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November 2011

Blargh! And more blargh!

Ugh, today was a hard day. I had to hold the baby all day, which is exhausting. And my back is starting to feel tingly all the time. Like my muscles are about to freeze up or something. It's like this everpresent reminder that I am 1) getting old and 2) could be laid out flat at any moment, and I haven't taught Jack how to call 911. Gak.

Actually, Emma didn't really wake up until noon. She got her shots yesterday morning and slept all that day, all night, and all morning. I should be grateful for that little side effect, right? But I'm really only focusing on my back pain right now, sorry. Am eighty-three years old. 

Molly didn't want to go to preschool (shocker) so I called and said she wouldn't be coming in today and oh, by the way, not ever. I was totally fine with it. I AM totally fine. But the phone call tonight from the preschool director made me feel rotten. Mainly because it was clear - or she's a great actress - that SHE felt rotten. I believe the precise term was, "I am SO SORRY we couldn't meet Molly's NEEDS!" She went on and on about her sensitive, introverted daughter who has a hard time in groups and maybe Molly would like to try out the Twos class where a lot of the kids are just turning three and only meet once a week and there are only TEN kids, and I could still go to MOPS, if I wanted, and there's the Living Nativity this weekend and they'd love for me to stick around...

OH GAWWWWD. I just... how did she know that that is JUST the way to upset me? Seriously, I am tearing up as I write this because I just feel like it all went kablooey or something, and I got myself involved with a CHURCH preschool that is SUPER DUPER into outreach and taking care of its people and... I don't know. I totally know the other side of this fence, right? I have BEEN the other side of this fence. And I just didn't want to say, "Actually, I HAVE a community, I HAVE people watching out for me, I have the INTERNET, I really AM okay, and no I am probably not going to go to MOPS (EVERRRRR)..." Why did I feel like I was letting this lady down? Why did I feel like I had to make HER feel better? This is SO STUPID! I have to keep telling myself: I cannot do all the things. I cannot know all the people. I WILL HAVE TO TERMINATE BARELY BEGUN RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE WHO PROBABLY BARELY REMEMBER MY NAME. 

So painful. And yes, I know, could I GET any more melodramatic? NO, I COULD NOT. But it's not like you come here for plain ole rational thinking, now, right?

Okay, so then I'm sitting on the couch feeding the baby, as I do, and Mulling over the phone call. I realize that at some point in the phone call the preschool director said, "Like I said in my message"... and it occurred to me that I had never listened to her message. 

Then I realized my mother said the same thing to me about leaving a message. But I didn't hear hers. 

Gee, I hadn't had a voicemail in a REALLY LONG TIME! HUH!

THEN I thought about how ever since Phillip updated my phone to the new operating system I've been getting this SUPER annoying pop up asking me for my voicemail password. Which I ignore, because, COME ON, MY PHONE. Totally one of those things that drives Phillip crazy, by the way. My inattention to technological detail. 

But what if that was preventing me from getting voicemail? And making it so my phone would not NOTIFY me when I had voicemail! HUH!

Phillip grumbled his way through setting up my password thingie and it turns out I had TWENTY-ONE voicemails OMG. I hadn't listened to messages since OCTOBER. (This is how much I do not like talking on the phone, I suppose, that I never called back and/or was curious about my missed calls.)

I am MORTIFIED. I feel so terrible. Nothing really fell through the cracks, probably because everyone knows I am useless with the phone and emailed me too, but STILL. The worst part is that there was a message from my boss from my college job, who I love, who called just to say he was thinking of me and wondering how we were all doing and I NEVER CALLED HIM BACK! I sent him the most apologetic email in the entire world. What is wrong with me?!

BLARGH! Now we are discussing The Family Vacation, which does not seem to be going well. And Emma won't sleep unless we're holding her OR vigorously rocking her bouncy chair with our poor worn out toes and why am I not in bed? 

I think I will go crawl into bed with my book and start over tomorrow. 


Not fun enough

My Molly is... 

Okay, so it's SUPER HARD for me to describe her on her own terms, without reference to Jack. (Same goes for Emma, without reference to Jack AND Molly.) Such is the trial of a not-first child? I don't know. 

