they are perfection)
Mon: Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches, chips, fruit, raw vegies. Hopefully to be eaten out by the pool, but unlikely given the forecast.
Tues: Taco Tuesday!
Wed: One Pan Healthy Sausage and Veggies (I use cauliflower instead of bell pepper, which we prefer raw instead of cooked, and use smoked turkey sausage), Parmesan Orzo on the side (cook orzo, drain; melt butter in the pot, add garlic and onion, saute, add back in the orzo, dump in a bunch of parm).
Thurs: Italian Chicken Soup (I use frozen chicken breasts to simmer in the broth until pull-apart tender and double the beans), crusty bread.
Fri: OUT
Sat: Pizza. I continue to use and love this no yeast pizza dough because it comes together super quickly (5 mins!) and easily and, as the title states, doesn't require yeast I STILL can't find in stores right now. I have one packet yeast and feel like it needs to be used for something special, like cinnamon rolls or Chicago style pizza...

Sun: Pull-Apart Cheeseburger Sliders, oven fries, veggies. Again, hopefully to be eaten outside, but it's supposed to rain for the next 100 days so we'll see.
Mon: Pasta Puttanesca, salad.
Tues: BBQ Enchiladas (BBQ Chicken done in the crockpot, shredded, rolled into tortillas with cheddar cheese, topped with additional cheese and smear of sour cream and baked for 15-20 mins at 375), Mexican Rice, Black Beans.
Wed: Sloppy Joe's (I leave out the sugar), another Claire fave, in honor of her almost-birthday. Probably with frozen tator tots and mixed veggies on the side, because hump day.
Thurs: Claire turns 10!! BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad, OBVIOUSLY, with confetti cake with chocolate frosting for dessert. Can't believe my chunky smiley baby will be double-digits.
Fri: Takeout, probably pizza, this time I swear to be eaten by the pool in a continuation of birthday fun.


  1. I got yeast from CM in Southlake via pick-up last week. I've been trying for at least a month. I put in for 3 different ways (2 versions of packets and 1 of jars) and they all came in, so I'm yeast rich. Thank you for posting the drowning video! It is really good.

  2. Pediatrician here--10 thumbs up for your husband's video!

  3. Yay!! That's amazing work against drowning. Also love all your posts!