Jack used to be timid and intimidated, but honestly it's been so long that I can barely remember him that way anymore. Those were the heydays of the Mom Group, full of super verbal little girls who bossed him around. But he's definitely his own little person now, with a large personality and a bigger smile. He's not the most outgoing or brave, but he's friendly and he wants to participate and he loves preschool. 

I never thought of Molly as timid. I still don't, really. What might look like timid is actually a strong sense of knowing what she does not want. She's always preferred to be near me (or ON me), ever since she was Emma's age! She's not into big groups or loud kids (her frequent preschool commentary: "There's too much kids") and if she's around a particularly boisterous or energetic kid, she sort of crawls into herself and, if I'm available, attaches herself to me. This goes doubly if Jack isn't around. She's braver about roller coasters and food and climbing, but not with people. 

I don't NEED her to go to preschool. And now that I've had a taste of Life With Three, I don't even really feel like I WANT her to go to preschool. Not for Third Baby Survival, anyway, like I thought. Jack - yes. Having Jack home 24/7, at this point, would probably kill us both. That kid needs stuff to DO. But Molly is a lot different - easier to occupy, happier to just be around. I mean, I want her to go if SHE wants to. I SO want her to go if it's a fun exciting thing. But I don't really think it is. 

And it's more than just the crying at drop off the other day. She OFTEN tells me she doesn't want to go. She often has nothing to say about it other than "there's too much kids". She's a barely-three in a class of four and five-year-olds. It's not necessary and if she tells me she doesn't want to go tomorrow morning, I won't make her go, and I'll probably call the school and take her out. (I am trying not to think about the Things They Will Think About Me, ie: what a dumb mother, kid freaks out once and she pulls her out, eye roll eye roll eye roll. SIGH.) 

It's just that preschool is SO unnecessary that there really isn't any point if she's not absolutely loving it. I thought it would be fun, but I don't think it is. Or it's not fun enough. Or staying home with me would be just as fun. So why bother? We can try again next year. Or we can look into ballet lessons in January. Or try preschool again at the community center where you have to sign up again every month. Or go to the gymnastics playroom on Saturdays with her dad. OR WHATEVER. There are so many things. Not just this thing. 

I try to permanent-fy my life the way I am attempting to permanent-fy my house. That's partly why this preschool schedule snafu was so distressing to me: Change! is Hard!

So we're not TOTALLY decided, but we are PRETTY MUCH decided. And I feel relieved and also stupid. I am always thinking I should have KNOWN. I should have KNOWN that such a big class would be hard for my little introvert! That just because she hangs out with her loud four-year-old brother doesn't mean she'll love hanging out with a whole bunch of loud four-year-olds who aren't her brother. This "should have known" thinking is such a THING with me. But I hate how KNOWING your things doesn't necessarily help you OUTGROW your things. 

Jack, meanwhile, is going to preschool tomorrow AND he has a field trip on Thursday AND he has school again on Friday. I am pretty sure Molly will decline school tomorrow, in which case she will be treated to a fun morning of Starbucks and Pier 1 and Christmas craftiness at home when I decide I cannot spend ninety-four dollars on a Pier 1 Christmas decoration. 

We will figure out what happens next after the holidays. After the Christmas party. After the Blathering launch! We certainly have enough to do right now. 

And I SO wonder who Emma will be...


Two Entirely Unrelated Topics, Yay Blog Storylines!

EJ is asleep! I know! I can type with TWO HANDS!!!

Tonight's first topic: My Name. (Because this website is about meeeeeeeeeeeee!!!) 

No, really. Did I tell you I am going to Palm Springs in January? With two friends? And my baby? I am going to Palm Springs! ANYWAY. One of these friends is buying our plane tickets tonight and she called me to verify my Official Details. And while I was spelling M-A-R-G-A-R-E-T she was saying, "That is SO not your name. I could never call you that! That is not your name!" 

AND YET! IT IS! No one has ever CALLED me Margaret, not when they weren't trying to be cute at least. But it's there on all my documents. There were times when I thought I could reinvent myself as Margaret - going to college, for example. A new job. And I sometimes think that if I ever write a book I will splash MARGARET all over the cover. But for right now the Margaret is pretty useless. 

My mom has a name which is often a shorter version of a long name, BUT. The shorter name is HER NAME. Apparently this drove her crazy all her life, all these people saying, "Now, MILLIE, is that short for MILLICENT?" (note: my mother's name is not Millie) so when she decided to name me Maggie, she also decided I would have the Full Version. 

(My mother is now reading this and saying, "THAT'S NOT HOW IT WENT" but that is the version of events with which I am familiar!)

I've never been a huge FAN of Margaret either. I am hearing my name on the playground occasionally (both Maggie and Margaret) and several of YOU have little Margarets... I can say I've never been a huge fan because it's MY NAME, right? Anyway. Where do you fall on giving someone a name no one will ever call them? I mean, it's not like how Lizzie is pretty obviously from Elizabeth (or Millie from Millicent!) and people use both (ish). Then again, it's not as much of a stretch as PEGGY... I sort of like having an Official Version, you know. For when I meet the President, maybe. But I can't ever imagine telling friends and family to call me Margaret. Even when I'm an old lady! (BECAUSE MARGARET IS AN OLD LADY NAME!) (SORRY, READERS WHO HAVE MARGARETS!) (HEY, I NAMED MY KID EMMA! ALSO AN OLD LADY NAME!)

All right, Topic Number Two. Preschool. 95% of you just fled. BUT STICK AROUND! THIS IS INTERESTING!

At drop off today, Molly started to cry. She has never cried at drop off. She has not always been super enthusiastic about GOING, but she's never CRIED and I've ALWAYS been able to talk her into it. But today she kept giving me excuses ("Mommy, I have too many coughs!") (except she's no sicker than she was last week or the week before that - stupid all-through-winter runny nose!) Anyway, she was having none of my Preschool Cheer and the tears started falling. Then her teacher came over and picked her up and talked about the fun things they were going to do that day and I quickly slid away. 

But I stuck around. In the stairwell. Listening to my daughter BAWL. 

So I kind of tip toed back and looked in and she didn't see me. She was still sobbing, the teacher still trying to engage her and I just felt HORRIBLE. I walked back in and told the teacher I was taking Molly home. The teacher told me she's never seen Molly act that way before (which is good! right?!) and maybe she was sicker than she seemed, or the Thanksgiving break threw her off. 

It could be one or all of those things, I suppose. I decided not to run the handful of errands I wanted to do and instead came home and did a Christmas crafty thing with Molly. Then she played in the playroom while I used the treadmill. We had snacks. We played with Emma. We walked to pick up Jack and then had lunch. A pretty nice morning. 

And now I am thinking... what if she didn't go to preschool? I mean, she's not in preschool because I am bound and determined to make sure she can skip ahead to second grade or anything. She's there because JACK went when he was three and ALL LAST YEAR she would say, "When I three, I go to preschool!" I also thought it would be a good break for me, to just have the baby. Also I thought she would LIKE IT. You know, make messes without getting yelled at by her crotchety mother. 

But... I am wondering if she does? She's never cried until today, but she's never seemed to enjoy it as much as Jack. There are a LOT of kids in her class and most of them are older. She's never super excited to go. Then again, she seems to have fun! She likes her teachers, she likes the projects, she talks about it. Just... not as much as Jack, who really LOVES going to school. 

Would she be going to preschool at age 3 if she was my first kid? I don't know. Molly mostly likes to hang out with ME. 

So right now I am strongly considering taking her out. She's only THREE. If she's not loving it, then I don't want to pay for it! And having her home with me wouldn't be a hassle. She's SO much easier to occupy than Jack - plus she always wants to help me fold laundry and she always wants to go shopping, the two things I tend to do during preschool time. Today I even used the treadmill with her in the next room. So it would be fine to have her home. 

??????????????????

 


Blogger Unnapped

Molly's been doing this thing where I put her down for her nap aaaaand she decides not to sleep. This would be the worst thing in the world if it weren't for the fact that I already have a no-napper and I've grown accustomed to the annoyance. She's not really ready to give it up though - most no-nap days dissolve into puddles of irrational tears and hysterics that would drive me through the roof if she wasn't so pitiful-looking. (Well, sometimes I DO let it drive me through the roof, only to get the biggest guilt trip of a lifetime when the teeny weeny pathetic little three-year-old looks up at me with her huge tears and quivering bottom lip and says, "Mommy I not FEELING good!")

So when Emma didn't sleep well on Thanksgiving Eve at my parents' house or Thanksgiving night at my brother's house or Friday night in her own house, and when I was still staying up late to work on my own stuff and getting up early to take care of the big kids, I thought perhaps I might be tired. And when I spent all of Saturday morning trying to get Emma to take a nap and she wouldn't and I had to put her down and pound my fist into a pillow a few times, and then an hour or so later when Phillip said, "Okay, so the kids are getting hungry..." in that "so what are you going to do about it?" voice and I had to run into another room so I wouldn't burst out crying in front of my in-laws who were visiting... YEAH. I sat sobbing on Molly's bed while she picked out her outfit for that day and thinking to myself, "I need to stop skipping my nap."

Phillip, who at that point would have taken me on an all expenses paid trip to Ikea, The Resort if it would stop the snippy, kept telling me to TAKE a nap. To lie down with the baby. To fall asleep in the chair. But I really really really didn't want to take a nap. What I wanted to do was get all the stuff done that I wanted to DO. 

Which we did. I gave up trying to get Emma to sleep and decided it would be okay if my mother-in-law held her all day long. (She did.) But this is how we moved the kids' beds into the empty bedroom downstairs, moved the extra bed and the crib into their old room upstairs, built an Ikea dresser, moved the old one downstairs PLUS all sorts of smaller projects in between, like more-permanently hanging the felt board and putting up some pictures in the blue room next to the kitchen and sorting some clothes and organizing the playroom. We did SO MUCH WORK on Saturday. So much work. And honestly, that was better than any nap. I was on a freaking organization HIGH Saturday night. 

And even now, on Sunday night, when I am still SO TIRED and yet got SO MUCH DONE - people, I sorted ALL THE CLOTHES and put them in their PROPER PLACES - I am still thinking this is better than a nap. 

I don't quite get myself... I am the laziest person on earth, I really am, but then nothing makes me feel quite like having all the Things in their Places. We're finally using the whole house and the kids are in the place they'll be for the next several years and I hung up some pictures in the kitchen and did I tell you we bought our couch? WE BOUGHT OUR COUCH. All of this stuff makes me feel SO much better. Like I'm on this quest for The Way It Will Be. I want this thing to be in the place where it will be until the kids move me into The Home. 

I used to feel like I needed to move every two years. I hear "third culture children" and military brats, even quasi-military brats like myself, tend to feel this way. They get an Itch. But not anymore, dude. Now I'm all, "This is where the picture is going to hang for the NEXT FIFTY YEARS."

Our Thanksgiving was really nice, if you want to know. It helps to have siblings who like to get together and fun cousins who bring Bananagrams (AM NOW OBSESSED WITH BANANAGRAMS) and adorable children running around and an older generation to make fun of and chocolate OMG THE CHOCOLATE. My brother, who hosted, had a whole tin of fancy chocolate-covered cookies, then a giant dish of Hawaiian chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, then a pho-sized bowl of Reese's Pieces AND sugar cookies smothered in said Reese's Pieces and this was all before we even had dinner. NO I DID NOT WEIGH IN YET. But I've been doing Weight Watchers all week (except Thanksgiving, obvs, when Chocolate Ruled) and I'm hopeful for the morning weigh in. STAND BY, FAT WATCHERS!

I am now going to wake up my baby (!!!) (she didn't sleep all day) (until I took her on a Therapeutic Trip to Target and fell asleep in the car seat and is STILL IN THE CAR SEAT) so I can feed her and watch The Good Wife and revel in the house that continues to morph into the home I've always wanted.


It's Barfsgiving!

Oh wait. Do I have to update this thing tonight? It TOTALLY feels like a Friday. I think maybe because Phillip worked from home today? And we're driving to my parents' house tomorrow morning? We'll stay at their house tomorrow night and road trip it (can you call it a road trip if it's just barely more than two hours?) to my brother's house in the PA for Thanksgiving. 

I don't write about my brother on this website because 1) I think he'd prefer if I didn't and 2) he's a big fat meanie about my website (back when I had ads: "You get MONEY for that?!?!" Then I kicked him in the shins, which is about all I can do because he could squash me with his pinkie finger.) (I have another brother, but he lives in Colorado and probably thinks the same thing about my website but would never SAY so. Well, maybe he would. But he would find a funnier, cuter way to say it, which would make me think he was just joking and teasing me, but deep down I would know that he really thinks my website is the awesomest.) (All right, now you know entirely too much about my brothers, neither of whom are interested in making an appearance on the blog. SHUT UP, ME.) 

BUT ANYWAY. My brother! Who lives in the PA! Got married! I know! And in a huge shocking twist he's become all domestic-like (although I rather suspect he's always been this way, it's just that NOW he has the opportunity to let it shine) and he and his wife are hosting Thanksgiving. And we are staying at THEIR house Thanksgiving night. THIS IS A LOT OF TRAVELING FOR ME. 

I am not a HUGE fan of the PA, as it is... WAIT. It occurs to me that you, my beloved readers, do not know what "The PA" is. !!! And honestly, a snotty Seattleite such as myself has no business calling it that either, it's just that my cousins also live there and they always call it The PA and I think it's cute... anyway, it's PORT ANGELES. Which you know and care nothing about unless (DUM DUM DUM) you have read and are deeply devoted to the Twilight series. 

So the ENTIRE POINT of this post, if you are wondering, is to ask you if you think I can get away with a Twilight-themed Thanksgiving post for Parenting. I COULD skip it, it being a holiday and all, and Parenting being super flexible with the blog schedule (also blog writers - they have, after all, kept ME around for inexplicable reasons). I don't even quite know how I would WRITE a Twilight-themed Thanksgiving post. What would it be ABOUT? Vampires don't EAT. (Right? Am now worried about my vampire lore deficiency.) But something about it sounds very funny to me. And I would probably piss off the hordes of Twihards somehow and that would be good for the pageview business. 

Sadly for my blog post, Port Angeles is not the STAR of the Twilight set, that would be Forks, but I have been to Forks (I even wrote about going to Forks back when this website was a teeny tiny baby website) and I will never go again. Really, why does anyone live anywhere besides Seattle? SNOTTY CITY GIRL ALERT! OOPS!

Anyway, I have to finish packing for EVERYONE and also eat a WW-approved dinner (DID YOU KNOW THEY CHANGED UP THE WHOLE POINTS SYSTEM SO ANNOYING) and then I guess I'll have to feed a baby again. 

OH WAIT! You know what this post should have been about? The fact that I did not get barfed on today. I DID NOT GET BARFED ON TODAY! Today is BARFSGIVING! 


What I did today instead of running on the treadmill

Because Emma took a CRAZY long nap today (JESUS LOVES ME) I had tons of time to do stuff like... fold all the laundry! Run! Prep dinner! Write that post banging around my head for the Catholic blog! PLAY WITH MY KIDS!

Ha ha ha I did none of that. Instead I made an Advent calendar. EYE ROLL. Also: do not get excited! I know you crafty types! This Advent calendar does not involve felt or doors or embroidery or even heartwarming suggestions for Adventy things to do that day! 

TA-DA

Photo (36)

Okay, I just didn't have time to write out the heartwarming Adventy things to do. But that's the point. Those are little paper pockets and each day the child who is not driving me to drink will pull out the Thing To Do That Day. The Thing To Do That Day may or may not involve eating chocolate, because what is an Advent calendar without chocolate?

I don't really stress too much about Christmas or how to do it well. I'm not sure why, because I certainly stress about everything ELSE. But maybe it's because I throw all of that energy into our party every year? I LOVE hosting stuff, but I think I get to do all of that with my party, and then I'm happy to do whatever my family ends up doing for Christmas. Which is almost always: descend upon my parents' house on Christmas Eve for wine-fueled present-opening. And until this year we've gone to Phillip's parents' house and had a very low key Christmas Day - this year they're coming to OUR house. But it's still going to be low key. I love my big family and all the bigness that involves, but I've also REALLY come to appreciate the laid back smallness of Phillip's family's holidays and hosting or not, we shall retain the laid backness! 

But Christmas is always Christmassy and always good, even if we're tired of driving and the presents are overwhelming etc. I always have a good time, I always feel like we celebrate the True Meaning and all that. How nice for me to not stress about something!

YOU people, though, YOU people keep writing about how you're doing Christmas and GOSHDARNIT after wrapping a few presents that showed up on my doorstep today (Christmas: Brought To You By Amazon.com) I decided I was not done with the wrapping paper. 

We have about a dozen Christmas books that I save and box up every year. I'm going to combine those with the other dozen I bought from Jack's preschool book order this month and the kids will open one new Christmas book every night. (We'll reuse them next year.) Beyond that I'm thinking of VERY VERY EASY THINGS to go in those little pockets. Like things we will do no matter what (decorate the tree) (decorate cookies) (play Christmas songs on the piano). I'm not sure what else, though. I should probably put some churchy stuff in there. Christmas is not ALL about the party. 

Speaking of, the kids and I went to Target today and we spent a good ten minutes trying to decide if we were going to buy the WHITE tinsel tree or the RED tinsel tree. This was a HEATED DISCUSSION and we COULD NOT AGREE so we did not buy a tinsel tree after all. I'm feeling a little bereft about this now. I NEED a tinsel tree. Preferably a HOT PINK tinsel tree. Get on that, Target!

Emma has fallen asleep on my lap. Some combination of full tummy + intense leg jiggling... wanna see?

Photo (37)

Yeah, if you're ever wondering what your Trusty Blogger looks like when she's churning out brilliant after brilliant paragraph, this is it. One handed typing at its finest. Also, you can't see it, but Spit Up has a starring role in this picture. Anyway, I better go put this kid to bed and cut out the rest of my numbers. Night night. 


Spend All The Money

I'll have, like, five minutes where I feel like I have conquered the world. The five minutes after I fixed up the downstairs AND cleaned the kicthen - those were an AWESOME five minutes. But I would say most of my minutes feel like they do right now, more along the lines of, "party decorations! vacuum! respond to email! fold clothes! pick up the living room! treadmill! update my calendar! WHATDOIDOFIRSTOMGGGG!"

That is when you just need to sit down and write a post on your blawg. 

It was an excellent weekend, if not a little spastic with the oh-my-gosh-I-need-to-do-it-all-right-NOW! Phillip somehow conned his mother into taking the big kids overnight (his dad is living it up in Hong Kong right now) so we could sleep in and laze around. He forgot, however, that when we don't have big kids and we're in the nearish vicinity, he is required to take me to Ikea. Purchased from Ikea: one Hemnes dresser to replace Phillip's old dresser which we will be putting in Jack's new room. (Moving Jack (and Molly, mostly) will take place Thanksgiving weekend OR ELSE.) So that was exciting! They were out of the one other thing I wanted to buy, and because we were not buy ginormous televisions, Phillip was being all cautious with the checkbook. Annoying. I did get a pair of useless cherry red flower pots out of him, though, and HE'S the one who pointed out the sixty-foot long string of "snowball" lights. OBVS we had to have those. 

Then friends had their baby baptized this morning so we went to their church and YOU GUYS, during the homily the priest referenced not only 1) HIS BLAWG but also 2) COMMENTING ON OTHER PEOPLE'S BLAWGS. Why am I not attending that church? HMM?

Actually, if this weekend had a theme, it was Spend All The Money. I have this little budget spreadsheet and I'm rather proud of it and it's nerdly capabilities, but I'm only good about using it for about half the year. THIS time of year it feels... pointless. Presents to buy! Parties to plan! Party CLOTHES to buy! And always there are boots. I always need boots. Well, 'need' is a relative term, but you know how that goes. I bought two pairs on Zappos today. SHUT UP. One pair will be going back. I SWEAR. (And while I'm trying to convince him to go to the shoe store on our way home from the baptism, so that I won't HAVE to buy them online, Phillip starts quoting Friends at me. Lame.)

But also... see, I decided I HAD to have a hot chocolate bar at the party. HAD. But I didn't have anything to put hot chocolate in, except a pot on the stove, so I bought... a Hot Beverage Dispenser on Amazon. I was THISCLOSE to buying a COFFEE URN. I HAVE PROBLEMS.

Also, later, Phillip was all, "We could rent one! We could rent a POPCORN CART or a SNOCONE MAKER!" This is why Phillip is not allowed to plan the parties.

Anyway, obviously I have nothing to say here (oh, here's your Emma Update: STILL COVERED IN BABY BARF) which means it's time to go over to the weight loss blog and confess my many sugary sins. ALAS.  


Friday Reads & Recommends

This week I recommend whiteboards. HOLY WOW, the $19.99 magnetic 3' x 2' whiteboard found at your local Costco is PRESCHOOL MAGIC. Ever since we moved in I've been trying to get the kids to play downstairs, but nooo, it's scary down there, it's far away from Mommy, can Mommy even HEAR ME in the deep dark dungeon that is DOWWWNSTAAAAIRS? So, as you know, I've been working my butt off to make the playroom more of a playroom than a Toy Storage Area With Terrible Carpet And Bad Paint. But it wasn't until I hung that whiteboard that the kids REALLY started hanging out there. Without me. And lo, it is a wondrous thing. 

I also recommend felt boards. Ours is still two giant pieces of felt duct taped to the wall (I'm going to look for a thin board to mount and hang) but my mother mailed the kids felt versions of themselves and THIS is very cool. Jack, especially, gets a huge kick out of all the felt shapes. For this I also have to recommend my mother, as I haven't had a chance to make any felt shapes myself. Oops. 

If you've got straight, fine-ish, thin hair like mine AND it's cut short, I'd recommend Aveda Light Elements Definining Whip, which sounds like something you can eat, but is not. I bought a jar of this stuff when I first cut my hair short, almost a year ago, but it's been a while since I used it. Then today I didn't have time to blow dry or whatever, and when the air dry look was not working for me, I just rubbed some of this stuff into my fingers and put everything in its proper place. Time spent: thirty seconds. WIN. Will be using again tomorrow.

I found this when I was googling around for something else the other day: Misogyny, Morality, and the Woman at the Well. I'm not entirely sure what I think about it, but it's interesting, and it paired nicely with a conversation I had recently about a, ah, well-known local pastor. 

Continuing with the churchy theme, here's something new from National Geographic via Arts and Letters Daily, about "the global career" of the King James Bible

If you are sensitive to inappropriate-for-a-family-website language, you should not look at this homage, of sorts, to Starter jackets. 

Also this one.

This, so far, is my favorite Christmas party idea. What in the world did we do before Pinterest? 


Stylebook

My in-laws often show up at my house with new clothes for my kids, a practice I strongly support. There are times, however, when I don't especially love what they buy. Which is fine! I am not really a clothes snob and my kids often look like urchins and I would rather Not Do Laundry than Be Particular About Their Clothes, so it all works out. 

So a few weeks ago I was talking about how I needed to get the kids new coats - I was just making conversation, I wasn't trying to get them to buy my kids coats because *I* actually wanted to pick out the coats, but I knew that "my grandchildren are coat-less in this harsh freezing weather!" would take root in my father-in-law's brain and there was no stopping him after that. 

And they did, indeed, show up with new coats the following week. A big puffy Hello Kitty number for Molly and a lightweight jacket and big heavy coat for Jack, all purchased at Ross, where you get name brands for cheap. So Jack's big heavy coat was blue and yellow and spelled NIKE across the front. And I hated it. 

There wasn't anything WRONG with it. I'm not big on clothes that say things or spell out their brand names, but again, that's not something likely to keep me from using a Free Winter Coat. But I had this SUPER STRONG aversion to it and I JUST FIGURED IT OUT. 

When I moved to the Air Force Base In Italy That Shall Not Be Named, I was a sophomore in high school and all the popular boys, ie: the JOCKS, wore Starter hats and Starter jackets. Do you guys know that brand? Was that a Thing in the states? I don't remember it being a Thing at my old school, although there were maybe fourteen people in that school, and I don't think it was a Thing when I went to college (pop. 40,000). But ALL the cool boys wore Starter brand stuff, and the ESPECIALLY cool boys had giant, puffy Starter jackets. A type of coat to which Jack's new coat bears a more than strong resemblance. 

Those boys were... well, I have a LOT more grace for those years and those people and that place than I used to, but I think it's still fair to say that the majority of them were Creeps and Losers. Except you didn't really KNOW that they were creeps and losers, because they were all athletically gifted, to the degree that the sports teams at my school dominated every other school in the league, and that meant they were better than everyone else. Athletic prowess was the only currency that mattered at my new school. If you weren't on a team, even the cross country team, you were a nonentity. There just weren't enough kids to have Drama Geeks and Skaters and all that - you either played sports or you kind of did nothing. 

I caught on a few months later and joined the basketball team and it all worked out because I actually really LIKE team sports and I finally made some friends, but that first year was dark and confusing and when I think about the kids that year I think about sad angry girls and jerkface boys wearing Starter jackets. My kid is NOT going to look like a jerkface boy. 

Except for today, because he didn't have anything else. But as soon as I find a new one? BE GONE, DISCOUNT NIKE COAT THAT BRINGS UP BAD MEMORIES!

Relatedly... there was a woman at preschool drop off this morning who I haven't seen before. Maybe a friend or an aunt or a stepmom? Anyway, this is slightly embarrassing, but I couldn't take my eyes off her. She wasn't really beautiful, although she did have the perfect short hair haircut and the kind of pixie face to go with it. But she was wearing the kind of clothes I would tell you I long to wear, the look I long to go for, if I could only articulate it. And because she did it for me...

Dark brown mid-calf boots, weather-worn, on the clunkier side, like someone said, "make me cute wear-with-everything boots and make sure they can stand up to the rain and mud and falling leaves." Brown tights with just a hint of a colored pattern. Some kind of coral jersey skirt. A long open sweater in a lighter brown, thicker and chunkier than a grandpa cardigan, but still fitted. I couldn't see what she wore under the sweater, but I'm sure I would have wanted that too. 

The rest of us were wearing jeans and rain jackets and whatever shoes we could slip on so we wouldn't be late dropping the kids off, but this woman didn't look dressed up, at least not in a way where you'd be all, "Who's she trying to impress?" No, she looked comfortable and warm and easy and like she wore a skirt every day and didn't think twice about it. She looked like the women in the Boden catalog, with a Northwesty spin. I WANT TO LOOK LIKE THAT. 

Of course it helps if you are a Skinny Little Thing like her AND you don't exclusively shop at Target. I've already promised myself a Boden outfit once I've lost the baby weight, but I wonder if I'm really entranced by the clothes so much as the woman who wears those clothes. There's a difference. 


The kids were even halfway pleasant!

Oh lovely Internet. I have a website to work on and a treadmill to break in, but I just wanted to say that I had SUCH AN AWESOME DAY. 

I went to Costco and spent an obscene amount of money. 

I put up a whiteboard in the playroom (I'm going to use the whiteboard paint in the kitchen, for ME), stuck the corkboard tiles to the wall, and cleaned up the whole thing. I am SO HAPPY. I still have a lot to do in there, but it's starting to look like what I envisioned, and Jack pretty much wants to marry that whiteboard. 

I hung the kids' coat rack in the entry way and started hanging pictures. 

I priced out an entire mid-winter mental health trip to Disneyland with some friends, plus Palm Springs in case a massage sounds better than Mickey. 

I made the beds in the kids' room which looks so much nicer than when THEY make their beds. Which isn't really the best thing to do, I know, but it made me happy. 

I rearranged the toys upstairs so that they playhouse and kitchen and doll changing table form a little play area. I folded up their table and put it in the closet and moved all the crayons and papers and other things that littered my living room to the little room off the kitchen. The kids can use the table in there for coloring instead. 

My baby fell asleep on her own, AGAIN, except this time was by mistake - I put her down and didn't immediately go back when she started to cry because... I don't remember. I was helping Molly in the bathroom? Something. And by the time I got back to Emma she'd fallen asleep. I will take it. 

When the Therapist came over Emma fell asleep again, and I left to clean up my whole kitchen and start dinner. I've figured that at least once a week I will have a nice clean kitchen, since I can't exactly hop on the internet when the Therapist is here. 

I made a YUMMY dinner. I often make dinner, but it's not always yummy. 

Doing all this stuff makes me feel AWESOME. Awesome in a way that, say, cleaning the whole house and folding all the laundry does not do, unfortunately. ORGANIZING, UPDATING, PLANNING - those are the things that float my boat. AM HUGE DORK. 

I REALLY want to get to work on the website, the title of which rhymes with Flabbering, but Phillip has all three kids occupied and the treadmill is shouting at me. "MAGGIE! REMEMBER ALL THAT CHOCOLATE COVERED BOY SCOUT POPCORN YOU ATE TODAY? YEAH. THAT." 

I would also like to ask about spitting up, if anyone out there is an expert: WHAT THE HECK. This is WAY more than "just a teaspoon". She doesn't seem SUPER bothered by it. Sometimes she's obvious uncomfortable, but other times it just spills out. And then today it was venturing into projectile territory. I hesitate to call her a Happy Spitter because she hardly seems HAPPY. But... yeah. Not a big deal? (This is the correct answer, btw.)

OKAY SEE YOU LATER